Last night I was listening to a Trump apologist explain that the context of Trump’s rant about shithole countries was immigration based on merit not race. The context was also chain migration, the allowing of family members of an established immigrant to come to the country. It’s okay for a man’s wife and children to come in, the speaker was saying, but why let his seventy year old father in. What can a seventy year old man contribute.

It is a soulless argument—without God. It is an argument from a dark pit in hell.

The poet could suggest the sanctity of life should come into play, but these people, the ones to whom he would address his argument, are already dead and have no understanding or appreciation of life. The phrase sanctity of life is only words to be used when convenient, when maneuvering for leverage. I know the rebuttal—sanctity of innocent life, the only innocent life being the unborn. 

I sip my coffee. Pause for a moment to give thanks for the farmer who tended the beans, for the person who picked them. Too often I take them for granted.  For the people who processed them, who transported them, who roasted them. For the people who made my grinder and coffee maker. All so I could sip my coffee hot and black, watch the morning through my window.

I am seventy-one. What do I contribute. The question could be easily asked. The sum of my production could be described as writing a few poems and these love letters. As far as the father of the immigrant—

In Breakfast of Champions, Kurt Vonnegut has Kilgore Trout go into a men’s room to take a leak. When washing his hands, Trout notices “a message written in pencil on the tiles by the roller towel.

What is the purpose of life?

 Trout plundered his pockets for a pen or pencil. He had an answer to the question. But he had nothing to write with, not even a burnt match. So he left the question unanswered, but here is what he would have written, if he had found anything to write with:

To be
the eyes

and ears
and conscience
of the Creator of the Universe
you fool.”

 So here I am, a seventy-one year old man, seeing everything I can, hearing everything I can, and scribbling messages to God. It’s the best I can do.

In the end, there may very well be a God, the poet whispers in your ear.