Heart-held Truth

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In your heart you know what is right and wrong, fair and unfair, kind and unkind. All the rest is just choice on how to deal with that heart-held truth, whether acknowledged or denied. Your choices here are the day-to-day and minute-to-minute reflections of your true worth, your character. A clear-eyed self-regard is always better than acclaim and career success, because success in our society is an uncertain superficiality dependent on the whims and wiles of the entertained, the opinionated and the opportunistic; while gaining a justifiable self-regard is the only way to peacefully live with yourself, whom it is impossible to ever sanely escape.

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Poverty Draft

B-25 (WWII medium bomber) in 1987.

I don’t think that poor young men and women should have to risk their lives to increase the fortunes of rich old men and women. The G.I. Bill of a bygone era was a just and kind gesture of gratitude by the USAmerican nation to its surviving veteran warriors. Today, that gesture has been prostituted into an unjust and dishonest baiting of the hopes-for-their-futures of our youth, to drag them down into a militarized indentured servitude – a term of slavery – with the possibility of gaining funding for a modest education if they survive to request it. A better nation would fund the education of all its youth lavishly, and fund its war industries and their speculators poorly if at all. Today, it isn’t that educational and medical costs are “high,” it is that moral standards are low.

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Tony Judt was on it (the failure of neo-liberal “globalization”) in 1997.
https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/united-states/1997-09-01/social-question-redivivus

Today’s belated admission of what has been obvious for 38 years (at least):
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jul/14/globalisation-the-rise-and-fall-of-an-idea-that-swept-the-world

MG,Jr. was on it (the failure of neo-liberal “globalization”) in 2003:
http://swans.com/library/art19/mgarci66.html

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Mazurka Beans

Mazurka Beans

I look down into a pot of beans, shaking oregano,
sunlight shines through the trees and fills the house,
the music of Chopin Mazurkas fills the air,
spilling out the open door diffusing into the streams of light.

I look down into a pot of beans – black beans –
the food of Cuba, of Puerto Rico,
the dish I loved my mother to make.
Below the carpet of basil, oregano, paprika, cumin, salt and pepper,
the black beans soak, their skins browned in garlic olive oil,
mingling with chopped ham and onions,
caressed by diced stewed tomatoes,
all blending into a nectar of the earth,
a nourishment, a celebration, an essence of a culture –
sabor.

I look down into that textured herbal blanket
waiting to see the eruption of bubbles signaling a boil,
a brown boil with blood red flashes rending the herbal shroud
and issuing billows of aromatic steam,
the taste of the south like the spirit of its people –
rising, rising –
to overwhelm with luxuriant sensuality
the thin dryness of a pallid north.

I look down into that pot of black beans in this perfect moment
and I see the entire world radiating out –
the entire interpenetrating web
created and unfurled beyond the edges of infinity –
like the eightfold rays of Buddha truth,
flung from the vortex-eye of a Tibetan sand mandala.
Time evaporates, mind is one, “I am who am.”

Outside, I hear my little girl,
babbling and toddling like a little sparrow sifting through the leaves,
as purple florets of lantana sway in the mazurka breeze – music,
the kiss that transcends time,
the breath that transcends death –
and little Ella’s arrow gaze and impish smile
are my eternal rebellion’s salute to a narrow sleeping world.

I am the pepper in your pot of beans,
the heat rising from below,
the browned garlic olive skin rubbing up against you,
the nectar blended from many fine extracts and cultivations,
heir of an ancient and unending impetus,
the innocence and adventure of eternal experience –
an enticement, a flood –
the love-child of revolution and sustenance –
sabor.

19 May 2001

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My Excellent Independence Day Rant, 2017

John Kennedy’s grave, April 1964

My Excellent Independence Day Rant, 2017

Bigotry lets stupid people feel powerful. They are bigots because they are greedy, and they are greedy because they are fearful. They are fearful because they are hollow, and desperate for their materialism and worship of power to fill the void of their lack of character, to mask their internal weakness with an illusion of external power.

