Sunday, April 19, 2009

I Went to Mass . . .

And I liked it.

(Of course I cried my eyes out.)

I went to Mass.

And I liked it. . . .

"Can I take communion?"
"Why wouldn't you?"
"Because I've done . . . excommunicable acts . . . "
"Bullshit. And that's a priest telling you that. If you want to take communion, take communion."

I took communion. I said the responses. I let God in. He washed over me and I sat there, a little broken human being having a spiritual experience.

[I think it was one of the Popes Pius (no liberal, but at least never a Hitler Youth) who said that communion was medicine for the soul; the healthy don't need it; the sick do. ]

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I'm B-a-a-a-a-a-c-k!

Hello, all you beautiful people. I've been busy.

I took a full-time job; wasn't that miraculous, in this economy? I started as Assistant Editor at Central Recovery Press in early December,'08. In addition to helping get this fledgling publishing house off the ground, editing away like a madwoman, I've been working on a huge collection of children's poems for Scholastic.

Oh, yes, as a work assignment, I wrote a 23,000 word children's novel for Central Recovery Press, which will be out next year.

As you might imagine, I've been kind of sick of words, like Liza Doolittle, by the time I get home at night, so I haven't blogged. But I will soon. Oh yes. And you will all be mine again.

Mwah, ha, ha!

Good night, possums!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I'm spent. So forgive me if I repeat a posting I blogged on Open Salon yesterday. I love you all, and am prouder of my boys than I ever imagined I could be.

The greeter at my AA meeting tonight, a tall, slim beauty named Steph, was greeting folks at the door, not with the usual extended hand and "Hi, welcome," but by repeating, "200-to-90. 200-to-90." Electoral votes. That was at 7 o'clock. SEVEN O'CLOCK!

By 8 I was on my way to what was supposed to be an evening of watching election returns at the home of my friend Sonya's mother, Diane. It was to be a potluck. I was bringing NY-style, home-baked Black- and- White cookies (in honor of racial unity and Obama's heritage, and also because Sonya is, after me, the world's biggest Seinfeld fan. Or she was until Michael Richards had his onstage meltdown). Before I got there, my sister called from North Carolina and nearly split my eardrums, yelling "HE DID IT! WE WON!" I then nearly screamed myself hoarse, making and receiving calls from my sons. (My son Mike and his wife were going door-to-door in their apartment complex, offering champagne to anyone who answered.)

Hoarse and feeling sure my ears must be bleeding, I made it to Diane's home, where I was surprised to find myself the only white person in a group of ten or so friends and family. Nice people; I've been to their church, where they've made me very welcome in the past. Staunch Christians, they see though the Conservative usurpation of their faith, and repudiate Republian lies. The pride and excitement around the television were palpable, and when Obama finally made his speech, I cried like a baby. Hands rubbed my back, arms reached out to hug me, and everyone rushed to give me Kleenex. I heard some indulgent chuckling, too. Voices around me repeated in wonder, "A black man. President of the United States." I howled louder and soaked my tissues!

I know my Black friends have been waiting about 200 years for this night. I can't know what that feels like. I do know I feel like I've been waiting more than 40 years, at least. Tonight I feel that the promise of the 60s, when I was ten years old and innocent enough to believe in Camelot, that the world would always get better, that the times they were a changin' and this land really was made for you and me; that promise finally has a chance of being fulfilled.

Tonight I feel like I got my country back.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Artists for Obama Present -- "Poetry" Night -- God Help Us!

I spent the early evening at a "poetry" night hosted at a local coffeeshop, listening to earnest, tone-deaf "poetasters" treat us to their heartfelt, Obamarrific dreck.

White people; forget Eminem -- he's a fluke. YOU CAN'T RAP! Don't you see the irony in assuming a phony Black accent (much like Mick Jagger does when he performs) while declaiming your witless, graceless, ineptly rhymed and very sincere PRObama "verse" . . . it's just . . . WRONG?

We know you want to help. Now please STOP!

And PLEASE learn that it is not a mark of your genius to approach the mike, spiral notebook in hand, brushing strands of hair out of your limpid eyes, to announce, "I just wrote this, like, five minutes ago. In five minutes." Gee. Did you have to tell us? Like we couldn't guess!

I know I'm "old:" I got my welcome letter from AARP long ago, I've had two colonoscopies already, and I now get happy when I see the police on the street. Accepted. But I don't think it's age that makes me so intolerant of this junk being paraded as poetry, unless my excessive time on earth has provided me with such prolonged exposure to REAL poetry that I have less and less tolerance for drivel (and it IS drivel, not DRIBBLE, as one of tonight's performers intoned).

OK, so the fact that these folks have the urge to write and perform what they call poetry is admirable, and should give me hope that real poetry, no longer taught in schools, still lives in the hopes and dreams of ordinary women and men. That they want to create it should touch my heart, not grate on my nerves.

