Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Little Susie was not the best student in Catholic School . Usually she
slept through the class.
One day her teacher, a Nun, called on her while she was sleeping.
'Tell me Susie, who created the universe?'
When Susie didn't stir, little Johnny who was her friend sitting behind
her, took his pencil and jabbed her in the rear.
'God Almighty!' shouted Susie.
The Nun said, 'Very good' and continued teaching her class..
A little later the Nun asked Susie, 'Who is our Lord and Savior?'
But Susie didn't stir from her slumber. Once again, Johnny came to her
rescue and stuck her in the butt.
'Jesus Christ!!!' shouted Susie.
And the Nun once again said, 'Very good,' and Susie fell back asleep.
The Nun asked her a third question...'What did Eve say to Adam after she
had her twenty-third child?'
Again, Johnny came to the rescue. This time Susie jumped up and shouted,
'If you stick that damn thing in me one more time, I'll break it in
Monday, November 28, 2011
Is it a sign of being civilized
To live in spaces that always have an angle
Squares and rectangles
Cornering us in the dust
When all uncivilized simple creatures
Around the globe
- Under the dome of heaven -
Live in tepees, igloos, round or oval nests
The choice is automatically made
Make it round;
:"We'll have what nature's having."
Why our angular fixation then when
Our own preliminarily-cultured children
Given their first crayon will draw
Instinctive curves and ovals
Nothing in nature is straight
We use our squares, plumbs, transits,
And snapped chalk lines to get it straight
We need straight to build high; but not nature
Nature is round
Even a squirrel outside my window
Chewed a near-perfect circle enlargement
In a gourd filled with bird-feed
He'd squeezed through my smaller
Bird-sized hole but it was a tight fit
So while I secretly watched him
He went around my circle all the way
So I wouldn't notice what he'd done?
He could have hacked a jagged opening
Any shape to gain access to the seed
But he carefully widened my circle
I think this wasn't really a squirrel squirrel
It was an Indian squirrel
Or an Esquimaux squirrel
A spirit squirrel from another world
Following an instinctive blueprint
And I sat in my square room
Looking out my square window, amazed
And roundly amused
If you ever drive east and want a good place
To stay and rest overnight at the base of the Alleghenies
Before ascending possibly the oldest mountain range
In the world
I can recommend the Best Western Motor Lodge
On the east bank of the
Where the oldest suspension bridge in the
In fact the eastern vertical of this suspended marvel
Is almost touchable from the veranda of the lodge
Gigantic cables run from the support and are
Buried deep in tons of concrete beneath the street in front
Built 150 years ago, pre-Civil War, this bridge
Is not the main artery across the
Interstate Route 70 runs across a newer bridge
About 200 yards north
But the old bridge is a difference of night and day
As the way to cross the big river to
And I like to walk over it at dawn
From my room in the Best Western
It has been repaired and repainted in 1999
And was disappointingly closed my last trip east
So I took my morning walk across to
On the newer bridge, a sterile experience
The new bridge, even with the pounding of
Many cars coming down from the mountains
Or going up into them
Is motionless under the weight
Whereas the old one, even with one car
Coming across while you're walking it
Sways slightly, flexing on its ancient cables
And gives you to understand the tenuousness
Of a span that fell once when Union soldiers
Marched across in a heavy cadence
Too martial for the peacable lazy structure
It's something to feel in your groin
And think about on the way across
Mansions and a panoply of lesser-degreed dwellings
All in a state of ill-repair except for scattered
Restorations going on, and I'm sure,more are to come
An economic page is yet to be turned there
But I love the crumbling age of it all
The brick sidewalks disheveled by tree roots
And the high porches and built-up homes to beat
Devastatingly from time to time
One commercial building has a gradient of high water marks
Recorded like a thermometer on its front façade
I have made the acquaintance of a few hunting cats
In those early morning hours
One golden one that I've seen there in an alley
Three years now in a row
I have taken my late father to
And my fellow revolutionary Juan as well
And I would like to take you there to see all this
Quiet decaying charm
And one simple frame house is a highlight
Only an awninged window graces the front
The door is on the side
And it's all on top of a 5-foot flood foundation
A tiny and unprepossessing dwelling
Out of scale with the larger former-day homes
In its vicinity, but one thing arrests the eye
In passing on my walk
I see a small oval hand-painted sign
Hanging beneath the one front window on a rope
Tied to the window sill at a slight angle
Rakishly but proclaiming lovingly:
"An old fisher-man
with the catch of his life."
