I look out the window at a
fenced area where I once
had a plant nursery.
I nurtured and peddled new trees that
I thought should live here.
But, the weed, vine, and the pine
that belong here disagreed.
I still have a few leftover lilacs that
look at me awkward, as if to say,
what am I doing here, old chump?
But I go on watering them as a reminder
of a futile effort to alter the unchangeable.
Only to see the persistent nature
be relentless and outlast me.
Today, I have a new admiration
for the sagebrush, yucca,
pinion, and pine. And
along the way, learned that if I
am to live here, must adapt to her
and not expect it to adjust to me.
Trying to make sense of the world these days
Could mess up your mind and soul
So many factions at work
None talk, communicate or are in control
Promises broken, before they are made.
Coffee was a dime a cup, just yesterday, and
Now, it’s not worth breaking a fiver for.
When the time is late, and
The camouflaged tentacles of the
Day’s news rubs the sleep off your eyes
Mother nature’s memory can help:
The wind swaying the grass on the prairie
Lenticular clouds, covering mountain tops
Like the hat on a captain’s head peering the horizon
Or the gentle slapping of the waves against
The boat, on a lazy Sunday afternoon.
Don’t blame gods, nature or others
There is goodness in this world, and
It is worth using its power to
Fight the ugliness of man’s failings.
Much life is left in the day, still
Let’s not count the minutes or the hours
Lay your head back in her lap, and
Enjoy the rocking of the boat.
Soon the evening cool will
Sooth the day’s sunburn.
Tomorrow will be here soon enough, and
Bring us a heap of new challenges
Close your eyes and breath deep.
Are these our dark days of history
The news sure paints it that way
Though our young keep trying
Our allies and politicians
Close the doors to any headway
It’s Veterans Day, yet still
Tough to celebrate from a cardboard box
Though our young keep trying
The rich and our supposed leaders
Claim our struggle is but a hoax
If history has a lesson
No matter the deceit, nor the lies
As long as our young keep trying
Resurrect they will, Phoenix will rise
Wisdom of fathers, keep open our eyes
But this is America, the Promised Land
Home of exiles and huddled masses
As long as our young keep trying
Bright will the future be and boundless
For all mankind with dreams and desires
She will lift her lamp beside the golden door!
Virgil was horrified, when he was forced out of his home of thirty years, by the government who confiscated it and gave it to retiring politicians and soldiers returning from war.
Though they were a family of farmworkers; his entrepreneurial father had succeeded in building a comfortable life for his family, and Virgil was educated in philosophy by some of the best schools of the time in Rome, Naples and Milan.
He had been writing, and his forced homelessness had a profound effect on his work. He became popular, as many related to his philosophy and writing. His poem; the Aeneid has been popular for centuries.
Virgil was born Publius Vergilius Maro near Mantua, Italy on October 15, 70 BC, nearly 2100 years ago.
In the years since, countless wars and national discourses have displaced and exiled millions of people. All due to the pledge of those coming to power to eliminate this very prejudice, putting masses in a merry-go-round of promises, lies, and deceptions leading to disillusion and disappointments.
Today, our world is more disabled and unstable than ever. Despite all our technological advancements, we are no wiser. What is frightening is that while we are fighting each other for superiority and dominance, Mother Nature is re-arranging the very world we are fighting for, and that is where our attention needs focusing. For what we may win in our wars today could be underwater tomorrow. So, I ask you – as it is said – what good is caring for our beard, when we are about to lose our head?
Fall is now well advanced and the foliage on the mountain side sings in the golden colors of autumn. In my home state of New Mexico, it's Balloon Fiesta time and hundreds of balloonists from around the world are here to show off their flying talent and colorful balloons. The last several years, the event was either cancelled or scaled down due to Covid. So this year the enthusiasm of us all is on full display with an immense showing of the balloonists and the masses. The weather, too, has been cooperating for the most part, to the delight of everyone.
In the streets, the aroma of roasting green chili peppers fill the air and people making an attempt to meet, greet, and interact one last time before shutting in for the winter.
I am stopped by the music of mariachi:
Voz de la guitarra mía al despertar la mañana
Quiere cantar su alegría a mi tierra Nuevo Mexicana
Yo le canto a tus volcanes, a tus praderas y flores …
For those who are of Latin heritage or have spent any time in Latin America, listening to the music of the mariachi horns is a nostalgic journey. What a beautiful world we live in and if it was not for polarizing politics, it would be pleasing to everyone.
