Politics Poem by Ron Olsen

Politics Poem

by Ron Olsen

Oh God, Oh God
They’re at it again
Brilliant discourse
Enemies and friends
Dithering idiots
Brightest of bright
Weak are eaten
Might makes right
Standing there
Against the onslaught
Poet or warrior
Sword or thought
A future created
A future so clear
Without decency followed
We’re living in fear



Ron olsen is a Peabody and Emmy winning journalist and occasional poet who lives in Bel Air, Maryland.   More of his work can be found at http://workingreporter.com/poetry.html and at workingreporter.com

Remarkable, Really – A Poem by Ron Olsen



Remarkable, Really

by Ron Olsen


Remarkable, really

The agreement through the years

Between Coolidge

And Hoover

And those today

Who would destroy

What we have

And move backward in time

To a place where pain


And indifference

Made us less than we are

Or what we could be

Or should be


Progress defiled





By those who fear

Spiritual grace

Knowing only concrete and steel


Not people

Denial of love

Accepting of fear and hate

Using it all up

Leaving none for the rest

And then blaming it on God


Can you remember what worked

And that which did not?



And Hoover


And Bush

Actor and baseball syndicate millionaire

Supported by family

And friends

To qualify the few

While forgetting the rest

All for the best

At the master’s behest

An order to the masses

Who think it’s a request


They’ll believe anything, you know


With all memory gone

The body politik

Repeats the cycle

Problems forgotten

So many gone rotten

Ignorance, misinformation and lies

Bullying their way forward once again

Leaving only a dam

A great depression

A movie reel

A baseball team

And draconian denial

In their wake

While no one

Remembers why

Or who

Or when

They get away with it again

Remarkable, really


Ron olsen is a Peabody and Emmy winning journalist and occasional poet who lives in Bel Air, Maryland.   More of his work can be found at http://workingreporter.com/poetry.html and at workingreporter.com

Oh, California! by Ron Olsen


 Oh, California!

by Ron Olsen

The Surfliner pulled out in the early morning haze

Rattling down the tracks

No looking back now

Hillary dressed like the palace guard

Wearing a white tent

Smiling far too broadly

A cheshire cat that swallowed a server

That ate the dove

That gobbled up a relationship with greed

Secrets impossible to keep

Smiling ear to ear

Supported by superdelegates

And a system rigged from the top

An unimpartial media

Telling us all along

Bernie had no chance

Sooner or later

You too will believe

As they peat and repeat

Endlessly bellowing

Bernie can’t win

Bernie’s a joke

Bernie’s a Socialist

The only straight-shooter out there


In the end

Was betrayed by even the free-thinkers

And radical freaks in California

Who turned their backs for a woman

No matter the price

Or didn’t know they had to ask for a special ballot

Confusion breeding success for the lady candidate

And her husband’s Foundation

Depriving the country

Of one last chance

At throwing the money changers

Away from the temple doors

You did it sunny Cal

No calling it back now

As media mavens gush

With satisfaction and self-congratulation

Oh, California!

Liberal, righteous, progressive California!

Proving they were right all along

Bernie never had a chance

Even when he did

The old Vermont steamer

Slammed by a wall

Of conspiracy and collusion

Intended and unintended alike

Leaving those on the inside

Insulated from any real accountability

As the nation returns to business as usual

And the political hacks blather on

About all the baggage she carries

Needing safari bearers

Hauling it on their broken backs

The train now just a dot

In the distant

California sun


Ron Olsen is a Peabody and Emmy Award winning journalist.  After more than 30 years in Los Angeles, he and his wife recently moved to rural Maryland.  More of his poetry can be found at http://workingreporter.com/poetry.html

Silent Rape – A Poem By Ron Olsen

Silent Rape
by Ron Olsen

Cameras on the corner
Drones with eyes above
The NSA listens in
To sounds of hate and love
Copying your email
Your every movement followed
Credit cards leave a trail
Of dinners out you’ve swallowed

