The Second Thanksgiving

Miles Standish stood on the Plimouth stockade
And looked inland: what thing had made
That wailing sound? It was thin and high,
Like a weary animal, waiting to die.
And then he saw them: ragged and weak,
They limped towards the wall—one tried to speak,
“Netop!” he cried. “Englishman! Friend!”
It fell to a mutter, Miles had to bend
Across the weathered palisade
To hear—he cupped his ear to aid
Him in the brisk November wind.
“Netop!” it came again, “You, friend!”
The sentry raised his gun—“No closer!”
“Know them?” Standish asked him. “No, sir,
But what matter? Orders are to shoot
At anything which dares set foot
Within The Saints’ small garden ground
And there they are—I’ll fire a round
Above their heads, at least—that’s fair.
But then, should they have thought to dare
Approach the wall, their fault, their harm.
So please you, sir, to sound the alarm
Then arm yourself and join me here
Unless, at shot, they disappear
Like ghosts at sunrise—ghosts they look.”
But Standish stood: to overlook
A danger was a sin, but he
Was whelmed with curiosity.
“You there!” he shouted. “Who are you?”
One faltered forward, “Someone who
Once helped your people to survive.”
“Samoset! You’re still alive?”
“But barely—winter, English friend,
Will soon bring all things to an end
Unless you help us—as I know
You will—as we once helped you, so
It’s your turn now. You’ll take us in.
You’re netop to us, English, friend.”
What should I do? Miles Standish wondered
And while upon the matter pondered,
The governor came up the wall
And looked and shook his head, “It’s fall
And we have little for The Saints.
I’m sorry, Standish, but complaints
About those people pass around,
Of how they claim this as their ground
When all of us swear by the bliss
Of life beyond, God gave us this.
Besides, we’ll grow in numbers now
And spring will give us time to plow
And we’ll need more and more good land.
If they are gone, well, understand
I mean no harm—but I would say
It’s God will put them from our way
Who favors us, or else we’d be
As they are now—that’s QED.
So, sentry, do your duty—fire
And if they don’t at once retire
Beyond the edge of yonder wood,
Turn out the guard—a little blood
Will keep them moving.” He descended,
Convinced the matter had been ended.
The sentry fired, the little band
Shook, then scattered—no command
From governor or captain swept
Them off—as if the thing which kept
Them one was trust in English friends
And with that shot, the friendship ends
And tribe as well. But Standish stood,
“Poor Samoset! And was this good
For good? We live and they are lost?
I wonder what that plowland cost?”

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Boo?

“What shall I go as for this Halloween?”

Asked Trump of his mirror, “Right now I’m between

The spooky or history—there’s two or three

From there who almost remind me of me.”

 

And the mirror replied, as it always did,

“Whatever you choose, it’s really yuge, kid!

But seeing your greatness, the best they could do

If they were around, is to imitate you!”

 

“I don’t know about that, but, well, if you insist,

At least we could write up a possible list

Of people to be when I’m out on the street

And I shout ‘Vote for me!’ and ‘Hey, you! Trick or treat!’

 

There’s Caesar, of course—he had plenty of Gaul

And millions of voters would come at his call

(all armed—they were also his army—how great!)

And he bullied the Senate to give him the state.

 

That’s draining the swamp! And ten minutes later,

He forced them to make him eternal dictator.

He could have done more—he was on the attack—

But then—it’s so SAD!—he was stabbed in the back

 

By people he trusted—that’s happened to me!

There’s Ryan and the whole of the dumb RNC—

Not to mention that guy who, at my expense,

Has plans to replace me—he’s B. Arnold Pence!”

 

“You have to expect it,” the mirror replied.

“If history can serve as an accurate guide.

Because of the things which you are and you do,

The small men around you are jealous of you!”

 

“That’s certainly true—just think of that weeny

Ted Cruz—but I’d rather think of Mussolini.

I love that big frown as he showed them who’s master!

He just had to blink and the trains would run faster!”

 

“Or Stalin?” the mirror proposed with a smile.

“Or Hitler? Your voters already shout ‘Heil!’

