YOU NEVER GET BACK
WHAT'S LOST TO ETHERS:
THE AKASHIC RECORDS SUCK
Some things we've done
We'll never fix
With too much fun
And low grade kicks.
I got caught, oh shit, oh my:
The one I kissed confessed--
So torn up she thought she'd die,
Fearing that the truth was guessed.
She told my wife I kissed her mouth.
Marriage now is heading south--
Straight to hell, it serves me right
But God's forgiven her that night.
Or so she prays, the kiss shared tongue--
A moment there, two hearts had sung.
Goal accomplished--so he thought.
Four years later down the road
He's asking God, what have I wrought?
The Congress won't let me reload.
Are You there? I'm here for You--
I need a sign You'll follow through.
APRIL SHOWERS COOLING OFF A CHEAT
Late April and the sun is out.
The soil smells of sex--
Wet, and sprouting seeds no doubt.
He's waiting for his ex,
Or soon to be, draw up the papers
To claim their marriage vows were vapors.
RAGE SEEN FROM OUTER SPACE
The planet you're from I would call
A desperate, savage, living hell.
It's violent, angry, mean and small--
From what I see, no way to tell
If you'll be getting anywhere--
You'd use me if you found me there.
RESPONSE TO ABUSER
You haven't changed. Know who's changed?
Me, darling. Now I fear you more
Each day because you've rearranged
The past that I cannot ignore.
I've changed because I won't let you
Explode again for things I do.
I've changed so maybe we can see
Beneath your rage--find harmony.
REMEMBER BACK WHEN
They miss "back when",
And swear back then
Most of us were safe and happy--
A country song
That has it wrong,
And worse, because it's sappy.
Cry of the middle class that's been
Squeezed out--working class again.
Now both parents go to work--
Factory, corporate farm, a clerk...
To hang in tough
Until they need to borrow money.
Can't seem to win--
Hopes growing thin
In the land of milk and honey.
The times "back when"? Give me a break.
Nothing's changed for goodness sake.
Still run by the ruling class,
If you aren't part, it kicks your ass.
Times back when were best of times
Of privileged who make up the rhymes.
Impotent libs, what can they do?
They've got no labor to withhold.
But they can write and talk and chew
On the issues centuries old.
What's that get us? Leaders who
Get elected serving two
Masters: workers and the power
Getting richer by the hour.
Power that no longer works
Except for those who get the perks.
DEPRESSION BROUGHT ON BY CIRCUMSTANCE
What's up with you?
Anything that I should know?
You're keeping mum,
There must be some
Things that you're afraid to show.
Hey, it's me, your friend for years:
Give it up, we'll share some tears.
SISYPHUS INSTRUCTORS IN A PROPRIETARY SCHOOL
Were you told you had to study
When you were sold the debt?
Was the sales rep your buddy
Leaving out you had to sweat
To learn the skills we're here to teach
(Or easy as eating Prufrock's peach!)?
I know there's numbers they've to make
To keep their job, but some mistake
Is made when you're sold Neverland
And told your future will be grand.
CRANKY POET ON THE INTERNET
The information's there.
I can see
You let it be
And didn't seem to care,
If you missed the reference I
Got from culture's angry eye
Squinting at the dismal sky.
T. S. ELIOT
A silly, fucking privileged life:
J. Alfred Prufrock, you've got balls
To say your works and days are rife
With strife behind the paneled walls
Of upper class society
Where anyone would love to be--
Allowing peach juice running down,
Laughing as rich women frown.
MISMATCH--A COMMUNIST MARRIED A NIHILIST
I think I did something good--
Don't think you could care much less;
You're nowhere near the neighborhood
Of what my syllables caress
To bring to life another way
To be, since it's all shit, you say.
I think what makes a terrorist
Is when imperialist notions
Give folks no chance to exist--
Leaving only their emotions
To strike back with all their might--
And might, these days: no longer slight.
I think what makes a terrorist
Is when imperialist powers
Take away means to exist
Spending countless selfish hours
Whiling away time to become
Rich from boardrooms they come from.
Fuck the flag--get over it,
We're on a goddamn planet
All together, deep in shit--
Beneath it solid granite.
Nothing's going to change 'til we
Lose the flags, the bourgeoisie,
Pope and sheik, the mullah, lord:
Class and rank backed by the sword.
Tells close friends she's taking care
Of two guys: and boy, it's tough.
Her girlfriends think that it's not fair:
But say, my god, you've got it rough.
Lucky girl, of course they know
She's got them both on come and go.
Had these talks before: they're boring--
Necessary, but they're dull.
I like you but you've got me snoring,
I can't get it through your skull
The fact that now the Gordian knot
Is the system we've all bought:
Cut it with a slice of love
And fuck who rule us from above.
Best word in our language is
Fuck. I kid you not.
A word that gets right down to biz,
All pretenses shot--
Gloves come off the hard bare knuckles
Providing everybody chuckles
Scaring rich and wannabes--
You say fuck, the blue-bloods freeze.
AFTER DINNER, AFTER DARK,
TASTING ALZHEIMER'S DESSERT
She told me she'll walk Vicky out.
Smart move baby, I agree.
I'd maybe grab her ass, no doubt,
If the walk was left to me.
Wife, she knows me all too well--
All my judgment's shot to hell.
Vicky comes, I better jell,
Swiss cheese brain digs Vicky's smell.
Just one time, I'd love to be
With you for one full night.
There was a time I couldn't see
Beyond the chance we might--
Pushing dreams for all they're worth.
You had to bring me down to earth
And left me there to think about
True love--wisely bowing out.
One day you'll see me just unload--
You're going to see this man explode.
Right. That's something you won't see--
Walter Mitty's all I'll be.
I'll dream about it--that's as brave
As this old man might behave.
I admit: don't like to fight--
And I was raised one should fight fair.
That's all bullshit, nothing's right--
You fight to win, and no one's there
To say what's fair or right or wrong--
Outcome goes to those who're strong.
I'd send the worst of them to hell
To leave the rest of us to dwell
On this lovely, precious earth
Respecting everybody's worth.
Disciplined? Give me a break,
I'm at work all day.
When I get home I'm going to make
A call--bring powers into play--
Each and every one a muse:
Concoctions I might well abuse--
Or use well. If not for them,
I'd be hardly clearing phlegm.
Nothing's worth two in the bush--
Bush is barren in any case;
And what's in hand is there to push,
To the brink, the human race
By giving up the planet's health
While creating obscene wealth.
SONNET TO TORTURE
AND ATTENDING PHYSICIANS
Seen as enemy of the State
If ever caught up in its net--
Torture's certain to be your fate--
You would hope before they get
One name from you that you would die
From a heart attack or stroke.
Except they've doctors there to try
To cut down chances that you'll croak
Before they go another round
Of torture on the body they
Will keep alive--at least as sound
As it takes for one more day
Of questions 'til you've told them who
You know and everything you knew.
Torture's been around a long
Time, it's there to make you talk;
Doesn't matter if you're strong:
Until you talk, you'll never walk.
But if you do you won't forgive
Yourself--from then, won't care to live.
WAR MEANS TORTURE
Think that you could wage a war
Without some information
About the other side before
Launched? You must be kidding me?
They torture captured enemy.
Always the case whenever war
Goes on, no matter what it's for.
SPOEM SONNET--GUILTY AS CHARGED
Doggerel takes the shotgun plan
To the wordsmith's special sport;
Birdshot blasted at the fan--
BB's scattered wide but short.
It maybe makes the pigeons drop,
But doesn't travel very far;
Nobody's heart is going to stop--
No difference made to who you are;
A flash, a bang, and then it's gone.
When you're beyond its stubby range,
Doggerel draws a dismal yawn--
Won't do much to make a change.
Crude and noisy, common, coarse:
Consider then, the poem's source.
She taught me how to love:
I wasn't her best student.
Taught me how to push, not shove,
Kindly calling me imprudent.
I learned, barely, how to give--
For her that's what it took to live.
And now, I might be loving me--
A bit, I mean, not much as she.
WON'T SHUT UP
Before we make a better world
For everyone, 'til then I can't
Let my red flag go unfurled--
I've got to fly it with my rant.
Don't say communism's dead--
Since defined, it's been maligned
With a price put on its head--
Nameless, it's in people's mind.
Communism's just a word,
That's going to flush the money turd.
Can't say people all are stupid,
Can't say, either, they're impaired;
They take no chances, 'cept with cupid--
People seem to be just scared
About them taking on the world
With snakes in corners tensely curled.
