Silence the Drums

cropped-chi-nato20walker20120520144931.jpg

(With a few lines from the patriotic WW1 song “Over There” written by George M. Cohan in April 1917. Americans believed at that time that the war would be short and the song reflected that expectation)

Johnny’s out of luck
stuck
next to his
broken down
made-in-America
truck
that’s been running on fumes
for too long,
and there he is
stranded
on the side of the road
and the midnight train
ain’t coming
and he’s left humming
that patriotic tune
trapped inside his head
that no snake-oil
can erase…
“Johnny, get your gun, get your gun, get your gun…”
and he doesn’t want it anymore
but can never give it back
“Hurry right away, no delay, go today…”
But after it’s over
the lines at the VA
are a mile long
and all end with
benumbing psychotropics
“Make your daddy glad to have had such a lad…”
and he can’t stand his family,
and he can’t face his own reflection
“Tell your sweetheart not to pine,
To be proud her boy’s in line…”
and when you no longer love yourself
it gets harder to say
‘I love you’ to someone else
and mean it.
“Hoist the flag and let her fly
Yankee Doodle do or die…”
and he gets sick to his stomach
whenever he sees the flag
because he knows it’s blood-soaked
and used to hide the bodies
“Make your mother proud of you
and the old red white and blue…”
and his mother prays for him
because he lost god
by the rivers of Babylon
“Send the word, send the word over there…”
and he realizes
that everything he learned in life
is bullshit
“That the Yanks are coming, the Yanks are coming
the drums rum-tumming everywhere…”
and he can’t forget
that fucking song
“So prepare, say a prayer,
Send the word, send the word to beware…”
He tries to start running
but he’s ragged,
can’t sleep
with all those war drums
rum-tumming
jagged
tunes
of more war
after war
And it doesn’t matter
Who’s to blame
he’s madder than the hatter
pickled from too many
government pills
a deer in headlights
shoot to kill
and Johnny’s too tired
to fight
and with his last bit of strength
scratch’s his swansong exit
stage left
into the pavement
“We’ll be over, we’re coming over…”
Because someone called the cops
about the crazy guy
on the side of the road
smoke billowing out
of his American-made
truck
and it looks like Johnny got a gun
and he won’t run
and hide,
he’d rather get high
on adrenaline
this one last time
“And we won’t come back
till it’s over,
over there!”
and he wishes
that he never
made it back
to accolades,
handshakes
and free beer
at the VFW
then years of bitter pills
but here he is now
bleeding out by the side of the road
suicide by cop.
Some will call him a coward
but he found no other way
to silence that deafening sound
of new war drums rum-tumming
everywhere…
but it’s fine
in Uncle Sam’s eyes
because new Johnny’s and Jane’s
are born all the time
and grow up learning to sing
age-old patriotic tunes,
going on to make daddy’s glad
and momma’s proud
but if they’re among the lucky
and make it home
according to the VA
Twenty-Two will join Johnny
EVERY SINGLE DAY
To permanently silence
Those fucking rum-tumming
Goddamn drums of war.

flag drapped boxeszz1DSC_2102vets

After Harvest

soitgoes1984:

written this time last year…about how everything good comes to an end. a poem about reflection in autumn…as the leaves change, as the world turns…as a few apples are always left to rot after harvest, but the deer don’t mind.

Originally posted on soitgoes1984:

fall

With the leaves getting all artsy again
before they die
and get raked
and rot
and return to the earth

I cry for springtime
for winter
and for last fall

when in that cool, crisp air
I would break out
the thrift-store flannel
and threadbare watch cap
and we would go pick
honey crisps

and bite into the cool,
crisp knowledge
that forever was within reach

and I’d breathe deep that country air
and that perfect moment,
that time of day

when the sunlight warmly illuminates
the orchard
and the aging farmhouses
and the entire valley.
And you never think it will actually end,
but then it does

and you’re left sitting there
alone
with your thoughts
and your last few cigarettes
and not enough cheap whiskey
to drink her away

as the snow falls on a dreary New England dusk
and the hunted deer feast
on what was left…

View original 13 more words

The simple life of cats

soitgoes1984:

dogs, cats, CNN, war…

Originally posted on soitgoes1984:

November 2008

The cat is in the backyard

he’s climbing up a tree

oh what a simple life

for the cat that it must be.

