My Girl’s Father Always Changed the Station

As I mentioned last time, let’s assume the context for this project from this post forward.

The other day I had an idea for a distraction. As many of you know, our daughter is a visual artist. When we moved to our new home, we had to store a gallery’s haul of artworks in the mechanical room. The mechanical room?? That didn’t feel right.

One of our bedrooms in our little condo is made into a kind of make-do library, books sorted by category on free-standing metal shelves. Nothing on the walls. Those old-timey library cards available for those wanting to check out a novel, non-fiction, a knitting book. There are books on how to lay tile, how to draw or paint or carve or garden or cook Czech.

So I carried out the paintings and hung them salon-style, covering the walls, making sure with my elegant eye and sense of balanced hues to place one piece next to, above, below, across the room from another so that nothing stole the “exhibit,” each setting off the other for the eye’s delight.

What’s it take? Hammer. Nails. Alignment. Hold the painting up high and marking where the nail goes. Note pencil is across the room. Get pencil. Place finger on mark. Notice hammer is across room. Secure hammer. Repeat. Note box of nails is across room. Get box of nails. Recognize I am in a Laurel and Hardy film and say out loud, “Well, NOW we’re getting somewhere!” For fifty artworks, this scenario occurs twenty-one times. Wake in the morning with every muscle screaming, “What the hell have you done to me?!?”

But it’s so cool. Julie loves it. And I was distracted, laughingly, happily distracted. And what I did mattered. The history of our lives recorded in art is holding the history of our lives recorded in books.

And just in time for our 39th Valentine’s Day, another of those holidays that is either a joy or a sorrow–

My Girl’s Father Always Changed the Station

“Not in this car, not
while I’m the driver,”
he would shout and slap
the dash, then jam
his middle finger
on the center button.
The point would leap
across the dial, leaving
the long wail of
Janis Joplin in its wake.
We’d sit back, sigh, let
our fingers lace, look out
the window, watch the farms
pass, the men plowing,
the cows lying still
against the acceptance of the sky.
Hearing a Pirates game, the news,
some orchestra, we would dream
of Janis, still singing
and a back seat
where we could listen
and learn to love alone.

–Jack Ridl

First published in Southern Poetry Review
Subsequently published in Between, Dawn Valley Press

Don’t miss subscribing to this podcast.  And Then Suddenly is the brainchild of the kind and brilliant Angela Santillo, whose path I’ve crossed once before while working with CavanKerry Press. Her podcast has a brilliant premise…  Describe a moment in your life that changed… everything. She’s had that moment, and from it she has made this podcast. Here’s the conversation we had recently.  I hope you explore many of the episodes. Because they will change you. In a good way.
We are working at rescheduling the reading at The BookNook & Java Shop in Montague thanks to the kindness of owner Bryan Uecker.

On Valentines Day at The Bookman In Grand Haven there will be a heart-fun reading with Greg Rappleye, Jane Bach, D.R. James, and moi. Hope you can make it.

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Visit Reader’s World or Hope-Geneva Bookstore in Holland, The Bookman in Grand Haven, the Michigan News Agency in Kalamazoo, and The Book Nook & Java Shop in Montague to find Jack’s books in West Michigan.

Jack’s page on Amazon.

Click here to subscribe to receive Jack’s poems and news in your inbox.

Click here for Jack’s entire collection, In Time — poems for the current administration.

Jack on And Then Suddenly podcast by Angela Santillo.

Click here to watch Jack’s TedX talk.

Jack at Fetzer Institute on Kindness.

Jack at Fetzer Institute on Everyday Forgiveness.

Jack at Fetzer Institute on Empathy.

Jack Ridl at Fetzer Institute on Suffering and Love.

Beyond Meaning with Jack Ridl, C3: West Michigan’s Spiritual Connection

 

Extra! Extra! SO Extra!

Oh I’m so delighted to have had the opportunity to be interviewed/have a cool conversation with this remarkable podcaster. If you haven’t found her cast yet, then I have the extra, extra honor of making the introduction, for which you will thank me.

