END OF THE LINE (Bernie 2016)

I will always love Bernie Sanders for waking up so much of America to the reality of our corrupt political system, which serves an enslaving corporate-controlled economic system. I just watched Bernie’s speech at the Democratic Convention (25 July), in which he pledged to help elect Hillary Clinton to the presidency, because he believes that is the best hope for moving the Democratic Party platform (the most progressive in the party’s history because of Sanders’ influence) from words of promise into legislated reality.

I feel very sad, seeing the wonderful Bernie hanging his hopes for a better America on the commitments of Hillary Clinton and the corporate-owned Democratic Party (i.e., graft network). “Hillary Clinton understands,” and will no doubt live up to all her promises, we can trust her to take care of us. Uh huh.

So today, the 25th of July 2016, is undoubtedly the first day of the Trump presidency, the beginning of its preamble which will reach a crescendo on November 8, and then be legitimized on the 20th of January 2017. The best hopes for the next four years in America, and perhaps for a generation, were strangled in their Democratic Party crib today. I will always hate all Hillary Clinton voters, and I will always pity all Donald Trump voters.

Trump voters are too stupid to do any better, and many of them are justifiably angry over how they have been exploited economically. It is perfectly understandable that they would rebel against their political impotence by throwing the monkey wrench of a vote for Trump into the gears of the system. So, I pity them. Hillary voters, on the other hand, are smart enough to realize just how stupid their identity politics vanity is. Is the advancement and enrichment of one very corrupt woman really worth the many sacrifices the nation and its people must endure to sustain it? Is the thrill of being able to say “I voted for the first American woman president” really more important than the futures of our children, and the welfare of so many hard-pressed people? For Hillary Clinton voters it is, and so I hate them.

In terms of the careers and continuing kickbacks and graft for Hillary and her patronage network, and the DNC and its associated elites, a Trump presidency would certainly be bad. But, would it necessarily be equally bad for us regular Americans? It would undoubtedly be a clown show punctuated with failures, disasters and catastrophes, but in an overall sense would it be worse for most Americans as compared to the continuation of the present corporate-owned (Wall Street, including Saudi Arabia and Israel) corruption under a new Hillary Clinton brand name? I don’t know, but my best hope for the future is that it won’t.

I expect that Trump would mess things up enough that by the 2018 midterm elections, Democrats would gain House and Senate seats. By 2020, Trump might have stampeded the American voters into bringing back a Democratic Party president (ideally not Hillary). Trump would really do America a service if he could motivate (negatively, of course) Americans to vote for progressive and Green Party candidates in droves in 2018 and 2020. I’d like to see the first American woman president be Nina Turner or Jill Stein in 2020.

After today, I will be making an effort to work on my personal projects, and not spend time writing political commentary or with social media. I’ve said this in the past, but seem to drift back (it’s like dieting). I hope I can make it stick this time. I don’t want to waste any more time.

End Of The Line
https://youtu.be/cwqhdRs4jyA

Night Sail

Night Sail

Soft wind gently through shore grass waving,
Alone by the tall mast sailing at night.
Fields of stars stretch far beyond seeing,
The great river flow is quavering moonlight.

All my writing is born for oblivion,
Myself, aged past thought by people today.
Heaven, Earth and I are sounding the One
Out of sand-gull wings fluttering away. <>

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>

MG,Jr. version of Tu Fu’s poem Nocturnal Reflections While Travelling.
This paraphrasing was spurred by reading (and appreciating) Robert Okaji’s example.
http://robertokaji.com/2015/11/01/night-journey-after-tu-fu-2/

Stay Human

Stay Human
Useless Words of Sorrow, Early July 2016

Very sad about the world today. Two innocent American Black men killed by White police officers the last two days, and videos of the killings posted on the internet and seen by many millions. Great rage and sadness, and fear. People try to vent their rage in mass protests, just milling in the streets and screaming out their agony, anything to deal with the pain, ages of pain fresh again. And it’s frustrating because it seems so pointless, we cycle and cycle endlessly in the same inhuman and idiotic pattern, wasting more innocent lives, damaging more fragile psyches of loved ones and children.

