Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Five Pulitzer Winners Walk Into A Bar In My Amazon Dream

I realized tonight I've known five Pulitzer Prize winners. They are described below, not in chronological order, but with attempted aspiring candor, wit and cleverness.

The first one I'd known had been a high school friend and a fellow member of the school choir, she as celebrated and accomplished pianist and accompanist. She won her Pulitzer in 2005 for Biography and Autobiography with a Willem de Kooning biography, co-authored with her husband. I took heart when she told me it had taken ten years to write it. She and I at the earliest had been fellow participants in, I think, a local 4th or 5th grade patriotic speech competition. She recited "I Am An American", and I recited "The Gettysburg Address". I believe she won the competition, despite my earnest gratifying Lincolnesque performance (if Lincoln had had the larynx of an elementary school boy). She was a most talented girl, which is a vastly understated compliment. She is an excellent person of highest integrity and is sweet, kind and charming.

The fourth Pulitzer winner I'd met, Lawrence 'Larry' Wright, I met in Austin because I knew his equally brilliant wife from a helpful but now somewhat embarrassing personal growth seminar called Insight II (I demur from describing the exhaustive energetic hysterics of its Limiting Characteristic Theater; that's all I have to say about that). Larry won his Pulitzer (Those words put together in that order!) in 2007 in General Nonfiction for the book The Looming Tower. He wrote for Texas Monthly at the time I met him in about 1988. I was impressed when meeting him even then, and his ego was not at all corrupted by his talent and his already gathering reputation for insightful well-crafted writing. Talent wins out sometimes. That Larry can write!

The third Pulitzer Prize winner is Ben Sargent, editorial cartoonist for the Austin American-Statesman when I worked there at the City Desk from about 1984 to 1987. He had won his Pulitzer in 1982. He was the lanky friendly bearded legend (way back before not-shaving was compulsory lemming behavior) padding around the newsroom as if he were merely mortal. Ben was quiet and unassuming and had a wicked and sharpened sense of diabolical humor that gave incisive hilarious hell to people who well-earned it. Luckily for him, Texas politicians even then were especially mock-worthy, as were the national 1980s Republicans, and the Pulitzer committee likely especially enjoyed Ben's fearless skewering of them and of their precious cherished right-wing delusions. I was city desk assistant and, among other celebrated duties like 'hand-populating' the template with temperatures from around the country and world and calling area funeral homes to gather the names and information about the most recently Hill Country deceased and writing their obituaries for the afternoon/evening edition of the daily paper, I also received and solicited public information and then conveyed it to reporters and editors and other staff including Ben, the gentle giant with a mighty set of drawing pens.

The third Pulitzer Prize winner, Raymond Bonner, won the 1999 Pulitzer Prize as part of a team of writers while on staff with The New York Times. He also won first prize in 1985 for 'Weakness and Deceit: U.S. Policy and El Salvador,'' in the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Book Awards program. Bonner was a NY Times reporter when I met him in 1982. I had called the NY Times Washington bureau office because my Austin neighbor's ex-Marine boyfriend had a hot story to tell and hopefully sell. Bonner and another NY Times reporter, Philip Taubman, Jr., son of a senior NYT editor, flew the next day from D.C. to Austin to secretly interview the ex-Marine, who had been one of the earliest pot smugglers across the Rio Grande into Texas and had contemporaneously in 1982 been a part of the CIA's then-secret operation to create a right-wing guerilla army (The Contras) in Honduras along the border with Nicaragua. He scouted landing zones for C-130 Hercules transport planes.

The two reporters and my scary new friend and I spent two days scouting isolated locations around and outside of Austin where the interviews were then conducted. I was taught to conceal my activities and not be followed. My friend's story was to be part of a larger story being written about other ex-military people also taking part in that covert operation. By that time, Bonner had already made journalistic history with a 1982 NY Times story that first exposed the weighted fist of oligarchic capitalist genocide and oppression in Central America at the hands of the American-trained, American-supplied, and American-denied El Salvadorean Army El Mozote Massacre in which 800 to 1200 fleeing civilian peasants including children were hunted and killed in the countryside in 1981 by that army’s Atlacatl Battalion, whose officers (and other members) had been trained at the School of the Americas in Fort Benning, Georgia in Columbus. Bonner continued in the same journalistic vein with a lifetime of equally intense and historic other reporting elsewhere such as Rwanda, Bosnia and Indonesia.

