Saturday, July 22, 2017

The New Moderates

I don't know about you, but I am sick of extreme conservatives and extreme liberals. I propose we start a new organization called The New Moderates. Why? Because the media does not cover the concerns and actions of moderates. We aren't fringe enough to warrant air time. Instead, people like Michael Savage blare their voices across the airwaves and groups like Evergreen College are constantly getting the spotlight by inciting chaos. Never mind that Michael Savage is not conservative in his demeanor, as if a disconnect between conservative values and conservative demeanor shouldn't raise an eyebrow. Never mind that the far left says I shouldn't have freedom of speech because I was born with the wrong color skin.
Enough. We need to hear from reasonable voices that can tie the nation to a center, to keep it from drifting apart. We need people who understand that the rights of individuals cannot be infringed upon by the state, but that the individual also has a responsibility to pay his fair share in taxes to support the nation he claims to love. We need people who understand that the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness hinges on affordable health care. We need a return to politeness and civil discourse, a return to humility, and leaders who enculture these values in the people.
We need to protect our borders without assuming that a useless, expensive wall can do what fences can't. We need a police force that encourages mentorship and that reaches out to the community. We need a body politic that is instructed on how to interact with the police. And we need thorough character evaluations of potential police officers before they are hired. Certain personality types must be barred from becoming officers.

Friday, July 7, 2017


Every Winter

The Snake River slithers
up to the old man’s house every winter
through oak thickets and brambles,
through a latticework of layered leaves.
It carries enough driftwood to build
a city. He lives close to the tumbling water,
close to all he knows -- near catfish, bass,
bream and gar.

Always he hears the climbing
ripples slink away like the woman
who brought him crooning to her nest,
the cottage of her fingers, who inhabits
his study of rage and remorse, whose face
he sees blood-red and stamped on the sky
big as a harvest moon.
The cloudy night carries him
through desire. It swaddles him
through a tour of every woman
he has known, through torrents
of elegance when he reaches for flesh
and blood but finds only bed sheets,
when he hears only his heartbeat and
the distant howl of a neighbor’s dog.
His voice courses through a fever
of starlight, a promenade of echoes.
He is poised on the edge of a mystery
he cannot command, a chorus he cannot escape.
Life is a one-act play that loves to repeat itself.
The river covers the sounds of his prayers,
the rumbles of his body’s ecstasy, the memory
of a summer that curled his torso. The water
swallows every approaching sound. He lives
by its permission.

Joel Fry

(Published in Birmingham Arts Journal.)