It’s so heartbreakingly obvious and so incredibly overdue for fixing that even our elegant president, Obama, feels compelled to address the nation at length: words of sympathy, even empathy, but so carefully crafted to soothe rather than incite, or call out explicitly for resolute action. Sometimes the best salve for a raw wound are words of raw truth. The political people always have their agendas, their legacies, and their prospects foremost in mind, and words from the heart must be filtered and second-guessed. But this is not the time for equivocation from a leader. It is time for a revolution.

And today, our collective societal dysfunction unravelled further into urban warfare, the toxic mix of belligerent ignorance, racial bias, assault rifles, and lost hope among the powerless for the liberating and protective implementation of justice. In Dallas, two snipers perched in elevated parking structures opened triangulated fire on police officers assembled at street level to manage the crowd scene of a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest, after the march ended as the people were dispersing. The reports at this moment list 11 police officers shot with 5 fatalities; one sniper is cornered and police are negotiating a surrender, the second sniper is unaccounted for.

To me this is all pure tragedy, pure waste, pure injustice. Whoever you are, whatever your afflictions and excuses, the only positive response to unjust deaths is the prevention of more unjust deaths. Just stop, people: new pain does not erase old pain. I could accept that America is just unable to do any better than to be a country of stupidity, guns, impatience and selfishness, if it could at least keep its brutish insensitivity within the bounds of un-bigoted non-violence. I would so much rather the knuckleheads of this country would wake up to the essential goodness of a just society as Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein envision and champion it. But, I’m a dreamer, and I’ve been that way since I listened to John Kennedy’s inaugural address (he, too, was shot in Dallas).

The events of these last three days have given me just the tiniest bit of a visceral twinge of what life and sorrow are like in places like Syria and Iraq. On July 3rd, 292 (latest count) people were killed by an ISIS truck bombing attack at a shopping center in a Shiite area of Baghdad. In subsequent days Shia, Sunni and Christian Iraqis gathered at the site to protest the outrage, and the attempt to incite civil war.

It all just goes on and on. Today’s cruelties will do nothing to assuage the legacies of yesterday’s cruelties, just as past cruelties have never had any tangible effect beyond creating more enduring sorrows, and quickly evaporate as justifiable excuses for inflicting future cruelties. It’s all so hideously wrong. Whoever you are and whatever your excuse, just stop whatever you are doing that even remotely feeds this beast. Forget about winning, forget about getting, forget about compelling, just remember to be human, that means to be part of humanity. It’s so obvious every child understands it. It’s about keeping your soul. What is your soul beyond how you relate to other people? Our individual sadnesses over the tragedies of these days is an upwelling of humanity’s soul reaching out seeking comforting reassurance of being whole, of being interconnected with itself in its multitude of human individuals.

The only real message here is: stay human. Stay human.

