Thursday, May 31, 2012


      He lies in his recliner through the day
      in his plaid boxer shorts and white t-shirt.
      From a pump for oxygen not far away,
      the tube beneath his nose gives him a spurt.

      His left hand’s on the handle of his cane
      he’ll need occasionally while going to pee,
      once he uncocks his chair and starts the strain
      of rising from his dull recumbency.

      “O, my!” he moans while struggling to his feet,
      and “Life gets teedjus, don’t it?” he exclaims
      while shuffling down the hallway looking beat,
      beyond all hope of serving higher aims.

           These are the dregs of life; the wine is drunk,
           and all that’s left is this declining funk.


Tuesday, May 29, 2012


      At Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, the games
      That people play intrigue us all, beguiled
      By how these ad-men multiply their shames,
      Show after show, their characters defiled
      By sordid love affairs, back-stabbing moves
      And intra-office rivalries that score
      Them points, but scar their souls, which proves
      Mad Avenue insane, a rotten whore.
      Yet still we tune in faithfully to gawk
      At fresh abominations week by week,
      Watching the clever ways they find to hawk
      Heinz beans or Jaguars, as the ratings peak.
           Perhaps instead of trash, a tragedy
           Unfolds—with pity, fear, catastrophe.


Monday, May 28, 2012


The Republican Premises

People should take care of themselves and their dependents.  “Looking out for #1” is a priority and principle, not a sign of greedy acquisitiveness.  The world, as Darwin demonstrated, is replete with competition, and one must be fit to survive and to thrive. 

Therefore, making the most of your talents and potentials is a natural imperative; whereas being a slacker and a willful dependent is immoral.  In the spirit of Horatio Alger, one must “strive and succeed,” and the fruits of your labors are yours to do with as you will, principally to support your needy dependents, but also to share charitably with those unable to support themselves, but not with those unwilling to do so.  Widows and orphans and the unfortunate downtrodden deserve assistance as well as encouragement and support in becoming self-sufficient whenever possible. 

The principle of Self-Sufficiency is paramount with Republicans.  Taking the fullest responsibility possible for one’s own welfare and well-being is the prime precept of Republican conservatism.  Government is not meant to redistribute wealth lawfully earned by one’s initiative, enterprise and industriousness to those capable of acting from those same virtues if they would but choose to do so.  The real heroes in life are those who strive and struggle to reach their full potentials with integrity, honesty and charity.

The Democratic Premises

Life is not fair.  The circumstances in which people grow up and live are inevitably inequitable.  Some are blessed with bounty, privilege and opportunity by the luck of “birthright.”  Most are less well-favored by fortune and must struggle to fare well materially.  At the bottom of the socio-economic ladder are the desperate ones deprived of the basic resources for even minimal well-being: food, clothing, shelter and protection from harm and disease; much less, opportunity to improve their sorry lot—the deck is stacked against their advancement.

Therefore, it is unjust for a society not to provide the means and opportunities for all its citizens to be able to thrive, and then to encourage and facilitate their advancement to a “decent” standard of living, through their own initiative and efforts to the greatest extent possible.

Some people, though, will be physically, mentally or emotionally impaired from fending for themselves successfully.  They should be cared for, supported in their needs, and rehabilitated to the fullest extent possible: by voluntary charity when offered, but by public programs and tax dollars when necessary.  A humane society cannot neglect the plight of the truly needy.


Saturday, May 26, 2012


       I’d rather not remember all those wars
       Nor soldiers killing soldiers in combat
       And somehow justify the use of force
       Or celebrate insanity like that.

       What’s worth commemorating is not hate
       And fear and horrid, vengeful violence,
       But something peaceful and serenely great—
       For love, not anger, is our best defense.

       Or so said Jesus and sages of all times
       Arrived at higher consciousness, serene
       And sane, evolved past violence and crimes,
       Innocent of motives that demean.

            What I shall work to practice and to praise
           Is what is worth remembering all our days.


Thursday, May 24, 2012


      The further reaches of the probing mind
      Extend beyond what science has defined
      To something the Great Mystery has designed
      Toward which our deepest nature is inclined.



for Deepak Chopra and Leonard Mlodinow

           Not either/or but both/and it must be
           If we shall ever come to truly see
           The intrinsic nature of Reality:

           Beyond duality, this true Third Way,
           Though paradoxical to Night and Day,
           Reveals a twilight zone through its X-ray.

           With ancient arguments at last retired,
           No dialogic thinking is required:
           Here spirit matters and matter is inspired.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012


     While browsing in the pasture of my mind
     And grazing on the residues of dream,
     When dawn arrives, I find how thought’s inclined
     And follow its illusionary gleam.