The biggest bully on the block
Gets to be the President
Especially when folks need a shock--
Who else is going to represent
The interests of the ruling class
When folks unite to kick their ass?
Might save your life if Frankie goes
Since Frankie's doing you no good.
He's your son, I know it blows
To kick him from the neighborhood.
He does so much for you I know--
But he's a drunk and so are you,
So might be better if he'd go:
Won't drink as much as you both do--
And drinking's why you're going to die
(Or maybe LIVE--this rhyme a lie.)
REALITY TO THE HOPEFUL
Suffer, sucker, stick around,
You're not going anywhere.
Until you're finely in the ground,
I'll forever be the air
You're breathing in both day and night--
I'll crush you, times you try to fight.
I'm lazy--it's not convenient
To listen--love your show the same.
But be a little lenient
And don't be putting me to shame
Because I don't tune into you--
Lovable, radical, satellite Jew.
I'll send my man out for shoes
Whenever I might need them;
Despite that he pays union dues--
He should be glad I feed him.
If not for me he'd surely starve
From the life of stone I carve.
Frankie, truly, you found out
The system's but a pile of shit.
But holy Christ, without a doubt
You're using me--get over it--
Or go through it, what the fuck!
I don't appreciate the luck
Of having you as my good friend
When you use me to no end--
Though we agree: the system stinks--
We toast to change. I buy the drinks.
FAILING INSTRUCTOR, PROPRIETARY
Haven't fucked a single student,
Fifteen years, and never tried.
Some might say I'm being prudent:
Wouldn't think of it, abide
By the rules. Or better yet
I'm chaste and pure, I wouldn't think
Of fucking any teacher's pet
And dip my pen in company ink.
Truth is, I've had no such luck
Though timid passions run amok.
He can't keep his mind off you
When he sees you every day.
You glance at him, he's passing through
The halls at work, he looks your way--
Eye contact, and you both smile:
Hooking up will take some guile;
Hooking up can take a while;
Or hooking up is not worthwhile
Or hooking up is not your style.
This old man would love to fall
In love again, for one last time.
Memories from the past still crawl
All over me and gently prime
My heart to open up once more.
On second thought, I'm just a whore--
Except without the guileless front--
Still my heart is in the hunt.
Silly sentimental shit:
Like a dog I roll in it
Offering up the smell to you.
A pat on the head would surely do
To keep my tail wagging right--
Toss a bone and I'll recite.
Ask and you'll receive.
(I have never learned to ask.
I lie and cheat, sweet talk, deceive
Behind my pretty mask.)
Those who have it seldom give,
You're going to have to ask a friend.
And another. We're going to live
By helping out until the end
Of what is causing us to kill
Each other on earth-mother's soil:
To own to build or till or drill;
Rent, sell crops, livestock, oil;
The factories built by all of us.
It's all ours, or not, the fuss
Is over who owns the goddamn bus.
OFFICE SEXUAL POLITICS
"No, baby" once slipped off my tongue
When all I meant was "No".
In the air the "B" word hung,
When I spoke back to Mary Jo--
My boss. She gave me such a look:
Smiled--and I was on the hook.
You thought it would make them tough--
Not to pick them up.
Give them love but just enough
Was how you trained a pup.
The whelps you raised were willful, wild--
Or worse yet, were meek and mild.
SONNET TO SHY LOOKS
Gliding past, you glance my way,
Should you make eye contact and smile?
You do, and all it has to say
Is, I don't know, I have no guile
But I could spend some time with you.
I'm a fool, don't get the hint,
But your glance might be the clue
That strikes a spark from this old flint
Setting dry old dreams on fire,
Getting dormant passions going;
Showing my heart won't retire;
Gliding past, soft winds are blowing--
Imagination fanning flames,
Or is my mind just playing games?
I'd like to write a line without
Close relations asking me
If the line's a line about
Them, or me, and ask if we
Have a problem. If we did,
The problem has been safely hid.
Unless you're dead, dying, gay,
They're always on your mind;
Not all the time, but half the day
They gently have you in a bind.
You take a chance and crack a smile--
She smiles back, you're high a while.
MEAN BUT MINE--
WORKING BOTH WAYS
Wake her up, she wakes up mean--
I'll hear words I've never heard;
Let her wake up to caffeine
And she'll be singing like a bird.
I'll forget, no matter how--
Attention not my strongest suit:
Should I forget, she has a cow--
I apologize, then I scoot.
Forget something? Could be my age--
Alzheimer's, booze or CRS--
Her sharp tongue cuts to a rage,
And, you bet, I answer yes.
She's a bitch if I let drop
Shoes that I might not pick up;
Worse, she almost calls a cop
When I don't wash my coffee cup.
She might smile the times I'm cool,
She laughs at drinkers in a dive--
But miss a turn and I'm a fool,
And yells I should have let her drive.
Why she's got to run the show
Is something I will never know--
Not worth the fight
To prove I'm right
When we're fighting toe to toe--
I just have to let it go.
What made her mean I'll never know--
I just know I love her so,
'Cuz when she's sweet
My life's complete
And I can't let my sugar go--
She's all I have in life to show.
Times you're high
You want to try
To get even higher.
You wear the crown
Of a frequent flyer
To the spot you landed on--
A fantasy that's come and gone:
A crown that's heavy on your head--
Thoughts of wishing you were dead.
If ever there was a reason
To change the world, it's torture:
Secrets; information; treason--
Cuautemoc's feet put to the scorcher--
Where's the gold? He's not the first
To have nothing--tortured still;
Conquistadors were at their worst--
Thirst for gold slacked with a kill.
Today, it's information that
The torture twists out from the rat.
Cortez, as a young man, had helped Diego Velasquez conquer Cuba and was made governor of Santiago. He was given permission to explore Mexico by Velasquez, and with 11 ships, 20 horses and 10 small cannons, set sail. Velasquez had second thoughts and ordered his return, but too late. Cortez landed in what is now Tabasco and had little trouble subduing the Indians. He sailed north to Vera Cruz. By the time Cortez and his small expeditionary force landed in Vera Cruz in 1519, word had gotten back to the Aztecs in Tenochtitlan, the Aztec Empire's capital, which is now Mexico City.
Moctezuma II (Montezuma to us gringos), the Emperor of the Aztecs, ordered gifts to be sent to the conquistadors. The gifts were gold, carvings, pottery, baskets and precious ornaments made of feathers. Moctezuma believed the Spaniards were the return of Quetzacoatl, a legendary figure in Aztec mythology, a light skinned god (probably a shipwrecked Viking) who was predicted to return to Tenochtitlan to express his divine wrath. Moctezuma's seers had predicted disaster, and the gifts were intended to persuade the invaders to leave Mexico. As the bearers of the gifts went from village to village of the Aztec empire from the center of Mexico to Vera Cruz on the east coast, they picked up followers who wanted to see these gods who had landed on the shores of the Aztec/Mayan empire. By the time the gift-bearers reached Cortez, there were thousands of Indians following them.
The story goes that when Cortez saw the Indians coming down from the hills, he ordered his men to take everything off the ships--supplies and especially the cannons. Then he ordered his men to set the ships on fire. Cortez, seeing thousands of Indians coming down the hills, thought they were gong to be in for a fight and he didn't want his men to think they could escape by leaving on the ships. Turns out, the Indians were bearing gifts of gold. Gold? Where did it come from, Cortez asked.
The governor of the Spanish territories, Diego Velazquez, whose headquarters were in Cuba, had ordered Cortez not to take his army into the interior of Mexico. Velazquez, remember, had been Cortez's commander when he joined the army at 18 and conquered Cuba. Remember also, Velazquez When Cortez saw the gold, he asked himself, who is Diego kidding? Or it could be that Cortez didn't want a mutiny by Velazquez supporters among his troops who would sail back to Cuba to report Cortez's insubordination. So he burned the ships.
To get to Tenochtitlan (Mexico City), Cortez needed an interpreter. He needed someone who could speak the Nahautl language of central Mexico, the Aztec language, but better yet, someone who knew the various Mayan languages between Vera Cruz and Tenochtitlan. A Spanish priest, Geronimo Aguilar, who had been shipwrecked and held in captivity by the Mayans for several years before he was rescued, had learned the Mayan language and knew of a slave woman who knew both Nahautl and the Mayan dialects. She had been born into nobility and sold into slavery because her father died and her mother remarried. This woman knew the Nahautl language, as well as many Mayan dialects since she'd been sold from tribe to tribe. Oh yes, by the time the Spaniards came Mexico, the people there had progressed from tribalism to slavery. When they had developed agriculture, they needed someone to do the work, so they captured slaves from other tribes. Every civilization on earth has gone through that stage.
