Get a Grip

The average frequency of death in the USA
Is as follows

Drunk driving 10,288 28 Americans
Are killed by a drunk driver every day.

In hospitals 90,000 one American
Dies from a medical error
Or a lethal infection every 6 minutes.

At home 54,500
One in an accident at home every 10 minutes.

Transport 46,844
One by a traffic accident every 11 minutes.

Poisoning 40,059
One poisoned to death every 13 minutes.

Falls 22,631
One every 23 minutes.

Homicide 18,361
One every 29 minutes.

How many people will die in the next war?
Do you think Donald Trump cares?

What are the chances of him taking us to war?

Do you want to be responsible
For doing nothing to stop him before he takes us there?

Maybe it’s time we quit saluting the flag
While he and Vice President Bannon are burning the Constitution?


 Found poem and cover photo by Rayn Roberts 2017



How much poison are you willing
to eat for the success of the free
market and global trade? Please
name your preferred poisons.

For the sake of goodness, how much
evil are you willing to do?
Fill in the following blanks
with the names of your favorite
evils and acts of hatred.

What sacrifices are you prepared
to make for culture and civilization?
Please list the monuments, shrines,
and works of art you would
most willingly destroy.

In the name of patriotism and
the flag, how much of our beloved
land are you willing to desecrate?
List in the following spaces
the mountains, rivers, towns, farms
you could most readily do without.

State briefly the ideas, ideals, or hopes,
the energy sources, the kinds of security;
for which you would kill a child.
Name, please, the children whom
you would be willing to kill.


~ Wendell Berry


Wendell E. Berry (born August 5, 1934) is an American novelist, poet, environmental activist, cultural critic, and farmer. A prolific author, he has written many novels, short stories, poems, and essays. He is an elected member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers, a recipient of The National Humanities Medal, and the Jefferson Lecturer for 2012. He is also a 2013 Fellow of The American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Berry was named the recipient of the 2013 Richard C. Holbrooke Distinguished Achievement Award. On January 28, 2015, he became the first living writer to be inducted into the Kentucky Writers Hall of Fame.


What the Bag Lady Said When I Asked if She had the Time

This is a politician’s year
Do you think I’m rich enough?
Time, I don’t have any.
They all refused me the time.

I would have married a cripple,
One never asked me though.
They all said no to me
Refused me, all of them.

Why do you want the time,
You can’t keep it.
I could pick a rose for you,
They’re free in the park.

I once heard a symphony,
No one believes I did.
I can’t recall the tune now
It still listens for me.



Greater has one who gives the little he has
Than one who gives from plenty

For one gives from abundance and has more, while the other
Has nothing, yet gives–

This isn’t the widow’s mite, giving to a temple or church
But living the Light of Life, healing
The sick and poor–

We, the rich, need heed a call to love and give them more.

Just Sayin’

Each moment is an arrival.  There is only to walk and arrive.


The deepest grief is the sadness of the poor.

True freedom is the absence of guilt.

Real treasure is the knowledge of truth.


The poor share with everyone.

The stars are the diamonds of the poor.

The rich hide their jewels in vaults.


What is the inheritance of the poor but the earth

and the miseries of life, the joy of sunlight at dawn.


A serpent coils my neck

Rats play at my feet

I exchange a kiss of peace with murderers and thieves.


There is only to sit and arrive.

Each instant is an arrival.

The way up is the way down arriving at one place.


All sacred ghosts in one man, all holy images in one woman.


I enter warm water to bathe.

I wash the dusty feet of Jesus, Buddha

Blue hands of Krishna, green body of Tara.


I breathe with the rapist and king

We all share the same moment.  When I arrive perfectly, I will be gone.



From this Side of the River

I invented this river, dreamed it up

Been dreaming it wider and wider,


I stand on this bank and the other side

Is lost to me, even as I am lost, each day


What I think I am, is less and less

What is all about me, more and more


And yes the river is deep and wide

Who or what’s on the other side, hidden:


Dreaming is a hard skill to master—

I toss my hat the length of the river


But cannot see the other side

Dreaming it wider, wider (a statement


worth consideration and not

profound at all)  I stand and fish,


Catch my limit most often, dinner

For friends as well, yet questions


On the nature of dreaming rivers ways

Are as many as the colors of fish, answers


Fewer than seem far somehow—

But the river is my own dream


If I don’t mind where it takes me

The river can break me in the deep.

Crossings are hard task to master.

The river is my own invention.