     Out of the morning mists a way grows clear,
     A path to travel to an unknown end,
     Along which many specters may appear
     That beckon me toward somewhere they intend.

     Though still a mystery to wayward me,
     Who trips iambically foot after foot,
     Oblivious of my final destiny,
     The outcome I desire is more output
     Than destination, something I have made,
     Not found, a calling dutifully obeyed.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012


The only Earthly creature to ask why,
We humans cannot fully satisfy
Our innate needs with less than ultimate
Conviction as to where our people fit.

Are we but Earthbound mortals simply meant
For nothing—just a random accident
The cosmos stumbled on as it evolved,
A mystery no philosophy has solved?

Nor can our science, by its rules, address
The why; the signal marks of its success
Are what and where, how much and sometimes how,
But deeper probing it does not allow.

     Though we inquire of meaning and intent,
     No absolute reply is evident.


Monday, May 21, 2012


       I’ve taken Scientism’s path before,
       The secular and humanistic way,
       For reason opens many a secret door,
       And the scientific method’s here to stay
       Revealing secrets of the universe,
       The micro- and the macroscopic kinds,
       Fearless of any superstitious curse
       That knowledge is forbidden to our minds.
       And yet they’re subtler secrets we may probe
       Beyond the scope of rationality,
       Behind the Deep Mysterium’s wardrobe
       Revealed to those who use another key
           Following a cryptic guidance from within,
           Despite the rude diurnal mundane din.


Sunday, May 20, 2012

Nemerov # 12


Saturday, May 19, 2012


     The mystery of consciousness confounds
     Both scientists and mystics who debate
     Its origin and scope.  The one propounds
     That over eons it arose quite late
     In cosmic history, and only here
     On Earth, for all we know; the mystic, though,
     Maintains that consciousness was always here
     And everywhere, the source of the whole show:
     The Mind of God, cosmic intelligence,
     Gives rise to all the living universe,
     A subtle web connecting sparse and dense,
     Both near and far, for better and for worse.
          This latter story has widespread appeal,
          Despite suspicion it may not be real.


Friday, May 18, 2012


     The day and night sides of my brain contain
     Opposing worldviews sitting side by side,
     Not foes colliding, driving me insane,
     But complementary entities allied.

     The one’s the Scientist, whom evidence
     Alone persuades a proposition’s true;
     The other is the Mystic, whose sixth sense
     Validates a transcendental view.

     These mighty opposites have duked it out
     For centuries, since the Age of Reason rose
     To prominence and cast Belief in doubt,
     But now no longer need these views oppose:

         They’re like perspective pictures eyed awry
         When suddenly their oneness you descry.


Thursday, May 17, 2012


     What I may not remember, I absorb,
     Assimilating knowledge as I go,
     Reconstituting it within the orb
     Of consciousness, the worldview that I know;

     Thus facts beyond intentional recall
     Are nonetheless inherent in my thought,
     Like bricks lodged in an ever larger wall
     That my expanding consciousness has wrought.

     Or so I like to say and to believe
     Instead of thinking my poor brain’s a sieve
     Whose constant losses I must ever grieve,
     Though novel compensations may forgive.

         Thus what I’m lacking now in my retention
         I make up for with energized invention.


Wednesday, May 16, 2012


What is our highest human imperative but to develop in ourselves that which is unique to Homo sapiens sapiens—our sapience, our consciousness?

Raising, expanding, refining, and expressing all the progressive potentialities of mind with which we are endowed must be seen as the human imperative implicit in our marvelous constitution.

How life came to be on Earth and then to evolve into Homo sapiens sapiens, and if this is a purposeful occurrence may always remain a beguiling mystery.  Nonetheless, here we find ourselves wonderfully endowed with wonder and the capacity to ponder purpose and intention and meaning.

This we shall always do as we seek to extend the reach of our minds in all dimensions—physical, rational, emotional, spiritual and beyond.

To do this is our implicit mission, our raison d’etre.


Sunday, May 13, 2012


     That life exists and even consciousness
     And then the self-awareness to discern
     We are unique in our species’ success
     At recognizing how we grow and learn—

     All this amazes me, a mystery
     Beyond the ken of our intelligence
     It seems, except for those who claim to see
     Divinity through paranormal sense:

     In trance or ecstasy their reach of mind
     Extends to metaphysical domains
     Revealing how the Cosmos is designed
     And every earthly mystery explains.

         That one had come to such a consciousness
         Would be the mark of ultimate success.



Saturday, May 12, 2012


     “Poor little guy, he must have fallen from
     That power line they always run along
     Beside the street, chasing a frisky chum
     Athletically until something went wrong—

     He lost his grip and plummeted to ground
     Causing some internal injury—
     Then we came by and Gyppie, sniffing, found
     Him in the leaves, still breathing, as you see.”

