Winged Victory – Poem #49

The Mekong – Vietnam

The fields are fully green again
where only yesterday was shed
wild blood of exuberant youth
beauteous youth

their blood staining the earth still,
though unseen now, the stain
beneath fields of green
flowering gardens.

Unseen too the bleeding
of those who wait for them
slowly bleeding
the unseen sword thrust deeply to he heart.

They will bring flowers to the grave this day;
wild flowers from where he was born and bred
Spring flowers from their garden
speaking wistfully of other Springs

passing the monument
Winged Victory
where children play
breaking a mother or a lover’s heart.

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Ghost Dance – Poem #48

My father has much pity for us
my father has much pity
I hold out my hands toward him and cry
in my poverty I hold out my hands
in my poverty I cry.

Wovóka the Paiute
received the Na’nisa’ana
in a vision directly from God
on the day of the black sun.

And God said tell all the nations the word;
Live in peace
and I will bring you together
with the spirits and a new earth
in happiness and abundance.

Wovóka the prophet carried the sacred word
to the Caddo, Lakota and Cheyenne
and the people began to dance
Na’nisa’ana

Wearing the magic shirts
they could see the relatives
who had left their bodies
hear the thunder of the buffalo
knowing the earth would be reborn.

The spirit host is advancing they say
the spirit host is advancing
they are coming with the buffalo they say
they are coming with the buffalo
they are coming with the new earth.

In the mists of Cheyenne autumn
shocks of corn and burning leaves
the spirits of the Sioux will dance
they are coming with the buffalo they say
coming with the new earth.

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Broke Boy

Very sad that the FBI missed all of the many signals sent out by the Florida school shooter. This is not acceptable. They are spending too much time trying to prove Russian collusion with the Trump campaign – there is no collusion. Get back to the basics and make us all proud!

So that was a Presidential response to the latest mass killing in Parkland, Florida costing the lives of 17.  Lives snuffed out well before their time by another broken boy.  Our dear leader stopped in Parkland on his way to a disco party weekend at Mar-a-Lago for the required photo op smiling and giving the “thumbs up” while visiting with hospital staff and praising first responders and police  who were “finally getting the credit” they deserve.  In a tweet on Saturday he stated that he and the First Lady had “met such incredible people in Broward  County Florida.  We will never forget them or the evening!”

 

At the hospital 

Sheesh.

Meanwhile on Saturday less that a short drive from the killing field there was a gun show.   Come on in and get your weapon of choice. You need to be 21 to buy a beer but 18  gets you an AR-15 assault rifle.  Even under 18 you can own one if your parents approve but once you reach 18 you need no one’s approval.  Don’t you love the industry sensitivity?  Couldn’t even postpone the show a week until the latest victims were buried.

This morning I checked my email and there was a missive from our local Republican Congressman: Italics are mine –

February 18, 2018
Dear Friend,

Like you, my heart broke for the families of those whose lives were lost in last week’s senseless act of violence. My thoughts and prayers continue to be with them and with all of the innocent children who were traumatized by this tragedy. I am also grateful for the life-saving efforts of the educators and first responders. The stories of heroism and sacrifice that unfolded throughout the day are nothing short of miraculous.  Theirs are truly a noble and selfless profession.

Despite the attempts by some to sensationalize this tragic issue, we can all agree that it highlights the fact that we have a broken mental health system. It is often too difficult to get seriously ill people  access to the care they need, despite multiple warning signs, until its too late.  That has to change.  This cannot be a partisan issue.  Mental illness affects people of both political parties, both genders, all races, all income brackets, and all ages. It is one of the root causes of many societal problems.  We have to work together to enact meaningful change.  I was a co-sponsor of mental health reform which was signed into law in 2016.  It made many improvements; however, there is much more work to be done including ensuring that those with mental illness do not have access to weapons.  These are issues upon which I believe there is widespread agreement.

