Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Year In Review 2010

Thank God our year is just about done, a lot of hardship and sadness and not much fun. But we are a hardy bunch and a fearless lot and this recession has taken its last and final shot. A wave of Reds in the House, and in the Senates a lot fewer Blues. Better at least for this year a President whose consensus skills finally grew. To each of you may your resolutions be sound and avance the cause of inner peace and may your efforts not quickly cease. And for the nation may Red into Blue be a purple blend; such that all of this partisanship comes to an end.

The Year in Review 2010

The year in review has become an almost sacred, annual rite
As much as an ageless Dick Clark counts down the seconds on a cold Times Square night
Photos and print by the score of the births, deaths and events
With the pundits and pollsters telling us all what they all meant
In terms of images 2010 was a banner year
From the Tarp billions that left us deep in arrears
To the BP spill spewing oil in torrents that would never end
To a World Cup into watching frenzy billions would send
To the misery count that seemed to run a full speed
Haitian earthquakes Pakistani floods, homeless and starving we tried to fill their needs
To the back room deals that enabled Obamacare to past
While millions outraged searching for paint and feather vowed it would not last
To the foreclosure never ending tidal wave
As GM rose up from its grave
Not since the release of the Pentagon tapes was so much laundry laid bare
As Wikileaks to the world our secrets did quickly share
We are almost out of the combat in Iraq
But failed to put the Iranian genie back in its sack
Like all years the Reaper was busy and the Catcher was caught
Haig’s attempts to stay in charge went for naught
Francis’s jockeys could no longer avoid their fate
Nielsen’s Airplane would not save him at the gate
After all these years, Horne’s golden voice was still
And the Byrd no longer roosts near Capitol Hill
John Wooden coached his last hoop through the net
With his Harley chopped Hopper glides into the fading sunset
Even with a thousand voices yelling “I’m Curtis” into the sky
Reaper fooled not; Tony it’s your time to be a thespian to the big Guy.
Maybe the muse should have followed in Yahoo's picks
Only those mentioned who received the most clicks
My list could go on but an old man is bumbling across the stage
The cries of an infant ready to start opening the new page
Hopefully in the New Year leaders who are more tolerant and sage
With a lot more purple and a lot less finger pointing rage.

(c) December 29, 2010
Michael P. Ridley aka The AlaskanPoet

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Olive Crest Christmas

Olive Crest is a great charity assisting abused and at risk children in Orange County California. Recently I was fortunate enough to attend a Christmas fund raiser for the faciility complete with a toy drive, admission and door prizes. Even in the depths of the recession, the event was well attended and a goodly amount of dollars raised. What follows is a poem I wrote on the event. Hope you enjoy it.

Olive Crest Christmas

Our wallets have survived Black Friday and Cyber Monday’s test,
But the season’s parties move forward without pause or any rest
The Christmas list seems to grow longer and time is running out
Tranquility is fading as the credit card balances begin to sprout
It seems we are judged by the number and expense of given gifts,
If our list is neither long nor worthy, our egos slowly drift.
As we race from mall to mall in deepening shopper rut
The most precious gift to give--our time and love is the first to be pared or cut
True, we do not have to cross moor and mountain and our choice is more than three
In the end, no matter the stress, something very soothing with packages beneath a tree
The malls are crowding, the parking spaces rare, and too many are somewhat rude
When we seek the Peace of the Season, the ads surround and always try to intrude
Here is a peaceful thought to soothe from an Alaskan bard
As one races off to the next function to greet and pass out cards,
In a 24/7 world we need to justify the admission cost
And the time from iPad and cell phone forever lost.
But here at this fundraiser for so little you can find the proverbial two birds
And for a couple of precious hours, escape the aimless shopping herd
To meet again old friends for memories to renew
To marvel and be thankful for how enduring friendships grew.
With a smile on one’s face, cleansed by a tranquil wave
Know that on this night some Peace you will most likely save
But what takes the cake and why this night wins hands down
It so easy--links back two thousand years to that thorny crown
We may not fill, but a child will not have to open a barren chest.
We should be honored to have the chance this night to help those at Olive Crest.

(c) Michael P. Ridley a/k/a the Alaskan Poet
December 6, 2010
A very Merry Christmas to all.