This woman was one of 20 women slaves who had been offered to the Spaniards in Tabasco for the pleasure of the conquistadors. It's been written that she was exceptionally beautiful, exceptionally poised. Cortez picked her out and gave her to the most well-born member of his expedition, Alonzo Puertocarrero. Cortez, dog, soon sent Alonzo back to Spain as an emissary to the king to relate to the monarch his accomplishments and dreams, and took the slave girl under his wing, teaching her Spanish.
Her name is disputed, but she came to be known as Malinche. She was the translator for Cortez as he took his army from Vera Cruz 260 miles to Tenochtitlan, Mexico City, to find the gold.
In one tribal village, where the Spanish expedition was being well treated, Malinche reported to Cortez that there was a plot by the tribe to wipe out the Spaniards. Cortez wiped out the village.
They reached Tenochtitlan, which at the time, 1521, was the 6th largest city in the world. The Spaniards were treated as royalty. The city, with it's canals and markets and shops and pyramids was nothing like the Spaniard had ever seen. Moctezuma II, nervous, gave them everything they wanted. To be safe, Cortez took Moctezuma as hostage.
A messenger arrived to tell Cortez that the governor of the Spanish territories, Diego Velazquez, was sending a force to arrest him for disobeying his orders not to venture beyond the coast of Mexico. Cortez took half his army to meet Velázquez men, leaving a subordinate in charge. The Aztecs tried to take back Moctezuma in Cortez's absence, but Moctezuma turned sell-out and from his quarters ordered the Aztecs to acquiesce to the Spanish rule. The people threw stones, wounded Moctezuma who later died. The Aztecs attacked the Spaniards who fought back and barricaded themselves in the Emperor's palace.
Meanwhile, Cortez had defeated Velasquez's force and convinced the survivors to join him, along with several tribes the Aztecs had enslaved. They returned to Tenochtitlan to rescue the besieged Spanish soldiers he had left behind.
Moctezuma, dead, was replace by Cuauhtémoc, who, unlike Moctezuma, would not surrender to the Spanish. But the Spanish, with the help of tribes the Aztecs had enslaved, conquered and razed the city of Tenochtitlan, a city of 100,000 inhabitants.
Cuauhtémoc was captured and was tortured to reveal where the Aztecs had hidden their gold. There was no gold. The Spaniards tortured him by holding his feet to a fire. The story goes, no doubt apocryphal, that they tortured him at the same time they tortured the treasurer to the Aztec empire. The treasurer was screaming in pain from his feet being put to the fire. Cuauhtémoc said to him, "You see my feet are in the fire, too. Am I screaming? No. So shut the fuck up." Or words to that effect.
Cortez went on to conquer Honduras and took Cuauhtémoc with him. But he could not deal with Cuauhtémoc strength and charisma, and hung him from a tree.
Lazaro Cardenas, president of Mexico from 1934 to 1940, who helped organized the labor unions, and nationalized the oil industry, railroads and telephones, named his son Cuauhtémoc. Cuauhtémoc Cardenas became governor of the State of Michoacan and leader of a new left/ center party called the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD). In 1997 he became the mayor of Mexico City, once known as Tenochtitlan.
I lived in Mexico City for a year and a half, back in 1980. I had a girlfriend in Puebla and once visiting her, I gave her a hug on the street on our way to a restaurant. A pickup drove by, slowed down, and the passenger yelled "Malinche". In Mexico, Malinche is seen by some as a traitor to the people. I lived 2 blocks from the "palace" Cortez had built for her.
Old friend I'd not seen in years
(He and I were friends back when
We shared burgers, bud and beers)
Showed up last night. What had been,
Was GANG no longer: he got rich--
Rides I get, I sometimes hitch.
He was cool, he didn't judge;
His money I did not begrudge.
He was right and I was left
To represent his signs of theft.
THE FOURTH ESTATE
Religion, business, working class:
Three estates make up the world.
A fourth is one that kicks the ass
Of any flag that flies unfurled:
Media defines the good and evil,
Judging sides with each upheaval--
Since Guttenberg and movable type,
The fourth estate controls the hype.
Invent writing, sure to follow:
Democracy. The truth is out.
It comes slow because we swallow
Lies the politicians tout.
Media, owned by wealthy guys,
Perpetuates self-serving lies.
But Google has another story--
Exposing truth in gory glory.
I worship Google. When I first got on the Internet in 1992, before the browser, the Internet was described as the biggest library in the world--with all the books on the floor. The search engine back then was called "Archie" (for archives) and from the prompt you entered your search. It searched FTP sites for ASCII and binary files. It was primitive, to say the least. (There were also search programs called Veronica and Jughead.) Now, search engines such as Yahoo and Google are organizing the library. With names like that you can't say the Internet gurus don't have a sense of humor.
I knew what the "Fourth Estate" referred to--the press--but I had to Google it to find out where the term came from. I had learned in college its origin, but that was over 45 years ago and I never took good notes, much less kept them. The following is from the first listing in the Google search: Wikipedia.
In 1841, Thomas Carlyle wrote in On Heroes and Hero Worship: "(Edmund) Burke said there were Three Estates in Parliament; but, in the Reporters' Gallery yonder, there sat a Fourth Estate more important far than they all. It is not a figure of speech, or a witty saying; it is a literal fact,--very momentous to us in these times. Literature is our Parliament too. Printing, which comes necessarily out of Writing, I say often, is equivalent to Democracy: invent Writing, Democracy is inevitable."
When Carlyle wrote, the Three Estates were the Aristocracy, the Church and the Commoners (actually the Capitalists). The working class and peasant class, had no power--were not considered an "Estate". I updated the "Estates" in "The Fourth Estate", because the Aristocracy have lost their power and the working class and farm workers now have power, not much, but if they were organized better...
We've got to come up with a way
That won't produce so many sick
People freaking every day.
I may be wrong but think the trick
Is share the product, share the work.
To own it you're a likely jerk
Producing products, making freaks
Of people working fifty weeks--
Who, when out of work, could kill
When smothered by another bill.
SONNET TO UTOPIA--
NEWS FROM NOWHERE
Sometimes I find it mighty queer
When people say we need more jobs;
Only reason we have to cheer--
Paycheck covers what history robs
From each and every one of us:
The power to fulfill our needs;
Standing on our own feet; plus
Satisfaction from the deeds
We've accomplished--getting back
What we produce. Now that's a thought.
Tell that your boss: you're talking smack--
He hired you, your time is bought.
Say, "All happy, nobody rich,
Nobody poor", he'll slap the bitch.
Utopia is a Greek word meaning "no place." As for News From Nowhere, the Wikipedia has it:
News from Nowhere (1890) is a classic work of utopian fiction written by the artist, designer and socialist pioneer William Morris. In the book, the narrator falls asleep after returning from a meeting of the Socialist League and awakes to find himself in a future society based on common ownership and democratic control of the means of production. The remainder of the book explores a number of aspects of this society, including its organisation and the relationships which it engenders between people. The book offers Morris' answers to a number of frequent objections to socialism, and underlines his belief that socialism will entail not only the abolishment of private [not personal] property but also of the divisions between art, life, and work.
In the novel, William Morris tackled one of the most common criticisms of socialism; the supposed lack of incentive to work in a communist society. Morris' response is that all work should be creative and pleasurable. This differs from the majority of Socialist thinkers, who tend to assume that while work is a necessary evil, a well-planned equal society can reduce the amount of work needed to be done by each worker. News From Nowhere was written as a response to an earlier book called Looking Backward, a novel by Edward Bellamy that epitomizes a view of Socialism that Morris [and Karl Marx] abhorred.
Karl Marx believed that labor was alienated from one another, themselves and their product because both labor and their product were owned by the capitalists. If we freed labor from class rule, democratize the means of production, labor would become a pleasure, an exercise (a workout if you will), a creative pursuit. Or so goes the theory. In the futuristic novel, News From Nowhere, people enjoyed "work", looked forword to it--it kept their bodies and mind in shape.
The line, "All happy, nobody rich, nobody poor" actually goes: "All Happy, None Rich, None Poor" and is on the masthead of a scrappy little weekly from northern California called the Anderson Valley Advertiser. I recommend it.
