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

…on football…

Okay so this is indirectly about football.  No footballs were abused, hurt or damaged for this presentation.

This location in Akron, Ohio USA is called The Rubber Bowl.  It was the football stadium for the University of Akron.  Seating 7,000 souls this stadium was built in 1940 into a hillside – right next to Derby Downs (home of the acclaimed Soap Box Derby World Finals).   This stadium was in use until 2008.  There are rumors and speculations about reviving the stadium and while some events had been planned for here as recently as 2015 they have all been cancelled due to concerns about the condition and safety of this space.

The University of Akron team is known as AKRON ZIPS.  Their mascot is a kangaroo named Zippy which in 2007 won the national competition as MASCOT OF THE YEAR.   Nicknamed the “ROO” you can often see in advertisements and slogans like “Fear The ROO”.

Where did the ZIPS get their name?  Akron was, in it’s heyday, the undisputed “RUBBER CAPITAL OF THE WORLD” as it was home to the largest rubber tire manufacturers; Goodyear, B.F. Goodrich and Firestone.   B.F. Goodrich company also dabbled in side product lines like rubber footwear.  Those footwear lines were known as Goodrich Zippers (sometimes advertised as ZIPPS).  There was a zipper on the top of the shoe/overshoe instead of laces or straps.  There was also supposedly a tire line called zippers by that same company although I have found no evidence for it at this time.   When the University of Akron was searching for a name, in 1927, for their sports teams the name Zippers was proposed – inspired by the footwear line by B.F. Goodrich – and it stuck.  In 1950 it was shortened to ZIPS by the Athletic Director for the University.

A personal connection:  I played (alternately) trumpet and tuba in my high school marching band.  During my junior and senior year (Fall 1976 – Spring 1978) in high school our band traveled to the Rubber Bowl for a regional marching band competition.  This usually happened in the spring.   While we never won – I did come away with a fierce impression of this place being extremely windy and cold.   The day I took this photos (May 15, 2016) was no exception.  In fact, we actually had snow later in the day with temps in the mid/low 30’s F.    The day of this post is a different matter entirely.  Since May 27th we have had temps in the high 80’s F.

***The two previous posts featured some of the graffiti currently found in this location.


… on a 160 day special…

So, I’ve decided that 2016 will be special!

Special – for me at least – and I’m looking forward to what the year ahead holds; both good and bad.

What makes this year different?

Well this is the very first time, since I was born, that my birthday falls on the exact day of the week that I was born.   I was born on the 160th day of the year, Wednesday, June 8, 1960.  It was a “leap year” (like this year) and like this year my birthday falls on a Wednesday (hump day https://youtu.be/Vs5QJi-dX-4) as it did 56 years ago in fateful late spring day in 1960.   with all that “alignment” it’s bound to be interesting and wonderful.

So, yes, I’m a little optimistic.    🙂

Some little known facts: about my birthday.

Mick Hucknall (a.k.a. Simply Red) was born the same day/year.


Also Norwegian Jazz bassist/composer Terje Gewelt was also born 6/8/1960


Although June 8, 1960 was quiet (relatively speaking – except for me screaming my lungs out for the first time) here are some events that happened on June 8 throughout history:

