What Happened To My Country? (this messy slam poem)

What Happened To My Country?

(5/2019)
What happened to my country?
I feel like an alien in my own land
where everything old is new again
old arguments
new context
the earth is flat
we never landed on the moon
the return of nazism returns and
white supremacy, nationalism, dictators
abortion rights
suppression of the press
the end of free speech
power of the gun
more walls fewer bridges
tiki torches over electricity
more bombast less wisdom
voter suppression
denial, deny everything
forcing yes by saying no
lie, lie, lie like there’s no tomorrow
the holocaust never happened
domestic terrorism rules the day
a normality of school shootings
armed teachers
corporate kings keep half of America
addicted to opioids
never once asking if they should
they knew they could earn a ton of dough
from the drug trade
so they would
act now apologize later
Is this the death of America or just democracy?
the all-you-can-eat
brimstone and treacle buffet

Every moral notion I’ve EVER had
is being crushed by
the people who taught me
everyone has their religion but no one believes
religion is politicized, weaponized and bastardized
everyone is talking
no one is listening
technology moves forward
while humanity falls
faster backward

Where are the lovers the haters have killed?
we pray for ourselves by cursing others
we pray for our kind and curse differences
as if only we matter
sameness perpetuates division
diversity has become a word
to bring attention to our differences
not the things that unite us

Everyone wants to be Goliath
the bigger the better
determined to change history
but they forgot David won the war
believing they can turn back the clock
moving forward in the delusion of progress
taking a life synonymous with birth
the rights of the living aborted for
the rights of the unborn, the nonhuman,
the corporate, the government, the powerful
the dog serves its master
the worm serves the fish
and the pigs shit everywhere

America, where is your
o, beautiful for spacious skies?
when did the battle hymn of the republic change?
Now we only trample through the vineyard
where we grow our own grapes of wrath
and prepare to loose the lightning
of our own swift sword
beating the drum to war
unnecessarily we forgot the
beauty of the lilies and
Christ irrelevant born
forget about his glory transfiguration
it’s just you and me

(sung) Glory, glory hallelujah
Glory, glory hallelujah
glory, glory hallelujah
only the lie is marching on

America America
God shed his
onward christian soldiers
white privilege freedom thieves
now crown your good
white brotherhood
from sea to shining sea
and Jesus doesn’t love the children
all the children of the world
red and yellow, black and white
white are precious in his sight
that’s not the way the fucking songs go!

Hopefully artificial intelligence
will be ‘cause actual intelligence
seems to be the victim of extinction
let there be peace on earth
and let it begin with
someone else

FUCK! FUCK! FUCK!
God will not intervene!
even God wouldn’t deny the freewill
that humanity denies each other
God knows no borders
yet the rich and powerful use God
to force crisis borne of political expediency,
build walls and wage wars

Protect the money
grow the money
protect the money
grow the money
say it with me
protect the money, grow the money!

there is no happy ending here
man may have been made in the image of God but
God is still an extra-terrestrial alien creator
killed by its own creation
just as humanity will be killed by technology
the thing it creates
there is no rapture
the second coming came and went
it’s hard to imagine heaven
when all we create is hell
God damned humanity and
only humanity can save itself

I’m sorry if you were hoping for
words of encouragement
words of hope
words of inspiration
this vessel has been emptied and
washed clean
ready for a new beginning
let it begin
let the day begin!

On second thought
I think I’ll leave it empty for awhile

Choices

in memory of Rod Geiser December 2018

Choices: How Long Does It Take A bullet To Kill?

Choices: Years
It takes years of modeling behavior and molding thought
inspired by wrong perceptions and misplaced values

Choices: Months
There are months of despair
Choices: Weeks
There are weeks of frustration

Choices: Days
Persistent anger for days

Choices: Hours
Decisions made over the course of hours
Choices: Minutes
Actions taken over the course of just minutes

Choices: Seconds
It takes only a second to fire a gun

Choices: Instantly
In an instant the bullet will pierce the body

Choices
…and the destiny of shooter and victim
are irrevocably changed.

Choices
Change MUST come
Politically
Socially
Culturally
spiritually

Choices
Choices I must make
Choices You must make
Choices We must make
The time is NOW.

… on… the race to the bottom….

“All propaganda has to be popular and has to accommodate itself to the comprehension of the least intelligent of those whom it seeks to reach.”

~ Adolph Hitler

This sadly shows what has happened here in America in politics, media and religion and can be seen on the rise throughout the world.  It is a race to the bottom.