Everyone happy, nobody rich,
Nobody poor. Ain't that a bitch?
That notion won't be coming from
A world bent on the kingdom come.
Actually, it goes: All Happy, None Rich, None Poor. It's on the masthead of a scrappy little weekly from northern California called the Anderson Valley Advertiser (AVA).
TO REMEDY IMAGINATION:
GET DOWN TO SELF-FLAGELLATION
The smallest sinners of us all
Are the ones you find in church,
Temple, mosque--they use the ball
And chain to hold them from the lurch
To sin that daily creeps their mind.
At times they go to any length
To seeing Satan put behind:
Religion, no doubt, gives them strength
To do it: Devil's always there;
Tempting, wicked, so unfair.
THE PUBLIC IN THE WESTERN WORLD
You don't think ahead, it's true--
Lucky your world's kind to you.
If you were in another place,
Your fortune would have little grace.
You'd wake from all the dreams you hold
And find yourself stiff from the cold.
Now, you're safe and warm and fed
But things can change, so fix your head
And fix this fucked up world we take
For granted, please, for goodness sake.
I see you passing by and I
Wish I knew you better--my
Heart feels like it does, already.
The wave, the smile, hello, goodbye;
Attraction's there I can't deny--
My heart's been pulled into an eddy
Of desire that swirls around
A woman who might see me drowned.
I like porn, I wish I'd seen
It sooner--even as a kid.
Grew up straight, and oh so clean--
Sex? Oh my, oh, God forbid.
I was fucked up by the guilt
While masturbating to the hilt.
Of course if I had porn I might
Have masturbated day and night.
Decent porn? Could learn to have
The sex without the slippery salve
Applied to conscience--sacred cows:
Religion and the wedding vows.
Keep it natural: the greatest high
Is sex--and it won't make you die--
Other highs come with a risk,
And, like sex, the business brisk.
Jesus Christ, I'm not PC--
Exploited women! I'm so crass.
But then again it looks to me
The men are too: likewise bare ass.
But both might even like their work--
Can't say the same, your boss a jerk--
Regardless, you don't get much pleasure
Adding to somebody's treasure.
We look for love from someone who
Has never kicked our sorry ass--
Put us down, or made us do
Some things on which we'd rather pass.
Finding love like that, it seems,
Is sometimes only found in dreams.
GEEK TO GODDESS
All you had to do was tell me--
Truly, would have backed off quick;
Just a word to gently jell me--
Would not have gotten so love-sick.
Apologize. I've been a pest
And you were kind--but blunt is best.
KIDS THESE DAYS
You need a shrink, or need a god
To forgive yourself sometimes;
Or perhaps a good facade
To cover up your seedy crimes
When you face a friend or foe.
But like yourself, your parents know
Just precisely who you are
And don't let you get very far
With bullshit and forgiveness shit--
Seeing through the helpless bit.
They see it all, you aren't so smart--
Parents know your crimes by heart.
CRUSADES, JIHADS AND ZIONISM:
SMALL DUST DEVILS TO CORPORATISM
Going batshit, berserk, bonkers--
Serving God to find their worth.
Won't stop 'til religion conquers
Every living soul on earth.
But the system's got them beat:
It controls the balance sheet.
Can't beat that, you have to eat--
All grovel at the system's feet.
I am seeing God's great plan:
No Armageddon, Seventh Seal,
Or rapture that the Bible man
(Mullah, or Talmud schlemiel)
Says is coming. What's in store
Is peace and we'll need God no more.
Peace or else--when people hear
The call that grabs them by the ear.
Revelation, now, would be
When government gave us all
Their secrets kept from you and me.
Then you'll see the top dogs crawl
When there's no more secrecy--
When running dogs no longer maul
The fearful on their bended knee;
That's if people will recall
The dead from its conspiracy.
DON'T TRUST ANYONE UNDER
Coming down from airy clouds
Comes a shock to some;
Every situation clouds
Their senses growing numb
From confrontation coming from
Getting real, down and dirty
Like we did when under thirty.
GET YOUR HEAD FROM THE CLOUDS:
LIBERAL BOOMERS RAINING DOWN,
TRUSTED NO ONE OVER THIRTY
Coming down from airy clouds,
Comes like lighting bolts to some.
Now reality rudely crowds
Delicate senses: getting numb
From confrontations coming from
Getting real, down and dirty--
Dropping from the clouds as dumb
As anybody under thirty.
Too lazy, self-centered
To ever change--
Change never entered
The ever strange
Relationship that you've got going
With a partner you think is owing.
LONG WAY FROM TRIBAL
TO CORPORATE BIBLE
What little I had
Was maybe more
Then having the sad
Life of a whore
To the business pimping me
For the sake of industry.
THE UNIVERSAL PLANNING COMMISSION
They're making do with what they've got
Going on in people's minds.
Lukewarm average, not so hot--
Offer plans nobody finds
Good enough to "git 'er done."
We give it up and go for fun--
Or maybe freak and grab a gun.
I'll turned down the overtime,
Even when I need the money.
Boss acts like that it's a crime--
My excuse--my kids and honey
Need me home. But you know what?
The overtime just kicks my butt--
What overtime will buy is less
Than what my wife and kids will bless.
Turned away at their front door
By my friends from yesterday;
Don't think I can take much more
Of being told to go away.
They don't get it, I don't either--
Think I'm going to take a breather.
Every time you touched I felt
Your fingers leave a horny welt.
Every touch a pleasured bruise--
While your distance left tattoos.
I'd show them but you wouldn't see--
Too much a gap from you to me.
THE SYSTEM THAT IS CAPITALISM
The rich will still be rich,
The poor will still be poor.
Liberal politicians bitch
They can't help us any more
If we won't follow. What bullshit--
The liberals still believe in it.
When kings were ruling by the right
God had given, people knew
That was bullshit. The noble knight
Wasn't going to pull them through
Impoverishment caused by the rule
Of aristocracy born to wealth
With no restrictions on the cruel
Decisions touching people's health.
So, how's that different from today
When corporations have their say?
GOOGLE: DO NO EVIL IS THEIR SLOGAN
Do no evil? What a joke.
They're making profits, no?
Visionaries blowing smoke
To cover up the easy dough.
Battery-up the smoke alarm--
Get corporations to disarm.
A better call is: Do no harm--
Before they scorch the fucking farm.
How do you get from here to there?
Have not the foggiest notion.
Read everything, looked everywhere--
Can't find the locomotion
To carry the thought to rearrange
The world to make a welcome change.
CAPITALISM AND REVOLUTION
Nobody's blaming anybody--
Anyone who's thinking clear.
Blames the game that tends to muddy
Up the view to make it queer
To those who're looking for the facts
To make decisions--just relax.
Blame's no help to set things right--
Blame makes everyone uptight.
Karl Marx, a political-economist who wrote the Communist Manifesto in 1848 with Friedrich Engels, also wrote 3 volumes on capitalism, a very dry and detailed analysis of how the system works. He did his research in the British Museum in London at a time the capitalists did not hide their books. As a matter of fact, his writing partner, Engels, inherited shares in a textile factory in Manchester, England from his father, a factory that his father had sent him to work in as a young man. His father thought that it would help him grow out of his radical ideals. But by then, Engels had met Marx, and working in the factory just reinforced his commitment to socialism.
Marx foresaw the rise of corporatism and imperialism (globalization) but he didn't speculate on how it would turn out. Nor did he say the capitalists were bad/wrong, he just showed in great detail how they made their money at the expense of the working class.
Basically, Marx said capitalists got workers to produce 12 hours worth of goods a day and paid them for 3 hours--I'm making those numbers up, but you get the idea. If you owned the means of production, it made sense: pay the workers whatever it took for them to survive. Being a commodity themselves, the workers were being paid for how much time it took to reproduce themselves. The rest was profit for the owners of the business. It took more to reproduce skilled workers, like doctors, so they were paid more. And if the commodity was rare, like outstanding professional athletes, truly funny comedians, or expert corporate managers, they were paid an ungodly amount. The owners themselves could be dumb as a rock and talent less, but they still raked in the profits.
Marx predicted that when the workers woke up, they'd democratize the workplace and democratize production. But he hedged on that, writing that the capitalists have many tricks and soporifics to keep the workers clueless and asleep.
