begun long ago
and no one cares
living in the moment
ignoring the past
You did not ask for
I did not ask for
yet here we are
stuck on the front lines
drafted by those we did not vote for
A war fomented by the news media
shaped by the influencers on the internet
and social media:
Public Shaming -
the cancel culture
Everyone’s a victim
We consume victimization like our favorite foods
We digest our own destruction
21st Century Ouroboros
We ignore the shit that comes out the other end
We stubbornly refuse to clean up (it’s up to the other person)
We obsessively and repeatedly fuel our consumption of outrage
The scales have tipped
As a species we are tilting at windmills
in our self-prescribed delusion
I did not ask for this war
You did not ask for this war
And the question is not IF we should fight
But HOW we should fight
Military wars always kill
Culture wars are fought for control
Control of your mind
Control of your freedom
Control of your expression
Control of your creativity
Control of your religion
(even if you have no religion)
Control of your education
Control of your own body
Fingers point everywhere
but no one cares that
when you point one finger
at someone, or something else,
three fingers point back to you
We will never agree
so we might as well learn to live together
And the question is not IF
we should fight
we should fight
How should I fight this war
that I did not ask for?
It seems an impossible dream
to fight a war
with love, compassion, grace & humility
when all around you
is blame, blind rage, raw hatred
and venomous pride
Love, grace, compassion and understanding
does not require agreement
Jesus didn’t die for any one person’s sins
Two things killed Jesus Christ -
Politics and Religion
Their control was threatened by the gospel of peace, love and freedom
"You see, control can never be a means to any practical end...It can never be a means to anything but more control...like junk..”(1)“Is Control controlled by its need to control? Answer: yes.”(2)
The way to win this war is to give up control
to lose control
The death of one is the birth of another
Change is coming that we cannot control
Change is here
Change we can shape
“I awakened to the cryThat the people have the powerTo redeem the work of foolsUpon the meek the graces showerIt's decreed the people rule”(3)
We must surrender this culture of complaint
and realize we will never be able to control others
we can only control our selves.
“Just Do It!”(4)
Let the lion lie down with the lamb
Let the darkness meet the light
Let hell and heaven merge
in the forge of life on earth
to burn off the dross of our misgivings
revealing yours and mine
shining gold dream
“The siren and the ecstasy, … the one in front of meNew gold dream” (5)
I did not ask for this war
You did not ask for this war
But we CAN end it!
“And the mercy seat is waitingAnd I think my head is burningIn a way I'm yearningTo be done with all this measuring of truthAn eye for an eyeAnd a tooth for a toothAnd anyway I told the truthAnd I'm not afraid to die” (6)
1 quote by William S Burroughs from NAKED LUNCH
2 quote by William S Burroughs from AH POOK IS HERE; AND OTHER TEXTS
3 lyric from PEOPLE HAVE THE POWER by Patti Smith
4 slogan from Nike commercial
5 lyric from NEW GOLD DREAM by Simple Minds
6 lyric from MERCY SEAT by Nick Cave
And now the answer to the question asked in the title of the photo above
"Hello, It's Me" by Todd Rundgren from his album Something/Anything?
JUNETEENTH. It’s not a “federal” holiday but it is recognized in almost all of the states/territories of the United States – the exceptions (shamefully) are Hawaii and South Dakota. For people outside the United States, Juneteenth is the day the last slaves were freed 2.5 years after the Emancipation Proclamation. Texas was the hold out and dared to keep slaves even though their freedom had been decreed years earlier. Next to Independence Day (July 4th) I can think of no better reason for a holiday than to celebrate the day when America ended the overt enslavement of it’s own citizens of color. My God, why is this not a National/Federal holiday already? But enough preaching.
Here is my Juneteenth playlist. Enjoy.
Let’s kick it off with Pharell Williams FREEDOM
A blast from the past Kool And The Gange – CELEBRATE
A classic; The Staple Singers – I’LL TAKE YOU THERE
Michael Franti – GOOD TO BE ALIVE TODAY
While African Americans formed the largest portion of slaves, it also included all people of color – including the various tribes of Indigenous Americans and hispanics. Buffy Saint Marie – CARRY IT ON
Redbone – COME AND GET YOUR LOVE
And even though we are in the midst of a cultural revolution – now is NOT the time to stop. Ozomatli – CAN’T STOP!