And Then Suddenly is the brainchild of the kind and brilliant Angela Santillo, whose path I’ve crossed once before while working with CavanKerry Press. Her podcast has a brilliant premise…

Describe a moment in your life that changed… everything.

She’s had that moment, and from it she has made this podcast.

And here’s the conversation we had recently.  I hope you explore many of the episodes. Because they will change you. In a good way.

Peace,

Jack

 

Aubade for Today

Ok, like many of you, I have had it. I confess. I quit. I’m worn down. 45 and his gang of mind marauders have done me in.

Not my spirit, but my attention.

So starting this week, no more 45. My protest is going to be devoted to anything worthy of our attention. And my hope is that we can sustain one another this way.

Always the context is, of course, the Despots and the Cowards of Congress, but our days will be no longer wasted on what we can’t do a damn or holy thing about.

I had lots of responses to last week’s post, many of which wondered what the coach and his family had to say about it. So I asked their permission to offer their comments to you and they said,

“Take absolutely anything.”

So here is some of what they had to say. Oh, and one correction: I neglected to say that Coach Morehouse achieved 600 wins faster than any coach in history from any division. Now, what coaches come to mind? Rupp? Wooden? Summitt? Krzyzewski, Smith? Knight? Nope. It was Brian Morehouse. And his daughter, Meg, plays as a first year player on his team.

Here Coach/Dad’s own words:

Delicate balancing act. Sometimes the coach’s kid gets the benefit of the doubt. Sometimes she’s held to an unrealistic expectation.

What we really need is for Jack and Meg to hang out as coaches’ kids 🤔😁

Today is a new day. We are one more ACL tear into our season, coach thinks a new offense will work, assistants think and think and think, and meanwhile somewhere in England or Rome or Munich or Shanghei, no one gives a shit if we win or lose. So coach goes to work early because, well, you have to win the next one.

And from wife/mother Liz:

A coach — always the topic of conversation.
No matter where his wife sits…..
by the parents–my kid doesn’t play,
by some fans–your daughter should play more,
by [others]–the player needs to shoot more,
she needs to stand up faster,
the coach needs to give her an opportunity.

The player hears her teammates and wants to fit in,
the player wants to please her dad.

The Dad wants to play her more,
the dad’s ability to access her talent is blurred in all directions–playing her too much, not enough.

They win together. They lose together.

TOGETHER~Yes, win/lose let’s stay together. Till next week with a whole new, kinda, approach

 

Aubade for Today

When the morning comes,

that’s when you can do
what the morning hopes

you will do. You don’t

have to. If you do
though, it will then

all change. And it will

be noon and time for
a sandwich, or you might

keep going until the moon.

–Jack Ridl

We are working at rescheduling the reading at The BookNook & Java Shop in Montague thanks to the kindness of owner Bryan Uecker.

On Valentines Day at The Bookman In Grand Haven there will be a heart-fun reading with Greg Rappleye, Jane Bach, D.R. James, and moi.

 

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Visit Reader’s World or Hope-Geneva Bookstore in Holland, The Bookman in Grand Haven, the Michigan News Agency in Kalamazoo, and The Book Nook & Java Shop in Montague to find Jack’s books in West Michigan.

Jack’s page on Amazon.

Click here to subscribe to receive Jack’s poems and news in your inbox.

Click here for Jack’s entire collection, In Time — poems for the current administration.

Jack on And Then Suddenly podcast by Angela Santillo.

Click here to watch Jack’s TedX talk.

Jack at Fetzer Institute on Kindness.

Jack at Fetzer Institute on Everyday Forgiveness.

Jack at Fetzer Institute on Empathy.

Jack Ridl at Fetzer Institute on Suffering and Love.

Beyond Meaning with Jack Ridl, C3: West Michigan’s Spiritual Connection

 

Coach’s Son Tells His Wife What It Was Like

I CAN’T WATCH!!!

I am a coach’s son. Coach’s sons tough it out. Coach’s sons play with pain. Coach’s sons come through no matter what.

One of my former students is a coach’s son. When he was in my freshman (called that back then) English class, he and I would talk about being coach’s sons. I said I learned I could never be a coach. He said that being a coach was all he wanted to be. And he — Brian Morehouse — just became the youngest coach at any college or university level to win 600 games. 600! Of course he owes it all to freshman English.