Christmas 2010

Today is the shortest day of the year; symbolically the forces of darkness and evil hold court in full regalia for the last time as the Earth once again begins its tilt to the Sun and light and hope. Light banned by the shadows now comes back in a surging force to chase away the gloom of night. It may be fitting that Christmas is so close to the Winter Solstice and the beacon of the gift of Peace leading us out of the darkness. For a poet this is a special time of images and emotions and hope. May each of you have a most Merry Christmas with loved ones and family and may the gift of Peace be easy to find and cherish today and in the coming days and years.
test day of the year; symbolically the forces of darkness and evil hold court in f

Christmas 2010
We must be a rugged and hearty rebounding lot
Trying to avoid the gifting frenzy and not get caught
In the decorations in the stores from the eve of Halloween
To most media ads now being a sea of red and green
To the frenzy of Black Friday kicking off at 12:01
Hard to believe another Christmas season has again begun
Cyber Monday in hyper click just two days behind
Just need an app to escape the malls surging grind
The pull upon our wallets, we have slowly grown to expect
The impulse to use a card is so hard to keep in check
The online malls beckon-- just point and click
The world is a cart with so many choices to pick
Ever mindful of the greetings to be politically correct
Sherpas in the malls with heavy bags we trek
The lines become longer, the selection dims
Then in a flash a purchase of the expensive whim
The lists get longer and the time gets short
Slight joys to see the children waiting to visit Santa’s Court
The muses are scratching with worry their heads
Will we scrap the 12 days to sing of 12 months instead?
A simpler time and life is just not meant to be,
But the answer is not to get a bigger tree
Nor the credit card limit seek to raise
Seek the gift always in vogue, always in praise
Give the gift of peace and the gift of love and self
No matter how hard to find on any shopping shelf
Serenity projects calm, serenity projects peace
Giving self is so valued in our short term lease
Whether it is to forego the 24/7 lines
And with loved ones share more time
Or extend a helping hand and volunteer
Others are not so fortunate in this recession year
Never forget love makes the world go round and round
If it stops, our spec is just a globe of barren, fallow ground
The mind can live without the latest Nook or body without the latest dress
But the soul and heart often lost in the gifting blizzard need the Peace caress
This Christmas may Peace and Goodwill graft deep into your heart
Lasting gifts not found in malls or in any online e-commerce mart.

(c) Michael P. Ridley a/k/a the Alaskan Poet
December 21, 2010
ull regalia for the last time as the Earth once again begins its tilt to the Sun and light and hope. It may be fitting that Christmas is so close to the Winter Solstice and the beacon of the gift of Peace leading us out of the darkness. For a poet this is a special time of images and emotions and hope. May each of you have a most Merry Christmas with loved ones and family and may the gift of Peace be easy to find and cherish today and in the coming days and years.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Elizabeth Edwards RIP

The news today 12/08/2010 included the death of Elizabeth Edwards from a rampaging, virulent breast cancer. Here death was expected but not within the hours from the announcements yesterday of her condition. Death of a parent when children are still young is never a pretty sight and one can only pray for comfort for the children. Elizabeth did not roll up and await the boatman; she lived her life to the fullest while enduring the pain of an unfaithful husband who sired a child while they were still married (thank God we as a country were spared the pain as he failed in his quest for the Democratic nomination to run as Presdident in 2,000. A mother to the end and the reports of her death prompted this poem.

Elizabethan Painter
We are all born with a clean slate and plenty of paint
And brushes bold and brushes fine or faint
The scenes varied, vibrant but never cast in concrete
Victories painted today may be repainted as defeats
Scenes of virtue or scenes we paint to delete
The joys of marriage stolen by a cheat
The mural of life painted could be all we leave
Memories on a mental canvas as mourners come to grieve
There are many roles we can choose to play
Many paths to choose and how to weigh
But one choice that for all does not exist
No matter what we do, no matter how we resist
What final role to play as a brave woman in great pain
Stroking boldly to keep her emotions in reign
It is to be the role of mother to the very end
Look out for the children until the boatman comes to send
“If you believe you will never die
Raise your hand, raise it high”
She knew their hands had tons of weight
No way to escape our common fate
Today, the cans have been drained of paint
When the mural dries, images of strokes of saint
Even with death coming in a hyper rush
Right to the end she never dropped her brush
Hopefully her ex still has some drops of paint of better fiber and hue
To paint over the poor choices made that he must surely rue.
(c) Michael P. Ridley December 8, 2010