  • 68
    The Roman Senate proclaims Galba as emperor.
    632
    Muhammad, Islamic prophet, dies in Medina and is succeeded by Abu Bakr who becomes the first caliph of the Rashidun Caliphate.
  • 793
    Vikings raid the abbey at Lindisfarne in Northumbria, commonly accepted as the beginning of the Scandinavian invasion of England.
  • 1042
    Edward the Confessor becomes King of England, one of the last Anglo-Saxon kings of England.
  • 1191
    Richard I arrives in Acre (Palestine) dn date=September 2015 thus beginning his crusade.
  • 1776
    American Revolutionary War: Battle of Trois-Rivières: American attackers are driven back at Trois-Rivières, Quebec.
  • 1783
    Laki, a volcano in Iceland, begins an eight-month eruption which kills over 9,000 people and starts a seven-year famine.
  • 1789
    James Madison introduces twelve proposed amendments to the United States Constitution in the House of Representatives; by 1791, ten of them are ratified by the state legislatures and become the Bill of Rights; another is eventually ratified in 1992 to become the 27th Amendment.
  • 1794
    Robespierre inaugurates the French Revolution’s new state religion, the Cult of the Supreme Being, with large organized festivals all across France.
  • 1861
    American Civil War: Tennessee secedes from the Union.
  • 1862
    American Civil War: Battle of Cross Keys: Confederate forces under General Stonewall Jackson save the Army of Northern Virginia from a Union assault on the James Peninsula led by General George B. McClellan.
  • 1887
    Herman Hollerith applies for US patent #395,781 for the ‘Art of Compiling Statistics’, which was his punched card calculator.
  • 1906
    Theodore Roosevelt signs the Antiquities Act into law, authorizing the President to restrict the use of certain parcels of public land with historical or conservation value.
  • 1912
    Carl Laemmle incorporates Universal Pictures.
  • 1929
    Margaret Bondfield is appointed Minister of Labour. She is the first woman appointed to the Cabinet of the United Kingdom.
  • 1941
    World War II: Allies invade Syria and Lebanon.
  • 1942
    World War II: The Japanese imperial submarines I-21 and I-24 shell the Australian cities of Sydney and Newcastle.
  • 1948
    Milton Berle hosts the debut of Texaco Star Theater.
  • 1949
    The celebrities Helen Keller, Dorothy Parker, Danny Kaye, Fredric March, John Garfield, Paul Muni and Edward G. Robinson are named in an FBI report as Communist Party members.
  • 1949
    George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four is published.
  • 1953
    An F5 tornado hits Beecher, Michigan, killing 116, injuring 844, and destroying 340 homes.
  • 1953
    The United States Supreme Court rules that restaurants in Washington, D.C., cannot refuse to serve black patrons.
  • 1959
    The USS Barbero and United States Postal Service attempt the delivery of mail via Missile Mail.
  • 1966
    Topeka, Kansas, is devastated by a tornado that registers as an “F5” on the Fujita scale: The first to exceed US$100 million in damages. Sixteen people are killed, hundreds more injured, and thousands of homes damaged or destroyed.
  • 1967
    Six-Day War: The Israeli army enters Hebron and the Cave of the Patriarchs.
  • 1968
    Robert F. Kennedy’s funeral takes place at the St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City.
  • 1972
    Vietnam War: Nine-year-old Phan Thị Kim Phúc is burned by napalm, an event captured by Associated Press photographer Nick Ut moments later while the young girl is seen running down a road, in what would become an iconic, Pulitzer Prize-winning photo.
  • 1984
    Homosexuality is declared legal in the Australian state of New South Wales.
  • 1987
    New Zealand’s Labour government establishes a national nuclear-free zone under the New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone, Disarmament, and Arms Control Act 1987.
  • 1992
    The first World Ocean Day is celebrated, coinciding with the Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
  • 2004
    The first Venus Transit in modern history takes place, the previous one being in 1882.
  • 2007
    Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia, is hit by the State’s worst storms and flooding in 30 years resulting in the death of nine people and the grounding of a trade ship, the MV Pasha Bulker.
  • 2009
    Two American journalists are found guilty of illegally entering North Korea and sentenced to 12 years of penal labour.
  • 2013
    The Wedding of Princess Madeleine of Sweden and Christopher O’Neill takes place in Stockholm, Sweden.

Other fun facts:

My birthday numbers 6, 8 and 1960 reveal that my Life Path number is 3. It represents vision, imagination and joy of living.  It says I possess a great talent for creativity and self expression. (also explains my HUGE interest in music, film & art)

The zodiac sign of a person born on June 8 is Gemini . According to the ancient art of Chinese astrology (or Chinese zodiac), Rat is the mythical animal and Metal is the element of a person born on June 8, 1960.