The dog is in the front yard

he’s chewing on a ball

what a peaceful life it is

that dogs have after all

The bird is in the birdcage

in the bedroom of a house

just singing all day long

to no one special, just a mouse.

The mouse is on the floor right now

he’s eating up some cheese

that’s all the mouse must do in life

whatever he shall please.

The man is watching CNN

and fighting with his wife

the wars go on

more years are gone

and he just hates his life.

The politician practices

not ever what he’s preached

as cities lay in ruin

many promises are breached.

The chaplain speaks of angels

and the peace that’s yet to come

View original 36 more words

Smashing Pumpkins: Drunken Keene State College students riot during Pumpkin Festival.

Sure, it was mostly white folks, but we all know the black guy must have started it…or it’s because the white kids are listening to hip hop, that must be it. Or maybe they’re just over privileged, drunken idiots. I am 100% against the militarization of civilian police forces, but since they ARE militarized…where are the MRAPs and the snipers now? Shouldn’t the illegal excessive force at least be equal throughout the land of the free? (not that the situation is even remotely similar to a protest of any sort). But really, showing up in riot gear is usually the best way to start a riot… and with a lot of these kids feeling invincible because daddy’s lawyer will take care of it should they get arrested, a number of them were probably hoping for a violent reaction from police so they could get their 15 minutes of ‘fame’. Maybe they thought the nation would rally behind them, like we are Ferguson. These idiots can’t handle their alcohol…and they riot?  When black and brown people try to protest the murder of a teenager by the police, it’s called a riot and the militarized cops roll in tanks and SWAT and ALL black and brown people are further villainized, and dehumanized and called thugs and animals, and tear gassed and beaten and arrested and blamed for everything. Black people rise up when one of their children gets shot, white people rise up when they run out of pumpkin spiced beer… or am I missing something here?

Should I not generalize? Is it not fair to demonize all white folks based on whats happening in Keene? I can’t wait for all the excuses, “kids will be kids, they’re just letting off some steam”…”they did it because they were drunk, the blacks do it because they’re prone to violence” blah blah blah. If you want to see a good example of white privilege, just pay attention to some of the coverage of this, watch how it’s framed by the media… “they were drunk, everyone makes mistakes…” “of course not all white people are like that”… or better yet, lack of coverage in the media. The cops showing up and making arrests is appropriate for things like this, NOT for peaceful protests. When the police state arrests you for creating an unsafe environment while you’re violently drunk during a ‘family’ pumpkin festival, IT’S NOT THE SAME AS WHEN THEY BEAT AND ARREST PEACEFUL CITIZENS PROTESTING INJUSTICE, IN VIOLATION OF THEIR RIGHT TO FREE SPEECH AND TO PEACEABLY ASSEMBLE. That said, although these kids are idiots, the police state shouldn’t be able to tear gas them. It shouldn’t be legal for the police state to HAVE tear gas or any of these ‘less than lethal’ toys they have and still manage to turn lethal in the hands of these ‘peace officers’. The first time I got tear gassed was in Hartford before a Dave Matthews Band concert. Granted, it was for drunken idiocy amongst some in the crowd, not protesting…but there is no need for a “civilized” nation to use a chemical weapon on human beings, even drunk ones BUT ESPECIALLY PEACEFUL PROTESTERS. It is possible that the students ARE drunken idiots, and the cops DID use excessive force. It’s not mutually exclusive. When they use this excessive force on drunken college kids, they no longer deserve to be called “peace officers” or “civilian police officers” or described as “serving and protecting” the community…but, when they use this force on non-violent political demonstrations, which has long been the case and I’ve experienced first hand countless times, America no longer deserves to be called a democracy.