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

This is a special time, a truly unique American holiday, filled with family and friends, football, platters of caloric corncopia and the residue of vestigal resolutions of this year only one serving of turkey. We have a lot to be grateful for as a nation as one war seems to be winding down and another seems to have a definite end date. True we may be frisked like common criminals trying to board a plane but at least we have a Presidential tradition of pardoning the Presidential turkey. Hope all of you have a lot to be grateful for (for me having 4 wonderful and awesome children tops the list, especially since one can write poetry to keep the string going at 4 generations) Missing only a trip to Rose Bowl by the Cardinal. Hope you enjoy the poem and try daily servings of 140 character 4 line poems on news events of interest on my Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving 2010

How much is fact, how much myth ingrained in our national lore—
The first Thanksgiving on Plymouth's not so golden shores?
A boatload of Pilgrims driven not by gold or land on a one way trip
Too far north, too cold and in starvation's nearby grip
To on earth, find the peace to worship and to pray
Free of persecution they could not keep at bay.
One half gone, the rest on the slimmest of reeds
How to make it to planting without eating all your seeds?
You could not grab the cell phone and say I quit, I want to leave
As more grave sites gave cause to question why and to grieve
On a cold, spring day with only your faith to keep you warm
Imagine the fears, imagine the sense of alarm
When out of the woods an Abnaki brave did appear
Loss of all your dreams, the sum of all your fears.
If he could have seen the future, a spear perhaps thrown
A tidal wave of migration would soon be calling up his loan.
Instead, these Pilgrims received the skills to survive,
Until the next ship braving the stormy seas could arrive
From hunting to using dead fish for the soil to which plants to eat
Lessons taught by those whose future would soon be in full retreat.
How else could you give thanks when the harvest filled the cupboards bare
Than to reach out beyond your band with outstretched hand and share.
And so they did on the First Thanksgiving
Platters of food to push away any misgivings
Hard to find today a Native American in Newport Beach,
But over 400 years the events still teach.
Very simple, so hard to confuse
Two words, not separate but in fuse
You cannot give Thanks and expect your God to receive
Unless you also Give to others their misery to relieve.
In so doing no matter how much turkey eaten there will be no guilt
You've tried to sweep away the fences, tried to make the divisions wilt.

(c) Michael P. Ridley
November 23, 2010

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veterans' Day

On this day we should honor those serving and those who have served and in our prayers hope the number decreases not. General Old Age is a poem on this blog that is one of my better ones which makes writing about Veterans' Day difficult. Be that as it may, this came to me this morning. Ironic, that the poppy which fuels the opium funds that enables Osama's legions to attack us was once the fund raising symbol on this day. God Bless America:

Veterans' Day 2010

Today instead of sale fags in the wind, flags should fly at half mast
Honoring the veterans now and those veterans throughout our past
The War to End All Wars in that role did completely fail
How many Americans after went down the Martian trail?
It may be that the human will always reach for the sword
And maybe discourse is a luxury we cannot or chose not to afford
But if we ask the veterans who were there
Ask or plead if the horrors they would share
Then maybe, just maybe if leaders are of sound mind
And leave emotions of revenge behind,
We on this crowded planet might have the slimmest chance,
To bring out and enjoy the plow or chip and stow the lance.
We must not fail, the atom stakes increase each day
Somehow, someway, we must hold the dogs of war at bay
If we fail to take note, to take heed,
We send thousands more to die or to bleed.
But that, sadly, may be the future; but on this day
Honor all those who served and went into harm's way!

Michael P. Ridley
(c) November 11, 2010

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Orange County's Three Horsemen

In the Apocalypse the Four Horsemen of war, famine, death and pestilence are unleashed upon mankind. In Orange County, like many counties struggling with unfunded public pension fund liab and high salaries and sinking tax revenues, the news today (9/14/2010) is troubling--three of our esteemed public officials reneged on their promise to take a 5% pay cut. Instead of Four Horsemen we should count our blessings to be set upon by only Three--War, Famine, and Pestilence. Death is not yet here and as long as more of us start drinking tea many never be unsealed. The following captures some of the outrage in reading the news.
The Three Horsemen
It is not as upsetting as the City Manager for Bell,
But the latest news should make our outrage swell.
We live in budgets awash in dripping red.
New jobless figures we await with fearful dread.
Our public pensions are like a bloated leech,
Sucking out any taxpayers' blood within their reach,
But no matter how deep into our pockets we may try to dig,
We may never, ever escape the chains of this fiscal brig.
Orange County has Three Horsemen we now must unseat--
Sunstrom, Guillory and the tax collector Street.
All county heads tightened their belts and took a 5 percent cut--
Not these three, they selfishly kept their wallets shut.
If these public "servants" were struggling at making ends meet,
Or like the rest of us staring financial ruin lapping upon our feet,
The outrage would be muted, for we are a forgiving kind,
But at six figures, their refusal only blows one's mind.
Our clock is ticking--the sands have almost left,
We taxpayers must rise up to end this sugared coated theft.
A public pension and higher immune salary is not a holy grail!
We are in this leaking boat together—time for Three Horsemen to help us bail!!!
Michael P. Ridley
© September 14, 2010

