Saturday, September 16, 2017

Another poetic creation--this one on Christianity


IS IT TRUE?
 

The only good Christian
is a dead one!
Yes, there are exceptions
(few and far between
I might add), but—
it’s also true that
even a blind squirrel
finds an acorn sometimes!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Another poem of Politically Correct Liberation


COME THE REVOLUTION
THAT LIBERATES ALL
(EVEN THE SIDEWALK!)

O poor,
downtrodden,
plebian
sidewalk,
so nobly
proletarian
in your
being
as you are
walked on
and spit upon
by men
(and some
women too,
who should
know better
because
of their own
structural oppression
under patriarchy).
But your day
shall come,
and you shall
be liberated
from being
walked on
and
trampled under
the shod
and even bare
feet of men
(and yes,
alas!
some women too):
when that
glorious day of the
Proletarian Revolution
comes,
and all oppressed
rise up
to reclaim
their stolen earth.
Including you too,
O noble,
downtrodden,
proletarian
sidewalk!

 

A poem of Politically Correct Liberation


MENAGE À TREE
(originally posted in the Facebook group
“Human Rights for Every Tree—Check Your ‘Human Privilege’”)

 
If only I could be a tree,
Then indeed I could be free;
But alas I'm only human,
Which is really to be subhuman.
I would change, if only I could!
But what can I do but knock on wood?
But that would violate the rights of a tree,
And reduce it but to the level of me.
Oh what a wretched, disgusting fool I am
For having the temerity to be a human man!

Friday, September 1, 2017

It's time for me to run for office (a poem on my political plans)


I’m thinking of
running for Anti-Christ—
because twenty-one hundred
years of Christianity is
certainly more than enough!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Some "kingly" thoughts on Princess Di


I’ve never, ever had kindly thoughts on constitutional monarchies, such as Britain’s, which is not only an oxymoron, but a ridiculous anachronism.  And even less tolerance for absolute monarchies, which still prevail in Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern Arab states, not to mention that de facto monarchy in the grossly-misnamed Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea), where its first leader, Kim Il-sung, was succeeded in power by his son, Kim Jong-il, and he, in turn by his son, Kim Jong-un—such regimes are cruel despotisms, medieval-style tyrannies in this, the 21st Century!  Nor for that narrow-based “electoral” monarchy, the Catholic Papacy, where the Pope is “elected” to succeed his predecessor only by a vote among the Cardinals, who choose one such from their small ranks.  To this diehard socialist and democratic republican, monarchies of any sort are just plain atavistic and stupid.  Period!  

Aesthetically, the last word on monarchies, especially the British, was stated by the seminal British punk rock band, the Sex Pistols, in their outrageously but delightfully snarky song, “God Save The Queen;” a notable protest song that , I’m glad to say, although written in 1976, the 25th Jubilee of the rule by Queen Elizabeth II, still outpolled the actual Queen’s 65th Jubilee by 3-1 among the British populace!   I’m proud to have penned a poem honoring the Sex Pistols, published in Indianapolis’s Flying Island literary journal in 2015, posted online at http://flyingislandjournal.blogspot.com/2015/10/sex-pistols-we-are-all-punks-poem-by.html;
along with a link to a video of the Sex Pistols performing “God Save The Queen,” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=02D2T3wGCYg.

That being said, I did (and still do) have a warm spot in my heart for that outrageous commoner, Fergie, Sarah Ferguson, who married into the British Royal Family and proceeded to turn it topsy-turvy; and also for that other commoner, Kate, now Duchess of Cambridge and baby-making factory, who’s so outraged the Queen on several times when, on official visits, the wind has accidentally blown up her skirt in public, showing a delightful pair of gams!  (See, as male, I’m automatically “sexist” according to Politically Correct feminist women—so I’ll just revel in it, as that’s the way I’m biologically hard-wired!)  And yes, of course, that member of minor British royalty, Princess Di, Diana, who ended up haplessly in marriage to Prince Charles; and who died tragically in an auto accident in Paris 20 years ago this year.

