Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Strangers to Shoppers You Meet at the Supermarket 
Familiar strangers we meet in a fairy tale 
Strange familiar people we meet in supermarkets 

The Strangers (poem)

I was doing my dishes I think I was
When from my front room I heard a buzz
I went to inspect as one normally does
There was a man face covered with fuzz
I make the shoe
Then I make two
He needs a few
I’ll make a slew
I asked the man What are you doing here
How on earth did you get in I need to hear
Do you understand Am I making myself clear
He just keeps making shoes He doesn’t veer
Well I said Hi
Why no reply
He must be shy
Weird little guy
I’m not trying to be rude please understand
I have to run
I appreciate the shoes They’re really all so grand
These shoes should stun
We both have to admit their number’s out of hand
He now has ton
To go to bed ‘bout now is more of what I’d planned
Rest now we’re done
Have a good night
I hope that all your dreams are equally as bright 

Communication is just one problem when a man finds a stranger in his house making him shoes in this poem. We have two characters.  One a 10 beat character (the owner of the house). The other is a 4 beat character (the stranger). The two seem to have problems communicating. In the fifth stanza, the two combine. Each keeping their own rhyme. We may notice that the longer beat character has become irregular. The poem ends with the two rhyming and 4 beats followed by 9 beats. This poem is more than a fairy tale. 

People are different was something that was apparent to me from my first days of school. There were some kids I liked more than others. I live in San Francisco. The chances of my school being one race or culture was pretty slim. I was  unaware of such things. I didn't find out about racism until I met the most influential person in my life, Mr Johnny Land. Mr. Land was my music teacher. He was Black. My mother was brought up in Nazi Germany. There was was no way a black man was teaching her son. There was only one "thing" worse (to her) than a black person: a Jewish person. I was lucky the school principle was Mr Horowitz (so my mother couldn't complain about Mr. Land). It was from my mother that I first learned about racism. It was stupid. At least how a mother tried to explain it to a 12 year old. I learned that racism wasn't just a black and white thing. Chinese and blacks were the majority in my high school. They hated each other. Fights between the two races were common. We whites were a minority, right behind the Hindus. When I worked at Chevron, my friend wanted me to go with him to his favorite bar. They asked him that I never come back. My friend was black. It was a black bar. I was the wrong color. When I joined the Masons. my Lodge was way behind the times. They were anti-black, as far as membership. I was part of group, led by my mentor, Jake, who successfully integrated the Lodge. All of a sudden they became anti-Filipino. One big dilemma: Martin's wife was Filipino. The same problem my mother had. My son, Peter. was a pretty amazing kid. My mother was very proud of him. His skin color seemed to disappear, to her.  One day my mother went off on one of her racist rants in front of him. It was one of the most amazing moments in my life. Peter, a 12 year old boy, said to her, "What about me G-Ma?"

It is very hard for me to say. We San Franciscans are extremely tolerant. I believe racism is coming to an end. The media headlines of whites acting racist against blacks sells more, draws more attention than what's happening in our Native American or Latin American communities. I believe equal rights and new generations will put an end to racism.  I see a new enemy rearing its ugly head. Classism. This is were a person is judged by how much they make, their education level and their social class. It it is already subtly working its way into our lives. So subtly. many of us us don't notice it ...yet. But we humans are wonders. I have (and you have too) seen the wonder we can and do accomplish. We are, together moving and working toward a better day. Believe in ourselves, our sisters and our brothers and Enjoy.

To go with the poem try this delight: Petula Clark "The Little Shoemaker" 

Been shopping lately 

Here are five weird things some people Share in common. 
1. Continually check the fridge to see if any food has magically appeared.
2. Pull out your phone to check the time, only to realize you have to do it again because you forgot to look at the clock.
3. Have a full-on conversations with yourself.
4. Asking "what?" even though you heard what the person said.
5. Start reading the menu from the middle.
If you thought that was weird, have you seen these characters at your supermarket? (Put together by Meir Kay.) "19 Types of Shoppers You Meet at the Supermarket" 

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You have to get along with people, but you 
also have to recognize that the strength of 
a team is different people with different 
perspectives and different personalities. 
Steve Case



  1. It's quite correct us having two personalities wonderful poem to read.
    How well I recall Petula Clark singing The Little Shoemaker. Memories came flooding back. Thank you Martin.


    1. As I end my day, it's a delight knowing I touched you.
      Thank you for making me feel good.

  2. Seems humans always have to have a way to make themselves seem better. Get rid of racism, add classism. Can't seem to win with mankind haha

    1. I believe that one day we humans will see our differences as a blessing for all.
      Thank you for your part in this.

  3. I LOVE what your son said to his grandma. Wow! There was racism in the older generations of my family too. So misguided. I loved reading this . Your notes are always as enjoyable to read as your poems. I love that Arlene was Filipino. My daughter in law is too, and a sweeter girl never lived.

    1. Thank you. It's so good to know we were together for this while.
      I love the thoughts/feelings you share.

  4. What a fascinating poem on many levels... Racism seems like such a waste to me, to hate without fair reason. I enjoyed reading about your experiences.

    1. So glad that this caught your interests.
      Thank you for all of your kind support.

  5. Never came across racism (due to where I live) until we travelled up north where more indigenous people are - there was a door for the while people, a door for the black people, a bar for each colour - never heard of such a thing. All gone now thank goodness.

    1. Thank GOODNESS is right. You are so lucky.
      Thank you for the ray of hope.

  6. Brilliant poem and description helped to understand it better. And great thoughts about life and racism, hopefully one day everything will be all good. Greetings to you and best wishes!

    1. Happy that you found this to me an eye opener.
      Thank you for your part in a better tomorrow.

  7. Oh, we humans are silly creatures, I do all those 5 things you mentioned, hee heee heee

    Racism only exists if we allow it to. I'm German born, living in South Africa. I didn't know about racism until I was about 10, through school, my parents did not pass judgement on colour. It is when laws are created that things become an issue. I don't think we are instinctively racist, however, to, by law, favour one above the other, be it race, age, religion, sex, etc., that is when division is born...

    1. We certainly are something Sounds like you agree, racism is a learned behavior.
      Thank you so much for sharing your experiences

  8. A great message indeed.. very well put .. compelling and much needed .. Bless you my friend :))

    1. Thank you kindly for saying so.
      May you be blessed

  9. wonderful post like always Martin with great photo !

    i had an aunt who believed in racism though we did not have difference of skin color but cast mattered lot and still matters in rural areas ,i never followed such directions from her even i was child then .
    my love for equality was equally strong as my love for humanity ,she asked my parents to leave her house [we were staying at her house while our own house was being constructed] when found me disobeying .my fault was to play with girls who were out of cast and bringing water bucket to old lady who did not belonged to our cast.
    as child i felt annoyed with God who made blacks people but by the time i realized he made everything equally beautiful and differences in features or skin colors are because of gene pool ,i still remember it was relief to know that God did not do any injustice to anyone .
    racism is also result of some kind of pool created by ill mined ,if it breaks humanity embraces with all its beauty and grace

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your views and for this example from your world.
      People are different. This should benefit us.
      Blessing on you and yours