Stevieslaw: Tea Ceremony

My poem Tea Ceremony is up on The Drabble.  Here is the link:

And here is the poem:

Tea Ceremony

Sunday morning breakfast
was as close as we
ever came to sacred
ritual in our house.
Mom slept in
and dad would
orchestrate in
his best robe–
the eggs here
the butter there,
and the coffee pot
to the right of syrup.
He cooked the cakes
and bacon
in the cast iron skillet
his grandfather
had brought with him
from god knows where.

We ate
until our ribs ached.
Until we could
barely breathe.
Until the very thought
of rising from our chairs
was far beyond
our quiet contemplation.

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Stevieslaw: Surgically Altered

Stevieslaw: Surgically Altered

Donald Trump said last night, in a lengthy tirade, that he had indisputable evidence that John McCain’s brain had been altered by liberal leaning surgeons in what was touted as cancer surgery.

“They made up a fake tumor,” said DJT, “so they could get access to his brain. It’s the reason he keeps voting against the very best possible health care bills,” continued Trump.

Senator Lindsay Graham was forced to concur. “I don’t take everything Trump says as gospel,” he said, “But this makes pretty good sense. The McCain who voted to kill our impressive bill is not the McCain I once knew and called a friend.”

“Brain altering surgery for Republicans,”mused our own Smokey Diamond, as her face lit up with delight.

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Stevieslaw: Centered Magazine

Once a quarter, I will help choose a poem for Centered Magazine.  For the Autumn issue, Sarah Russell’s fine poem “I lost Summer Somewhere” appeared.  Stay tune for a prompt for Winter and if you are in the Centre Region (PA) make sure to pick up a copy of Centered.


I lost summer somewhere


in the wildflowers, woke
to trees blushing at my disregard,
wind hurrying the clouds along.
I should have seen the signs.
I watched geese abandon their twigged
April nests, pin-feathered goslings
ripple ponds listless with July. Now they rise
gray against the gray sky, skeining south
before first snows.

I’ll stay here, I tell them. I’ll air out
cedared cardigans, chop carrots
for the soup tonight, cross
the threshold of the equinox,
try not to stumble.

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Stevieslaw: Someone Else

Stevieslaw: Someone Else

Now that patient’s rights groups, health insurance companies and the American Medical Association have lined up against the Graham-Cassidy health bill, Republican leaders have been assuring their constituents that any negative fall-out from the bill will only affect “someone else.”

A spokesperson for Senator Graham told the nation, “There are winners and losers in any legislative effort. We guarantee that any loss of coverage or increase in premiums for coverage of pre-existing conditions will not affect you, your family or anyone you know or love. They will only affect someone else.”

President Trump echoed this remark by stating, “Although a few real losers might suffer a little, the passage of this bill will be a huge win for nearly all Americans.”

Move along America. There’s nothing to see here. It’s all good.

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Stevieslaw: FEMA to Assume Cabinet Status

Stevieslaw: FEMA to Assume Cabinet Status

Congress today announced plans to promote The Federal Emergency Management Agency to Cabinet status. Spokesperson, Atal Castia, said, “With the rebuilding of Texas estimated to cost 120 billion and bills still out for rebuilding the Florida Keys and Florida, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands the budget for the FEMA will dwarf those of the other Departments. The budget for the Department of energy is roughly 30 billion, while that of Commerce is about 10 billion. It appears rebuilding huge swarths of America after they are ravaged by monster storms will be a driver of the Federal Budget for the foreseeable future.

Maybe, forever. Most scientists would agree that the warming of the oceans can not be directly linked to the number of hurricanes and winter storms. But the strength of these storms and the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere will increase with increasing water temperature, resulting in stronger storms with more rain or snow. In the interest of scientific precision, we must mention here that Hymie Manusch—conservative talk radio host and former used car salesman, disputes these finding every evening at 6. He can be very persuasive.

So, although we have all learned from Chief Meteorologist, Donald Trump, and his minions that human influenced climate change is a hoax, we will still have to pay for the damage. That, as Hymie might say, is the definition of a cruel hoax.

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Stevieslaw: A Perfect Plan

Stevieslaw: A Perfect Plan

Republicans in the Senate are rallying around the Graham-Cassidy bill to repeal and replace Obamacare for good reason. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, whose estimates have been a wet blanket for the other Republican repeal and replace plans, have announced that some estimates of the influence of this new plan will not be available before the anticipated vote. That means that Senators will get to vote on the plan without knowing how it might influence some minor things, such as health care enrollment, budget, and Medicaid.

Con Tipated, spokesperson for Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey—a strong supporter of the bill said, “that’s wonderful.”

“If the we enact this bill,” he continued, “And health care in America improves, Pat can say he was there and voted for it. If it fails miserably for most Americans—as seems very, very likely, Pat can claim that while he did not know the nitty gritty of the bill—he is not a doctor after all, its failure is certainly just another consequence of Obamacare, which in a weird way, it is.”

“This bill ticks all the boxes in Pat’s agenda,” said Mr. Tipated. “That is, it is likely to help get him reelected.”

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Stevieslaw: The White Rabbit to the Rescue

Stevieslaw: The White Rabbit to the Rescue

Pennsylvania is one of many states still trying to recover economically from the Great Recession. In many ways, our lawmakers are to blame for not being sufficiently “quick on their feet.” Minnesota, for example, immediately changed the name of the state to The Minnesota State-too-big-to-fail Bank and benefited from a generous federal bailout.

Republicans have controlled both houses of state government for many years in Pennsylvania and have steadfastly refused to raise taxes. They have even refused to follow the example of all other states and raise taxes and fees on the Marcellus Shale fracking companies, for fear their reelection campaigns will be underfunded. Over the years, they have borrowed money, cut non-essential spending—Governor Corbett cut the funds for public education by a billion dollars, and taken money from other programs.

The state will lose its ability to pay its bills on Friday. While for many families that’s as common as the Friday before payday, it’s a relatively new feeling for the state. The PA House, back from vacation in the nick of time, has come up with a radical plan to borrow and cut non-essentially spending and shift money from programs that don’t need it—like public transportation. Some spoilsports have pointed out that the budget plan depends on shifting money from programs that don’t exist.

Now, House Speaker, Mike Turzai, has come up with a startling new plan. He will borrow the money from his friend Harvey, an invisible 6 ‘ 31/2” white rabbit—you may remember him from the movie of the same name. Mike says, “This will revolutionize funding in Pennsylvania. And Harvey has lots of money, he’s always buying the next round at the local.”

We are not alone at likening the current Republican Party to the know-nothing party of the mid-1850’s. The party, which was known actually known as the American Party (earlier the Native American Party) was an anti-immigrant and anti-Catholic movement. When adherents to the party were asked about the specifics of their party’s platform, they were told to reply, “I know nothing.”

It would be refreshing if the current Republicans could return to that simple statement. They could still say “I’m not a scientist,” as long as they didn’t continue with the “but.” Think of all the absolute garbage we would not have to hear about reproductive rights, nice white supremacists, climate change and the poor, if they would just respond with the simple and accurate, “I know nothing.”

Too much to hope for?

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