Category Archives: Commentary and Ramblings

They Still Kill Poets

We live in a world where poets
are still executed for their words.

There is not much to be found
in the way of details —
we do not know
if the sun was shining and kissed
his face before he died,

or if it was done indoors
where he could see no light,

or if he was defiant to the end,
reciting verse with his last breath,
or if he cried and begged for mercy,

we do not know if there was a sympathetic witness,
or only stoic (or perhaps mocking) guards and executioner —

no, all we know for sure was that he was hanged.
If this was expertly done he would have fallen
a sufficient distance to cause the cervical vertebrae to fracture,
somewhat lessening the discomfort of the experience.

A less proficient, or perhaps sadistic, hangman could have
created a situation where he strangled to death,
dangling, aware, for twenty seconds to a minute,
waiting for the blood flow from his carotid arteries
to his brain to be cut off and consciousness to cease…

Twenty seconds does not seem so very long.
Have you ever held you breath for 20 seconds, or more?

We do know, with a degree of certainty, that his death
was ordered by an Iranian Mullah, found guilty
of waging war on God, spreading corruption on earth,
and questioning the principle of walayat al-faqih.

He is not the first Iranian poet to die at the hands
of his government and the mullahs, not by far…some were shot,
others hanged, one had his veins cut and was left
to bleed in his cell. More than eighty, intellectuals and poets,
were executed from 1997 – 2005.

But, we are not to speak of this, not to judge
those who ordered these acts of justice.
This is their way, and we are to be tolerant of that which
we do not understand.
The mantra of the politically correct.

Do we speak out? Do we march? Do we write ’till our fingers bleed
with the passion of our convictions and the right of any human being
to raise his voice in verse and protest?

Or do we hang our heads and shake them sadly,
mourning the loss of another voice
while being thankful it could never happen to us.
Such an atrocity would never be allowed in the land of the free…

Then one day…an all Muslim city council is elected,
and Sharia law comes to your neighborhood.

But we are not to speak of that, it would be insensitive,
and intolerant, and ridiculously conspiratorial. 

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Shall We Have Coffee First?

It happened once,
several times,
a Jew, a Muslim and a Christian
came together over
a beverage — no, this is not the beginning
of a joke looking for a punchline, and no,
the choice of beverage is not important,
let’s say it was coffee — as friends…

Conversation outlasts the heat
from the cups, smiles and companionship
overcome any differences — which never
come up.

A couple of friends join each: the talk
remains amiable, but there are polite debates,
both religious and philosophical.

The crowd grows, and becomes segregated,
each choosing to associate with their own,
glances are exchanged, disbelief at the
other’s ignorance is mumbled just loud
enough to be overheard.

When the numbers swell the groups
separate into different establishments,
refusing to drink what the others
are drinking, refusing to allow any
of the ‘others’ into their place.

Lines are drawn when the animosity
and populations are of sufficient size,
rocks and insults frequently being
hurled across.

At some point one, or another depending
on the century, decides they have
endured enough of rocks, or insults.

Puzzling, is it not, how a cup
of coffee can lead to war.

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Filed under Commentary and Ramblings, Poetry, Poetry - Prompts, Political, Politics

Where Dreams Are Made

Once again, I feel I will end up being a voice of dissent in this weeks Wednesday Wake Up Prompt from New World Creative Union. Natasha provided a trailer of the film Zeitgeist, a movie I have not seen. Check it out and form your own opinion. At first appearance, it seems to be a condemnation twentieth century warfare and human rights abuses, most likely heavily slanted towards hatred of western governments. What little I have read about it (admittedly, from Wikipedia which is of questionable reliability) indicates that it is loaded with conspiracy theories (just because you are paranoid does not mean that everyone is not out to get you) and anti-religious rhetoric. Research it and form your own opinion. Mine comes from an admitted right-wing, conservative, capitalist bias. Can you look past yours?

Where Dreams Are Made

In the place
where dreams are made
a marionette with no strings
dances with an unwounded soldier.

Tables are set each day
with feast for the dirty and clean
of every belief,
and each do their share
for the right to partake.

Weapons are a thing of history,
an oddity of no conceivable use,
evil defeated,
all rights respected,
no women or children abused.

Sadly…
this is not that place.

Some tables are destined
to be empty,
because the takers
never produce.

Guns are still needed,
lest we all suffer abuse.
Soldiers die
because some things
are worth fighting for.
Yes,
sometimes,
it is the only way.

There is always a
puppet master
pulling the strings,
only the truly naive
believe
their side exempt.

There is evil in this world; plain and simple.
It is not interested in talking to you.
It does not want to be your friend.
It does not respond to negotiation.
It does not respect a position of weakness.
It does not play by your rules.
Its only interest is power and domination.
Its only acceptable outcome is your complete and total submission.

