July 24, 2017 · 8:30 am
The Rosenbergs & Me
Ethel arrived for court that day in a wool elf hat, beaming. Her chin had grown double; her skin was flawless and glowing. She wore a bit of lipstick. Julius didn’t smile or frown — he looked like a man who had just woken up from a long, dreamless sleep. Ethel draped her gloved hand over her belly as if to shield herself from unseen bullets.
Ethel & Julius grew up poor in New York, and came of age during the Great Depression. They grew up going to rallies for the WPA, listening to radio broadcasts by FDR. I grew up watching the rich debauch themselves in South Florida, and came of age during the Disco Years, the anything-goes Seventies. John Travolta, spinning like a dervish in his white polyester three-piece suit.
Ethel and Julius and I were all politically inflamed at an early age — I wrote to Nixon at age 11 to protest lax emission control standards, and got a personal letter back, signed by Rosemary Woods, Queen of the Accidental Erasure. Julius was contacted by the KGB and asked to spy for the U.S.S.R. He found it flattering — was he really that important? — an offer he couldn’t refuse. There were no KGB agents contacting me, but if they had… how would I have answered?
Unfortunately, in addition to the political, I also got inflamed past all reason by my mother’s drinking — I used to fling her gallon jug bottles of wine into the canal in the backyard. My reaction was a type of revolution: I wanted to throw off the chains of her alcoholism and be free at last. I wanted to throw off the chains of her drunken love just as much, if not more, than Julius wanted working men and women to throw off the chains of their capitalist oppressors.
I had an ongoing fantasy: a mother who could be confided in, a mother who wouldn’t judge, become angry, or load me up with confessions of her own, far greater problems than mine would ever be. Once, I dreamed Ethel was my mother and it was a relief; I knew she’d fight for me; have my best interests at heart. She looked to be a normal mother, cooking meatloaf and mashed potatoes in her tiny apartment kitchen, smoothing her boys’ foreheads after bad dreams, murmuring soothing words in the darkness.
My father and his left-wing ardor neatly complemented the Rosenbergs. He once ran for Santa Monica, California city council on the Communist Party ticket. It was only a few years after Kent State, the simultaneous apex & abyss of the “age of Aquarius.” My father and I never discussed the Rosenbergs; we were in agreement on most things.
Ethel, Julius and I all studied Marxist doctrine, and I toyed with the idea of joining the American Communist Party. I read the Party’s official platform (from the 60s), and decided, after considering Ethel & Julius’ fate, that joining wasn’t such a great idea. To think was private, to act, public. Plus? I wanted to be a lawyer someday.
The Rosenbergs had a larger purpose — to transform society from what they viewed as unfair to something more egalitarian. This is what most political rebels have wanted. But who defines fair? Those in power? The USSR hardly turned out to be an entity worth dying for. Are Julius & Ethel content in their graves? Maybe I should have been sent to the electric chair.
All of us spin out of control in some fashion; Ethel & Julius got caught committing actual crimes. The main evidence against them was the testimony of Ethel’s brother, a man who turned State’s Evidence to protect his OWN WIFE. He didn’t actually believe Ethel & Julius would ever be executed. The government only wanted the Rosenbergs to name names. They, however, remained silent.
After their deaths, Julius & Ethel were laid out in religious garb. They didn’t look dead, just asleep. The embalmer did an excellent job. Three hundred people came to look at them. The dead Rosenbergs left behind two young sons — I left behind my mother, slowly dying. She was a child who wouldn’t grow up. I couldn’t be her mother — her own mother couldn’t even be her mother anymore. She had worn everyone out! Julius, Ethel, don’t ask for God’s forgiveness — I can’t bring myself to. God should be asking us for ours. Our enemies have already forgotten us.
Filed under adult children of alcoholics, alcoholism, children of alcoholics, civil rights, compassion, courage, death, dreams, empire, faith, fear, fiction, god, grief, history, humanity, identity, justice, karma, law, love, mama, manifesto, mortality, murder, passion, peace, personal responsibility, politics, short stories, star spangled banner, tribute
Tagged as alcoholism, capital punishment, communism, espionage, FDR, great depression, injustice, KGB, marx, nixon, the rosenbergs, USSR
May 2, 2017 · 10:07 am
Empire State Building
Twenty years ago we finally went to see the sights,
riding the train through flashing dim green suburb,
glassy sharp-edged slum, the skin stretched
pale and tight over your fine cheekbones —
you didn’t really know how to be afraid of death,
simply of heights and under-grounds:
you wanted always to be on the surface of the earth.
