Up in Smoke

Vaping and pot are taking a toll

Kids are vaping.
There’s no escaping.
Nicotine won’t let them go.
Flavors lure them.
Tastes of childhood.
It’s a killer.
But they don’t know.

Pot is legal.
But the jury
still is out on if that’s right.
CBD is
deemed the answer
by those higher
than a kite.

Vapor pods
and pot shop owners
are the rage.
Folks love to toke.
But there’s real danger.
We’re in trouble.
Sanity’s gone up
in smoke.

Three Chords and the Truth

Celebrating Ken Burns Series on Country Music

Three simple chords make country songs.
But that’s not all. There’s truth!
The pain of loss. The joy of love.
And truckstops in Duluth.

Ken Burns now helps us trace our roots
to Nashville royalty.
There’s Johnny, June, Loretta, Hank.
And don’t forget Doll-y.

It’s more than twang and nasal sounds.
We’re owin’ lots to Buck,
to Merle and Willie, Flat and Scruggs
plus little Tanya Tuck.

The Ryman Auditorium.
The Grand Ole Opry, too.
These sacred places became church
to folks like me and you.

Dad burn it, Ken. You brought respect
to what some love to hate.
But Country Western, Bluegrass, too,
helped make our nation great.

A Patriot Day Prayer

Praying to Father God for Mother Liberty

Eighteen years ago this day,
Mother Liberty looked on in horror
as she witnessed a nightmare
that will forever challenge the dream
for which she proudly stands.

Without warning, twins
(she bravely birthed) collapsed at her feet.
Symbols of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness
(and thousands who cherished them) perished.

What had towered above Manhattan for decades
were reduced to nothing more than a smoldering mess of rubble.
And it was not just the Big Apple that was shaken to the core.
Our entire nation quaked.
Two hundred and twenty stories of capitalism’s success,
(once an anthology of corporate commerce and trade)
became ancient history in a few hours.
All the same those collapsed stories
are bound to be catalogued as tragedies for decades to come.

The light is forever gone from eyes that innocently looked on.
The skies above New York, Washington and Pennsylvania
billowed with black smoke.
The earth beneath was an eery sight.
It became a bloody graveyard.

Unthinkable. Unbelievable.
Unmistakably, the act of ungodly beasts
who undeniably admitted to a sense of pleasure
derived from attempts to undermine the treasure of freedom
many of us continue to take for granted.

O God, rouse us from our routine slumber.
Teach us to number our days. To confess our sin
and once again recognize our dependence on You.
Teach us to eschew our complacency and apathy.
Give us courage to rethink our false sense of national security.
Help us repent of values we have come to confess as a nation
that violate Your holiness and mock Your gifts of grace.

O Lord, as we admit our vulnerability this day,
be with those whose grief and loss remains greater than they can say.
We pray that You would guide our President and our leaders,
that You would purge our sin and protect our land.

Father God, please stand by Mother Liberty,
so that the torch she holds forth will continue to flame
with the promise of freedom and hope.
May she continue to illuminate our feet
as we attempt to walk in Your ways
to a place where once again the phrase on our money
actually describes the ways and the means of our lives.
“In God We Trust” Amen.

Picture Dorian Gray

Paying respect to the twisting winds of summer

What rainbow hues are hurricanes?
I picture Dorian gray.
Colorless with shades of fear
as night morphs into day.

Bahamians have stood the test
while standing on their knees.
Their praying posture served them well
amid the surging seas.

And now the Carolinas brace
for winds and pounding rain
while hoping Dorian will die
or pass by them more tame.

The colors of a hurricane
are on nobody’s mind.
But rather we are gripped with how
it pummels, floods and grinds.