Marx also said that since the capitalists didn't pay the workers enough to buy back everything they produced, there would build up a surplus. And since the capitalists can't consume all the surplus commodities themselves, they couldn't sell all what they produce. That's when the owners have to lay people off and quit making so much "stuff" until the surplus was consumed: the so-called "business cycle" which Marx described as "poverty in the midst of plenty", which Charles Dickens described so well via the ghost of Christmas Present in A Christmas Carol.
The owners have always figured out ways to get rid of the surplus so they could start making money again--can't make money if you're not producing. And they try to do it before people (world-wide) starve to death, or go on a rampage, or worse: revolution. Three ways: 1) devalue the currency to cheapen the goods so people can buy them: inflation; 2) go into debt and let the government and those with credit cards buy up the surplus; 3) or go to war and burn it up. Each way works to benefit various segments of the economy, all of them capitalists. The workers suffer in every way, and sometimes the methods are combined.
But each crisis that comes about with the "business cycle", Marx said, gets worse and worse. Most of us don't notice it here in the United States because we don't think the rest of the world is connected to us. Right. What the f***, George, Bill, George, Jimmy, Jerry, Dick ad nauseum?
In college I took a course on Marxism. We started with Kant, went to Hegel (dialectics), mentioned Feurbach (materialist who coined the phrase "You are what you eat"), then focused on Marx and Engles (dialectical materialism). Those two giants led to Lenin, Stalin, and Trotsky, followed by a mention of Heidegger, Gramsci, Habermas and Lukacs, and we finally took a good look at Herbert Marcuse who had just published One Dimensional Man, which came out when I took the class in 1964.
The college I went to had a conservative president, James Phinney Baxter III. That was his name, honest. He'd won a Pulitzer Prize for history in 1947 and was president of the college from 1937-1961. He wouldn't let sociology, much less Marxism, be taught there--he thought sociology was too left wing. He retired before I took the Marxism class, but his conservative legacy had lived on. How the instructor managed to be able to teach Karl Marx at this school was by offering it as a class in philosophy. Phinney, still influential in retirement, was fooled. My instructor's name was Kenley Dove.
Dove's class was over my head, I got a B-, and that was probably given to me out of kindness. I wasn't stupid, not especially bright either, but I didn't put as much effort in my classes as was expected. Kenley Dove was in his 20's when he taught the class, and he was a genius. But he was an approachable, likeable scholar and intellectual. He seemed to appreciate Hegel and phenomenology more than Marx and dialectical materialism but I could be wrong on that because I've a scant notion of what either of those concepts actually means. He and I had a discussion about Stalin, once, and he didn't put me down, he just seemed curious about my take on him since I was defending Stalin over a certain issue.
What I did get from Dove's class was a notion of how capitalism worked. We read some of Marx's Das Capital, Volume I. Dove challenged the class to find anything in Das Capital that said capitalism was wrong. His point was that Marx thought capitalism was just another stage in history. No blame.
My dad was a capitalist, not a big one, but he was relatively big in Alaska at the time I grew up. So I thought I knew something about the ruling class, who my parents partied with. There was nothing that I learned from Kenley Dove that contradicted what I'd noticed growing up.
Marx never worried about what was "fair", on which I obsess. Marx, in Das Capital, and in everything else he wrote, explained how things worked. His other writings explained his theory on how civilization moved forward. He believed that it was the struggle between the classes that moved history forward: slave/slave-owner; aristocracy/capitalists; capitalists/workers. That's a theory that rattles the ruling classes, whether they are theocratic or capitalist. But they're all capitalists.
Islamic State? What bullshit, they're capitalists like the rest of the world. The only difference between them and the other capitalists is that they rule by divine right and fuck over women more than the western capitalists do. They still make their profits through capitalism.
The communists countries, past and present, were and are capitalists, albeit State capitalists. But at least in their State Capitalism, women are more equal, and the people work together about a plan for production, although they take shortcuts that are as bad as any. But of all the "communist" countries, I think Cuba manages it best. Name me a country in the world with people as happy as they are in Cuba, poor as they are.
Who out there has much control
Over daily life they have?
They simply hang on to their soul
And slather on the salve
They're given to get through a day
To suffer what the masters say.
DROOLING FROM THE MOUTH
All my writing: weak as I am
Standing up against the man,
Whether: yes sir, sorry, ma'am,
The writing's never been a fan
Of those who're looking up to God
When faced before a firing squad.
JINGLE-IST IN DENIAL
My mates never loved me for
The time I spent to write a rhyme--
Especially while we're living poor,
Thinking I was wasting time--
They use my time up to complain.
I couldn't argue with their point,
But writing helped to keep me sane--
That, and firing up a joint
I'd use to call the rhyming Muse
To supply me lines by twos.
Lorelei, why aren't you hitched:
Young doctor, smart and pretty?
You're brilliant and have me bewitched--
Diagnosis swift and gritty
Getting down to common sense--
Thorough, leaving no suspense
About what's wrong. Oh, Lorelei,
Why aren't you hooked up to some guy?
Maybe you're too smart for most,
The man for you, a virtual ghost.
Not my business, nosey me--
An old man with a fantasy.
You're in a hole so keep it small,
What's to lose now that you find
You've little left to say at all?
Whatever's left there of your mind
Give it up with dignity
Until there's no more memory
And you've forgotten how to dress--
Someone's sweetheart, nonetheless.
"BURNED" GATES AND "FULL OF GRACE" ALLEN
AND THEIR LAME SECURITY
Geekdom city, here I come:
I love you Linux, baby.
No more virus, spyware from
Creeps who hope they'll maybe
Rip me off or spoil the fun
Of Windows being my only one,
And wipe my drive of all my work.
Out there, there's that kind of jerk.
Hey! Maybe Linux geeks are those
Who're writing all the code to hose
Microsoft, whose system's weak--
The empire of a bully geek.
That's a toast to Linux folks--
And a taste of my lame jokes.
Linux users can't care less--
From the gate, MS a mess.
Bill Gates and Paul Allen started Microsoft in 1975, producing a programming language called BASIC for the microcomputer, with which programs could be written. In 1979, they developed an operating system for the mini and microcomputer called Xenix, based on Unix--the dominant operating system at the time as it still is. Unix is a computer operating system that was started in 1969 at AT&T's Bell Labs. When IBM came to Microsoft with a proposal for them to write the code for an operating system for a personal computer they were developing in 1980, Microsoft came up with DOS. They modeled some of it after Unix. After Unix developers produced a GUI for Unix (XWindow in 1984) for what had been only a command line interface, Microsoft came out with Windows, in 1988. The big mistake Microsoft made from the beginning was due to their limited vision. Unix was created from the start for networks. DOS and Windows were made for personal computers. Unix, from the start, was concerned with networking requiring security, privacy and reliability. Microsoft was focused on bells and whistles and ease of use and primarily, profits. They didn't start thinking about networks, much less the Internet, until they developed Windows NT in 1993.
Linux, which was created in 1991 by Linux Torvalds, is another flavor of Unix built for the PC (although it runs on midrange and mainframe computers). It's virus/spyware free. It's the operating system beneath the MAC. It's faster than Windows and isn't such a memory hog. It looks better on the Desktop, too.
One of the drawbacks, I hear, is that there aren't as many games for Linux as there are for Windows, although some versions of Linux can run Microsoft software. Besides the free software produced by the Free Software Foundation started by another one of my heroes, Richard Stallman in the late '80s, Oracle, IBM, Netscape and other proprietary software companies write their software for (i.e. they "port to") Linux. But best of all, Linux, itself, is free.
What does Vista cost these days? Can you buy a computer without Vista being loaded on it? And what does it cost to keep it virus and spyware free?
Young MD, she's smart and pretty;
Diagnosis swift and gritty
Getting down to common sense--
Thorough: leaving no suspense.
A sense of humor, always kind,
Non-judgmental, hardly blind
To your self-destructive bent--
My doctor has been heaven sent.
If I give you consolation
(Or even secret pleasure--
Bedtime dreaming, hushed sensation
You might bury deep as treasure);
If you think I understand
(And yes, sweetheart, I hope I do),
Then I'll take your eager hand
And do my best to lead you through
The chaos that beset your days
When men began their fulsome praise.
SONNET+ TO A MODERN VAN GOGH
You lazy lying sack of shit;
Self-centered bullshit artist who
Never learned quite how to fit--
Or figure out what he should do.
You've learned some things.
Such as: trim trees;
Spray tips, opaque markers, paint;
Oh, yeah: surfed the Seven Seas;
And once a lush; not quite the saint
You think of yourself sometimes
Whenever you help someone out.
