Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Poem: Cassandra

Here's one of my favorite poems from my early phase. "Cassandra" published in the Hurricane Review. The idea of an unheard prophet has always resonated with me.

I think a lot of teens and young adults share my view. They look at the social disease maintained by dutiful adults and say, "What the fuck, how stupid is this!"

But they are helpless to change it. Eventually most calm down and assimilate. Their ethos turns grey, inflexible and unseeing. It only takes a few mechanical years.

Don't we all, at some point, get petrified by the ugly Medusa of conformity? Then she places us in her garden, next to all the other lackey gargoyles.

Who dares not to be a lackey gargoyle? Whoooooooooooooooooooooooooo?


she writhed under the cancellation of his gaze,
nothing more than a glum disturbance in the air.
though his eyes were planets she felt no gravity,
wasn’t falling toward the surface of his soul,
shedding layers of herself from the heat.

no one collected her, not even him,
for she had struggled into the oracle of outer space,
where antimatter was more pregnant than light;
where only a few mouths composed her solar system,
and they waltzed around each other in elegant ovals,
with no opinion on the puniness of her physics.

she could erupt into fountains of plasma
and no one would share the intensity.
she could snake her lips into weird smiles or frowns,
turn them into bows that shot the sharpest phrase

and no one would grasp it, not even him—
unless he took a microscope, placed it over her.
then he might glimpse her truth
on the hem of a protozoan.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


On the US news today, fear.

Fear of terrorists, which could be abbreviated as fear of terror, or even fear of fear.

Fear of disease. And yes Swine Flu is now called H1N1 to appease the pork industry.

Fear of death. Somebody semi-famous, or perhaps barely notable, died.

Fear of abduction. Alas one person among 300,000,000 has gone missing.

Fear of war. Our government is thinking about starting another war to prevent a war.

Get your fear while it's hot, or you just might start thinking for yourself.
To toil in the void to earn the attention of a few pairs of eyes, is this not the essence of much human life?

Monday, September 28, 2009

Crucible of the Horrible

Frank Rich argues today that Afghanistan could soon become the next Vietnam (“Obama At The Precipice,” New York Times Op-ed).

In Vietnam, our bellicose fear forged the US Army into an instrument of the devil. We raped everything. The land was raped by carpet bombing and Agent Orange. The people were massacred and raped by a policy of “burn a village to save it.” Women were raped and slain by soldiers whose conscience had been raped and slain by what they saw, what they did, and what they were told to do. And of course the culture was raped by a massive continuous banquet laid out for Death.

Everything and everyone was screwed by the Command’s sick bureaucratic mind fuck. The Domino Theory was paranoia at its apex. So much denial. Groupthink and institutionalized delusion. The atrocious means justifies the ends.

How many souls were maimed and sold to hell in this crucible of the horrible?

The moral failure will taint the USA forever. The Vietnam War hemorrhaged lies and death and corruption and macho stupidity.

It is one of the greatest indictments of modern Empire.

The CIA deserves special mention. The CIA helped sell heroin. The CIA’s Provincial Interrogation Centers tortured and killed thousands upon thousands. And then came the Phoenix Program.

What perverse abuse, worthy of evil, to use the lovely mythology of the Phoenix for a murder mill.

Most Americans will not face up, let alone apologize in any soul-searching way. They are doomed to repeat their servitude to conformist violence. To live tethered, like puppets, to a parasitic past.

“That which we do not bring to consciousness appears in our lives as fate.”

Carl Jung

Poem: Sunset Song

Here’s a poem I published recently, in a very fine journal called Bolts of Silk. Those that wish to sleuth may now sleuth.

Sunset Song

tea-leaf sky,
crushed calendulas and smeared mallows.
the sun flees this garden
like Romeo growing redder,
exiled by his blush.

we want to spread this marmalade,
like toddlers brazen and quick,
swirl with our raised fingerpainting fingers,
and loose a giggle as we splatter forth
a dragon’s yellow tail.

we want to bubble with laughter
that fizzes in our throats,
bloom bouquets on bright breaths,
and float with them, giddy
as dandelion puffs.

the gorgets of once-seen hawks,
embers fleeting and rare,
tint our bottomless eyes.
sunset has given us answers,
more certain than the dark.
never again these reaches to be known
as empty.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Narcissistic June Cleaver

My mother is a brilliant storyteller but a terrible listener. To talk to her is to have your words stripped of their intent and emotion, assimilated into her worldview, and transformed into an invitation for her to speak at length.