Saturday, September 11, 2010

911 9th Anniversary

On this day 9 years ago the citizens of this nation and 76 others were subjected to suicide attacks that killed more people than we lost at Pearl Harbor or Omaha Beach. What follows is a poem I wrote this morning. Preserving safety and preserving tolerance and first amendment freedoms is a tightrope balance maybe not even the Wallendas would wish to cross, but somehow this poet is convinced we are up to the task and the forces of evil will be relegated to the sewers of hell where they belong.
911 Images
The song "We are the world" comes to mind on this solemn day
As we come together not to pretend, but to really pray
In less than an hour the forces of evil sought to slay
Not just the GI's but any citizen that stood in their way
The ashes of fallen towers turned the horizon into a deadly gray
On their side, discourse and reason in total decay
To carry a briefcase or laptop should not make a worker a prey
Or to catch a plane to go home should not be a final price to pay
Citizens of 77 countries against their will thrown into the fray
New burdens accepted on our shoulder weigh
We mark a war of no boundaries, no quarter, but resolve may not stray.
It will never be easy, no piece of cake, no catch the bouquet
We must always hold the external forces of evil at bay
While our freedoms we can never betray
A clear message to those misguided seeking relief only 77 virgins can allay
You are pirates, parasites on humanity to be killed on this and every other day.
Michael P. Ridley
© 9/11/2010

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Labor Day

The Alaskan Poet has been way too busy completing North to Alaska--Islands of Stability in Seas of Change and tweeting at Labor Day Weekend years ago was a time of great enjoyment--jobs were there and if not the loss was only temporary. Today may be different. this poet has no answers other than the chasm between Blue and Red has to end. Poem follows:

Labor Day 2010
It is the end of summer, the time for to gather and put the last burgers on the grill.
A day to honor labor and mark the faint beginnings of the autumn chills,
The next generation gathered around the barbecue
School to start, soon time to get what will be due
It is the kick off of the elections if we are so cursed
Of election years --I will do better my opponent worse
Always to honor what the American worker can achieve
And with the flags, barbecue and family what a nation we can weave
This year it may be different as too many of us are without jobs
The winds of misfortune our well being and future has robbed
The private sector numbers are a stream of jobs lost,
While our public sector grows no matter the cost.
After the last burger, the last beer,
The last end of summer cheer,
Maybe, just maybe, it is now time as we near the brink
To pick up another self reliant drink,
Tea may be the choice of our English friends
But here, maybe the greed of incumbents we can end.
Time for Red and Blue to merge
Term politicians we now will purge
Cut the public sector’s greedy take in our till,
Then maybe then today we can enjoy our last summer grill.
Michael P. Ridley © 2010

Monday, June 28, 2010

Viking Reunion Nights

The Alaskan Poet leaves for a reunion, a true Viking in 1965 at CDA he also holds that cherished honorary membership of a Viking of PHS Class of 1965. Reunions can mean a lot of different things to graduates years after the notes have faded. To those of the class of 65, what a tidal wave of change was heading to us like a 9 Richter spawned tsunami. Fortunately, the waves receded and most of our class survived and prospered. If you are celebrating a 45th, hope you enjoy the poem even if not a Viking. Petersburg is a special place--a definite Bucket List to see---coming through Wrangell Narrows with the Devil's Thumb on the port and off in the distance, Le Conte's receding face and the beckoning of Frederick Sound, more so for the people that dwell there than the sights. Hail Vikings!