Lastly, the second Pulitzer Prize winner I'd known was a journalism professor at Louisiana State University whose Advanced Typography class I signed up for and dropped in 1973 after coming to terms with the fact that I had no interest in typography whatsoever, advanced or primitive.  James Shoaf Featherston won his Pulitzer in 1953 as part of the reporting team for the Vicksburg Herald's coverage of a 1953 tornado in Vicksburg, Mississippi.   Much more famously, Featherston was the Dallas Times Herald reporter on November 22, 1963 who, immediately after John F. Kennedy was shot in his motorcade, secured a witness (Mary Moorman) for the police to interview and himself later testified before the Warren Commission.  Also, in the 1950s, Featherston covered Emmett Till's Mississippi murder trial for the Jackson Daily News.  It's remarkable his Pulitzer Prize was not given for either of those but for coverage of a tornado.  He probably assumed he'd peaked early until the Emmett Till trial and the events of November 22, 1963.  

The dream was that I win a Pulitzer. I've wanted one since I first learned what a Pulitzer is. So I majored in journalism in college, where I dated a woman last-named Pulitzer. She was a real prize, actually, but not THE prize, and I wasn't convinced I wanted to 'win' her, nor had she shown evidence she'd want to be 'won' by me.  Since then I've come to understand more fully that someone actually needs to write an especially outstanding cohesive series of articles or one really gigantic blockbuster of a news story to win a Pulitzer or a book.  There's always a catch.

Anyway, that's a Rubicon I super likely will never even locate let alone cross. However, having been exposed to actual Pulitzer winners will serve me well if my writing stars align well enough for me to essentially win what would be for me the journalistic lottery. I'll be able to name-drop as I awkwardly negotiate interviews, and perhaps I will have learned by osmosis how to behave accordingly. At least I've gotten close to the Pulitzer Mojo of the five Pulitzer winners I've known and met, good people all, and my life's been elevated and enhanced because of them.  I count that as a win. And finally, here's the Amazon part of the dream.

Coming as a Little League shortstop I made an unassisted triple play (without any help!) with the bases loaded, and of how in one game I made all three outs in the last inning of play. A true hero's journey.

Sunday, August 12, 2018



Where does the time go

the same place the years go
the same place the winds blow
and the same place as flies the crow
in our mysterious status quo
our lives a happy hobo
without a care or need to know
if there's some final glorious show
or a surprisingly gentle undertow
either way I've got to go
tomorrow's the only thing I know
and tonight I have a furlough
and fields of love still left to sow
so good night from this old fellow
who wishes you well and says hello

For Eli on his upcoming 40th

Saturday, August 11, 2018

(FB barges muscles intrudes onto my personal FB page.
So what else is new? This is explained in the first paragraph.)

Larry Piltz
Tonight Facebook said I am one of a small number of people (what, half a billion?) being asked to take a survey about their reaching out in cultural ways in some cities and if it was being effective. I said, sure, I'll take the survey. I like to tell people what to do. So, yeah.

Ending about maybe ten years ago (truthfully I have no idea how many years it's been), I was a monthly Gallup Poll respondent for three or four years (no idea how long, really), and my wife for longer. Our two cabins made us officially two households, evidently. So she and I held great sway in American Opinion for a while there. That's when we were doing better as a country, thanks to us! Well, it was under Bush, so maybe not. We weren't  responsible for him though, though we lived in the same town for a while and should have given him a good talking to before AND after he fell on his head). Thank Barb and GHW for that.

 did mostly online and some phone Gallup polls. Some were political. Most were marketing, but with an up or down presidential 'good job' or 'bad job' question at the beginning. I relished that one. I was also a Nielsen family for about three years (see above), one year of which I didn't even have TV. :)  I was also an Arbitron (the radio station ratings company) survey taker for about two or three years (see above) in a row. I could barely believe I was getting all of these serious survey requests. Apparently, they'll take anybody.

