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Please wear a black arm or wrist band tomorrow in silent protest of the state of Virginia’s execution of Kevin Green.  Mr. Green is scheduled to die Tuesday night at 9:00PM at the Greensville Correctional Center in Jarratt, Virginia for the 1998 slaying of Patricia Vaughan.

Medical testing of Kevin Green found he has an IQ less than 70, qualifying him as “mentally retarded”. This class of our citizens was accorded special protection by the United States Supreme Court, excepting them from the sentence of death.  Virginia is openly flaunting that ruling from the highest court in our land.  Further, in order to get the death penalty in this case prosecutors used Mr. Green’s indictment for murder in another case to show “future dangerousness”.  He was subsequently acquitted in the case, making its use in this case invalid and leading to a mortally flawed sentence.  Virginia must cancel this illegal execution immediately!

Jesus, the Blessed One, mourns. Jesus mourns when his friend Lazarus dies (see John 11:33-36); he mourns when he overlooks the city of Jerusalem, soon to be destroyed (see Luke 19:41-44). Jesus mourns over all losses and devastations that fill the human heart with pain. He grieves with those who grieve and sheds tears with those who cry.

The violence, greed, lust, and so many other evils that have distorted the face of the earth and its people causes the Beloved Son of God to mourn. We too have to mourn if we hope to experience God’s consolation.

The Bible is a “worldly” book in the sense that it sees God at the very center of man’s life, his work, his relations with his fellow man, his play and his joy.

Thomas Merton. Opening the Bible (Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 1970): 65.

for Jana and Carol

Attitude determines altitude. anon.

“Attitude comes first,” says any
preacher.  “Come, let us reason together.
Outlook determines how high you will go.

Do you want to climb to the mountain
to its actual summit, singing soprano,
or are you content to keep on singing bass? “

For only the third time in 24 requests since 1995, the Georgia Pardons and Parole Board commuted the sentence of a death row inmate.

The Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles commuted the death sentence of Samuel David Crowe two hours before his scheduled execution, Crowe’s lawyer said.

Crowe had been scheduled to be executed by injection at 7 p.m. ET Thursday at Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison in Jackson…

Crowe’s sentence will be changed to life without parole.

The Spring Supplement of Blue Fifth Review, entitled “Appalachia: A Sampling of Contemporary Poems,” contains an “Introduction ” by Felicia Mitchell, an interview with Kathryn Stripling Byer by Nicole Cartwright Denison, poems by doris davenport, Nicole Cartwright DenisonLibby Falk Jones, Helen Losse, Jeff MannJeff Daniel Marion, Jim MinickScott OwensMorgan Richards, and artwork by Jason Hibbitts.

I want to thank Editor Sam Rasnake and Guest Editor Felicia Mitchell for including three of my poems –  “Thunder and Blue Socks,” “But Why Deer?” and “Clarification.”   It’s an honor to be published alongside poets of this caliber.

I endorsed Hillary Clinton for President and endorse her still. I had hoped she could serve her 8 years and a then-seasoned Obama could follow with his 8. (The candidites ages make it impossible to reverse the order.) I fully understand African Americans’ unwillingness to wait.

I will vote for the Democratic candidate in November. My questions have been asked and answered. One of the answers involves the breaking down of a -ism. I’ll be voting for a woman or a black man. None of the answers involve more war. None of the answers involve favoring the rich over the poor (the company over the person).

I’ve read enough nit-picking criticisms of Barack Obama. Many of these are by people who would never have voted for him in the first place: folks who think presidents should be old and white and male. What these people are trying to do is to get others to question a Democratic candidate by asking silly questions.

How about some real questions:

1. Do we want 4 or 8 more years of war?

2. Do we like the way the economy is going? (Not all Bush’s fault, but . . . .)

3. Do we need alternate fuel sources, cars with better gas mileage (not smaller cars)? Do we want to destroy Alsaka?

4. Are we so racist that we won’t vote for a black man because we don’t understand black preaching? Are we so racist we don’t even care?

5. Is it possible to be pro-Israel and pro-Arab? Is it possible to love Christians and Muslims and Jews and the others?

6. Do we like being a nation that is hated by others?

Hate-mongers need not reply to this post.

EDIT:  Is breaking down an -ism an important issue for you?  Do you care if a woman and a black man are elected as president?   What about a homosexual?  Oooooooooooo!!!

To the reader, Cocteau says,

“The worst fate of a poet is to be admired without being understood.”

“A true poet does not bother to be poetical. Nor does a nursery gardener scent his roses.”

“The poet never asks for admiration; he wants to be believed.”

“Poets don’t draw. They unravel their handwriting and then tie it up again, but differently.”

“Poetry, being elegance itself, cannot hope to achieve visibility.”

“Art is a marriage of the conscious and the unconscious.”

“Art is not a pastime but a priesthood.”

“The poet doesn’t invent. He listens.”

And to the poet, he says,

“Know that your work speaks only to those on the same wavelength as you.”

Emphasis mine.

The trunks of the trees
have grown straight and tall,
shadows fall only where
it’s logical.  The trees burned

hot, burned cold, burned like
frost, burned with frost-burn.
The fiery ice of passion let
the trees remain, unconsumed.

Fire colored the rest of the mountain:
Yellow, brown, (a darker brown
than the dirt by the path).  Fire
has melted the path-bed—

but not the path—so that the path
is higher than its bed and crowned
to allow drainage in the age that
will follow, when trees—like men—

like Moses will remove their shoes
at the sight of a burning bush.
The sun must have been low this
time of year, this time of day,

which leaves my mind confused.
Confused in those shadows.  Perhaps,
the sun was setting, vanishing,
for in the upper portion

of the upper left-hand quadrant,
the sky is nearly black.  The ice
on the shadowed cliff—
below the path—was blue.

A person walked on the path,
a building off to its right.   A part
of the mountain was covered with ice.
And what else happens in a fantasy:

The age of ice the age of fire
in a time before the parting
of physical laws.

inspired by Miki’s painting, “Fire and Ice