I will fight no more forever

“I am tired; my heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands I will fight no more forever,” said Chief Joseph (March 3, 1840 – September 21, 1904) of the Nez Perce Indians in 1877 after he and about 700 members of his tribe travelled 1,500 miles in an attempt to escape the pursuing United States Army and take refuge in Canada.


Chief Joseph – 1877

The words, I will fight no more forever, mean a great deal to me. They reflect how I feel about life in general, particularly when it comes to my private life. I think most understand there is a big difference between fighting and arguing different views and opinions.

I hate fighting.  It’s violent and I am sick to death of violence, in any form.   Other than protecting my life, or the life and safety of another (this includes animals, folks), I see no healthy reason for physical and emotional violence.

Fighting wounds. It damages. It’s scary. It’s sad. It causes pain which is exactly what it supposed to do, because it’s fighting – because it’s violence.  Fighting makes healing and understanding impossible because it prevents healthy communication. Also, fighting takes no talent.

This is not a long missive. It doesn’t need to be.  To quote Chief Joseph: “It does not require many words to speak the truth.”


A memo to racist Donald Trump from a former NYC Cabby

Donald Trump, you’re a racist and you’ve always been a racist. I drove a cab in New York City in the 1980s. As you know, the primary turf for yellow cabs is Manhattan. It is not unusual for a cabby  to be “invisible” to passengers immersed in conversation. So, let me say I heard enough conversations in the backseat to know you’re not only a racist, you’re a flat out misogynist pig and pretty much a crap business man.

Arguing over whether or not you’re not a racist is like arguing over whether or not Mount Everest is really a mountain.  First of all, I think the whole discussion about race and races needs to change There is one and only one race — the human race. Within the race you find different eye colors and skin colors and hair colors and somehow, the skin pigmentation part of the equation gets people like you all bent out of shape.

I was held up and shot by a teenager back in 1984. From time to time someone asks me what color and race the kid was, or they presume to already know. I never answer the question. Well, that’s not quite true. I do have a bit of fun with a stock reply of my own making when someone asks me what race the kid was.  I always say, “The human race, why?”

Now, you would like the world to belief you’re a tough guy. Someone not to be trifled with because you’re so big and tough. I think you’re a wimp, but I’ll give you a chance to show a little backbone. If I’ve got the backbone to say I am not a racist, then you should have the backbone to admit you are. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but at least the likes of Lester Maddox and Bull Connor and George Wallace openly acknowledged their racism. They were honest.

So go on, tough guy, have the guts to admit you’re a racist. Otherwise, the following observation still holds. Lester Maddox and Bull Connor and George Wallace had more integrity than you. Wrong and dangerous, just like you, absolutely — but honest.

This life

Sometimes a dream dies. Something you may have held on to, believed possible for as long as you have memory. Age may decrease this distance. I wonder if this is an act of kindness.

Our body’s seem to pitch in too. Our vision fogs, a tender erasure of the imperfections of aging — everyone still looks wonderful.

What an experience this life.

A letter to Samuel Clemens

Dear Mr. Clemens,

Sir, please forgive the informal salutation, addressing you as Mr. Clemens when I know you’re Mark Twain too. I’ve read your books, books about you, sir. Wish to hell I’d met you, thankful to heaven reading your books I spent time with you.

To my purpose.

The  days I’m in are too often clenched-up muscular in my physical relationship with that day’s life. I say day’s life because I believe every day is a living being. A standalone being, loaded with personality, who sure as shit doesn’t need us to proceed. I suppose we could argue whether or not a day is a self-aware being. I think it is,  has unfettered accuracy, I’m believing.  But that’s just me.

You see the day is nature, and, yes, sir… What?… Sam!… Well,  thank you, Sam. I know you knew that earlier, about words. Words sometimes get jumpy. Know you know that too.

See, I believe everything that happens in day is nature, every single moment of every being on the planet and that includes us. I respectfully disagree with the mindset that views human beings and nature as separate beings.  Everything we do is an act of nature. We people folk have decent level of self-awareness, so if you’ve got two brain cells capable of nodding to one another, then you know damn well the government and big business and the unions, but oh, Sam, this is yours.  I am repeating myself, you are right my friend. You broke the trail for this sentence.

Never has any being experienced identical two days. Every day has its own shape, energy, style, personalities if you will. Nature has an easy metric ton of personality. No two days are identical for nature, not even close.

And if nature answers to any Godlike higher-power entity it’s not the human race. Thanks for listening, Sam. I hope, if you are, you are in joy, wonder, love, and peace.


Shoulder punchers: an interview with Smerkle Grumpy


  • Mr. Grumpy, it’s a pleasure to sit down with –
  • Smerkle.
  • Pardon?
  • Smerkle, call me Smerkle.
  • Well then, it’s a pleasure sit down with you.
  • Thank you. You as well.
  • It’s been awhile.
  • Been watching my man, Peter, from afar, as the saying goes. Watching him trying to get himself moved. Proud of him. Still patient with people, more than most, more than me. Known him since he was a boy – he’s got a real kind streak.
  • You think he is too kind?
  • Oh no, don’t misunderstand me. Not too kind at all. Glad he’s in a world that’s been short on kindness for a long time. So no, not too kind.
  • Too patient?
  • He’s more patient than I’d be, but no, not too patient. People deserve patience, some need and deserve a lot of it. Some deeply wounded folk in the world.
  • Can he run out of patience?
  • We all can. I remember a time my boy did when he was in reform school back when.
  • Can you tell us about it? Would he mind?
  • He might mind, but I’ll tell you. There was this kid, same age as Peter, in the same hall, the wards where the boys lived. Anyway, this kid, will call him Johnny, liked to punch Peter in the shoulder, doing it light at first, then a little harder, saying sorry later, then punching Pete’s shoulder next time Peter’d walk by. After a while, Peter called him out.
  • Called him out?
  • In this reform school if two of the boys were getting close to a fight, they’d let the boys fight, surrounded by their mates, the male staff watching to make sure no one really got badly hurt, and usually the two combatants became friendly after the fight. Some kind of release I suppose. Calling out was when one kid challenged another, quietly or openly.
  • How’d Peter do it?
  • Wide open. They were in the gym sitting on bleachers, about 30 boys, half a dozen staff or so, taking a break. Peter walks by, Johnny punches him in the shoulder and that was it.
  • What was it?
  • Peter ripped into him. You really want to fight with me that badly? Seriously? Just can’t help yourself, wish it that bad do you? If you’re feeling froggish, then leap, cause your wish has come true.
  • What happened?
  • One smack upside Johnny’s head and down he went. Then Peter did his thing, helped Johnny up, telling him all the time being friends was a lot easier on the both of’m than fighting. Even when he knew he had no choice and had to act, like with Johnny, or protecting someone, he always felt badly about hurting someone.
  • He felt guilty.
  • No-no, not guilty. Badly. Sad. Definitely not guilty.
  • It’s good to be talking with you again, Smerkle.
  • Good to be talking with you too.