Friday, April 13, 2018

My Poem In The Journal Of Modern Poetry's 2018 Anthology, Dear Mr. President

Subterranean Homesick Blues (Rerouted & Updated)

by Tony Peyser

Donny's into debasement
Messing with your medicine
We’re on the pavement
Protesting the government
In a romp, drain the swamp
“The middle class’ll get paid off!”
Don’t buy that or deny that
He’s another Bernie Madoff.

Watch out, kid
For any takeover bid
Wall Street’s cheat sheet
Puts Main Street in the backseat
Ignore friendly Putin spies
In every DC alleyway
If you see Mike Pence,
Jump a fence & run the other way.

MAGA comes fleet foot
Free elections now kaput
The social media cheat put
More lies than his tweets could
The phone's tapped anyway
Trump’s a chump the Russkies pay
They must bust any day
Orders from Robert Mueller say.

Look out boy
For any Wikileaks ploy
Be careful how your ship goes
Don’t back down to those
Neo-Nazi tiki torch cryptos
Kick these lackeys in the khakis
You don't need the Weather Channel
To know which way the wind blows.

Monday, April 9, 2018

A Poem For Poetry & Autism Awareness Month

The Kindness Of A Stranger   

Our son (four years old, autistic) often
Yelled loud and then even louder:
After his diagnosis, pretty much every
Shred of normalcy took a powder.

Life with Jeremy was a buffet of panic
Wreaking havoc every day
And caused most people who we knew
To all silently drift away.

We desperately tried to hold onto what
Was left, yet while
We did just this, we still found ourselves
In unwanted exile

Which as the years passed by we did
Eventually learn
That this was a place from which you
Never fully return.

Many familiar ties were cut --- a loneliness
Hard to forget.
My wife & I then reached out to someone
We’d never met.


The man who got our letter knew we were
At the end of our rope.
He said talk to professionals and be sure to
Never give up hope.

He actually wrote us two letters: an amazing
Thing to have done.
The first one was meant for us but the second
One was to our son.

We didn’t realize right away that this man
Thought we would need
To imagine that our autistic son someday
Would actually read.

From such kindness can come strength
To banish fears,
Its repercussions felt and remembered
For years & years.


Hold on --- my bad --- I buried the lead.
I should’ve already said
This stranger’s last name was Rogers &
His first name was Fred.

(He might dispute the term “stranger” and it
Would take some getting used to:
Let’s say we were people in his neighborhood
He hadn’t yet been introduced to.)

It’s worth noting something now and
Not in any way that’s cursory.
2018’s a big landmark for his TV show:
It’s the fiftieth anniversary.

My 31 year-old son has a talking computer:
Jeremy’s good at multi-tasking.
Can he read? Oh, yeah. Of course. You bet.
(By the way, thanks for asking.)

Mr. Rogers died in 2003 but doesn’t seem gone.
For me, what he achieved in
Those two letters was passing along hope that
We hadn’t dared to believe in.

His spirit now lives in all those who recall him.
If you’re wondering could this
Great man could be summed up briefly? Sure:
The embodiment of goodness.