Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Acceptance: Hell Gate Review

Hell Gate Review takes very little poetry, has a topnotch editorial team with impeccable credentials, and plays an important role in the New York literary world (their source of inspiration is the area around the Hell Gate Bridge).

They took some of my harshest work, the sort that makes me cry on the keyboard. The following three poems were accepted: "Nuclear Monster," "Street Addict," and "Number Cruncher."

They are absolutely professional, which is obvious just from visiting their website, and their poets are phenomenal. (My favorite is Samantha Neugebauer--go to the home page and scroll down. She's max!).

So, this is a true honor. This acceptance is why I spend over a year on some of my poems. "Nuclear Monster," in fact, has been edited for at least two years.

My lifeblood is poetry and this validation of my purpose is a fantastic gift. My words and mind are falling into a black hole of exhaustion -- but yes, yes, yes:

Thank you Hell Gate Editors!


Sunday, June 27, 2010

Homeless Story of J, 7

This is a work of fiction. However, all references are real.

Homeless Story of J: Part 7

The answer is simple. The solution impossible.

I found a copy of Animal Dreams in the library trash the other day. Apparently this 90’s book by Barbara Kingsolver is old and expendable. To dispel any uncertainty, a bright red “DISCARDED” is stamped on the inside covers and the spine.

It’s a pretty good book about a wounded young woman, Codi, trying to find her identity across all dimensions: family, spirituality, love, community, ethos. Her sister Hallie, who never appears except through letters from Nicaragua, is Codi’s stand-in conscience (though Codi’s hunky Apache lover Lloyd is outrightly sagacious in his native wisdom).

The most stirring and emotional statements in the book are in Hallie’s letters, buried deep in the text. Kingsolver had to hide and mitigate these gems to avoid looking didactic. Lecturing your readers is the quickest way to lose them.

Codi seems stunned and uncertain when her sister, who went to Nicaragua to teach good farming practices, gets mad at her for being indecisive and wimpy. Hallie, after all, is witness to abduction, torture and arson as thugs burn down schools and medical buildings. These thugs are the contras, the counter-revolutionary army backed by Ronald Reagan in the good ol’ USA.

Historically, let me add, Congress got sick of Reagan spending money to destroy Nicaragua’s populist regime and forbid it. But Reagan went behind their back, set up his own private intelligence network (remember Ollie North?) and sold missiles to Iran to fund it.

Anyway, Hallie witnesses firsthand the US-backed assault on a young democracy. She teaches the peasants the best way to plow, but the contras destroy the tractors. In her letters, she gets fed up with her whiny sister, and responds to her claims that she (Hallie) is perfect and inimitable:

I’m not here to save anybody or anything. It’s not some perfect ideal we’re working toward ...What keeps you going isn’t some fine destination but just the road you’re on, and the fact you know how to drive. You keep your eyes open, you see this damned-to-hell world you got born into, and you ask yourself, “What life can I live that will let me breathe in & out and love somebody or something and not run off screaming into the woods?”

In another letter, Hallie tries to wake Codi up, bluntly explaining her philosophy:

The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope ...What I want is so simple I almost can’t say it: elementary kindness. Enough to eat, enough to go around. The possibility that kids might one day grow up to be neither the destroyers nor the destroyed.

It’s sad that Kingsolver had to conceal these nuggets deep in a novel whose protagonist comes across as a bit too self-absorbed. Codi’s mother died when she was young, her father was strict and emotionally distant, and she had a miscarriage she never told anyone about--but on the other hand, she’s spent most of her adult life traipsing around having sex, almost finishing medical school only to drop out, having more sex, travelling the world with a doctor, having sex, and returning to her hometown, where she is immediately embraced by a wonderful family and special community, and having sex with an Apache adonis who is absolutely flawless in his attention, patience, kindness, and love for her.

None of this fazes her too deeply, though, as she is hostage to old demons. In her defense, much of her life (prior to the novel's present) is spent helping the rural poor as a medical assistant.

At one point, she saves the life of her neighbor's infant child, who is choking on a nut, but then shrugs it off, and dismisses the idea that she should go back and finish medical school.

At the climax, Codi almost flees to Colorado with her ex-doctor boyfriend (good for lust and company), but the death of Hallie as a martyr in Nicaragua spurs her to accept her Apache lover and the community of her childhood.