But wait!!!!! You paint! And beg for dimes?
And eat your ego out, no doubt.
Hey Son, can the Father's guilt
And be the Man your Mother built.
GUILT AND REGRETS
Sorry, sweetheart, I was wrong--
Should have listened all along.
The aches and pains were real, I
Thought you told a little lie
To get me doing more for you
Besides the chores I usually do.
I was weak, my help withdrawn,
You were sick and now you're gone.
KIDS THESE DAYS
From the time they're popping zits,
Obsessed with either tits or dicks,
Teenagers give their parents fits
Seeing how they get their kicks--
Especially when they see them sneak
Around for blow, the kind, or tweak.
THE MORNING PAPER
I haven't read the paper
Until I've read the comics;
Front-page politics: bullshit vapor,
Along with lying economics.
There is nothing I can do
About the news, not me, so I
Read the comics: a different view--
Views I'm more inclined to buy
Than stories of what's going on:
Here one day, tomorrow they're gone.
The comics keep my spirits up--
True as coffee in my cup.
Problem with artists? Easily bored
Unless they're entertaining folks
And getting praise--can't be ignored--
They can't receive too many strokes.
When they don't, they'll find a way--
A drug, a pimp, to make their day.
HELL VS REVOLUTION
I'm just tired
This ain't fun
Just got fired
Who doesn't know their elbow from
The twists and turns to kingdom come
Forgot a word. I lost a day--
Forgotten what you had to say.
Forgot the name of someone close--
Forgotten where's the lethal dose
I saved and hid for when it's time:
Forgot I even wrote this rhyme.
Maybe I was dumb from birth--
My mother drank and smoked.
Maybe I see little worth
In the brain cells I have soaked
In more than drink: I read the news
That kills more cells than all the booze.
Now there's a poem that earns its name--
A little rough but true--
Where silly syllables lacking shame
Dance for me and you.
I wish mine could, mine tend to march--
Though, silly cybin's in my starch.
I know a man who feels no pain,
No sorrow, likewise, neither joy;
Dull to each but not the chain
Attached to him like some pull-toy.
Felt no fear and missing love
Decides to mess with those above.
Right idea, but here's the nix:
The boy has shit for politics.
FOR MY SOON TO BE EX SON-IN-LAW
AND MY SOON TO BE SUFFERING ADOPTED DAUGHTER
Clean up your mess, I'm coming over,
I don't want to see your shit
Stinking up the fragrant clover
You landed in. And now you sit
Beneath the light that helps you see--
A precious lamp as Tiffany--
So get off your lazy ass,
And help her wash a dish or glass.
You're not who you seem to be,
Talking over lunch;
Quiet, pleasant, seem to me
A man without a hunch
Of what is going on--some say
You're dumb as dirt on any day.
On the surface calm and still--
But what's inside is fit to kill.
SONNET TO RELIGION
Religion is the soulful sigh
And heart of a heartless world
That offers hope before we die,
And strength when death's flag comes unfurled
Over countless graves of those
Released from struggling with the strife
Of poverty and daily blows
We suffer in our walk through life.
Religion's there to ease the pain
Like good drugs most can't afford;
Religion's there to try explain
Cruel decisions by the Lord.
Religion is--will always be--
The bedrock of hypocrisy.
Karl Marx, writing about religion over 150 years ago, put it better. He was more compassionate, and poetic. I've been trying for 20 years to put a rhyme to this (his) prose, with small success:
"Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature,
The heart of a heartless world
As it is the soul of soulless conditions.
It is the opium of the people."
--Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right, 1843
(Some translators, translating Marx's German to English who were more materialistic than dialectic, used the words spirit and spiritlessness for soul and soulless, but I find that clumsy and crude.)
Back when Marx lived, only the rich could afford opium to ease their pain. The people who weren't wealthy enough, had religion for a substitute to ease it. Today drugs are cheap--and when off the street, usually dirty and sometimes deadly. I do believe when oppression ends, religion will lose its charm and drugs their draw.
Marx followed the above quote with:
"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness. To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions. The criticism of religion is, therefore, in essence, the criticism of that vale of tears of which religion is the halo."
Oh my, he could have been a poet.
The condition that requires illusions, Marx thought, was Capitalism and class rule.
10-POINT COURIER NEW
My baby doesn't let me write--
Not when she's around;
She wants attention and she'll fight
Until her ego's safe and sound--
Getting those regards she wants.
At night I dream of serif fonts.
98.6 is phlegm,
Percentage-wise, that is.
But I write a ton of them.
The 1.4 I get to fizz,
Even though they're just a rhyme,
They're worth the effort and the time.
LADY AND THE TRAMP
All she wanted was: be close--
Chihuahua with a bulldog heart.
He offered her a single dose
Of distance--chilled her from the start.
Tenacious, though, she wouldn't give
It up for him so he could live--
She found herself a stray who gave
Her warmth that lasted to her grave.
FOR SOMEONE LIKE YOU
When I lay me down at night
And think of you, I lie beside
Your eyes, and smile. I even might
Get inside your heart a while
To ride its rhythm to my dreams
Of pleasure pulsing to extremes.
She'll make him think that he's a fag
When he won't lend his lips to trips
To lubricate the latest jag
That she got on to come to grips
With a world that judges you
About your clothes, your skin, your hair--
By how you look and what you do:
Your friends and family, who's the heir--
Who is going to get the house?
His lips say yes: fag's now a mouse.
A CASE FOR SUICIDE--
SINCE I DON'T KNOW JACK
Merciful death? Give me a break--
It's painful, frightening, cruel.
Unless it's instant, it will take
You down--and laughing as you drool.
With your last breath: a slip of blood
Escapes the lips, and then you're mud.
FLIRT, PASSING BY
I just caught another wave
On which I rode to island dreams--
Not that I would be so brave
As ride it real as it seems.
The wave said little more than "Hey",
Imagination came to play:
You got me high, blink of an eye--
Waving, winking, walking by.
Everybody's busy, so
Nothing much gets done.
Everybody needs the dough
Thinking first of number one.
You ask someone to help you out,
They say, "sure", but you've no doubt
Number one's needs all come first--
And politicians are the worst.
BUT DEMOCRATS DO NO BETTER
Pungent as asparagus piss;
Smothering as a septic tank--
The politics from the abyss
Of this administration stank.
The world would vomit (if it could)
Republicans, for worlds of good.
LAIUS AND JOCASTA
It seems the old man lost his grip--
He fears his eldest Son.
The old man goes as far as trip
About the things that could be done:
Commit him as a danger to
Himself or others? What to do?
The Mother goes along with Dad,
Crying bitter tears--and sad.
Instead Dad, why not show some class
And kick Son's selfish, lazy ass?
OBSERVATION ON THE DOWN LOW
I'm not that smart and have no balls,
But I can see what's going on--
In the streets, behind the walls
Of congress, church, and business brawn.
The fix is in, the cards are stacked--
And whistle blowers all get whacked.
No one gets a kick from fame
(What a sick environment)
Except for folks without a name--
Pre-teen to retirement.
Vicarious. Living lives of those
The paparazzi daily hose.
Rich Paris is a sweetheart who's
Been set up, conned, abused.
She's getting smart, but still as spoiled
As cops and judges daddy's oiled.
Still I have a bit that's left
From the remnants of my mind;
Old age and the memory theft
Has kindly left a bit behind:
Rhymes comes easy, rhythms flow
Faster than the memories go.
Of course I could be in denial--
Verse and rhyme crap all the while.
Connection from their eyes to mine--
Joy or comfort when it's made--
Unless across a battle line.
Animals of any shade
Lift me when the gaze is steady;
I'm in love with them already.
Can I get higher, addicts wonder,
If I draw another fix?
Or will another put me under
Chumming worms beneath deep six?
What the fuck, I might as well--
I could get higher, who's to tell?
And be delivered from this hell.
FERMENTED AGAVE SUICIDE NOTE
You'll never know the reasons why
I thought it best it's time to die.
But reasons fit and it seems time
To shoot and bite the limón/lime.
My last shot is easy so
I leave a note to let you know
That it's all good. No more for me--
I'm checking out eternity.
COMMON SENSE, CAMUS
I think everybody thinks
Of suicide in twilight hours:
Life's a joke; the promise stinks;
Not a chance against the powers
Who decide it's yes or no.
Can't help but think: it's time to go.
