Thoughts, Out of My Head
a bike ride on the Stanford Campus
at the Rodin exhibit
Photo by Jerry Brick
contemplate the Gates of Hell should not be taken lightly.
The bike trails there are all uphill,
You try to fix a flat, but still
You pump, and tires never fill.
The streets in every neighborhood are crowded and unsightly.
And yet, I would prefer to pass through portals so untried—
With yellow jacket frayed and
The gravel roads
of nail and thorn
puncture tires badly worn—
Because it is with friends like you I’d always want to ride.
* * *
They say the climate’s changing? Well, they haven’t got a clue.
So, let the polar icecap melt; there’s
nothing we can do.
Just drive your Hummer where
you please no matter what they tell us.
There’s lots of oil in the ground the Arabs want to sell us.
Who cares about the debt we have? I’m
not afraid to say it.
I really don’t expect to be the one who has to pay
Taxes are for other guys who can’t get out of payin’.
No one needs the government—you
hear what I am sayin’?
Crime is running rampant—that was in the news today.
But when we all start packin’
guns, we’ll get along okay.
So this is how I see it, and I’ll say it with a smile:
We don't need to go to Egypt, we're already in
I know that there are issues
that get lots of folks annoyed,
And we tend to think those topics
are the ones we
The people whom we love
might not always be disposed
To support the things
and oppose what we oppose.
I’d like to think relationships
are strong enough
All the stress of disagreement
when good people
We surely would be better off
in ways that we relate,
To spend more time discussing
and less time in debate.
* * *
IF YOU CAN FIND A WAY
If you can find a way to make the tax code fair
And see that all the One Percenters pay their
If you reduce the deficit
and never break the rules
But also fund the libraries and parks and public schools;
If you can make the corporations stand aside
And leave it up to human
beings to decide;
If you can reapportion all the district lines today
And not let gerrymandering get in the way;
If you can write a health care plan we can afford
That brings the rich
and poor and sick and lame aboard;
If you can catch the bankers by surprise
Before they give out bonuses to all their favorite guys;
If you can stop the globe from warming at its
And somehow manage to preserve the human race;
You would surely have a plan of great renown,
But probably the Senate and the House would vote
* * *
You probably got weary from the economic theory
that you studied all the years you went to school.
But I’ll bet you learned it properly on the day you played Monopoly
and found out from your friends that winners rule.
It starts with a statistic that is really unrealistic—
every player has the same amount of dough.
It seems that this endeavor would extend the game forever
but it depends upon the dice you have to throw.
A player’s fortune always swells by buying Boardwalk with hotels,
and when you land on it your property is lost.
While your character is strong and there is nothing you’ve done wrong,
the result is that you have to pay the cost.
In the real world you might say that this is how you have to play;
the opportunity is there when all is known.
The winners always know that they will soon be passing GO,
and the losers have to mortgage all they own.
In the end someone acquires all the money he desires
and is wallowing in wealth and fields of clover.
You might think it’s just a game, but still it happens all the same,
and when it does, well then we know the game is over.
THE ROAD THAT’S
BETTER LEFT UNTAKEN
(With a nod to Robert Frost)
Two roads diverge in a yellow wood
I’ll not take the one that goes to the right.
It’s hard to know
why anybody would
Or even how a caring person could,
But still I know that many people might.
I’ll take the other one because it is more
has perhaps the simple quality of being sane.
It leads to opportunity that all of us can share
Protecting the environment and even Medicare.
It builds a world that’s
possible to sustain.
Both are on the ballot even now;
The rich will choose the one that leads to greater gain
And let some profits trickle down somehow.
Perhaps it does improve
the numbers on the Dow,
But still the middle class will feel the pain.
I shall be reading this when all the votes are cast
Hoping the electorate will find the way.
The road we take will
help us shake the awful past
And get us going properly at last.
Our choice is what will make the difference that day.