Soft-Nosed Bullet

“My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.” Carl Christian Schurz

America is an idea, an experiment. She does not belong to anyone just because they happen to have been born here. The recent fascination with deportation of those the fear-filled well armed cadres disagree with is a virus with a pustule on her spine that left to fester will burst and cover us all with puss.

Nationalism, the refuge of skinheads, bigots and fascists teaches two primary things; to hate people you have never met and to take credit for things you had nothing to do with. I’m often emailed so-called jokes about the darker people and others not of American ancestry being the only ones on the streets during the day. The “joke” is supposed to be that all the white Americans are at work. I’m sure that Lincoln Rockwell acolytes and the Grand Wizards of the Ku Klux Klan and their ilk find this affirming and funny. I ask where the joke is.

In November 1963 flyers circulated in the streets of Dallas, Texas with the word Traitor boldly emblazoned on the header over a photo of JFK just days before my fellow Americans blew him and us all back in time. There are two wolves fighting in everyman’s heart, love and hate. The one that is feed the most wins.

#JFK #Nationalism #skinheads #Lincolnrockwell #My country, right or wrong #Ku Klux Klan #Deportation

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Auras

“Come on in and have some Pie”

The thermometer sports a minus sign preceding the temperature now and a walk to the mail box leaves my shrunken basket holding family jewels as blue and fragile as Christmas tree ornaments. It turns out worth it though on this magic morning since the content holds a greeting card; something I thought was an anachronism in this era of electronic communications so it was àpropos that the one I’m fingering over hot chocolate in front of a roaring fire is from Big Paulie. As he lay prostrate in Berkeley reading the classics and searching for beauty and meaning he found the time and inclination to make my day.

He writes a personalized inscription saying the dude on the cover looks like me and sure enough he does; further he writes that once back in the 80’s, at one of many memorable Salons at Crazy Debbie’s Palace, he saw my halo; which is surprising and odd since I didn’t know I had one of those. The colorized picture on the front of the card shows a rendered likeness of how the artist imagines St. Francis would have appeared; a hip ragged gypsy with torn priestly sackcloth showing the marks on his body resembling the wounds of Christ and holding a bible with a skull on it in one hand and a large crucifix in the other; a halo hovers above his bowl hair cut resembling a medieval Moe from the Three Stooges.

I question Paulie on this revelation and he assures me again that he did in fact see my halo. I don’t know what to make of this pronouncement and though it’s a tad disconcerting, better I surmise than the alternative fuzzy red horns. Since it’s the Master of the Universe’s birthday today I figure maybe I should start my very own religion; what with Big Paulie’s testimonial at the tent revival I envision and with him being about the size of a small airplane and having the look of a crusher; who’d dare doubt his charismatic assertion?

A name is important so after ponders I think I’ll call it the Book of Nick. I can borrow tenets from the big three trilogy of fantasy belief systems and hobble together an ethos; leaving out the doomsday predictions that all of them have instilled as bedrock since, yech; way to creepy. Every warm body eight to eighty; blind, crippled or crazy will be encouraged to join, with an exception for pedophiles and any similarly inclined defectives. I’ll have to create an aura of exclusivity and keep it simple to attract the simple-minded so I’ll have just one page in my book describing the only rule. Something very Mother Theresa/Dali Lama like “Be Good To Each Other” or maybe something less difficult like just “Be Good To Me”.

I’ll need a hook; something to magnetize and appeal to the masses and by the way; no Masses. I need to draw a crowd if I’m going to get my “money for nothing and chicks for free” so authenticity is required. I’ve got it. Join the Book of Nick and you get; Pie.

Donations accepted.

Iconoclast Direct from Hollywood Heaven

Robert Altman is dead,

but Francis Coppola is still alive.

“They hit him with six shots

and he’s still alive.

Well that’s bad luck for me,

and bad luck for you,

If you don’t make that deal

with Sonny”.

Marty Scorsese is running down Mulberry Street

with a knife in his back. Death is chasing him

like a freight train

and he’s still dreaming of Italian Cinema.

Stanley Kubrick is floating in a space odyssey

with naked women like Norman Mailer’s somnambulist.

He sports an orange clock around his neck,

Public Enemy style.