Codi has some deep moments in the book, for example when she reflects, “We live our whole lives around disguised animal thoughts.” And when she draws connections between the nature of our dreams and how we live (“it’s what you do that makes your soul”).

However, the most important dream thought is reserved for a letter from Hallie:

I still have American dreams. I mean literally. I see microwave ovens and exercise machines and grocery-store shelves with thirty brands of shampoo. And I look at those things oddly, in my dream. I stand and I think, “What is all this for? What is the hunger that drives this need? I think it’s fear.”

Hallie knows that the answer has one pure root: elementary kindness. She knows that we need to stop fretting about which shampoo to buy.

And she dies because most of us are not even as noble as Codi, who doesn't change until a family death and a pure love combine to overcome her psychic scars.

The answer is simple. But the Codi's of the world, and the sub-Codi's, have no easy way to get there.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Acceptance: The Toucan

I was pulled to submit to this journal by the quirky yet brilliant humor of the editors (who like to be referred to as Liz and Laura). These "editrices" (they prefer that appellation too) have excelled in creating a unique and lively emo zone. Reading the home page of The Toucan, you start to feel like you’re doing a mambo, maybe with a tropical drink in hand, a boisterous concoction that Toulouse-Lautrec spiked with a dram of absinthe. Whatever the dance, whatever that magical drink, The Toucan is orchestrating a marvelous show and you’re soon in the mood for a literary adventure of colorful proportions (which could shade anywhere from vibrant flamingo to brooding midnight).

I want to emphasize that the silver-tongued artistry of these editrices is absolutely stellar. I found myself clicking on links just to hear the next witty line, the next well-executed pirouette of phrase. There were even some triple gainers. In her Duotrope Interview, Editrice Liz responds to a prompt (“What is a day in the life of an editor like for you?”) as follows:

A: I slip into my velvet smoking jacket and adjust my turquoise beret. I type the 32-letter secret Vedic password into our gmail account and the retina scanner gives me access. While sipping my exquisitely carbonated Dr Pepper, I read new submissions for a general gut reaction, and reread older ones to ensure my opinion hasn't changed on them in the last 24 hours. As the moon rises and the silver hair lengthens on my forearms, I activate the vocal mindlink with co-editrice Laura .... and we have a pun-filled rendezvous often lasting until the wee hours of the morning. When we reach a decision I note it with my finely crafted Siberian pencil on a sheet of bone-white vellum, and within a day or so I will send out the personalized acceptance or rejections (or editing suggestions). I also might take care of other correspondence such as procuring cover art or answering submission questions during the day.

This is phenomenal verse, on par with review critics in, say, the New York Times.

Believe it or not, the acceptance letter they sent me (I have a suspicion that Liz does most of the writing--in fact, it’s stated somewhere on the website) was equally engaging. Not only that, it was generously long and a bit hypnotic. Most editors don’t take the time to astound and fascinate some bit-player contributor in their daily correspondence. In fact, in my eight years of submitting to journals, I don’t think I’ve ever experienced anything nearly like it--and it was wonderful.

Another kudo: the editrices revamped one of my poems and offered the modified version up for my consideration. Well, my experience with this sort of shenanigans has been dismal (with one exception, Eve Hanninen of The Centrifugal Eye). I was prepared to scoff within a second of opening the attachment.

But the changes were good! Actually, they perfected the poem. Something I never would have accomplished.

So, I do indeed want to bow down to these editricies. As a side note, they prefer Editrice to Editrix. For example, it’s Editrice Liz, not Editrix Liz. I think this is a wise and gleeful choice, which focuses on the respect and admiration these fine prodigies deserve, while not implying an imperious demeanor, except of course when some uppity bozo deserves it.

If you want to submit to this journal (and you should want to!):

(a) Read Liz’s interview at under The Toucan

(b) Address your cover letter to “Editrices Liz and Laura”

(c) Be aware that this intrepid duo is burning a tremendous amount of mental octane for us readers. They edit and produce a quarterly zine (including a print version), plus deal with submissions, queries, and unavoidable neurotics, not to mention maintaining their jazzy-sassy vibe, which is sure to proceed on the road to fame, and morph into a charismatic classic.

(d) Realize that few of us are ever going to write as well as Liz or Laura, at least in terms of vivacious appeal and mesmeric flair. You’re dealing with people who must surely struggle not to pull out their hair when dealing with idiots. Lesson: Don’t be rude.