Your demise was still an abstraction,
discussed in the evening while sucking cool mints —
the natural order of things. I dragged you
all the way to the city under the water from Hoboken,
then marched you up to the roof of what was the tallest
building in the whole world when you were young.
I haven’t been here since it was built, you said,
and though the blood sank to your innards in panic,
you kept walking; I kept pushing and pulling you
forward, propelling your solid weight like a cart
loaded with spring lambs. Your hand, soft
wrinkled palm, roughened fingers speckled white
around the knuckles, gripped mine, but I showed
no mercy; I was forcing you to confront the bitter
end ahead of schedule. I was being cruel
to make you go look at the thin sparkling air
of the heavens and you knew it. But later,
my love, as you lay sweating, heavy and motionless
in your bed as though carved of wood, deprived
for weeks of even the common decency of words,
weren’t you glad you went with me once more to the top?
Filed under beauty, compassion, courage, daughter, daughters, death, empire, enlightenment, eternal, eternity, faith, family, fear, grief, heart, hope, human beings, humanity, kindness, loss, love, mama, memoir, mortality, mother, mothers, mourning, mysterious, poetry, soul, spirit, spiritual, spirituality, transcendence, transitions, tribute, truth, universe, wish
Tagged as 1936, courage, cruelty, daughter, death, empire state building, love, mother, new york city, words
August 12, 2016 · 3:46 am
TRUMP is an informative guide on Donald Trump presented in a comics format by Ted Rall, published by Seven Stories Press. It is not a satire, nor is it a bombastic attack on Mr. Trump. In fact, if you were only to read a brief passage here or there, you might even warm up a […]
via Review: TRUMP by Ted Rall — Comics Grinder
Filed under assholes, con man, con men, corporate states of amerka, criminal, criminal behavior, criminals, emperor, empire, evil, fear, hypocrisy, idiots, ignorance, insecurity, jerks, karma, personal responsibility, politics, satire, star spangled banner, tea party mad hatters, truth, ultra right wing loons, united states of america, users
Tagged as amerka, beauty, compassion, fucked up shit, get your ass up off the couch and vote motherfuckers, god, hope, idiots, love, Relationships, trump ugly, United States
July 6, 2016 · 11:52 am
DJI, the largest consumer drone manufacturer in the world, announced July 5 that it was releasing a new version of the software that controls its drones, which will allow operators to fly in areas that the company’s software previously did not. DJI said in a release that this could aid those who want to use…
via DJI is letting people override its software that prevents its drones flying in restricted areas — Quartz
I think this is probably a TERRIBLE IDEA.
Filed under 9/11, amerka, anger, appeals, assholes, civil rights, compassion, corporate states of amerka, development, drones, earth, empire, fear, forgiveness, grief, human beings, humanity, hypocrisy, identity, justice, karma, kindness, law, logic, loss, peace, personal responsibility, privacy, technology, Uncategorized
Tagged as bleah, compassion, conservativeinsanity, corporatism, creepy, drones, dumptrump, fascism, freaky, fucktrump, gross, hope, liberalssanity, nakedsunbathing, notinmybackyard, sex, soul, trumpetism, trumplump, trumptard, trumpturd, truth, uglybutttrump, weird
March 21, 2016 · 10:17 am
How Art Thou Received? (a prayer for refugees)
Imagine: suddenly, without warning (because that is how war arrives) you are a war refugee! Simply running away from being murdered. And how are you received when you can finally stop running, when you are out of range of the guns, the bombs, the blood? No countries to take you. No one to feed you. You are a skeletal pawn in a skeletal game.
Embalmed corpses declare war on the living and fight for their “territory” against other embalmed corpses using armies of young people; embalmed corpses feeding on fresh, young blood.
I know something is very wrong, somewhere. It must be addressed, and addressed properly. Our prayer, our incantation, our spell to heal, must be more powerfully crafted, more distilled, more essential, than was the horrid spell we are trying to break: a tradition of might over right, strong but wrong, a spell of ignorance which has caused so much harm, and is trying to do more… powered by the love of power, the love of control over people.
