• speaking of supreme court noms •

Speaking of Supreme Court nominations, I read once that former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. once famously said that he tended to be tolerant of what he saw as ill-founded ideas of every sort because, as he put it, “People are entitled to their ridiculous notions.”

I disagree. By giving ground to this premise, or by giving it any credence at all, we are giving away the whole socio-political show, which goes some way in explaining how we find ourselves in the precarious situation we are in now, not just in this nation, which we hold so dear, friends, but the whole world over. This false claim has done more damage than any one thing I can think of, is dug in like a tick, and like any disease or thoroughly ensconced abnormal condition this endemic, it has got to go. We can do ourselves a big favor by eschewing it altogether: give it the bum’s rush, right out to the curb, where the rest of the trash should go. (In the proper container of course, marked ‘hazardous material’.)

I think we may do ourselves a whole lot of good by doing one simple thing: stop saying, “You are entitled to your opinion, that’s your right.” Because it’s not true. Just that, friends. And see where it takes you.

~ Tim Burchfield



• flea bottom est •

“Am I the only one

who thinks ‘phlebotomist’

sounds like the funniest

Latin slogan, ever,”

I ventured, aloud,

to the very competent woman

standing before me,

as she deftly drew

several vials of blood

from my arm,

with nary a hematoma,

and entirely pain free.

Shaking her head,

she gave me

the saddest look ever, and said,


~Tim Burchfield


• i pray so •

The last thing I said to my daughter before she left home was, “Stay soft. It’s one of your best features: it looks good on you. I’ve lived this long without building walls, and I have never regretted it. You’ve got such a beautiful spirit. I am so proud of who you are. Keep being yourself. Don’t let life make you hard.”

I think she got what I was trying to say. Life can do that to us.

This morning, when I was in pre-op, when he asked about the band-aid on my forehead, I stupidly lied, and told the interviewing anesthesiologist I had “banged it’, not badly, but just enough to be embarrassed about.” Wrongly, it seemed the right thing, at the time.

Then, after my arthroscopic procedure, in post-op, under the influence of what remained of general anesthesia, to the RNs, who were easing me back to reality, like a drugged up bone-head, I revealed why I had had that band-aid on, when they asked about it, and if I felt dizzy or nauseous, that I had “…dug out the mother of all blackheads, and that, embarrassingly, had made rather a mess of it.”

I could see that the nurses were professionally pissed, for changing my story, but they didn’t let on, but for a knowing glance between them. After all, when lives are at stake. Bonehead!

What I didn’t say, was the second part, as to what had had me in a torrent, the other day, as to what was tearing me apart, that, “in a fit of pique, and rage, over incarcerated babies, I had done this thing to myself,” (but that I didn’t want everybody to see me crying over spilt tears, pointless suffering, and needless want.) Avoidance seemed the best avenue. Then, too, and again, because I didn’t want to bust out crying, again. Damn. Grown man that I am. (But, damn, if that general anesthesia isn’t so like a “truth” drug. I just blurted it out, the part that I did. Bonehead.)

I hate to lie, but I worried, I guess, that they might have seen what I did as self harm, and maybe, to some extent, it was; but I feel so damned helpless, to help anything or anyone, these days. Especially those I would save, if I but could. But I can’t.

More powerful men than me have taken hold. The foxes are in charge of the henhouse. The world is getting ass backwards from everything I was taught. Plus, I did dig out that festering slug, which no longer has a safe harbor, in me. Would that I could dig out the tick that is really bugging me. The one in the White House. But history, surely, has to play out its part. I am almost entirely sure it will, thank Bob.

In normal life, if I have to hear, “Don’t be so sensitive,” one more time, I may go mad. I have no wish to change, at this late date, and doubt if I could, if I wanted to, which I don’t. Stay soft? I wonder, did I give my daughter good advice? I can’t be sure, with any certainty, but I think so. Oh, yes, too, my love, I pray, so.

~ Tim Burchfield


• the great thing about a.d.d. •

The great thing about having ADD

(I don’t know if you can ‘relate’),

is that it makes it so easy

to ‘free associate’.

In fact,

we who fly from interest to interest,

may enjoy just as much,

a ‘nothing day’,

as one that delivers

a compelling quest.

It’s something like a ‘reverie’,

with just a smidge

of ‘free floating anxiety’.

Some people like to put it in long pants

and call it ‘creativity’,

but I just call it

‘thinking like a tree’,

as we have no particular agenda,

at present, and rarely do,

except, perhaps, to simply ‘be’.

At such times

I can be

just as content to be led

by the interest of someone else,

as one does, say,

when participating

in a meandering conversation

with a small child,

about ‘thumb theory’.

(You’ll be surprised to find out

why we have them, thumbs,

these appendages, in opposition,

and you may learn something

you could never have

in a million years

come up with on your own.

Alright, I’ll spill the beans:

It’s to do with “jelly-tasting,”

when you’ve poked it through your p.b.&j,

and for “pointing behind you,”

according to Sam Wainwright,

age 3.)

Well, I’m off.

Off for a wander,

or, as they say ‘down under’,

a bit of a ‘walkabout’.

(I can already feel the freshly scented post-rainstorm air, breezing through my naturally tangled hair.)

Let’s see where it takes me.