A meditation on Cassandra

A meditation on Cassandra,
inspired by the poems of C. P. Cavafy

She looks out west
from up high on the cyclopean stones walls of the city,
past the dusty plain of Ilium,
littered with cracked helmets, broken spears,
dogs sniffing through the debris of battle
to crack marrow out of bones.
She looks beyond the thousand cooking fires of the Achaeans
stretching in a long broken line
fringing the ragged edge of the plain at the sea,
and down below, the dazzling white beach
she had last seen nine years ago
is now blackened by a row of ships, hauled out, hull to hull,
the standards of the tribes snapping in the wind at mast tops.
Beyond is the Aegean,
wine-dark in the light of the dying sun,
and beyond that lay the strange land of the invaders,
of brutal, energetic men
bent on the glory of power
and the power of possession.
Many had already poured their blood
and sunk their bones into the dusty plain,
in sacrifice to their ambition,
having lunged beyond their vision,
stepping out from the light of day into the eternal shade.
And in this was the only bond developed between them,
Trojans and Achaeans,
for both here in Ilium and in the land of the Hellenes
nearly a decade of widowhood had been grown;
there were no spoils and glory for the children of the dead.
Whom the gods would destroy
they first make mad,
and whom they would madden
they fill with a proud ambition.
Death alone is not a tragedy – sorrowful as it may be –
but death at the end of the destruction of all hope.
Then, it is a merciful release, and in that is the tragedy.
Cassandra looked west, out past the wine-dark sea,
past the unseen lands of the Achaeans,
and past the tragedy of her death.
How else could one continue?
Phoebus, the jealous god,
had robbed her gift of prophesy of any credibility
because she refused to give herself to him,
remaining steadfast in her purity
in devotion to religion.
Oh, how cruel these jealous gods, bitten in their vanity,
for spite they wither our gifts into afflictions,
useless now her power of vision, her great beauty and allure.
For none believed in her prophesies,
none listened to her speech,
all were captivated by her beauty
and fixed on her their desires;
she was insane
with the unrelieved frustration of mute clairvoyance.
She walked in from the parapet,
took off her gold thread pearl earrings,
handing them to a servant,
and also her golden webbed necklace,
unclasped her belt of gold chains
with studs of amber and lapis lazuli,
and dropped her tunic.
She gathered her raven’s hair, coiled it high on her head,
pinning it with a turtle-shell comb and golden needle.
She walked into the scented pool,
strewn with the petals of flowers,
and stroked virgin oil across her honeyed virgin skin.
The flute girl played a slow sweet song of evening,
and a servant rubbed warm oil
with slow deep strokes into her back.
Cassandra thought of all who wanted her body,
from the stable-boys and captains of Ilium,
to the guardian women of the king’s harem,
and even to the Sun-god himself;
and she thought of the man who would rape her
at the foot of the altar of Athena,
after killing her father,
as if seeking to yank the flower and cut the root
of the House of Priam
in one fit of hubris on that terrible night
when the slaughter of Ilium’s manhood
would pour out of the belly of a wooden horse –
false gift of treachery and delusion.
Out of her defilement would come the seed of their destruction,
for a multitude would perish – even their chief, Agamemnon.
Athena’s wrath demanded expiation,
to cleanse insult from the sanctity of her temples.
But Cassandra was already dead,
for she knew that her hopes were doomed –
one does not escape the wrath of the gods.
As Cassandra caressed her exquisite body
that servant girls spoke of amongst themselves
and Ilium’s men dreamed of as they took their wives,
she thought of that hot, sweaty, bearded, bloody Little Ajax
who was destined to rip her tunic off
and force her to the ground,
and she wondered what Phoebus thought
of being put off the prize
in favor of this heartless, dirty, little brute.
It was the god’s will that she should suffer so,
and for that she refined her breathless beauty
and timeless grace
so that even in his godly aloofness
Phoebus would feel the sting of his own spite,
the bitter taste of jealousy’s vengeance.
They all thought her mad, none would listen,
it was best not to repeat the coming story,
it only made them frightened, wild, resentful.
No, she had to see the truth and swallow it,
so as not to add misery to the lives of doomed people
during the little time remaining to them.
She drew the scented bath along her arm,
across her breasts,
up her neck and along the line of her jaw,
holding her head back, closing her eyes,
smiling, luxuriating in sensation,
as the flute song hung in the air
and floated with the slightest breeze
out over the walls into the night sky.
She would be taken as a prize for Agamemnon himself,
in the division of the spoils,
and Little Ajax would be swallowed by Poseidon’s waves.
Among the Trojan women – destined for slavery –
there would begin dawning an inkling of Cassandra’s plight,
but there could be little comfort from hearts
so overwhelmed by sorrow, so devastated by loss,
exhausted of love, broken.
For the mad ageless priestess child
who had loved them and suffered for them
in contained delirious transparent isolation,
it would be a small comfort,
this brief, sad time together at the ruins of Troy,
bonded by grief, with sisters and mothers,
before being dispersed to lives of slavery
across the wine-dark sea.
And for Cassandra, at journey’s end,
the bittersweet vengeance – and terror –
of seeing the end of Agamemnon – sacker of Troy –
cut down by his wife Clytemnestra,
mad with grief for the loss of Iphigenia, her daughter
sacrificed by Agamemnon to secure his command
and gain the gods’ favor of fair winds to Troy.
And at this moment Cassandra, too, will meet her end,
an orphan, a dead king’s child-trophy, cut down
by a vengeance forged over a decade from a mother’s grief.
“My bones will be cast out for the dogs”
Cassandra whispers with a smile.
The flute girl and bath attendant meet glances without pause,
“Mad Cassandra,” they nod to each other,
as Cassandra lays back, eyes closed,
bathed in moonlight and music,
humming softly,
so beautiful, so beautiful,
maintaining her grace,
thinking of her release.