You have two basic decisions to make:

1) Choose who you think is evil
(this one could be a matter of degrees. I do not pretend that there are not elements of evil on all sides)

2) Will you submit? Or defend yourself?

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Filed under Commentary and Ramblings, Poetry, Political, Politics

For My Critics — When They Find Me

‘here’s the thing — and there is really no way of getting around this –”
from A Few Good Men

There are

many things — sun rise,
wind, biting words from my pen —
that are not for you.

At least, not for you alone,
living at the mercy of your phone,
enthralled by talk shows, sitcoms and fake sensuality,
boxed illusions of love, sex and forced versions of reality.

(I saw the strangest thing just today — children reading.
books even, with pages, nothing from a screen)

Drivel
is what these meanderings of thought
I dare label (tag) poetry would
be considered by those schooled
in the craft (I did throw in a
haiku and two rhyming couplets — did
you notice? — just to prove I could).

The reality, thankfully, is that I do not write
for them or you (I do for her, some, but not nearly
as often as I should), though I do appreciate
a comment now and then.

Surely it is not for the dollars (have to publish
to get a few of those), but I would dearly love
for you to buy my book (whenever it might
come out), just for validation you know,
not because the money is important to me.

Except…that it really is important to me,
I am right-wing, conservative, capitalist
through and through, which is pretty much
against the rules; poets (which I do not claim
to be) and poetry (which this is surely not)
are supposed to be above such things.

Paradoxically, I wonder if we that write,
of both left and right, will end up equally
persecuted when current events finally
play out. Already, THEY (sadly, not metaphorical)
are coming for our freedoms –health, speech,
protection, religion — and rights.

Surely, they will come for our words next (again).

The ‘power of the pen’ is somewhat
outdated — much like listening to albums
(black, flat, disc looking things — had music
on them) — now it is the power of blogs
and social media. We feel powerful
in our ability to speak our mind.

When THEY have control of the rest
of our lives, do you really think THEY
will allow freedom of expression to live on?

What happens then? When we that write
become the one percent? Ostracised and
persecuted for speaking our mind
in verse and rhyme.

Am I ranting? Possibly,
Somewhat sarcastic? Probably.

Just getting ready for my critics
when they should find me.

Book burning

Book burning (Photo credit: pcorreia)

For the Wednesday Wake Up at the New World Creative Union where they asked us to silence our critics.Also shared at the dVerse Poets open link night.

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Filed under Commentary and Ramblings, Poetry, Poetry - Prompts

For What It’s Worth: Change

For the Wednesday Wake Up call New World Creative Union gives us a prompt focused on current events and how we can be a force for change. I hesitated a great deal in even formulating a response to this prompt, much less posting one. I steer clear of politics on this blog whenever I can. Poetry and the creative arts are typically the domain of those from a different political spectrum than myself. I try to be rational and listen to all arguments, but to be honest and up front – my political beliefs are conservative to the point of being somewhat to the right of Sean Hannity.

So, before going forward I will offer this disclaimer: if you believe that Rush Limbaugh is the Anti-Christ and that George Bush is solely responsible for all evil and tragedy in the world, you should probably not read further.

That being said, what I have put together is part poetry, part essay, part rant and a lot longer than I intended. And I still did not cover the greatest portion of what I wanted to. Those of you that have been around my blog a while may have seen some of the poetry used here. The essay is original to today. If you dare, below is my response to the prompt, For What it’s Worth: Change.

POLITICAL POETRY AND CRAZY POLITICS

 

“Pound’s Crazy. All poets are. They have to be”

-Ernest Hemingway

“Addressing crowds through their arse-holes”

– Ezra Pound

 

Who should we arrest,

if we were still to imprison

those that spoke their mind

against Country – calling it treason?

Right wing radicals,

content with continuing Capitalism?

Left wing loonies,

sure that Socialism is the solution?

 

“I did not have sexual relations…”

Wait – wrong guy.

That was the rich white Democrat from

decadent decades past;

not the rich black Republican

with an equally faulty memory.

Will he too get a media pass?

 

Occupy schmockupy.

What are you protesting again?

Oh…No, still don’t get it;

explain it to me again.

How is your fornicating in the park

and defecating in the street

morally superior to proverbial pillaging

by ‘rich’ of both left and right?

 

Maybe bigger prisons are the answer;

politicians, lawyers, media, protestors too.

Reboot this circus-government-machine,

restore the original settings.

 

We live in an interesting time. I suppose the term ‘crossroads’ would apply, but, to me, not to any greater degree than it applied to Hitler’s invasion of Poland, the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, the US Civil War, French Revolution, American Revolution, the Fall of Rome, Fall of the Berlin Wall or any other great time of change in human history. It seems so important to us now because we are living it.

