Jesus and the boys ventured to Sausalito.
Bundled in the cold,
Jesus surveyed hills around the bay,
Wind in his face.

Anchoring in Richardson’s water,
He walked on shore observing a lunatic.
Jesus said “I can handle this.”
Having met his match,
Jesus tried again:
Hocus pocus help me focus
Remove his demons so he stops screamin.
Reaching from the bottom of his being,
Jesus channeled the lunatics depths,
Holding his breathe,
Gasping ”Come out you things!”
Teetering, Jesus couldn’t contain them all.
Not wanting to fall,
He thought of hogs he saw grazin,
Then spun, casting them the lunatic’s devils.
Now they’re crazin
Running to the water to drown,
As everyone in town wailed
“Who is this clown?”

Going back to the boat,
The guys headed into Richardson’s Bay,
Another gray day. Another person saved.
Townspeople felt like Captain Richardson,
Animals slaughtered,
Watching idiots sail away.

Copyright © 2022 by David Vaszko

Sunday, April 15

Dear Jim,

There’s sure been a lot of wind lately. I’ve been inside all day. At least it’s nice not to wear shoes.

Last night my neighbor and I went to dinner. We hadn’t been in at least two weeks.

Instead of going to the Chinese place like we used to, we went to a Mexican place over where I lived for eleven years. It was the first time in the thirty-eight years that I’ve lived here that I went. I used to pass it all the time no matter where I lived.

I liked the food and I enjoyed the company of my friend, but I did not like being in my old neighborhood. Living there was the most unhappy period of my life. It aged me.

My friend was telling me how much he loves the houses in that neighborhood. They are beautiful – built in the 20’s, 30’s, 40’s with a ton of trees on the street. He hopes he wins the lottery so he can buy one. I hope so too. I wonder if I’d see him again.

Remember your house? I didn’t like it or your neighborhood. I know you didn’t like your neighborhood. Did you like the house? I loved my house but didn’t like the neighborhood. Too suburban.

The important thing for me isn’t whether I live in a house or an apartment, but whether or not there is a lot of light, a lot of windows, especially on the south. I’m becoming more and more light deprived. Part of it is fluorescent lights, but an increasing part is that aging eyes receive 40% less light than the eyes of a young person.

I’m going to get a new tablet before winter. It will not have bad lighting built in like the one I have now. I’m also going to get a tall lamp with healthy bulbs.

One of the things I read is that you need healthy light coming down on you like the sun, not up to you like a desk lamp. And I don’t know if you can do this in an apartment, but there are tubes that can be hooked up to a device outside that will bring natural light over your work area.

I’m supposed to go to the eye doctor this month, but I’m thinking of changing doctors. I love the office though. It feels great to be in.

You know how the media talks about how depressed old people are in rest homes? One of the reasons is the fluorescent lights. Another is the bad light from all the TV’s and the third is the inability of old eyes to absorb natural light like they used to.

A long time ago I looked up lighting in rest homes. There was a guy who designed rest homes so that the rooms receive a lot of natural light and, I assume, use light bulbs that make rooms feel good to be in.

I will not be able to afford to live in such a place. I won’t be able to afford to live in even a gloomy rest home. If I did live in one of those lousy places with fluorescent lights and TV’s on all day, I would lose my mind. Remember the movie about the insane asylum where at the end the Indian breaks the window to escape from the place? That’s what I think I would do in a rest home.

I remember one time that you said ”Television is the killer of the soul.” I say television is a weapon parents and the staff in rest homes use to kill the souls of children and old people.

If I won the lottery like my neighbor hopes he does, I wouldn’t buy a house. I would make arrangements to move into one of those well-lit rest homes as soon as I turned sixty-five or seventy, whatever age I thought I would begin to need assistance. It would be great to be an old man in a place that feels good to be in, basking in the peaceful glow of natural light, listening to birds instead of television.

What we do to old people is horrible. What we’ve done to dad is terrible. Dad is defeated.

I feel defeated too. I have to force myself to pray. That’s scary.

I’ve heard on religious radio stations that faith is something you sometimes have to work at. Sometimes you have to ask God to keep you in faith. You have to keep praying even when you’ve lost your faith because eventually you will regain it.

