I Shot a Man

Apr 19

You probably think I deserve it,
A life sentence is mine,
I shot a man to death one night,
And now I’m doing time. 
Prison Cell

Prison Cell Image – Courtesy Wikipedia.org

How could I do this violent thing?
How could I take a life?
I pleaded self defense in court,
I am a beaten wife.
So I ask you now to answer this,
Have you ever been so mad?
That you lost your cool and act a fool,
And did a thing so bad?
“Well yes!” You say, “I threw a book,
But I’m such a lousy shot,
I missed my boyfriend by an inch,
And still feel bad a lot.” 
There’s not much difference between us two,
It’s what anyone might have done,
YOU picked up a book to throw,
But I picked up a gun.  



Anyone of us have the potential to make a life-changing decision that we regret. We are all more alike than we might want to admit. We all have the capacity to do terrible things and wonderful things. This poem was inspired by a true story I heard about that took place during a healing process at a woman’s prison.

Drs. David and Bonnie Paul have been leading a process of self-forgiveness and healing inside California prisons for years. They give me hope for humanity with their important work. Learn more about this process at http://freedomtochoosefoundation.org/.

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Cubicle Bullies

Feb 23

Cubicle bully no backgroundWe sit in our cubicles – crowded and close,
Ten of us here and most quite verbose.
Most are quite helpful – one’s rude as can be,
Obnoxious and nasty – when talking to me.
So I went to my boss after trying my luck,
Confronting this issue – and stopping this schmuck.
This bullying problem- covert around here,
Is killing my spirit and spreading more fear.
But my boss as a leader, or lack of he is,
Ignored my request saying, “Get back to biz!”
“Oh it can’t be that bad, your skin’s way too thin,”
And with that I gave up – and retreated within.
Now my cubicle bully – a smirk on her face,
Harasses and teases, at will without grace.
She never gets busted – I’m so uninspired,
I’ll do less ‘round here – might even get fired.
I came here to work and answer my calling,
But leadership here is weak and appalling.
With my boss playing chicken, a bully in my face,
I’ll just put in my time… ‘till I’m out of this place!


Image Above: Courtesy Elliot Dahl Designs – ElliotDahl.com. Image Below: Nikita Krushchev – Russian Dictator. Courtesy of Wikipedia. Who’s dictating at your company? Who uses fear in your organization to get his/her way?

Isn’t it quite amazing that in this world of high technology, communication training and a deeper understanding of what makes a business successful that we still allow fear and intimidation to fester unchecked in many organizations? Isn’t it mind blowing that bosses, peers, and others can say and do things to other people that are beyond rude and obnoxious and yet they are allowed to get by with it? What is the cost to an organization that allows abusive behaviors to continue? It’s enormous. Beyond dollars and cents, little things like brand, culture, and reputation Nikita_S._Chruschtschoware tarnished.

More importantly, those employees who came into the organization with passion and enthusiasm suddenly find themselves being just the opposite. Biding their time until a better job comes along or worse yet, resigning themselves, collecting a paycheck, and saying the hell with caring about the quality of work, the importance of their position or the well-being of their company.

Bottom line, fear works. Ask Hitler. Ask Castro. Ask Krushchev. Fear motivates people while the the gun is pointed. Drop the weapon for a minute and you better not turn your back. There is little creativity nor loyalty when fear is present. How does your organization foster open and honest communication when their is fear? Does it matter? Having worked in environments where fear and intimidation runs rampant, I have seen the toll on the human spirit, the personal health of employees and the cost to those invested in the success of the company.

Whether it’s an asshole of a boss or an intimidating co-worker, it’s costing the individual, the business and our society a very high price. What price are you willing to pay – whether you’re an employee or the employer? What can you do? What will you do? If you’re an employer, do you really know who uses fear and intimidation to motivate the troops? You might be surprised. Those who use fear are master manipulators and have learned to put on a friendly face as needed.

I would love to hear your thoughts.


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A Muslim, a Jew and a Catholic Walk Into a Bar…

Feb 17

Muslim jew catholic symbols

A Muslim, a Jew, and a Catholic – walk into a bar,
Oh, the jokes we could tell – if we dare go that far!
Could they laugh at themselves? As they fight over God?
Could they sit with each other – or is that way too odd?
If a Muslim, a Jew, and a Catholic – sat down for a drink,
Would a bar fight break out? Would it make you re-think?
Would this make you re-think who was right and was wrong?
What if they came out, holding hands, singing song?
A Muslim, a Jew and a Catholic, while sitting face to face,
Noticed they were not so different, as had once seemed the case.
They all had their problems, they all had their joys,
They loved laughing and playing, as young girls and boys.
A Muslim, a Jew, and a Catholic – soon gave up their fight,
To see who was better, and most often right.
They concluded “life’s precious” and there’s so little time,
They decided to change, be accepting and kind.
A Muslim, a Jew, and a Catholic, just talked for a while,
And their God shed a tear, and he started to smile.
Image courtesy of http://www.worldslastchance.com
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No One Wants to Hug me