******************

and now… the uplift….  As bad as things seem to get there is still hope.  The lower things go the easier it will be to turn around and head back up.  Here’s some uplifting music to help turn things around.

… on… question of abstraction….

we live in an over-saturated world of images.  Images are everywhere we go.   In fact they are so prevalent they are becoming  mundane.  Boring.  They’re primarily “pretty” photos of realistic/recognizable subjects (objects, landscapes, people, animals, plants).  Abstraction is seldom seen and seems to be less and less appreciated.   Is there still a place for abstraction?   And what is it?

Salt Ice Asphalt

s0lt 824 0sp70lt

First, abstraction in photography is very different from abstraction in the paint/sculpture arts.   Abstraction in photography is merely the “capture” and/or presentation of any deviation from the perceived norm (no matter how slight) and therefore more passive.   Abstraction in painting/sculpture is very different.  Painting/sculpture is an active medium unlike photography.   In painting/sculpture the abstraction is created compared to documented.  And it’s this creative action that I think gives a viewer pause to consider what “it” is.  Can photographic abstract also be the result of a creative action?  I think it can – but is extremely rare.   Because of the nature of photography; abstraction has become such a generalized category that it has become redundant.

w9t78n on4s or18t

w9t78n on4s or18t

Now about our world.  In addition to being overly saturated with heavily saturated images is also, thanks to technology, is moving at a faster and faster pace.  There is no rest.  There is no contemplation.  Even the internet with its myriad blogs, photo sharing sites, art sites, etc is not conducive to slowing down to consider what we are doing.   The internet has created a culture of clicking “LIKE” and moving on.  In one minute I can look at and “like”/”fave” a hundred photos.

For this reason I think there is more and more a need for true abstraction in the painting/sculpture sense.  Because these type of abstracts are more likely to cause us to slow down (maybe even stop) from time to time and consider what we are looking at and how we feel about it or what it means to us.    So bring on the abstraction.  Deviate from the norm.   Give people a reason to pause and “rest” on your work.

824 8sl0n3s

824 8sl0n3s

The images I’m including today are photos of something people would NEVER photograph.  I went to the park the other day – one of my favorite hangouts to decompress.  I went to photograph some winter scenes etc – you know the kind of stuff everyone photographs that I described at the beginning of this article.   The kind of stuff we DON’T need more of.  But most of the shots I kept were These here today.   Shapes and textures of salt melting ice on asphalt pavement in the parking lot of the park.   For me they have their own intriguing wonder.

Your music moment today is a track titled Awakening by Greek artists (and friends) MK-O from their album ETHER.  For me this song has the kind of energy I feel in these images.  The kinetic energy of salt melting ice.  Check out their website http://www.mk-o.com for more.

 

…on the divine comedy…

Oh, I just had to share this video by one of my all time favorite musical acts – THE DIVINE COMEDY. This chamber pop group fronted by Neil Hannon appeals to my deep inner sense of irony and contrast. Sweet lilting pop melodies with lyrics akin to a razors edge supported by stunning visuals. All-n-all a win-win-win situation. Enjoy this brand new song, CATHERINE THE GREAT. It’s the first song from the soon to be released album FOREVERLAND.

I mean where else can you find lyrics like “She had great hair and a powerful gait….She might have conquered a third of the world but she was a sensitive girl….with her military might she could defeat anyone that she liked….She looked so bloody good on a horse, they couldn’t wait for her to invade….”

Father’s Day…another American holiday to loathe

So last week I went to the greeting card store to purchase a fathers day card.
Scccrreeeeeech (sound of needle being dragged across vinyl) For those who are familiar with my work you may ask, “Why not just make him one of your own artwork?” Well the simple answer is that he doesn’t care for my work. Which is fine. Different strokes for different folks.
Now, on with the story.
If you are in America there is nothing more cliche than holidays, which is why I loathe them so much. The best thing about (most) holidays is that it just means I don’t have to go to work that day.
But everything else is pure cliche and pablum.
Father’s Day is no different. When shopping for a Fathers Day card and this is echoed in news stories and media coverage, you will find everything narrowed down to the following 5 subjects many of which are combined in some sort of competition:

  1. (humorous) Grilling
  2. (humorous) Sports (fishing, golfing etc)
  3. (humorous) Power Tools
  4. (humorous) traditional gifts satire (tie, socks etc)
  5. (serious) Thank you/Religious/Inspirational

Now this is just extremely disappointing, frustrating and maddening.  I think the greeting card industry should be boycotted for all the garbage it sells. On top of that every news program has some sort of Father’s Day “gift list” which includes gifts of/related to …you guessed it… grilling, sports & power tools.