We have all marched the Pomp and Circumstances trail
Tassels now turned, we all knew we would not fail
Each class knows that it alone is unique
Fame and fortune waiting for it to seek.
But in one year the sands were shifting in flooding tide
Taking all of us for at least a wild decade ride.
The Viking ships of old battled only currents and unknown fears
Sheltered by compass, strong arm, axe, sword and spear.
These later Vikings faced a chasm cultural shift,
All icons parted and were now in constant swirling drift.
Constant here to set the salmon net, haul in the halibut hook, fell the tree
Lower down, all was moving, compass shorn, tidal waves from an Asian sea.
Radar blips most likely false on a ship of Joy
Soon a generation offered to Mars to maim and destroy
Be you of the class of 65 or 70 when the end was almost near,
Our time was a far different chaotic set of years
The jungle claimed our bodies, the music changed our souls
The pill released us, but the highs took their toll
A tough time for a nation, a tough time for its youth
Where in shifting sands would one ever find the truth?
Lower away the cities burned, shots heard, flags stomped to the ground
A nation for many years torn apart, in chaos always unbound
Save maybe a few places where images of longboats never did fade
And to a neighbor on an island so easy to help or aid
Lots of fads, lots of a craze here and now and then past
In a Viking lore what might always last?
It’s not the car, not the job or anything else on short term lease,
Or any other pleasures we seek for short term release
No, it is the Viking creed spawned within on these island shores
That has lifted these classes to exceed, to always soar.
Judge not by race, color, creed, career, or looks
Rather how well a choker is set, web mended or a baited halibut hook
And the fact that one’s word is a Polaris in the cold arctic night
Count on me; I am here; I will always make it right.
For some so lucky the warm summer rays are just now beginning to fade
For others, the leaves are now turning color to fall, never to shade
Lastly, some of us feel the first hint of snow;
Fire waiting as we now reflect on what we did sow
But common to all as we move upon this life’s journey trail
Heads high, toasts through the mist, hail Vikings hail, hail Vikings hail.
© June 24, 2010 Michael P. Ridley

Friday, June 18, 2010

Fathers' Day

I trust fathers will enjoy june 20, 2010, Fathers' Day and and children with fathers will be able to spend time with them either in person or by phone. I hope all enjoy this Fathers' Day poem.

Fathers’ Day 2010
In a world of morals like sands in perpetual shift
It’s usually the fathers who stop the moral drifts
The economic pillar fathers now thankfully share,
In these troubled times, it takes a working pair.
Men in whose ancient genes very deeply ingrained-
The need to stalk into the forests or hunt across the grassy plains,
Now with relish change the diapers, burp the child
A new sense of gentle in a world wanting to run wild.
Honor thy mother and father—a commandment to heed
Lasting words if the soul is to prosper and to succeed,
Now is compressed in a Day in May when Moms go first
Aisle upon aisle of gifts in never-ending burst.
In June we dads too have our day in the sun,
Praises from daughters or growing sons,
Some cards, a brunch, maybe treated, if lucky something other than a tie,
We beam and smile and our emotions surface and run high
A great Day but a small child said it best when asked to define
The difference between the two Days so close in time
So easy for a child the nuances to sift,
“Just like Mothers’ Day save we spend less on gifts.”
For those dads who have written the tuition checks
The month hosts graduation days no longer poverty to inject
Save those with their new ties, huge brunch, and cards
But high school seniors now with college needs to bombard.
© June 18, 2010
Michael P. Ridley

Friday, June 11, 2010

ACG Meanings on the Bay

As a venture capital/corporate lawyer, I attend a lot of networking functions. Last night the Association for Corporate Growth, a really excellent organization, held its "Summer Bash" function at the Balboa Bay Club, but unlike of most functions, various entities including the Orange County Performing Art Center had tables to promote their offerings. Sarah and Christina were at their post. The following honors them and the arts they so ably assist and the other "C" all of us should likewise support.
In a world where hope has failed and gone berserk,
Too many of us are scratching for any kind of work.
There is still time next to the bay of stately yachts,
Moored like a High Seas Fleet, rarely used or for naught
For two women of grace to “man” a table for the arts,
No matter the aroma of fine foods, they would not depart.
Even in the summer as we feel the recession chill
Somehow, someway the venue seats you must fill.
For a county of color devoid of music, or drama only live on stage,
Is like a paper, no headlines, only the drab of an obituary page.
Pass out the cards, shake the hands—for the next deal always strive
But without art, even with wallets thick, the soul will never be alive.
In tough times in the Golden State, hard for the corporate "C" to subside,
But on this night, the culture "C" was nourished, strong as a Fundy tide.
© June 11, 2010
Michael P. Ridley

