In Italian there is a
lingering note that precedes
the fugue of living.
Appoggiatura – a sustained tone
that cuts into the time
of the next chord.
Sometimes it’s called a grace note
alternately, a time-stealer.
There’s a whole constellation
of distractions in my repertoire.
Things I tell myself
I must accomplish before
I let joy settle:
That last ten pounds
That college degree
That nest egg.
Please help me take
Your words to heart –
that grace is a gift,
and life is to be lived.
Right now.

An Open Apology from Central Jersey


For those of us who live in central Jersey in the Rutgers community, I‘d like to offer the world this heartfelt and humble apology.   In an ironic twist, just as Rutgers launched its two-year “Civility Project,” two students broadcast a gay student’s sexual encounter live over the internet, leading to his jumping off the George Washington Bridge to his death. 

At first, I thought to offer “condolences,” but that seemed achingly insufficient.  This is not who we are.  This is not the humanity and nobility we are capable of.  We’re not a community that lives in the dark ages.  We’re exceptionally diverse and, for the most part, we do “live and let live.”

But I do believe an apology is in order – to the family of the victim, to the gay community, and to all the reasonable people in the world who can’t get their head around this egregious episode.

My first thought about the students who filmed their roommate is, who raised such vile creatures?  How could two people intelligent enough to get into college not possess a moral compass between them? 

I’ve come to the inevitable conclusion that no matter how hard you try to instill your values into your children, they will be faced with a choice.  And they will choose wrong.  Horribly wrong.

I’m the Champion of the Second Chance on most occasions, but I haven’t found that largess in my heart yet for the two who perpetrated this atrocity.  As the world puts this event into its collective memory banks, please remember – this is not who we really are, and the good people here will find a way to work together to get back in touch with the better angels of our nature.  God bless, and God rest.