Of course he’s being celebrated. And he’s carried all the deserved recognition with his usual modesty and without a single cliche. Honesty. Integrity. Deflected attention. Even disbelief. Through and through. And I know he never missed a game.

Me? I turned into a teacher and a poet. And Tuesday night I missed a game. I did not come through. I was to read at a special winter lecture series. I caught and kept a bug that is spreading its way through household after household. And I all but drove my wife Julie crazy first with insisting I go “anyway” and then by over and over and over saying to her how I’m letting everyone down.

“You play anyway. You can’t let down the team. Get out there.”

And so to all of you who didn’t know of the cancellation and who were at the door reading the sign, I’m sorry. And that doesn’t cut it.

Coach’s Son Tells His Wife What It Was Like

I couldn’t wait for the game
to be over. Win. Lose. I knew

what to expect: Talk. Sports pages.
Television. Radio. Even a win was

seldom good enough: “I thought they’d win
by more than that!” “Why’d your father

keep Daniels in? He was terrible.” “Yeah. but
next game?” Losing led to all their reasons why.

I’d shiver hearing “Coach blew it at the end.”
“When’s he gonna give up on that combination?”

Headline: LOOKS LIKE A LONG LOSING YEAR!
Headline: WILL THIS BE COACH’S LAST SEASON?

At school I would sit in class wishing I could read:
CAR DEALER BLOWS SALE AT END OF DAY!

DENTIST SCREWS UP ROOT CANAL!
After a win I’d only sigh. After a loss, I

would lie in bed readying my words, and
cringe as I felt my fists unfold.

–Jack Ridl
Published in Aethlon: Journal of Sports Literature

I am welcoming new sign-ups for one-on-one coaching in poetry writing held here at our home or online via Zoom or Skype. No experience needed; all levels are welcome. I always tailor the sessions to meet whatever you would enjoy working with. To set up a date and time just contact me at this link or the one above. Cost is $85 for an hour-and-a-half session or $235 for three sessions. And of course if you don’t enjoy our time together, no charge!!😊

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Visit Reader’s World or Hope-Geneva Bookstore in Holland, The Bookman in Grand Haven, the Michigan News Agency in Kalamazoo, and The Book Nook & Java Shop in Montague to find Jack’s books in West Michigan.

Jack’s page on Amazon.

Click here to subscribe to receive Jack’s poems and news in your inbox.

Click here for Jack’s entire collection, In Time — poems for the current administration.

Click here to watch Jack’s TedX talk.

Jack at Fetzer Institute on Kindness.

Jack at Fetzer Institute on Everyday Forgiveness.

Jack at Fetzer Institute on Empathy.

Jack Ridl at Fetzer Institute on Suffering and Love.

Beyond Meaning with Jack Ridl, C3: West Michigan’s Spiritual Connection

 

Ice Storm

It’s snowing, a quiet downfall of small flakes. Daughter Meridith and I make up children’s book titles using the word “Little.” Today it was “The Littlest Snowflake.”

Prior to Saturday’s Women’s March Reverend Ginny Mikita, with her sparkling presence, offered us gently disquieting and heart-affirming encouragement as she told of the time she and her daughter went to the March on the day after 45’s inauguration. There they heard Gloria Steinem’s call to courage and Michael Moore’s assurance that “this will be over in 4-6 months.”

Saturday it rained. Saturday it snowed. Saturday the wind gusted up to 40 mph. It was as if the rain and snow were a tag team determined to deter the Marchers. The Marchers won. They came into the finish laughing and cheering and shivering. They had marched again. Perhaps the most stirring poster sardonically read something along the lines of “I can’t believe we’re still protesting this shit.”

I sit here, the ever present pit in my stomach. How I love the sensibility that leads all of us to cherish “The Littlest Snowflake.” I try to balance it with a world suffocating under violence and the violation of all we cherish. I can’t. Cruelty overwhelms.