A module plugged into your car
Locates you in a flash
Telling the company where you are
And whether you’re likely to crash
Where you are
And are likely to be
And forever
Stripped of all privacy
At the pull of a government lever

Your life in public files somewhere
You’re nailed to the wall
Who you are and want to be
Medium, big or small
They have your profile
From the Net
Your tendencies
Propensities, too
Health records
Potential for disease
Everything’s targeting you

Your willingness to do as your doctor says
Your voting and trips to the loo
Who you like
And don’t
And why
Who you’re listening to
Your philosophy
And spiritual needs
Each and every detail
They’ve got it all
They’ve got it pat
They’re riding you on a rail

All you’ve done
Or failed to do
That book you bought on line
An association with Karl Marx
Means you’re no longer prime
All you wanted was a read
But it’s turned you into a threat
For the billionaires who buy the polls
And track you on the Net

An average selection
Of a new generation
Accepting it as their norm
Naïve to the truth
That the freedom they have
Might be lost in the oncoming storm

©2015 Ron Olsen/All rights reserved

Ron Olsen is a Peabody and Emmy award winning journalist, essayist and poet.  He lives in Los Angeles.

All Of That And More – Poem by Ron Olsen

All Of That And More Poem

All Of That And More
by Ron Olsen

Popped the top
Poured it slow
Against the side of the glass
Forming a perfect head of foam
Hitting my tongue
Tasting the past
Taking me back
To a slower time
In so many small towns
We knew them all
They were our youth

My big Pontiac
Nearly off the snow covered road
So many times
Driving blind
On instinct alone
And the grace of God
Seeing us through
To maybe get lucky
On a Saturday night
In the frozen north

Through the haze
We’re there again
An ancient bar
Salted peanuts and purple pickled eggs
In Lake Henry
St. Martin
New Munich
A few others
Names forgotten in the fog
All the same
A big Catholic church
A John Deere dealer
A beer hall
And a house or two

Pull another tap
The boys at the bar
Draining it dry
Telling lies
Laughing hard
Before the band stopped playing
And the sun came up
And the girls went home
And Izzy locked the door

I drain my glass dry
And the past dies again
A time we could understand
A time we could feel
Enough time, for you and me
To drink our fill
And maybe die behind the wheel
Or, if we were lucky
To cheat death one more time

Thinking we were so much more
Than we really were
Only we really were
All of that and more


©2015 Ron Olsen – all rights reserved

Los Angeles – A Poem By Ron Olsen


Los Angeles
by Ron Olsen

She sucks you in
With glamour
And glitz

With whispers of wealth and fame

They answer by the thousands
Approval seekers
Ladder climbers
Feeling a need
To be somebody
Or at least try

I arrived
Turning right
Off the ribbon of light
Feeling less than connected
Flying off the Hollywood Freeway
Down onto the land of moving earth

Disconnected from the soil
No longer weighed down by the gravity of the East
The heaviness of well-considered thought
Floating somewhere above the sandy soil of the Valley
Without any need to think about why

Never mind
That’s just the way things are
Here on the edge of the ring of fire
With too little rain
Only the hot Santa Ana’s refrain
To remind you of weather’s call
That with the sameness
Sometimes it’s there at all

L.A. doesn’t welcome you
She dares you to stay
If you can handle
The lack of connectivity
As the ground shifts beneath your feet
And your thoughts float away

A social register replete
With no one to meet
For any real reason
Other than seeing and being seen
For the full and meritorious value
Of maybe getting someone famous
To give you the time of day

Or perhaps gain fame yourself
If you’re tough enough
Smart enough
Strong enough
To hang on

To keep from flying off into space
As the ring of fire shifts once more


©2015 Ron Olsen – all rights reserved


Poem – “One True Belief” by Ron Olsen


One True Belief
by Ron Olsen

Our  struggle is meaningless
For those who truly believe
In their one version of the truth