Sam Peckinpah is riddling

Alfred Hitchcock’s bloated corpse

with silver bullets

while Sam whistles over

John Ford’s grave.

Robert Altman is dead

He’s hunting deer

with Michael Cimino and Dino De Laurentius,

unconventionally subverting the genre.

Robert Altman is dead.

He’s whispering

“suicide is painless”

while Arthur Penn

is turning the crank

of a vintage Model-T

for Clyde Barrow.

Robert Altman is dead.

He’s stopping the bleeding in Korea,

singing on stage in Nashville

and slowing slipping away

chest deep in the western snows.

He deconstructs and de-mythologizes

our romantic visions

in non-heroic, breathtaking, masterpiece

while Leonard Cohen wails.

He watches as Oliver Stone

shows Jack Kennedy

what happened in Vietnam,

how the bullet

made his head

go back

and to the right,

made us all go back

and to the right.

Football and Gun-Play

This is a violent civilization; If civilization’s where I am. Every channel that I stop on, got a different kind of cop on; killing them by the million for Uncle Sam.” Gun – Gil Scott-Heron

Boys, some no older than those sacrificed to the worship of guns, wasted at yet another school shooting this week, like almost all boys, were introduced to their first taste of manhood by throwing a ball around the back yard with Dad. Sport for boys symbolize maturity; we compete and watch admiringly and often worshipful, the professionals; a phenomenon corporate, capitalistic and American as “baseball and apple pie”. Professional sports are the military’s number one recruiting tool.

This weekend the NFL will start every game with jingoistic American flag waving extravaganza’s, with flags the size of the entire field, hoisted by spit-shined troops from all the armed-services strutting like real life G.I. Joe props complete with medals and real guns sending a subliminal message to America’s youth to join the army and be tough and brave like the gladiator pituitary cases on the field; about to chance ruining their health for money. All festivities accompanying the games will combine unspoken words of patriotism with multimedia presentations replete with renditions of The National Anthem and God Bless America while Stealth Bombers fly overhead.

What all that pageantry has to do with football, or the other sports that do much the same, is the link of sports to military service; where you’ll get to compete but with a gun; and we’ll give you free of charge a bunk and grub and life long health care, life insurance, subsidized housing for the young wife and child along with a modest paycheck and a chance to blow stuff up just like in those ubiquitous video games that glorify murder that we weaned you on; albeit murder by “the good guys against the bad guys” perpetuating the obligatory obscene xenophobic myth.

But moreover the whip cream on the apple pie is, and this is the accepted politically correct practice of all Americans, honoring our warriors as if they were not just the tip of the spear but the foundation of the nation; you’ll get respect; every young mans quest. Bashing the troops for any reason is akin to treason in our society. So from babies; its sports good, army good, guns good. Is it any wonder we’ve spawned a culture that has resulted in America having half the guns that exist in the world and more guns in the country than people?

I’m not saying sports are bad; I played and I’ll be watching. Nor am I saying ban all guns since it can’t, unfortunately, be done. We are where we are. But guns are for cowboys in Cripple Creek, Wyoming, cops and army guys; they have no place in the modern city in the hands of civilians. Besides; truth is; real men don’t use guns.

In my youth we still had street fights using only our fists. The Italian kids Vs the Polish kids was a regular obligatory match. Every one carried at least one or two trophy scars from earlier fracas, badges of honor for bragging rights and a teenage macho ritual.

Chicago was a city of alleys. In the old days the alleys were the main streets where rag men in daylight clumped along cobblestones in wagons pulled my beat down nags and housewives leaned over dilapidated balconies buying fruit and bartering for worn out second-hand clothes and pots and pans. On dark summer nights turned moist with heady smells, these alleys became battlefields beckoning the warriors.

Car loads of young toughs on the way to match deeds with reputations, or make new ones; the taste of adrenaline in our mouths, all sinew, muscle and bone aching to be unleashed, raw nerves, high anxiety and hot wire tension. Beautiful then, heart breakers and life takers we’d enjoy saying, but no one ever died. Once you conquer the fear of close hand combat you discover that it doesn’t hurt when you get hit, not then when your nerve is up and the adrenaline and hot blood is pumping. You hear the punches but you don’t really feel them, until the next day.

