Sunday, November 1, 2009

A blog & Poem: Trick or Treat?

I wrote this poem a couple years ago as I sat in a Starbucks in Belmont Shore...watching the parade of Halloween revelers pass by.

It seemed appropriate this year, too.

I got me thinking about Halloween again....and how I have grown to dislike it...

It has become commercialized like all or most holidays and just another excuse to party...

In this poem, I decided to use Halloween as a jumping off point so to speak for my other concerns about our society.




Trick or treat?

Neither is what they seem.

The scary things don't hide in closets
but in our hearts and souls
as we confront our lost dreams
our twisted hopes,
our love turned turned so bitter inside.

Left alone in the darkness of our imaginations.
We are the bogeyman and the bogeyman is us.

Tricked for treats?
Treated to dirty tricks?

The scary stuff?
Your best friend
letting you down over again
Your lover hurting you because they can.

Treats and trickery on All Hallows' Eve.

The real horrors of human nature
to contemplate.

There are zombies, vampires and monsters
everywhere you look tonight.

They are always there.

You work for them.
You try to love them.
You struggle to understand them.
You call them family.
You regard them as good friends
and trusted allies
who are selling you out all the while
with handshakes and smiles.

Trick or treat?

Neither is what they seem.

George Pappas
Copyright 2009

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Signs of the Economic Times in Belmont Shore, CA

There are signs of the Great Recession everywhere you look these days in Belmont Shore (Long Beach), Calif. During the 15 or so years I have lived on and off in Belmont Shore, I have never seen so many apartment rental, leasing and home sale signs. While walking through my neighborhood for the past five months, I have tried to capture this change through pictures. Yet amidst the numerous rental and for sale signs there are indications of hope and renewal with new bars and restaurants popping up on the Shore. Like all economic downturns -- this is painful, but also offers new opportunities.

You can check out my photo essay on Facebook


Monday, July 20, 2009

RE: Ruminations on the aftermath of Apollo 11: A Child of the Future

On the 40th year anniversary of the first Moon landing, I am still very much in awe of the Apollo 11 mission and what was accomplished.
But I am also saddened that in the ensuing years we didn't build on our Moon explorations.
It seems to me at times that we have lost our wonder and joy of exploration of worlds beyond our own. Space exploration it seems has become mundane to us or too costly.
We'd rather spend billions on weapons than space missions.

We are easily landlocked and lost in petty differences and have times turned our hearts and souls away from the promise of the universe...the stars.

I wrote this following poem about this feeling of lost mystery in our space journeys.
Seems appropriate on this historic day.



I am a child of
future shock.

I was stillborn with electronic eyes,
one of the TV lot.
Raised in suburban rot.
Never knowing quite what I've got.

I am infected with a spirit eating disease
for which it seems there is no cure.
Puzzled by an emptiness,
a boredom that haunts.

Once I dreamed along with the astronauts.
The world,
the universe seemed endless
and the possibilities limitless
like the stars.

Now, the astronauts are gone,
just memories floating in the
of my mind.

Leaving me to deal with
the shock
of a future
where it seems the stars
have dropped from the sky
and disappeared from our eyes.

It is then I realize,
I am beyond shock,
beyond tears.

George Pappas
Copyright 2009

Saturday, July 11, 2009

MANAGED CARE -- 2 Poems about the sham of healthcare or Why we need healthcare reform NOW

Will President Obama and Congress have the guts to pass REAL healthcare reform with a public insurance option? I remain hopeful, but I have my doubts. So many others have tried before and failed.

Healthcare should not be a partisan issue -- it reaches all of us regardless of our political views. Disease and illness shows no favorites

Half measures and half-hearted attempts to reform healthcare will leave us with a continued broken system and escalating healthcare costs that takes us beyond the brink of moral and economic bankruptcy.

That will be NO change that we can't believe in.

A public health insurance option is the best way to force insurance companies to lower rates
Some half-baked co-op non-profit option by the GOP won't work.

Sorry, GOP and blue dog democrats -- we need a sweeping FDR like solution to our health problem involving the government.

It is up to us to hold President Obama, the Democrats and Republicans accountable for delivering healthcare reform that makes a difference. That means a plan where everyone can receive real healthcare services regardless of their insurance or financial situation. Forty-sx million uninsured and many more underinsured in this country deserve better.