What happened in Keene will only galvanize people into supporting militarized police, ‘Well, for things like this they NEED all that gear…’. I’m sorry, but 99.9% of the time it will be used on non-violent protesters standing up against the crown, not on drunken college kids. Don’t let this become the one more justification for the militarization of civilian police… if regular, non-militarized police can’t handle a crowd of drunken college student’s, hire more cops for large events like pumpkin fest. If they still can’t handle it, either cancel pumpkin fest, don’t serve booze, or use some of that unconstitutionally obtained NSA data to figure out where the party is, and break it up before it gets out of hand. We need the 1st (and every other amendment). immature college kids do not need a right to have a huge party. But mark my word, many of these fucks will wind up getting jobs working for corporations destroying the planet, and any negative impact that this ‘riot’ has on the people of NH, will only hurt people peacefully protesting the empire in the future. This is NOT the same as Ferguson, or as Occupy, or as Kent State, or even UC Davis. This is stupid, over privileged, immature, drunk college kids…it’s nothing new. That’s what college is for a lot of these idiots, a time to get black out drunk and act like an idiot. If the Keene police can’t handle drunken college students, like I said- for big events, hire more cops- and if they cant handle it in general, GET NEW COPS WHO CAN HANDLE IT. You’re either a good police officer or not, no flack jacket, M-4 or MRAP will turn them into better police officers. Good cops could have handled this situation WITHOUT excessive force. It’s not about ‘policing’ anymore, it’s about reminding us that we’re subjects of the American empire.

I can’t help but think of Emerson College student Victoria Snelgrove who was killed by Boston police by a “non-lethal” beanbag round, while celebrating a Boston Red Sox victory in October 2004, or Iraq War veteran Scott Olsen who was wounded by police during Occupy Oakland after being shot in the head at close range with a tear gas canister and those attempting to administer aid to Scott also targeted by police, or Oscar Grant, shot execution style in the back of the head at Fruitvale Station by a BART police officer who claimed he thought he grabbed his taser rather than his service revolver. Or the countless cases of “non-lethal” weapons, usually tasers, killing undocumented immigrants at the US-Mexico border. Or all the peaceful Palestinian protesters in the West Bank killed by ‘no-lethal’ weapons. Or the Israeli man (and Hampshire College Graduate) I met who lost an eye at a non-violent protest in the West Bank after cops peppered him with a hail of rubber bullets. All of these ‘less than lethal’ or ‘non-lethal’ means of policing all too often turn lethal, and the further militarized civilian police departments become, the more frequent these ‘accidental deaths’ or serious injuries will be. So, shame on the City of Keene for militarizing their police department, and shame on the drunken, idiotic students of Keene State College for acting like assholes and giving the government yet another excuse to beef up the arsenals of local police.

And I’m talking about “non-lethal” or “less-than-lethal” weapons…obviously cops use and abuse their “lethal” weapons far more often. The police shoot and kill black and brown people with the same indifference that the military has for the black and brown people of other countries. Try to imagine for a moment how this would look, how it would be portrayed by the media, and how the police state would have responded if this pumpkin fest was in a predominantly black or Latino community. Just imagine: the same exact thing that happened at Keene’s Pumpkin Festival, but with drunken black people rioting. Not only would the state of New Hampshire likely be under a state of emergency, every major city would probably be as well. “Black people are violent by nature…these thugs, these animals…they’re destroying America”. Cable news would scare masses of white people into putting bigger locks on their doors, and staying the hell our of ‘bad neighborhoods’. People would again tell themselves that that one black friend they have is an exception, he must have had some good white teachers or something, “but most blacks are like that”.

At the end of the day, at it’s core, white privilege means that I will not be wrongfully suspected of committing a crime because of how I look, I won’t be pulled over just because I’m driving a vehicle, or stopped and harassed because I’m walking down a public sidewalk, or shot and killed for being the wrong color at the wrong time…and if I do commit a crime (robbery, murder, rape, DRUGS…) it will reflect ONLY on me and possibly but not even necessarily, my family…that’s it. It won’t reflect negatively on ALL WHITE PEOPLE or even my cousins and friends and neighbors. and similarly, I won’t suffer because of the actions of other people who look like me.  Just that, never mind EVERYTHING ELSE, (structural, social, etc.) is a HUGE PROBLEM and as human beings we cannot be okay with it. We are socialized to view drunk and out of control white college students in places like Keene as ‘rambunctious youth just having some fun’, or at most as ‘just a few bad apples ruining it for everyone’… and to see black people DEMANDING JUSTICE in places like Ferguson, whether silently in prayer or vocally in protest, as ‘thugs’ (which is just a modern and more politically correct version of another word people REALLY want to call them). If one white man murders someone, he negatively represents only himself. If one black man murders someone, of even smokes crack, he negatively represents ALL black people. They all become killers, drug addicts, thieves, gang members, and “thugs” in the eyes of white America. When one white man succeeds, it is because he comes from a hard working community and he fought tooth and nail to succeed, and it reflects positively on the whole community. When one black man succeeds, it is because individually he worked hard and overcame the fact that he should have would up in jail, because that’s where people like him ‘belong.’ or maybe a white teacher or coach is credited. The successes of white folks are collective, and failures individual. The opposite is true with black folks. That mentality MUST CHANGE.