It's fall time and as we shut our doors to the coming cold, let's also shut it to all the hatred, bigotry and polarizing discourse. So when the voice of our guitars wakes us tomorrow morning, it would be to the joy of a peaceful and healthy world. As healthcare providers, we have the power to greatly contribute to the health and beauty of this world. Let us be the leaders in this revolution and endeavor.
The Nobel Prizes for medicine, physics, chemistry, literature, peace, and economics, are awarded this week. Interesting, how telecommunication tools have played an important role in achieving many of these science outcomes.
The Nobel Prize for medicine, for example, given to Katalin Karikó from Hungry and Drew Weissman from the US, for their discoveries that led to the development of an effective vaccine against Covid-19.
The Nobel Prize for physics was shared by three scientists; Pierre Agostini, a French experimental physicist, Ferenc Krausz a Hungarian-Austrian physicist working at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Germany and Anne L’Huillier, a French-Swedish physicist, at Lund University in Sweden, for their work on electrons.
And the Nobel Prize for chemistry given to Moungi G. Bawendi, a Tunisian-French-American chemist, Louis E. Brus of the US, and Alexei I. Ekimov of Russia for the discovery and development of quantum dots - nanoparticles so small that their size determines their properties.
The awards for literature, peace and economic will be announced during the rest of the award ceremonies this week.
Many recipients are from continents apart, yet cooperating in real time with each other to achieve these fantastic feats. Such team work from differing arenas help to accomplish solutions faster, eliminating hesitancies and diffidence. Such contacts and collaborations could, however, add to many of our problems too. Thus, it is up to us to discern the beneficial from detrimental.
Maybe then more people will become eligible to receive prizes and recognition. Or better yet, we'll have a good enough world that they will not be needed.
A letter arrived the other day
From an old friend,
Saying that she was walking by a pier
And thought of me and that she missed me.
She said that the cold and foggy day
Was what she remembered me by
And how we went back to my place and
I played the blues for her on my old gramophone.
That she sat on the steps to the loft and
Cried for no reason, just because she felt like it.
I made her hot chocolate and put a blanket about her,
It felt good; she said and fell asleep on the couch
Later that evening, we had enchiladas and beer
And I walked her home, she said, but she walked back
With me to mine, because she didn’t want to be alone.
The next morning, I left at four to be at work by six,
At a clinic across town, and
She woke alone and let herself out; she said.
“I felt lonely all that day, because I hadn’t told you,
That I was leaving for Europe that evening,
And we didn’t say goodbye except on the phone.” She said.
That was the last time we saw each other, she repeated.
It was many years ago. So today,
Walking by a foggy pier on a Mediterranean coast, she remembered and
Found this old address of mine and wrote to me to say that she misses me.
“I hope this letter reaches you and finds you well. I am doing very well and am just feeling nostalgic.”
Her letter was forwarded to me and found me. It was not signed.
Odd thing, I hardly remember the nostalgia of hers, nor do I recall her name.
It was long ago. Maybe after I dust the memories and read her letter again. Maybe?
The 78th UN General Assembly is meeting in NY this week. The problems and the solutions facing us are obvious, old and require cooperation and reconciliation. But the aggressors of today, all seem to be victims of the past who have carved a piece of this world by force or chance for themselves and are unwilling or unable to part with any of it. Our shrinking world, however, is forcing the pieces to overlap, triggering further clashes. Ironically, today is the UN International Day of Peace.
The suffering population of our broken world is painfully begging for understanding and resolve, yet we are stuck at such a stalemate that many of the key leaders have not even bothered to attend this UN meeting. Those who are here seem to ramble the obvious with ever louder and threatening voices to a deaf audience.
These are the times of history
As an afternoon of a day
Was the work completed?
As we wonder the result
Of our efforts, beliefs, and views
Was any good done? Was it worth it?
Maybe it’s my age
Many decades, plus
I was born just a few days after D-Day
While I was crying at my mother’s bosom
People were killed around the world
Dying for their beliefs and choices
Could they have all made the wrong, right choices?
Now, well into the next century
Steeped into beliefs and thoughts
It’s frightening, the similarities between
The beliefs of today and what was believed then.
It’s the afternoon of history
In the distance, storm clouds rising
Catching the sun rays in their cauliflower heads
Exposing an alarming beauty to those who know
Below the morphing colors of the sunset
Lightning and thunder (of discontent) shake the land
A stormy night is upon the world
Pray our house survives!