The New Testament’s revenge
A pipeline’s purpose
Fuels a climate change denier’s anger
Crying out for more and not less
Of that which hastens our demise
As they wait for evil to blanket the world

They know it’s sure to happen
It’s a certain thing
For those who truly believe
In their one version of the truth

For centuries running
They have seen the end coming
It’s just over there
Almost in sight now
With absolute certainty
That they are right
Once again

Even though they’ve been wrong before
Every time
Time and again
And then time again

They’ve even set dates
Only to be wrong
And still they believe
In myth over metaphor
Interpretation over fact
Having more impact
On government and culture
Than any of us knows

Creating the certainty
That only self-fulfilling prophecy
Can deliver to the collective mindset
As the approach of Armageddon
Makes caring meaningless
To those who truly believe

Making us
Our struggle childish futility
In their eyes
Even while we hold the keys to salvation
For those who dare admit
That we might succeed
At pulling ourselves from the fire

For those with the courage to believe
That we might not be irrelevant after all
That we might be our only best hope

Even as God whispers in the ear
Of some enlightened fool
Who, after a pint of his favorite brew
Sets yet another date
For the rest of us to burn in hell
And demands that his local congressman
Must do the same

© 2015 Ron Olsen/all rights reserved


Ron Olsen is a Los Angeles based writer.   More of his poetry can be found here.

Poem: The Great Obliviators by Ron Olsen


The Great Obliviators
by Ron Olsen

Stuck in Afghanistan
Without an exit plan
While drones fly
Where no soldiers need go

All this after
And now Syria, too

We were warned this would happen

The glorification of war
Never-ending militarism
Not to be questioned
Or risk being accused of being less than American

Ike told us it was coming
Back in 61
The “rise of misplaced power” he said
The Military Industrial Complex
Now it’s here

Eisenhower, knew war
Those who now make war do not

But they are locked in
Not about to let go
As imperial America
Bites down
On the world

A pit bull in every yard
An urban assault vehicle in every garage
A gun in every drawer
Pepper spray in every purse
To fend off neighbors
Against the oncoming imagined apocalypse

ISIS beheadings
Plastic sheeting to cover your windows and doors
Smallpox in the mail
Sarin in the subways
Hijackers on our planes

The necessary threat

Without it, there is no fear
And without fear, no motivation
Without motivation
No public funding

Keeping the prophets of fear
In power
Cash fat sociopaths
Caring only for themselves

Gutting the middle class
Keeping the nation at war
To satisfy the greed
Of those whose greed knows no satisfaction
Only the need for more

© 2015 Ron Olsen – all rights reserved

Healthcare – A Poem

By Ron Olsen

When people profit from
Other people’s illness

Disease becomes more profitable
Than wellness

It doesn’t take a brain surgeon
To understand

Sickness perpetuates wealth
Free healthcare results in health

Try and move forward
Rather than back

And they’ll nail you with fear
And rail you with lies

While they pay off the doctors
And give the medical schools millions

To perpetuate
The myth of caring


© 2015 Ron Olsen / all rights reserved



Ron Olsen is a retired journalist who lives in Los Angeles.   He writes essays and an occasional poem.   More of his work can be found here.

