Most every news story about the Santa Barbara shootings from May 23,

talk about the “madman” killer.  That’s a tragic smokescreen for all of us

to hide behind.  What concerns me are the people, our political leaders,

apparently “sane,” who continue to do nothing courageous to end, and

therefore perpetuate, the wave of deaths across this nation.  According to

the Gun Violence Archive, over 4,100 people in the U.S. have died by

firearms since the beginning of 2014.  And Michael Waldman, author of

THE SECOND AMENDMENT, over the last thirty years the 2nd Amendment

has “re-surfaced” as an “individual” right rather than it’s original purpose which

was to establish an armed militia to protect a new nation.  It is time for a 21st

century re-interpretation of the 2nd Amendment.  The NRA and those they own,

like “Joe, the plumber” who posted: “..your dead child doesn’t trump my

constitutional rights…,” is a horrific example of an “insane” understand of the 2nd Amendment.

The NRA and those they own, from my city council here in Wichita to President

Obama need to learn a 21st century interpretation of constitutional law.  The

NRA and those they own, like CNN, MSNBC, and the mainstream media need

to find and include voices who articulately and calmly speak the truth about

the 2nd Amendment, how it is tragically misused and mangled, literally, to



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This morning, in church, I wanted to say something about Memorial Day during joys and concerns but I didn’t.  Wanted to mention how it got started by blacks to honor black soldiers buried in a mass grave.  And I wanted to honor my dad, a very brave and gifted Marine.  Two bronze stars for bravery in battle, something I know nothing about.  And I wanted to mention how, in my lonely efforts to gain CO status in 1968, he told a mutual friend that he had fought in two wars – WW II and Korea — so his son would have the opportunity to go his own path.  He never told me, I only found out years later from that mutual friend.  I can only imagine the pain and loneliness that went into his alcoholism…and his death through suffocation while lying at the bottom of the basement stairs he had just been pushed down by his wife.  I could obviously not speak all of that this morning (or talk about walking across the landmine field in Bosnia and asking my already dead father for help returning to safety – which he did) but I will honor him, Lt. Colonel Jay Vernon Poage, in some way, tomorrow, Memorial Day.

May 25, 2014

Rev. Michael Poage

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 A short story by Michael Poage

Today I drove past one of those new, brightly lit billboard signs that always flash catchy colors and, usually change messages every ten or fifteen seconds.  This particular sign did splash out its message with those wild primary colors, however, the message did not change.  In bright red, white, and blue, it announced, with the urgency of time running out:


Some signs catch my eye, as the saying goes, but this one reached out and grabbed both eyeballs, pulled them out like they were attached to rubber bands, and suddenly let loose so, as they popped back into place, I ended up with a raging headache and a nasty attitude.  I was in a Hanna and Barbera cartoon!

How did whoever was responsible for that sign know what Jesus did or did not do for me. Really, I thought. He died for my sins! I did not ask him to take that lethal step and who really knows that he died.  The Bible has some pretty flimsy and star-studded stories as far as I am concerned.  I even recently saw a serious documentary that says there is evidence that he survived the cross, was nursed back to health, and made his way across the famous Silk Road to live out his life in northern India or, perhaps, in Tibet.  Why not?  He didn’t have to die to make me aware of all my shortcomings! I’m very familiar with what I’ve done in my life – and that damn sign did not tell the half of it!

I don’t need some martyr to take on my burdens – not even sure what that means but it seems like a waste of a perfectly good life.  Don’t kill anyone else on my behalf.  Take down the stupid, gaudy sign that probably shines in someone’s bedroom window keeping them awake most of the night.  It’s not only useless, it’s a nuisance.  I get much more meaning, reassurance and comfort from a book title:  Custer Died for Your Sins.

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I was very glad to see Mr. Charles Krauthammer’s (Eagle Editorial, April 5) endorsement of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction movement now gaining worldwide momentum on behalf of Palestinian rights.  To quote:  “Financial sanctions are precisely the kind of pressure that can support diplomacy.”  I may be taking his words out of context but he states the perfect rationale for the BDS campaign which works even to the benefit of Israel as its leadership takes some dangerous and lethal steps leading to the isolation of Israel and tragic violations of international and Israeli law used to continue the oppression of the Palestinians in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.  BDS is a non-violent, economic strategy aimed at changing unjust and illegal practices especially focused on the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land.  BDS originated with Palestinian civil society groups in 2005 and is fully described and supported by Palestinian Christians in the Kairos Palestine 2009 document.  A variety of religious and secular groups have endorsed BDS:  World Council of Churches, South African Council of Churches, United Church of Canada, conferences of the U.S. United Methodist Church, the Presbyterian Church (USA), Deutsche Bank, Danske Bank, Heineken Breweries, and Jewish groups such as Americans for Peace Now, Jewish Voice for Peace and Rabbis for Human Rights. The BDS campaign is putting pressure on Israel so it recognizes the worldwide support for Palestinian rights. It is not an attempt to destroy Israel. It is a movement that will, as Mr. Krauthammer writes:  “…support diplomacy” and result in human and legal rights restored to the Palestinians.