Also, I must be Mr. Average American (which is a two-edged inference). Everyone should be like me! What a country that would be! I'm as moderate as an extremist can be! The sky would rain beer and everyone would have affordable homes with beer gutters and beer barrels to collect the stuff, and that would be piped into a system of pipes parallel to your water supply, with keg taps on a parallel set of faucets [actually, I haven't had more than six or seven beers or glasses of wine in at least 20 years, though I still love it
 :( ].

Well, my soapbox is beginning to spin under me, so I'll get to the point. One of the survey questions was an essay test. Something like, 'Why do I feel that Facebook's cultural outreach has been credible?' Did I say it was credible? I must have missed that day in class. Here is my long answer. And you won't be surprised to learn that I ran FB out of characters and had to stop right when I was really getting warmed up. And as you see, I don't really answer the question in a manner in which they would hope or expect.


"I think it's credible only in the sense that Facebook wants its public face to appear to be authentic in its particular outreach but that it's under much more intense pressure to just stay the same and only appear to change or make little inroads that don't make a significant impact.

"Facebook would really have to show me that it rejects all hateful right-wing rhetoric. As you know, left-wing rhetoric can and often does disparage right-wing beliefs and agitprop, but that's because the right-wing is the only 'wing' that is actively trying to destroy its opposite. The left-wing wants to play by the rules and make rules that make it fair for everyone.

The right-wing, by its nature and character and demands of a disappearing demographic, are working hard to shrink the legal voting population with cynical manipulative, well, bullshit lies, and simultaneously trying to pull up the ladder behind them and then either passively or directly attack the people trying to get access to the ladder to a better life. That's not really as partisan as you may think, or maybe not at all. Fascism in this country is sponsored wholly by [certain] Republicans, previously only indirectly, and now directly directly.

Facebook has to choose sides, whether it wants to or not. It can't exist in the fictional center. There is no center right now. There did use to be a moderately sized consensus center. The right-wing abandoned that long ago. The left-wing still occupies the moderate liberal FDR coalition and LBJ coalition (both of which included moderate Republicans, which MAY NO LONGER EXIST; extremist Republicans exist for sure, along with ultraconservatives who feign moderation at times but never or super rarely vote that way).

"Facebook needs to join the side that has always worked for openness and liberalization of access to the American Dream, not like Republicans who have upped their extreme ante even further since 2000 and especially since 2016. We're descending into a willfully and intentionally arranged chaos by right-wing theorists now pulling fascist policies into a coherent but sick political apparatus.

"There is now an anti-urge against democracy remaining in the Republican Party except for a literal handful (four fingers and a thumb), about five congresspersons, and they still vote the party line way more times than not. There is not really a Republican Party any longer. It is a death cult - your death, not theirs - and it acts as a hive of Killerized Bees, swarming and stinging people to death, specific people, meaning people mostly not white, which of course must be entirely coincidental, right?

"So in closing, my fallow Americans. There is no center. Facebook has to choose a side. There is not enough organized right-wing actual interest in Facebook other than gaming and stealing from the Facebook system and therefore no significant enough monetization potential for Facebook from the right-wing. Right-wing demographics are shrinking. So right-wing strategists are pulling the rug out from under democracy in calculated and so far successful ways to forestall a more moderate and cohesive American future.

"Facebook wants what? A dangerously split country with the cruelest-by-far faction of the 1% and the most murderous racist bullies in charge? Facebook has an identity crisis, and it has to choose. GO WITH THE BULLIES AND DIE IN THE PYRE OF AMERICA'S ACCIDENTAL EXPERIMENT WITH VIOLENT FASCISM?

OR GO WITH THE PEOPLE TRYING TO EXPAND THE FRANCHISE AND LOVE for harmony, innovation, and honor among non-thieves. Seems a pretty clear choice. Democrats are about healing and helping. [And then the characters ran out. So now FB doesn't have to pay an excess electron luxury tax, even though they are taking away my rights to whine like a Fox News-appearing toddler who isn't allowed to publish anything they want anywhere any time in the private sector, because WHINE WHINE WHINE]."