When you look at Ferguson and Keene, you need look no further to see white privilege, need not delve into 400 years of slavery, Jim Crow, racist real-estate practices and bylaws, the ‘war on drugs’, the ‘war on poverty’, imagery of the ‘welfare queen’, the private prison industry, and the fact that little has changed since Dr. Kenneth Clark’s experiments back in the 1940’s. Ignorance is indeed bliss, and at least in respect to race and ethnicity, the majority of white Americans are blissfully ignorant. Many will make excuses for the drunken behavior of the college students at Pumpkin Fest in Keene, because they either see their own kids or grand kids when they look at the pictures, or they see themselves. The fact that we can’t see brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, grandsons and granddaughters, or ourselves when we look at Ferguson, is because black people (along with many other groups) have been so thoroughly dehumanized since before the birth of the American empire. If they hadn’t been so dehumanized, slavery would have been impossible. Just like it would be impossible to sit back and watch the slaughter of Palestinians, and Iraqis, and Afghans, and countless others, had THEY all not been dehumanized. What people don’t understand is that THE PEOPLE WE DEHUMANIZE ARE NEVER RE-HUMANIZED and that is why the state of the world is what it is today.  The fact that we don’t, can’t, or won’t see this is white privilege. Not having to care, being able to remain blissfully ignorant, is privilege.

And talking about white privilege is not talking about “class”, though we can see class issues in Keene as well. I guarantee there were either no, or very few working class college students willingly participating in the ‘riot’. They’re either working their way through school, know full well the cost of their education, or are using the gi bill. When you don’t understand the value of a dollar and not only have mommy and daddy to pay for school and a car and an apartment, but also to bail your ass our of jail when you’re an idiot…you’re much more likely to be a drunken idiot. Even though it is a State college, if you’ve been paying attention lately, more and more kids are going to state schools from middle class families out of state, taking seats away from local working class kids.I bet kids who grew up in Keene would be a whole lot less likely to destroy Keene. So, sure there is an element of class (you have to feel entitled to destroy property for the hell of it), but you’re crazy if you can’t see the roll that race plays in places like Keene, and places like Ferguson. You’re crazy if you don’t see white privilege in our society (and in the world). You’re also crazy if you let this become an excuse for the further militarization of police, which won’t hurt these kids, but WILL hurt folks non-violently protesting against oppression.

http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2014/10/keene_state_colelge_pumpkin_festival.html

After… (an ode to right now)

when will you call me?

after.

when can I see you?

after.

when are you coming home?