I’m reading Barry Lopez’s Horizon. He’s watching his young grandson playing in a pool, playing in joy, and he writes, “In the beauty of this moment, I suddenly feel the question: What will happen to us? … I want to wish each stranger I see … an untroubled life. I want everyone here to survive what is coming.”

And I too, of course, want everyone I see to survive, to be able always to watch for the delight of the littlest snowflake.

Ice Storm

Here on the couch with my young dog
I’m feeling gratitude, an odd gratitude,
an old gratitude, one I thought had gone

for good down a long back road
that led away from the years when
I felt glad, felt what I believed

was an abiding gratitude: to be,
to be warm, and grateful to be
warm, to have some pillows

and a dozen books and all afternoon.
To be alone without even a sideswipe
of loneliness. To be on page 47,

or 114, or page one and there
was nothing missing. The ice
storm made things warm,

time irrelevant, made the sleeping
dog an Amen to a prayer
never needing to be said.

–Jack Ridl

First published in Third Wednesday
Subsequently published in Saint Peter and the Goldfinch (Wayne State University Press)

Just published is Wild Hope: Stories for Lent from Paraclete Press, by Gayle Boss, an exquisite spiritual writer. Gayle spent years studying species that are not only endangered but near extinction. “Wild Hope is the only book whose table of contents alone gave me chills” wrote MacArthur grantee Carl Safina. The collection has also been been celebrated by Bill McKibbon and Richard Rohr. The woodcuts by David G. Klein are astonishing.

On Tuesday, January 28, at 7pm, come see us in Montague at the amazing, one-and-only BookNook and Java Shop! I’ll be reading from St. Peter and the Goldfinch, and chatting with Book Nook people. The best people. Here’s how to get there.

I am welcoming new sign-ups for one-on-one coaching in poetry writing held here at our home or online via Zoom or Skype. No experience needed; all levels are welcome. I always tailor the sessions to meet whatever you would enjoy working with. To set up a date and time just contact me at this link or the one above. Cost is $85 for an hour-and-a-half session or $235 for three sessions. And of course if you don’t enjoy our time together, no charge!!😊

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Visit Reader’s World or Hope-Geneva Bookstore in Holland, The Bookman in Grand Haven, the Michigan News Agency in Kalamazoo, and The Book Nook & Java Shop in Montague to find Jack’s books in West Michigan.

Jack’s page on Amazon.

Click here to subscribe to receive Jack’s poems and news in your inbox.

Click here for Jack’s entire collection, In Time — poems for the current administration.

Click here to watch Jack’s TedX talk.

Jack at Fetzer Institute on Kindness.

Jack at Fetzer Institute on Everyday Forgiveness.

Jack at Fetzer Institute on Empathy.

Jack Ridl at Fetzer Institute on Suffering and Love.

Beyond Meaning with Jack Ridl, C3: West Michigan’s Spiritual Connection

 

After School

Last week I wrote about having our daughter and her students out here at our home for a class. The house echoed with joy, and it has lingered — lingered along with wondering what future 45, his cronies, and the cowards in congress are creating for them.

Last night local student and friend, 14-year-old Hannah Huggett, received her town’s Youth Social Justice Award for her tireless work combating climate change, gun violence, violations of women’s rights, pollution, harm to the earth. Hannah, of course, gives us hope, but like Greta, she wants more than hope; she demands action.

We’re all proud of you Hannah. Let’s embody that pride by celebrating you with action. Here’s a start: Join the fourth annual Women’s March on January 18. We will be marching from Douglas to Saugatuck. In our towns we will be meeting and organizing all weekend long. For details go here: http://bit.ly/SDWM2020.

After School

Under the bridge from which anyone could have jumped,
we stood and read the history of rust, the sleep
of iron in the rainy afternoon. “I love Eddie”
“Class of 1974” “This world sucks!” We
remembered our hands. And we wished we could lie down
in this dirty stream and feel the fish come back,
see a weary angel lay its wings beside
the abandoned tire and wander off
tossing beer cans from the weeds and laughing.
–for John Armstrong III

–Jack Ridl

First published in The Carolina Quarterly
Subsequently published in Poems from The Same Ghost and Between (Dawn Valley Press)

On Tuesday, January 28, at 7pm, come see us in Montague at the amazing, one-and-only Book Nook and Java Shop! I’ll be reading from St. Peter and the Goldfinch, and chatting with Book Nook people. The best people. Here’s how to get there.

