Tuesday, April 18, 2017

I Just Paid My War Taxes--Mea Culpa!

Paying My War Taxes

Today I filed my federal war taxes. I am almost ashamed to admit it. Many friends of mine risked their freedom, their careers, their homes—really, almost everything, by refusing to pay war taxes. Many of them went to jail for this. Others had to live below the taxable poverty line, in other words, very simply, with an extremely low income threshold. I’m thinking of people like Chuck Matthei, Marion and Ernest Bromly, Juanita and Wally Nelson., the Berrigan’s, Phil and Dan, Dorothy Day, Ammon Hennacy (The One-Man Revolution), Maurice McCrackin. Many folks in the Peacemaker Movement and the Catholic Worker Movement. Many Quakers and Mennonites. I appreciate their enormous sacrifices.
Chuck Matthei
I am not against all taxation. I am happy to pay my taxes and share my resources for many things having to do with the health, welfare, and cultural resources of our country. I am also happy to share my resources with those in need outside my country, the poor, needy, refugees, the hungry.

Wally and Juanita Nelson, Ernest and Marion Bromley, Maurice McCrackin

But I strongly object to the use of my taxes for war and for imperialism. Our tax dollars have done so much damage in the world. And lately, the sabers have been rattling again—at people and groups in Syria, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Russia, China, and many other places. And most ominously of all, in North Korea, where “all options are on the table.” Well one of those options is the use of nuclear weapons. If it comes to that, then the future of the world, the entire future of civilization, is put at great risk. The world could essentially end. All our own hopes and our hopes for our families, friends, children, and grandchildren could be dashed—incinerated.
Ammon Hennacy (right)

Can we trust our leaders not to use these weapons of destruction—in fact, weapons of mass destruction. We have them at the ready. They could be launched at any minute.

Dan Berrigan and Thomas Merton

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Love Poem

Your Precious Heart

I want to rest the chuff of my hand
On the curve of your hip.
Want you to place your hand upon my chest
Calm my jumpy nerves.
I like the heft of your body next to me all night,
Barely touching, the beautiful rhythm of your breathing,

Your beating heart, your beating heart,

So precious to me.

                                    Bob Coughlin / April 13, 2017

[Thanks to Walt Whitman for the first line of this poem.]

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

A Little Prose-Poem for Opening Day--1966!

Opening Day 1966

My buddy Terry and I had a great plan to see all the Indians’ games free in 1966. We would sell hot dogs or cokes at Municipal Stadium and watch the game between sales.

We skipped school that day and took a 7 AM bus to East Cleveland. Then from the Windermere Station, we grabbed the Rapid Transit to the Terminal Tower.

From Public Square we walked the mile down to Municipal Stadium, the middle-aged but beautiful giant on the Lake.

We found the line for concessionaires—about 200 folks, and we were the youngest and the whitest.

There was no rigamarole with paper work, and we were hired just like that, trained in five minutes. All we had to do was holler, “Get your Red Hots here! Red Hots here!” That was it.

Before you knew it, we were carrying hot dogs, buns, and beloved Stadium Mustard up and down aisles, jammed with 80,000 customers—the largest crowd I’d ever seen.

I didn’t see a minute of that game. I sold 200 hot dogs and made 8 bucks. Of that I spent 2 bucks on buses, clearing 6 bucks for a 12-hour day, getting back to Euclid at 7 PM.

Terry and I got into trouble for skipping school, but we hardly gave a damn. It was senior year, and this was Opening Day!

That was my first and last day as a concessionaire, an experience I’d always value, and never forget.#

            Bob Coughlin / April 11, 2017—Opening Day

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Ava Learns to Crawl!

Ava learns to crawl

A day after your 8-month birthday,
You, dear Ava, spread your wings!

With Mom and Dad and Colin and Robby rooting you on,
You crawl across the basement floor
With such awesome focus and intensity . . .
And joy of being this very baby.

And you crawl like you've done it a thousand times,
Toward, your goal, that TV remote on the floor,

Which you know is mysteriously important.

Hurray for you, O Ava, on your journey,
Where you will stumble often,
And succeed because of your great effort,
Focus, joy, and

You in this circle of Love and Hope.

Bob Coughlin / April 6, 2017