Won 5th prize in an NYC poetry contest for high school students. 1st to 4th prizes got a check. I got a lousy book. I was so mad, so bitter, I shook the hand of this man I didn't know as he presented me this book, his book, inscribed to me in green ink, and sat down again.
Got home, put the book on a shelf, didn't read it.
Until the day, years later, I read in the newspaper that Langston Hughes had died. That's when I took the dusty book down from the high shelf and read my first edition of Selected Poems.
I have so many regrets of the fool things I've done with my life, but the greatest seems to be that I was too ignorant, too unread, and too churlish to tell Mr. Hughes how brilliant he was and how his poems gutted me straight to the heart.
I had the chance.
In a heatwave with rolling brownouts my temp agency sent me to the Court Street, Brooklyn offices of a lawyer with the good Italian name of Mario Cuomo. The air conditioning was off, the lighting was dimmed. A fan had been rigged up. But the Selectrics were working. The man behind the desk admitted the conditions were awful and he'd understand if I decided to go, BUT HERE WAS WHY HE NEEDED ME TO STAY...and future Governor Mario Cuomo, in that very hot room, calmly and earnestly brought me up to speed on the details and previous dictation of The Forest Hills Report, which would bring him to statewide prominence.
Anyone who has ever been a temp knows how rare this was. So I stayed. And I learned that this man didn't think he had all the answers and didn't much like the answers he did have to the problems of Forest Hills. As he dictated, if he saw a question on my face (me, a TEMP!) he would stop dictating and ask me what my question was and I would ask it. His face would fall, as if he'd been hoping I was an angel of God coming with the perfect solution, and a few paragraphs later I would find myself writing "some people think (my question) but this is not so because (answer to my question). This happened more than once and he never lost hope that maybe this time....
In the afternoon even the Selectrics failed and Mr. Cuomo told me to fill out my timesheet for the whole day, signed it and sent me home. I never worked for him again but I was taken off other jobs and sent to other lawyers in his offices when they needed someone.
Everytime that rare man ran for office, he got my vote.
Without spending a dime on a bullet.
Those dumb brown people need white guys in suits or they can't do a damn thing.
How about they took advantage of the training we gave and cleverly used it for their own purposes?
Pakistan is a nuclear power. DO YOU REALLY THINK WE DON'T HAVE PERMISSION FOR THOSE DRONES?
Thanks for calling me a thug for acknowledging that super powers do bad things. I'd rather belong to the super power than a nation with no power.
Military fuck-ups are the essence of reality. I PREFER THE FUCK-UP THAT KILLS THE FEWEST AMERICANS.
How many Pakistanis do you think would be dead if we had sent in troops? Oh, I'm sorry, you want a perfect world.
Me, I want out of there. Let Russia, China, and India kill them. It's their neighborhood. Why should we be their mercenaries?
We're there because Russia, China and India do not want war with America. If we leave, the grab begins.
Cry over the little dead children. It's sad. Will you cry as much when they die by the millions? Will you insist we intervene?
In that region, they are experts at killing each other. We're amateurs by comparison.
No birth control either. So desperate families can spare a son or two who might be able to send some money home.
And every awful drone means an American soldier who wasn't asked to risk his life or his sanity.
Little girls pleading for their lives IN ENGLISH in a country that murders them for learning to read is a joke.
Not even that blood-drenched monster Alexander the Great had the guts to take them on.
Do we teach NO history in our schools?
China is a fiscal nightmare. There have already been disruptions. And somebody has probably already noticed the complete betrayal of the communist rationale.
Investing in China is just a bet that you'll get your money out before all-out civil war.
How many Americans drowned because his vicious oath prevented updated infrastructure, practical research designed to deal with climate change, and gutted inspection that might have suggested generators don't belong in hospital basements...
To save billionaires from necessary taxation, Norquist and his accomplices have stripped our preparedness leaving us naked to any kind of invasion: seawater, wind, disease....
Benghazi terrorists killed 4 Americans. Sandy did more than that on one block. No terrorist ever destroyed a city or ravaged a coastline. Katrina and Sandy did.
Let's get serious and put serious money where the real danger is.
I wonder how Rove's accountant listed it.