Noise

“For the most sensitive among us, sometimes the noise can just be too much.” – Jim Carrey – upon hearing of the death of Phillip Seymour Hoffman.

The cross city bus clamors out a murderous seasick solo backed by an orchestral scrum of whizzing internal combustion engines in uproarious brawl spewing invisible air and ear pollution death while begging for second gear; both instruments of audio-olfactory destruction, an offense to the ear and nose from landlocked personal space-ships bumper to bumper on the narrow streets of San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood; all, along with the antique streetcars sing out a cacophony of noise so disturbing I had to hold the phone, physically 1,500 miles away from the action, six inches from my ear.

Our story’s hero Jeff is laboring, careening up and down intensely inclined ski sloop streets chasing said bus while he screams into his cell phone at me “Man, the first thing you’d notice if you came back is the noise”. I tell him he’s preaching to the choir. The air in my environs of northern Wisconsin is so calm I can hear the sound of autumn leaves rustling along the well-kept lawns and iridescent blue birds singing their daily arias.

Writers flood into big cities, whether they know it or not, to be uncomfortable; since like the late, great Charles Bukowski opined “no one comfortable ever wrote anything worth a damn”. The city is life on steroids; it’s intensity keeping us all tense. The boulevard is a raging river of humanity and sometimes inhumanity. There is rarely a shortage of stimuli upon which to opine. Here the writers cup runneth over.

Our hero confides he’s been reaching back into his past to make that connection that sooner or later, sooner I think for some of us given recent societal developments, we all eventually make; that DNA linked memory to our roots. Jeff is currently covered by a warm blanket; surrounded by like-minded west coast social justice warriors – yet when looking back over his shoulder in contemplation of revisiting comrades from his mid-western past; he is floored, repulsed and catatonic over the addiction he sees in his childhood pals adherence to the new ersatz fascism; the redneck noise that is Trumpism.

In the same way it’s nearly impossible to escape the noise coming at us all like a Chinese parade, from eight different directions all at once; it’s the same for our natural inclination to decipher the content and arrange it in some assemblage of bite-size order. Is it as it seems? Is the new avalanche of information overwhelming our capacity to upload, sort-out and categorize it’s meaning and importance so we might get a handle on our collective future?

It can’t only be me and our hero who, overwhelmed by the noise, wish solace in heeding the wise voices from our past. Timothy Leary’s advise was “tune-in, turn-on and drop out.” Or the angelic voices of groovy guru of the day who suggest wandering in an open field for mindfulness training. Or the Birkenstocks environmentalist who insist we head back to nature and hug a tree; or the mental spiritualist that whisper meditation is the key. Maybe the best of them are the Tantra yogi’s who claim sexual pleasure is the way in and out; that the answer is a bit more of the old in and out. Being a hedonist myself I tend to flow in this direction.

Yet, with escape valves in place in case of overload and prayers to the universe for guidance, I can’t help myself wanting to sort through the noise and discover, like a pathfinder, which direction to point; for myself and others. The Stoics posited that the philosopher left the cave, examined the outside world and returned to tell the others of the joys and dangers outside the cave.

Now they’re be a noble and heroic cause; to be a fearless scout in the face of unknown dangers; to be a trailblazer for the greater good in a quest to report, interpret and transmit the findings. The conundrum seems to be we can’t translate through the noise to know what’s coming if we disengage from it.

In the end I’m left perplexed. Shall we try to make a path through the noise though we fear not knowing the answers and fear worse not even understanding the questions? Are we all just like our hero; wishing to be heroes; but succumbing to the dictates of surviving the day and reach for the safety and sanity of just catching that bus? #rednecknoise #Stoics #Trumpism #CharlesBukowski

Trump Trumps Reagan

And how trivial the things we want so passionately are.”Marcus Aurelius

A dog chases a bus; the bus stops – the dog catches it; what now?

The last time the money changers and the Army guys took over our government was during the Alfred E. Newman What Me Worry presidency of W; and you don’t need me to tell you how that turned out. The two sensational wars and the brilliance of the snouts-in-the-trough types like Dick-less Chaney and the top Wall Street-walkers detritus still lay smoldering at our feet.

