Thursday, October 27, 2016


by Jim Rapp

Len's forty-something steel grey eyes
betrayed little emotion as he watched
the hills surrender to the storm-gorged sky
a sea of soil for thieving rain to snatch.

Frank, the agent from the government,
had left the papers, coded, marked with "X",
for them to sign, even folded the document
and stamped the envelope against neglect.

A sudden gust and gush from heaven, shook the
shanty's roof, increased the torrent racing over
jagged eaves worn thin; a Niagara; an Amazon of
urgent force conveying all before it to the river.

Len's forty-something mind was slow to turn,
and when his forty-something hand clasped
the pencil, he recalled his neighbors' stern
disdain – he'd stand alone if he signed as asked.

But he would sign – if need, alone – mark himself
an innovator, a New Deal pariah, a TVA tinkerer,
a fool for FDR – taking the papers from the shelf,
he'd set in motion defiance of the thieving showers.

At porch's edge he peered, through slack'ning rain,
across the steep ravine, to see old McGreggor waving,
pen and envelope in hand. Not alone, not in vain,
they two, and more, would be the Valley's saving.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Workmen’s Compensation

(Haiku form)
by Jim Rapp

The powers that be
have decreed new windows and
siding where we live.

First came the window
installers, thirty-hours-a-
week or sometimes less.

It is obvious
that Americans need their
long fishing weekends.

Now come immigrants;
five and a half days a week
sun up to sun down.

Sons of Mexico
out work their American
brothers two to one.

I’d love to know the
pay scale – native born versus
Mexican labor.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Fox Facts

(Haiku Form)
by Jim Rapp

C.S. Lewis once
famously complained of those
who want summaries;

who ask for an ounce-
sized explanation of
a two-ton issue.

Now you’ve got it; Fox
will squeeze a Hillary speech
into a pop out,

no chance, they say, that
they will not be totally
fair – “Fair and Balanced.”

Soon they’ll be tweeting
the SOTU in one
hundred forty bits,

they’re masters of one-
ounce obfuscations of a
complex, two-ton fact.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Getting the Mortal Cart before the Infinite Horse

by Jim Rapp

I hear that God is omniscient,
knows all things, beginning to end –
contains no shadow of beginning or end –
not even a hint of continuum.

What is that apple, adam – nescient –
you're reaching for: ever tugging to bend
the tree to serve your mortal ends and
extricate yourself from earth’s alluvium?

Ever leaning toward some future –
imagining a coming day – 
adam strains to fit infinity into mortality
when God has willed it be the other way.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

A dog goes back to its own vomit” and “A scrubbed-up pig heads for the mud.

An ancient prophet - the apostle Peter - speaks to the American Evangelical church (II Peter 2)

            But there were also lying prophets among the people then, just as there will be lying religious teachers among you. They’ll smuggle in destructive divisions, pitting you against each other—biting the hand of the One who gave them a chance to have their lives back! They’ve put themselves on a fast downhill slide to destruction, but not before they recruit a crowd of mixed-up followers who can’t tell right from wrong.
            They give the way of truth a bad name. They’re only out for themselves. They’ll say anything, anything, that sounds good to exploit you. They won’t, of course, get by with it. They’ll come to a bad end, for God has never just stood by and let that kind of thing go on . . .
            . . . God is especially incensed against these “teachers” who live by lust, addicted to a filthy existence. They despise interference from true authority, preferring to indulge in self-rule. Insolent egotists, they don’t hesitate to speak evil against the most splendid of creatures. Even angels, their superiors in every way, wouldn’t think of throwing their weight around like that, trying to slander others before God.
            These people are nothing but brute beasts, born in the wild, predators on the prowl. In the very act of bringing down others with their ignorant blasphemies, they themselves will be brought down, losers in the end. Their evil will boomerang on them. They’re so despicable and addicted to pleasure that they indulge in wild parties, carousing in broad daylight. They’re obsessed with adultery, compulsive in sin, seducing every vulnerable soul they come upon. Their specialty is greed, and they’re experts at it. Dead souls! . . .
          . . . There’s nothing to these people—they’re dried-up fountains, storm-scattered clouds, headed for a black hole in hell. They are loudmouths, full of hot air, but still they’re dangerous. Men and women who have recently escaped from a deviant life are most susceptible to their brand of seduction. They promise these newcomers freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption, for if they’re addicted to corruption—and they are—they’re enslaved.
            If they’ve escaped from the slum of sin by experiencing our Master and Savior, Jesus Christ, and then slid back into that same old life again, they’re worse than if they had never left. Better not to have started out on the straight road to God than to start out and then turn back, repudiating the experience and the holy command. They prove the point of the proverbs, “A dog goes back to its own vomit” and “A scrubbed-up pig heads for the mud.”
II Peter 2 – (The Message - excerpted and highlighted by JDR)