Friday, March 26, 2010

We All Come Alive Again {a song}

Larry Piltz

We all come alive again
each and every one a friend
we all come alive again
no matter what will be
or what has been
we all come alive again
we all come alive my friend

The Earth is a little ball
rolling down a Giant's hall
the Earth is a little ball
rolling summer winter
spring and fall
the Earth is our little ball
the world is a miracle

How is your heart today
sometimes I want to cry the day away
how is your heart today
what will make you smile
what do you say
how is your heart today
what does your kind heart say

We all come alive again
each and every one a friend
we all come alive again
no matter what will be
or what has been
we all come alive again
we all come alive again
we all come alive
my friend

Friday, March 19, 2010

Now In The Time Of When {to be further edited}

My 28-Hour Road Trip From Lake Charles To Austin
or How Hurricane Rita Brought Me Up To Speed

Larry Piltz

The world as I knew it didn’t suddenly come to an end, but it did come to a stop.

That’s because underway was the second evacuation ever of any modern major American city, in this case Houston, with the first ever having been New Orleans only weeks before, if by underway you mean going nowhere slowly, if at all, and then excruciatingly so, and the size of Houston's evacuation outpaced even New Orleans'.

How slow was it? So slow that it was unfathomable by any normal or practiced means of comprehension. So slow that time not only stood still but seemed to run in reverse, with Hurricane Rita bearing down and pulling us seemingly backwards into its sprawling punchdrunk watery grave path, as if the entire region had been tilted upward at one corner and everything on wheels was sliding inexorably backward toward the gaping maw of some fascinating new, though vaguely familiar, kind of oblivion.

So slow, and terrifying, that to truly understand the evacuation, you had to be in it, and to be in it was to truly be nowhere at all,  It was a void in a time warp where you seemed to lose two seconds for every one second gained.  It was brazen unreality, a giant flypaper dream from which there was no waking, the ultimate Oil Age end-game purgatory. Nine hours to drive 20 miles. Seven hours to travel 30, if you were one of the luckier ones. Running out of gas but first obsessing for hours over the needle flirting with empty.  Broiling under a too-near flaring sun. Stuck in inescapable wheeled gypsy encampments, parallel, parked and parched, praying for the tanker truck, water or gas, the daytime temperature 100-degrees of separation from your disbelieving senses.

To merely see the multitudinous gridlock you were first entering withered your hope and made you question your sanity and that of our whole carbon-based life form’s social order and priorities. Actually, questioning the sanity of the authority that would send millions out onto the byways, not only without a backup plan but without even a workable initial plan, is not a bad idea, considering that nothing is preventing the same stop-motion inanimation from occurring all over and over again, anywhere. To think, you could be in it next time, coming to a city near you, with those dear to you.

When might that happen? Say, how about right now?

The Unbelievable Stuckness Of Being

You are now marooned in my maroon Subaru wagon with me and with my dear, sweet dog companion, Mir, 13 years and wagging. We’re heading west at 3:30 a.m. from Sulphur, Louisiana, a gritty refinery mechanic’s town on the west side of Lake Charles, and we’re aiming for Austin, maybe five hours away. It’s the very same morning that upper Texas Gulf Coasters are trying to dodge Hurricane Katrina’s karmic sister, Rita, by emptying out onto all available roads at nearly the same exact time, about two million vehicles.  My personal master plan is to drive west on I-10 just past Beaumont and then take the first paved route north as far as necessary to bypass all that nightmarish Houston gridlock I’d seen by satellite an hour earlier. I really thought I could outsmart my motoring fate.

You see, I’d spent the better part of my 50-something years desperately trying to avoid urban traffic congestion, even going so far as to neglect to have a more serious career because, among lesser reasons, it would have likely stuck me on a freeway somewhere, when everyone knows, or at least I thought they did, that humans weren’t cut out for such things. We’re supposed to be more clever than that, or at least I thought I was. I had even taken to driving from Austin, my home for 26 years, through Houston in the middle of the night only, on my many drives to Biloxi, my hometown, just to miss the daylight Houston traffic snarl, which reminds me of nothing so much as lemming Nascar.

However, after passing Beaumont heading west, one I-10 exit after another was closed. Barricaded. Blocked. Sometimes with sheriff’s deputies and constables and sometimes concrete barriers. No! Gasp! My air supply of strategic superiority was quickly diminishing, the pinprick certainty of my personal exceptionalism hissing from my thought balloon of optimism. I am doomed, and you and Mir with me. I could feel it. But we couldn’t turn around and go back. The I-10 eastbound lanes were already bumper-to-bumper and stalled, fifty miles from Houston. Radio was warning travelers to avoid the Astro City at all costs.

Abandon all hope. Ye are now at the mercy of the unknown. There is good reason we are one of the extremely few cars heading toward Houston. A carmageddon (more likely karmageddon) was underway that even the unhonored new urban planning prophets had only vaguely forecast. Mainly, though, for me, I now believe, I was caught in the gravity of the situation because it was my personal fate, something in which I had never before believed.

Now it all made sense. The thing you try most to avoid is always working to lure you toward it. To draw you in. You give it so much energy with your unconscious attention, with your dread, that it becomes more real and powerful than you ever dared fear. Such that there’s no getting around it, as there was certainly no getting around Houston that mid September day of 2005.

The best way to irrevocably seal your fate – and you with it - is to ignore that you might have one, and the surest guarantee you’ll be blindsided when it pops up in your path, as it did to me, when I first saw the endless lines of stalled metal autosaurs held fast in the tar pit traffic "going" north on Highway 146 toward Liberty east of Houston, the whole area still basting in summer-hot bayous, rivers and canals. Just what the hurricane ordered, flat coastal plain at sea level cut through with water courses and lined by tall breakable trees. Forget about water seeking its own level. It’s seeking your level.

That is exactly what we in the Subaru face after finally finding an open exit near San Jacinto (it was quite a battle) and winding our way toward what would hopefully be the nearest major open road north. Until we saw that first rigomortified vanishing-point traffic jam, we had still retained hope that we had found the way out. The truth is that we had found our way in, to a mass and chaotic and tragic exodus that by all appearances had been subject to no plan whatsoever, except maybe Plan 9 from Outer Space. Houston……problem!

A bigger truth, though, is that the evacuation of Houston and the upper Texas Gulf Coast was not unplanned. There actually was a plan in place. It’s just that the plan was hopeless. Because Houston had tried to deal with its traffic problems only by building roads, its evacuation fate naturally was massive early road blockage, a coronary-inducing clot that trapped people in a negative feedback loop with no escape, next exit Godot. Houston had stubbornly long avoided its traffic problem only to run smack into it.

So here we are, poised to fully realize our marriage to the fleeing mob, and resistance is futile, so when someone is eventually kind enough (or maybe misery loves company) to let us enter their lane, the sinking feeling of my own particular fate hits with full force, launching me downward into new depths of despondence, and taking you and Mir along with me.

Obviously, my plan for my whole life had failed. I was now an acutely, even keenly superfluous part of the worst traffic jam in the history of the city of hyper-congested Houston if not the history of the world. Where had I gone wrong? And what are you doing riding with the likes of me? You poor wretch!

To ask my wife, Grace, where I had gone wrong might have obviously been during our call the night before, when she’d said to stay away from Houston at all costs (you fool – my words, not hers), because the gridlock had already started, and I didn’t seriously enough weigh the very specific gravity of her warning. In retrospect, I could hear in her voice that she already sensed what would happen and that she was already in equal parts upset with me for what I was about to commit and concerned about its consequences.

Ignoring History Made Easy
However, I place the origins of my misguidedness decades earlier, at the not random date of August 17, 1969, my 18th birthday, celebrated in hometown Biloxi by the gross onslaught of Hurricane Camille, which grievously wrecked the area I’d lived in since soon after birth, and since then I have been strangely drawn to such tempestuous emergencies and similarly adrenal urges for the unknown, predictable or not, rational or not.

For instance, I drove once to the Texas coast at Port Aransas to experience a lesser hurricane that, to me, unfortunately weakened to the south somewhere. Other times have found me variously living not that far from Mount St. Helens during its eruption, squatting a house alone for a summer in Austin, hitching cross-country with abandon and severe lack of caution, and casually debating an aggressive and proselytizing young neo-Nazi on a dark Greyhound bus gliding across a moonless southern Colorado, as well as certain other escapades that I feel could be unkind to share with you, seeing as you’re stuck sharing an escape pod with me at the moment.

And given the choice between those and what lies ahead, I'd choose the hurricanes and volcano - because I survived those.  What awaits on Highway 146 between Mont Belvieu and Liberty and beyond is an unfinished story, with the moral being that my risk-taking has caught up with me. I can’t outrun it or drive, drive away. I am caught like a rat in a trap of my own making.  I am past my limit, and I am the designated driver.  It is the unknown, out of my control, and way larger than life, and I am finally forced to really contemplate it, face to face.

Will the hurricane overtake us all out here as we idle our engines and at times literally push our cars to save gas, haggardly straggling inland bound? Will the waters of far southeast Texas, that mammoth sponge of sopping sediment, rise up, grab us, and baptize the whole gear-happy flock in the name of the U.S. Weather Service? Will my car cellphone charger wear out and we’ll never be heard from again? Will we never again see an open gas station? Would my tight grasp of Mir, holding her up over the flood, be undone, and could I even continue to live if I have to watch her torn away to disappear under the unfeeling torrent?