This new Trump pseudo-populist phenomenon looks to be a replay of the 1980’s Reagan revolution when it became fashionable among the elite money fetishistic to popularize the bumper-sticker ethos “maximizing share-holder value’. This greed for its own sake origination created an accepted ethos of the T-Boone Pickens Green Mail artists of that era, set free by Reagan’s firing of Air traffic Controllers, signaling labor unions would be crushed.

That message was received by the twisted Orwellian named “job creators” and along with it came the export of manufacturing jobs sent overseas where peasants fresh from their countryside’s pure agrarian economy, paid $1.20 an hour for assembly-line factory jobs, would later land in suicide nets, as in China’s Apple works, after experiencing the sweat-shop working conditions, or as we like to call it, (absence of) regulation; the new drumbeat of the well-heeled mouth-pieces like Mitch McConnell. Americas middle-class lunch-pail voters who put both Reagan and Trump in the catbird seat where left abandoned; dazed and confused. The fat cat scoundrels disguised themselves wrapped in the American flag while secretly masturbating to their money porn financial fantasies under it.

The current zeitgeist buzz-phrase “economic growth” harkens back to the Ronnie-the ray gun Reagan era asleep at the wheel administration touting the maximizing of shareholder value and explains the diversions of Nicaragua, Grenada and soon thereafter Panama and explains why the old man left office in disgrace; a doddering, confused inept; not that dissimilar, save the aggression and vulgarity, to Trump’s persona; Americas’ Eddie Haskell president. The maladroitness of Reagan had him dismiss the Gorbachev plea at Reykjavik to ban all nuclear weapons because he’d seen some reality in the fiction movie that was Star Wars. Trump sees the future of nations as nuclear armed; locked and loaded on hair triggers; saving the USA from the cost of defending them.

Trumps picks for cabinet posts, like Reagan, signals, also well received, that agencies meant to foster our health and welfare will be headed by terroristic bomb-throwers set on blowing them up and killing them off. The Republicans long fantasized wet dream of shrinking government small enough to drown it in a bathtub seems to them closer to fruition than ever before. Their giddiness at the prospect of privatizing everything worth a buck has them caring less that the boss is a no-nothing gasbag shill. Someone might tell these diamond encrusted turds that America is not a business and they should not attempt to run it like one but the dazzling shine off their Gold Rolex watches blinds their cerebral cortex.

The Reagan period of selfishness, like Trumps soon to be phantasy, also laid waste to where we started; when capitalism was first envisioned; the idea that the corporation was a guest in the community. Now we’ll no longer be so crass as to subscribe motives to maximizing shareholder value; no. Now it’s the smoke screen of hire America and buy American “corporate responsibility” for the greater good of us all as cudgel to make their actions sympathetic to “America First” and their motives to lift ourselves up as pure as the driven slush.

There are a whole lot of literati out in the hustings angst filled over current affairs and rightly so. We seem to have elected a jackass bully with self-esteem issues to pull the levers of power and he’s handing those levers off to billionaires and x-generals. Is there another war for profit in our offing? Well; since no one, most of all the King himself, knows his next move; stay tuned.

Seems to me the best detergent against a stain is exposure. Once realized, once hung upon their own jaundiced cynicism; charlatans, most especially the narcissistic variety, fold under the weight of their own self-serving ideology. Shouting them down in the public square is thirst quenching but provides them with persecuted status; the very thing they claim; much like the long-suffering white nationalist Neo-Nazi shit bag fanatics. Let their actions speak I say; good citizens will recoil in disgust. In the interim we are left to hope the nincompoop don’t get us all killed from stupidity while they focus on coming after our social safety net. #TrumpTrumpsReagan # T-BoonPickens #wedon’tgetfooledagain #Newbosssameastheoldboss

Christmas for the KKK

is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.” – ― Audre Lorde, Our Dead Behind Us: Poems

The rain threatens snow tomorrow, while today begins Fall’s last days of temperatures in the 40’s; all 30’s from now on with the futures escalator bullet headed down. Such as it is here in the north country. Six months of winter makes a man appreciate summer all that much more.