I think dad has lost a lot of his faith. He hardly prays. What means the world to him I think is when we hang up he says, ”Be careful. I love you. God bless you.” He may have lost hope for himself, but he hopes everything works out for me.

Sometimes when I don’t feel like saying a prayer for dad, I’ll ask God to let him right into heaven when he dies. He just can’t believe what’s happened to himself.

There’s that priest from Miami I think I told you about. He has a radio show for two hours every night. At the end of the show, after he’s done listening to the troubles of some people and bantering with others, it’s prayer time.

A listener will call. The priest says, ”Por su doloroso pasión.” The caller says, ”Ten misericordia de nosotros y el mundo entero.”

They say it ten times. What reverence and humbleness. Do you think it’s beautiful? It reminds me of dad.



Copyright © 2021 by David Vaszko


Dear Jim,

What a great week off. I haven’t worked since Tuesday. Each day I’ve been outside over four hours reading, writing, and walking. I feel healthy doing that.

Before my holiday, I worried about how I would make use of the time. I looked up an outdoor walk commemorating the Stations of the Cross for Good Friday. I participated five years ago, but did not see any notices for it for this year.

I thought I should go to the Holy Thursday service, or three hours on Good Friday, or a sorrowful music performance on Good Friday night, or communion on Holy Saturday, or Mass today. With so much free time and extra energy, I ”should do something” to honor Easter, worship God, thank Jesus.

But I didn’t want to. On Palm Sunday I felt a change of mood. I felt solemn. I told dad I was feeling the Easter spirit.

I put the clock radio in the drawer. I didn’t listen to my other radio. I didn’t worry about getting things done.

I didn’t go to any of the Holy Week rituals because I didn’t want to be inside and I didn’t want to put money in the collection basket. The main reasons are I don’t think Catholics take their faith seriously. They want to ooo! and ahhhh! on Good Friday as the huge lightweight cross is passed from the people in the front pews to the people in the back pews. ”Aren’t we progressive?”

It is really very phony. When did that shit start? I’ll have to ask dad but he probably won’t remember.

I feel lonelier at church than I do anywhere else. To sit through one of the long rituals would have killed me: ”I don’t know these people. They aren’t my friends. There is nothing to talk about. I don’t want to see people I know from other places and don’t like.”

On Friday I said Happy Easter to the cashier at the grocery store. She appreciated it. She said ”Happy Easter to you too.” Our exchange meant more to me than attending all the Holy Week ceremonies and Easter Mass would have.

The Good Friday walk I mentioned at the beginning of the letter. When I was volunteering at a church, one of my co-volunteers encouraged me to take the walk. She wasn’t physically able to do it.

I arrived at the place it started at least fifteen minutes early. The musicians were rehearsing. During a lull I asked them if this was the Good Friday walk. They said yes, but they were not warm. Nobody said ”Glad you could make it.” Nobody smiled. They looked at me as if I were less than.

So I sat on a picnic table until the walk started. The leader and an important priest were there talking. They had an attitude of self-importance. I was looking for reverence.

The walk was a struggle. We stopped for every station. Whenever we stopped I wanted to sit down, but it would not have been appropriate.

It was warm in the sun. Cool in the shade. I kept taking off my ski cap to put on my sun hat, and I kept taking off my sun hat to put on my ski cap. In the sun I stood in the shade of a telephone pole or street lamp.

Finally the walk ended. I ran into the woman I volunteered with. She had driven down to say hello to people.

As we were talking, she saw the leader of the walk coming toward us. She said ”Oh! I’ll introduce you guys.”

After they said hello to each other, she said ”So-and-so, this is David Vaszko. We volunteer together at one of the parishes.”

He says, ”Oh, weren’t you the one who kept putting his hat on and off? That was odd.”

”Yeah. That was me.”

”Don’t you walk by my office every day? You look familiar.”

”I walk all over.”

But he didn’t tell me where his office was or what its’ name was.

Then someone he knew came up to him. He said ”Excuse me,” then talked to the guy. I wanted to leave but didn’t want to be rude, so I waited.

