Wednesday, August 5, 2009

After the Storm

It's been a little over a week since my return to the 'noke, and a little over a year since i've posted in this thing. I figured it was about time. I haven't quite had time to process everything that's been going on in the past year in NYC, and i'm still "in transition," which is usually a difficult time for me to write. Hindsight is 20/20, eh?

Since my return, i've re-connected via Facebook with several friends, including several of my old poetry slam cohorts. Steve Glassbrenner, Leslie Barger, Bill Payne, and Lewis Kleiner are all there. I also re-connected with my long-time friend Vickie Holt, who's remained a friend since my high school days, back when i ran with a group of oddballs we called "Saturn Pattern," and yeah, i was a wing-nut back then, too. I hope they don't mind being mentioned by name in this blog, but they're way too important for me to just give a passing "my old friends" mention.

I'm now 44 years old, which is like being dead in dog years. I'm confused about where my future lies now . . . i guess the path is laid at my feet, and this time of transition is my opportunity to pick the right one, or to screw things up royally again. As far as what i wanted to do back in NJ and NYC, i accomplished about 15% of it . . . i.e., just shy of a total failure. I did LEARN a lot, which may have been God's reason for keeping me up there as long as He did. I've written reams of poetry that, in all likelihood, nobody will read, and there's no slamma-ramma stuff going down in the 'noke anymore (and, considering my track record in the last years of that, i'm not looking in that direction now). Blah, blah, blah. And, no, this isn't-self pity, this is just me making another attempt at the pinnacle of Maslow's hierarchy: self-actualization. It's not enough to simply take pieces of other people's opinions or idealizations of what you are, there has to be some kind of "click" in your mind. One thing i've learned is that my inherent distrust of government, bureacracy, and "the system" in general might have served me better if i'd aimed some of it at the people in NYC i called "friends." I DID have quite a few good friends, but when my ship hit the rocks towards the end of my time there, i found out who were really my friends . . . and there were some surprises there. I'm not going into detail about that here . . . and if i ever do, the names will be changed to protect the innocent (and obscure the guilty). For somebody who can sniff out the connections of a conspiracy, i have the tendency to be far too trusting of my associates, especially considering that a number of my NYC associates are, in a legal sense, criminals. But they're still my FRIENDS, damn it, and i don't think God would be very happy with me if i wrote them off just because they happened to have a few misdemeanors on their record. When Jesus walked the earth, He was called a friend of degenerates and riff-raff (nevermind the fact that most of them reformed once they connected with Him). And some of these so-called "low-lifes" that society rejects and looks down on helped me out in my times of trouble, whereas the more "respectable" members of society left me hanging. So, yeah, i may have trusted some of them a little more than i should have, held them to a higher standard when i should have kept my expectations low. I'm not exactly a hero myself--far from it.

But enough of that for now. I'm sure my readers (the seven or eight of them) don't want me to belabor that point.

This is a poem that i wrote while living in Brooklyn, part of it composed on a subway (which was where a lot of poems i wrote began), and this is probably a work in progress which will undergo several iterations, but while it's still fairly fresh, here 'tis.

Battery Acid #1
question: how are we going to
rescue the economy
reduce our carbon footprint
win the war on terror
and provide a future for our children?
objection! too complicated? i'll rephrase:
how many corpses
piled on our doorsteps
or stacked like cordwood
in our toxic back yards
will it take for us to think,
"ummm . . . maybe we fucked up,"
but, since fucking things up is both
easy and profitable, how much longer
can it go on before people
get wise to the act and stop paying
for new and improved ways
of getting screwed? it's like
paying a rapist to rape you again,
only HARDER this time!
pick a problem, and you'll find
50 or more self-help books
(available at Barnes & Noble,
occasionally ostentatiously autographed
by the author)
to help you solve it, but
as any third-grader can tell you,
increasing the number of options
in a multiple-choice question
just creates a greater potential for picking
the wrong one,
and since i don't have all the answers either,
i started by picking up a pen
and writing a poem--say hello
to my little friend!
"you believe the children are our future,"
so you'll croon that song
while making sure that future generations can
be taxed into servitude
eat genetically altered food
watch 500 channels of increasingly stupid tube
and won't worry about what defines "torture"
until it's their turn to get screwed
(and, i might add, if the children in question
are currently involved in conflicts in countries
whose exploitable resources don't warrant
our "liberation" lube,
the future's already dead)!
you're a nation of people who
are kind to others,
as long as it's a tax write-off
or pays dividends,
all smiles while you bury knives
in the backs of your friends,
shoot up that corporate ladder so fast
you get the bends,
and everybody pretends
that they're not losers,
even though nobody ever really wins.
you've got fully functional cybernetic wombs--
think "The Matrix," just designed by Martha Stewart--
and cell-phones and ipods and other pods and mods
that keep you totally connected
but unable to make a connection,
and text-messaging is a lousy substitute
for intense verbal interaction,
and for those of you NOT PAYING ATTENTION,
that's what THIS is!
did you MISS it?
maybe your brain turned off when you unplugged!
they've terraformed the wrinkles out of your mind,
leaving it smooth as a baby's behind
and full of the same runny, yellow crap
until that cosmic roundhouse slap
arrives to wake you from your nap of dollar dreaming,
and you'll leave the world the way you arrived:
fists clenched, naked, covered in blood, and screaming!
oh, and just as a postscript?
if you believe the children are our future?
watch out--they're sneaking up on you
to write "the end."
maybe you'll make good fertilizer, friend,
because that's all you can really do

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