We pick-up Thanksgivings organic Turkey Tuesday from the health food store; the pumpkin pie Wednesday from the local bakery. Carol’s birthday and Christmas presents are all lassoed and for now I’ll just ignore the bills that’ll come due later; anything to get my mind off the god damn presidential election.

If it weren’t for my woman I’d brush aside the whole festive seasons spectacle like most years when I bachelor the sucker. But, costs and other annoyances of having a full-time night woman aside, they do, if you have a good one and here I’ve been blessed; sooth the savage beast inside every man and tame his hermit, recluse persuasions. I won’t be exactly singing Jingle Bells or anything of the sort but life sure is better with company.

The best part of the worst part of winter is having a decent reason to blow off the gym and other existential errands and recline in luxury under my reading lamp and perform that task that allows me the ammo to write; reading. Miles Davis autobiography has been inhaled and Bruce’s (The Boss) auto-bio was ordered and rumored to be en-route but I do believe I got ripped off; shit. I’ll have to devour some more Kerouac or Bukowski while I re-order from a reputable seller and wait for its arrival.

Meanwhile I can’t push aside the ugly wind blowing hard across the globe; a rash of strong men rulers chosen in many countries, some where we don’t normally see that kind of thing, in response to perceived or actual chaos. It’s a Let Daddy Fix-It thing I guess and well I suppose in a democracy we get the government we deserve as de Tocqueville opined. But this new phenomenon is something to keep a good eye on.

This isn’t Nixon, who for all his character faults, while similar to our new headache, at least knew a thing or two. Nixon gave us the E.P.A. and made nice with Russia and China when those things were thought to be impossible. Nixon didn’t work for himself; didn’t feather his own nest. Mini-Mussolini is already doing so. Hey, Prime Minister Abe of Japan – Meet my daughter Ivanka – She’s opening a hotel in Japan – Y’all look out for her; ya hear?

We hated Nixon for prolonging the Viet Nam war for eight more bloody years and for having character flaws of Shakespearean complexity; insecurity, resentment and the urge to lash out at those he perceived as enemies, like the present president-elect, but we more so felt sorry for one so flawed as a human being. Trump, god help us, so revels in his too long to list geological size imperfections that he’s made it normal to express his and by proxy our, worst instincts. We judge alone, secluded in our own silo-bubble and hate on those who do not share our views. This is our collective disease.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) there have been more than 701 incidents of harassment or intimidation reported following Trump’s election. Most occurred in K-12 schools and on university campuses. Many, though not all incidents, involved direct references to the Trump campaign.

Not much to do but wait it out; certain one so odious will fold in shame under the weight of his own corruption and thereby redeem us; warned never to be so vengeful against the “establishment” again, stay frosty and keep on writing.

Best wishes for Happy Holidays. #presidentelecttrump #trumptrain #antitrump #trump #mini-Mussolini

Dead Air

“When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better, too. “ — Paulo Coelho, “The Alchemist”

My woman, prostrate on our bed, is crying; scared she says, that being a woman, a Mexican and disabled, three things she’s heard the president-elect sling hateful rhetoric at, she’ll be deported, or shanghaied to some internment camp to be used as forced labor to build his promised border wall. I tell her not to worry; that such notions are absurd. But since that was the same advise I’ve given her for the past six months, a mortal lock certainty America would never elect such an odious character, she’s less than sedated by my views.

I have mixed feelings. Part of me believes the genius of our three equal branches of government, despite all being controlled more or less by one Party, will restrain the worst impulses of the rabble that has seized the levers of power. Another part of me fantasizes standing on a street corner like Lenin; screaming Revolution. My overarching desire though, is that the losers, the middle-class left-behinds, with nothing but the dead and dying back in their little towns, after delivering the biggest fuck you in American political history, get what they deserve; without the need to have tanks in the streets.