Albert Camus [pronounced Ka-moo] was a writer and philosopher, born to French settlers in Algeria, which was a French colony. Born in 1913, his father died a year later in WWI, fighting the Germans. He grew up poor but was accepted to high school that allowed him to enter the university. He was a successful soccer player in high school, but that ended when he contracted TB. He went on to college in Algiers and got his M.A. He joined the French Communist Party, but he was anti-totalitarian. He spoke out against the red fascism of the Soviet Union which got him kicked out of the party.
Camus wrote essays and novels about the absurdity of life. "The absurd is born of this confrontation between the human need and the unreasonable silence of the world." Think Rwanda, Liberia, Somalia, Palestine, Bosnia, ad nauseam ....
He wrote that life had no meaning, despite our efforts to give meaning to it. "This heart within me I can feel, and I judge that it exists. This world I can touch, and I likewise judge that it exists. There ends all my knowledge, and the rest is construction."
He wrote about suicide: "There is but one truly serious philosophical problem and that is suicide." He argued that suicide is a legitimate answer to the human predicament.
Camus received the Nobel Prize in 1957, the second youngest to do so after Rudyard Kipling. He died in a car crash in 1960. Ironically, he once wrote that dying in an automobile accident was the most absurd way to die.
SUFFERING SUCCOTASH SONNET
I sometimes worry that my wife
Doesn't give me time to write
When we're at home (a fact of life)
Because she thinks my writing's trite
Absurdities I put to rhyme--
Along with meanings that I blur.
She thinks it's all a waste of time
That rightly should be spent with her.
She doesn't say exactly such:
That the doggerel I write's bad;
Or ever say I'm losing touch
With good sense she thought I had.
But I think she thinks it's true:
Time's wasted on the rhymes I do.
IN THE HALL
I look at you and our eyes meet--
Don't remember when I met you--
My mind turns down a clean bed sheet,
My hands pull down your panties, too.
You've looked my way a hundred times--
I go so far as make up rhymes.
Ears go up, the eyes look straight
Ahead, and Red is set to go
After what might desecrate,
Or disturb the status quo.
Doggie, oh, you give me joy
But bark at nothing and annoy.
INCEST AND CIRCLE JERKS
The damage done
To childhood fun
Can wreck somebody's life;
When comes to sex
Wielding its castrating knife
To cut off pleasure when it's from
A place outside officialdom.
I'm no perv, but think I know
Sex happens when the youngsters grow.
Wading swampy waters, I
Look for alligators.
Just an ordinary guy,
Wearing hip-high waders.
Fish for answers for us all--
The swamp could use a waterfall.
That's me, optimistic dreamer--
Beneath the surface glides a schemer.
He thinks, oh man, this one's it.
She thinks, my god! Brother. Shit--
If he touches me once more
It's goodbye, I'm out the door.
He smiles again to touch her arm
Still thinking she laps up his charm;
She's out the door, a smile goodbye--
He's dumbfounded, wonders, why?
A CAPITAL SELF-REALIZATION
Rotten in so many ways--
You've come to think about yourself;
You know you've spent too many days
Idle on a privileged shelf
Above the rest you've used, abused--
Low life keeping you amused.
It's finally hit you now because
The system can't hide what it does.
TO KILL A MOCKING BIRD
The mocking bird's alive and well,
All night long in every guise;
He's got you beat as you can tell--
The morning mirror shows bleary eyes
Because the bird has kept you up--
Need more than your morning cup.
Unless you're deaf you hear the cry
Of all the fucked up people--
And fucked over, soon to die.
From temple, mosque and steeple
People pray, prey on their own--
Privileged can't hear the victims groan.
GOD BLESS THE USA
SONNET TO SICKO
We're all crazy, taking care
Of each other on a dime
(Senile, crippled, gasping air)--
Work all day, who's got the time?
The USA, most folks admit,
Is slow to care for people who
Worked all their lives: no benefit
From doing what they had to do.
The mindset in the USA,
Conditioned by the daily news,
Is dog eat dog--and in no way
Do corporations pay their dues.
The world sees us as one mean joke--
With all our wealth, some hope we choke.
SONNET FOR MONDAYS
First day of another week:
Mondays suck. The USA
Is this sad planet's corporate freak
For piling on the working day.
The corporate world is owing you,
More than anything they pay--
For making profits like they do.
They don't have a thing to say:
Like you, they work all the time,
Forty-nine weeks and maybe more.
But you need 2 jobs for the dime
The owners pay a wage-slave for
Puffing profits. Monday's suck.
And owners? They don't give a fuck.
FRIEND I'D DIE FOR
Petey Pie, give me the balls--
I don't want to be a drag.
Help me go when wisdom calls--
Dementia sending up a flag
That it's over--getting close.
Help me with the overdose.
Oh fuck! Oh fuck! Oh fuck! No!
Not again! It's just my luck
To meet someone who makes me go
Screw up my life on two-buck Chuck:
She's wonderful, but one cheap thrill,
My wife will fry me on the grill.
EXCUSE ME, DYLAN
It's Friday night, hope to get high--
By Monday I'll recover;
But Friday night I want to fry
Rainy day woman for my lover.
Monday morning, I'll be at work,
Refueled from the Friday's perk.
A bowl of crystal:
I'm a pistol.
Every line I write a thought
It's to the head--
The subject's dead.
Crystal meth is worth a shot.
WANNABE BIGAMIST PESSIMIST KISSED
I can't get you off my mind.
You're going to screw my life up so
Much, you'll be the one behind
Me stepping off a curb, aglow
With thoughts of you, and then a truck
Runs me over--just my luck.
I can't take my mind off you.
You're going to shake my life up so
I know that I am bound to do
Something stupid--heart aglow
With you--step off a curb, a truck
Runs me over. That'll suck.
I can't get my mind off you.
You're going to fuck me over bad,
I'm afraid of what I'll do--
Give up everything I had
To fall in love--leave someone who
Has always been good, trusting, true.
AGENT, NOW, TO ONCE A PARTNER
Your ego has been in the way
Of us collaborating;
You like to shine, but let me say
If the spotlight's all on you
There's nothing left for me to do.
MARIE ANTOINETTE, CIRCA 2007
Paris. New-age Antoinette--
Marie, that is: a simple mind.
She's leader of the new jet-set.
She, her flock, is flying blind.
But they get high despite the harm
They're doing folks down on the farm--
Folks enchanted by her charm.
O.K. What? You don't get it?
You can't see what we could be?
You like living with this shit?
You believe that we are free?
Your masters like comparing you
Against the 3rd World misery
They create and stake you to
Upholding myths of liberty--
Myths of freedom. What's that mean
When you're chained to that machine?
The reason some abuse them
Is: they don't know what they are for;
They've no idea how you should use them
And they all end up on the floor
High as a kite or freaking out:
It's what oppression's all about.
SONNET TO A WAR HERO:
CONGRESSMAN RANDY "DUKE" CUNNINGHAM
DEDICATED TO THE SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE
He fooled his wife, he duped his friends,
Bamboozled, stuped his loyal staff--
Shows gullibility never ends.
But we enjoy the final laugh.
U.S. attorney, Bush since fired,
Caught on quick to Randy's act--
Regarding a house the Duke acquired;
One of many bribes in fact.
The scumbag now is serving time
Cooperating with the Man.
But Congress still is filled with slime,
White and tight as Ku Klux Klan.
Regardless, watch: the Duke will find
God--and leave his past behind.
Love and sex, the two combined,
Brings you close to heaven;
Or if you're of a different mind,
The dice you rolled turned up a seven.
From saints to sinners, nothing better--
Sweet nothing's getting ever wetter.
Knowing so much more I think
We, today, could work it out;
And it didn't take a shrink--
To learning what life is all about:
It's not me and not about you;
It's all about what we can do.
Been a commie since nineteen;
Not a good one, not that smart;
And never have I kept that clean
And can't say I have that much heart.
Born spoiled rich, and sent to school--
There, turned on to Karl Marx;
Graduated last, a fool
And still lack guts--no Rosa Parks.
But writing rhymes like no one can
(Except for Dylan, Simon)--and
They all stand up to the Man
(I throw in Marx to beat the band).
Where's this going? I don't know.
Rhymes are all I've got to show.
My wife will treat me like a kid--
Treat me like her mother did
Her--and sometimes I go wild,
As if I was still a child.
Her mother wasn't always nice--
Except to friends--gave good advice.
Quality sometimes pushed aside
In the struggle to survive.
