Thursday, February 23, 2017

Revised: THE COWARDICE POEM

here’s to the people who look the other way
when someone is encouraging the crowd
to close their eyes to simple decency
and support wholesale deportation
plus persecution of children and teens
over which gender they identify as
and what bathrooms they use
>
here’s to the television news channels
on the left and the right
who look at neo-fascist “campaign rallies”
as ratings opportunities--
waiting until old-fashioned newspapers
do actual reporting
before asking questions--
but not saying “fascism” or “lies”
because it displays a lack of “balance”
>
here’s to the people on social networks
who “don’t want to get political”
when friends and family
post ugly remarks and bigoted jokes
in loud support of their favorite prejudices
>
how will you cope with
the future you helped create
by doing the same old things
in the same old ways?

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

New Poem: I CAN NEVER UNHARDEN YOUR HEART

bridges don’t burn
guards appear at each end
to restrict travel to those
whose friendly faces are instant visas

don’t want to ruin what’s left of life
regretting futures that don’t include me
and, perhaps, never did

Friday, February 17, 2017

New poem: 200 BAD POEMS FOR BILLY COLLINS

'Everybody is born with at least 200 bad poems in them. It's best to get rid of them
by college.' --Billy Collins
hello Billy
you don’t know me
but I read your recent comment
and bundled 200 of my poems,
leaving them at the bottom of your driveway
for potential evaluation

I’m aware of how hard it is
to be accepted by Academia--
particularly when you, Billy Collins,
write poems that are easy
for most people to understand

and, to a lot of poets,
it means you’re not trying hard enough

okay, I get it,
you made that 200 bad poems comment
to keep your credibility
with the poets eternally upset
over how you sell more books
than they ever will

also, there’s that desire for intellectual bragging rights
when you appear onstage with Paul Simon and Aimee Mann
and get super-duper-eager to claim your poems
as existing on an equal plane to their lyrics

so go on, Billy,
keep talking about how elevated you are
and how bad all the beginners are

plus all the self-educated poets
like Adam Driver’s Paterson
(in the movie of the same name )

of course, they’re bad too
because they choose not to publish
or share their art
through accepted channels
with people like you

so, here are my 200 poems
destined to enter your blue recycling can
without even a glance at my cover letter
as you regret your long-ago misstep
of criticizing MFA programs
during one of your book tours,

believing this outburst of candor
about homogenized poetry
led to amateur me
annoying distinguished you

Monday, February 13, 2017

Jim Newell on the Democratic Party leading resistance from behind


From an article on Slate.com: http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/cover_story/2017/02/the_democrats_are_leading_the_resistance_from_behind.html


Millions of people marched against Donald Trump the day after he was inaugurated. Republican members of Congress can’t hold town halls without being set upon by protesters hassling them about their agenda or the blind eye they turn to Trump. Resistance groups are gathering massive support online; the ACLU will never want for money again; the courts have blocked Trump’s order restricting travel into the United States. As Republicans put the Affordable Care Act on the chopping block, regular people are mustering a moral language for defending it that Democratic politicians have been loath to employ. Constituents have a powerful ability to find the right defense for something dear to them when someone is trying to take that thing away. Maybe the job of Democrats at the top isn’t to draw up a message in a focus group. Maybe it’s to follow those people on the ground expressing it already.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

New Poem: AMERICA TWO DAYS LATE

there’s a new flag
for the renamed America First:
mostly white
with clashing shades of red
and a very pale blue

the old one--
with Stars and Stripes
and the promise
of freedom from tyranny--
was stolen in daylight
by Oval Office thieves
on a Friday afternoon
which now lives in infamy

Some ruminations about yesterday.

1. I recall some in my generation who believed (and likely still believe) their Christian denomination's version of Christianity (Christ is the only Savior and non-Christians will all go to Hell).  Presumably, most of them voted for Donald Trump and believe the Muslim ban/refugee freeze (enacted Friday and throwing the US into chaos on Saturday) is a righteous casting out of Satanic terrorists or would-be terrorists from the nation--the sweet-smelling poison attracting allegedly Good Americans to the recycled Trump/Bannon phrase America First.

2.  Part of the evil genius of Trump and his followers was to throw out this explosive Executive Order on a Friday, leaving a lot of government officials plus Senators/Representatives flat-footed and unable to effectively respond to this tyranny.

3. I heard the word "transactional" used to describe one of the various GOP factions (tax breaks, deregulation, oil/gas expansion, "strict constructionist" Supreme Court appointees) willing to tolerate Donald Trump as President as long as he delivers on their wish list items.

4. There's no doubt that Donald Trump fulfills a notion of fast impulsive Toughness for the fan base who enjoyed/participated in the violent shut-them-up rallies of his candidacy.  But President Trump is neither wise nor smart--and one hopes that his lack of these leadership necessities will (sooner than later) lead to a premature move from Washington DC back to Trump Tower.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Best ignored-by-Oscar performances of 2016.

Amy Adams--Arrival
Adam Driver, Golshifteh Farahani--Paterson
Andrew Garfield, Yosuke Kubozuka--Silence
Susan Sarandon, J.K. Simmons--The Meddler
Alex R. Hibbert, Janelle Monae--Moonlight
Sunny Pawar--Lion
Annette Bening, Elle Fanning--20th Century Women
Michael Keaton, Nick Offerman, John Carroll Lynch--The Founder
Ben Foster--Hell Or High Water
Hugh Grant--Florence Foster Jenkins
Rachel Weisz, Timothy Spall--Denial

Friday, January 20, 2017

LIFE DURING TRUMPTIME Version 2.

LIFE DURING TRUMPTIME
this ain't no party
this ain't no Chili's
this ain't no fooling around
no more media elites and
celebrities with wrong opinions
we don't have time for that now

we dress like cowboys
we dress like churchgoers
we all stand up and vote
we do not worry about plagiarism and lies
it’s all the lamestream media’s fault

this ain’t no establishment party
this ain’t no gun club
this ain’t no fooling around
this ain’t no NEA or PBS
we don’t have time for that now

don't want democracy
don't want free public college
just wanna open carry our guns
don't like working more for less
it just makes us stressed
yelling at those who protest us

take us back Donald
carry us back to old America
make it okay to be bigoted again
don't wanna worry
about political correctness
sensitivity is a sin

gonna get ready
gonna get ready
gonna get ready to move in
down with progressives
up with regressives
Washington is ours once again!