I was tempted to turn on right-wing talk radio today, ubiquitous in my present environs of northwestern Wisconsin, just to see if it was all just dead air; thinking what will Rush and his ilk bloviate about now that they’ve gotten all they ever claimed to have wanted. Their time for bitching is over; time to govern now. Time to deliver.

Meanwhile a nauseous wave of revulsion washed over fifty million voters coast to coast in the past few days; leaving those who voted anti-charlatan bent over retching and bleeding from the eyes. The shock turned to shame at the reality that one so execrable was selected to lead. I suppose my most honest feeling is ashamed; ashamed my fellow citizens, so long aggrieved to be sure, still, would hand over the reins of our government to the epitome of the ugly American.

The winners have triumphed. The battle field has been cleared of the dead and the wounded have all been shot. Now, protocol and good form dictate that the new president get a one year honeymoon from criticism in the hope he’ll do good. The die-hard will oppose, professional opposition will regroup and to the victors go the spoils. Basically the winners get to write the checks.

I’m not big on hope. I believe once you’re down to hope; things are damn-near hopeless. But just maybe, perhaps, the awesome responsibility to provide for the greater good or the daily security briefings that turn every president’s hair prematurely gray or the desire for legacy every seventy year old man harbors will transform in this unlikely mortal a sense of duty and subsequently transform his greed for attention, hopefully finally satiated, into an understanding that history will record his acts and forever taint or tarnish or burnish his much personally coveted name.

Perhaps our attitude ought to be that of the patriotic symbol of the American eagle emblazoned on all our money. In one talon we/the eagle hold 13 arrows and in the other olive branches. It seems certain that the hand we use in future will depend on what actions this accidental president takes. #presidentelecttrump

Harvest Moon 2016

 “Autumn is the year’s last, loveliest smile.” ― William Cullen Bryant

Surfing ever-deepening grooves carved in this country road by repetitious smoothing from my extremely low-frequency sounding spaceship tires, I zone into my own private symphonic opera. A humongous full moon meets myhigh beams and swallows the horizon. Pitch dark street light free ribbons of black asphalt snake along narrow paths to home and back separating the wild from the man-made world. By their grace I live in this dirt and courage wilderness.

I wave, as is the custom here, to the other spacemen travelers inhabiting our lifeline corridor as we whiz past each other with that all too familiar catatonic stare that monotony turns all commuters faces into; a kind of crazy, irrational drunkard swoon that seems to us all too rational. We are compatible complaints; dutifully fulfilling our social contract and coloring safely inside the lines.

Our axis rotating planet is orderly and slowly releasing its summer soul; producing more dark each day than light. In the murmuring twilight the gloaming summer is lifting her skirt. Summers death rattle beckons the underbrush and she begins to whisper as seductive and dangerous as a woman’s breath in the throes of passion. The sun begins to fall faster and everything seems to take on the sighing autumnal ember colors of all the sadness there ever was.

The pumpkins appear overnight, lined up and stacked in pyramids of orange and white like harmless cannon shells strategically set along highway shoulders for some impending artillery battle. Battalions of corn stalks surround them and us and everything for more miles than eyes can see. They are zombies, stoically awaiting the farmer’s murderous front row cultivators, threshers that mutilate then bury the detritus that once winter ferments will resurrect. A crisp cool Canadian breeze foretells fortune tales of fall.

Flowers fade, fruits flourish and fresh vegetable Bodega glisten with a luster from the sky. You can feel the baby’s breath of winter. Harvest moon is the fullness of life. Leaves turn red on their last days full of life and color them beautiful in death as they abandon the twigs that sympathize with their decay. Albert Camus opined that autumn is a second spring. But the migrating geese and me agree; we put distance between ourselves and funerals.

It’s a Paul Bunyan land of ballgames and barbecues here; a feast of Walden Pond and Lake Woebegone. The thousand little compromises we make every day that eventually add up to the loss of ourselves, that decayed stench of hollowness, disappears. This life to death with beauty dance is the real thing. Welcome to Pleasantville, USA.