(e) Dip into the archives before submitting. On this, though, I have a warning: the site is a bit of a teaser when you attempt to find back issues. If you reach a state of confusion, CLICK ON THE “OLDER POSTS” LINK, a troublesomely small and innocuous blip at the bottom of the screen.

Hey, given the plucky chutzpah of these two fine talents, you shouldn’t mind a little extra work to reach The Toucan’s hidden stash of fruit, which includes a wide variety of poems and also short stories.



Monday, June 21, 2010

Poem: A Moment In Her Beauty

Here's a poem for my talented and wonderful wife, Shanna. It was originally published in Wilderness House Literary Review.


A Moment In Her Beauty

she weaves clay,
sculpts fleece,
joining them
with her magic.

like meshed pentacles
hypnotize earth,
swim across looms,

each thread a strand
in the fur of a spirit;
each touch a leap
through gardens
of fabric—

she a sail
over loon-blessed waters,
guided by crystals
in her gaze—

blue eyes
like steppingstones
on which heartbeats
and tigers


Friday, June 18, 2010

Monongahela Review Releases #5

Monongahela Review has just released its 5th issue. It’s a few months behind schedule, but well worth waiting for. Editor Luke Bartolomeo does a fantastic job, not only picking out great poetry but also formatting the journal and providing incredibly meaning-laden cover art. Another very special thing about MR is the quality of the prefaces. They are works of high merit in themselves, some of the best in the small press world.

Two of my darker poems (“Monster” and “Don Giovanni In Hell”) appear in this issue. Maybe Bartolomeo is an empath who can see the strands of each contributor’s soul and knows how to choose the right strand for the occasion. The journal itself entertains a wide variety of voices, styles and moods.

It’s my pleasure to announce the release of the latest issue here! Enjoy and then submit your best work them.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

My Moonday Reading, Tom Hanks, and William Archila

My reading at Village Books in Pacific Palisades (on June 14) is something I will never forget. The ambience of this bookstore was comfortable and cozy, just the kind of small independent venue that we desperately need to support. The selection of books was wide-ranging and topnotch, including one of the best contemporary poetry sections I’ve seen.

In addition to the great literature and the delightful atmosphere, Village Books is one of the town’s centers of culture, untainted by the metallic taste inside corporate fortresses like Borders and Barnes & Noble. The humble, hand-written ‘wash-board’ marquee on the sidewalk lists events for most weekday nights, one of which currently was my reading. It was a thrill to see my name on the marquee in Gaia-friendly blue-green letters.

The woman who runs the Moonday Poetry Series, Alice Pero, did a wonderful job greeting me and orchestrating the crowd. About thirty people packed into the elfin bookstore. Despite the cramped quarters, they all seemed at ease and susceptible to laughter. Some of them stood for over an hour as the night proceeded, with nary a complaint, their eyes closed as they jazzed on the untamed words.

I would hear many of them read a poem for open-mike. I was impressed and moved not only by the quality, but also the honesty of these brave souls, who revealed sensitive life issues, some for the first time, to a room that contained many strangers.

And yet the general aura was one of acceptance and welcome to all. The chemistry and synergy felt very special. I vocalized this when it came my turn to read. There aren’t many places left in the urban streetscape where you can find this level of giving and receiving, not within an ephemeral group of people, who lack a common affiliation and come from many different backgrounds. Joined only by their love of poetry, the group seemed as free as language itself.

Maybe this is a special quality granted by the wonderful atmosphere of Village Books. Perhaps the community of Pacific Palisades, with its beachside ease, also plays a role.

I want to mention now some particularly amazing moments. First of all, one of the gentlemen who rose to read offered a most touching poem. It was titled “Egret,” and it wove a sinuous journey of well-chosen sounds and striking metaphors. At one point, the egret’s neck was likened to the arm of the poet’s lost wife, visiting him in a dream, touching him mystically. I was thoroughly moved by this writer's bittersweet longing.

The egret was a gift among many. For a good portion of the night, people in the audience revealed much. The work ranged from light and funny to dark and tempestuous. In between were sad and yet lovely ballads, many styles, offered to loved ones gone. I felt, sometimes, as if we were in a sacred place together, transported out of modern city into an Oracle’s grove.