If I have offended you, I'm sorry. Really. I can go 'over the top', pretty far. But I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings. I don't like having my feelings hurt either, like when nazis say I shouldn't exist and their complicit allies in the White House and Republican caucus say nothing, nothing but "There are good people on both sides". But I can't really do anything about that now except wish you well and a continuing change of heart. Godspeed.

 (You pay money to run a FB ad. I find it and 'review' it. Passive-    aggressively. Because I don't send it to you ever. Win-win!)
Larry Piltz
August 10 at 12:43 am

This is a photo taken from a Facebook ad. I am using it subversively, because I am a subversive and a positive and helpful fellow. Pasted below is the FB message I wrote to the man in the photo. He's the agency owner. I'm just being honest. Also, you should know, I chickened out and deleted the message before I accidentally sent it. I may be a subversive, but I also retain some manners. It's a part of what makes me positive, and a helpful fellow. 

"No offense or attack intended. You look like a nice guy. Probably nicer than me! But the photo feels a bit strange to me (no expert here, just a weirdo probably). But I cannot help but see a fist raised high for no apparent reason, so one suggestion my mind makes (I think out loud subliminally evidently) is that your fist is raised to hit the woman standing next to you.

I know, silly, stupid. But look. You're facing her, the fist looks like it could come down on her. It's obviously not on purpose or your intention. I'm an idiot, okay, but there's no other reason displayed in the picture for a raised fist than a man about to hit a woman for no reason at all (or if you're dancing, do something with both hands instead, something groovier) except that he's a man and that's what men do.

I know, waste of your time. I'm sorry. But I apparently had to speak. I do wish you well. I do have State Farm auto, homeowners, renters and umbrella policies. I'd still buy them from you if I didn't already have a good relationship with the agency I've worked with for years. So apologies if this message is just beyond the pale for you. I've had caffeine and have too much time on my hands.

But the photo makes no sense to me unless you're either dancing or about to hit someone, or just using your fist to intimidate a photo full of women. I know, stupid. But images matter, in society and in our hearts, and many other men have a thorough history of brutality. Though you look like a nice man. I've had a career in advertising. So I'm warped. I admit it. Though it lasted only three years about forty years ago.

Again, sorry. I'm gone now. Wouldn't darken your doorstep again. Honest. Wishing you well and success. You even look like you deserve a great life, which I do wish you. But lose the fist, or the big smile, preferably both, given your unclear and unidentified animus."