after…

and after a while,

after turned into forever

and every after

was a selfish mistake

void of love and laughter

after a while

the smile fades

and even the memory

goes away

after the sun sets

and the days blend

into years

after…

all that’s left is tear-stained

pages upon pages

upon which you wrote

your new story

after you ripped out and burned

the suicide note

scribbled on what was

meant to be your last

page

after pages of anger

and anxiety,

and daily hate mail

self addressed

too depressed to care

anymore

I’ll deal with it after

I’ll end this all

after…

and after

I dumped out the snake-oil

I realized

that the whole universe is mine

and that I am the whole universe

and everything is fine

if I just keep living

after the the light fades

because it’s not over,

that’s when the stars come out

and we dance by the moonlight

and the shadows start to play

and everything is perfect…

and then

after,

the sun slowly creeps his way back

over the horizon

and after today,

tomorrow will come

but I’m not worried about that anymore

after doesn’t matter

it’s just a tired word

used and abused

since it was first uttered,

and it’s meaningless

and yesterday

and tomorrow

are figments of my imagination

all that matters is now

this moment

this second

the present…

because there is no after

the past

and the future

are just different versions of now

and we can’t change or control

either

just now…

this moment

this second

the present…

there never was an after

after all

and after all that,

I get it

now

I’m not worried about

the next step

or the last

the future is the future

and the past is the past

this moment

this second

the present

is all we have…

is all we’ve ever had

and this step I’m taking now

more important

than all the left

right

lefts

of yesterday

or the barefoot strolling

through tomorrow’s sand

so I will stay

out of my own way

forget marking time

forget the start

and the finish line

right here

right now

this second

the present

this is all I have

and all I need

and after all that

lets all just breathe…

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October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month

In central park today on my way back from Strawberry Fields with Vito (my sisters puppy I have been dog-sitting for the past few days), I saw a man aggressively pulling a woman by the arm. I gave it a few seconds to see if I was somehow misinterpreting the situation. He didn’t let go, and actually got more aggressive, with one hand on her arm and one on the back of her neck, openly physically abusing her in broad daylight in Central Park. I ran up behind them and yelled to get their attention. The man responded with what sounded like some sort of an eastern European accent “She is my wife” very matter-of-factly. He then turned and continued manhandling her, and I responded that I don’t care who the hell she is, he needs to take his hands off her and he has no right to abuse her. (though i said it with less polite words) He removed his hands, and responded “but it’s my wife… and it is none of your business”. I asked the woman if she was okay, and she said ‘yes’, though she was clearly shaken and seemed caught off guard that a man with a dog confronted her husband about how he was treating her. His hands now off of her, they began walking away and I yelled to her that she doesn’t have to deal with his shit. He yelled back a last time “why do you care?” I yelled “because I have a sister” though i should have yelled ‘because I’m human’. I followed them for a little while longer, until it was clear that he had either calmed down, or was too confused about what just happened to abuse her, at least for now. The most upsetting thing was how he thought that letting me know it was his wife, would be enough to make me go away. It seemed like he assumed I thought he was assaulting a random woman. Assuring me that “She is my wife” was supposed to make it okay. There were a lot of things that I wanted to say, and a few I wanted to do. But they walked away and were lost among the crowd shortly thereafter. Then I sat on a bench with Vito, sort of shocked at what I had just seen in the middle of the afternoon in a crowded Central Park. The fact that this man was acting as aggressively as he was, when and where he was, and acting like he had done nothing wrong, sadly doesn’t bode well for “his” wife. It’s one thing to read about, hear about, or talk about things like this, but seeing that today, in 2014 in a crowded public park, shook me. I sat on that park bench for an hour afterwards thinking about what I had seen, about the situation, and about what if anything would happen to that poor woman after they got home. Will she be able to leave him? I hope that my words will somehow have an impact on both of them, but they were just words and I feel guilty about that. But using violence to convey my message to him wouldn’t have solved the problem. They would have more than likely still left together, and he would possibly take out his anger about the situation on her later on, making her situation even worse. I let him know that what he was doing was wrong, let her know that someone cared about her and that she didn’t have to deal with his shit. Beyond that, sitting on the bench afterwards, I felt helpless. I wish there was more I could have done. I can’t even imagine how that woman, and countless others feel constantly. If he hit her, I would have physically stopped and restrained him. Why is that the mental line I had? Should I have reacted that way anyhow? I thought about it, but also thought about the fact she would still likely leave with him, and I would possibly leave with the NYPD, and she might suffer more because of it. I hope that since I approached them sounding more concerned than angry, the man will be receptive to what I said and the fact that someone called him out on what was clearly abuse. I hope the woman makes it through the night, and can eventually see a way out. It was sad to see yet another example of man’s inhumanity to man, up close and personal…but it was also a wake up call. I’m not doing enough. I wasn’t speaking out. All violence is wrong, whether between nations, or neighbors, or partners. Just because we don’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not happening.

I told my sister about this when she called earlier, but I wasn’t going to write anything. Then did a google search for services in NYC, and in general. I told the woman she could get help, but I wish I had the name of an organization to tell her. Fortunately, a lot of information and websites came up. I found out that October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. I’m sorry that I didn’t already know that.