Another thing to mention: As Alice Pero read her poem to the group, Tom Hanks and his son started to walk into the store! When they saw the unexpected crowd, they waved to the owner Katie O’Laughlin (who waved back) and walked on. As a semi-hermit from Maine who spends a lot of his time in the woods, this was a strange and wondrous moment for me. Of course, no one else in the room seemed even slightly fazed.

Finally, I was not the only featured poet. I was paired with William Archila, who read first. His voice was immediately sonorous with various emotions, some kind, some deep, some wise, some reflecting the painful journey of his life as it moved away yet danced distantly with his home country El Salvador.

At one point, with a hint of wistful tone, he quoted Czeslaw Milosz: “language is the only homeland.” El Salvador, of course, has suffered greatly over the last few decades, and though Archila did not mention it specifically, I will add here that the United States, through the CIA and other foreign-policy thugs, greatly contributed to that suffering; for instance, by supporting dictators instead of allowing the people to democratically choose. The result was oppression by death squad, with all the horrible torture that implies.

Archila said nothing of this. Though his poems, redolent with layers of passion, made the audience feel many things, from great love to moments of horror. Sitting and listening to him, I realized how honored I was to be featured alongside this incredible man.

To make it even more special, he announced, as humbly as anyone could (yet clearly happy and deservedly so) that his book, The Art of Exile, had just won the International Latino Book Award.

So there I was, reading alongside the winner of the International Latino Book Award. Tom Hanks had walked by, and I was sharing a wonderful night with strangers who had somehow captured a piece of my heart.

I managed to sell some copies of my last two chapbooks (“Gordian Butterflies” and the new one “Cantabile of Whims”). With this burst of profit, I bought a couple poetry books I’ve wanted for a while: Lyn Lyfshin’s Cold Comfort and the anthology Chaos of Angels by Word Walker Press. which deals with addiction, drugs, utter despair and transformative hope.

I also bought Archila’s The Art of Exile. To my great regret, in hindsight, I did not get him to sign it. Finally, I traded my chapbooks with Alice Pero for a copy of her poetry book Thawed Stars. I did all right!!

A fantastic night it was. Yet by the end, being an introvert, I found myself eager to go home and rest, which required a lengthy battle with LA’s mean streets (yet how exciting to curve along fabled Sunset Boulevard!).

Sunday, June 13, 2010

I'm Reading At Village Books Tomorrow!

These are busy times for me. I'm running a poetry workshop for Rooster Moans (which is going splendidly because of the wonderful participants), grading papers for my summer course, and tomorrow I will have the great pleasure of reading my poetry at Village Books in Pacific Palisades as part of the Moonday Poetry Reading Series:

I'll be reading from my brand new chapbook "Cantabile of Whims," which contains some of my best published work from the last year. I'm psyched about this! My only fear is having to drive into the heart of Los Angeles during rush hour on crowded freeways.

I guess every worthy adventure has its hurdles as well as its great joys.

Back to work...


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Homeless Story of J, 6

This is entirely a work of fiction. The author in no way implies any endorsement of the ideas inside.

Homeless Story of J, 6

"The superior person seeks what is right, the inferior one, what is profitable." -- Confucius

The great irony of my vagrancy is that it provides ample time to engage in a street version of my old “profession”: philosopher. Yes, it’s true, way back in my youth, when this country was prosperous and there was room for the humanities, I was a college lad, naïve and spoiled, and I chose for a major the most impractical yet ideal realm: philosophy.

It was considered whimsical to study philosophy back then, though not entirely ridiculous, whereas today the whole spectrum of the humanities is dying. Not even the disciplines of history and english generate much respect anymore, let alone a decent number of followers. Study in the humanities has always been the prerogative of the rich, or at least the middle class children of a well-to-do Empire (these kids are filthy with privilege in comparison to most of the world, though in the insulated heart of the Empire, it doesn’t seem so to them).

Now that the U.S. is faltering, the shortest-lived Empire of them all, so is the opportunity to study any form of knowledge not directly related to money-making. Truth and wisdom, even at the best of times, are considered secondary; but in periods of want, they become loathsome pariahs, and anyone who dares put them first earns exile and scorn.

So here I sit, homeless, with a Ph.D. in philosophy. Plenty of time to think. To observe. It shouldn’t bother me that no one cares about my perceptions, but it does.

One thing I can tell you about philosophy--you, my unreal interlocutor--is that it is dangerous to the soul. The first thing you learn is that reason, which is the essence of the quest for wisdom, is not the tool of the powerful. Indeed, the powerful control the masses by avoiding reason and employing its deceptive enemy, sophistry.