Shaun Martin – ONE BIG PARTY
Knowing the conversation that MUST continue to happen if we will move forward as a species. We must be fearless. The Neville Brothers – FEARLESS
A reminder of what it’s about and why we should celebrate – Cynthia Erivo – STAND UP from the movie HARRIET (based on the life of Harriet Tubman)
Bonus Track – reality check – We are still a long way from where we need to be in our evolution of humanity. There is still racism and bias. The revolution must continue.
Nina Simone – AIN’T GOT NO (from the musical HAIR)
With the Coronavirus there is a full-blown panic here in the US as a complete failure of leadership continues to be the real plague on our country. This panic has resulted in empty store shelves, events cancelled on a large scale, nothing is permitted where a group of 50 or more may gather. “Wartime” curfew 9pm. Is this how we finally lose our freedom? Is this how government will control us? What happened to “freedom of assembly”? Will it ever be restored? Will we finally rise up? Or, will we remain comfortably numb?
My cell has windows and a doors but I AM NOT FREE!
The film is currently available as a digital rent or purchase through Amazon.com and in iTunes. The soundtrack is also available in CD/LP and download direct through https://www.erasedtapes.com/store
Ellis (2015 film trailer)
In a time of unbridled protectionism and closed borders – this short film stands out and serves purpose to pin-prick a reconsidation of our fears and get in touch with the human story of hope and immigration. It is beautifully envisioned by the French writer/director/artist JR and features Robert DeNiro, who is from Italian immigrant heritage. DeNiro’s narration is both passionate, reflective, evocative and The film is billed as a “short film” – so don’t let the 14+ minute length dissuade you from the beauty it embraces. Just consider it a long-form music video.
Filmed on Ellis Island (next to the small island where the Statue of Liberty stands) with its abandoned buildings still intact. The artist JR has transformed the location with immigrant images (by both well-known and unknown photographers). That it was filmed in winter perhaps best illuminates the difficulty immigrants face in their life-altering decision to leave everything behind and relocate to build lives elsewhere.
The score is by French music and video artist, Woodkid and German electronica and neo-classical composer/performer Nils Frahm. The score is a perfect complement to the images and spoken word weaving into the fabric of the film a beautiful emotional context that enhances the viewing experience. While some soundtracks aggressively drive the story (think of moments in Star Wars) – the best soundtracks, like this one, provide an addition supportive element that buoyantly allows the story to flow in the current of its timeline.
It makes me think that while some people may come to harm us – they are the minority. We need to re-open our borders for the majority in response to the purity of journey. Because an immigrants journey IS the American journey. It cannot be separated. The fears by those who oppose immigration of crime, terrorism, disease, the perceived unfair competition and the general “unknown do NOT cease to exist when borders are closed. Problems still exist whether borders are closed, or not, and can be dealt with in a humane way.
So, whether you are opposed to all immigration, selected immigration or in favor of open borders to welcome all races, genders, ages, beliefs regardless of income and social status – then let this film inspire thought, questions and lead you to explore all possible answers.
Immigration is about people, not things. The people who emmigrate are taking a greater risk than those they will meet at their point of destination.
The invisible net
cast over me.
Weighted to hold me down.
Resistence to slow me down,
pressing in on me,
doing its very best to squeeze
and crush the breath out of me.
Having tried to think of God
as freedom, boundless, expansive
Creator of endless possibilities ………
What if God is merely the cage?
The trap, or pen, to corral all that IS free.
A reaction to regret.
Regret of even imagined freedom.
The body is the cage of the spirit.
Gravity is the cage of the body.
Invisible bars to restrain and hold back
the abandoned Tower of Babel.
Like the word cages and traps the idea. In the beginning was the word…and the word WAS God.
Maybe Atheism is the cure for God!
The destruction of gravity’s cage.
The release of the spirit; free-flying bird.
The soaring on eagles wings.
Seeing, comprehending, knowing
The perfection of silence –
The unspoken truth of all things.
Silence: all that ever was, is and will be.
That perfection that comes immediately after
the last sizzle of water extinguishing flame.
The beauty of darkness and quiet.
Silence has no gravity.
******* About the artwork: Messages From the Future #19 (created 2013) is a digital, photo-based creation intending to question the spoken and written word. It highlights the paradoxical viewpoint of language as both lie and life simultaneously. A self-negating notion. “Silence is golden.”