What I realized during that eternity-a-minute waiting was that I am both patient and terrified, both hardy and absolutely non-steadfast. That life has been good to me but not as good as I wish I had allowed it to be. That I, yes, am not an island nor would I ever again wish that I could be one, even if it were okay after all to be such a thing. That I am mortal and not a particularly brave one. And that I love my Mir and wife and son and family and friends, and even strangers, including you, in ways that are too profound and too personal to discuss further here or maybe anywhere.

What I didn’t realize until well after the evacuation was that I have a specific kinship with the unknown, that the unknown and I share traceable lineage. That the unknown is really my twin. That all I have to do at any given time to directly face the unknown is to honestly look at my reflection. In a mirror, in a window, in water. Because I am the unknown.

What I know about myself is in flux. It never stays the same. The subtleties never end. I hadn’t realized before that morphosis is so extremely meta. I am not only a collection of infinitesimal particles with more space within me than solidity. I am also a collection of things that I believe, about myself and the world, that are true for me at that moment but are shifting before I can really assimilate what the beliefs really mean. I know that I am the unknown, but I really truly honestly don’t know what I’m going to do next. What I’ll think next. Especially what I’ll feel next. That much I know, for now.

When, while in transit, I get a callback from my sister, who, out of state and using the internet and a coffee cup, found a pending tanker truck full of gas, a gleaming silver sight too welcome for words, about to arrive at a station about a mile or two ahead of me, just when I was at about the end of my gauge, I don’t realize that it is just my kindred unknown revealing itself to me in a different way than it had the past seven hours, three-quarters of a tank ago, and 30 miles back, when we initially joined the herd in earnest. I had abandoned all hope. It wasn’t hard. After all, even local law enforcement folks had no idea if their roads would clear in time to outrun the storm.

It was all skin of the teeth and hair of the bear. Speaking of which, a convoy of state troopers was just arriving in the area, the first police presence, after driving all night (!) from the Valley. They had no idea what was going on. They had no orders. They just made it all up and did a commendable, even graceful job, conjuring it out of the steamy humid air. And Houston radio simply wished us luck, saying we were in an unauthorized evacuation route and that we were on our own, and sounded annoyed, frustrated, and overwhelmed that they had to bother with us out here in an erroneous zone.

Never mind that punctuating the roads were official State of Texas hurricane evacuation route signs. We were written off. Still, it had to be better than being on one of those Houston freeways, the aerial shots of which none of us will ever get out of our heads, the same live satellite feed I could see even before leaving Louisiana. Those poor bastards, stuck out there! There but for fortune. Or is it better them than me?

Nothing Is Better For Me Than Thee
Later, after sunset had mercifully arrived, some 18 hours after we had left Sulphur (you napped a lot; Mir licked your face for the salty sweat), and fleets of hyperstressed slightly less miserable campers - people now camping in their vehicles - had moved 40 and 50 miles inland, still bogging down for two to three hours here and there when it came time to try to move again, and we had had a midnight rest and fitfully deep nap along with a hundred others at some middle of the night anywhere rural intersection (146 at 105), with a closed empty gas station on one corner and a big church on about ten open acres caddy corner, and we had made our way westward by 105 through sleeping timber lands, never alone on the road for long, and we came upon Highway 59 at Cleveland and Interstate 45 at Conroe, with Houstonians still paralyzed on elevated roadways, broken down, at the untimely end of their line, sitting on the overpasses, staring vacantly into the unknown, I realized how lucky we had actually been.

A compact car. Good mileage when actually moving at highway speeds faster then 10 m.p.h. The unlikely tanker of gas had actually arrived. Each vehicle was allotted 10 gallons of gas, though all the power in the station blew out just before it was our turn to get some. A power crew seemingly teleported in and fixed the thing in a mere 50 minutes (a mere instant In The Eye of the Evacuation).

We rejoined the throng with nearly a full tank, moving slightly more quickly this time, and we pulled off the road at turquoise dusk and rested alone at an empty teacher’s credit union parking lot, with cars rolling by on the two-lane beside us. Here I got revelationary route information and encouragement from my dear wife, who’d googled and canvassed various hotlines in a mustered, motivated attempt to help pull my croutons out of the fondue before it was too late. I’d also talked with my loving and supportive family, scattered from Quebec to the U.S. Gulf and East coasts, who shared love and encouragement while being gentle with me in my good plight.

Then back on the road in the still early evening, ours the only car in sight, a completely clear road ahead of us, tall trees lining the stretching two-lane pavement. Driving unencumbered, with enough gas for Austin, the now deepening blue dusk glowing under heaven – no, it is heaven. Flying we were, really, going and going and going, not an impediment in sight, the evening cooling sweetly.

Never before had such exhilaration existed. So this is what nirvana feels like. The beckoning 'deep in the heart' stars flashing above, miles gathering a couple at a time behind us. Mir less stressed, starting to relax, having been heroically poised enough to have lapped water repeatedly at my urging throughout the day, keeping herself in loyal good spirits despite an old dog’s debilitating exhaustion, sore hips (and standing almost the entire journey), and the perpetual confusion of the situation. She had wanted simply to go for a ride. “Do you want to go for a ride, huh! Wanta go for a ride?”

Then, no! What’s that? It can’t be! Tiny points of unmistakable red light way in the distance directly ahead. It is. The unknown strikes again. Another several-hour backup, though slowly rolling forward more often than we had early on, and night had chilled just enough, and exhausted people were acting more leisurely, knowing we’d all gotten through the riskiest part.

By then, oh, the sights we’d all seen. Hundreds of darkened and empty gas stations, deserted fast food joints, strip malls, and public buildings, all with parking lots filled at all angles with thousands of cars and trucks, in town after town, rural intersection after rural intersection, people waiting for gas, food, and water that may not come for days if at all, because they have none anyway and can’t go anywhere without, and choosing the safety of others. The civilizing instinct, the genius of the tribal, where we do have each other, whoever we are, unknown or not.

By day you could see this instinct honing and holding on, in the fatigued and persevering faces of people in cars next to you, always with the windows down, in those pausing on the side of the road in pre-storm swelter. These working people, farmers, ranchers, mechanics, clerks, in an array of well-kept newish to older and dilapidated vehicles of various vintage. Professionals and business owners scattered throughout in some of the newest and fancier vehicles. Electricians, plumbers, and carpenters, and roofers by the half-dozen, in their work vans with ladders. Homesteading families with livestock haulers and flatbed trailers, carrying a horse or two, chickens, goats, the kids in the truck, supplies protruding here and there.

Dogs in their hard plastic carriers in steel pickup beds that burned like radiators, no room left in the cab, wondering in their utterly logical dog minds how much of this punishment they can take. Sometimes, tenderly, a two-legged pack member, concerned, rides in the back with them out of friendship and love and holds a tarp over the carriers to ward off some of the sun.

One car interior is subdivided by chicken wire with subsections for birds in their cages, cats in back windows, and dogs everywhere else, with a hardware store Noah behind the wheel. People waiting and often creeping forward with their car doors open to lose a few degrees. Local people meeting in school parking lots as they begin to join the fray. People with their pets, forming their own caravan, meeting in the parking lot of their vet, who distributes what supplies he can, knowing he can restock when it’s all over and he’s hopefully back safe and sound, and wondering when and if he’d see his patients and clinic again.

Still Not Crazy After All These Hours
Our evacuation was full of human beings, people keeping it together while facing their fears and apprehensions, their frustrations and dreads. Waiting. Worrying. Resting. Hoping. Strangers sometimes barely tolerating, doggedly, an awful situation and each other, and more often than not finding a reserve of compassion to reach out in little ways, to crack a joke, to offer words of encouragement, to ask if there is anything anyone needs, if someone needs some water or food, or someone to watch their stuff while they go offroad on foot for a little relief. (the animals led by way of example, having much more experience in this regard; yea, and a little dog shall lead them.).

Here was the major unknown, being played out in real time, now, unrehearsed, without a script, unless you count a genetic one: How would we react to these nearly intolerable conditions? What was our fate as neighbors, as a species? Sure, there were a few confrontational moments here and there, widely publicized and repeated on the news. After all, we were reacting to practically supernatural circumstances far beyond our control, the hurricane, as well as to circumstances that were at the moment likewise beyond our control, the social and technological infrastructure. Yet almost unanimously, anonymously, people were tolerant, understanding, patient, and generous. There was universal suffering, and yet people almost universally extended their patience to encompass others, and chose to be decent.

People shared their precious water and food, often let the more needful cut in line for gas, such as one exhausted and fraying woman who’d just dropped off her soldier son at George Bush International Airport to catch a return flight to Iraq (Remember? She was right behind us at the pump and had run out of gas, clutching her steering wheel, looking dazed and beset from all directions; people including a state trooper pushed her car to the pump.). Others freely, even excitedly, gave directions or tips where gas might be gotten, bestowed maps, gave out phone numbers for shelters and emergency services, gleaned from the radio or a car next door, lent a hand to the pregnant, comforted the oldest and the youngest. Smiled though it definitely was harder than frowning.

We planned routes together, kept an eye out for each other, our children, and our animal companions the best we could, adopted passengers when someone’s car would roll empty to a stop, and lived and let live when we needed to most. All the while needing to doze like the dead. And all the while not knowing what might become of us that night or the next day.

While the unknown was revealing itself to us in the threatening form of a hurricane, we calmed the storm within ourselves to weather the evacuation as the intelligent, resourceful, gutsy, and compassionate people we are. If the future holds more such disorganized encounters with nature, and each other, or other calamity (asteroid, anybody?), we’ll be ready. We’ll respond with the same store of good will and integrity that has seen us through the eons, though hopefully a more reasonable, sustainable plan, if not society, will have been implemented by then.