Almost every argument from a politician is sneaky, specious and geared to prod voters into irrational fears. None of the rhetoric of the overlords is analytically acceptable. The entire political foundation of the United States is based on poor thinking intended to manipulate rather than instill serious critical thought.

Once you study philosophy with any modicum of rigor, you learn the horrible truth of how deceptive ordinary human ways are. You learn how stupid the bulk of the people are. How easily they are led around like puppets yanked by chords tied to their most flammable emotions.

Emotion is not the enemy. Nor is logic the hero. Good reasoning invokes both in proper proportion. Most importantly, good reasoning is subject to verification. An examination of whether it is valid. If you think of an argument as a house, then a philosopher is a good carpenter, the sort who checks the foundation to make sure it is solid before turning it over to the customer.

Sadly, every house built by the rhetoric of senators topples from the first gust of deep thought.

Philosophy makes you see. And once enlightened, you can’t go back. You are no longer in the Matrix of the zombie followers of patriotism and hollow pageantry. Paeans to freedom, a freedom that is primarily the momentum of the rich, no longer advise you.

If you are a rootless philosopher, a true philosopher, you see that most all people live in a Matrix of conformity; and that conformity eschews wisdom and truth, prioritizing above anything else the pursuit of ‘resources’. And ‘resources’ are whatever it takes--land, people, technology--reduced callously to empty objects, and exploited brutally, with a mad and frothing fervor, to pursue construction of great piles of gold.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Poem: Hopi Vision

This early poem, published six years ago by Porcupine Literary Arts Magazine, accompanied my first sparks of awareness concerning shamanism, its power and inspiration.


Hopi Vision

no answer from sand, quartz, or air,
their shattery, dissolving jazz.
none from clouds,
their addictive white thighs.
stones spew ochre
as i kick, as i watch a cactus
cry puzzled flowers away
frond by frond
into a pitcher of shadow.

i see now
this piracy we call time,
long spider whose legs never touch,
has no poison,
not even microbes, not even flesh.
nothing except a bitter fluid in the mind.

nothing should die
without sending its heat into a
naïve sunset. why must perfect mice
fracture off rattlesnake swords,
suffer a billion times,
as many times as there are daughters?

Saturday, June 5, 2010

My Natalie Angier Workshop Starts Tomorrow!!!

I am busy as sin, but a lot of it is good. Tomorrow, my workshop on Natalie Angier's book, The Canon, begins, hosted by the incredibly cool online community Rooster Moans, which is affiliated with the equally cool and very well known literary journal, Arsenic Lobster.

I have a great group of people to work with, including professors, editors, a radio show host, and serious seekers who are wonderful poetry-jazzed souls.

Below is the Official Welcome to the Workshop. It's the first document the new participants will see. Of course, everyone enrolled has already seen the electronic flyer, which explains the nature of the workshop. You can check it out here:

Although I won't be giving a blow-by-blow here, I am sure the workshop will be unforgettable in some ways (hopefully good), and I'm looking forward to the wild ride we're about to share.

An Excited OWL

Workshop Welcome!

Greetings and a hearty welcome to our workshop! I’m jazzed up for this, and I’m here to cajole or nettle, soothe or incite, hopefully with great sensitivity to how busy you are, and what you desire from this workshop and me.

In accordance, there isn’t much in terms of requirements. One poem a week from you is the basic format. Past Rooster Moans shindigs have involved group interaction--commenting on each others' poems in friendly yet constructive ways (a few compliments sandwiching the rest makes for more palatable reflection). However, this is a high-powered group (yes, I mean you!) and I have a feeling everyone is busy with multiple summer projects and hopefully having some fun too. I guess my one major rule is:

You are not required to do more than you have time for, or desire.

I don’t want anyone feeling bad because they can’t do critiques. It even might be a good idea to limit your critiques. If you wish, please do comment on others’ poems to your heart’s content. Meet new people, build bonds, and of course remember and heed that wonderful bumper sticker, “Mean People Suck.”

On the other hand, if you’ve allotted only enough time to offer something, that is absolutely fine. Heck, that’s life. I’m sure some of you will not be able to finish the whole four weeks. Much as I enthuse on full participation, I accept the reality of vicissitude and circumstance. We all give a nod to the clock. (for me, that “nod” is often a nap)

So, Welcome Again!