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

YES, IT’S ALL A FREAK SHOW, INDEED* I can well believe it takes all the air out of the room. I didn't watch Frontline’s Charlottesville** documentary though. I know what happened, basically, and may see it someday. I'm very happy it's televised and available. Right now though, it's all too real and near and possible. I need the mental cushion of just knowing, and not looking. I well know what it looks like already. As did many of my relatives back in and around The Pale, who didn't live to speak of it, and I've lived the entire silence about the subject with an extended family for 60-plus years. It's too loud a devastating subject to ever even whisper about. What are ya gonna do? Anyway? Well, I could join my son, wonderful young man now of dual American-Canadian citizenship living in B.C. It's tempting. I'd love to live near him anyway! Go Northwest, old man, I hear myself think at times. I have felt the strong presence all along, from childhood, riding along with me on a continuum where the past is still happening in its original form, as well as in newer different forms with different victims and different perpetrators, and have followed its course, surfacing here and there, the evil of Rwanda being a signifying manifestation, for instance, Columbine, for another, knowingly perpetrated on Hitler's birthday, subscribing for years to the Southern Poverty Law newsletter which recounts all reported hate crimes in the U.S. in climbing monthly totals into the dozens per month after month and rising with a bullet, with accounts of the crimes and those committing them and why. You don't have to look far or long. You can scan the headlines every single day. It's too easy. What's hard is to block it out. It's amazing how many people do, for different reasons. Two of them: Because it could never happen to me. Because it could happen to me. You're both wrong! It's happening now, somewhere, all the time. The fuse is lit. The race is on and here comes heartache. And now that "it" has the American presidential and one major party’s personal approving imprimaturs on it, with no American institution yet proving capable of seriously restraining it or cutting its power off at the knees with one swoop of the sword of justice, I think it's okay to begin to feel, or anticipate the beginning of feeling of...It. Is. Happening. Here. And yes…It. Can. Still. Be. Deterred. But it's easily as likely that it won't be. Already it's underway, with the easiest victims first to be demonized, officially denounced (yes, that is key), and gotten rid of like slaves at auction, with their prospects torn limb from limb as if by wolf packs, if not brutally imprisoned. Yes, not too cheery lately. I’ve even felt the need to reach back eight years for an upbeat song to record, just to feel like I'm doing something positive, that something's worth doing, and hopefully to soon send it out into a cold perplexed confused world that's looking for some warmth and clarity. I'll keep my warmth, thank you, until 'it' pries it from my cold dead body, but the world should have my clarity. It’s refreshing, and terrifying. With this song maybe I'll finally make a buck out of art! Or at least out of music. It'd be nice to be rewarded for my long harrowing doctor-it's-my-eyes personal monitoring of what's now emerged right from under our own 600 million feet**, and my musical response to it. It'd be almost cleansing, so to speak, though not ethnically. It’s easy to get lost in such a big parade*** * Title borrowed from Liz. ** Other potential and real documentaries among a galaxy of possibilities: Andersonville Georgia (not far from Plains) 13000 murdered, Sharpeville Transvaal South Africa 69 murdered, El Mozote El Salvador 800 murdered, Kigali Rwanda up to a million murdered, Srebenica Bosnia 8000 murdered). And the beat goes on. Drums keep pounding rhythm to the brain. Maybe Cher can still do something. Sonny Bono wrote a hell of a good song, ya know? Distracted yet? *** Actual carnage may vary.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

                                               Two Dreams of One Thing

After about seven or eight years in our home, and of those seven or eight years of immersing himself outdoors in our little woods, loving the outdoors as the Life Itself it is for him, because he is so fused with its grandness and its fascinating particulars, and its sensory wonderland, after all this time the seven or eight brutally hot summers have finally driven Tsavo to this August corner of the living room cottage surrounded on two sides by its five-foot tall rows of windows that provide a comprehensive visual immersion into his woods.

He finds rest and summer solace behind these windows and naps more deeply and prolifically in residence here than anywhere else in our home, instead of his more brief usual cat naps that have sustained his outdoor ranger forays and helped bring him home each day to complete the pride.

Even when one day he becomes old and can no longer be an easily vigorous embodiment of feline outdoor curiosity and investigation, he will be able to bask and nap in the windows to his world, his private enclave where invigorating memories of scents and sights and sound intimate knowledge of the creature kinds who inhabit Tsavo's world will play out before him, visible and real, beckoning him to knowingly inhabit his worlds in an expanded dream,
the dream of a lifetime.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Tsavo, the Bird Feeder, and the Journey Down to Home

He's still there on the roof now at dark, 9:18 Austin time. Coyotes prowl. Big hoot owls hunt, occasionally in pairs. A big loud hoot owl couple live here alongside us. Middle of the night yesterday they landed in our front yard and started a really loud hootenanny, for some reason, close to our open window. It sounded so raucous, spontaneous and odd it was fairly hilarious to hear and lasted a few minutes.

Will Tsavo make it past tonight's gauntlet and get home safely? Will I feel the need to pick up an empty laundry basket, hold it upstretched over my head, and coax him to jump into it from the roof as we've done numerous times, usually during the daytime? It's not as far down a jump as you might think. I stand on the steps to the porch so it's only a short drop for him. And when I feel his gentle touch plop down in the floor of the basket, I am genuinely relieved and happy, and he and I feel close.

Then I'll carry him home in his 'sedan chair' with him ruling over all he can see, including me, as he peers out over his realm. He will from time to time lean back and rub his head on my forehead. I am his and he is mine. And I am at your service, my liege, my King of the Forest and Rooftop.