     So I reported to our neighbor out,
     Like us, for exercise, our morning walk,
     And then we pondered what to do about
     The injured squirrel, not simply gawk.

          I fetched a little padded box and tried
          To keep him comfortable, until he died.


Friday, May 11, 2012


    The art of sonnetry may be too hard
    For many to attempt successfully,
    Especially in the shadow of the Bard,
    Whose little songs define true mastery. 
    It’s meter first that proves a stumbling block,
    Keeping and varying the iambic beat,
    Infusing music in the old tick-tock
    Where form and meaning elegantly meet.
    Then rhyme should enter unobtrusively,
    Seeming inevitable and wholly just,
    Exact in sense and sensibility,
    Arriving right on time and where it must.
         Hardest of all is holding the true mood
         Then knowing when the sonnet should conclude.


Thursday, May 10, 2012


Higher education should go about more than informing students, but also forming them into wise human beings. 

A sophocentric higher education works to help students grow sapient, our highest aim as Homo sapiens.

But how may one grow wise? 

By the development of both comprehensive knowledge and intelligence of many kinds. 

Intelligence can be

•    Rational (logical, tactical, strategic)
•    Emotional
•    Intuitive
•    Spiritual
•    Valuational (meaning, significance, importance,
•    Volitional (the drive to “make it so”).

Fiat Lux


Wednesday, May 9, 2012


    Were I to die tomorrow, would I go
    Content with how I’ve lived and what I’ve done,
    Or would I have regrets there’s less to show
    Of victory for all my races won?

    Or is life less about accomplishment
    By racking winnings up on the Big Board,
    And more about discovering content
    Through love, our life’s most glorious reward?

    The answer is self-evident to those
    Who know compassion, sympathy and care
    As gifts from others, which make them disclose
    The same solicitude, to give and share.

         It’s not what we acquire that makes life good,
         But serving others as we know we should.


Tuesday, May 8, 2012


                We live here in the world, it’s true,
                But, more than that, in a worldview
                Controlling all we see and  do,

                For how we think we see the world
                Is how reality’s unfurled—
                Calmly draped or wildly swirled.


Monday, May 7, 2012


   Two sides of me are represented in
   My names: one cheerful and the other glum;
   For “Alan” means I’m blithely free from sin,
   Though “Ernst” is darker, solemn, cold and numb.

   My last name then reiterates the same,
   Since “Nordstrom” says that I’m a frozen stream:
   This double oxymoron in my name
   Implies I’m the reverse of what I seem.

   So when you meet me, what should you expect—
   A two-faced fellow with a Janus head:
   Sly, ambivalent, and indirect,
   Or someone unpredictable instead?

        Fear not, for I’m exactly as I look;
        As you see here: my life’s an open book.


Sunday, May 6, 2012


            I sit to ruminate and watch
            My brain cavort and play hop-scotch,
            Leap-frogging till at last it’s caught
            A notion that might grow to thought—

            And then it is I start to write
            When often, to my great delight,
            That little spark becomes a flame
            Which leads me to some hidden aim.

                I didn’t know I knew what I
                Knew all along—now I know why.


Saturday, May 5, 2012

NEMEROV 2014 #2


         So much I take for granted that is grand:
         The wonder and the marvel of all being—
         For instance, look at this now writing hand
         Busy in the sacred act of me-ing
         As I compose myself with every word,
         Each line revealing more of who I am,
         A grand and vital force that’s undeterred,
         Refusing to be summed in epigram.
         A sonnet at the least must celebrate
         My singularity, but also yours,
         For any consciousness that lies innate
         In atoms, molecules and cells assures
         Us that within the cosmic Mystery
         Resides the maker of all poetry.


Thursday, May 3, 2012


     Had Dad not died at fifty-seven but
     Were still alive and in his nineties now,
     I wonder how things would be different, what
     Settlement we might have made somehow.
     He’d always wanted me to join with him
     In appraising and acquiring real estate,
     But I was moved by what he thought a whim:
     I liked to study, read and contemplate.

     My yen for literature and poetry,
     Philosophy and speculative pursuits,
     Though nascent in my youth, emboldened me
     To enter an estate with different fruits,

          An orchard rather than a barren plot,
          A place to grow and sanctify my lot.


Tuesday, May 1, 2012


        Your face, my friend, is plain as day to me;
        Your name, however, stays a mystery,
        A name I know, and yet cannot recall,
        Hidden behind a mental screen or wall
        Or sunken in a pool and slow to rise,
        Which only in due time I’ll recognize,
        Not soon enough to miss embarrassment
        Except when, in the nick, it’s heaven sent.