Change also seems to be coming at us a lot faster. Since the time of the Industrial Revolution (we need a word to replace ‘revolution’) the world has seen technological advances come about in a time frame that is unsurpassed in human history. In less than two hundred years we have gone from horses and buggies to space flight, from the pony express to countless methods of instantaneous communication to anywhere in the world. Change happens fast now, and everyone knows about it immediately.

There is also greater opportunity for the individual to make a difference than ever before. Through blogs and Twitter and FaceBook (and a LOT of others) it is now possible to create an almost instant audience for your message. This has created a rather interesting paradox in modern conflict; that of the individual versus the group. It seems that every group claims to be fighting for the right of the individual, typically at the expense of the individual rights of another group. Typically, these actions are justified by catch phrases that use righteous sounding words like “fairness” and “equality”.

I think this focus by groups on forcing individuals to act in a certain way is what concerns me most about our current state of politics and activism. There is a resurfacing attitude that the collective is better at making certain decisions and performing certain actions than the individual. The “collective” in this case is any regulatory body, government, or agency/group that speaks for its members, such as labor unions and the NAACP to name a couple. These collectives have effectively, or are working diligently to, taken over the decision-making process from the individual in such areas as income production, health care, education, transportation, self-protection and charity. Charity? Sure, lets start with that one.

Will Work For Food

I despise my

Sign

 

and all that it

means.

 

tired of gas fumes

rain,

 

cold, heat and spare

change.

 

mostly I hate

how

 

you go to great

lengths

 

to avoid my

eyes.

 

Did you feed this guy today? Give him some money for… whatever he wants money for? Offer him a job? Offer to take him to the shelter? Whether you did or didn’t is not really the point. The point is that the government has decided that they are better qualified to take action on his part than you are. They, along with a large segment of the population, now feel that taking care of the indigent, the homeless, the sick, the jobless, the unwed mother and the elderly is within their purview. Tasks that until the 1950’s were handled by family, the church and private organizations supported by private money.

Now, the ironic part about this is that more government takes on these roles the harder it is for private organizations and individuals to do so. Why? Why, money, of course. You see, in order for the government to provide these services they have to have money. The only way government can get money is to take it from individuals. The less money individuals have the less they can give to charities, or churches that help the poor, or even have to take care of family members. Now, the U.S. government has made it even more difficult by cutting in half the amount that can be deducted for charitable giving. Once again pushing those in need towards government assistance, or panhandling on the side of the road.

This is just one instance where we are steadily giving bits of our lives and freedom over to the control of others. I had planned on covering all of them, but this is getting really long already.

The one last point I will make is on the subject on the Occupy movement. I do not profess to understand exactly what it is they are protesting or why they target whom they do. The “1%” are not as big a threat as the government we seem to prefer. The 1% actually feed money into the economy instead of siphoning it off. They build companies that provide jobs, invest their money so others can profit from it. Their only crime is being successful. Unfortunately, a goal has been set of achieving equality and fairness. Sadly, the methodology chosen for achieving this is to bring down the successful instead of helping others become successful.

I believe that real power for change belongs with the individual, and we are steadily giving up that ability by turning over excessive amounts of power to the collectives. I do believe change is needed in many areas, but I do also believe we are going down a dangerous path.

Remember, primarily wealthy landowners, the 1% of their time, formed the United States when they became tired of oppressive government and excessive taxation.

Hate Speech

It has been confirmed that I am among

the most evil of creatures remaining on earth:

The white, Christian, conservative, straight male.

I alone among the tribes of the world are others

allowed to hate solely based on what I am,

while anything I express in disagreement with

another’s beliefs is considered “hate speech”.

 

I do not agree with Muslims and their oppressive,

repressive Sharia law that kills gays and abuses women;

but, I do not hate them – surely not as much as they me.

 

I do not agree with homosexuality, and saying so is

enough to have me ostracized. But I do not hate them

and have never acted or protested against them.

 

I do not agree with liberal, socialist politics and those

that promote government dependence and a policy of

lowering to the least common denominator instead of

working to raise everyone to a higher standard. But, I do

not hate them or turn to personal attacks as my argument.

 

Why is it that it has become socially and politically acceptable

to publicly, and harshly, lambast me personally for my beliefs,

but any general opinion or belief I may express is called “hate”?

 

America the Beautiful

2010

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

America the beautiful,

Absolutely!

Diverse in terrain, people and architecture,

Splendid in its allure,

Mountain, desert, forest and sea.

 

Home of the brave,

Without question!

Pay your respects to the greatest of any fighting force;

Politics be damned, staying the course,

Apparent last defender of an idealistic bastion.

 

Land of the free?

One begins to wonder….

Dependent, learning to vote for sustenance.

“Politician” uttered as profanity, a career instead of a service;

Bloated on corruption, committed to a course of plunder.

 

The American Dream,

Alive… assailed.