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Chair to the Beach

One of the great joys is life is the chance to aid a fellow human being without being asked. June 6 was such a day for the Alaskan poet. I ride ACCESS and had just spent most of Sunday not writing poetry but working in my office feeling sorry for myself and worried about missing the tip off to the Celtics/Laker game. After being picked up instead of heading straight home, the van had to go in the opposite direction to pick up another passenger, a person confined to a wheelchair, I suspect for all of her life. After picking her up and heading to my home near the beach, I learned she had never been to the beach. I suggested the driver use Seashore instead of Coast Highway so she could see the waves. She was so thrilled I suggested the driver go further past the turn to my house to a street where the bus could stop, she could be taken off in her chair and could be wheeled down a concrete ribbon to within 30 yards of the water. I waited in the van while she and the driver spent the next 15 minutes near the waves. I could feel the joy from the van 75 yards away. 20 years from now i will not rember the game, the tip off of which i missed, but I will remember her joy. I wrote the following poem at the end of the game.
Chair to the Beach

Ever since Lucy with brave heart came down from the trees,
Stood erect to view all on two legs one could see,
With strong legs and feet there is nothing we could not reach
From the highest mountain, to the most secluded beach.
But if in the lottery of birth, the legs were not there
Moving slowly only by the grace of a chair
Could you ever see the sight of waves breaking on the sand?
Chairs are not HUMVEES- they move only on flat land.
But if on a Sunday you could find a ribbon to the shore,
To watch the spirits feel the mist and not confined, to so soar,
A chair moving as close as the ribbon would permit
Watching the waves that will never end, never quit.
A joy and a smile a fathom wide,
So close to the incoming tide
Never accept as a given, the magic of God’s grace
Even if only a series of waves in a never ending race.
A game of Lakers, a game of Celtics have to recede,
The mist of ocean spray waters a helping seed.
All of us who are blessed with Lucy’s ambling traits,
Must extend a caring hand to those with a different fate.

© Michael P. Ridley
June 6, 2010

Friday, May 28, 2010

Memorial Day 2010 Musings

Another Memorial Day Weekend is upon us, the start of summer, picnics, barbecuese days off from work and soon out of school. As we savor the steaks, ribs or hot dogs and maybe another cold beer, maybe this year as some of our citizens scour the dusty streets of Iraq, or the poppy hills and mountains of Afghanistan, peer at North Korea bent to nuclear self destruct, or sail the blue waters months on end to keep our borders secure, reflect on this day and honor each in his own way their memory and sacrifices and pray no new flags of active forces in the field will need to be folded to the bugle's mournful refrain:

Memorial Day Thoughts

After the last flag has been folded and the taps weeping fades from the air,
In a generation or so the drums begin to rattle, the trumpets begin to blare
The memories of the carnage and broken lives too soon in purge,
Another set of wrongs or thirst for power begins to emerge.
Even surrounded by two wide blue water moats
We too are often drawn to the Martian boats.
A new generation sent by white haired and balding men
Sent afar to pick up the gauntlet once again
No matter how many or how few into combat we would send,
The struggles had a beginning and finally a victory or truce to end
Marked by more plots and flags fluttering in the breeze
Costs of bringing another tyrant or foe to his knees
But now our soldiers face a most unwelcome test
In a war without lines drawn or that ever takes a rest
True, only a new flag folded here, a new flag folded there
Another prime life scarred here, another confined to a chair.
No sweeping battles, no headlines to report
Tours again and again, no longer can time be short.
The Greatest Generation crushed evil and most came back
This new band of Spartans is now under unending attack.
A thin new khaki line living and dieing by the sword
So we here have the chance to enjoy all of life’s rewards.
How do we honor on this Memorial Day our vets and forces in the field
While the barbecues smoked and sizzled and too few church bells pealed?
Maybe Miller’s final words whispered to Ryan in a movie scene.
Live a good life—all else cheapens their deeds, mocks what honor means
Live a good life—so when your short term lease finally comes due
A legacy of honor, honesty, helping hands, morals always true.