The scarred parts of the heart can be replenished; the broken parts, glued; the weak parts, strengthened; the fear assuaged, the pain relieved. But the desire to change, to truly alchemize oneself, spin that straw into gold… the gold of the sun… the silver of the stars… the red planet… the North Star… primal navigation by looking not at the ground, but by looking up, to the sky… that kind of desire doesn’t visit often.
If you want to know where you are going, be sure your map is accurate, or at least doesn’t kill you. Migrating birds know this. Power & Liberation. Slave & free. Joy & Suffering. High & low.
Craving slaves, some are trying to roll us back to serfdom, only they can use our own science & technology to rape us! Serfdom: tied by birth to land. You are a pawn, a source of income; in thrall to your Lord and Master. Freeing serfs is always a struggle. Brute force arm-wrestles the human race, and brute force often pins people to the mat, but… you cannot keep people down for long. The oppressed will continue to spring up and defend their inalienable human rights. All people are created equal: including our ancestors, who existed long before the self-anointed first “private property” owners. Human beings are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, yes? The earth cannot belong to any one of us. Period. We own this planet. All of us.
Filed under acceptance, amerka, ancient history, anger, anthem, anthropology, apologia, apology, appeals, assholes, baha'i, beauty, bible, birth, black, blood, born again, buddhist, Catholic, charity, child abuse, child neglect, christian, civil rights, compassion, con man, con men, corporate states of amerka, courage, criminal, criminal behavior, criminals, daughter, daughters, death, development, dream, dreams, earth, easter, emperor, empire, enlightenment, eternal, eternity, eve, everything, evil, evolution, faith, family, father, fatherhood, fathers, fear, fish, flowers, for children, forgiveness, friendship, funeral, gay marriage, girls, god, good, grief, health, heart, hindu, history, hope, human beings, humanity, hypocrisy, identity, idiots, ignorance, jesus, jewish, judiciary, justice, karma, kindness, law, legal system, legal writing, letters, lgbt, life, logic, loss, love, mama, man, manhood, manifesto, marble, marriage, matricide, maturity, mea culpa, men, mitochondria, mortality, mother, mothers, mourning, murder, muslim, mysterious, nature, notes, parenting, passion, peace, personal responsibility, pope francis, pregnancy, rant, rastafarian, regret, relationships, religion, rome, Saint Teresa, science, sex, sisters, soul, spirit, spiritual, spirituality, spring, star spangled banner, tea party mad hatters, teenagers, transcendence, transitions, travel, tribute, truth, ultra right wing loons, Uncategorized, united states of america, universe, users, veterans, war, warmth, wish, woman, women, wood, world, youth, zoroastrian
Tagged as abuse, ananda, blood, buddha, children, civil disobedience, civil rights, confucious, dead, death, dharma, equality, fear, forbidden, freedom, ganesha, hate, incantation, jesus, jury nullification, liberation, living, love, mohammed, peace, Prayer, purity, redemption, refugee, refugees, saints, sinners, soul, spirit, spiritual, stars, taboo, truth, unity, war, wish
December 15, 2014 · 4:25 pm
The Elephant In The Room, an essay
The American “Tea Party” is a radical, far-right organization which stands for nothing less than rolling the evolution of contemporary civilization back by one, or two, or even three or four hundred years – back to a time when only rich, white, men governed society, and, preferably, rich, white, men governing that society in as “selective” a group as possible. Monarchy – in extreme cases, even Feudalism — is, to Tea Partiers, the “good old days,” which they would like to see “restored.” A potent ingredient to the Tea Party hallucination is “private enterprise,” a Holy Grail represented by entities like General Electric. The United States of America is home to 13 of the 20 largest “transnational” corporations on the globe. Multinational corporations are far more powerful than any prior tyrannical force in history.
Thus, the Tea Party explains, poor people are poor because they are stupid and/or lazy, and therefore “deserve” to be poor. Rich people are rich because they are smart and/or hardworking, and therefore “deserve” to be rich. The passage of inherited wealth from the elite class to its offspring must be protected because it is “deserved” by the offspring of such smart and/or hardworking people. There is, of course, the mythology that every so often, one of the poor will find their way into the ranks of the rich, and one of the rich will find themselves thrown down into the ranks of the poor.