I am welcoming new sign-ups for one-on-one coaching in poetry writing held here at our home or online via Zoom or Skype. No experience needed; all levels are welcome. I always tailor the sessions to meet whatever you would enjoy working with. To set up a date and time just contact me at this link or the one above. Cost is $85 for an hour-and-a-half session or $235 for three sessions. And of course if you don’t enjoy our time together, no charge!!👍😊

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Visit Reader’s World or Hope-Geneva Bookstore in Holland, The Bookman in Grand Haven, the Michigan News Agency in Kalamazoo, and The Book Nook & Java Shop in Montague to find Jack’s books in West Michigan.

Jack’s page on Amazon.

Click here to subscribe to receive Jack’s poems and news in your inbox.

Click here for Jack’s entire collection, In Time — poems for the current administration.

Click here to watch Jack’s TedX talk.

Jack at Fetzer Institute on Kindness.

Jack at Fetzer Institute on Everyday Forgiveness.

Jack at Fetzer Institute on Empathy.

Jack Ridl at Fetzer Institute on Suffering and Love.

Beyond Meaning with Jack Ridl, C3: West Michigan’s Spiritual Connection

Before the Game

Our daughter Meridith, art teacher, and her colleague Ellie, theater teacher, are team-teaching an interim course designed to undermine the damaging distinction between work and play. When we were children there was no difference. We did what we did: work and play fully integrated.

On Monday Meridith and Ellie brought their two classrooms out to our house, one group in the morning, the other in the afternoon, to create a five-course gourmet meal. I watched. I listened. I smiled. Joy filled the house. The class and Ellie and Meridith laughed and talked and yelled and “Oh my gawd-ed” and spilled and stirred and cooked and then gathered together, wide-eyed at their colorful presentation and sat in front of the fire to savor what they had created. And yes they discovered that preparing a meal could be, if they chose it to be, a form of creativity and play.

Remember how Julia Child would make a cake, and it would fall, and she would laugh and say how delightful it all was, and then offer her “Bon appetit”? She always transformed the “work,” the “task,” the “chore” of cooking into play.

I know that Meridith and Ellie are hoping their students realize that value lies in the joy of playful doing, successful outcome or not, and that the things we must do over and over again can be sustained as play, delight-bringing, and as what deeply matters.

Before the Game

“A lot of slush tonight,”
Custodian thinks, looking
over at the row of mops
leaning against the wall
of the boiler room. “I
clean up after everyone.”

The crowd is coming in,
stomping the snow
off their boots, shaking
the flakes from their coats.
He grabs a bucket, takes
a mop, puts them by the door.

He thinks of his son, a teacher
sixty miles away, who’d played
guard, averaged 14 points and
six assists his senior year. He’d
let him in the gym on Sundays.
They’d gone one-on-one.
He’d won a game or two.

He remembers going
out with Cindy Cross.
She married a car dealer.
His hands feel like young birds.

The team comes bursting
through the locker room
door, clapping, yelling past
him. He slaps each player
on the shoulder, says,
“Good luck. Go get ’em.”

–Jack Ridl

From Losing Season (CavanKerry Press)

It’s a new year, and I was hoping these posts would not still be going out there. I was naive, figured six months at the most. So to all of you who have subscribed and to you who have shared and sent a column on to others and to you who have responded, my thanks are innumerable. I have needed to be sustained, and you have done that. As I was writing this post about the wonderful students, I kept thinking about their futures. What will it be? I try not to shudder. All that joy. How I hope they can remain loyal to it.

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Visit Reader’s World or Hope-Geneva Bookstore in Holland, The Bookman in Grand Haven, the Michigan News Agency in Kalamazoo, and The Book Nook & Java Shop in Montague to find Jack’s books in West Michigan.

Jack’s page on Amazon.

Click here to subscribe to receive Jack’s poems and news in your inbox.

Click here for Jack’s entire collection, In Time — poems for the current administration.