When we make this sedan chair sojourn at night, nocturnal Tsavo truly becomes in his element, and if he's not high in a tree overseeing his domain, the laundry basket is his next favorite perch.

It's almost decision time for the basket bearer. I wonder if Tsavo's come down yet. Sometimes he stays there until I'm safely removed from the scene so he can exercise his now-free choice to wander the woods at night against my preferences. He knows about things like strategy, you see. A good hunter always understands his prey and his pack animal, of which, to be clear, I am the latter.

In the dark of the roof, Tsavo took several seconds longer than usual to trust I wouldn't drop the basket and him with it and also to secure his footing for the drop-in. Yet it went as smoothly as it always does.

He rode home in the sedan chair, was placed down on the living room floor still in it, jumped out of the basket (it became a basket again after being carried inside), ate his kibble dinner in peace, and washed it down with water from the big leftover dog bowl, and he probably is experiencing a bit of a letdown (oh, good accidental pun) after being up high alongside the big oak branches he's climbed by day and under a mellowing clear sky about to be lit by a big round bright orb on a pleasant cooling-down night.

The wages of being civilized. The Tradeoff. Not a living wage, I will add. But we make do.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

And it is his realm
from the scaled heights of oak branches
angling for the best sunlight
to the leaf beds in the shadows of twin trunks
where an ant courses around his languid resting profile
and along the cat paths connecting all his favored spots
Tsavo peers into a realm best experienced
as a shared cascade of signs flowing
into his accumulating sensorial awareness
the better to understand the grand minutenesses of realm.

Friday, May 4, 2018

T R U E   H O M E L A N D

Larry Piltz

Why is this sweet world we live in

so torn between chaos and Zen
with extremes at either end
like enemies and lifelong friends
starvation and stock dividends
a young child's death yet love transcends
are we really blowing in these winds
with not that much on which to depend
can we compromise in a scale of ten
must our safe place be a lion's den
and our safe word something to defend
must we wait around for the worst to begin
if peace breaks out don’t we all win
there's a lot to learn if we don't pretend
that chaos comes from some original sin
what starts the wars again and again
who stands to gain from this which men
they must not care we all are kin
nor care about the shape we’re in

In truth there's hardly mystery
what's up with all our history
a volatile and blistery
irrationally pissed story
no wonder it's a fist story
a violence is the gist story
bombs bursting makes the worst story
and despite the good a cursed story

I prefer a herstory
to bring about the best in we
much more than just a cursory
retelling from the nursery
but a story shared with honesty
and fearlessness to help us see
that greed is a type of sorcery
that mainly creates enemies

I'm not immune to tempting fate
and hope I'm not unfascistically late
to point out what I think is great
it's surely not resentment hate
exclusion a scapegoated immigrant's fate
instead we need to congregate
just inside an open gate
and share this world this very date

There's more than enough to go around
enough to make the world resound
with gratitude while love compounds
on openminded common grounds
employing hearts and minds unbound
many reclaimed from lost and found
this will bring a great reknown
a kind and generous rebound

Great wealth's goal is control and power
not to share but to hoard and glower
if you dare ask more per hour
and think for yourself and forget to cower
Regard the daisy be a flower
be pretty and sweet and don’t be sour
you look so nice from my golden tower
say how's that trickledown cold shower

And you'd better keep a smile
or be called disloyal and hostile
so be a threat not servile
give an inch take a mile
let's work our magic break the dial
be the resistance go mobile
and see it through with grit and style
though great wealth acts with gall and guile

It's not us seeking out to blame
there's someone seeking to defame
and bully good folks with his shame
and forcing a vile hatred game
and doing it in your good name

Who’s this bully this mark of Cain
is he a Christ a king to reign
he’s the one who truly loves your pain
and craves your loss ‘cause it’s his gain

The bully lives high above the laws
he commands the heights and admits no flaws
challenge him you’ll know his claws
his wealth and fame are his one true cause

It's the bully's con and you’re the mark
his thrill to keep you in the dark
to him we’re servants on his ark
to the new world of The Patriarch
a world of wars and oligarchs
a world of madness cruel and stark
for his own sake The Patriarch
keeps our sweet world his private park