Meanwhile, our fear has receded. Fate has been faced. We have come home. We may unfasten our seatbelts. You, fellow passenger, are no longer a stranger. I bring you to your front door. Invite you to mine. We touch the ground before our homes. We are at the mercy of no one and no thing. We are at least equal partners in our own destinies, if not actually conjoined family.

We had a greatly interesting unforgettable evacuation. Let’s remember dearly and enduringly the suffering, especially the fallen, and the depth of filial relationship that was forever unbound. And please, let’s never have to do any of it again. Home never, ever - ever - looked so beautiful, seemed so right, or felt so sweet. And, finally, Mir can relax and lie down for a long exhausted peaceful sleep, knowing that she'd done her duty well in getting me home safely. Yes, humans had learned better than she might have thought from the better angels of the pack.
TV TV TV (Is Me)

Larry Piltz

TV TV TV TV
showing me what to be TV
showing me what I see TV
shows many things for free TV
and always talks about me

TV TV TV TV
Telling me how I’ve been TV
showing me what I’ll win TV
just waiting for me to begin TV
I think I’ll turn it on again

TV TV TV TV
The action never slows TV
count the electron rows TV
on TV anything goes TV
turn it off - and it glows

TV TV TV TV
A box with a glass wall TV
a box that’s ten feet tall TV
been watching since I was small TV
taught me how to crawl

TV TV TV TV
You can play it like a game TV
blood and guts and sex and shame TV
teaches who and what to blame TV
hypnosis is the same

TV TV TV TV
Just waiting for me to awake TV
from a dream about a snake TV
that can only be killed with a rake TV
and it lives just outside in the lake TV
how it hissed when it learned I’m a fake TV
now I'm turning into the snake TV
and I'm chasing me around with a rake TV
I think I fell asleep at the break
TVTVTVTVTVTVTVTVTVTVTVTVTVTVTVTVTV
The Hummer Dumber Song
(All Over Utopia)

Larry Piltz

[This is satire; not an instruction manual. - L.P.]

Blow up a Hummer, as it rolls off the line
blow up a Hummer, and pay a small fine
blow up a Hummer, and all of its kind
blow up a Hummer, on your street or mine

Blowing up Hummers all over utopia
all over the streets of godly Myopia
our nearsighted utopia

Hummer Hummer, what a gas
Hummer owner, what an ass
hauling groceries from the store
Hummer hauling giant whore

Hummer runs into a wall
Hummer flaming fireball
toast of the town, money to burn
Hummer owner Postmodern

Hummer Hummer burning bright
go to blazes this good night
reeking ugly moral blight
get thee Hummer from my sight

Hummer hurdles over wall
Hummer smashes in the fall
on its way to shopping mall
Hummer still a bit too small

Hummer selfishness on crack
turn a car onto its back
driving on a soldier’s grave
oil’s its god with a zombie slave

Hummer Hummer, set me free
free me now from my TV
drive with it into the sea
blowing up eternally

Hummer easy to carjack
just hide up top on the luggage rack
then park Hummer on railroad track
I heard about this from a colonel in Iraq

Hummers drive the blue or the red one
drive it to work and to Armageddon
drive it whether you’re Mars or Venus
drive it like it’s your big steel penis

O sweet Myopia
what friend would I be
to let a friend drive so stupid
now give me that key
stand down from your sin
leave the door just ajar
you're forgiven my friend
but don't stand in front of my new car
we love you Myopia
our nearsighted utopia
Hang the Calendars,
Smash the Clocks

Larry Piltz

Am I the same person
who was hanging calendars
at work half the afternoon
imagining what I might be
doing this very moment tonight
or could I still be at work
hanging calendars?
Highminded
Larry Piltz

His pink gray wetbrain
calisthenics mind
rides bareback
sitting edgewise
on a thin rolling steel
film reel can wheel
the size of an average
American sand dollar
traveling strictly uptight
on the highest tripwire
live way up and over
the center ring deep end
rolling back and forth
on a one-way track
the voluntary coordinated
trained brain act
leaning way too far
to one side
then way uh oh
to the other
brainstem flapping
like a raccoon tail
happily along
the evolutionary trail
all content aboard
the motivating wheel
the size of an
American sand dollar
Cracked Pots and Kettle Black

Larry Piltz

There is no gravity
we are all tiny protoplasmatic
magnetikinetic angels precomposed
of the elements of the indigenous planet
regenerating through intraplanetary processes
and dearly clinging to the surface because
of the mammoth electromagnetic current
charging through the pervading ion field
by sheer static electricity itself we cling
to the Earth’s unimaginably great mass
an overwhelming physical attraction
it’s enough to make your hair stand on end
as we spin through endless and uncharted
invisible planes and loops of cosmic circuitry
we are lightly charged representatives
of universal materials and non-static symbols
of an ongoing infinitesimal macroconscious experiment
using polar opposites madly attracted to each other
bound together in a worldwide steady static cling
we are tiny iron filings on a giant magnetic flywheel
held together lovingly by concentric circumferential equilibria
with absolutely no thanks to gravity



The Planner

Larry Piltz

Look at the planner
Look at his plan
Look at his manner
Look at the man
Look at his banter
Look at his hands
Look at the planet
Think of quicksand
Looks like the planning
Can get out of hand
Look at the planner

Cat i

I wake fast yet again
in the middle of odd summer night
no work to do no thing to read
no thing to eat no stupefying drink
no money no car no teevee no sleep
no airconditioning no electricity
only insomnia which I don’t have
except sometimes like tonight
when mere household pain relievers
are in the house and I need something
to consume my entire weight
in obsessed sleeplessness
to override my streaming
mental derivations because
I have no even insignificant other
no one to touch no one in reach
no one to call no phone anyway
no computer no radio car long gone
only the empty cosmos and house
both of which I squat with gratitude
and sit on this waist-high rock wall
attached to the front of the house
but I do have the surprise
of a fluffy gray cat appearing
with reason enough of its own
suddenly right next to me
- or could I have appeared to it -
purring loudly along in harmony
with something beyond my senses
perched beside me in the still night
I hold gray cat and in sudden warm breeze
resume the endless realization
that dreams of day pursue me
I the blood, bread and water
that the wheels and rules of life
buffet my thought won't let me rest
override even premonition of calm
I embody disturbed edge and
deposed poise and verve with
horrible timing but I’m glad at least
that unpredictable large carnivores
and unthinking lethal technologies
don’t invariably converge
to chase me up this wall where I sit
with this dear soft purring cat
sleeping with its eyes open
while I dream without sleeping at all

Larry Piltz
Indian Cove
Austin, Texas


Strangely Familiar

Where do you go
when you follow yourself
into your dream
into yourself
do you tumble up
some long windpipe
through a cosmic closet
come out a water faucet

then spin to the left
or is it the right
maybe over and over
into a bright emergence
among trapezes
upheld by....

A dream
your dream
a self
your self
you always come all the way here
then suddenly you're lost
and pondering then
sincerely found
and wondering when
tracing how
facing now
a world
you surely made
into place
so strangely
familiar.

Larry Piltz
Indian Cove
Austin, Texas
Honey, the Cossacks are here.

Larry Piltz

The Cossacks are coming hurrah hurrah
the Cossacks are coming for you grandma
the Cossacks are coming they’re coming huzzah
the Cossacks are coming for you

The Cossacks are coming in SUVs
the Cossacks are coming get on your knees
the Cossacks are coming say I b-b-beg you p-p-p-please
the Cossacks are coming because you’re the disease

The Cossacks are coming unlock your door
the Cossacks are standing on your kitchen floor
the Cossacks are calling your mother a whore
the Cossacks are coming because of the war

The Cossaks are coming they love their job
the Cossacks are coming they are no snob
the Cossacks will come for any old Bob
the Cossacks are coming for Bob

The Cossacks are coming you won’t know why
the Cossacks are coming they don’t seem shy
the Cossacks are coming to watch you die
the Cossacks are humming and eating your pie

The Cossacks are coming tra la la la
the Cossacks are coming valderee valdera
the Cossacks are coming obla dee obla da
the Cossacks will come if you leave your cole slaw
the Cossacks are coming what a giant faux pax
the Cossacks are coming for you, et tu?
the Cossacks are coming
Hey you!
Eternal Flame

I looked on the news just the other day
a half hour of hate I just have to say
from where I sat in my easy chair
the only sane stand belonged to my hair
must be we’re near the end of the show
the world could end anytime I know
it’s gone down the tube been strung out on cable
I can see the screen from under the table
can this all be happening so tirelessly
now that we're doing things wirelessly
the worst could happen I believe that this is so
but I don’t understand and never will know
why such smart people had to get up and go
and build so many damned Alamos

Is the price of separation from your senses
equal to the cost you pay to play the game
can you imagine bleeding in the trenches
or someone else there bleeding in your name
though you’re much too young to die you take your chances
so now relax and be as happy with your fame
how could you know you’d dance the final dances
and that you’d be consumed by an old flame

Larry Piltz
Indian Cove
Austin, Texas
TRUE HOMELAND
Larry Piltz

Welcome to the USA Patriarch Act
with its spying and break-ins
up its sleeve behind your back
with eavesdropping and a crackdown
with character attacks and panic attacks
Oh damn I’m indicted with fiction
though my sentence in fact
is death or internment
in my homeland

Does your brain contain
some interesting thought
from a book you checked out
maybe read or bought
or from some nice tune
you were humming or sought
that’s the heinous crime
that’ll get you caught in the web
of the worldwide homeland

Well your mind is free
but what a twist
it lands you smack
on that guest list
now rest assured
you will be missed
when you get out of line
in the homeland

Is speaking up
a mortal crime
say the thought
and do hard time
then parables and verse
and rhyme
pardon my grammar
and my paradigm