If you (or someone you love) are in an abusive relationship, there is nothing to be ashamed of, you didn’t do anything to ‘deserve’ the abuse, you didn’t do anything wrong. Please know that you are strong enough to stand on your own, and you are loved, and there are a lot of great organizations available to help you through out of your situation. If you (or someone you love) are an abuser, please STOP and get help immediately. Regardless of what you have been through in life, or what your girlfriend, wife or partner said or did to you, there is absolutely no excuse, ever, for domestic violence, (or violence of any type). It doesn’t make you tough, it makes you a coward.

http://www.safehorizon.org/page/in-the-news-125/news/miss-america-2015-kira-kazantsev-and-the-miss-america-organization-launch-domestic-violence-campaign-vowtoendit-249.html

Occupy America

written January 3, 2013

I moved into a tent in the heart of the city that often sleeps after midnight, the soulless shadows of the financial district reminding me why I joined the ‘movement’ in the first place… I thought. Poli Sci…questions, why? This modern day Hooverville on Rose’s greenway, an Island of misfits, not Kennedy’s, we’re found to be unfit in society’s eyes. These residents fed up with society’s lies. Lying on my back in the muddied grass, smelling the city: food, exhaust fumes and trash heaps. I still had a home though, with six roommates, sisters and brothers from other fathers and mothers. Cabinets filled with Co-Op beans and rice, occupied by fattened mice in the middle of their genocide, the unlucky ones become compost for the rats that inch ever closer to the house each day, coming out to play in the evening shade of the dead elm tree and fences that keep the black and latino neighbors, and Northeastern partiers at bay. Community? Hardly. We’re left disillusioned, whiskey bent and bound by hell, trapped in this shell of a life lacking community, solidarity and humanity blurred by a false unity of a left and right paradigm shifting to prescriptions, left, right, left, an M-4 and a cleft heart, torn apart and disfigured, it figures that I’m an outcast, those all around me step back from this illusion of America’s dream, smoking grass. Collect cans’ enough to get high again, as we forget that Afghan and Pakistani mothers cry, still. Amen. I got by with nine to five, and then swore an oath, then lost the father, son and the holy ghost. But who needs religion when we worship ourselves, self-centered, sacrificing humanity for credit-card wealth
Sure, I’d leave the tent to shower every now and then, take the greenline to make this new tent community reality wash away from me with Dr. Bronner’s and Johnny Walker. And I’m as crazy as the doctor was, I kill a handful of pills and wash it down with a 6-pack for a buzz, in a light year my life flashes by and I require 9 to five to survive, and the fuzz are closing in, because I have a voice and speak truth, all I want is the truth, but it’s the original sin that claimed the breath of Malcolm and Lennon, King and Christ, “What law am I breaking, I beg your pardon officer?’ Just standing in a public park, after dark with a non-offensive sign, I guess I walked that fine line like Johnny, begging cash enough to get high and realize that I’m not free as I take a padded elbow to the face, get zip-cuffed and pucker up to kiss the Mayors ring, but I have to fall in line, it’s time to load the Paddy wagon. My great-grandfather Paddy was wagging his finger and bragging as he left his neighbors on the emerald isle, for the land of the free, expecting an open arm welcome, but oh, what a difference an ocean makes, what a difference a century makes. Paddy cake, Paddy cake, Paddy come lately, pat you down you can have your cake but we’re going to eat in, and take your soul while we’re at it. Paddy take your time, fall in line, wait for indenture. So much for Paddy’s American adventure, now me? I’m free to follow the rest, you know? Dress right, dress. Fall in line son, said the Boston cop with the bulletproof vest and the bully club. Better not rub him the wrong way, what’s that you say, what’s that you say? ‘Fuck your amendments, we’ll take a piss on your constitution, and wipe our asses with your two-fourteens’. All of which were American dreams. Take another Ambien. ‘Keep dreaming these foolish dreams about ivy-league sponsored revolution, eating Big Mac’s and drinking Grande Latte’s, what’s that you say, you’ve read Chomsky?