Then he turned to me and said, ”I’ve got to go to breakfast with my friends.” He didn’t invite me. ”I hope you come on the walk next year.” But he didn’t say ”We’re always looking for volunteers.”

I thought ”No way in fucking hell am I going on the walk next year with you snobs.” He talked down to me. He should have invited me to breakfast and encouraged me to volunteer with the group.

On the way home I thought that guys like him are why people leave The Church, and why so many who try to return to The Church say fuck it. He wasn’t warm, respectful, diplomatic, or Christian. He was just a busy-body.

I never told the woman what I felt about him. They were close and she and I had a good relationship. I wanted to tell her he talked down to me but I’m glad I didn’t. She was really good to me – always encouraging me to do more in the parish because she respected me and knew I was struggling.

During the week I kept thinking about what Holy Week means. I was wishing I felt part of The Church. I would have loved to participate in one of the ceremonies. When I was coming home at 6:30 Thursday evening, I thought “In a few hours Jesus will be arrested.”

I got lucky. When I came home yesterday there was an invitation to dinner. The real short friend of mine who I told you has the sick sister and the old girl friend of mine who you guys adored and now has a husband, wanted the four of us to eat dinner and then watch a movie.

So the couple picked up my short friend, met me at the Mexican restaurant around the corner, paid for our dinners To Go, then drove us back to their house. The food was great. They all wanted to taste my menudo and they all loved it.

I was leery about watching the movie because movies overstimulate me and most TVs bother my brain. But I knew I should go and I was right.

The movie was The Darkest Hour. It’s about Churchill’s appointment to Prime Minister and his struggles to outwit Chamberlain and Halifax so that Parliament and the nation would accept his demand to fight to the death against Hitler.

You would have loved it. I told dad he would have loved it.

I didn’t get home until 11:30. Some neighbors were having a loud party that didn’t stop until 1:15.

I laughed. I got to spend Holy Saturday night with people I feel good being with, and one of the few nights I went out happened to be one of the few nights my neighbors were loud and I couldn’t have gone to bed early.

Happy Easter to you and mom Jim.



Copyright © 2021 by David Vaszko

Wednesday, March 28

Dear Jim,

I’m sitting in a nice patio garden at the utmost of snobby coffee shops. The guy who took my order did not say ”Hi how are you?” or smile or make small talk. The guy who put my drink up on the counter didn’t smile. I thanked him, then he said “You’re welcome.”

But no warmth. Each guy was dressed meticulously with an expensive haircut and with tattoos. It reminded me of San Francisco’s snobbery and pretension. All show but no go.

So I’m here, protected from the cool breeze on a warm morning. I needed to do something different. I feel good. It feels good.

Last night I went to the Spanish group I only go to once in a while now. I was actually able to speak, although it was hard and I had to repeat myself sometimes. But there too. It amazes me how terrified people are of strangers and it pisses me off that someone refuses to talk with the person next to them or across from them. I didn’t have a good time.

I had a great burrito. I don’t know what was in it. It had red sauce and the perfect amount of spice for my bland taste buds. I also had a great cup of fresh squeezed orange juice. It was $5.45, but I am glad I bought it.

You should see the machine they juice the orange halves with. Vrrrrrrrrmmm! and they are done. The machine really looks classy. The travel books say that in Mexico fresh squeezed orange juice at restaurants is an inexpensive tradition.

It’s been a stressful week or ten days. I’m really getting too old to work. It drives me crazy and I’m bored to death. We are short a really good staff member and we’ve hired some new people who I like a lot.

One of the reasons I’m stressed is because I am pushing hard to speed up Spanish. It takes a lot of time and effort and is hard for me, even though I love it. But I understood almost everything people said last night.

I did not enjoy the crowd like I used to, but I told myself that I really need the group, so go like it is a business meeting and don’t worry about whether the guy next to me is an asshole.

And then there’s a book I’m reading: Domestic Tranquility: a brief against Feminism. It’s incredible. It was written in 1998 by a woman seven years younger than dad. She went to law school, became an attorney, then gave up her job to be a housewife.