The two boss stallions square off while the pack sizes up the prey. Gradually more guys step to each other and before long everybody is throwing hands. It’s a hell of a thing to watch and everywhere we went there were girls. Sometimes they even got into it, slapping at each other harmlessly and pulling hair.  Soon someone would yell “Bulls” and off we’d stagger to our chariots like wounded Spartacus, scrambling to safety to lick our wounds, kiss the girls and lie about the force of each blow. It was how it would be decided who you were, who was who and what you were.

Everybody except the truly psycho even spoke of using knives let alone guns; where no contact is required and nothing is risked, nothing decided, nothing affirmed. We all just wanted what boys today want, to feel like we are somebody, to show what we were made of and in the same way a soldier signals to his mate “I’m here for you” experience the camaraderie soldiers are known to say is why they fight; and when it was over, all that was needed to be known, was.

Tsunami

This is a violent civilization; if civilization’s where I am; every channel that I stop on; got a different kind of cop on; killing them by the million for Uncle Sam. – Gun – Gil Scott-Heron

The last thing I remember was my body pulsing, exhausted from the mescal flaming in my bloodstream; my eyes burning, coiled in a fetal position as the fireplace burned down to an ember under a Midwestern aurora borealis sky. Drifting on pleasant thoughts of peaceful adventures on distant shores with dew heavy eyelids closing I tumbled into relief dreaming of tropical sands.

I came alive in pieces; on spits and sputters and coughs like an old pick-up truck engine that had seen its better days but refused to die. I disappeared several times before greeting the crack of noon; the innards of my skull filled with cotton-candy cobwebs that snow flaked in a blizzard. I shook off the anarchy and caressed my beloved espresso machine; my sixth sense catching the aroma beside those metallic smells of sulfur that the devil leaves behind announcing the start of a really shitty day coming right at me that followed in my vapor trail like a bad omen.

I’m not talking about the slow rolling accumulating giant shit sandwich we’ve all had to take a big bite out of for the past five years or so while we watched our accumulated wealth disappear or the everyday mundane bullshit that sometimes piles up so high you need wings just to stay above it; the kind that hits you all at once on one day and makes you kind of long for a twirl in the Octagon with Beelzebub himself. But rather a tsunami surfers dream of waves captured in death-defying rides inside the safety of the sacred tube of myth, while the chaos crashes all around them just inches from being swallowed to their destruction.

In Oakland when I lived alone I’d switch on CNN first thing to see who died of note; not to keep abreast of current events since the news just repeats itself like some forgotten dream; but to discover which unfortunate wretch, that I’ve managed to outlive, bought it. I embrace the news like I do other forms of art; books, movies and such, with a particular predilection for those stories depicting lives worse than mine; this giving me an upbeat contemplation to start my day and live my life.

I abandoned this habit on the morning I watched those jet liners crash into the twin towers like some special effects 1970’s towering inferno disaster movie. Like then, the terror I saw this morning in the eyes of the hysterical parents that fell like rain tearing a hole in the flesh of their chests that rested just above their bleeding hearts could only be real. It seems a maniac came in without a warning in the hours just after morning; came-a blasting through the windows and the walls; and when the smoke it did clear; somebody cried out he ain’t here; killed him and twenty children; that’s all.

Even before I heard *the story; every time the crash of the cell door slammed shut so would my eyes; like the last act of a desperate man; to close off the world, to deny reality, to hope against hope that this was all a dream. I used to say, when faced with an unconscionable atrocity, that if they had a video of a truckload of dead babies being unloaded with a pitchfork on Mother’s day; they show it to us. Now that ugly aphorism has become true and all I could do, as if captured again alone in a cell, was close my eyes and hope for sleep.

The bloviating rednecks will argue that the second amendment gives them the right to bear arms; but it sites a “well-regulated” militia. Forget that militias went extinct at the same time as buggy whips and anyone loony enough to join a militia in 2013 you wouldn’t want protecting you; where’s the well regulated part when any self-absorbed lunatic loser has the right to a weapon that massacres at will dozens at a time. What about the rights of the majority of us who don’t want to get shot and don’t want to carry around a death machine with us 24/7 for protection? Who do we see about that? #Guns # Dead Kids # Bear Arms #oldnews

*the story – You arrest three guys for the same murder. In the morning the guy who’s asleep is your man. If you know you’re caught you get some rest.