~ Tim Burchfield


• from a desire to save •

I am sorry, grandmother,

that I could not have helped you,

in my fourteen year old powerlessness,

out of your stinking deathbed,

in that sweltering hovel,

in which you died,

friendless, and full of cancer,

and remorse, and shame,

made shameful by the cruelness

of your putative caregiver,

my very uncle, a hateful, morally corrupt egotist out for payback,

at any cost.

I am sorry, too, that the people who,

condoned these cruel practices,

are the very people I have nourished, and loved,

and given my life of service to:

to the left and to the right of me,

and in my very own family:

this is the cruelest dart,

that these, whose sleep is as unperturbed as is possibly imaginable,

sleep the sleep of the pure,

as pure, in their own minds,

as the driven snow.

I am so angry that it breaks my heart.

To feel so helpless

to stop the pain

of little children

in these tiny tot internment camps, to be used as political pawns.

So that some wee cruel loony

may have his disastrous wall.

It makes me so fucking angry,

and sad,

and enraged to the bone.

I resent the hell out of these

whiter than white purebred dummkopfs,

who sleep the sleep of the entitled,

who stole the whole shebang,


long ago

with their lies

and deceits

and power plays,

and chalked it up to ‘genius’,

and manifest destiny,

and the grace of God.

Oh, fuck me, am I ever mad, now.

But now,

I must rest my body,

while my heart grinds fine

this moral conundrum,

the grist of my weary bones:

of the people to the left and right of me,

whom I count as countrymen,

and family,

who march to the beat of their dreary drums, may I say,

my heart is my compass,

my soul is my force,

that forces me onward

through the fog.

You may have won the day,

and I may, or may not

have sway,

in this,

that is so bloody overwhelming,

but I’ll be damned if I’ll just give up!

~ Tim Burchfield


• love as a weapon •

Technically, Ms. Conway told a truth, when she declared that the present administration is not using children as leverage to enforce the zero tolerance immigration policy (will wonders never cease), because the present administration is actually using love as a psychological weapon, the love parents hold for their children.

It’s nothing new. Nothing this administration does, ever is. But borrow, they do, and from which playbook? Guess.

During the Pacific campaign of WWll, captured Allied pilots were made to kneel before their captors for summary executions (by decapitation, with a sword), and how was this accomplished? By holding a pistol to the head of their compatriots. The love they held for their mates was all it took. I’d have knelt, too. Love, as a weapon? Fucking genius. The genius of the insane and unscrupulous.

This, too, will not stand. Not in my country. Not if I have anything to do with it.

~ Tim Burchfield


• on father’s day •

Just got off’ the phone with my dad, this being Father’s Day, and all. He’s having one of his good days: he knew who I was, and everything. He was his jovial old self, and what a relief. I wished him a very happy Father’s Day, and said that I loved him. He thanked me, and said something about being off to the ‘big show’, and hung up the phone. They’re bustling off to church, about now, which is what he meant by that, I expect; no longer in the church choir, but I’d bet’cha anything, he’s still gonna sing. He’s a nightingale, of sorts, always coming up with a song to fill in your sentences. That’s what I most remember about my dad, when I was a little kid, when I think of him. Man, did he ever have pipes. In fact, he was my first inspiration, aside from Doris Day.

I was just talking to my son’s girlfriend, who is the nicest girl, asking if she had called her dad yet, as they live in separate dwellings. Not yet, they have something planned for later this afternoon, she said. Good deal, I said. I’m glad for the both of you. I could have stopped there. But, yep, you guessed it. I continued.

“I know a lot of dads must feel they are owed recognition for their efforts, but I think it is we, the fathers, who should be thanking the family. After all, it is a privilege and an honor, to be able to watch your kids grow up, from what were, essentially, mere zygotes, to the sort of strapping young fellow you see standing before you,” I elaborated, gesturing to the ‘boy’, as you have read me refer to him, here, over, lo, these many years: who outweighs me by at least ten pounds, and is pushing six foot two…

“Who could rip my arms out of their sockets, if he chose to.”

They grinned at each other, my sixteen year old progeny, and his BFF, uncomfortably. ‘Let’s indulge him, and see where he takes this, give him all the rope he needs,’ their looks seemed to say.

“Of course, it’s also an ordeal, nothing like what a mom has to go through: hers is an heroic effort, most assuredly, and she deserves the lion’s share of praise, with nine months of load-bearing torture, while being stretched like a balloon, followed hard upon by having, essentially, a watermelon forced by Nature through an opening the size of a…”

“Dad!” Ryan interrupts me, just in the nick. I looked over at his friend. Her eyes were rolling back in her head. Good save, on his part. She did look a bit faint, come to think of it.

“Oh…yeah…. anyways. Big character builder, the whole thing.”

They wished me a good’n, and went for a run. But, I still had more ideas on the subject. So I finished my speech, by myself.

“So I don’t expect any big tadoo, for Father’s Day, nosir! No cards, no lunch, or dinner, or breakfast in bed…and a good thing, too.

“In fact, don’t feel y’all have to do anything special…or nothin’…for little old me…a simple “Happy Father’s Day, Daddyo,” will do….

unless, of course, you really, really, want to. Then, I suppose, I could indulge you.”