The movie "Sicko"....left me with such our health system choking on greed while so many of us suffer....
You can't put a price on health, on life...on suffering...on so crazy..beyond words...
This movie shows healthcare in this country for the sham it is..
While in countries...that are supposed be our inferior (what a joke?!) they take care of their cititzens with no regard to cost. There is no turning back the sick, the injured...the poor...who need care...because of cost...because of greed.

In the late 1990s, I worked as publicist for a firm that specialized in healthcare PR...and now I am realize the tales we were spinning....especially in supporting huge insurance and healthcare institutions...

Why does this country -- especially the politicians -- still think it is OK to profit off people's heath and illness? It is a disgrace.

Now, is the time to truly CHANGE it. Our health and future as a country depends on it.

I wrote these poems a while back about my feelings about our so called modern healthcare system.




Modern medicine
is on the operating table
suffering from heart failure.

Is it too late
to resuscitate?
or has medicine sealed its fate
with rampant greed and lies?

Managed Care.
One of the most insidious phrases
in the English language.
A contradiction in terms.

is no care at all.

Just an excuse to steal hope from
our lives
as the value of each one of
our breaths,
our heartbeats
is measured on a
balance sheet.

take my temperature
my blood is boiling
and spilling over.
My heart is about to burst.

This is one cardiac arrest
you won't be able to manage.


Doctor, I am in need of a check up,
but who checks on you?

What does M.D. really mean?
More dollars?

What does HMO stand for?
How much owed?

Does your stethoscope only hear
the sound of cash registers clanging
instead of hearts beating?

Doctor, you're backed by slick public relations machines
and riding in the back of stretch limousines.

When did the Hippocratic Oath
become only a means to greed?

When did you take a scalpel to the heart of medicine
and let it bleed....

Doctor, doctor,
do you have what I need?

George Pappas
Copyright 2009

Sunday, June 21, 2009

A Poem for Father's Day: My Father's Photos

Today is Father's Day and I've been thinking a lot about my father's life. One thing (among many) I've learned from him is how you have to seize your dreams.

He was a great photographer and yet never pursued it. He took the safe route as an accountant for the IRS,

In some ways I am grateful...but then I wonder...

Six and half years ago, when he was just about to get on with his life -- after years of a horrible marriage -- he was hit with an aneurysm that he has never fully recovered from. Even after all this time he is not the same man. It is like a stranger invaded his body. So in a way a large part of him has died -- his former self and personality -- but he is still alive.

I wrote this poem for him a while back to celebrate his talent and sacrifice.




My father
was an
for the

Every day of his working life
he dealt with

But I believe deep in his
he wanted
to be a photographer.

His love took seed
during his stint in the Navy.
He served as a photographer on an aircraft carrier
lovingly documenting
plane landings,
life at sea
and the exotic places they visited:
Taiwan and

Later he showed
the same care in documenting
our family's lives with thousand upon thousands
of photos.

Every step we took from the cradle,
every birthday,
every occasion,
my father was there
capturing snapshots.

The documents of our past,
the photos
now sit in boxes in
the closet of my father's den room
like forgotten artifacts
collecting dust.

The other day
I pulled one of the boxes out
and looked at the photos.
Faces of my youth
stared back at me
shot with such care and love.

I wondered why my dad shelved
our photos.
I asked him but he wouldn't say.

He's retired now
but still the photos sit untouched in the boxes.
I even bought him a photo album
but he just put it in one of the boxes.

I think the photos
remind him he put aside his true love
to crunch numbers.
They represent a picture of sadness and regrets.

His dream is languishing
piled in cardboard boxes
captured in pictures of our family's past.

George Pappas
Copyright 2009

Sunday, June 7, 2009

A poem about the death of Dr. George Tiller & Religious Intolerance: Holy War?

I don't care whether you support abortion or not, but there's no justification for cowardly murder of Dr. George Tiller.

How can someone defend the rights of the unborn with murder? That shows no logic and reason.

Fortunately, abortion is still legal in this country despite an insidious domestic TERRORIST campaign that has gone on for years.

Yes, terrorism.

How can this campaign by the lunatic fringe of the anti-abortion movement be described as anything else.

If someone of Arab descent had done something like this against our government or individual officials, they would be branded as terrorists by the government and the media.

The definition of terrorism is as follows:

1. the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, esp. for political purposes.
2. the state of fear and submission produced by terrorism or terrorization.
3. a terroristic method of governing or of resisting a government.

These all fit the ongoing violent attacks on women's health physicians, nurses and clinics. The Obama Administration needs to aggressively enforce the law established during the Clinton's Administration making violent threats of intimidation, vandalism and attacks on abortion providers and clinics a felony.