Jan 15

No one wants to touch me,
They’re afraid I will break,
No one wants to hug me,
How much can I take?
 Robot gal reversed
Getting older is lonely,
All my friends dying fast,
Mom and dad are long gone,
How long can I last?
But what if I had a robot?
That was warm to the touch,
A robot I could talk to,
And play checkers and such.
What if I had a robot?
Who would laugh at my jokes,
And would act like my friend,
And light up my smokes.
What if I had a robot?
A companion for life,
I wouldn’t be so lonely…
Not exactly a wife.
At least with my robot,
I wouldn’t be alone,
With nothing to do,
In my prison called home.
At least she would listen,
To my stories of past,
And she’d never get bored,
Or leave way too fast.
Medicine might help me,
Live a decade or two,
Robot woman
But why would I want to?
Being lonely and blue.
A robot for my partner,
When I’m 72,
Might seem kind of awkward,
For a youngster like you.
You have a great future,
 I can only look back,
You have dreams and new people,
I have doctors and crap.
I have nothing to live for,
Sitting here all alone,
But a kind-hearted robot,
Could brighten my home!
So while you may forget me,
My robot will not,
She’ll be programmed to stay here,
And listen a lot!
No, she won’t do my dishes,
But I’m sure she’ll succeed,
At curing my loneliness,
And that’s all I need!

Sadly, this poetic piece on the downside of aging combined with the upside of robotic technology was inspired by a real event I heard on live talk radio one night. The announcer was talking about the movie “Her” with Joaquin Phoenix and Amy Adams. An older gentleman called in and explained that he would rather be dead than grow old being all alone.

He said his house was a prison and that even though modern medicine could help him live another decade or two, why would he want to? And then he said that if there was a robot to keep him companion, he would love that!

Even though he admitted it would be a clearly artificial relationship, he said it would be better than the pain of loneliness. Wow. Sad. But maybe there is a place for robots we haven’t really explored that much! Or maybe we should just re-commit to spending more time with those who are lonely.

I would encourage you to read this one out loud.

Let me know your thoughts!  Steve

© Copyright 2014 Steve Dahl

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Releasing a Predator – Lion or Douglas Badger

Jan 12

My thoughts on releasing repeat offending sexual predators: The sexual predator that is about to be released in San Diego will follow a very expected course. I am a very forgiving person but I’m not stupid. Sometimes bad DNA takes over a person’s behavior and the only way to help that person is to confine that person. Not unlike the wild animal who has DNA designed to kill.

We can spend a lot of time calling Douglas Badger a creep and a freak but the one thing we know for sure is that he is an animal, like all of us.  But, he has slightly different DNA than most. His is designed to attack. I wouldn’t get into a cage with a natural born predator and we shouldn’t let them roam our neighborhoods either. The image of Douglas Badger is courtesy Fox News 5 San Diego. 


Releasing a Predator

When raising wild lions we’ve caught,Lioness with a bloody muzzle
Inside a steel-barred cage,
We calm him down, we feed him,
And ignore his inborn rage.
Not a rage that comes by simple choice,
But rage from DNA,
A rage that cannot be undone,
Or simply wished away.
Why are we shocked when lion’s strike,
And hurt the ones who care,
It’s in their cells to do these things,
We can’t be unaware.
Predators have a thing inside,
That cause surprise attacks,
Like felons hunting girls and boys,
To do horrendous acts.
 Sexual Predator Douglas Badger 300px
The predators of the human kind,
No different in their way,
They cannot stop from hunting though,
It’s in their DNA.
It’s why we lock these creatures up,
And keep them from their range,
One cannot stop a lion’s urge,
Or hope that he will change.
Copyright 2013 Steve Dahl 
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Invisible Heroes – The Plight of the Homeless Vet

Jan 03

Change Starts With Awareness

How is it that we can let our heroic veterans live homeless? What will it take for us to finally notice the plight of these American heroes? I was shooting photos in downtown San Diego recently and was amazed at how many homeless vets are struggling on our streets amidst the wealth and beauty of this thriving community. What can we do? Not sure. So I wrote this piece and put it to video. Change starts with awareness. Please share this wherever you can.

From this clip:

“Not wounded by enemies, from battles afar,

but by those dropping nickels in my jar.

To you – I’m invisible,

I’ve vanished from view,

have you ever considered that I – could be you?” 


Here is the text of the video script in a printable PDF. Share this – PLEASE!

Invisible Heroes Infographic.2pdf


Invisible Heroes 

I entered the service,
At the age of 19,
Thought I’d travel the world,
And live out my dream.

Homeless dispair no background

I made it through boot camp,
And two bloody wars,
Came home a hero,
Then pounded on doors.
Door after door,
Just to find a good job,
With no luck at all,
I felt like a slob.
No money for rent,
No food on the table,
I live on the streets,
Finding scraps where I’m able.
The pain that I feel,
In this dumpster’s cool shade,
Is much worse to me,
Than a single grenade.
Invisible to see,
No skin torn apart,

vet without legs no background

This pain has ripped open,
The soul of my heart.
I now beg on the street,
With cardboard display,
All my dignity gone,
As my teeth rot away.
Oh people are nice,
With a nickel or a dime,
I say, “God bless you sir,”
I say it each time.
Now I’m shackled by shame,
Are you listening to me?
I fought for this country,
So we all could be free.
Not wounded by enemies,
From battles afar,
But by those who don’t see me,
Dropping nickels in my jar.
To you – I’m invisible,
Soldier with flag knockoutI’ve vanished from view,
Have you ever considered,
That I – could be you?
I once was a hero,
And did what was right,
But now I’m an eye sore,
From morning ‘till night.
So that’s how I feel,
As I’m standing here still,
But this may surprise you,
I have no ill will.
I gave all for this country,
And I have no regrets,
So how do you feel?
When you see homeless vets?


Copyright 2013 Steve Dahl

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