Can't imagine what has died--
Mediocrity's still alive.
Profit is the motive force--
Mediocrity's Trojan horse.
A SYSTEM OF CONTRADICTIONS
Cooperation? Raised to compete.
Cooperation's never easy.
Competition's on the street,
All the way up to the cheesy
Ads the billboards tower over
Pedestrians on their way to work--
Nowhere near a walk through clover,
Especially working for a jerk.
But cooperation there's enforced:
Can't survive without it.
Without it you are soon divorced--
And there's two-ways about it:
You lose your job, the business: shares
Of the market--both kicked downstairs.
RAKE AND INTROSPECTION
You should read my rhymes:
I am such a whore;
Dog, in my case, many times
Judge of smiles, I take them all
As invitations to the ball.
Oh, what a night.
Thought I'd die and I was almost free--
The smothered ember that I came to be
Late December, what a night.
Oh, what a night.
You know I didn't even know my name,
Or where I was, and then my savior came.
What a rush, oh what a night.
I had that crushing feeling--doom and gloom,
She saved my life by rushing to my room.
Oh, what a night,
Paralyzing, terrorizing me--
I would be dead, except that she
Came to my side, oh what a night.
I felt a rush like I was going under,
You pulled me out--from my foolish blunder!
Oh, what a night.
It took so long before my head was right,
Sugar fed until I thought I might
Live, oh, lady, what a night.
Apologies and thanks to Judy Parker and Bob Gaudio, who wrote the song for Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, called "December 1963 (Oh What A Night)". And to my wife who suffers my carelessness in regard to my diabetes.
PBW & DHL
I owe it all to you, I swear,
Teacher, friend who taught me how
To look at things--become aware
And not become the purple cow.
Are your thoughts consumed like mine
Of spending time together?
Or am I just a foolish swine
Imagining the weather
Is sunny bright when comes to us--
You see me as a gloomy gus.
SONNET FOR THE LONELY MOCKING BIRD
Chirps to warbles, whistles, call;
Meadowlark's calm sweet liquid notes;
From the pole he does it all--
The mockingbird, all night, promotes
Himself to interest a mate in him.
And damn! I wish he'd find her.
That, or Jesus, give it up Jim!
The chicks choose mimics they prefer.
If your songs were better, you'd
Give up singing through the night
And partner up to raise a brood
And not disturb me 'til daylight.
I'd have my sleep, and hear you when
The sun was up. I'd listen then.
I wrote an unkind rhyme about a mockingbird a few weeks ago, so annoyed that I joked I was going to invite a co-worker over to shoot it, which he had done 65 years ago, when no one thought twice about getting rid of a pest with a single-shot .22.
An acquaintance of mine, a naturalist living in Costa Rica, got the rhyme and clued me into what was going on. The mockingbird was singing for a mate, singing all night long, because he was a lousy singer. Otherwise he'd have a mate, because that's how the females decide who's right for them--by their superior singing. If he had a mate he would be sleeping at night, busy feeding the brood by day.
Surgeon's soap I still can smell
From when you washed your hands;
Your care and kindness cast a spell--
Cast from one who understands
A patient, judging not a bit,
Hell-bent on self-destruction;
A spell was cast and I submit,
I bow to your instruction.
If they would let me, I would make
Every woman happy who
Found me someone they could take
Despite the crazy shit I do;
The worst about me? Sometimes I
Withdraw and wish that I could fly.
After I had paid the check,
What a sweet goodbye--
Handshake, hug, kiss on the neck,
You lifted more than spirits high;
And all along I thought that you
Thought me a loser through and through.
We all need somebody who
Can mother up the childish tears
Enough to help us make it through--
By facing down the foolish fears.
Misunderstood? Or did I touch
A nerve you've buried deep inside?
Your reaction was too much.
Hypocrisy can't be denied
With anger, twisting what I said
Thereby attacking me, instead.
You're a dog, and bragged of it.
I asked if she could do the same.
You exploded, threw a fit,
Asked how dare I bring her name
Up--and drag her in the street.
Only the dog's allowed to cheat?
If I ever published this one I'd change the title because it would be seen as a stereotype, or worse, racism, and hurt my best friend's feelings. But it's about my friend Frank, whose given name is Francisco, and Pancho is a term of endearment. The word macho used to mean mench in Mexico. Now it denigrates the bravado of insecure men.
SONNET TO MODERN TIMES
You don't feel safe. But tell me who
Is carefree in their neighborhood?
On the streets or traveling to
The other side, it's understood
People are batshit, coast to coast
And overseas in distant lands.
Nut-jobs ride the holy ghost
From jungles to the burning sands
Killing and dying--for who knows what?
Misery inspiring desperate means--
Extremists and the stressed-out--but
Facing down their shattered dreams.
Who feels safe? And no one mentions
Governments' unsaid intentions.
Sinful legs that come to touch
Beneath the table--hidden tease--
Press against each other, clutch
At pleasures that the toe to knees
Search for--hoping they are free
To climax opportunity.
ROMEO AND JULIET
Miles apart, no chance that they
Could ever hook up--too much to
Hide, won't find a day
To spend together--many who
Know them--can't be caught together,
Out there braving stormy weather.
You surely do it--
You've done it for me:
But you don't have to squeal to
Make me pay attention, you
Only need look in my eyes.
Don't you know I realize
You're kind--and holy shit, you're smart?
A victim suffering too much heart.
Can the squeal. And if you can't
(But I know you can)
I will make my presence scant.
Maybe you can find a man
Who loves the squeal and won't abuse
You when the squeal fails to amuse.
Oh baby, you, I understand,
Forgive and love you all the same--
If not more. Still out of hand
With the power trips and game
Of "you don't love me", I can see
Right through you, as you through me.
You think of suicide, you say?
Don't do us any favors.
Putting up with your display
Of 31 mental flavors
Has brought us down and worn us out--
Taxing wallets' gift of doubt.
Go ahead, you dumb-ass twit--
I love you--not your crazy shit.
Telling artists they are good
May be a curse of death;
They'll keep trying, understood,
Until their dying breath.
What if they're not? What if they tank?
Who do failures have to thank?
THE TIFFANY LAMP
The Tiffany lamp casts subtle light,
The shade was worth the price.
But lately colors aren't so bright,
The leaded glass conceals vice--
Stained, self-centered, pretty glass
Has just about lost all its class.
I am so in love with you--
At least I am in fantasies.
You're nice, you smile, and someone who
My dreams at night will long to squeeze.
You'll never know it from my looks--
Behind them, though, the passion cooks.
SONNET FROM A SAGGING SEXAGENARIAN
Who attracts me now, these days?
At my age I'd have to say
A woman's good looks hardly phase
Me in the ordinary way.
What attracts me are the bold,
Savvy women, not the games
Played by kittens. I'm too old
To ever again go down in flames
Over looks. The woman who
Attracts me now, in my old age,
Seems to know just what to do
To make the mind and heart engage.
I'm human though, still fantasize
About good looks and sexy thighs.
I get drunk and speak the truth,
You get righteous as can be--
Strike me like George Herman Ruth
Knock me from the family tree.
It's still the truth, the words I've said,
That you won't let get to your head
Because I'm drunk. Ever wonder
What's making me go ever under?
Did the dishes, took garbage out,
Got water to the roses;
You cooked steaks, and still you pout;
And my mind supposes
I didn't do enough for you--
And roses I picked still won't do.
I'm attracted to the ones
Who're lonely as can be;
Every day in their life runs
Towards somebody who can see
The loneliness and lead them to
Some exciting things to do.
Problem is, I'm dull as dirt--
Someone's always getting hurt.
My doctor told me something I
Thought was funny, it touched my heart;
She thanked me, she said, 'cuz I try
To work with her. (I'm one old fart
Hell-bent on the wicked ways
To maximize my final days.)
I search for bugs for her flytrap!
How'd I ever get to be
Such a full-on simple sap
And likewise full-on casualty
To her Venus? I love her so,
Despite the lengths she makes me go.
I had a dream of you last night,
Nothing sinful, simply sweet;
I held your hand, you squeezed mine tight,
Enough to make the dream complete.
Do you dream you love me too?
Fantasize about true love?
Dream about what we could do
If only we could rise above
Our situation, tied down tight
To raw conditions with a bite.
TO THE PORN WEBMASTER
You expose what's in our dreams
On your naughty porno site;
Perv and even normal creams
From the screens on any night;
Ladies too, when they explore,
Get off on it even more.