Please just threaten me with jail
or make me watch you hurt a whale
so that I’ll let you read
my personal mail
it’s the law going postal
yet the law’s for sale

Better keep your faith
cause you’ll lose your trust
think how you’ll feel
right during your bust
you’ll swear the law’s moved
beyond normal disgust
as it reads you its rights
and insists on your trust

Who might it be
who turns you in
your neighbor
mother or my friend
is paranoia
now a sin
the paranoids are
still after me again

The love of truth
it is your code
until persuaded
to implode
your confession due
to electrode ooooh
that’ll be quite the shock
to the homeland

What is the thing
you don’t want to hear
on that midnight ride
we’re conditioned to fear
that you’re being denounced
for being, say, queer
to our butch police
in their bondage gear

Are you perplexed
this very night
deciding between
flee and flight
methinks the emperor’s
wound too tight
a drunk with power
and dynamite

In ancient Rome
when it started a war
dictators were chosen
for what was in store
our chosen dictator
has chosen more gore
and has frozen free choice
and then comes back for more

Are our laws meant
to constrict and besiege us
with crude ultimatums
both vague and egregious
what’s this lesson someone’s
so desperate to teach us
that freedom’s a threat
and a reason to seize us

My nation has
those recurring dreams
where it divides
into two teams
a moment of silence
and then the screams
it’s winner take all
in freedom’s purges and schemes

Then the winners buy states
with their pocket change
while poverty’s strangled
and memory rearranged
with royal dynasties
still becoming deranged
and the headlines still shouting
there’s nothing here strange

Well in the interest of
my liberal press
I’d like to clear up
this news media mess
by begging someone
to please confess
rich conservatives own
all the networks, good guess

So you’d better make
that living will
and polish up
your survival skill
the preachers say
there’s a time to kill
oh the thrills and the chill
and watch out for the big spill

The preaching of hate
sanctimonious blather
is working the gullible
into a lather
they think they're the righteous
but change with the weather
and lust when the
Jackson family gathers

So work on your
table manners bub
you’re invited to
the big country club
exclusive rights
to that big hot tub
for the boiling in oil
a la homeland

Oh say can you see the petroleum
and the rockets red glare crematorium
can you hear it above the delirium
how so proudly we hail
how advanced we’ve become
advanced like dementia
what homeland!?

Is this nation in the process
of losing its mind
in compassion and sense
is it lost years behind
does it yearn for respect
only to find
instead the responses
are given in kind

The patriaddict
aren’t like me
they wave the flag
it proves they’re free
they think that the color
of patriarch pee
is red white and blue
then it's 1-2-3 Go homeland

Still the army's exported
all loaded and locked
as marines and sailors
wave bye to the dock
while the next of kin
are still buying that stock
get your corporate coffins
be the next on your block
no matter how deeply
you and the homeland are in hock

Though I try to ignore
all the militarist posers
it’s getting much harder
to keep my composure
Blood Sacrifice It Is
of civilians and soldiers
by these leaders who send out
the planes ships tanks and subs
these Predators Cobras Raptors
Tomahawks Hellfires Harpoons
and Caterpillar bulldozers

Their language is smooth
the right nouns prepositions
propagandize at will
but avoid depositions
fight them there freedom's march
sloganeering addictions
as they crave martial law
to shut down opposition

If you truly believe
in fair or free trade
the flow of ideas
and the progress we’ve made
then tell me why all
this bullshit blockade
of justice and peace
with this homeland charade

If you truly believe
in a spiritual love
as on high so below
not the pushing and shove
then why not remove
your fist from your glove
extending your palm
as below so above

Let’s settle now
this whole debate
don’t tell me who
to love or hate
and quit living
to discriminate
our tolerance keeps us
hopeful and great

So if you must
yes raise my rent
blow my mind
it’s already bent
but if you come
for the innocent
I’m coming for you
dear homeland

So let’s lift up high
our frosted mugs
our pharmaceuticals
whiskey jugs
and toast the victorious
war against drugs
oh the euphoria
now give your Homeland a hug

Let’s have our real party
on the White House lawn
and celebrate each
liberating dawn
all equal and free
with no class lines drawn
no kings no queens
no rook and no pawn
won’t keep us in check
and we’ll sure give hell heck

Now we flow into one
through times hard and fun
with no injustice undone
and our work just begun
under one common sun
all living things run
in the one common band
in our hearts through the land
our promise our stand
for our new homeland
for our true homeland
The Fork in the Road
to the Stork or the Toad

Larry Piltz

Old stork’s a good friend
bringing me my next of kin
girl boy scale of ten
joy hope win win

Where goeth cousin toad
hopping round its damp abode
disappearing by the load
croaking as its sky erodes

Every mile that we go
takes us with it in its flow
to the fork in the road
to the stork or the toad

Old stork’s soaring high
with driven gleam in its eye
slinging gifts across the sky
like Santa on a contact high

Hear toad croaking loud
a mating call to do it proud
used to be it drew a crowd
quiet now its head is bowed

Every night and every day
we are pulled along the way
to the fork in the road
to the stork or the toad

As stork takes the well-loved path
we all add up, we are the math
floating in placenta bath
borne by flying psychopath

Toad takes a different road
passing lawns too green and mowed
passing fields of poisons sowed
with its cracked genetic code

Every mile we begin
takes us only further in
toward the fork in the road
to the stork or the toad

Stork stork who art thou
come on out and take a bow
come on out and tell us how
you become a sacred cow

Listen toad and you will hear
how all of life is held so dear
just procreate and have no fear
ignore the chance your time is near

As we sit and breathe in traffic
could it really be more graphic
at the fork in the road
to the stork or the toad

Life is strong it will survive
says the stork in overdrive
never mind the empty hive
mutations will keep us alive

Ribbit ribbit gasp and choke
is that some kind of killing joke
laugh it up you can have my toke
I’ll be in my toxic soak

As our world tumbles around
can you almost hear the sound
from the fork in the road
to the stork or the toad

Old stork’s not to blame
works hard for its good name
just bringing life though all the same
a vacation wouldn’t be a shame

Old toad’s breathing hard
drying up in your back yard
frying in the sun like lard
flattened like a playing card

Every day, every night
brings us nearer to the sight
of the fork in the road
to the stork or the toad

Can’t we all just get along
honked the storks in surround song
life goes on, it can’t be wrong
and you know we all belong

Tell that to toad I’d say
as it whiles its time away
as the time becomes the day
when toad becomes a memoray

As we come to the fork
to the toad or the stork
do we pause at our choice
do we ever give it voice
do we use our mental torque
or stand there like a dork
have we wondered at our plight
can we flee is there flight
do we plea do we fight
at the fork in the road
for the stork and for the toad

Our choice is more than either or
if a window shuts bust out the door
go around and break some glass
bust through the roof
break through the floor
this too shall pass
if we get off our ass
get off our ass
get off your ass
Untangling My Feet is a Beginning

In the quiet of a night
in the woods
inside a cottage
I wonder
if the animals outside
can hear me
if I'm still
and why I'm not
instead on the deck
listening for them
searching for
their wild yellow stares
reflecting the bug light
or tracking the birds
in their swift reckoning silence
and listening for a sniffling dillo's
low ramble dirt drilling
and wondering further
how quickly I might perish
if I had to live from the land
how very soon I would
take to the garbage cans
and grub through loose dirt
for a gram of flesh
or a spare acorn
if I could cook it
if I just joined them
would they accept me
as an equal
or would I need first
to accept their terms

Larry Piltz
Indian Cove
Austin, Texas
The Hard Human Surface

I'm doing a brave pushup
near the center of the road
my arms fully extended
as I hold my head up high
but with my back legs paralyzed
and positioned there helplessly
as I scan all sides for danger
though unable to move
out the way of the next car
already approaching

I'm stunned and shocked
surprisingly calm considering
after all what can I do
I always do my best
I'm very careful as a rule
and run so very fast that
no others ever catch me
running up and down trees
just a gray blur speeding
upside down the underside
of long thick branches
until you see me leaping
into mid air as if gravity
weren't real and landing
on a distant bending twig
then onto the ground and
onto the hard human surface
and quickly start across
in a flow of short athletic hops
into the heavy moving wall
that appeared out of nowhere
and just as quickly disappeared

I semi-stand here tall as can be
surging warm vigor of life rising
keen mind pulling me forward
beginning to drag myself
I'd simply been trying
to conduct my business
I have an acorn to dig
I'm hungry and now I hurt
I'm hopeful and long for my tree
I feel warmth entering my legs
maybe I will feel the grass again
I hope for the grass
I hope

Afterword
Squirrel makes the grass in this true story.
Temporary paralysis from glancing blow off tire.
Nerves can recover fairly quickly.
No I didn't hit the squirrel.
It was like that when I came along.
I once fell flat onto my back
from a short height and had
temporary back paralysis
lasting a few minutes
Scary and I wasn't even
in the middle of the road
and not a squirrel
unfortunately
What It Gives

Did you get out to the wilderness
away from it all out in the wilds
the unknown territory its sights
its forest caves the commanding heights
and claim a place on which to stand
from which to survey this sacred land
and allow yourself a mortal awe
enamored of all that you now saw
and find yourself just reckoning
in magic leaps mere mental feats
of overmind outside confines
the way the land does lilt and lie
and stretches ever toward the sky
until you soon become a part of
something more whole than even your heart
and notice the air as it flows by
suggesting you see with an inner eye
and as you see you hear all is well
true and kind you're free from your shell
free to be how you now become
with no one place where you are from
containing all that you now see
no difference between it and thee
the stillness being all that lives
the silence bringing what it gives
A World That Can Get Well

There's something so wrong
about wanting to wake up every day
and the world not be at war somewhere
and for people to not be angry with each other
and hate each other, and for people, children,
not to be starving, not to be hurting
from alienation and violence, from berating
and closeted private acts of harm by family,
who are indifferent to their children's suffering
and even their own suffering, about always
getting out of bed wanting the world
to be a better place to live and to be,
and to want my life, everyone's life,
to be kinder, maybe easier in some ways,
to be more like each of us wants it to be,
however that is, as long as it doesn't
involve hurting anyone else, or ourselves,
because what is a world where everyone
doesn't get the life they most want
or often even a life they can tolerate,
what is a world that begins every day
with wanting a better world to live in,
a world that can get well,
a world we get to live in,
that we can get well in,
a world we can live in

Larry Piltz
Indian Cove
Austin, Texas
Life Is Catching

Larry Piltz

Upright and examining rocks
for size, shape, and adaptability of soul
to be set in place where they may belong
when a soft crisp autumn noise above
lifts my attention expectantly upward
in time to catch the last engraved image
of a falling drought-year pin oak leaf
snagged by vestigial twigs of a spindly branch
of a hardy understory tree holding barely on
in the limestone shallows of a parched soil.