…we’ got drones and H-bombs, and CNN and FOX and FOXCONN tossing blood-soaked American Eagle jeans into your laundry basket. We give you fraudulent home loans then foreclose on your I HAVE A DREAM homes, take these psalms to sing and pray the gay away, because that’s what we tell you matters. And paper beats rock, and rock beats scissors, and DRONE beats AR-15. Game over. And fuck those immigrants too- taking away the jobs that you don’t realize we outsourced anyway- God Bless the Chinese!” But in the meantime, the pockets of politicos and the five-o keep getting fatter, and as they foreclose on you, leaving you madder than the hatter, stuck moving into to the downtown shelter and sucking uncle sam’s teat to keep those sweet monthly food stamp dollars coming to buy two weeks’ worth of GMO something or other…so what if the salmon has three eyes and the potato becomes Mr. Potato head, won’t be hard for him to find a misses. those potato chicks are Frito-lay. get it? We’re running in circles, winding up last. We’re bumming pennies and nickels for three dollars of gas that still won’t get us out of town. So here we are, living in tents again, wearing a frown. Why you feeling down? You’re looking blue, yeah, bluer than my balls as you wander the halls of the asylum, padded walls for Paddy, repeat, Polly want a cracker? Reeducate, Reeducate, Reeducate. Vaccinate, genetic modification to depopulate, hey, it works on Rats? Chew the fat, chew the fat, chew the fat…
‘I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America…and to the republic for which it stands…Afghanistan, Pakistan, Taliban, Kardashian…and to the republic for which it stands…one nation under’
Fuck it…I can’t…I Won’t…
‘One nation, under god…wait, one nation, under surveillance, under control, under educated, under informed, under educated, under-valued, under educated, under employed, under educated, under loved, under educated under the microscope…under TSA checkpoints, underwear’
‘I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America…’
That’s better.
Pills, pills, pills. Drink water, drink. Pills, pills, pills. More water. Very good.
Obey. You’re doing fine kiddo. Smile, wave. Rinse, repeat. Smile, wave. Save money at Wal-Mart, cut coupons, cut cost, cut the wrists of kids in factories overseas we never see. See? From sea to shining sea. Thirteen cents an hour making eighty dollar but-hugging jeans, but hey, that’s the style. Don’t hate. Reeducate. Reeducate. Reeducate.
Fuck you and your blues, I won’t sell my soul for a Coors Light and a slice from Dominoes, I’ll bum a fin and catch a cab and hop out at the light and break up a fight over a loaf of bread. Are the children fed…eat your vegetables, says Monsanto…I mean, says the FDA On my way down MacDougal to catch a laugh in the cellar, this stellar young bugle boy was bugling up a storm for quarters, I toss him a silver dollar to follow me to the Empire State Building while playing taps, I get off at the 86th floor and pose for a I-phone photo-op, cop a smile then climb the fence and race a Jack Kennedy half-dollar down to a waiting convertible. My driver got a call, had to take off. I hit some turbulence on my way down and land on a falafel cart, tip bin Laden the Kennedy fifty-cent piece which now has a hole in it, and take off running through the quick sand centerpiece of my city of nightmares with the river of blood and broken dreams flowing through hula-hoop hopscotch drainage pipes. Got a light? There’s tug boats tugging, drug dealers drugging that fine stuff from those black-ops middlemen, drug, drug, drugging the populace to sleep but there’s no sheep left to count one, two, one, two, three blind mice got caught on their way to the cupboard, god rest their souls. And it’s one, two, and three as we cut funding for Sesame Street, so the new homeless have to move in next to Oscar, I’ll be damned, that grouch had it figured out all along. And all along the watchtower I watch a mother carrying her dead child, cowering as the bombs continue to fall over Brooklyn and we’re all forced to speak Chinese and make toys for all of China’s good girls and boys. Now it’s back to Broadway, but Billy Joel was right and the lights are out.