The bully is who starts the wars
you fight to the death that's what we're for
there's always violence in store
cause bully needs a little more

Welcome to the USA Patriarch Act & Panic Attack
with spying dying and lying to your face and behind your back
it’s a crackdown smackdown trackdown and meltdown
I’m indicted with fiction though punished in fact
by death or internment in or deporting from 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 dangerous crime
say the thought and do hard time
then parable 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 I’ll let you read my personal mail
watch the law go postal when justice fails

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 natural disgust
as it reads you its rights and insists on your trust

Who might it be who turns you in
your neighbor mother ruh roh 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
oh that will 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 queer or some other phobic jeer
from our macho police in their bondage gear

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

In ancient Rome when it started a war
dictators were chosen for what was in store
our chosen dictator makes war on the poor
freezes free choice 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 various teams
first 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
then too many are shackled and memory's estranged
and royal dynasties still become deranged
with headlines still shouting there’s nothing here strange

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

So you’d better make that living will
and polish up your survival skill
certain preachers say there’s a time to kill
oh the thrills and the chills and whose blood will spill

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 rocket’s red glare crematorium
can you hear it above the delirium
as the Air Force bombs the stadium
oh how so proudly we've hailed
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 patriaddicts aren’t like me
they wave the flag it proves they’re free
free to pay The Patriarch Fee
of whatever the Big Daddies say it should be
or else be labeled the enemy

Meanwhile the army's exported all loaded and locked
as Marines and sailors wave bye to the dock
and the next of kin just stand there in shock
look Wars 'R Us is issuing stock
buy yours now be the first on your block
no matter how deeply you and the homeland are in hock
and surprise the wars will come home knock knock
you'll be caught between the hard place and a rock
and you'll wonder how you could have believed all that crock

Propaganda is foreplay full speed ahead damn the prepositions
fight them there freedom's march us or them target acquisition
army strong army of one be all you can be Operation Revision
Defend der Fatherland Homeland Security sloganeering addiction
it's all bullying by bullshit psychological attrition
as the propagandists desperately avoid deposition
to question them they consider sedition
if you accuse them here comes your legal rendition
as martial law's invoked to crucify opposition

I try to ignore all the militarist poseurs
sitting in armchairs safe from exposure
cheering the killer robot bulldozers
but it’s getting harder to keep my composure

It’s Blood Sacrifice ordered by our leaders all hustlers
bloodletting daily by these genocidal rustlers
slaughtering people in unjust wars
families towns and cities always starting with the poor

Herding people with unmanned missiles
spewing through the air like bloody thistles
if you listen you can hear the ghastly whistles
as we turn people into ghosts and gristle

We use alienating lethal ideology
zombie all-devouring technology
and treat our war criminals as prodigies
who determine their victims by symbology

Wars are our fatal fashion shows
designed by fascistissimos
with runways launching deadly blows
with the perennial theme of Nihilism's Throes

We give cute violent names to our superweapon models
bombshells for the bloodlust which we coddle
so addictive I'll be shocked if they're not bottled
will we ever learn to pull back on that throttle
is it any wonder our reputation's mottled

We worship our knockout sexy symbols
from pickup truck size to fits in a thimble
resist war culture and refuse to assemble
these future relics so dastardly nimble

The Predators  Cobras  Raptors  Grim Reapers
Tomahawks  Hellfires  Harpoons  Deep Sleepers
Stingers  Crusaders  Tridents  Intruders
why not one named for Jeb Stuart Magruder
Avengers  Black Knight  Shockwave  Javelins
rockets engineered for the bad guy travelin’
The Goodbye Weapon  America’s Ray Gun
and I’m sure those last two are totally way fun
The Punisher  Excalibur  Dread  Apache
and a gas that will make you throw up and die scratching
and remember Fat Man and the Little Boy
oh the nostalgia for some of our earlier toys
and the modern but milder Daisy Cutter
that cuts down a forest as if it’s hot butter