Parades of Life | Here They Come Again | Poem by Ron Olsen

Parades of Life
Here They Come Again by Ron Olsen

Here they come again

As before

Always in the rear

Armed with pushcart, shovel and positive disposition

Picking up what’s left

From the horses

The elephants

A circus of joy

And the children all cheer as they pass by

The inevitable result of the parade of life

All well paid for their contribution

Considering what they do

Here they come again

As before

Not far from the rear

Armed with bullets, grenades and knives

Bringing carnage

And death

And fear

And sadness

And the children all cheer as they pass by

The inevitable result of the parade of life

All well paid for their contribution

Considering what they do

Here they come again

As before

Somewhere near the rear

Armed with verbal deflection, a clever turn of the word

The fixers

The promisers

The tellers of half-truths

The leaders

And the children all cheer as they pass by

The inevitable result of the parade of life

All well paid for their contribution

Considering what they do

Here they come again

As before

Always in the rear

Sidestepping what the pushcarts missed

Undeterred by their position

Armed with truth, curiosity and hope

The thinkers

The knowers

The bringers of light

The solution

And the children all slumber as they pass by

The inevitable result of the parade of life

I’ll Bet You Didn’t Know | Poem by Ron Olsen


I’ll Bet You Didn’t Know
By Ron Olsen

I’ll bet you didn’t know
Heard the buzz?
It’s real life
Not just Hollywood

James Garner
One of the many
Hand in hand with Diahann Carroll
Newman, Brando, Charlton Heston
And so many more

Hand in hand
Neither cold nor dead
In the march on Washington
Three hundred thousand listening to Martin explain his dream
To move beyond the suffering, pain and indifference
And the hate
The damnable hate
Born out of the coarse repugnancy of small minds

Dear God, will it never stop?

And so they marched
All the way back in 1963
Not so long ago, really
For those who were there
For those who still care
For those who can still feel their way through the fog

Heard the buzz?
It’s real life
Not Hollywood

I’ll bet you didn’t know
Robin Williams wouldn’t deal
Unless the studio agreed to also deal with the real
To hire the homeless
Giving a new start to those with no direction
Hope to the hopeless
Home to the homeless

Saint Robin and
Sir James of the mighty heart
Real life and Hollywood too
Sometimes an unexpected confluence of decency
Reminding us of how far we have yet to go

I’ll bet you didn’t know


Robin Williams interviewed by Ron Olsen
Robin Williams interviewed by Ron Olsen

Yourself Looking Back a Poem by Ron Olsen

yourself looking back poem by ron olsen

Yourself Looking Back

by Ron Olsen

It’s so much easier to run with the herd

Safer too

To never look back

Or too far ahead

You might not like what you see

Your own image looking back in disgust

So much easier to smile

A forced façade of joy

Even though your guts ache for the truth

You set it aside

Way too much to try and understand

And run with the herd

Football and brain damage

Sugar poisons the masses

Democracy’s death

Poverty overwhelms America

Climate change is us

Thousands of needless deaths in useless wars

All duped by marketing

Wall Street’s short view

As capitalism fails the many

Never mind

Join the herd

Phones, tablets, tv and laptops take it all away

The pacifier of unending diversion

Sucking on the great technological teat

Stopping to think is far too painful

You might see yourself looking back

Crushed by the admission of personal irresponsibility

By the inadequacy of the masses

E Pluribus Unum

A contradiction in terms

The illegitimate child of lofty thinkers

You are the many

The many are one

All moving in the same direction

Thinking the same simple thoughts

It’s so much easier to run with the herd


Mediocrity loving

Unwilling to listen

Attacking with hatred

Pouring humiliation upon

Any suggestion of enlightenment

A superior attitude is repugnant

To those who refuse to think

Better and easier to smile

To conform

To just keep moving mindlessly ahead

Lest you stop and see yourself looking back

A nexis of unbearable reality

A vision of enlightenment

The real enemy

Or so they want you to believe

Denial and deceit

Acceptance of the many


So much easier

Much more comfortable

Safer too

Rise above commonality and they’ll tear you to pieces

The game is on

Pass me another beer

When all are heroes

Heroes disappear

When all are champions

Champions are none

When all are awarded

Awards are meaningless

With nothing left but us

Running with the herd

Awaiting the inevitable slaughter

Ron Olsen
Ron Olsen

Ron Olsen is a veteran cross-platform journalist based in Los Angeles, California, United States.……Ron Olsen at Wiki
He writes, “I’m a semi-retired Peabody Award winning journalist who now writes
essays and an occasional poem.”

Ron’s  Site is The Working Reporter News, opinion and resources for journalists

Ron’s blog web news & commentary