Ain’t it funny how time starts to slip, and an eighteen year old Chinese soldier boy loses his grip on reality and sanity and humanity, awoke from a daydream of distant memories of youthful screams over forced labor. Toys, toys, toys. Saint Nick was a Coca-Cola motherfucker, not so jolly, roger that? Soldier boy’s daydreams of a youth spent sweating while making games he’d never play, fuck that land, so far away, shoots and ladders. It’s back to reality as he sees the enemy looking suspicious. A little girl dropped something and he put two quick bursts into her tiny torso before she even had time enough to bend down and retrieve her big breasted, blonde headed Barbie doll that she had hid up her sleeve, a Barbie doll that he might well have made years earlier, but he mistook it for a weapon. What could he do? He just follows orders, see, he’s a low ranking foot soldier, one, two, three…one, two, three. He ain’t no top gun, General Tso, yes chicken little the sky is falling, just a little ole’ grunt though, yes sir, he is. To his countrymen and women he’s a hero in the style of John Wayne from the days of Hollywood. It could have been a pistol, could have been a bomb…with his rules of engagement, he’s not in the wrong. As sweat beads down his face, just like it did when he was a child laborer, his air of authority causes his mouth to break into a smile. The little girl from Westchester County, New York, well her daddy came at the soldier boy, a reaction no doubt. On instinct, our soldier boy sprays the crowd. The father was a threat so he had to take him out. The collateral damage that day in the park, in a part of Lower Manhattan where Chinese-made tents once stood in defiance to the empire that swatted them away like summertime flies. The collateral damage was no more than two dozen American laborers who were living in tents in what was once Zuccotti Park, as some of them might have done years earlier. You know, these folks would have been ok, no doubt, but see, they were out after dark, past curfew anyhow. They weren’t just prisoners waiting to take nightly pisses and nightly shits, no, they were combatants, standing in solidarity with the terrorist-girl’s father. It was dark out, and our soldier-boy was without NVG’s. The bugle boy from the Village took one in the left arm, and two in the right…in a different lifetime, he might have tried to go out with a fight, but instead, as his last breaths escaped from his body, he bugled the last bit of taps, wishing he had just stayed at his refugee camp in the Bronx. And from the watchtower we see that mother carry her little terrorist girl back to Brooklyn.
But now I wake up out of my quick-sand daydream, and I’m back in my hammock, in the shade at the lake. The lesson I learned when I woke up and sipped my sangria and chewed on a grape was to never eat Peyote and read Bukowski, for Christ’s sake! So I drove to the common with my book of Sir. Charles, and five gallons of gas… I handed the book to a high school kid passing by and said ‘read for Christ’s sake, read’, then turned on my i-Pod, and started to cry. Castles of Sand yes Jimi you’re right… then I wave a bum over and borrow his light. I pour the five gallons all over my body, then I walk into the squeaky clean, quite glistening lobby, of the golden domed state house upon Beacon Hill, and resign that my goals in life can’t be fulfilled… I’m in the lobby wondering just why it is we teach hate… as I light up an American Spirit, take a drag, and self-emulate. The bitch of it is, I didn’t even make the local paper…maybe I should have believed in a man made savior. But I’ve descended to hell now, and the company sure is great… relatives, friends,… shit, everyone’s there! My family, both sides, and all my rowdy friends… and at end of the bar is a group of what seems like super-best friends, Buddha, Muhammad, Krishna, Moses, Laozi, and Jesus Christ…and their good friend Joseph Smith! they all look very dapper, they nod, being polite. All the good people I’ve ever read about, they’re all here. None of the bad ones… what the hell, I mean what the ‘this place’. Hell is heaven and heaven is hell, we got it all wrong, like the Bizarro world Seinfeld episode, ya dig? There’s Malcolm, there’s Martin, there’s Bobby and Jack,…not sure how Ted made it, but he’s with a hooker out back… it’s a melting pot, Muslims, Christians and Jews, black, white and brown, South East Asian and even Canadian… here, family is all that you see! It’s like the TV show Cheers, everyone knows your name… they gladly welcome you to the family, caring not from whence you came, what god you prayed to or didn’t pray to, or what car you drove…

But I wake up again and I’m still at the lake… it wasn’t a dream, but a vision. So I head back to the house and wash down a bottle of Ambien with a Heineken and walk back to the hammock with a shit-eating grin, because at least in hell there’s some semblance of community and nobody has to learn Chinese!!!

Still and all, why bother? Here's my answer. Many people need desperately to receive this message: I feel and think much as you do, care about many of the things you care about, although most people do not care about them. You are not alone. -Kurt Vonnegut

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