She loved it. She said being a housewife was more rewarding to her and more of a contribution to society than being an attorney. She said anybody can take your place at the law firm, but nobody will or can raise your kid the way you will or can.

The main goal of feminism was to destroy patriarchy and it worked. We all know that, but she puts a different angle on it. She said that rather than fight to make motherhood more respected, the feminists encouraged married women to leave their husbands, and single women not to marry. What these women should do said the feminists, is pursue a career just like the males who oppress them so they can be aggressive just like the men who oppress them.

The author said that feminists felt that motherhood was bullshit, then tried to bring the sensitivity that housewives used to bring to their family into the male-dominated work force by pushing for things like day care at the office.

One of the things she said was that the main reason that feminism of our time got started was because men were abandoning their role as breadwinners. She talked about the beatniks, Playboy Magazine, and the hippies. She said the beatniks did not respect women. Women were just a pain in the ass and you may as well give a blow job once in a while.

To her, Playboy made men teenagers, rather than a proud bread winning husband and father. Men were told that being single is the best way for a man to live. His manhood is based on his job title and on all the expensive toys he has.

As for the hippies, she goes on, at least they didn’t acquire all the horseshit playboys do. But still, they wanted to be promiscuous and they expected women to be promiscuous. There was no expectation or desire for hippie men to be an adoring husband or dynamic father.

The book has me thinking about my sexuality and what I need or want from a woman. She said women need to demand that men adore them and are willing to support them before they sleep together. I’d love to meet a woman I adore to see if I would devote myself to her and to a happy few years together.

There’s a real short book I just read that this author quoted from – The Penitent by Isacc Bashivas Singer. He wrote it in 1983. Did you read it? It is incredible.

It’s about a Jew who had run all over Europe during World War II starving and freezing trying to avoid the Nazis. After the war he ended up in America. He had no money and didn’t know what to do. So he used the business skills he learned from his father, then became unexpectedly wealthy. He didn’t care about money.

He was a philanderer. Then after a failed affair and during his failing marriage, he decided he had to give up the adultery and inhumanity of the modern world. He longed for the purity of the Jewishness of his father and grandfather.

He took a taxi to the airport, then a plane to Tel Aviv to begin his difficult journey to become a Jew the way Jews were before they embraced the soullessness and immorality of the post war Gentile world. One day he sought a Jewish religious library to delve into his roots in order to save himself.

An old rabbi came over to him with a twinkle in his eye and love in his bearing and said, “Welcome home my son.” Isn’t that incredible! I never felt anything like that from a priest.

You know I often refer to things I’m reading or doing but never talk about them again. So I’ll mention some.

On Sunday I watched the Paul Newman movie I told you I was going to watch. It’s set in Antioch and Rome when Saint Peter was old. There is a great scene of Peter healing a girl who can’t walk. She is between her parents struggling to stand as Saint Peter exhorts her. Finally, she awkwardly walks to Peter where he hugs her to him.

What was amazing is that the guy who made the movie had the insight to think that maybe the apostles, since they weren’t Jesus, couldn’t heal as effectively as he did. And Peter, as an old man, probably couldn’t heal like he used to. So the girl didn’t just get up and walk delightfully away like the cripples who Jesus healed did.

Remember the 1300 page book about Texas I was reading and told you I would stick with like a Texan? I stopped on page 1100. I wasn’t interested in what happened after 1970. I guess now I can’t go to Texas.

Well Jim, it’s been great writing. I’m filled with passion, and you always admired me for it.



Copyright © 2021 by David Vaszko

Sunday, March 11

Dear Jim,

It’s daylight Savings Time. Last night, instead of hurriedly setting my clock ahead before I went to bed, I calmly set it ahead as soon as I got home. Then I relaxed and went to bed at 10:00. (11:00)

Today I feel great! I listened to a half hour of The Psalms and a half hour of church hymns on the Christian station I told you about.

I love The Psalms. The Psalm writers are pissed off like I am. They are suffering a lot too. You talked about suffering – how it can make you take yourself less seriously, become empathetic or more empathetic toward others, and get you on the path toward God.