Curving folding inward veined angel
winged tips extended catching hold
of perfectly spaced reaching twiggery
in perfectly timed gentle breeze
coming to rest for another forever
in tender precipitous pose
having become the perfect form
even in transition to another

Motion and sound pause in respect
for a life well and thoroughly lived
in the dazzling bright heights of vigor
and in gentle recedings of shade
splendid in each and sacred
to be given the chance

Existence exerts
Life is catching
A Magic Wonder {a song}

What the world needs now's a good massage
to relax away its camouflage
someone to pin on it a big corsage
and send it a big love barrage

I'd like to build the world a moat
and fill it with an ice cream float
then take the world out on my boat
and wrap it in a big safe coat

I wonder if the world is what we think it is
if anything I think it could be softer than we know
and necessity be kinder and our love a little blinder
and our hopes a little higher
and our dreams sung by a choir
yes I wonder

I want to start the world again
and to it be a better friend
help make it so we all can win
I want to start the world again
oh how I want the world to win

I wonder if the world is what we think it is
if anything I think it could be softer than we know
and necessity be kinder and our love a little blinder
and our hopes a little higher
and our dreams sung by a choir
yes I wonder

Larry Piltz

Intimate Resurrection

Larry Piltz

I rise from your grave looking for you
seven weeks after your passing
seven weeks after you were plucked
from your cold repose
swaddled in linen and longing
pressed tenderly to my cleft breast
carried slowly through the doors
of your life one last time
and tucked into the bed prepared

knowing I will find you someday
I rise and look for you
in the bright glow of clear radiance
suffusing the sunny creek
and in the merry shallows
for your traipse and splash

or are you leading along the trail
we threshed through thickets
where we navigated the fireflies
down to the open lagoon
with its lively hospitality
and nonchalant prescience
onto our relic pontoon dock
over which time calls timeout

sitting on the bleached creviced planks
with their worn smooth edges and rusted nail heads
the breath of dusk carrying last warmth
I am confident tomorrow will be the day
our love will be renewed and am content for now
with surprisingly brazen clues of your whereabouts
and indelible tracings of your happy exuberance
when from around the bend of cypress trunks
low to the water and in purposeful arc
glides our great blue heron friend
seeking evening sanctuary
wavering not and easing by just before us
wing tipping slightly in our direction
always the generous soul
and with a mild chuckled squawk
lands gently nearby

knowing I will find you someday
I rise and look for you
not knowing it will be today
and so intimate and thrilling
and hoping it's not too soon

[February 23, 2009]
Two Wrens

Two wrens on my windowsill
plainly looking in
scouting for that place to safely
put their wren eggs in
peering at the far left corner
where the day before they'd been
a ready-made perfect nest
for two ready to begin

Through an open door they'd flown
while hoping me a friend
and they found a crafted basket
hung near the trash bin
landed on it poked around
and found nothing to offend
flung debris down to the floor
in their natural whirl-wren
then flew out the way they'd come
expecting to return again

They'd been there once before
at least had one of them when
I'd emerged into the room
much like a bear into its den
I didn't know it was around
until it started to ascend
to a window then the ceiling
as its path did amend
till it found the open doorway
having foiled an apprehend

That debris on the floor
from its nest-exploring stint
included dollar bills that fluttered
and two-dollar ones that went
some collected by my mother
with a hope and a glint
for a future she'd not know
but for a time heaven-sent

Besides the money I had hidden
like a charm to intend
to increase my wealth and income
by some multiple of ten
there were a dozen birds' feathers
one caught floating on the wind
and the gossamer wisp
of a snake's shed skin
a young deer's right antler
with its leftward bent
a desiccated black beetle
with its pincers unpinced
and some gemstones with some meaning
that had once made sense
and one feather from a heron
that seemed suited for a prince

There were fortunes from some cookies
with a mystical hint
other memories you could touch
soft fur that was meant
to remind me forever
of a cat who seemed sent
from the soul of a city
that needs to repent
this orange fur so soft
yet the city so bent
that it would kill this kitty
to avoid the shelter's rent
with its heart so hard
love's hardly made a dent
well this kitty's passed now
I think I know where he went
someday this town's heart will heal
with compassion as its stent

two wrens on my windowsill
clearly looking in
wondering where has gone the nest
to lay their wren eggs in
it was there just yesterday
their presence they had lent
poking round the crafted basket
hung near the trash bin

just turn around you dear little
busy hopping happy wrens
you'll see it hangs right behind you
by the deck among the limbs
where you can perch and keep watch
and understand it never ends
all your love and your labor
and your care it imprints
and lives on and multiplies
in your absence
in the nest that you found
and improved and did amend
so that you'll never have to be
on the outside looking in

two wrens on my window sill
is where it all begins
with two wrens on my window sill
is where my story ends
with two wrens on my window sill
I'll always have two friends
with two wrens on my window sill

Larry Piltz
Indian Cove
Austin, Texas

A true story from St. Patrick's Day 2008

Requiem for a Death Foretold






Requiem for a Death Foretold
(An eternity in dog years shall pass)

Larry Piltz, for Mir


My enduring sense of love for you
is not diminished by my betrayal
of your most basic trust

But what is sacrifice
and whose
and what suffering will suffice
for how long
and why
what are its spiritual dimensions
on both sides of the veil
and the parameters
of loss

The hope is to love
and discern
to live well
and die well
the trick is on you and me
as you still struggle to survive
I become your coyote stalker
such that forever now my howls
join your silent
final one

[January 15, 2009]


At Holly Beach With You

A thousand cheap vacations
with free seagulls and sunburns
all you can step on beach debris
and the purifying grit of Gulf waters
a working family's paradise spree
population you and me

In a couple hundred cobbled cottages
shambled alongside cramped alleys
with ample crawl space for cars
shacks but for location and personality
Aunt Sally's Sea Side Pelican's Pouch
Imitation Crab Cake Kitchenette By the
Day or Week No Pets Please Wipe Your Feet

There's the sprawling lopside family-owned general store
Asian goods mercantile and cajun-fried deli counter
with overripe produce abandoned even by flies
boiled eggs suspended in time's pungent solution
and even older sausage that could salinate a bathtub
frozen-in-imagination seashell accretion creations
racks of gimme cap signage and road map anthologies
the translucent miracle of Virgin Mary nightlight row

And the zinc-nosed oddly shaped thorax people
flopping around in too-loose and too-tight
bulk-sale trunks and undaring two-pieces
dashing gleefully toward the water while
picking their way deftly around fish bones
carefully examined by an extended dog family
and hamming it up laughing in the splashing surf
rechristening their kids in the refreshing froth
this is fun, you are fun, your name shall be fun

Tyke-sized pastel plastic pails and shovels
afterthought heirlooms sifting glinty grains
washed smooth finally and worn to a dazzle
now packed shining into rising mounds
and patted expertly into bulging redoubts
that hermit crabs will sidle around
once sunlight subsides and
the spreading edge of horizon
becomes the cooling saline haze of night
removing from sight the distant offshore
platform hulks with their derrick spires
and towering grain elevators way over at the port
all scattering anew past the limits of thought
vanquished once and again forever
all through the long quiet drive home
and especially come Monday morning
with paradise but a state of mind
but now far down the curving shore are
only the gas station lights and overhead
the occasional breakthrough star

Larry Piltz
Indian Cove
Austin, Texas
An Almost State of Nearly Being

Call it a triumph of will
or a failure of nerve
but everything I am today
is an assembly line end product
of whom I imagined
I could turn out to be
likes, hates, hopes and dreams
everything long ago decided
prefabricated really
within the workshop of who I was

So instead of whom I could've been
I became a reasoning facsimile
a fax Americana
who'd telegraphed himself his intentions
historical subliminal coded messages
bottled memories programmed to emerge
to remind me whom I could and couldn't be
what I should and shouldn't do
what to feel and not feel

No puzzling ambiguities or difficult choices
no noble labors of actual loss and grief
or joy or love or spontaneity for me
just the self-encapsulation of an entombed peace
known only to this side of the grave
a perpetual almost state of nearly being
that I wouldn't recognize for the shroud of captivity
and premature burial it had long since become

I'd done it
I'd hedged the future
made the world safe from myself
taken that one small step sideways for humanity
that one giant leap straight up and straight down
I'd become hermetically sealed man about town
too bad really
cause I really needed to cry about this

just nail another to the cross
and hoist another round of pain
the sky is vexed with silhouette
out from the shadow comes regret

to die of shade and haunt the day
to wind a clock that runs the tombs
to twist the knob to the catacombs
and enter with song of dearth and thanksgiving
a season of longing for mirth and forgiving

