The State of the Union (2017)

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Disorder in the Real

Something has gone wrong, somewhere along the way the polarities were switched or we missed a critical turn or…?

Power has devolved to self-interested, greedy individuals in the thrall of capital.

We have been passive observers, happy to cede control and responsibility to others as long as that means we’re free to pursue our frivolous entertainments and distractions.

But all of a sudden it’s like someone has decided the illusion need no longer be maintained. The elite have grown wary of even the tepid, paltry democracy we celebrate every four years.

There will no longer be elections, key positions will be appointed from a trained, compliant technocracy.

Not politicians, autocrats.

Graffiti

Aided by a permanent state of emergency, which helps rationalize the curbs to freedom, the removal of basic rights, judicial oversight, etc. When liberty, personal or collective, impedes commerce (they claim), the natural order is disrupted and economic stability threatened.

Rich, as a reward. Poor for a reason.

Alert for dissent, some budding Robespierre waiting in the wings (the creak and rumble of tumbrils still haunt their dreams). Discredit or kill potential opposition leaders (give ’em the “Assange treatment”). No quarter for class enemies. To the victors, the spoils.

Idolizing Lee Kuan Yew, while demonizing Marx.

Controlling the means of production and the dissemination of information.

Governing a cowed and stupid populace, relegated to low wages, uncertainty, fear; resigned to their diminished station.

Militarizing and privatizing the police, just in case harsher lessons are required.

Resorting to patriotism, should every other artifice fail.

Red Glare

Letter From Istanbul

It’s been a year since the coup attempt in Turkey.

Sherron and I arrived a few days afterward and found the atmosphere in Istanbul remarkably calm. But there were underlying tensions and anxieties–what would Erdogan do next? Most people we spoke to mistrusted their leader’s motivations and believed Turkey risked autocracy unless wiser voices prevailed.

It seems those forebodings were justified. Erdogan clearly wants to be another Putin, with all the ugliness that entails; gradually moderate, democratic voices are being silenced by jail or purges.

And it was already starting to happen when I wrote this post, back in August, 2016.

Beautiful Desolation

TaksimRecently, my wife and I returned from a dream holiday: a month in Greece, Turkey and the Czech Republic. Mere days before we were to leave for Istanbul, however, Turkey experienced a coup attempt in which nearly two hundred and fifty people died, many of them civilians. Friends and family urged us to cancel this leg of our trip but, then, some stability was re-established and we decided we couldn’t miss visiting that ancient capital, truly one of the world’s “eternal” cities. We flew into Kemal Ataturk Airport and spent an incredible ten days walking its teeming streets. But while we were out and about, chatting with waiters, hawkers and people from various strata of society, I started composing an article on the attitude of ordinary Turkish citizens to the bungled coup and their autocratic leader, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Here it is:

The woman in Taksim Square is insistent: we must…

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Komatsu

Komatsu, the Destroyer

The monsters are tearing up 105th Street
devouring it in powerful maws;
the monsters are swallowing our street
rending it with their jaws.

Sherron, mind your flower beds
count your perennials one, two, three;
the monsters are eating 105th Street
heedless of leaf, root or tree.

 

Copyright, 2017 (All Rights Reserved)

Komatsu

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God, the concept

SophiaGolgotha

If there is a God, that
Supreme Being would
have to endure every
unkindness, every injury,
the abuse and mistreatment
of innocents, the unspeakable
acts we inflict on each
other, pain and torment from
time immemorial.

God would bleed and die
and scream and whimper
and plead for one more
breath of life, while expert
torturers worked their wiles,
wringing false confessions,
betrayals, a crown of thorns
carefully arranged just prior
to execution.

 

(All Rights Reserved)

Cypress Hills (An Idyll)

Just returned from a weekend at Cypress Hills, a park in the southern region of the province.

Accompanied by my pal Laird, I attended a “stag party” for our mutual friend Tom. Ten guys in the semi-wilderness, celebrating the betrothal of one of their own. And a good time was had by all.

While I was there, I wrote three short pieces, inspired by the environment or conversations around the fire.

* * * *

Meteorology

The weather is strange these days
overcast with a chance of melancholy;
on the weekend, the sun never shines
and the grass smells of tears.

The Elements (An Introduction)

There is a tendency to
envy fire for its clear conscience
or over-praise the transparent,
placid gaze of water.

Yet no one spoils the
earth with lavish gifts
and we frequently embarrass
the air with our coughing.

Religion, summarized

Might as well fear the clouds
or prostrate yourself
before a 1000-year old
yew tree

Jesus, put away your cross
Buddha, no thanks

I’m investing my faith
in some special place
worshipping where there
are no altars

 

 

July, 2017  (All Rights Reserved)