That is so touching to me I shudder
……Like the bridge
[David Zep Dix ã
Sunday, November 27, 2011
We had a cat who was a male
Whose habits and wants none could assail
Except in his dotage he’d flagrantly pee
In places inside where we’d smell, and then see
The vet said of that he could be easily fixed
By neutering him that scourge would be nixed
So I took him in and had the job done
And I told the vet I had a request, only one
That he save the testes in a small glass jar
For me to take home; would not carry’t too far
They were to be sure Ragtime’s prized possessions
And I thought that to save them might stay any questions
Thus I placed in the ice box Ragtime’s yellow-gray orbs
In a small screw-top jar midst the food of all sorts
And with time in the way of fridges everywhere galore
The little jar got forgotten; I knew it no more
She tackled my icebox, threw out many things mean
But my sauces and condiments if questioned got left
For me to not lose so I’d be not bereft
Besides, the mystery jar took so little room
And didn’t look mouldy, formelahyded safely from gloom
The contents looked like something that I might want to keep
So Dee, a good saver, said not a peep
Years later my father visited and in accord with his habit
Required a martini; he’d make it and have it
The gin and the vermouth were there in plain sight
But no garnishments, like olives, cheered him that terrible night
He made do through searching, built a drink I’d have banned
And joined us in the living room, bare toothpicks in hand
And his brow it was furrowed as his lips he did smack
Saying, “Boy, your cocktail onions a wallop do pack!”
“They have a certain gristle I’m not used to having,
And the flavour, though pungent, I’d probably be halving;
How long have you had them?” Though with dawning great dread
I said not “The cat that they came from is dead!”
Saturday, November 26, 2011
Friday, November 25, 2011
that grew to transfer one day
to the raccoons of the sewer
mostly nocturnal animals who knew
The rest is history in the making.
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
'Twas the Night Before Recall'
‘Twas the night before Recall, and all through the state
Of Wisconsin were voters who scarcely could wait
The papers were Xeroxed and readied with care
In fond hopes of the signatures soon to be there
The children were slumbering, home safely from schools
Which were gutted and cut by Republican “tools“
With our “Recall Scott Walker” sign sunk in our lawn
My wife and I planned to arise with the dawn
And set out, door to door, to those neighbors we knew
Who were just as disgusted at Scooter and Crew
When down from the street there arose such a blast
I thought, Lord, what new hell has the GOP passed?
The November air, once so chilly and quiet
Was filled with excitement; could it be a riot?
A storm, it was breaking; not one from the sky
But a groundswell that rose with a hue and a cry
When what to my wondering eye appear’d thence
But a figure in black from a century hence
He marched with a fist raised in manner defiant
While his workers upon ev’ry word were reliant
“On Wausau! On Oshkosh! On Point and Milwaukee!
On Kenosha and Ashland! Yes, you too, Pewaukee!
To each office and home, till you reach one and all.
Now sign away, sign away, sign to Recall!”
They came from their neighborhoods, came from their jobs,
They came, though reviled as thugs and as slobs
They came from Menasha, Monona and Merrill
They came, for they knew that their state was in peril
There were Waukesha folk, not a lot, it was plain
But they worked with resolve like their county was Dane
Now who was their leader, this fiery speaker
Who roused them when they should grow sullen or weaker?
His clothes were familiar, his stance, it was steel’d
But the night kept his features from being revealed
I awaited the point when mayhap we would meet
As he solemnly marched up my once-sleepy street
Then…a turn! Now a streetlamp! Epiphany in light!