Click here to watch Jack’s TedX talk.

Jack at Fetzer Institute on Kindness.

Jack at Fetzer Institute on Everyday Forgiveness.

Jack at Fetzer Institute on Empathy.

Jack Ridl at Fetzer Institute on Suffering and Love.

Beyond Meaning with Jack Ridl, C3: West Michigan’s Spiritual Connection

Putting Away the Santas

Here’s s a New Year’s resolution: 45 will not take away our kindness.

Putting Away the Santas

I’ve found one for her every summer,
some in Christmas stores that keep things
in a desperate sparkle all year long, some
in antique shops, some at garage sales.
I set them along the windowsills here
in the house we bought and thought
would be the first in a line leading to
the perfect home. Now we can’t leave
the creek that bends its way through
the woods out back. The morning light
slides through the jagged space
between these handmade bedraggles
in divinity. Their beards flow or scraggle
down across their chests, unfurling
from their rust-red cheeks. Some raise
their arms in unabashed glee. Others
are weary, their eyes soft, their hands
barely holding on to a bear or wreath.
A few are tiny, a few are tall. One is
straight as the back of a Swedish chair,
a couple are full of gnarled Appalachian
cuts and curves. One plays the accordion;
one holds back seven dogs. Some look
as if their sacks are full of sorrow.
Our daughter made one from a
toilet paper roll. I put them out the day
after Thanksgiving, welcome each one
back, ask how their sleep among
the ornaments had gone, even thank
them for lasting one more year. Now
I wrap them one by one in a paper towel,
lay each back in its box. Come mid-July
I’ll start the search again, hoping I can
find another jolly lugger of unaccustomed joy.

–Jack Ridl

First published in Controlled Burn.

Subsequently published in Practicing to Walk Like a Heron (Wayne State University Press) co-recipient of the 2013 IndieFab/ForeWord Reviews Award for the Best Collection of Poetry published by a small or university press

People are still asking, so we will tell you, you can find the conversation between Jack and Pastor Sal Sapienza, Poetry and the Spirit, over here.

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Visit Reader’s World or Hope-Geneva Bookstore in Holland, The Bookman in Grand Haven, the Michigan News Agency in Kalamazoo, and The Book Nook & Java Shop in Montague to find Jack’s books in West Michigan.

Jack’s page on Amazon.

Click here to subscribe to receive Jack’s poems and news in your inbox.

Click here for Jack’s entire collection, In Time — poems for the current administration.

Click here to watch Jack’s TedX talk.

Jack at Fetzer Institute on Kindness.

Jack at Fetzer Institute on Everyday Forgiveness.

Jack at Fetzer Institute on Empathy.

Jack Ridl at Fetzer Institute on Suffering and Love.

Beyond Meaning with Jack Ridl, C3: West Michigan’s Spiritual Connection

Star’s Christmas

I am not in any way an expert on the Constitution; however, when it comes to impeachment, if one votes along party lines rather than fulfilling ones oath to uphold the Constitution, is that not aiding and comforting our enemies, i.e., bona fide treason? (Asking for a few million friends.)

For many it’s the day after Christmas. I love when we can bring our traditions together rather than argue about secular vs religious, or religious vs religious. For those who yelp about keeping Christ in Christmas, okay, well, Jesus, born a couple thousand years ago, love incarnate, taught us to unite in joy. I can see no more Jesus-like way than bringing Dickens and Luke together to open their stockings. Along with all the people celebrating the light of the world this season.

I hope if you celebrate Christmas, that your day was dappled with joy and the greatest gift of all, being able to recognize love. I try not to get all caught up in defining it. We know it when we experience it. And we recognize its absence, as when 45 descended beneath anything humane in his remarks on Congressman Dingle.

Love. We know it when we offer it, when we receive it, when we witness it.