She remembers details with uncanny ease. The shape of a sink in an apartment visited once, decades ago. The coarseness of college friend of a friend’s sweater.

These flourishes of minutiae are mortar in a wall of denial. It comes down to a generation gap, perhaps. Her formative years were Post WWII America, a time of happy surfaces and unspoken demons.

My formative years involved the unleashed anger of blacks, women, environmentalists, anti-war protesters, and heretics declaiming the Church.

The incubator of her personality was Pleasantville. Grey Flannel Suits. Lawrence Welk. Beaver Cleaver and such.

My incubator was the denunciation of all that. Civil Rights. Women’s Liberation. Earth as sacred. Acknowledgment of wrongdoing.

We both had terrible abusive childhoods. She dealt with hers by whitewashing and bowdlerizing it. Such wonderful stories she can tell of magical times with her parents and her grandmother.

I am fixated on getting some salve of apology for the wrongs inflicted on me. My anger and anguish seethe through the thin layer of my face. I broadcast passion. I protest vociferously. I tantrum.

My mother is a deaf raconteur, whose strength is that she can deal with any pain by failing to validate anyone who disagrees with her constructed reality.

I’m a self-absorbed hippie who quests after justice. When not obsessing on my craft, I listen to others. I worked on a suicide hotline for 13 years. I needed to be the opposite of my mother.

And, of course, I am as desperate to be heard as she is to tell tales.

I cut through the dark like an owl, and those married to their masks scurry away in fear.


Owl Who Laughs is an alter-ego of a poet-philosopher who is pretty persnickety in his own right. When diffracted through prisms in the UnderMind, his sensitivity and anger intensify to fuel the mini-jeremiads of Owl Who Laughs.

Perhaps the poet has made a Faustian bargain with the spirits. Maybe whatever faulty eloquence he musters comes at the price of nicks and sips to his soul.

Or maybe Truth is a harried creature, exiled by civilization, and long gone feral. It stares through the darkness of social deceit like a predator. Swoops down and relishes a morsel of joy as it indicts.

Beware. Owl Who Laughs does not guffaw like businessmen at a french restaurant or musically chuckle like belles at a soiree. The creature’s laugh is nigh on a screech. It is a forced alternative to the other option, when faced with a disgusting world of inveterate atrocity and ubiquitous injustice.

Read on only if you feel that the norm of sanity has gone blind.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Serpentine Legalese

By creating a blog, have I sold these words to BlogSpot, or whatever corporation owns BlogSpot? Who has authority over the exiled truths of my effusive soul?

In my need to weep words, have my tears become possessions of the Wirelords?

Maybe there’s an answer in the contract I was forced to accept to get here. But to seek it is to dive into an ocean of legalese in search of a tiny jewel.

I suspect the jewel isn’t there. The corporations have other purposes than human dignity, purposes that override it.

Labyrinthian internet contracts are meant to be indecipherable. They are not instruments of good faith or trust. They are designed to keep us mystified and hostage.

Caveat Emptor. Let the Buyer Beware. And yet is this fair, or even conceivable, in a bureaucracy that dizzies the reader with multipage contracts written in minuscule font?

The answer is no. Welcome to the early 21th century. The era of serpentine software contracts that strangle clarity and kindness.

Blind Pawn Of Ego

I’m initiating this blog because someone bragged about their new cabin on a pristine shore, and when I sneered, he replied, “It’s just a cabin.”

It’s not “just a cabin.” It’s an imposition on billions of years of life without cabins. It’s a foothold of modern day development, that death knell for nature. It’s arrogance. It’s humanity saying we will invade without acknowledging or even knowing the pain of the invaded, or the loss.

“Just a cabin.”

You blind pawn of ego, it’s so much more.