Utah’s Bond Rating.


I’ve lived in many places but the best place is by far

Here in Utah where the bonds are rated above par.

Even though I haven’t one to bless me with, at least

I know they’re rated triple A and ought to rise like yeast.


Stocks and bonds are instruments of finance, true enough;

Too bad that my knowledge of their function is quite rough.

Money experts say that you should not leave cash inert;

But I am much more int’rested in stopping loss of shirt.


So I will take great pride in our fiduciary rep;

But all my money I will to the bank just safely schlep.

Caution never made a millionaire, I know full well;

But I’m content in modest comfort to securely dwell.

The Japanese Return to Guadalcanal.


We walk upon a sepulcher, wherever we may go.

The bones of soldiers make a crop we always have to sow.

In the South Pacific now, young Japanese recruits,

Who never held a rifle, look for swords and moldy boots.


Their country hammered swords and spears into transistor parts;

Today Japan has outlawed war (but not the martial arts).

But curiosity and fam’ly history have stirred

Students to go find the shards of warriors interred.


If those bones could speak what might they say to Japan’s youth?

Would they still consider that they died for home and truth?

Soldiers always march to war with fine words in their ears,

And return, if they have luck, with nothing but dried tears.


(Editor’s Note:  Martin Fackler, who wrote the article this poem is based on for the New York Times, was kind enough to respond to the poem with these words:

Thanks for this nice poem! As you suggest, each participant in the group did have their own takeaway from the experience, some different from others. For me, the most poignant moment was when I stood with the 95-year-old veteran of the battle looking at a pile of old brown bones and realizing that these two men, one living and the other long dead, had once been comrades in arms, and the same age. One returned to live a long life, living to see his great grandchildren, while the other had all of that taken from him.)


Movie Musings.


In pursuit of movie goers, Hollywood has tried

Ev’rything from shaking seats to scents that long abide.

Why it don’t occur to them to just make better flicks

Is something that is only known to super-secret cliques.


Put hashish in popcorn or revive the giveaway;

Nothing seems to bring ‘em in as in the olden day.

I guess I better not complain about the movie prices,

Although they seem as dear to me as nuclear devices.


You better make the silver screen just one big interactive

Place where youngsters can play games – they find ‘em so attractive.

The rest of us will catch a flick at home on DVD,

Or watch a movie quietly on Netflix, sipping tea.


A Romance That Went Up in Smoke.


My senior year in high school, up in Minneapolis, Minnesota, I had a crush on a girl named Nancy.  She was the daughter of the school’s athletic coach, and had all the Nordic attributes a Norwegian scion like me could want: pale blond hair; pert, upturned nose; shimmering blue eyes; and somehow she managed to look gorgeous in a parka.

I didn’t think I could ever date her, but I found out that her Achilles heel was smoking.  In direct defiance of her father, who continually threatened every athlete under his jurisdiction with a sincere beating if he ever caught them with a cigarette, she would light up a Benson & Hedges menthol and puff away as soon as she was out of school and at least ten feet away from her terrible father.

I heard her one day complain about how hard it was to come by ciggies, since back in those days the tobacco laws were not only draconian but strictly enforced across the board.

But I had an ace in the hole, since I worked at a grocery store part-time, stocking shelves, and had complete access to all the tobacco merchandise.

So I began giving her a carton of Benson & Hedges menthols once a week, usually on Monday – by which time she had gone at least part of the weekend starved for nicotine.

She was grateful.  She was more than grateful; we briefly became a couple, even though I didn’t smoke at all.  It made me cough and sneeze something fierce.

But it was a fool’s paradise.  Or you might say that crime doesn’t pay.  Any cliché you want.

The long and short of it was the storekeeper I worked for inevitably found out about the missing inventory, put two and two together, and tossed me out on my ear.

No ciggies meant no romance with Nancy.  She dumped me like a plate of cold lutefisk the first week of November.

I recall that particular Thanksgiving and after as being extremely cold, nasty, brutal, and, on my part, rather goatish in the imagination.

But at least I learned never again to romance a woman who smokes.

Playing Games with the Elderly.


Maturity’s a ripening, but old age is the pits.

You’re treated like an imbecile or a case of zits.

Assisted living?  I don’t care to label it that way.

It’s more incarceration with an unheated buffet.


Eldercare is franchised with a bottom line in mind.

When it goes into the red the pawns are moved or fined.

What wisdom comes with old age is now swallowed in despair.

You’re warehoused like a cabbage or tied down into a chair.


When I have reached my fourscore years and linger on awhile,

I do not want to be trussed up and placed upon the aisle.

If my kids cannot welcome me into their home die,

I hope they’ll have the decency to plant me as bonsai.

Uppity OPEC.

OPEC Chairman;  Wazi ben Moped.
OPEC Chairman; Wazi ben Moped.

Global oil in chaos, reads the headlines in the news.

OPEC has decided to keep pumping, win or lose.

The price of oil has plummeted, and pundits scratch their heads.

While in North Dakota drillers take to their sick beds.


A barrel of the crude stuff now is sixty dollars per;

To oilmen it no longer smells like frankincense and myrrh.

Boom times may be ending for the transient derrick hands;

Let us hope that fracking is forgotten in the sands.


Economists may quibble over oil’s unstable ride.

Me, I cannot hardly a wide grin completely hide.

I can run my car without a bank loan ev’ry week.

Let those Texas billionaires get clobbered by some sheik!

The Grave Digger of Ovid, New York.


Carving loam precisely was his chief delight on days

When a client was delivered from this mortal maze.

Sweating as the Bible says all men must do for bread,

He made a final home not for himself but for the dead.


The dead were numbered, filed, forgot; their names a cipher dim.

The graveyard slowly lost to view behind a weedy scrim.

Still the digger carried on; his labors only ceased

When in cold repose himself was buried by a priest.


Do the dead care anything if their names are neglected?

Should strangers try to have their identity resurrected?

Ask the digger of the graves in Ovid, New York state.

His answer will not come too soon – nor carry any weight.