Subdued Fourth

Today we celebrated Independence Day here in the United States. Celebrated might be an overstatement in my case. I napped, having been unable to sleep last night. I did wear my special flag t-shirt most of the day, though.

Then, while Studly Doright and I were cooking our dinner of vegetable kabobs and fruit salad, I managed to get cooking oil all over the front of my shirt. I might’ve said, “Yankee Doodle Dammit!” Or something similarly patriotic as a result.

We’ll likely spend our evening watching “Shameless” on Netflix while listening to our neighbors across the lake shoot off fireworks. Is it wrong for me to hope a predicted thunderstorm might keep the ruckus to a minimum tonight? It’s not as if they have any children.

Suddenly I feel like the Scrooge of July 4th. Bah firecracker!

Peace, people.

These Colors Don’t Run

I’ll wear my patriotic shirt

On a scorching July day

Red, white, and blue displayed

In the shape of a flag, hurray!

RED for valor and strength

Although these days it seems

That bluster and lies have replaced those

The further right we lean.

And WHITE for innocence and purity

Even as we confine kids to cages

Perhaps white stands for blindness now

As we ignore their desperate faces.

BLUE for justice and perseverance–

Justice for whom? Perseverance in what?

When our courts favor a select few

And our system leaves some to rot.

Let freedom ring, we cry

The Stars and Stripes salute

But a kneeling man is chastised

His freedom of speech is moot

I know my verse is lacking, y’all, and I’ll never be a true poet. But my country is hurting right now. And worse, we’re hurting innocents. I’ll celebrate the 4th, but not with a blind eye to the atrocities we’re committing.

Peace, people

Attack of the Killer Flag

Patriotism is a fine thing, but yesterday afternoon I was walking down the sidewalk in Blountstown, Florida, when out of the red, white, and blue, I was accosted by our Stars and Stripes. A strong gust of wind caught the darned thing just as I passed by, and whack! Old Glory slapped the top of my head, almost knocking me into a pickup parked by the curb.

Okay, so I wasn’t exactly paying attention to my surroundings, but still, shouldn’t a citizen be safe from killer flags? Betsy Ross surely didn’t intend to let loose this flapping monster on unsuspecting citizens.

Peace, people!

Wide Awake

I slept for forty years

My eyes closed to injustice

But I’m awake now


Might mean kneeling in protest

Soldiers bought that right

We might not condone

The paths these protesters trod

But their rights remain

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Flags and Patriots

Stand, don’t ask
Pledge allegiance,
There’s a good boy!

Otherwise, those
Flag toting
Patriots cry no joy.

Never mind that
Soldiers died for
Your consecrated right

To speak your mind
Wrapped up in the
Constitution, tight.

Unblinking, unthinking
Loyalty to words
Written by a racist

Sing them anyway,
“Oh say can you see”
That doubts persist?

Courage lies within
Your conscientious

Yet some say
Your rights unworthy
Of protection.

Screw that,
Give ’em hell
Stick to your guns,

Wrap yourself in the
Words of our founders,
Amendment number one.


We used to wait for full darkness to light our sparklers, better, daddy said, to see them

Sizzle against the velvety night sky. Little hands clutched fiery sticks, frantically spouting

Brilliant illuminations of red, white, and blue in a dangerously fun display of patriotic

Zeal. The big fireworks followed: bottle rockets, Roman candles, fountains and snakes.

Daddy always lit the firecrackers. Bundled black cats rat-a-tat-tatting like Al Capone’s

Mob kicked off the show. Momma clutched me close, but she didn’t have to fret. My natural

Self-preservation instincts won the night. I was happy to watch the show within her grasp.


Stars and Gripes

it isn’t easy being red,
white, and blue
sometimes we’re a target
other times we’re ridiculed
and now that we are growing
outside of old constraints
many of our own folks are
lodging new complaints.

they say we’ve wandered,
become too secular
but our founding fathers
were quite particular
refusing even then to
name a national faith
knowing well the tyranny
that lay along that path.

for if we honor only
Christian ideals
on government buildings
and official seals
then how can we expect
those of other creeds
to be willing taxpayers
when we ignore their needs?

Peace, people!


if we pledge allegiance
to this tri-colored fabric
and all for which it stands
then we need to acknowledge
that the truth of our words
is not always in evidence.

remember that bit at the end?
that part that proclaims
liberty and justice for ALL?
inclusive words in an
exclusionsary world.

our pledge should instead
reflect that we are a
work in progress:
striving for liberty
fighting for justice.

only when every member
of this society
regardless of color, gender,
sexual orientation, or
religious creed feels the
truth of this pledge
will the words,
“with liberty and justice for all”
have meaning.

Peace, People!


Wave your flags up high
democracy reigns supreme
true red, white, and blue.

It is not perfect
this country we claim with love
flawed and proud of it.

Our founding fathers
wise beyond comprehension
knew we’d need to grow.

The Constitution
holds no religion as prime
freedom of worship.

Freedom from worship
as citizens we decide
God bless America!