And we saw Bob La Follette returned for the fight!
This was no fragile ghost, but substantial in power
That grew from his minions, was fed by the hour
And at last I could see, and with joy understand
That the Progressive Spirit returned to our land
Then our gaze finally met, dear old Bob’s and my own
And for one beat in time, we were two souls alone
He gave me a smile, I returned it in kind
Though one living, one not, we were of the same mind
As I saw tears a-forming from tired old lids
I held my wife close, and we thought of our kids
For this task to be done wasn’t for here and now
But for those to come after, so they would see how
We must always be wary and watchful and wise
For greed and corruption takes any disguise
And when given the chance, shapes the world to its wishes
But Wisconsin’s not open to those avaricious
Bob La Follette, he knew it, and now we do too
Though the task is historic, we must see it through
Then Bob gave me a nod, and the night closed around
As he slipped from my view, making nary a sound
But I heard him exclaim as he marched out of sight,
“Happy Recall to all! Never give up the fight!”
Steven P. Senski
Submitted to the SRN by Tom Bentz)
The People's Surveillance State
Police pepper spray students at a UC Davis demonstration on Friday, November 18. (Screengrab: OperationLeakS - Click here for video)
All tyrannies rule through fraud and force, but once the fraud is exposed they must rely exclusively on force.
- George Orwell
In the aftermath of September 11, there was a big push to create anational surveillance systemin the name of national security. Cameras were installed at traffic lights, ostensibly to catch people running red lights and stop signs, but those cameras came with a nifty side benefit: they recorded everyone within reach of the lens in their comings and goings. Cameras were installed at street corners, ostensibly to provide security against crime, but again, you were recorded wherever you went. Bank machines all come with security cameras, and those added to the ever-broadening web of national surveillance. Finally, almost every cell phone now comes with software that, so long as the thing is turned on, can track your every step by triangulating your position via GPS and the cell towers your phone signal bounces off of.
Those with a fealty to the quaint ideals of American civil liberties had, to no great surprise, a big problem with putting this system in place. Combine the concern over having millions of innocent people on camera with the fact that the Bush administration decided to spy on pretty much everyone by way of the NSA because no one had the guts to stop them, and what you had - and have to this day - is a pretty damned paranoid situation where everyone is being watched by The Man. Today, it is almost impossible to be anywhere in America without something tracking you. After this technology had been in place for a few years, it even became fodder for cop shows; half the episodes of "Law & Order: SVU" after 2008 involve catching criminals using this web of eyes and ears. As you can imagine, the bad guys almost never got away.
The basic idea behind setting up this incredibly invasive system, if you listen to its advocates, is that security is paramount in the aftermath of 9/11. There were plenty of people, after the Towers came down, who were very happy to surrender their liberties in the name of security, despite Benjamin Franklin's warning about deserving neither and losing both. Nowadays, the existence of such a system is established fact, leading to yet another bout of cognitive dissonance: those in favor of such a system a few years ago, because it meant the state was looking out for their safety, are now in all likelihood the same people railing against the state with guns on their hips at Tea Party rallies...but that's a brain cramp to be dealt with another day.
The advent of the Occupy movement, the length of time that movement has been able to hang fire, and the vast number of cities in which it is taking place, has led to an astonishingly violent reaction from the very state we are supposedly trusting to watch over our every move. There have been a dozen incidents of gruesome official violence against peaceful, non-violent protesters, including the near-murder of an Iraq war veteran by police in Oakland...violence the likes of which has not been seen in America since the dogs and firehoses days of Birmingham, Alabama.
Last Friday, students at UC Davis in California were subjected to an attack by police that beggars likeness. Here's the thing, though: this time, it's all on film.
If you haven't seen it yet, what you're looking at is a dozen or so protesters seated with their heads down, arms linked, in peaceful non-violent resistance. An armored UC Davis police officer calmly pulls out a can of pepper spray the size of a fire extinguisher, shakes it up, and hoses these seated students down from one side to the other and then back again. Several of the students subjected to this attack required hospitalization, and there is an unconfirmed report that one of the protesters had a UC Davis cop shove the nozzle of his pepper spray canister into her mouth and then pulled the trigger.