In American politics: bigotry is allowed to shape the arguments, and money is allowed to control the voting. Hillary Clinton had the most well-deserved electoral defeat in American history; Donald Trump, the most undeserved win. It’s not Trump’s fault, the preference for TV over books inoculates ignorance and bigotry against learning and knowledge.

The corporate-owned politicians lie because lying is the sound of theft. They are the agents of those who think: “The purpose of life is to enrich yourself without being impeded by the needs of others.” The news media propaganda industry is rich people paying rich people to tell middle class people to blame poor people, who middle class people are joining. The lie being pushed is that fulfillment is to be had in a system of economic apartheid without economic security and without personal freedom.

Suffer we must, for billionaires’ money lust depends on it. For consolation we can have: clueless comforting happy talk, or searing bitter bigotry, unless we choose better.

In systems of patronage capitalism it is necessary to sell out your integrity and moral character in order to advance a financially rewarded career. You have to go along to get along. It’s like the perpetuating of physical-sexual abuse through the generations: as a child (or young worker starting out) you are abused by your seniors who demand you loyally cover their asses and slavishly submit to their demands – you cannot be impeded by moral principles or self-respect; as a rising star you find even bigger abusive tyrants to follow while recruiting your own ass-kissing minions to expand your power base; and finally as (and if) a successful pharaonic mega-abuser yourself you get to beat up multitudes, remotely, by using your army of slave-drivers and aspiring tyrants. The seed of all this is weak character, the lack of courage and/or strength to maintain personal integrity regardless of the costs in terms of comfort, money, social position, recognition, and acceptance by the herd.

Q: “Why spend $600B a year on a military to protect us if you Trumpsters and Corp-pols are willing to let us die of treatable diseases and ailments?”

A: You miss the point. The purpose of the US military is to protect Big Capital (corporate assets and operations, and plutocrats’ take), not the public. Also, the economic policy of the U.S. (i.e., the corporate-owned government and economy) is militarism: the big insiders’ war machine / finance capital profit cycle. “The people” are just an excess labor mass from which to extract wealth, and on which to dump the toxic wastes and financial costs (“socialized losses”) of exploiting and privatizing the commons. The graveyards of our war dead are garbage dumps for capitalist expansion. The U.S. is neither united nor a nation, it is a colony. “We the people” are expendable commodities steadily being programmed for slavery. The American Dream: commercializing life and death, and cornering the market.

America has a capitalist system whose foreign policy is imperialism, domestic policy is colonialism, economic policy is militarism, and management policy is patronism.

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Passing Thoughts

Everybody I know looks older now,
much older,
and many have fallen away
like last year’s autumn leaves.
I walk through the noisy light of day
wrapped in a quiet mist of memories
rebounding from the unhearing
as wasted words, phantom vibrations.
Silence is best as I watch your sorrows unfold.
After decades I realize it is not my help that matters,
but my empathy,
and have come to be resigned
to its being as unknown as I am unseen.
Perhaps I, too, walked blindly through kind knowing
by souls of living history in my time,
trailing eddies of wasted empathy
in the wake of my blazing urgency.
So now, I look back with understanding and see,
but can only shout to your budding future as silence.
It seems our lives must be this way
so you can discover your anguish
with the same freshness as I did mine.

25 June 2017

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Memorial Day 2017, Unfiltered.

John Kennedy’s grave, April 1964

Thank God!, Betsy DeVos (US Secretary of Education, and fanatical crusader for school privatization) realizes that what American parents really want is what the State of Israel has now: the US government-subsidized apartheid of their choice.

