“For The Many” Poem by Ron Olsen

For the many poem
On the other side of the tracks
Old Glory flew
Filled full by the warm California wind
As I had never seen her before
Not for many years, anyway
Not like that
Defiant and strong
As I stood
Waiting for the Surfliner to arrive

And my heart swelled
With both pride and fear

Pride for those who shed their blood
To defend freedom
A way of life
That now stands threatened
By those who put petty self-interest
Greed driven lust for money
Ahead of country

Those who would tear down
What so many worked for
Died for
Argued for
And cried for
For the many
And not the few

It rushed through my head
As I saw our flag
Strong in the wind
As I waited for the train

A reminder of who we are
And what we stand to lose
If some of us are forced to live on one side of the tracks
While the rest are on the other
With no law or common good
To balance our wants and needs
Providing a bridge
To cross over

Only the lust for money
A rigged system
And the power of greed

Simple thoughts
Far too simple, perhaps
For the many
And not the few

 

©2015 Ron Olsen – all rights reserved

“The Glory Of Us!” A poem by Ron Olsen

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The Glory Of Us!
by  Ron Olsen

Primates
Naked apes
Eating grapes
And pitted dates
From fancy plates
That come in crates
Over the water
With foreign rates

Having complex thinking thoughts
From the seeds that Darwin wrought
Of birds that fly from place to place
With no regard for creation’s face
Or supreme mind
Just lengths of time
And nature’s grind
To help us find
The truth sublime

Scattering seeds
Through birdie scat
Helps preserve us
Dog and cat
It was true then
It holds true now
For humans, turtles, emu and cow

While getting our kicks
Lost in the mix
Is mankind’s fix
Between and betwixt
Our memory withdrawn
Of how to spawn
Out on the lawn
And we’d be gone

©2015  Ron Olsen-all rights reserved

 

“Poet” by Ron Olsen

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Poet
by Ron Olsen

Of all the people in the world
How many are there do you suppose
Who dare call themselves “poets?”

Who are drawn
To say more with less
Daring critics
To deny their voice
In a world that so badly needs
Imagination

A calling?
Or ego revealed?
Either way
The result is the same
An irresistible draw

For the poet
There is no alternative
But to create

To hope that
Someone listens

 
©2015 Ron Olsen – all rights reserved

“Alone” – A Poem by Ron Olsen

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Alone
by Ron Olsen

The Ship was rolling
Unnoticed
Except that the sailors stood in two rows
To catch you if you fell
As you jumped off the chopper
After hitting the deck
Before you got your sea legs
It didn’t hit us until we were in the mess
And they set the plates of donuts out
That we were in no mood to eat anything
Much less donuts
I pushed the plate toward Steve
He pushed it back
Looking less than settled
We made it back to shore
Without betraying our manhood
Stomachs intact
Stopped for a beer on the way home
“A mood adjuster” he called it
Handing me a Corona
I felt better
Then
Suddenly
With no warning
Bitch slapped in the face by time
We were putting him in the ground
Before his time
Up at Forest Lawn
And Mark said
“I can’t believe our friend is in that box over there”
I had no reply
What could I say
About death?
It was the same place they buried another friend
With the same name
Two Steves
Within days of one another
It seemed
Although it was actually several years
Time plays games
Hours are days
Days are years
Your friends are gone
They told us it would happen
But you really don’t know
Until it does
As the ship keeps rolling
Leaving you there
Alone

©2015 Ron Olsen – all rights reserved

 

Ron Olsen is a Los Angeles-based writer.  More of his work can be found here.

Dream – A Poem By Ron Olsen

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Dream
by Ron Olsen

There were three in the room
Two men and a girl
Standing there
Without expression
Looking back at me
Dressed mostly in black

They were dead
That I knew
And they would not talk
Even while I implored

“Talk to me”

And so one did
The older one
Apparently in charge

“Exorcism 101” he said
As he shut the door in my face

 

© 2015 Ron Olsen / all rights reserved

Circle – A Poem Of Life By Ron Olsen

Circle
by Ron Olsen

Does any of it really matter?
Beyond the golden moment of now?