It is all on film.
It is all on film.
It is all on film.
None of which would be true if the incident was not all on film. The video of the attack on YouTube, at the time of this writing, has almost 1,400,000 views, and similar attacks by police have been captured on film from one side of the country to the other.
Memo to the police and the surveillance state you represent: you are not working in the dark anymore. You may have your own system of surveillance, but We The People are watching you just as closely, and we have our own system of surveillance. It's called exposing your vicious, anti-American and thoroughly unnecessary strong-arm tactics for all to see. It is really very easy, takes no time, and we will make you famous in all the wrong ways before you take your shoes off at bedtime. The name, telephone number and email address of the cop who attacked those UC Davis protesters is now common knowledge on the internet, and while I will not publish it here, that cop should know down to his cowardly little bones that he is right out there under the bright lights, thanks to the People's Surveillance State.
You may be watching us, but by God and sonny Jesus, we are watching you.
At 4:15 pm I am to put a frozen Reynold's pastie in the oven where it will bake for a hour, ready to eat when
Dee gets home.
Out here in Waukesha where we get our pasties, they have not been available with........
Maybe the old shop near 35th and Buleigh in Milwaukee still carries them with RUTAGABAS. Our favorite pasties - with RUTABAGAS - came from a little bakery in Iron Mountain MI where they were originally baked for the miners to carry down into the mines.The dough specialities, wrapped in newspaper, would still be warm for the miners at lunch-time.
Rutabagas: A Love Poem
Rutabagas were new to me
when I first paired with Jean.
At Thanksgiving and Easter dinners
her grandpa Frank, her spinster cousin,
mom, dad, and a tribe of handsome
brothers dined in near silence
at a great green table
with fierce griffins underneath.
I would wonder if their quiet
was about secrets or something wrong
but now I think it was
just how they gathered.
Rutabagas were on the table.
I had to ask Jean what they were.
My first mouthful tasted
like something in a gunny sack;
nothing like a wine
from which an epicure, or would-be epicure,
might claim to read the soils
in which the grapes were grown.
She said she loved their dug-up texture,
the hint of dirt
that couldn't be baked away,
how they left the tongue
with a rumor of something
underground and dark.
Autumn vegetables suit her,
I think, and none more than rutabagas,
so reluctant to have left the ground.
"Rutabagas: A Love Poem" by James Silas Rogers, from Sundogs. © Parallel Press, 2006.
An hour and a half before the parade was to start, people found their seats or put their place-keeping folding chairs at the ready for a long wait.
A woman and two children, determined to have good seats, huddled under a pile of blankets,waiting.
Thanksgiving was still five days off but in these trying times merchants want to garner the few cash register rings of some extra marketing days.
It wasn't always like that. Thanksgiving was allowed to happen, and THEN Xmas.
The closed Clarke Hotel restaurant (last incarnation - D-Mo's)awaits a brighter day,too.
Monday, November 21, 2011
by Mary Mackey,
a week before Thanksgiving
the Ohio river froze
and my great uncles
put on their coats
and drove the turkeys
across the ice
where they sold them
for enough to buy
a Christmas doll
with blue china eyes
I like to think
of the sound of
two hundred turkey feet
running across to Illinois
on their way
to the platter
the scrape of their nails
and my great uncles
in their homespun leggings
calling out gee and haw and git
to them as if they
I like to think of the Ohio
at that moment
the clear cold sky
the green river sleeping
under the ice
before the land got stripped
and the farm got sold
and the water turned the color
and all the uncles
and never got up again
I like to think of the world
before some genius invented
turkeys with pop-up plastic
in their breasts
with no wildness left in them
turkeys that couldn't run the river
to save their souls
"Turkeys" by Mary Mackey, from Breaking the Fever. © Marsh Hawk Press, 2006.