The American people do not have the right to healthcare, or job security, or food, or childcare, or a good education, or housing security, or clean water, or truth-in-advertising, or climate security, or internet access, or public transportation, or respect from police, or fiscal equality before the law, or protection from corporate monopolies, or privacy, or equality of treatment based on gender, or the freedom to choose which toilet room to pee and poop in. But, the American people do have the right to their bigotries, and the right – proportional to their wealth – to have them subsidized by the US government. This is what we mean by “freedom” in America: the freedom to exercise the bigotry of your choice without government interference!

Kissinger is still unindicted, Bush is still unindicted, Colin Powell (the officer in charge of keeping the My Lai massacre under wraps) is still unindicted, Elliot Abrams is still unindicted (again), Oliver North is still unindicted, Bush is still unindicted, Cheney is still unindicted, Condoleezza Rice is still unindicted, and many more. America certainly must hold the record for hosting the largest number of unindicted war criminals, in lives of comfort and even luxury.

“War is a racket. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.” (Smedley Butler 1881-1940)

America lost the Vietnam War, but its war criminals got away with it.

An Iraq War veteran, on being thanked for his service: “I didn’t serve, I was used.”

So many graves with American flags flying over them are, sadly, burials of used soldiers, and also of this nation’s morality.

PBS will air a Ken Burns documentary on the Vietnam War this fall. I’m sure it will be infotaining. To what extent it will expand the public mind, and elevate the American public’s moral character, is hard to say. The PBS promo trailer prompted these thoughts:

“Those who have forgotten the past are condemned to repeat it.” As are those who only remember their illusions, preferences and prejudices about past and present reality. There is a great deal the American people (and their “leaders”) could learn about themselves and their (not very equitably shared) country, by absorbing the many painful lessons of the Vietnam War. However, that has not happened, and I doubt it can happen for quite some time (ever?). Having lived through the period, I look at America today and I think: hopeless. If ignorance is bliss then America is paradise.

My own shrine to the victims and the truly noble of that war is here:
https://manuelgarciajr.com/2015/02/22/haunted-by-the-vietnam-war/

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Love for a Mother

You know how you fall in love with a woman,
young, or at least never a mother,
still with that leanness hinting of girlhood;
and you have your times and adventures,
and wonderful moments together
enjoying all the sweet pleasures that come from love;
till the day comes when you realize –
you’ve grown familiar,
your routines are habits,
life has reached a crux,
will something be added?,
will something be lost?
And she turns to you one day in all her loveliness,
sitting leaning back, soaking up the sun at the beach,
as beautiful as you’ve ever imagined her,
and she says “I want a baby.”
“Of course,” you say, “I love you,”
and it takes a great deal of that to make a baby.
It is then that you learn why nature made love so engaging;
for love’s purpose is to remove the functioning of mind
from the process of reproduction.
Soon, she is absorbed completely in herself,
with life revolving around her three concerns:
what am I feeling?,
what am I eating?,
what am I wearing?
And you, dear boy,
are now a forgotten accessory of a former life,
a life completely taken over by the alien invader,
the explosion in the belly of your former manhood trophy.
You are no longer the practice child,
your second mother has gone,
your role now is to fetch and carry,
to bring what is needed for the comfort of her egg;
and so are children brought into this life.

Time passes,
it never seems that long in retrospect,
and the whole spectrum of this fresh childhood
flashes through your life, and your children grow,
to lose their fascination with your presence,
fading into a smattering of phone calls and birthday cards.

You glance up,
releasing a breath you may have held for decades,
and you see her again,
how beautiful, this mother you’ve married,
a bathing beauty you can still see so clearly
within that soft layer of maternity,
her mind abuzz with families of distractions,
seeing past you like a breeze she walks through
after decades of silent practice with each other.
Time and intermingled living add such depth
to what endures in our affections.
Ah, the young lovers, lost in each other,
how little they know of this love for a mother.
This trophy has taken you
from merely being a man to truly being a hero.
You see that girl who could dance all night,
you see that woman of love beyond dreaming.
You catch her eye, and ask “now?”
She smiles that smile, and walks your way.

3 April 2002

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