Despite her royal blood, and the surely humiliating ritual of being examined by Royal Physicians to ensure she was still a virgin at the time of her marriage, Di was affably down-to-earth in ways the Royal Family wasn’t.  Further, she delighted the tabloids by wearing skimpy bikinis, and by even having an affair during her loveless marriage with a young Lieutenant in the British armed forces.  According to a recent article in the London Times, because of these and other supposed transgressions and affronts to the arrogant royal degenerates, she was treated with “feudal cruelty” by the rest of British royalty—but was beloved by the British populace in a way the other royals were never so, and indeed, could never be.  I remember around the time of her death talking to a British customer at my job in a parking garage, who said the British people loved Di because she was so humanly affable, and who went on to describe Prince Charles as a “prig.”  Well spoken!  And even after her divorce from Charles, when she became a jet-setting celebrity, she still maintained that honest affability, that air of truly decent and touchingly human reserve, something so obviously foreign to those other constantly publicity-grabbing “celebrities” such as Kim Kardashian.  She found all this folderol a bother, even as the paparazzi insisted on commodifying her by constantly taking photographs of her to sell, denying her any privacy whatsoever.  And it was in a vain attempt to escape these prying paparazzi that she tragically died when the automobile she was in crashed.         

 Prince Charles stated once that he never loved Diana.  Certainly an appropriate comment from this priggish, shallow fellow who’s had nothing to do all his life, and no other purpose to his life, other than wait for the Old Bag on the throne to die!  That’s enough to almost (I say almost) make me feel sorry for the hapless Charles; who now has even been denied the chance to succeed her, as the 90-yeaqr-old Queen herself has designated William and Kate to succeed her as occupants on that useless throne.  Though Charles has had some minor accomplishments:  he once gave a socially- and religiously-conservative speech a few decades ago now that did draw favorable attention, and was a reasonable stab at actual thought; he’s also knighted several British rock and pop stars of far more merit than he, creating Sir Paul McCartney, Sir Elton John, Sir Van Morrison, and yes, even Sir Mick Jagger! (Knighted December 13, 2003.)   And I do hope that, before he dies, he does have one final “honor” (which I’m sure will never happen), that of knighting, creating, Sir Johnny Rotten (aka Johnny Lydon), lead singer of the Sex Pistols and one of the most thoughtful men in rock, thus giving “God Save The Queen” the “royal” recognition it’s long overdue!

So, please forgive my “bourgeois sentimentality” here as I say a few kind words for Diana, which she does truly deserve!    

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Police Killing of Unarmed Black Man Finally Wakes Up Sleepy Naptown


On June 29, 2017, Indianapolis police approached the car driven by African American city resident Aaron Bailey, who sped away.  The two officers in the car then shot at Bailey’s car multiple times, causing it to crash into a tree.  Bailey was pronounced dead at the scene, had no warrants out for his arrest, and was unarmed.

While police killings have happened several times before in Indianapolis, they are usually greeted by an apathetic “Ho hum” by the city’s residents, black, white and Latino, and the officers are almost always automatically acquitted of any charges by the city’s toothless police review board.  This time, however, was different.  The two police officers have been placed on administrative leave, the FBI is investigating for possible civil rights violations against Bailey by the officers, Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett stated publicly that unspecified changes would be made in the way the police handled shootings, and the prosecutor’s office is even supposedly looking into criminal charges against the officers. 

Also, an angry rally against the killing of Bailey occurred July 15 on the grounds of the Indiana State House, a traditional free speech gathering place.  It drew about 200 people of all races, with many participants, speakers, and rally organizers wearing “Wake Up!” and “Black Lives Matter” T-shirts.  Relatives of Aaron Bailey tearfully addressed the gathered crowd, and one local speaker from Black Lives Matter gave an impassioned, militant speech calling not only for justice for Bailey but also demanding justice for Indianapolis’s black community, indictment of the officers, and substantive changes, not just cosmetic ones, in the way the Indianapolis Police Department relates to the black community.  In this writer’s 38 years living in Indianapolis, he’d never before seen such a response to a police shooting.  But then again, even in sleepy Naptown, Trump’s election has brought about a new sense of urgency and activism among blacks and Latinos, and the politically liberal and left, not previously experienced.  And it has sustained itself.  And is not fizzling out, as the Occupy demonstration and takeover of the State House lawn did in early 2012, leaving almost nothing behind except wistful nostalgia

Indianapolis.  Naptown (the city that always sleeps).  Indianoplace.  Frustrating city for progressives to live in; the largest city in equally frustrating Indiana, yet one would not sense it.  The standard norm here is apathy and complacency, with glitzy shopping areas and upscale restaurants that mock its 22% poverty rate and the lack of good jobs.  In many ways, Indianapolis is a throwback to an earlier time, a place straight out of a Sinclair Lewis novel. An atavism, a throwback to the mores of 19th Century Mississippi, only with high tech.  Indianapolis’s most notable contemporary citizen, the late leftist writer Kurt Vonnegut, scathingly satirized it (although as a thinly-veiled fictional surrogate) in his 1973 novel Breakfast of Champions, calling it, through one of the book’s characters, “the asshole of the universe.”  Vonnegut also said of Indianapolis, his boyhood and adolescent home, “Indianapolis watches the 500 one day, and sleeps 364;” and as well, “There’s the 500, then 364 days of miniature golf, then the 500 again.”  Another noted contemporary writer who grew up here, Dan Wakefield, was equally harsh in his satirizing of Indianapolis in his 1970 novel Going All the Way, which, while set there in detailed accuracy in the year 1953, still eerily resembles the Indianapolis of 2017.