Jinghiz Khan? He was big and was certainly bad,

or—” “No, mirror—I’ve got it—I’ll go dressed as Vlad!

 

For seventeen years, he’s been de facto czar

And the polls in his press treat him like a star,

So as history figure, he’ll certainly do

And spooky? scares eastern and west Europe, too!

 

And, besides, he’s now bff of all my backers,

Supplying the press with the fruits of his hackers,

And, just like me, he’s a man with ideas–

When he wants some Ukraines and maybe Crimeas,

He just slides right in, with coups which are neat—

Boy! Now that is a guy who knows trick and treat!”

“Great idea, as always, you really rock, boss!”

Said the mirror, “but do you mind major hair loss?

 

Your friend’s nearly bald—no mask you could wear

Could imitate that—would you sacrifice hair?”

“Now, running for president’s been quite a task

Though worth it, but, really, that’s too much to ask!”

 

And one single teardrop bespangled his tie

As he reached for a large plastic drum of hair dye.

“So what will I go as?” he asked with a frown.

“Attila the Hun? Freddy Kruger? Scary Clown?

 

Alexander the Great? Or is that too escapist?

I guess I could go as a Mexican rapist

Or—mirror, we forgot to put this on our list—

A Syrian refugee—i.e., terrorist.”

 

He considered the mirror—his reflection there

Was perfect, from trump tie to acres of hair

And suddenly everything fell into place

And a huge, beaming smile spread over his face.

 

“I’ve got it!” he said, “Folks, it’s going to be big!

Instead of a mask, or a clown suit, or wig,

I’ll put on an outfit that’ll make people jump

Then hand over their candy—I’ll go as d trump!”

Inundated

I used to live in Paradise,

A paradise, indeed,

Where every day

Was an easy way

As in books by Margaret Mead.

I lived on breadfruit, fish, and pigs

And ran a cargo cult,

But then there came a warming trend

And here was the result:

 

High tide—where is my island?

Six feet under the ocean then.

Low tide—back comes my island—

Another twelve hours and it’s drowned again!

 

The Westerners who came in time

Brought many things to me:

Gunpowder, iron, prudery,

Tourism, and VD.

They claimed my land for foreign kings

To whom I had to bow.

They ate me up and spat me out

And who will help me now?

 

High tide—there goes my island,

Swept into a watery grave.

Low tide—back comes my island,

Safe until the next big wave.

 

They also brought religion, all

That Christianity

And taught me what I did was wrong

And how I could be free

If only I believed like them

And did just what they do.

Their Jesus walked on water—

Now I wish that I could, too!

 

High tide—where is my island?

Now it’s part of the ocean floor!

Low tide—here is my island,

But much smaller than it was before!

Nothing Human

“Guided by Pioneer 10, it was simple

To conquer your planet. You’re no more than a pimple

To us,” said the aliens, flashing a grin.

“You opened the door and we simply walked in.”

They came, saw, and conquered each people and nation,

Then quickly created an administration,

But first things were first when they came from the sky,

A big sign that read: “Humans need not apply!”

 

“Humans need not apply!

That’s the refrain of our song.

Though we’re from a star,

We know that you are

Incapable of getting along,

So, humans, it’s no use to try.

Humans need not apply!

 

“In each generation, there’s always disaster.

Some over-ambitious one lusts to be master,

Then murders the others—the ones who had picked him

To rule—until he is the very next victim.

You look at each other and all that you’re seeing

Is color and features and not fellow being

And then you think gender should be the whole base

Of value—and therefore discard half the race!

 

Humans need not apply!

We have no work for you

Unless the solution

To ruling’s pollution,

Then, certainly, we’ll call on you.

Cause the whole planet to die?

Then, humans, you have to apply!

 

And then there’s religion—instead of it filling

A spiritual need, you just use it for killing.

Whoever believes just like you forms your class,

But everyone else must be murdered en masse.

So when we can see that your sole qualification’s

A talent for killing and discrimination,

We’ll say thanks, but no thanks: you’ve long been on trial

And lost, so you’ve left us no choice but denial.

 

Humans need not apply!

It’s your fault, since you began it.