It seemed so important at the time
Irreplaceable
Unforgettable
Even immortal

A circle with no beginning or end

Protagonist on one side
Antagonist on the other
A story told ten thousand times
Somehow new with each new telling
Never to be forgotten
Leaving onlookers stunned
And silent
Pondering the profound new implications for their lives

Never to be forgotten
Except that it was

Eventually it vanished
And no one remembered
Immortality washed away
By several generations
Of the newest thing
The oh so meaningful
Newest thing

It seemed so important at the time

But as the circle continued to turn
None of the performance held fast
Only the truth of the golden moment
Which was gone as quickly as it had appeared
Until its next appearance

A story told ten thousand times
Somehow new with each new telling

As greatness and nobility continue to exist
Only so long as we remember
Only so long as we have one another
Only so long as we continue to care

Otherwise it dies with us
A phoenix that cannot rise
Meaningless
Finished
Without purpose

With no golden moment left
To give us another chance
At now
To care more for one another
Than for the story

And yet

It seemed so important
At the time

© 2015 Ron Olsen / All rights reserved

 

malibu

Ron Olsen is a Los Angeles based essayist and poet.   More of his work can be found here.

Hotdish – A Poem About Food

HOTDISH

by Ron Olsen

God bless hotdish
It kept us alive
But first we’d pray
Our Sunday morning ritual
Praying
To get through it all
For just one more day

We meant it too
We were so unworthy
The Vicar told us
And vile
And ungrateful
Not worthy to “gather up the crumbs” under His table
Which we really didn’t need
Truth be told

We had hotdish

Plenty of it
Stronger than theology
And tasty too

Tuna
Noodles
And sour cream
Pimentos
Olives
A splash of milk with a can of soup
Mix it together
Crush some potato chips on top
A sprinkle of paprika for an exotic edge
Throw it in the oven
And there you go

Salt and pepper
To give it taste
Bracing your blood to stand up
To the demon weather
Wailing outside
Begging you to come out
So it could try and kill you one more time

But we had hotdish
Made by the Ladies of the Ladies Aid
Who knew what they were doing

Big, strong German and Scandinavian farm ladies
With secrets they brought over from the old country
Arriving with only their bibles, babies and the family jewels
Bending over stoves
In the Episcopal Guild Hall basement
The heat flooding out to envelop the entire room

Making heavy, hearty, homemade hotdish in
Big Pyrex glass baking dishes
Doing their part
To keep the kids and the cardiologists going

And just as you were about to burst with joy
Unworthy as you were
There was even more to come
Through the passthrough and out into the main hall

Giant bowls of green and yellow Jell-O, wiggling and jiggling with life
Bits of cottage cheese suspended inside
And green olives
Molded in the shape of pinwheels
Or Christmas trees
Or peculiar giant half-moon shaped fish with big scales

And the old men would watch
Mumbling under their breath
“Damn kids don’t know how good they’ve got it…”

So we prayed to be forgiven
And were mindful of the need to be always alert
If the weather didn’t kill you some crazy old man might
Or you could fall through the ice and drown a horrible death in the lake

And all the while the wind screamed
Threatening to take your soul

And it might have
Except for the hotdish

Neither the north wind
Nor the crazy old men dared cross
The ladies of the Ladies Aid
Who knew exactly what they were doing

                © Ron Olsen – all rights reserved

 

malibu

Ron Olsen is a semi-retired journalist who lives in Los Angeles

and writes essays and an occasional poem.   He drew upon his

youth in Minnesota, for “Hotdish,” which he says, he no longer

has the courage to eat.   You can see more of his poetry here at

Artvilla, or at his website at http://workingreporter.com/poetry.html

Bon appetit


Poem: I Had A Friend, A Sniper

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photo: U.S. Marine Corps (public domain)

I Had A Friend
by Ron Olsen

I had a friend
A sniper
Not a movie
A sniper
Who came back unable to live with us

When we went shooting
He never missed

He was in the jungle
Tied to a tree
Until he nearly died from
Some vile amoebic rot
Put him in a hospital in Japan

He came back
Married a woman
Kept a big spider
And a snake
Kept them in aquariums on shelves
With a giant hookah in the middle of the room

He’d let the spider out
Let it crawl around
And the snake
Inside your shirt
If you weren’t careful
He still needed some hazard
Some threat
Some kind of edge

We smoked
And then his young wife
Would coax him into bed
Where he slept with a 45
And the dreams
Of what had passed

Still uncomfortable without his back to the wall
He’d seen too much
I guess
Felt too much
Perhaps
Done too much
The marriage did not last
So he left to build sailboats

He was my friend
But I let him go
Threw him away like so much trash
I was unsure
Afraid of what he might do
You can’t be too careful
Around people who play with spiders

I had a friend
He was a sniper
He came back from the war
And died young
I could have done more
But maybe not
I’m sorry

I no longer knew who you were

Reality
Or a story
To make money
For some Hollywood producer
To glorify war
And reassure ourselves of who we are
How strong we are
How deadly we are
How right we are
How decent we are
That killing can be justified

I had a friend
He was a sniper
Now he’s dead
Died young from jungle rot
There’s no movie about his life
Just reality

I’m so damn sorry

© Ron Olsen – All rights reserved