Of course it’s even sadder that almost no one questions this stuff – it’s just accepted blindly as the norm.   So, goodbye individual expression and creativity.   Out the window and down the garbage disposal.  Father’s Day is just another holiday to loathe.

So what kind of card did I end up with?  A sound gadget grilling card.  The front states, “I’d like to give you a big grilled steak for Father’s Day” and when you open it up you see the picture of a cow (that actually mooo’s) and the words, “It just isn’t cooked yet”

I feel so unclean.

New Millennium Exile

EXILE

No religious identification

No media driven
obsessions, opinions or obfuscations

Oblivious to the world of professional sports;
my “team” IS humanity

The “causes” of others are not mine;
others ARE my cause

Not bound by technology;
no mobile device to drive dependency

All original biology;
no replacement parts

No political affiliation

Living in the absence of corporate control

An observer
in exile

Shunned, ignored and left alone
is the exile in cultural alienation

Cultural exile is preferable
when the alternative is slavery

Hope, For the Weekend, For Life.

A couple of quotes on hope.

“Well, it’s important to have hope that something can be done at some level to protect what’s of value in the world, and I think something can be done, But such hope must be informed by a realistic understanding of human beings as they are.

There’s a type of hope now which I think is very harmful, which is essentially a form of blocking out reality because it’s too difficult to contemplate. Now, I think , that’s a much more hopeless view.” – John Gray

“Hope is only where despair is. Something truly new-beginning happens only when you are in such deep shit that, within the existing coordinates you can find no way out, and then, in order to survive you have to invent something new. The magic is to turn a desperate situation into something new.” – Slavoj Zizek

A great documentary by Alfonzo Cuaron.
The Possibility of Hope – Part 1


The Possibility of Hope – Part 2

The Possibility of Hope – Part 3

God the Punisher?

So after reading Exodus 34 I’ve been rethinking this whole notion of God as punisher of those who do evil – which is a common Christian outlook. Exodus 34:3-7 recounts Moses acquisition of the second set of the “ten commandments”, and lists some of Gods attributes. I want to focus on just one of these – punishment/retribution. Like many things in the Bible there are two sides to this and neither is what it seems on the surface.

Verses 6 & 7 read,

The Lord passed before him and proclaimed: “The Lord! the Lord! a God compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in kindness and faithfulness, extending kindness to the thousandth generation, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin; yet He does not remit all punishment, but visits the iniquity of parents upon children and children’s children, upon the third and fourth generations.” [JPS translation]

First the good news. The good attributes such as “slow to anger, abounding in kindness and faithfulness, extending kindness…” covers a thousand generations. It goes on and on. So-called punishment is only for up to 4 generations.

First I want to question the word “punishment” – which is a common translation. And I’ve always questioned this notion of God punishing children for their parents misdeeds. But if we read it literally that is what it seems to talk about. Let’s think about this. Punishment is something unpleasant imposed by authority on someone or some group for wrong action. In other words punishment is a consequence of wrong action. So let’s get away from the notion of punishment as a whip, hanging, or imprisonment. Lets think about consequence.

Now let’s think about what this consequence is in these verses. We learn that God does not bring the consequences himself. The consequences of wrong actions by parents and society are passed on to their children and even their children’s children [i.e. future generations]…. Now I know you’re probably tempted to say, “but wait” and revisit my previous comment about God punishing children for parents mistakes – BUT STOP!

We are talking about consequences. Cause and effect. Let’s think of the bigger picture here. I’ve always loved the Native American quote from the Iroquois Nation. To paraphrase their Great Law,

“In every deliberation, we must consider the impact on the seventh generation… even if it requires having skin as thick as the bark of a pine.”

We have become a very temporal minded society, living for the moment and not thinking ahead to the consequences of our actions for our children and future generations. Another consequence of our temporal society is that we’ve become more reactive than proactive. Me must find a way to think about this. Parents must consider how they teach & discipline, their children. Parents must consider how children learn from their beliefs and behaviors (emotional and physical action). As a society we must consider how our actions in environmental issues, urban planning, government etc will impact future generations. Because our wrong or right actions now WILL HAVE CONSEQUENCES on our children and children’s children for at least the next 3 or 4 generations (according to the Bible). God doesn’t punish our children for our mistakes – we do. If you don’t want your children to suffer from your wrong actions – carefully consider your actions to begin with; in every situation.

Does this mean we don’t or won’t make mistakes? No, we will still make mistakes but if we are mindful and aware, considering our actions we will be able to correct the mistake much sooner. There will still be strong debate over what constitutes right actions in a larger public arena.