The history of the present multinational corporation is — much like the history of King George III of Great Britain (as observed by Thomas Jefferson) — “a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having, in direct object, the establishment of an absolute tyranny[.]” This is precisely the moment the United States of America has reached; will we, as a people, do the work of rebuilding our troubled, restless, suffering nation? Will we stop our own decades-long moral, structural, and economic demolition at the hands of a regressive, elitist, antidemocratic, power elite? Will we abdicate our own social responsibility and continue to allow “too big to fail” multinational corporations to do irrevocable harm to us and the rest of the human beings on this planet? Will we become, in reality, merely the Corporate States of Amerka?
Mass cultural hypnosis and mass public disinformation is essential to root out the harmful weeds of “equality,” “democracy,” “fairness,” and “justice.” Dumbing down the population by a few decades of underfunding public schools is a prerequisite to the suitability of hypnosis and disinformation; as is a very carefully planned, gradual, economic destruction of the unpredictable, possibly dangerous, middle classes (who often demand treatment inconvenient to the ruling elite, and unlike the lower “wage slave” classes, actually have some power with which to back up their demands). It is important to deprive the middle classes of adequate education and economic security with such a gradual, gentle, patient hand that the tightening of that “hangman’s noose” goes unnoticed until it is secure and inescapable.
Most important, however, is the control of the one branch of American government which is practically impervious to democratic principles or controls: the federal judiciary. Since federal jurists are appointed for life, popular opinion and social movements have little to no effect on the judicial branch, unlike the executive and legislative branches, where at least the fiction of “responsibility to the electorate” must be maintained in order to perpetuate the critically important elements of mass cultural hypnosis and disinformation.
Filed under ancient history, anger, compassion, con man, con men, criminal, criminal behavior, criminals, development, earth, empire, evil, federal judge, good, health, history, hypocrisy, idiots, ignorance, judicial branch, judiciary, justice, karma, law, legal system, louvre, personal responsibility, spirit, tea party mad hatters, truth, ultra right wing loons, universe
Tagged as america, amerka, anger, betrayal, corporation, Crime, economic inequality, feudalism, hope, justice, money, multinational, politics, poor, revolution, rich, sad, sadness, wage slave
November 25, 2014 · 10:07 am
Heads of Caracalla, a poem
There are three of the ancient busts on display
in the Louvre. Poor soul: he only controlled
his great empire for six years. I’ve been married
for seven, and though it isn’t like ruling Rome,
it’s hard enough. Thus, I can’t imagine how
he managed, even if he could imprison or execute
at will. Maybe stress did him in at twenty-nine.
True enough, during the heated third century
after Christ, the common man was too often dead
by thirty, teeth rotted away to stumps,
complexion scarred and worn, creased deep
like pegged and scraped hides drying in the sun.
Surely Caracalla’s own hands were soft,
languorous and pudgy, with those meticulous
shiny nails? Perhaps he was afflicted
with diabetes, or simply poisoned by his lovely
but illiterate wife. Will anyone wonder
what carried me off after a thousand years —
or even ten? During three decades on earth,
sculptors recorded all his secrets: first the pretty
baby, innocent and round-cheeked as any three-year-old,
blunt-cut curls springing away from his tender forehead
like the petals of an iris. Around the time
of his ascension, he had become sullen, his eyes
impenetrable, glassy, his torso clumsy, thick-necked,
his full, full lips bowed with palpable cruelty.
I must admit, by the year of his death, he’d grown
into his flesh — he looks wise, even kind,
and his drilled marble eyes are lively, holding
a gleam of curiosity for something outside his own
imperial body. I place my finger against the hard marble
cheek, hearing my own frail life tapping its brisk heels.
Filed under ancient history, art, art history, beauty, bust, childhood, death, emperor, empire, everything, history, life, louvre, manhood, marble, maturity, mortality, museums, paris, poetry, rome, sculpture, travel, universe, youth
Tagged as ancient history, art, baby, beauty, busts, caracalla, child, compassion, empire, heart, history, louvre, man, marble, paris, roman sculpture, Rome, sculpture, youth