The number-one hit song in the U.S. at the day of your birth was Cathy’s Clown by The Everly Brothers as compiled by Billboard Hot 100 (June 13, 1960).

Pearl is the modern birthstone for the month of June while Moonstone is the mystical birth stone (based on Tibetan origin). The zodiac gemstone for Gemini is agate. Lastly, the birthday stone for the day of the week ‘Wednesday’ is amethyst.

Other people born on June 8 (not 1960) in history:

Bob Scaggs, Julianna Margulies, Keenen Ivory Wayans, Kathy Baker, Bonnie Tyler, Griffin Dunne, Sônia Braga, Annie Haslam, Sara Paretsky, Tim Berners-Lee, Joan Rivers, Nancy Sinatra, Chuck Negron, Andrew Weil,  Francis Crick, Robert Preston, Tomaso Albinoni, Emperor Xizong of Tang, Robert Schumann, John Everett Millais, Barbara Bush, Frank Lloyd Wright

As i said at the beginning “So, yes, I’m a little optimistic.    :-)”

A memory…

I’ve been reading  SEEDTIME, writings from the notebooks of Swiss poet Phillipe Jaccotet. His writings about the swiss countryside bring back so many memories. Memories of growing up on the farm near Kidron, OH (USA) So here are some thoughts of my own:

Murmured Lowing. Distant cowbells. Waking sparrow.
The light is dark at dawn.

Blue-black sky. Green-black landscape. Summer morning.
Fence post sentinels line the pasture lane.

Early to bed, early to rise. Morning chores beckon. Lids heavy slow response.
The bed is warmest when waking.

My Grandfather used to make trips to Switzerland our ancestral homeland and in 1948 he had a set of cowbells made that covered at least two octaves on the western musical scale. Here is an image of one of our family’s cowbells that I’ve been able to salvage. Not sure what happened to the rest. Bells were cast in Bronze, included the family name (Geiser), date (1948), image of a cow and decorative Edelweiss flowers, the text “Made in Switzerland” and name of the foundry where bell was cast (Barinotto Co. Fonderie La Chaux De Fonds)
bell smlr

And what do cowbells sound like? What sound became so familiar to me during summer?
(fyi – there is a 20 second gap in sound near the beginning).

My City

st. bernards no more
I actually went out with my camera again. It’s been quite a while since I went in search of interesting places and spaces. I am amazed at how readily my city tears itself down in ongoing urbacide (urban suicide). There are more real estate signs on vacant lots than I could ever hope to imagine. It seemed sad to remember the places that stood in those empty lots and how all that may remain is someone’s fading photograph. There is a feeling of security in seeing familiar buildings that still stand – a bit like seeing an old friend.  And when those buildings are preserved and reused – all the better.  But too often they are torn down and just an empty space is left.  People don’t want to invest in what was.   What was, is too often viewed as an eyesore, an ugliness, or too costly and is removed – often with the excuse of safety concerns or in the name of progress; when this happens it not only changes the skyline of the city but also the skyline of the cities soul.  Something is missing.   When I got home I wrote this,

HOLES IN MY CITY
There are holes in my city
where buildings used to stand.

Empty spaces are all that remain
where factories made my world.

A dream that never was
cannot be remembered or built upon.

There is no foundation
there is only dust and wind.

Remembrance is only a delusion
sickness of mind and soul
for a community that is trapped
in its struggle to free itself from nothing.

There are holes in my city
where buildings used to stand.

Places where people lived
where the voices of children could be heard.

Now there is silence
even the ghosts don’t linger here.

Some say silence is golden
but the same silence can drive a person mad.

There are holes…

*note – the photo in this post features what used to be St. Bernard’s School. A wonderful stone and brick structure that was originally build in 1887 and was one of the oldest buildings in Akron. Demolition began on 3/28/14. Another hole has been made.