To which I ripped off a pointed reply, to wit:

“Sorry Congressman.  Ban assault weapons, bump stocks and high capacity
magazines.  Raise the age limit for long weapons to 21 from 18.  Jesus – you can
buy an AR-15 3 years before you can buy a beer.  Those on a no fly list should
not be permitted to purchase weapons.  Tighten background checks including gun
shows.And yes we must address mental health issues and the availability of fire arms
to the mentally ill.  But it is not the ONLY issue.  That’s the NRA’s line.  How
much do you take from them??

What would your attitude be if it happened in Tarpon?

Regards”

I’m sure I will receive  an automated response pointing out I need to contact the Congressman through his contact page and not through a response to his publicity emails.  (Indeed I did!)

This week we saw another broken boy/man lash out at a society which has completely socialized him to violence since the day he was born.  He carried his AR-15 into his former high school, pulled the fire alarm bell and opened fire.  It is nearly always white men who commit mass murder but little attention is ever given to the prominent place of violence in our lives.   And while my Congressman turns his attention to “mental health” issues, little attention is paid to the ways we raise boys in this country or the ready availability of fire arms..  It never is though it seems to be an obvious place to start.

Violence is woven into the fabric of male development from early on, naturalized by dubious “boys will be boys” claims of biological inheritance. Every male has intimate acquaintance with violence — whether from physical abuse in their homes, intimidation on their streets and athletic fields, bullying in the hallways of their schools, or more extreme forms of relational aggression and fighting — boys live with its constant threat. Boyhood immerses boys in violence.

Preventing violence must begin early — well before a boy imagines getting his hands on an assault rifle and becoming a “professional school shooter.” In her Thursday op-ed in the New York Times, Erica Goode quoted forensic psychologist J. Reid Meloy, who analyzed school shootings and found that many shooters had consciously emulated the perpetrators of the Columbine, Colo., massacre of nearly 20 years ago. As Meloy explained, “From the perspective of the young male, being a school shooter is something that can be idealized, and … brings coolness … that otherwise does not exist in his life.”

What does normative masculine socialization, built into boyhood, have to do with preventing violence? Boys first learn to assert themselves with aggression and even violence to “ward off or eliminate the feeling of shame and humiliation.   From very early on boys contend with peer norms legitimizing meanness, putdowns, and domination. To survive, each boy learns to harden his heart, suppress natural feelings of empathy, and exhibit a public face meant to deter efforts to take advantage of any weakness.”

Many have learned the antisocial skill of gaming whatever system they are in with remarkable dispassion.  “Sometimes,   searching their faces is like looking into a yawning abyss: nothing there. How cold-hearted a man can become is stunning.”  We males all remember life in the jungle of boyhood and, upon crossing over, welcoming the relative relief of manhood.

No one will say how desensitizing constant images of violence are to the humanity of others.

Is are young Parkland killer mentally ill?  How about at Columbine, Aurora, Virginia Tech, Newtown, Isla Vista?

Finding them mentally ill (though  none were legally insane in that they all knew right from wrong) neatly solves all of our problems.We don’t have to address gun violence, media, video games, bullying, the eroticization of violence, loneliness and isolation.

He must be mentally ill otherwise he would be just like us.

We can’t seem to admit to ourselves that he is us. He is our son, the native son of 21st century America where we don’t care about anybody but us.

This is the “exceptional” society in which we live. We hear the cries of no one. We see the loneliness of no one. Most of us do not know nor care to know our neighbors living three houses away. It’s our dog eat dog, every man for himself country. We judge our communities by the quality of the lawns.

We don’t give a rat’s ass if people are hungry, children die of malnutrition, veterans are living in our streets, most of the homeless are schizophrenic, that people die because of a lack of health care, or that we have spent a decade plus waging unjustified war against a couple of third world nations and have killed millions of Iraqis and Afghans.  Not to mention what we do elsewhere.  These young killers are symptoms of our societal illness.