Sure, anti-abortion activists can protest peacefully, but that is not what I am referring to. That kind of protest is protected under the constitution. Violent protest is not.

Yet this problem of religious intolerance is much wider than this issue.

As it is early Sunday morning or the Sabbath, I thought I'd share a poem about my disgust with the misuse of God and religion all over this precious globe we call Earth. So many commit unholy acts in the name of so called holy missions.

What can be holy about killing in the name of God? How can this ever be justified period? But using religion to justify such acts is the height of hypocrisy...and I mean ALL RELIGIONS.

I take no sides...I favor no religion.....I only take the side of the kind and the generous...and those who truly try to improve the lives of those around them..

Remember we are all in this thing together...and no one human is matter how powerful we may think we are




In the name of God,
bomb abortion clinics,
shoot doctors,
murder nurses
to protect fetuses
not yet alive.

In the name of God,
bomb passenger trains,
down airplanes,
destroy buildings
torch villages,
toss bodies
of innocents
into ditches,
rob souls,

Using the God's word
like a club,
bludgeoning all your perceived foes,
vanquishing your so-called enemies.

Where's God's forgiveness and compassion in your actions?

You're killing the spirit of God
in the name of religion.

You're killing God
in the name of

You're killing God
in the name of blind intolerance.

Your war is a holy war
anything but holy,
waged against everyone
except your own
deadened soul.

You're conducting
a modern day
of our souls and dreams
in the name of God.

What's holy about that?

George Pappas
Copyright 2009

Saturday, May 30, 2009

A Poem about writing: Dream Security

Writing for me staves off despair,
spits back at death,
reconnects me with life's joys like nothing else.

As time goes on, I care less about what people think about my writing.
I have do it like breathing, like dreaming.
When I go too long without writing, I feel like something inside of me is dying...
It is my dream to obtain the writer's life, but it is never easy....
You have to listen to your own soul and follow your instincts while even those close to you (and others that pretend to be) fail to understand...




You must put a lid
on your hopes
and dreams.

Hide them away from
even those you trust
as they will try to
pry open your soul
and peer inside
with jaundiced,
bitter eyes
twisted up by
society's lies
and false expectations.

They will take out
their frustrations
and disappointments on you.
Thinly disguised rage over
having to conform
so completely
burying their secret imaginations
and hidden passions.

They won't be satisfied
until doubt creeps in
transforming your heart
also into a black pit of rage
and despair.

The only antidote to such a fate
wild laughter
and a strong dose of joy.

They may even think you're
a little crazy.

But what's crazier?

Chasing your dreams
or chasing an early death?

George Pappas
Copyright 2009

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Cheney Please Go Away: The Demise of Fear Mongering...

Why won't Dick Cheney please go away?

I have heard enough of his twisted fear mongering to last a lifetime.

Yet night after night on TV there is Cheney -- a nightmare out of our recent past -- defending the indefensible -- torture and his administration's destructive foreign policy. He even has the gall to to brag about his sorry record of protecting our country?!!

Tell that to the victims of 9/11. Remember that was on your watch...D-I-C-K!!!

And Cheney even has the audacity to attack our current president's admirable effort to close the horror that is Gitmo. Even previous and current Defense Secretary Gates recently described Gitmo as a "taint"on America's image around the world.

Al Gore said recently he at least waited two years before attacking Bush's lame policies. Obama hasn't even been in office for six months and Cheney is already attacking him.

Funny the GOP would have called this treason if it was done to bush by Gore right after 9/11 or early in the Bush presidency. Such hypocrites

The fear card is dead, Cheney. Rejected in last two elections . . . and will be again in 2010.

Return to your bunker Cheney. You will not missed. The country has moved on.

Or as one our country's wise founders Ben Franklin said: "Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both."

Here are a couple of past poems I wrote about the toxic contradiction that is Dick Cheney.




Mr. Cheney, VP of nothing.
Convinced you’re cloaked and absolved from blame.
Secrecy is your life’s blood and your
ultimate game.
Weren’t prepared for all the heat and pain.
Still you hold on to your tired line
to the bitter end.


Clinging to
an illusion of
when there’s no safe
unless you want to
live in a bunker.

Cheney lives in
a bunker.
He has a bunker mentality.
But who would want to
live in a bunker with Cheney?

In fact, Cheney resembles
an actor who played a man
who tried to hide his family
in a bunker
in a Twilight Zone episode during
the threat of a nuclear attack.