But perhaps now, all that is changing?  This writer hopes so.  But he’s also seen a lot of hopes raised in the past, only to be dashed.  But there is real possibility that this time now is different, markedly so, and the old ways of justly-named Naptown and Indianoplace will not recur again.  Al least on the overwhelming, stultifying scale they did before, and so heartbreakingly often.  Hell, even Indianapolis’s overarching problem of massive sewer overflow whenever it rained that spewed fecal matter and raw sewage waste into the streets has finally been addressed, and is being fixed!  Granted, fixing it will take till 2025.  But that’s much better than the frustration of before, when nothing was done.  As Bob Dylan sang, “the times, they are a-changin’.”  Even in Indianapolis, even in Indiana.       .

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

"When we fight, we win!"


INDIANAPOLIS.  What was going to be a civil disobedience confrontation between SEIU Local 1 and Mission Peak, the building management company that just hired a new anti-union janitorial service at two adjacent buildings in downtown Indianapolis, turned into a victory celebration instead.  The day before the scheduled civil disobedience action, Thursday, July 13, Mission Peak informed SEIU Local 1 by letter that it was not hiring as its janitorial contractor Bulldog, the contractor Local 1 vehemently opposed as unfair to its workers.   (Local 1 held a union contract with the previous contractor, which was now nullified under Bulldog.)  Mission Peak, as stated in its letter, would instead open bidding for a “responsible employer,” one that the union could work with.  So, at 10 AM, the approximately 75 people gathered at Indianapolis downtown’s City Market to move over to the nearby Gold Building for civil disobedience, remained gathered for a victory celebration instead.  In telling the supporters of the good news, Paul Nappier, SEIU Local 1’s 31-year-old sole paid staff organizer in Indianapolis, shouted out the lesson from this:  “When we fight, we win!”

Represented among the supporters of Local 1, which has waged a multi-year campaign to organize the janitors in Indianapolis downtown janitorial services, were of course, activist janitors of Local 1 themselves, but also security guards supporting Local 1, which is another organizing task in Indianapolis the SEIU local is undertaking.  Also among the activists were members of the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC), United Steelworkers (USW), AFSCME, and community activist and political groups Democratic Socialists of America (DSA); Labor for Our Revolution, offshoot of the Bernie Sanders campaign; Jobs with Justice (JwJ); and activists from the campaign for justice for Aaron Bailey, an unarmed black man who had recently been shot dead in his car by an Indianapolis police officer.  This writer attended as an activist and as a member of the union he belongs to, United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW). 

The short but spirited rally featured four Latina activist janitors who had worked at the Mission Peak-managed Gold Building and the adjacent 262 E. Ohio building, and had been dismissed.  They now had their jobs back, and each one addressed the crowd in Spanish through an interpreter thanking everyone for their support.  Of the 75 or so in attendance, a good ⅔ had been willing to perform civil disobedience and be arrested.  The rally ended by everyone joining together in singing all five verses plus the repeated chorus of “Solidarity Forever” to sax and French horn accompaniment, and multiple photo-taking of the participants.

While Indiana’s overall poverty rate is 14% (however, that’s according to federal poverty guidelines, which considerably understate the threshold for actual poverty), in Indianapolis it’s 21% overall, with the poverty rate for African Americans at 22%, and the poverty rate a whopping 28% for Latinos in the city, while the Indianapolis poverty rate for whites overall is 14%.  Also, janitors at the cleaning services often only work 4-6 hours a night, and pay, even under the union contact, is only around $9 an hour; however, with a contact there are benefits, and workers represented by the union do much better than the minimum wage or a little above, with no benefits, that non-union janitors make.  Plus, they have job security.  While SEIU’s demands for a “responsible employer” and “fair wages” with decent working conditions may seem “reformist” or just apolitical pure-and-simple trade unionism to many on the left, these demands are very important to the workers involved themselves, who are enthusiastic supporters of SEIU Local 1, and are heavily black and Latino.

So, Paul Nappier, SEIU Local 1’s young activist organizer, definitely has a point.  “When we fight, we win!”—and sometimes with surprising victories.  And every victory for labor in these hard times is, of course, incredibly sweet.