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Word and Justice:

 “It is difficult/to get the news from poems/yet men die miserably every day/for lack/of what is found there.”  — William Carlos Williams, “Asphodel, That Greeny Flower”

Williams, as physician and poet, saw a great deal of life and death, literally and metaphorically.  Some of us have had professions that allow us to see the day to day joys and deep sorrows of humanity, the birthing and the dying.  And all of humanity is faced each day with the potential for so much chaos and creativity.  I watch the news….and I try to find whatever I can through “alternative” news sources and I am always surprised by the variety of perspectives I read or hear through various “stories.”  It seems that it is all story, the news is often referred to as the “narrative” of the different events.  And the narrative always depends on the narrator, that is, there is no such thing as a single story but, on the other hand, a number of stories given “authenticity” by the narrator – in the case of the news…the newscaster, writers, editors, and, maybe, even the sponsors of consumer networks!  Poetry may or may not be offer a counter-narrative, an alternative news source, for those of us willing and needing, “dying” for lack of that alternative.  So I write and read poetry as a way, not to make order out of chaos, but to discover my own narrative voice in the midst of life and death.  The dangers as well as the mundane details of daily life give us all a chance to add a beauty to the horrific, to find something invaluable when all seems lost.  It may be difficult to get the news from poetry but it is not impossible!!


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AND SO IT GOES is now on Nook!!

My latest collection of poems, AND SO IT GOES, is now an e-book on Nook thru BN.com as well as on Kindle thru the Amazon Kindle store.  It would also be great to have someone publish AND SO IT GOES as a “hold-in-your-hand” traditional hard copy book!!  Just a suggestion to someone out there! Please support poetry, we need it now more than ever!!

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My new collection of poems, AND SO IT GOES, is now available as an ebook through the Amazon Kindle store for $1.99.  

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2014 DEAL EXTENDED!!!!!!!!

Because of the overwhelming demand (!) for my books……..I have extended the “DEAL OF 2014” for the entire month of February, 2014!!  YES!  Please go to my website, www.michaelpoage,com, purchase one copy of my most recent book of poems, VOICE OVER, via PayPal, and when I send your purchased book I will include a complimentary copy of my book of poems called, ABUNDANCE.  This “DEAL OF 2014” will end on February 28, 2014.  Thanks for supporting the arts, especially poetry.

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I am assuming that many of you have just over-looked the “deal of 2014” or have been feeling the January “lull.” Remember the DEAL?  Please go to www.michaelpoage.com, buy one copy of my book, VOICE OVER, thru Paypal, and I will send along a complimentary copy of my book, ABUNDANCE.  The DEAL ends Feb. 1, 2014. I ask that you please consider posting a review of one and/or both books on goodreads.com or some similar media site (even a newspaper or literary journal!).  Thank you.  Support poems, NOT GUNS!!

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Good morning.  I am Rev. Michael Poage, retired minister with the United Church of Christ.  I served Fairmount United Church of Christ, here in Wichita, just south of WSU, for almost 18 years.  Thank you for the opportunity to speak to you today regarding your recent decision on concealed carry in our city.

Tomorrow we recognize the birthday of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a man of peace, a leader in the ministry of non-violence, the victim of a growing culture of violence in the United States and a man killed by one bullet.  Tomorrow he would have been 85 years old.

Two days ago, here in Wichita, a 70 year old granddad was playing a game with his .22 caliber handgun with his two grandsons present.  He was showing off, the gun fired and a 10 year old boy was wounded in the head.  Thank God, he is alive, but the culture of violence and the glorification of the so-called “right to bear arms” are growing at a faster, more irrational and disastrous pace.  To me, the Kansas legislature and this Council’s recent decision to allow concealed carry in so many public places bows down to the false gods of violence and fear…in the name of security…and places the citizens of Wichita of all ages in grave danger.

Child endangerment is a crime in this city.  It is a crime in Kansas.  But, child endangerment is exactly what this State and Council is practicing if you allow your December decision on concealed carry to stand.

On the Wichita City website the mission of the City Council is:  TO PROVIDE POLICY DIRECTION FOR THE CITY OF WICHITA IN DEVELOPING, IMPLEMENTING, AND MAINTAINING SERVICES TO THE CITIZENS OF WICHITA.  I fail to see how your decision to allow firearms into virtually every public facility in the city can be of service to us, the citizens of this city.  To me, your decision is immoral, potentially tragic, and, perhaps, could be seen as even illegal.

The U.S. Constitution’s 2nd amendment is often quoted as support for the “freedom to carry guns” folks.  Here are the first three words of that amendment:  “A WELL REGULATED….”  I ask you:  DOES YOUR DECEMBER DECISION REFLECT A “WELL REGULATED” firearm policy for “maintaining services to the citizens of Wichita?”


I ask you to please, in the name of reason, safety, justice and humanity, reconsider your concealed carry vote in December and ask the state of Kansas for a four-year exemption from the current State law.

Thank you.


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