29 April 2002

IT’S ALL IN YOUR HEAD (sci-fi horror)

Cell

IT’S ALL IN YOUR HEAD
(a science-fiction horror movie plot)

An alien amoeba sweeps into Earth’s atmosphere and is rained out, infiltrating the aquifers and reproducing prodigiously. Able to withstand the toxins in the environment and pass through water filtration systems, it is consumed by humans. Seeking high quality fat to consume, these amoeba invade human brains to feed, reproduce and radiate by exhalations to infect other hosts.

However, the electro-chemical action of intense neural activity associated with critical thinking disrupts the normal functioning of the alien cell walls, allowing human B cells and T cells to detect and successfully destroy the amoeba. This alien antigen epidemic was discovered by immunologists analyzing MRI brain scans of people expressing different political views, in a study seeking a correlation between immunological robustness and intellectual activity.

Political opinion was chosen as an easy marker of intellectual activity because the sample population could be divided into two distinctive groups: high activity and low activity. That is to say, high activity people were enthusiastic about Bernie Sanders, and low activity people were enthusiastic about either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump (it was impossible to distinguish between the two varieties in the low activity group because of their low signals for brain activity).

Since both groups had an equivalently wide range of physiological variation, the brain scientists were mystified as to what caused some people to exhibit high levels of critical thinking and preferred Sanders, while others had low levels of critical thinking and preferred Clinton or Trump. The mystery was solved when the alien brain-eating amoeba was discovered in the low activity group.

Unfortunately for the brain-eaten, the brain loss was permanent, and at best they could only slow or halt their infections by a strict regimen of vigorous critical thinking. Naturally, this was harder to do with reduced brain capacity. A public health alert went out to the nation to begin vigorous exercising of brains with critical thinking, to combat the epidemic. It was clear that the victim population had been lazy thinkers, and even non-thinkers, prior to the invasion of the alien amoeba, and were thus ripe for infection. A contributing factor to the speedy spread of the epidemic was excessive exposure to mass media, debilitating brain activity.

The public discovery of this epidemic and its societal impact caused an uproar: could the votes of the brain-stricken be nullified, and political power be denied to Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, on the basis of their prominence being a symptom of an epidemic of mental illness caused by an organic brain disease, which was in fact an alien invasion? The brain-healthy argued that allowing the brain-diseased to vote was allowing an alien species (technically, illegal aliens) to subvert the American political system, and undermine national sovereignty. The brain-eaten argued that they had to have who they had to have as president because they had to have them. Pressed further, they gave as reasons: “he/she will protect us from them,” or “she would know what to do,” or “they won’t take my guns away.”

The crisis expanded into one of constitutional law when brain-healthy legislators tried to enact a rider to the First Amendment that required the exercise of free speech that was called “news,” by FCC licensed media, to be verified as factually true, unbiased and accurate prior to broadcast, and for all other commentary to be preceded by a statement of who paid for it, and how they intended to benefit from it. This measure was seen as essential to combat the spread of the epidemic of brain-eating disease, without actually infringing on First Amendment rights. However, the brain-infected vehemently opposed this proposed legislation because it infringed on the right to deceive, which was an essential element in the exercise of the right to profit, which is the entire point of the American economic system. Other reasons given by the opponents of the Truth In Broadcasting Act were: “I’m with her,” “you can’t take away my guns,” “she’ll know what to do” and “he’ll protect us.”