Our nation lost a great patriot and statesman last week. Bill Richardson was the diplomat’s diplomat. He was at ease talking to the great leaders of the world as he was to anyone in the street.
I met Bill Richardson when he was first running for the US Congress in the early 1980s. I was working the ER at our hospital in Taos, NM, when he and one other person, arrived there.
I was caring for a young patient when one of the ER nurses informed me that a congressman was there to meet us. When I was done, I went to see this congressman and found that he was running for office and as yet not one of our representatives. I was a bit confused whether he was running for state legislature or national. He laughed heartily and said that he wanted to be our congressman in Washington, if we let him.
“It’s not up to me,” I said, “but I wish you luck.”
“But it is up to you and all New Mexicans. You have to vote for me.” And then whispered in my ear, “and we could use some gas money to get back to Santa Fe.”
He then briefly talked about his plans and what he would like to do for New Mexico and asked about our concerns for healthcare. He listened carefully without interrupting – that was refreshing. We talked some more and passed the hat around for donations. The ambulance arrived with patients. As we got busy with our work, he left and the busy rest of the night made me forget his visit.
In 1982 he was elected to The US Congress. Out of whim, I sent him a card and congratulate him on his election. I was very surprised to receive a letter soon after. In it he said that he remembered me and that I worked at Taos Hospital and bought gas for his car. The rest of the letter was the usual politician’s promises. But that first paragraph, well, I still remember it.
Over the next years, his political career bloomed. I saw him briefly at a couple of town hall and campaign meetings and every time, was surprised that he remembered me. In 2002, he was elected governor of NM.
As a member of the Physician Assistant community, we had been fighting for better recognition in NM and succeeded to have the previous legislature pass a resolution to appoint a PA to the NM Medical Board. The position was vacant when Richardson took office.
I had just gone to bed late in the evening, one night in the Fall of 2003, when my wife came to our bedroom and said; “I think the Governor is on the phone for you.”
It was past ten PM and I thought that it was a crank call, but I answered. It was him and wanted to know – in jest - why I was in bed so early and then asked if I would serve on the Medical Board? And so it was that I got appointed the first PA to serve on the NM Medical Board. A post I held for seven years.
Bill Richardson was a diplomat’s diplomat. He was at ease talking to the leaders of the world as he was to anybody in the street. He was a good friend to anyone who knew him, including me. I’ll miss him, our nation will miss him, and this world will miss him. Rest in peace, sir, and thank you for everything you’ve done for us all.
On a hot summer night, a long time ago
I found myself walking across the city to escape the heat.
In the store windows, displays were inviting and mannequins smiling
A shoe store reminded me that I needed a new pair.
A jewelry store displayed only empty boxes of earrings, bracelets and watches.
The shiny goods that exhibited their allure in the day
Were safely locked in the back.
Wandering on, I found myself in an old part of town,
Quieter and darker streets, with Mom & Pop shops.
The glow of a cigarette on the stairs to a building stopped me.
I stared, trying to see the person sitting there - too dark.
The scent of cheap perfume mixed with tobacco smoke suggested a female.
She smoked silently, but even the glow of her cigarette
Did not reveal details of her face.
“Can I get a smoke from you?” I asked
With some rustling, she retrieved one and lit it.
A dark-skin hand emerged from the shadow and passed it to me.
I inhaled the smoke deep and slowly. Not being a smoker,
The euphoric spirit of the tobacco seeped through my body.
“Thank you!” I said and moved on
Feeling dizzy as I walked past closed and dark stores.
I stopped by an antique shop, where the glow of a low red light
Reveled several old items. An old steam iron, a treadle, several knives, etc.
The city behind me reflected in the store window.
A slow blinking red light atop a tall building
Called my attention to the reflection and my silhouette in between.
I watched the contradiction of the old and the new and me.
The noise of the cars crossing the bridge, surprised me
As I realized that I had walked across much of the city.
I reached the bridge as the feathery rays of dawn lit the horizon.
Stopping mid-bridge, I studied the reflection of the city in the river
All the people living and working there had desires, wants and wishes.
Wanted someone to love and be loved, be seen, noticed and needed.
A strange thing, feeling lonely in a crowd. But many do.
The city was coming awake as I rushed across and caught a train home.
It was many years ago, when it was safe to walk the city at night, and
I remember that hot muggy night
Not for all the discomforts, nor for my night walk across it
But for a dark-skin hand reaching from the shadows silently and giving me a cigarette.
I wondered if she was smiling or annoyed.
People can shine with kindness, even in the dark of the night.