His neighbors broke down
the bunker down in a panic
clinging to an illusion of safety
hence the downfall of a bunker

George Pappas
Copyrigh 2009

Saturday, May 2, 2009

HOME OF THE BRAVE? -- A Blog & Poem about the murder of Matthew Shepard

Currently, Congress is considering legislation that would expand the hate crimes law protection to include those attacks involving sexual orientation and gender identity. It is inspired by a University of Wyoming student named Matthew Shepard who was tortured and subsequently murdered near Laramie, Wyoming in 1998 because he was gay. His story and following court case received attention around the country and world.

Contrary to what the foolish Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) recently claimed from the floor of Congress, Shepard WAS murdered because he was a gay man. It was not a robbery. That was the cover story. This came out in testimony during the subsequent court case. You can look it up. Shepard was virtually stalked, targeted, attacked and left to die alone.

President Barack Obama issued a statement in support of what is commonly called the Matthew Shepard Act on April 28, 2009:

"This week, the House of Representatives is expected to consider H.R. 1913, the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009. I urge members on both sides of the aisle to act on this important civil rights issue by passing this legislation to protect all of our citizens from violent acts of intolerance — legislation that will enhance civil rights protections, while also protecting our freedom of speech and association. I also urge the Senate to work with my Administration to finalize this bill and to take swift action."

The bill passed the House on a vote of 249-175 the day after Obama's statement. Now, the bill is awaiting consideration in the Senate. I hope it passes as all our citizens deserve equal protection under the law regardless of color, gender, cultural background, religious affiliation or sexual orientation.

About a year after Shepard's murder, I wrote a poem about my disgust with his murder, this country's hypocrisy and prejudice toward gays and gay rights, but also the sensationalistic media coverage and court case that followed. I thought forgotten in the media hype and attention was the loss of a human being that had his whole life ahead of him.
That was the real tragedy for me.

I hope now something positive can come out of his family's loss and pain. Call your Senators and make sure that President Obama knows that we will be holding him to his campaign promise to get this bill passed and signed into law.




Home of the brave?
Home of the cowards and early graves.
Land of the free?
Land of the intolerant creed.

Homophobic rage
spills over into senseless deeds.
A modern day lynching.
Crushing blows at the
spirit of those deemed different.

His young body
was left
lifeless on a fence in Wyoming.

His only crime was his sexuality.
He stuck his head too far out of the closet and they chopped it off.
He was left twisting in an ill wind of fear and ignorance.
Now, his life is a political football
and a hot potato.

Lost in the debate is the horror
of a young man robbed of his future
and a chance to dream big dreams.

Hate breaks more than our hearts.
It destroys all we dream about.
Killing hope
as surely as a rope
put around the neck of justice

That’s just our humanity hanging there
on a fence
dying over and over again.

George Pappas
Copyright 2009, 1999

Friday, April 24, 2009


I am dumbfounded by those who so easily get bored with their lives with so much adventure, so much mystery in the world.
They become so jaded, so emotionally dead, so cut off that they miss the real thrill and passion of being alive.

It is far too easy to become jaded and bored in southern California and to forget the stunning beauty -- the oceans, mountains, forests -- all around us.

There's a teeming, spontaneous existence, an energy in the places and people in the air that is also easy to miss

When there's too much to take for granted, too much to deal with people turn hard . . . probably same as with all big cities.

I wrote this following poem about some people in L.A. who have lost touch with the possibilities beyond the jaded, the mundane and predictable.

This affliction of ennui as the French call it or boredom as we call it . . . is something I never have the time or inclination to experience.




You are
with each breath you take.

Bored with
and boredom.

This boredom
is boring a hole
through your soul.

Even worse,
your boredom is blinding you to what
is really going on.

You remain oblivious to
another side of life,
wild and uncontrollable,
burning and thriving
beyond the
cracking sidewalks,
crumbling buildings,
arching, pompous skyscrapers,
crowded suffocating freeways,
concrete tombs,
apartment penitentiaries,
sprawling suburbs,
bar rooms,
throbbing concert stages,
multiplex movie theaters showing the same loud empty bombastic
film endlessly,
crashing waves,
dirty sand,
challenging mountain peaks shrouded in smog
and teeming
sweltering valleys.

There's a wild existence
marked by an eternity,
impossible to fully understand.
Universes unexplored,
collapsing into each other
like black holes right before our very eyes.

This hidden world
can easily be dismissed
with a bored stare
and restless jaded yawn.

Your boredom is like
an early death
as you sigh
take another wasted breath.