Ominously, the amoeba adapted to the resistance of the active human brain power of critical thinking, by evolving into several strains each attuned to different human cultures. So, the battle between democratic freedom and brain germ slavery spread globally as a spectrum of related disorders. This wrecked havoc with world peace by bringing the concept of respect for cultural diversity into conflict with the expectations of sociopathic, psychotic and inhuman regimes for recognition, respect, deference and greater power in the direction of human affairs.

Some of the most advanced thinkers trying to combat this epidemic began to fear that the parasites would only die out once the host population was consumed: human extinction. Indeed, the actions of the brain-eaten were leading to the collapse of many social systems and much infrastructure essential to the intelligent continuation of human activity. Even the habitability of the planet was now in decay as a result of massive brain-eaten stupidity.

Could the spirit of critical thinking be reignited among the intellectually indolent masses?

Could the brain-evacuation of the stricken be halted, and they brought back to some level of compassionate intellectual functioning?

Could culture-specific campaigns of mental hygiene succeed and link up globally?

Could humanity regain its freedom and its peace by a vast expansion of critical thinking, and its global integration?

Who can say? The battle rages. But this we know for certain: thinking is freedom.

An Island In The Stream

Morning Chamgagne

Pond Shadow

An Island In The Stream

I remember when I was young
and full of testosterone,
ravishing my lovers
with passionate poems.
“I will love you forever”
they all said,
and I meant every word,
even now.
But all those forevers
curled and branched and eddied off
like whorls in clouds
drifting beyond sight,
and swirls in streams
cascading down a tumble of time’s boulders,
out of many nows
into the unknowable void of other futures.
And here we are, we two,
like shipwrecked survivors
tossed up from love’s pitiless ocean
onto an island of companionship,
and peace.
And, what kind of peace?
Tolerance with humor
for the intransigent imperfections
we each insist on maintaining.
And what kind of love?
Gratitude for the acceptance we receive,
for I think we each know
how impossible it would be for any other
to appreciate the genius of each of us.
And now, as we get older,
we’re dead set on getting worse,
from everyone else’s point of view.
So,
I guess we’ll be clinking glasses of champagne
together
in our own private party
as we tumble along in the stream
carrying us through this lost world.
What I am finally learning
is to stop trying to explain anything:
the ignorant are uncomprehending,
the stupid are omniscient,
my memory is long and my time is short.
That someone understands something of another
without so many words
is a gift.
It frees one from the dreary confinement
of social acceptance,
from hypocritical politeness,
from all of them.
We are outside the mainstream,
beyond the pale,
increasingly forgotten castaways,
but together.
And that’s nice.

21 June 2016

Boundary Limit

Western Edge

Boundary Limit

“Bigotry is the disease of the religious.”

“No matter how many ways you try, you cannot find a boundary to consciousness,
so deep in every direction does it extend.” – Herakleitos, ~500 BC

If God exists, is It Christian?
Is God an intolerant monotheist,
who only believes in Its one inflexible form?,
the Jerusalem God of sheep herders and camel drivers,
the choosy God,
the insecure imperialist demanding conformity,
stingy with pleasure – dour –
frightened of women?
Or, would God be an atheist?,
a great unconscious source-point,
manifesting Itself as a natural universe
unfolding endlessly without embedded reason,
without cohesive purpose,
a Godhead of Alzheimer’s vacuity – pure unaware existence.
(And so, can we have aware nonexistence? –
a cognizant void –
of necessity by sheer conceivability?)
Or, perhaps our God is the Zen God,
the Buddhist God of inexplicability,
a weave of awareness and unawareness
folded and braided onto Itself,
with an unending array of parallel self-consciousness,
a confluence of parallels, of flickering perceptibility.
And then, perhaps God is simply a concept,
a characteristic resonance of neural circuitry,
a mental projection easily cast as language construct,
simply a part of the psychic hum of human machinery –
bio-electro-chemical static –
an inconsequential artifact of chance reality.
And then, again, perhaps not.
Certainly, each proclaimed form of God has it uses,
as comfort to its faithful, or their cudgel against infidels.
But, no true God is created by the uses we impose,
the true God is only to be known, and only by the true person.

16 December 2002