© May 28, 2010
Michael P. Ridley

Saturday, April 17, 2010

young Spitz, young Phelps

I am blessed with two sons, who having seen their father hobble with damaged knees from rugby have wisely eschewed football, rugby, or lacrosse and have taken up the sport of swimming. Their school is a powerhouse in swimming in Orange County; the season has just begun so as a father one has the joy of watching their hard work come to some fruition. Both are fast and getting faster---maybe some of the genes from Alaskan Poet who swam in Alaska during the summers when seining was on hold have taken hold. The following poem was written after watching the Sailors demolish a swim team from Los Alamitos. Hope you enjoy...also check out my almost daily tweets on my twitter account

Sailors in the Pool
Navies own the oceans and the blue waters they do rule,
But in this Harbor, the Sailors own the pool
Blue clad Speedos coiled upon their blocks
Pool side torpedoes of awe and shock
Waiting for the whistle to launch and gravity to defy
For a moment then to break water churning on the fly.
Hours upon hours of swimming in the cold early morn,
Dreams of glory never die, always reborn
In a world shrinking so fast knowledge a day ago may be obsolete
Time measured in almost nano seconds of a touch pushed by kicking feet
Each stroke seems another rush to devolve
To an earlier age when gills would solve
The need to turn one’s head to inhale
On the surface the wake leaves a frothy trail
Speed is something not given but must be earned
Hours with no spectators through the waters churn
No matter the yells or applause or cheers
Only the sound of water rushing past one’s ear
Sailors in blue Speedos to conquer time and lane
Hard work and effort in fashion, never to wane.
© April 13, 2010
Michael P. Ridley

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Is the Melting Pot Dead?

All poets have a romantic bent, and sometime harken to a simpler, less rushed and more tranquil time. It is no wonder that the Alaskan Poet loves train travel, especially travel on Amtrak Sleepers. Instead of being ferried at 30,000 feet, unfed, unwelcome, cramped and violated after shoes and belt off and subjected to all manner of delay, one is up front viewing the land and having the ability to converse with fellow passengers either in the Parlor Car if fortunate enough to travel on the Coast Starlight or the Lounge Car on other trains. On the internet, computer plugged as close to the office and productivity as you chose to be. When one wishes to eat a full meal in a dining car, one is mixed with up to three total stangers for a reasonable great repast, served by people who are happy to see you and try as one might, one finds oneself in pleasureable conversation.
Coming back from a pilgrimage to Jack London Square, I found myself at a table with three women in their golden years chronologically but so full of energy and spark the room was lit. Moynahan was wrong; the Melting Pot still lives in this land, at least in Washington and the statehouses, of too much red and too much blue and so little purple. Hope you enjoy the poem this last trip engendered. 140 character poems are now on my twitter---alaskanpoet, added to almost daily please join my list of followers.


Maybe he was right and the melting pot has long congealed,
Save only when strangers gather at a common meal.
Water may be the universal solvent, just behind wine and beer,
We need our space and the images we wish to appear
The reptile mind stirs and a stranger means the walls must close,
Bristles to stay away, like the thorns upon a rose.
But food too is a wonder-- barriers to dissolve
Shedding of the fears and trusts to evolve
Four humans thrown onto a table in a dining car,
You cannot retreat, you cannot raise a snobby bar,
The track to the band around a fire to reverse,
So much to enjoy when airs drop and words converse.
It matters not the degree, age, looks, gender, or career
Only that strangers can pass an hour in laughter almost tears,
Drawn together on ribbons of steel,
A great way to spend a luncheon meal.
Michael P. Ridley
© February 21, 2010

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Valeentine's Day

Valentine's Day is always a special day especially for a poet, floweres wilt, candy goes stale, perfume evaporates, and diamonds are either too small and never worn or too large and wipe out the credit cards. But a poem lasts foreever. Treat your valentine like every day is February 14th


Can you believe the skill that puts a probe on Eros 190
million miles in space?
Or the GPS that finds you within an inch of any given place?
Yet, when it really counts, when love must do its part,
Cupid uses only a bow and arrow to find a romantic heart.

In a sea of missed encounters, how does a single arrow
find its mark?
There's no laser to guide it through the cold or cynic's dark.
Is it a shaft of graphite or a flowered or candied head?
Is it the bow or the strength of the archer instead?

Maybe the string when drawn back and the bow fully bent,
Guides Cupid's calling card that forces all to relent.
Maybe it's the alignment of the feathers
To push through all manner of nonromantic weather.

Actually, it is so simple and not really that profound.
What is needed to prevent the arrow from missing
and falling wasted upon the ground?
Only this, to make Cupid's arrow run swift, lasting and true,
Words meant and spoken, Valentine, I love only you.
(c) Michael P. Ridley February 14, 2001