George Pappas
Copyright 2009

Sunday, April 12, 2009


Today is Easter Sunday. Not being deeply religious I've never been one to celebrate this holiday.
That doesn't mean I haven't thought about its real meaning or lack of meaning depending on your perspective.

I wrote this following poem as I sat on the beach in Belmont Shore, Calif. on Easter Sunday last year....the day got me thinking about religion and all the abuses done in its name in the context of Easter..and the so called fable of resurrection

I wondered what would Jesus think if he was resurrected today...and faced with all the hypocrisy, intolerance and heartbreak in a world that uses holiness as an excuse to commit such brutal and unholy acts...




If Jesus was resurrected today
what would he find?

A divided world killing itself
over religion and holy scriptures.

Cruelty beyond comprehension.

Greed run rampant.
Moneychangers who haven't only taken over the temple,
but the world.

An utter disregard for the poor.

His name being used for all sorts
of soul crushing endeavors.

Soon after his return,
I have no doubt Jesus would want to remain dead
for another 2,000 years.

George Pappas
Copyright 2009

Saturday, March 28, 2009


In the past year, our economic system has faced the ultimate of margin calls after years of rampant and reckless greed and stupidity.

Now, we all know... to twist a phrase by Gordon Gekko from the great movie "Wall Street" that greed is "not" good. It carries with it horrible economic consequences that we are only beginning to understand. And this time not only in America, but all over the world, which is the major difference between this great economic calamity and the Great Depression.

I must say President Obama and his team have done a remarkable job dealing with an economic nightmare like none of us have seen in our lifetimes. Remember Obama has only been in office in a little over two months and look what he has tried to do -- stimulate the economy, create plans to save the banks and the housing market, and set up regulations so this doesn't happen again.

And he still is pushing his budget plan to wisely invest in healthcare reform, new energy initiatives and education for the future. I have to wonder when does this guy sleep?

This week the lame fools from the GOP -- the Party of No New Ideas -- presented their lame alternative budget plan. It was more of the same -- drastic tax cuts for the rich and no new spending on anything to help stimulate and save the economy from collapse and ruin. (I shudder to think where we would be if McCain and Palin had been elected. )

We've been down that dark and greedy road these last eight years and even before that in 1980s and early 1990s. The trickle down theory is dead. RIP.

Here's a poem about the failure of the religion of greed.



This is a margin call on your life.
Can’t pay it back.
Can’t make it right.
Failed by your religion of greed.
Everything you touched has
gone to seed.

Another Ponzi
another stolen dream
on Main street.
Left with another bail out of Wall Street

Everyone still reeling
trying to figure out
what all it means
as we lose our financial means

This is a margin call on your life
for a debt you can’t make right.
Yet you demand bonuses for your
failure all the same without a hint of shame.

Shallow goons
pontificating about nothing
offering nothing.

Each day reaching a new low
never imagined
holding on to ashes of a life
of corruption and lies.
Can’t dream anymore.
All my dreams are bankrupt.

George Pappas
Copyright 2009

Monday, January 19, 2009

Life is Too Big for Ideology -- A New President, A New Beginning

Tomorrow will mark a new remarkable beginning and renewal in the history of our country with the inauguration of Barack Obama, our first African American president.

Beyond the historical significance of Obama's rise, it will also mark an end to the divisiveness, political ideology and rhetoric that has taken this country to the brink of disaster. The Bush Years are over. Thank God. Now, we can all take a collective sigh of relief while realizing the tough road ahead as Obama indicated yesterday at his inauguration concert.

Obama faces a daunting job of reviving a collapsing economy (worst since the Great Depression), ending the war in Iraq, restoring our tattered reputation around the world and restoring dignity and respect to the office of the presidency. Yet Obama is the right man at the right time to help us overcome this bleak economy and bring this country together after so many years of partisanship and divisiveness.

He's already started to move past recent crippling ideology in his cabinet selections and with his willingness to reach out to Republicans in Congress as he readies his agenda to turn the country around.

Here's a poem I wrote a few years ago about what I think about the perils of ideology. I am very hopeful that Obama and his team will avoid the ideological dead ends and battles the Bush Administration so reveled in.



Life is too big for empty ideology.

Spirit robbing
think they know what is in our hearts.

I've never known an ism,
a breathing ideology
or a racial slur.

Just human beings
and fighting
for some space
and peace of mind.

It is something no ideology
ever conceived
can seem to provide.

George Pappas
Copyright 2009