For this week, there are a few separate documents:

(A) An introduction forum, so we can learn a little about each other

(B) A general overview of the entire workshop

(C) The theme for this week

(D) The prompt for your poem, based on the theme.

Write something on the Intro, post a poem under the Prompt, comment on others’ poems (if you have time), send each other fun private messages, and ENJOY!

[Owl Who Laughs]

Friday, June 4, 2010

The dead don't die until those that know them die.

Mary Ghostear, The Wolf Who Channeled a Bat

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Homeless Story of J, 5

Although this story is fiction, the newspaper article is real (“An Unnatural Disaster,” New York Times, Opinion, 5/29/10 ). The author does not imply endorsement of any of the following arguments or views.

Homeless Story of J, Part 5

The longer I live on the streets, the more obvious the truth. There’s nothing fancy about it. Long ago as a college brat, when I had the luxury of bandying about quotes, one of my favorite was:

"The great way is easy, yet people prefer the side paths." (Lao Tzu)

Little did I know what I was saying. It really is that simple.

I’ve taken to tearing out bits from discarded articles. Trashed newspapers can be found almost anywhere, especially outside Starbucks. They are the footprints of clues.

J’s First Rule of Justice: The reason for our unhappiness is absolutely basic: the supremacy of greed.

All the world’s religions condemn greed. Prosaically enough, no one cares. I see it in the body language of the formicae. Tension, worry, and servitude bind their sinews and strides like slip knots. Blue collar to white collar, from the owners of tin jalopies up to the scale of gold and platinum, everyone is leashed to cash and clock.

I know this because I am homeless and can’t do anything about it.

It’s the corporations, dummy. Mammon’s corporals. The one journalist who has it absolutely right is Bob Herbert. Herbert is a prophet. The horrible BP oil spill, which currently spews and spews, fouling the majesty of the naiad’s watery kingdom, has disgusted him as much as me.

Big media, owned by fat-pursed moguls, can’t entirely stifle the truth. Herbert has a small niche as a backup columnist, and he dares to harshly criticize even the President.

The President has exposed his own lackey spine by saying that he thought the oil companies were decent and forthright. Herbert isn’t letting Mr. Obama get away with any of that shit:

With all due respect to the president, who is a very smart man, how is it possible for anyone with any reasonable awareness of the nonstop carnage that has accompanied the entire history of giant corporations to believe that the oil companies, which are among the most rapacious players on the planet, somehow “had their act together” with regard to worst-case scenarios.

Ha! The argument is clear: the corporations, throughout their entire history, have been rapacious sneaky lying monsters. Therefore the president should not have thought they were trustworthy.

Can anyone honestly challenge the merits of this brief yet devastating logic?

Have we forgotten the “seven dwarves,” that line of cigarette CEO’s who stood before a congressional committee and all swore they knew nothing of nicotine’s addictive potency?

Have we forgotten how Nestlé sold worthless milk formula to mothers in Africa, causing their mammaries to stop producing milk, resulting in the deaths of millions of babies?

Have we forgotten how chemical companies will pollute for profit then bog any attempt at exposing the cancer-causing mess in legal entanglements for years?

Have we forgotten that insurance brokers, who should be superfluous, have wormed their way into heathcare, adding layers of codes and cruelty, with no higher purpose than to batten their obese pockets?


Does anyone really think that giant business conglomerates are better than sociopaths? What hides beyond their sweet insipid commercial faces except a mission to feast?

Everyone knows what corporations are. But no one will say.

Except Herbert the prophet:

These are not Little Lord Fauntleroys who can be trusted to abide by some fanciful honor system. These are greedy merchant armies ... President Obama knows that. He knows — or should know — that the biggest, most powerful companies do not have the best interests of the American people in mind when they are closing in on the kinds of profits that ancient kingdoms could only envy ... They are [craving] stacks and stacks of gold glittering beneath a brilliant sun. You don’t want to know what people will do for that kind of money ... There is nothing new to us about this ... The idea of relying on the assurances of these corporate predators that they are looking out for the safety of their workers and the health of surrounding communities and the environment is beyond absurd.

Herbert is right! And the argument is simple. Valid, appositive and limpid. It's so obvious that even children’s books are full of warnings about this sort of poisonous greed.

My question for the people, then, is founded not only on conscience, both also hundreds of years of historical precedent:

Why do you slave at the feet of Colossal Demons?