Larry Piltz
[From 1984]

The Messiah Is Always Coming

The Messiah is always coming
with a wink and a constant drumming
with a fife and annoying humming
to a world that believes He'll be slumming
yes the Messiah is always coming

The Messiah is always arriving
with His seatbelt fastened and driving
with his hand out the window high-fiving
all those He says won't be surviving
thank God the Messiah's just jiving

The Messiah is stoically faithful
and should be eternally grateful
that His world can be ever so hateful
His believers so ruthlessly fateful
in keeping His vengeful plate full

The Messiah is always just waiting
for all those of His Creating
to become a little less grating
if not there'll be no hesitating
when His robes get their armor plating

The Messiah is always coming
with a wrench to look at the plumbing
to a world that is down with its dumbing
and whose rationalizations are numbing
which is why He must always be coming

The Messiah is coming to face us
and is thinking He might have to mace us
especially the bullies and racists
on a first come first serve basis
as He retrofits our oasis
too bad the Messiah's in stasis

The Messiah is always coming
to a world that believes He'll be slumming

Larry Piltz
Indian Cove
Austin, Texas
Church and Destroy
(Of Pus and Possibility)

Larry Piltz

A trained wolf leads
a blameless flock of sheep
into a glade cloister
of crushed hoof floor
and ripped-wool walls
that cushion the headlong
attempts at escape
and absorb the wailing
for a true savior
whose very absence
cultivates a growing
culture of dependence
and nurtures obedience

Wishing for joy
they worship the boy
the prized decoy
of the church and destroy

The culture of dependence
begins at the very top
and flows down like starch
into the body of that wound
which opens at birth
and needs to ooze freely
to make the body pure
but instead stiffens and scars
and dams the confluence
of pus and possibility
cementing the conformity
of sheep and wolf alike

Dreaming of joy
they whitewash the boy
their god and their ploy
wood horse and their Troy
the holy boy toy
of the wolf-sheep hoi polloi
of the church and destroy
America, Incorporated, L.L.C.

Larry Piltz

We built this business up from scratch
with all the real estate we snatched
we used resources down the hatch
with all the labor we could catch
mythologized confabulated
self-congratulated
America, Incorporated

For a new place did real well
lots of smokes and folks to sell
far from god but what the hell
look there's a crack in the Liberty Bell
mammon worshipped
freedom jaded
America, Incorporated

Needed more land
so to expand
all we could stand
oh ain’t it grand
to be armed well situated
with native people
nearly exterminated
I guess genocide was
predestinated for
America, Incorporated

Took our place astride the earth
took the place for all it’s worth
impoverishing the world free traded
cause feudalism was underrated
and not nearly as well-remunerated
as guzzling belching satiated
America, Incorporated

We started fresh a new creation
left behind our aggravation
tried to be enlightened nation
with political salvation
ended up fast food plantation
pornographic war sensation
and known by most as indignation
America, the Corporation

With corporate donors laws donated
never treaty obligated
always right exonerated
never wrong simply fixated
a glowing example irradiated
America, Incorporated

Evil’s real, inaugurated
nationalists intoxicated
war high priests
how loud they pray
for their armageddon
how long they’ve waited
craving to be expiated
America, Incorporated

Truth was switched and freedom baited
people die while targets are graded
whose jugular is the next to be slated
what poor little nation to be devastated
while democracy watches infatuated
and who’s not to say way too elated
then sleeps it off somnambulated
America, Incorporated

Is real liberty just imitated
with freedom vaunted yet freedom crated
and protest cautious and sedated
despite the plans to be cremated
the 21st century for this we waited?

Dithering blithering bloviated
America, Incorporated
withering slithering hypermotivated
America, Incorporated
America, Incorporated
America, Incorporated
America, In Corpus Delicti We Trust, L.L.C.
These Future Days

Larry Piltz

I've got a clock that runs on water
my dog takes Chinese herbs
I live next door to my dear wife's house
and I'm not a bit perturbed
my car is half electric
and could run on mayonnaise
it's said there's nothing new under the sun
try telling that to my solar shotgun
then tell me you're not amazed
to be alive in these future days

my computer's built in Iceland
my printer in Monaco
my software's written in some nice land
I print out on trees from Idaho
my money's purple paisley
it has chips that make it smart
It tells me that I should spend it
on a wheelbarrow from Wal-Mart
oh tell me you're not amazed
what life's like in these future days

my doctor is an android
her clinic's on the moon
she mostly treats the paranoid
and swears she'll see me soon
my lawyer lives in the ocean
his lawyer lives up a tree
they swear they’ll file a motion
to do something about me
cause they think I'm too unphased
to appreciate these future days

my job's become elastic
and I'm stretched way too thin
though I'm 34 percent plastic
I know now when to say when
my eyeballs are half vinyl
and I see you’re looking good
are you sure your answer’s final
cause I’m 30 percent wood
I’m so glad this issue’s raised
In these heady future days

my hard drive reads the paper
tells me what I should know
a Nobel Prize went to a girl
who could kiss her own elbow
the Oscar went to China
along with Meryl Streep
though no one could be finer
I’m not losing any sleep
we won’t always be in this haze
that’s just life in these future days
I’ll take life in these future days
People of a Jealous God
(Let the Software)

Larry Piltz

Move Air Wing One to Sector Nine
and Air Wing Two just across the line
refresh the map at Sector R
now flood the field with hover car
click it once to enlarge the grid
encrypt the code for Captain Kidd
delete and clear each square of land
before they try to make a stand
prepare to embed nuke barrage
from specs I wrote in my garage
three two one is HTML
a language for a living hell?

let the software count the till
let the software send the bill
let the software write your will
let the software make the kill
for the software what a thrill
let the software make…the kill

Have you seen combat today
no but the fire's heading this way
really too bad about the drought
no way to put the fire out
the ocean rise is way too slow
to stop the fire at Tupelo
that's Memphis in that reddened glow
good thing tonight's a heavy snow
the summer's first big heavy snow
could stop the fire by Tupelo

let the software count the till
let the software send the bill
let the software write your will
let the software make the kill
for the software what a thrill
let the software make…the kill

It's gravity that's brings the pain
these 40 years of missile rain
from plans that were programmed so true
that when uplinked the chaos grew
it's more than science and less than God
how things turn out so strangely odd
philosophers will search their souls
religious folk will look in holes
but answers lie in depths unplumbed
the truth is that we just go numb
and answer to the warbeat drum
with signs that say will kill for crumbs

Let the software count the kill
let the software foot the bill
let the software spend its fill
let the software what it will
for the software ever still
let the software make…the kill

We lived online and spent offshore
and always craved a little more
we hid our thoughts and masked our sin
and woke each day in the same skin
we watched the skies and watched our backs
we watched for Jesus and paid our tax
and hid each others' children when
the tax collectors came again
and when the morning brought the winds
we called each others' next of kin
yes more than science still very odd
these People of a Jealous God
it's gravity that brings the pain
but it's 40 years of this manmade rain

We log in every blessed morning
and sweep for every virus warning
while just beyond our virtual sight
our true code's working day through night
it's not the science God shares the blame
what's done is done in all our names
and programming's always resumed
once all the bodies are exhumed

let the software count the till
let the software send the bill
let the software write your will
let the software make the kill
for the software what a thrill
let the software make

I love our City on a Hill
its every single rock and rill
but seeing from my windowsill
the kindnesses that count for nihil
the missing love you know the drill
one question from my heart does spill
when will the software make a pill
to cure us of our software ill
let the software
The Real de Ville

Larry Piltz

Dr. Batson was just sitting there behind the wheel watching, stopped at the stop sign. It wasn't his fault my ancestors felt forced to leave behind the Pale to start a new life in America, where I'd eventually turn the corner a little too widely and scrape the silver Sedan deVille nameplate off the front fender of his sleek 1966 Cadillac. Nor had his ancestors been at fault when they were earlier forced to leave behind their own land and start their new lives in America. None of them were just sitting there asking for it.

No, it wasn't anyone's fault at all. It was just a shame, a crying avoidable shame. If only I'd paid closer attention. I'd never before hit a car. How could I know there were actual consequences for not clearing a turn, for being young and cocky? It was evidently beyond my imagination. And though Dr. Batson's car was wide, the lane narrow, and the telephone pole looming, I'd thought my teenage invincibility extended to my 1966 Bel Air as well. Not even the broad daylight helped.

Yes, it was just one of those things that didn't have to happen but did happen. And now that it had happened, the only thing that mattered was what to do about it. I tried to ponder, but there wasn't time. I couldn't flee the scene onto Division Street and escape through West End Homes, Biloxi's red-brick public housing apartments where I'd gone to Cub Scout meetings, because he'd clearly seen me, driver's windows being just feet apart. Besides, it wouldn't be right, and I'd be in worse trouble getting caught later. At least I hadn't been drinking.

I got out of my white whale of a car, leaned down and picked up the still shiny and barely bent Sedan de Ville, stepped up to his open window where his suit jacket arm was resting, and extended it to him. He glanced at it quizzically, before graciously accepting with a slight smile, me with my why-me politeness. The inviting new electric-eye door of the Piggly Wiggly not that many yards away beckoned, but my reckoning was with a pillar of the community and my immediate fate an adult interaction that would be pretty much one-sided in that regard.