I remember when that woman you loved dearly broke your heart. You said to me, “For the first time in my life I have truly suffered.” It was wrenching for you. The Psalms are wrenching.

I needed to keep going on the religious theme, so after the church hymns I turned to Radio Vaticano. I love the narrator’s Italian accent as she speaks Spanish.

After she got through giving the news and reporting upcoming events, she interviewed a woman who just published a book about women in The Church and their quest for power. The interview was hard to follow because they were talking so fast. The writer spoke different Spanish than I’m used to and the one being interviewed usually doesn’t speak as clearly as the interviewer.

I needed to be still, so I didn’t get up to try to write her name or the title of the book. I will try to look it up.

As far as I can tell, The Church has two big problems. Women are pissed off and men don’t give a shit. Sounds like the country.

Then I listened to the sage priest in Sacramento who grew up in Mexico. He talks every Sunday about the three readings from Mass.

The theme today was light versus darkness. He said we call ourselves Catholics, but we embrace the selfish aspects of our culture like pornography and violence.

He said really, we are not Catholics because we do not accept that Jesus died for our sins, died to bring us the light. He said we must dump our egos, admit to ourselves that everything about us – our money, job, title, property, talent is because of God, because Jesus paid the price to bring the world out of darkness – if we so choose.

He said we better so choose because the barbarians are at our gates just like barbarians burned Jerusalem before the Jews were sent into exile. Like the Jews who lived a life of debauchery before their fall, we are doing the same thing. He said America has fallen apart because we Catholics have accepted contemporary paganism just like Jews accepted the paganism of their times.

There were a couple of other things too. He said the Mexican devotion to Maria is horseshit if Mexicans believe in abortion. He said presidential candidates need to speak against abortion, because if I understand him right, abortion is a great evil or our time and an example of paganism at its’ worst.

While he was talking he made the distinction between being in the darkness like America and Western Catholics are, and stepping into Jesus’ light to reclaim ourselves, our church, our country, and our Western tradition.

That got me thinking about The Psalms I listened to an hour before him. In The Psalms the psalmist is protected by God’s shadow. He can either walk in it or seek shelter in it. He can be good knowing he is protected by God.

In the New Testament, people are challenged to walk in Jesus’ light, step out of their darkness and into the world’s darkness to do good, to try to get others to trust in the Lord like they do.

A lot of people trust in the universe. That is good because if you listen to the universe you sing your own song. It might be painful. If it doesn’t bring you peace it will cause you to stand your ground, say I’m going to live my truth no matter what.

The problem with the universe is what do you do if you end up on the street? I’ve had homeless guys say ”Jesus loves you” and ”God bless you” to me, but I’ve never had a homeless guy tell me “Trust in the universe.”

If I were homeless it would be terrifying for me to say to somebody, “Trust in the universe,” since the universe hadn’t gotten me money or a place to live.

But if I say “God bless you” or ”Jesus loves you,” I’m acknowledging not commanding. I’m hoping that he will thank me or say ”God bless you too.” But even if he doesn’t, Jesus said don’t expect to be rewarded. Until later. I would be trusting in the Lord.

Trusting in the universe is attractive. It’s becoming more popular. It’s drawing a lot of young people away from the Lord, away from The Church. And with the powerful technology that we have, you can communicate with the universe instantly.

The reason I bring this up is because young people, with the new technology that anyone can afford, are creating political movements intended to take our streets back from the police and our neighborhoods back from the real estate industry. Even though the groups I am aware of are not religious, are not Christian, they are putting into practice the Gospels.

In addition to visiting prisoners, they are trying to close prisons. In addition to giving food to the homeless, they are tying to pass rent control laws so people do not end up on the street.

If these things happen, what wonderful cities we will have. The love of Jesus will have taken over the world. We won’t need a savior. People will raise their kids to ”Trust in the universe. It will give you everything you need. If you aren’t greedy.”

So Jim, maybe what’s going on today will usher in some great changes for the better. Before Jesus there was God the Father. For two thousand years we have had God the Son. Maybe we’ll have an Age of the Holy Spirit, the Age of Aquarius, and Jesus’ work will be over.

That’s it for now.



Copyright © 2021 by David Vaszko