Success demonized by agenda driven media,

Intention the primary standard, profit a stigma,

A people bereft of the great Pursuit and all it entailed.

 

 

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Filed under Commentary and Ramblings, Creative writing, Poetry, Poetry - Prompts, Political, Politics

Interview

Marie Good at Poetic Bloomings has graciously posted an interview with me for her Web Wednesday Feature. Check it out, and the rest of the Poetic Bloomings family. A lot of great poets hang out in that garden.

Garden flower

Garden flower (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Censorship

I have stated before that I do not like to use this forum for political opinion; I have another blog for that. But today seems to be the day when it would be acceptable and appropriate.

The internet is in an uproar over bills that are being pushed through Congress right now: the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect IP Act. What could be wrong with that? Congress is very good at naming bills so that they appear beneficial. I am opposed to online piracy; I do not want my IP stolen. But here is the problem: just like so many other government actions over the last few decades, we are giving them too much power and not paying attention. We have allowed them to take control of our healthcare, control how we get a mortgage, how we pay for college, how we run a business, where a third (or more) of our income goes, etc, etc, etc, etc.

This behemoth of a government that we have allowed to be created is taking control of every part of our lives. Today the internet is up in arms because there is a potential threat to our precious blogs, but this is nothing new. They have been trying to incrementally take over segments of the internet and suppress free speech for some time. Campaign finance reform was the biggest recent example, but groups like MoveOn.org that are supporting this anti censorship movement were ok with that because it targeted groups with different ideology than them. The reality is that both conservatives and liberals are willing to give way too much control to the government as long as it supports their given agenda. Remember the words of Martin Niemoller?

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out —
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out —
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out —
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me.

And don’f forget the ideology on which the former Soviet Union was based. Karl Marx was very clear in his Communist Manifesto that the government was to control the media. Plank number six of said document calls for the Centralization of  the means of communication and transportation in the hands of the State. Are you ready for them to control what you can say and post?

Here is the bottom line: you need to pay attention to what your government is doing. They are eroding your freedoms faster than any time in history (assuming you are in the US). Check out the Stop American Censorship site. Please understand how hard it was for me to post that link. I am as far as you can get on the political spectrum from groups like MoveOn that support that site. But the important thing is that you educate yourself and form your own opinion. Don’t take my word for it and don’t blindly follow the dogma of any political organization. READ the bills in question and pay attention to what your government is doing.

Soapbox closed.

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Filed under Censorship, Commentary and Ramblings, Political, Politics

“Hate Speech”

I try to keep most of my political comments on my “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit…” site. However, several things I have read recently in some poetry blogs have gotten my ire up. I have issue with statements of belief by one person being taken as a personal attack by another when there was obviously no intent at malice; just a statement of opinion.

Who is Hating?

It has been confirmed recently that I am among
The most evil of creatures remaining on earth:
The white, Christian, conservative, straight male.
I alone among the tribes of the world are others
Allowed to hate solely based on what I am,
While anything I express in disagreement with
Another’s beliefs is considered “hate speech”.
I do not agree with Muslims and their oppressive,
Repressive Sharia law that kills gays and abuses women;
But, I do not hate them – surely not as much as they me.
I do not agree with homosexuality, and saying so is
Enough to have me ostracized. But I do not hate them
And have never acted or protested against them.
I do not agree with liberal, socialist politics and those
That promote government dependence and a policy of
Lowering to the least common denominator instead of
Working to raise everyone to a higher standard. But, I do
Not hate them or turn to personal attacks as my argument.
Why is it that it has become socially and politically acceptable
To publicly, and harshly, lambast me personally for my beliefs,
But any general opinion or belief I may express is called “hate”?
 
© Mark Windham 2011

I was also somewhat disappointed recently to see the support that the Poetry Foundation is showing for the “occupy” movement. Not surprised, mind you. The realm of poetry, at least that published and publicly recognized, has been a bastion of liberal thinking for some time. I just wonder what the odds are of  ever seeing them promote a collection of Tea Party Poetry. Something about a snowball and Hades comes to mind.

America the Beautiful

2010

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

America the beautiful,
Absolutely!
Diverse in terrain, people and architecture,
Splendid in its allure,
Mountain, desert, forest and sea.
Home of the brave,
Without question!
Pay your respects to the greatest of any fighting force;
Politics be damned, staying the course,
Apparent last defender of an idealistic bastion.
Land of the free?
One begins to wonder….
Dependent, learning to vote for sustenance.
“Politician” uttered as profanity, a career instead of a service;
Bloated on corruption, committed to a course of plunder.
The American Dream,
Alive… assailed.
Success demonized by agenda driven media,
Intention the primary standard, profit a stigma,
A people bereft of the great Pursuit and all it entailed. 
© Mark Windham 2011

I guess that is enough of the soap box for this site….

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