He got out his car, and we moved to the front fender to look at the damage together, except there was none, other than the silver Sedan de Ville he was still holding in his left hand. Not a scratch on the factory paint could be seen, even in direct sun, a beautiful green. It was mildly miraculous, without the slightest hint of a ding. Only the dust had been disturbed. How lucky could I get? Still, I wouldn't have blamed him if he'd turned and bopped me in the head with the steel nameplate. It would have nicely summed up the whole experience and felt a bit merciful, because, frankly, I had earned it.

It wasn't necessary, though. He could tell I was already appropriately chagrined, and I was busy figuratively bopping myself in the head anyway for causing this minor but actual dent in the day, and for what my parents would say when I told them I'd managed to scrape the Sedan de Ville from the Cadillac of the only black doctor in Biloxi. There was bound to be some sort of hell to pay for the ridiculous situation. Even the threat of criticism from parents is too much for a teen's fragile dignity.

Standing next to me, Dr. Batson seemed calm, even at repose, which I did my best to adopt, but my calm was more of a mock calm, around which the disparate elements of the encounter were whirling. How would I get the money to pay for the repair? What would I tell my friends? What did I really feel about African-Americans and Cadillacs, as well as other unfair stereotypes? How could I possibly be superior to such a stoic and accomplished man, who's also probably a better driver than me? How fully should white people's responsibility for slavery and racial discrimination occupy the already guilt-wracked Jewish psyche, when many white people don't consider Jews truly white? What did Dr. Batson think of all this? What would he want?

What bothered me most acutely, though, that I couldn't mentally articulate at the time, was that besides my family's twice-a-week maids through the years, mainly Ruby and Marvena, and long-time gardener, Mr. Carver, I couldn't remember ever having an interaction with a black person. Dr. Batson was the first, and I wondered if he might could tell.

I felt unconcealable discomfort about our separate parts of town, separate schools, separate floors in the hospital, separate restaurants, separate grocery stores, separate public bathrooms, and separate water fountains, and that blacks were allowed on the beach only one day a week in only one particular spot.

All the restaurants I'd eaten in, the streets I'd lived on, the schools I'd gone to, the stores I'd shopped in, the parks I'd played in, the movies I'd sat through, the Little League teams I'd been on, and friends I'd had, were all white. Even the roads seemed almost entirely white. My world had been closed, my preference predetermined, my mind made up for me. It all was subterranean and suppressed, out of mind and in plain sight. It was the forbidden topic, the fait accompli, the way it is, the way it would be. It was 1968 Mississippi.

My comfort was that Dr. Batson was steady, gentle, kind to a fault, and instantly forgiving. I liked him. He was a real gentleman, not unlike my dad. However, he did seem the slightest bit uncomfortable, though in my limited mind I attributed it to an awkward amusement on his part, such that he might be having a quiet chuckle at my expense, since the world obviously revolved around me and my driving error. I couldn't put myself in his place at all. He didn't seem exotic. He seemed from another universe.

Back in reality, Dr. Batson realized that in the face of my actual awkwardness he was calling the shots and dictated the terms. Fifty dollars was his compassionate request for his trouble and repair. My guess was he was relieved there wasn't more damage, which helped him go easy on me. Fifty dollars would make it all go away, and teach me a lesson, because I'd have to get it from my parents and pay them back, but they too would be relieved it wasn't worse. Soon the nameplate would be back in place, and I could go forward with my life relatively unscraped and only lightly examined.

When later that day at our oak-shaded home overlooking Biloxi Bay I told my parents what had happened and asked for the money, there was a pregnant pause, as if all the underlying racial history and tone, the town's saturating misanthropic racial oppression, plus the concern over damage liability, were all wordlessly considered, calculated, and resolved in mere seconds. No computer will ever be able to do that, I'd bet, though they'll always be more easy to program than humans.

So the fifty dollars was gladly enough handed over to me, I drove extra carefully across town to Dr. Batson's home, passing from one segregated zone into another, crossing a distinct no-man's-land sheltering a small industrial area and some railroad tracks, and walked up to his front door. I believe he lived one street over from Marvena. It was good to see him, and when I handed him his money, my main feelings were relief, a little not-quite-white Jewish guilt, and much less discomfort than I had dreaded. How Dr. Batson felt I'll never truly know, though I suspect he was at least as relieved as I was.

As I closed his front gate, I had an unsummoned sober reverie about how much beer fifty bucks could have bought, especially Jax and Dixie, and patted myself on the back for a job well done that day and for not having been even a little drunk. My teen angst at having been caught doing something both wrong and dumb was alleviated. Case closed and what am I going to do tonight?

My father and Dr. Batson later lived many years across the street and one house down from each other in a nice new subdivision, with tall pines and big live oaks, only a block from Biloxi's lengthy bay, salt marshes, and breezes, both having moved there as they began aiming toward retirement. My father had been perfectly glad to have him as a neighbor. After all, Dr. Batson was civil, even gentle, a fellow professional, and quiet, traits they shared. Dr. Batson, I imagine, felt the same way. And, they had a slight history together, thanks to me.

Dr. Batson had a debilitating stroke at some point, and his devoted son took good care of him for years until age and decline took him. Today Dr. Batson's son and my dad exchange waves when they see each other coming or going to their comfy homes, and I'm left with the impression that nothing that happens in life is ever really, wholly and irreconciliably an accident, but avoidable if you're paying close enough attention, which isn't required but can prove helpful, though the world doesn't end either way.
MARCHING FOR THE BILLIONS
WHO WANT PEACE NOW

The Million Musicians March for Peace
Takes to the Streets of Austin Again


By Larry Piltz for The Rag Blog

Richard Bowden ain't fiddlin at windmills. He's not tilting either. He knows very well what he's doing and why, and will tell you his purpose straight up. It's to keep the hope for and goal of actual peace at the forefront of the hearts and minds of the people of Austin, and of people around the world, the billions who yearn for peace and desperately need peace in order to have safe, happy, productive, and healthy lives, or to even have lives at all.

Richard, a well-known and admired Texas fiddler, whose pickin partners have included dozens of accomplished and famous musicians, instinctively understands that war robs people of the good things in life, that it steals time and resources from families and communities, and that it takes loved ones away permanently, suddenly, or permanently changes them in ways that further strain the bonds of humanity, as does war itself.

He also observed, during commercial journalism's utter default to deceitful jingoistic coverage of the run-up to the 2003 and ongoing Iraq War debacle, that people were being convinced of the necessity for war with no real reason or evidence for it, and with no real counterbalancing voices or information. Who would tell the people? Basically no one, Richard understood. But what could he do? He wasn't a committed political activist. He's only a musician, after all.

Then he thought about Face the Music Festival, a gathering of musicians and poets he'd decided to help organize in 2002 to heighten public awareness of the militarized and draconian drug law enforcement that had resulted in the deaths of an innocent teen and a deputy sheriff within a year's time in separate Austin-area SWAT-style drug raids, two good people senselessly stolen from their loved ones by bad policy. Richard teamed with Drug Policy Forum, which provided speakers at the festival, and invited musicians and poets to help attract people to the otherwise educational event. Long story short, soon afterward the violent middle-of the-night neighborhood drug raids ceased, and Richard had become a political organizer, though still far but now less alien from his musical roots.

This is why he founded Austin's Million Musicians March for Peace: To get the word out. To break through the conjoined barriers of information lockdown and apathy. To remind citizens that at least some people care about peace. To remind people that they themselves care about peace, even when they're harried by the harrowing demands of daily life. To remind us that lack of peace is not an acceptable state of affairs, which is important information indeed in a time and culture that seems to be doing its best to manifest some sort of war of eternity, even while a large majority of this country's and the world's peoples are against such wars of choice. Somebody had to do something.

Why a musicians' march? You start with what you know. Richard's first foray into musical political activism had garnered positive results. Why stop when you're on a roll, even a short one? Especially when a much worse policy, U.S. foreign policy, was beginning to wreak havoc on a monumentally larger scale. When Richard met with Austin Against War and other activist groups to see what was being planned in opposition to the war, he decided he needed to take on a bigger challenge, one of helping bring a larger community focus to the issue at hand. Drum roll, please.

So began the March, MMM in shorthand, and it would be timed annually with Austin's international giant musician magnet, South by Southwest, SXSW in now near-universal shorthand. The word would go out, from charismatic speakers and artists at the Texas State Capitol, from the world's largest marching band playing and dancing along the Congress Avenue parade route, including musicians from many countries, and from speakers and robust performances at Austin's City Hall on Lake Lady Bird, out to the entire world.

Thousands of SXSW musicians and music apprecianados would become familiar with MMM, and many would spread the gospel of stop these crazy wars for god's sake, don't you know they're killing people? And who knows but that someday MMM's will spring up in cities across the country and world to help galvanize already existing world opinion for actual peace in our time.

Meanwhile Richard has as usual organized this year's MMM in the finest traditional style of fiddlers everywhere from time immemorial: Play your music, support the creativity and often madcap brilliance of your fellow musicians, and take the melodic lead at just the right times and in just the right ways. But above all have fun. All the organizing, all the meetings, and all the excitement-building Sundays from 2-4 p.m. at Cafe Caffeine on West Mary Street become one happy energetic rehearsal for the big day, this year March 20th, from noon to 4 p.m., beginning at the State Capitol.

"If it's not fun, I'm going home". That's Richard's motto. But don't worry. It's always fun. That's the catch. You'll go home when the fun's over, which is when the show's over at 4. Though it will continue elsewhere under different auspices. Check your local listings (and the growing list of participating musicians at the end of this article, as well as the growing list of supporting organizations).