Star’s Christmas

Outside the box store, a Salvation
Army volunteer rings her bell,
the sound taking its place
with the snowflakes falling
around her. Star, heading in
to pick up a recording, suddenly
feels caught between desire and
the bell. He feels he’s going
to blow a lay up, that
a crowd of angels is watching
to see if he’ll take the shot or
toss the ball to his teammate
cutting down the lane. Inside,
he sees the glow of florescence
hovering over the aisles. The bell
continues its single note. The ringer’s
stare moves across the lot, between
the cars, between the snowflakes.
Star feels everything in his life
change, the way a vase suddenly
becomes two faces. All he
wanted was a new cd, to take
it home, lie back on his bed and
let it let him dream. But now
each person in the store is an angel,
every dollar a story. Each car
is rusting back to earth. Star’s
sore from playing and afraid
the change he carefully drops into
the bucket is never enough, that
the bell’s one note will never stop.

–Jack Ridl

First published in Free Lunch.

Subsequently published in Losing Season (CavanKerry Press).

New Year’s resolution: Support the value of poems: Give a book to someone who isn’t aware that poems aren’t what they think they are, a book that will enable the person to feel understood and affirmed.

 

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Visit Reader’s World or Hope-Geneva Bookstore in Holland, The Bookman in Grand Haven, the Michigan News Agency in Kalamazoo, and The Book Nook & Java Shop in Montague to find Jack’s books in West Michigan.

Jack’s page on Amazon.

Click here to subscribe to receive Jack’s poems and news in your inbox.

Click here for Jack’s entire collection, In Time — poems for the current administration.

Click here to watch Jack’s TedX talk.

Jack at Fetzer Institute on Kindness.

Jack at Fetzer Institute on Everyday Forgiveness.

Jack at Fetzer Institute on Empathy.

Jack Ridl at Fetzer Institute on Suffering and Love.

Beyond Meaning with Jack Ridl, C3: West Michigan’s Spiritual Connection

Christmas, the Impeachment of The President of the United States

Scenario: Greta Thunberg asks to meet with her school principal and guidance counselor. They ask her what the trouble is. She replies,

“The President of the United States is bullying me! I want him put in detention and have to write on the whiteboard ‘I will not bully Greta any more’ 150 times. And then, impeach him.”

 

Christmas, the Impeachment of The President of the United States

My father would be baking kolaces

I’ve shoveled the snow from the walk to the house.

Returning home. Leaving home. Finding a home.

The line into the soup kitchen is a block long.

Wood on the fire. Eggnog. Christmas scarves on the dogs.

All night the stars.

The oldest ornament we own, a wooden snowman sitting on a red sled, is 80.

The delivery trucks follow one another around the bend.

We’ve placed this year’s tea blend in the mailbox.

Each day rearranging the Christmas cards on the windowsills.

There is a wreath on the door.

What family we have left will not be here.

The cold clings in silver webs on the windows.

A woman behind a winter market stand lays a handmade necklace across her open palm.

–Jack Ridl

First published in 5AM; Subsequently published in Practicing to Walk Like a Heron (Wayne State University Press)

D. L. James has not one but two new collections out just in time for you to give to someone who finds poetry a good place to be. David’s humane poems are often funny or catch you not sure whether or not to laugh. The collections:

Nail Yourself into Bliss from Kelsay Books

and

A Gem of Truth from Main Street Rag

Special gratitude for all those who made the local Vigil Against Violence meaningful, and for those who protested 45 on Tuesday, and to all who created moving holiday concerts over the past week, and for those who celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah and Kwanzaa and the Solstice, and the holiday of your heart, may it be MERRY AND BRIGHT!

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Visit Reader’s World or Hope-Geneva Bookstore in Holland, The Bookman in Grand Haven, the Michigan News Agency in Kalamazoo, and The Book Nook & Java Shop in Montague to find Jack’s books in West Michigan.

Jack’s page on Amazon.

Click here to subscribe to receive Jack’s poems and news in your inbox.

Click here for Jack’s entire collection, In Time — poems for the current administration.

Click here to watch Jack’s TedX talk.

Jack at Fetzer Institute on Kindness.

Jack at Fetzer Institute on Everyday Forgiveness.

Jack at Fetzer Institute on Empathy.

Jack Ridl at Fetzer Institute on Suffering and Love.

Beyond Meaning with Jack Ridl, C3: West Michigan’s Spiritual Connection