We are a nation of communities where the Cruz’ of the world sit writing manifestos, scribbling in note books  in the basement or posting pictures of themselves and their guns on a Facebook page.  No friends and no girl.  In their isolation they live in the fantasy world of revenge on “happy popular” people, on “society”, on the “bitches”.  There is no help available for the likes of them.  No one to confide in; no where to go.

The end product of a broken boyhood.

We must find a way to address this societal illness and help those who live in the fantasy world of revenge.

But first we must ban assault weapons, bump stocks, and high capacity magazines, raise the age for long gun ownership to 21 as it is for handguns, tighten up background checks (currently non-existent at gun shows) and keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill.

These are sensible proposals; machine guns are not used for hunting deer and raccoon.  Ban the weapons in private hands and offer a buyback program with an expiration date.  The weapons not turned in voluntarily must be registered to the owner under a stiff penalty of law.

Enough is enough.

.

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Second Choice – Poem #47

You came looking for me, your second choice
long kept on a shelf in the back of your closet
with unread books and a college text
the throwaways of your younger self;
an unwanted toy which never gave voice
to the hurt of being second choice.

Oh you kept me hooked; your back up boy
always ready for you and eager to play;
pulling me from the shelf now and then
for amusement;
your brightly stuffed toy, your taste of the day
‘til you tired of me and put me away
in the walk in closet of forgotten memory

’til the first fine line and your first touch of gray
sent you fishing on Facebook for the one thrown away;
And you went to your closet in search of me
but the cupboard was bare, for you see
I too had a back up girl
and we turned out to be the parents of three.

Did I cheat her of something?
What does it matter;
she’ll never know; like me she was extra
Who’s the one next to you
in the group photograph?
Who’s the one with the face
too unhappy to laugh?

It was me.

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Drinking With Art Majors – Poem #46

Sipping on her green drink
turning to her girlfriend
her lips move and sound comes out

“Remember that Dadaism
rejected the prevailing standards
of art through anti-art in order to
ridicule the meaninglessness
of life in the modern world;

that to be Dada
was anarchist in nature.”

I’m staring. Is it wrong to stare?
Oh yeah. I love to hear her talk
watch her lips say da-da.
I hope she’s an anarchist.

Girl friend nods and tilts her long neck
“Well now I understand.
See I was having difficulty
grasping neo-Dada
so I decided to go back
to the time before neo.”

Neo thinks I?
No not that Neo as in Matrix
neo as in Dada
sipping on my Corona
watching number one’s breasts
rise and fall.
Did I mention that
I love the way she says da-da?

“Neo is exemplified by the use
of modern materials
popular imagery
and absurdist contrast
patently denying the traditional
concepts of aesthetics.
See?”

Patently absurd.
I love her aesthetics
especially her lips.
the way she mouths Dada.

“Since Dada is anti war
anarchist and anti bourgeois
in it can be found the
roots of punk.”

Sid and Nancy Da-da.
Who cares? I think I love you.

“Finally it’s a great help in
understanding
the anti-art sensibility of fluxus”.

Did she just say fluxus?
“Want to get out of here?  See my etchings?”

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Sun City – Poem #45

In dreams
I walk in furrows
of deep crusted snow
with you

where once we walked
in slow motion Autumn
amongst nodding twigs and leaves of many colors
before we started Winter fires

loving; the flames turning crackling logs
into silent gray ash
sweeter than all the songs
ever sung

caring not if Spring
would ever come;
and yet it did
larkspur and cornflowers

Now I sit in the Summer sun alone
warm winds blowing from the sea;
no Autumn winds nor scent of larkspur;
no cornflowers comfort me.

.

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Parkland

And so it happened again.  In Parkland.  A town of sprawling homes and green parks where people move to for some of Florida’s finest, highest achieving public schools.

Parkland,  In the county of my eldest daughter and my grandson.

And the response?  The usual.  “Thoughts and prayers.”

 

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