For all its local Austin zeitgeist and flavor, however, the MMM hasn't happened in a historical vacuum. Troubadors from ages gone by spread the news from town to town, and roving poets and theater groups told stories of what was really going on behind public facades. Even raving poet-prophets of old tried to alert people to looming calamities caused by bad political and religious leadership. Maybe if Jeremiah and Isaiah, et al, had had a horn section and a better agent things could have turned out better?

We're reminded of this tradition more eloquently by Gia'na Garel, music and film producer, actress, radio entrepreneur, and former co-host of Air America's "On the Real" with Chuck D of Public Enemy: "During every major revolution in modern history - there was a backbeat to them. The French sang and chanted through the streets with no less fervor backing their active revolt than did the Haitians or the Americans or later the civil rights era activists who learned to pump harder beats along with their fists. The very voice of activism is undercut with a pulse - a vibration - that catches us up and galvanizes the masses, as easily as it does one individual listening to their lone drumbeat."

And it's not simply that movements come together in solidarity and purpose to make a difference, backbeat and all. Movements have to come from groups, and groups have to come from somewhere. And that somewhere is the individual and the "lone drumbeat". It's the synergism of lone drumbeats that make the music, that make the group, with each lone drummer carrying the beat.

Ed Ward, former Austin American-Statesman music critic and Rolling Stone contributor, who's lived and worked in Europe for many years and now lives in Montpelier, France, candidly talks about one aspect of the axis of individual artist and activism: "My guess is that most people don't know the political stances of most musicians because the musicians don't usually talk about that subject. Many musicians are smart enough to know that their opinions are essentially not very well thought out, and so they decline....The exceptions are usually people who have started in the folk tradition, where, thanks to the examples of Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan, there's a long lineage of people who've mixed purely artistic output with committed political output."

One such musician, who took the time and trouble to educate himself about politics and its impact on the world, is Austin's Will T. Massey, whom the New York Daily News described as “one of the greatest storytellers since Dylan and Van Morrison," and who has been involved with the MMM for several years now. Massey made a gradual transition to political songs, but the decision to do so wasn't easy. "It was a tough decision, something I had to think pretty hard about," says Massey. "I have about an equal number of new political songs and more traditional songs that are more about people and places. It’s certainly more challenging to take the political route; I’ve already heard from longtime fans that I should keep politics out of my music."

Massey writes about his decision in "American Prayer": "I’m advised to rein my words in tight/to take my tunes and go quietly in the night/I hope you’ll help us all to speak our minds/because the voices of the people are being left behind/tell them that we’re tragic when you get up there/and that we need some magic, my American prayer."

Massey collaborated with MMM founder Bowden on "a political record I made a few years ago. My involvement in the march was a natural extension of that as the record was all pro peace. Through working on the march, I've become increasingly aware of the peace community in Austin which is affirming to my pacifist tendencies. The body of pro peace songs I have has gotten attention by this movement which is nice. Recently, I wrote a song thinking, specifically, about playing it at one of our gatherings. And then I did play it at one and it worked well. I'm proud to be a part of such a vast group of people. I'm proud of everyone who participates."

Massey, besides being a wonderful songwriter and musician, is a pertinent and hopeful example of the merging of musician and activist, and the larger merging of musician/activist with community/audience, an accelerating trend as mass communication binds like-minded people closer in more cohesive groups. We become less isolated and more naturally inclined to associate with groups, based on our interests and our beliefs. We naturally gravitate toward each other, beginning at least a partial unwinding of an almost century-long trend toward dispersal and separation. It's the democratization of information, and groups that make better use of their cohesiveness and the flexibility that instant communications allows will usually be more successful than those that don't.

This is where partnership between artist and audience becomes especially important. Since artists are often the voices of and for groups, and because their various arts often reflect and transmit a group's experiences, ideological preferences, and intents, the artist and group identity can easily become a fulcrum on which energy is translated into action. This is one reason the MMM is such an interesting phenomenon. It has great potential to bring common purpose and coordinated action in the social and political realm. You get people marching in fun and in good spirits for world peace, allow artists and audience the opportunity to become better acquainted and to build trust, and then that demonstrated solidarity can be used for more specific achievable goals, locally as well as generally. This group succeeds. Peace wins, in this case.

According to former Austin emeritus musician, actor, playwright, visual artist, and general Renaissance Mountain Man Bobby Bridger, who composed "Heal In The Wisdom", the official anthem of the internationally famous Kerrville Folk Festival, and who responded specifically for this article, as did Gia'na Garel, Ed Ward, and Will T. Massey above: "In the olden days artists would publish a manifesto clearly stating their mission as well as the causes they supported. I did something like this for eight years with my quarterly tabloid, Hoka Hey!, which focused on American Indian concerns."

This seems to be a more simpatico state to which artists and their audiences are now gradually returning, an evolution in reverse to a more workable framework for allowing personal input and power into our lives and communities, local and otherwise. We know who we are, who our natural allies are, and therefore can better act in concert (!) for the greater good. In this way, we may be beginning a process of potentially returning to a more decentralized state of governance as well, with the artist-audience relationship being both bellwether and building block.

Bridger continues: "I've been involved with American Indians since the beginnings of my four decade career, so I haven't even considered them a 'cause'; instead, my involvement with Indians is as intrinsic to my personal journey as is my music or my career as a visual artist or playwright. It is all integrated into 'who' I am." Bridger seamlessly describes the unity ultimately inherent in all human relationships, not only with each other individually but also within chosen groups, and importantly also in our relationship with our treasure of a world. His is indeed a beautiful expression of peace and its boundless virtue and value.

Which brings us all the way back to a certain march for peace, with musicians, and families, and friends, and a beautiful day rain or shine. A gathering of doves of all colors, designs, and ages, all instruments of peace, all attuned. All caring about our world and what happens to it, and to each other, as individuals and as group, creating commonality and harmony, a joyful noise indeed.
We'll end with a report about one Austin family's time in the first Million Musicians March for Peace, and let Valerie Bowles relate their experience, which she contributes specifically for this article. Valerie is former bassist for Dallas' Teenage Queers and Austin's Stick Figures, and her husband, Steven Harding, was in Hormones and Reptilicus.

"Steven and I marched in the first one in the rain. There were a few less than a million. We walked alongside Billy Bragg, who in his own career has influenced a heck of a lot of people politically. The night before, we had heard him sing songs by Woody Guthrie, who had led his own movement for peace and justice. Lydia was 15 at the time, and she marched, too. Hopefully, it will get bigger and better publicized every year, but yeah I'd definitely do it again. It kind of reminded me of one of those New Orleans funerals with the tubas and jazz players."

And we'll close with MMM founder Richard Bowden in his own words telling us the why of the Million Musicians March for Peace:

"WHY?
"On the 7th anniversary of the Iraq occupation: To remember the millions of
innocent victims, and the trillions in growing U.S. debt, and warn of spreading, endless war.
"Because Austin is uniquely suited to using popular culture to encourage a popular movement for peace.
"To promote independent information media. Because knowledge IS power.
"Because everyone has valuable talents and skills: 'Everyone can be an instrument for peace'."

And, finally, to help launch this year's MMM, a poem from Thom Moon/Thom the World Poet, M.C. for MMM at Cafe Caffeine on Sundays, in answer to the question:

"Why march?
well, we do not!
we walk /dance/jog /strut together -
poets,musicians,artists
down Austin streets
between Capitol performances and city Hall shows
with great joy and jubilation
Forms are improvised as we glow-
1. all are welcomed
2. every "march" is different
3. what happens this march is only partially planned
This is the best poetry on march 20 at noon
so i join the lines as they free verse swing through SXSW laminates
between APD and citizenry-for peace!
Usual petitions/placards/posters-unusually talented musicians
harmonics as role modeling-rhythm meets rhyme in public and at large
Where else can poets go except where following the Muse?
Each year ,a different eclectic mix of Austinites ask for peace
and the media/public response is positive
So every sunday we rehearse spontaneity
adding to the glow of the flow-seeking volunteers
making Paradise possible, practical and pragmatic
We are all volunteers
We are artists,poets,musicians
We are on a steep learning curve
What happens next is unknown
This is why we meet, greet and enjoy each other's company
Every sunday at cafe caffeine 909 west mary 2pm to 4.30pm
and @the Capitol saturday march 20 at high noon
Be there! Poetry meets music meets people for peace!
Yes,please!
MILLION MUSICIANS MARCH 4 PEACE"

______________________________

The growing list of supporting organizations:
Austin Center for Peace and Justice, Texans For Peace, Artists For Media Diversity, VoteRescue, Happy Living with Justice, Austin Permanent Peace Protest, State Rep. Lon Burnham, Dallas Peace Center, Waco Friends of Peace, Denton Peace Action, Texas Labor Against the War, CodePink Austin,....

The growing list of participating musicians:
Guy Forsyth, Carolyn Wonderland, Shelley King, Leeann Atherton, Barbara K Kooyman, The Jericho Brass Band, Oliver Steck, Ryan Gould, Samantha Vanderslice, Bill Oliver, Daniel Cioper, Frank Meyer, Mo McMorrow, Jim & Sherry Patton, Karen Abrahams, Will T. Massey, Jon Emory, Thom Moon 10, Nick Travis, Kathy Rowell, Brenda Freed & Michael D'Eath (Him an Her), Cleve Hattersly, John Jordan, Bill Johns, Edgar Pace, Bob Slaughter, Datri Bean, Minor Mishap Marching Band, Bruce Salmon, David Garza, Regan Brown, Dana McBride, Krishna Lee, Bear Beam, J.D. Finley, P.J "Cowboy Poet" Liles, Joe Carr, Richard Bowden...

                               Thirteen to Seventeen Spiders S urface water is the background of the photo, meaning the camera is pointin...