Maybe I should be more tolerant. Maybe bad poetry is the "gateway drug" to good poetry. Maybe it will all come right. Maybe. But if I want a good, no, great, poem to express my fears, hopes, and aspirations on this eve of all election-eves, my go-to guy is still WH Auden. (Who, by the way, was such a consummate poet -- whatever else you can say about him -- that he banished the great September 1, 1939 from subsequent editions of his work after its initial printing, feeling, among other things, that it was too self-congratulatory. Authors are often bad judges of their own work.) I'm going to reproduce it here. Then off to bed.

September 1, 1939

I sit in one of the dives
On Fifty-second Street
Uncertain and afraid
As the clever hopes expire
Of a low dishonest decade:
Waves of anger and fear
Circulate over the bright
And darkened lands of the earth,
Obsessing our private lives;
The unmentionable odour of death
Offends the September night.

Accurate scholarship can
Unearth the whole offence
From Luther until now
That has driven a culture mad,
Find what occurred at Linz,
What huge imago made
A psychopathic god:
I and the public know
What all schoolchildren learn,
Those to whom evil is done
Do evil in return.

Exiled Thucydides knew
All that a speech can say
About Democracy,
And what dictators do,
The elderly rubbish they talk
To an apathetic grave;
Analysed all in his book,
The enlightenment driven away,
The habit-forming pain,
Mismanagement and grief:
We must suffer them all again.

Into this neutral air
Where blind skyscrapers use
Their full height to proclaim
The strength of Collective Man,
Each language pours its vain
Competitive excuse:
But who can live for long
In an euphoric dream;
Out of the mirror they stare,
Imperialism's face
And the international wrong.

Faces along the bar
Cling to their average day:
The lights must never go out,
The music must always play,
All the conventions conspire
To make this fort assume
The furniture of home;
Lest we should see where we are,
Lost in a haunted wood,
Children afraid of the night
Who have never been happy or good.

The windiest militant trash
Important Persons shout
Is not so crude as our wish:
What mad Nijinsky wrote
About Diaghilev
Is true of the normal heart;
For the error bred in the bone
Of each woman and each man
Craves what it cannot have,
Not universal love
But to be loved alone.

From the conservative dark
Into the ethical life
The dense commuters come,
Repeating their morning vow;
"I will be true to the wife,
I'll concentrate more on my work,"
And helpless governors wake
To resume their compulsory game:
Who can release them now,
Who can reach the deaf,
Who can speak for the dumb?

All I have is a voice
To undo the folded lie,
The romantic lie in the brain
Of the sensual man-in-the-street
And the lie of Authority
Whose buildings grope the sky:
There is no such thing as the State
And no one exists alone;
Hunger allows no choice
To the citizen or the police;
We must love one another or die.

Defenceless under the night
Our world in stupor lies;
Yet, dotted everywhere,
Ironic points of light
Flash out wherever the Just
Exchange their messages:
May I, composed like them
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair,
Show an affirming flame.

MCCain/Palin 2008-Final Days; a Fargo Farrago

The frenzied thrashing, the desperate flailing, the unrestrained keening emanating from the Stench Talk Express in these last hours of the 2008 presidential election remind me of the end of the movie Fargo, when William H. Macy's Jerry Lundegard -- cornered, trapped, and facing his final doom -- is pulled from a motel bathroom window, screaming, you should excuse the sexism, like a woman. An unhinged one.

The scattergun attacks from the McCain campaign, the fabricating and flinging of charges and slanders that don't even pass the sniff test for "truthiness," also remind me of the few actual fights I've seen in real life, mostly in my childhood, when one overmatched and hysterical opponent, going down to ingnominious defeat, melts down in a windmilling frenzy of despair. It's a sad, sad sight.

The Republican party sold its soul a long, long time ago, when it began to court and then cosset the religious right and the fundamentalist conservatives. The return of their chickens to roost, while satisfying a sense of moral outrage held for many years, is a sad sight to see.

Who said Americans don't overthrow our governments violently? This overthrow looks pretty fucking violent to me. And a long time coming.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Halloween Candy Alert

Whether this account is true or overblown, you may wish to avoid candies and food products containing powdered milk, especially for children who are so much more vulnerable than adults. Twenty million pounds of Chinese milk powder were imported into the US this year. Tens of thousands of Chinese infants were sickened and many died after consuming Chinese infant formula containing powdered milk, which was contaminated with toxic melamine. The US is the only importing country that has not recalled products containing Chinese milk powder. Watch the video for more details. Let your friends with children know so they can make informed decisions.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

After 4 Years of W, Looking Forward to The Big O!

You know how presidents always get nicknames that can fit into headlines more easily than their real names, like FDR, "Ike," JFK, LBJ? (Nixon was short enough on its own -- as was he.)

And now the current occupant is called "W." Wouldn't it be great if when Obama is president, he's called "The Big O?"

I'm looking forward to the Big O! Aren't you?