There’s no use in debating—

You’re hell-bent on hating

And making that hell of your planet.

So what else could we reply, but:

Humans need not apply?”

Unplugged

As he was driving in his car,

A Lonely Voice heard on NPR

How Facebook had, ten minutes since,

Bought everybody’s fingerprints,

While Google, only yesterday,

Seized everybody’s DNA

And Snapchat, not to be outdone,

Demanded every firstborn son.

 

And the Lonely Voice said:

“Take me back from the future!

Give me anything but this!

Can’t you see we’re tottering on

A privacy precipice?

 

They now know where we’re going to

And trace just where we’re from.

They shadow every more we make

Because we were so dumb

To give them all the equivalent

Of a personal encyclopedia

And in return, what did we get?

Those empty social media!”

 

And the Lonely Voice cried:

“Give me back my future!

Set my identity free!

You can have my money, but,

Please give me back my Me!”

 

But there was nothing he could say,

No way could he be freed

From being swept up and trampled in

The digital stampede.

“I’m going off-line!” was his cry,

But all they did was give him

A few suggestions for some things

Which matched his algorithm.

 

And the Lonely Voice sobbed:

“Take me back pre-internet,

When all was secret bliss,

Instead of now as down we fall

From the privacy precipice!”

Sotto Voce

Donald Trump was puzzled,

A frown on his stony face.

Why did he have to deal again

With the weaker half of the human race?

He checked the teleprompter

(annoying—but they said

He had now on to stick to scripts

When he’d rather do improv instead),

But didn’t check the microphone:

It was live and quickly caught

Not what was written in the script,

But what he really thought.

 

“What are women good for?

I have to tell you, folks,

From all that I can see of them,

They’re one of Nature’s jokes.

Their brains are tiny

And they have that high-pitched, whiny voice,

But, when it comes to pleasure,

No real man has a choice.”

 

He checked his hand-made Rolex

Against the studio clocks

And hoped they’d dumped that stupid bitch

Who did interviews for his favorite, Fox.

He drank a glass of water.

(Just water? Not Perrier?

When he saw the network’s president,

He’d have a thing to say!)

They all were late—when he arrived,

It was time for them to start.

So rather than waste his precious time,

He opened up his heart:

 

“What are women good for?

It’s just a feminist hoax

That they have personalities

And thoughts, I tell you, folks.

What are women good for?

I’ve asked this again and again,

And the only answer I can find

Is just to make more men.”

 

Ask a Stupid…

The thought occurred to me one day

(not the first time, I am sure),

Why is it that our congressmen

Care so little for the poor?

(And that includes the middle class,

Who’ll gradually shrink

And soon decline

Below the line

Of poverty, I think.)

 

So I asked Google just to know

(the answer made me laugh),

“In Congress are there millionaires?”

And the answer? More than half.

And so I wonder how such folk,

Could ever be intent

To help the poor

Get off the floor

When they’re part of the one percent?

 

And a Lonely Voice asked:

How many senators are really millionaires?

That is, beyond what they are forced to show?

Whether it’s in realty, bonds, or Facebook shares,

Most seem to have an awful lot of dough!

(And that’s what they admit to—

There may be much more money

Stashed in the Cayman Islands,

Where there’s a beach and it’s always sunny.)

How many senators are really millionaires?

Somehow I doubt that we will ever know!

 

It has to be a pleasant thing

And adds to your composure

When asked to say how much you’ve got,

Your laws control disclosure.

Besides protecting what you’ve got,

There always is that itch

To help your class

And so you pass

More tax cuts for the rich.

 

So when it comes to voting on

A bill which 99

Per cent will get some profit from,

You simply draw the line.

It’s fine when laws promote your friends,

You’re eager, then to aid

In giving more

To their growing score

But what do you get in trade?

 

And a Lonely Voice asked:

How many senators are more than millionaires?

And what do they make in office? Let that go!

It’s just that we are jealous, as we’ll never get our shares—

It must be sweet

To be elite

And wallow in that dough!

And when they leave office

There’s that resulting

Benefit which comes with fees

From their consulting.

How many senators are more than millionaires?

I highly doubt that we will ever know!