Screaming Eagle  Strike Eagle  Falcon  Hornet
Viper  Venom  Growler  The Disemboweler
Lulu  Matador  Honest John  Ding Dong
Hound Dog  Little Dog  Little John  Lance
Davy Crockett  Condor  Red Snow  Red Beard
Blue Cat  Blue Fox  Blue Peacock  Blue Slug
Blue Danube  Blue Rosette  Blue Water  Blue Steel
Green Bamboo  Green Cheese  Green Flash  Green Granite
Green Grass  Indigo Hammer  Violet Club  Yellow Sun
Orange Herald  Locust  Fort Knox  Hellcat
Bulldog  Hercules  Herky Bird  Spectre
Puff the Magic Dragon  Wolverine  Snark  Slugger
Priest  Wolf  Lynx  Cougar  Fox  Buffalo
Stryker  Guardian Angel  Wrecker  Spooky  Spooky

We knowingly kill children with explosive clusters
no safety from them or the vile bunker busters
there's hot uranium spread among the living and the dead
what kind of mutant strain dreams that up in their head
there can never be enough grieving and tears shed

All the stealth machines glorified in magazines
the fire and forgets without care or regrets
the carriers the Harriers the hurriers the worriers
the minders the blinders the screaming Sidewinders
the brawlers and crawlers the brutes and the stalkers
our own Imperial Walkers
the sieges famines and plagues
these leaders should be in The Hague
with their cheerleader militarist poseurs
how would that be for closure

If you truly believe in fair or free trade
the flow of ideas and the progress we’ve made
then tell me why the 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
but quit living to discriminate
our tolerance will keep us hopeful and great

So go ahead and raise my rent
blow my mind it has its bent
but when you come for the innocent
you've gone way too far dear homeland

Speaking of let's lift up high our frosted mugs
our pharmaceuticals and whiskey jugs
someday we'll work out all the bugs
and toast the victorious war against drugs
oh the euphoria Sisyphus shrugs
The Master has built another gulag
now have another slug and give your homeland a hug

Let’s have our real party on democracy's lawn
and celebrate each vote and each liberating dawn
all equal and free with no class lines drawn
no kings no queens no rook no pawns
won’t keep us in check 'cause it's all hands on deck

Now we come together as one
through times hard and fun
with no injustice undone
yes our work's just begun
and we don't need a gun
no violence none
'cause under one common sun
all living things run
in the one common band
in our hearts through the land
this our truth our demand
our promise our stand
and democracy's our plan
for our new homeland
for our True Homeland
everyone hand in hand
it's our land

Friday, March 16, 2018

My Memaw from Old Mamou
(A Song for the Old Bayou)

I love these days in my Texas hills
the laidback folks and quiet thrills
purple mountain laurel blooms and dry creek spills
bouquets of oaks, beaucoup les fleurs, endless limestone sills

But I miss my young and tender days
sweet fragrance of night, misty morning rays
folk songs of the storks on waterways
that lace the ground where I used to play

I want to be there and see mon cher
on your porch and take you to the parish fair
oh that face you bet I'll kiss
I'll kiss your hands and hair
even now my heart goes flying

Straight back to the arms of old Mamou
where love is slow like the old bayou
where my love still grows
je taime I love you
and I need to see you Memaw

My Memaw from old Mamou
without you what would I do
you're doing just fine it's true
but I need to see you Memaw

My Memaw from old Mamou
without you what would I do
you're doing just fine it's true
but I need to see you Memaw
my Memaw from old Mamou
my Memaw from old Mamou

[Instrumental Chorus]

When I get home you'll be sitting there
all cozied up in your sitting chair
you'll ask, are they treating my baby fair,
as you thread your fingers through my hair

I once knew well why I left home
and don't regret a moment's roam
but now it's clearer than any poem
I need to see my Memaw

My Memaw from old Mamou
without you what would I do
you're doing just fine it's true
but I need to see you Memaw

my Memaw from old Mamou
without you what would I do
and you're doing just fine it's true
but I need to see you Memaw
my Memaw from old Mamou
my Memaw from old Mamou

Thought Xperiment @JEWanon  # jfds ;lfjrjfsdr There's a fluid stasis as the basis for those thoughts that hound ...