Old 09-27-2008, 04:27 PM   #1
Angeline
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Political Poetry

If you're American or have been following American politics, you know America is having the craziest election season in many years. And our buds to the north are having an election season of their own though, frankly, I know little about their candidates.

I'm a political junkie. I always get pretty whipped up about elections. So I thought this might be a good time for political poetry. Post poems in this thread that speak to you about the election season or politics in general. They can be your own or someone else's, even found poetry. And if you haven't written a political poem, maybe this thread will inspire you to do so.

Election Year
by Donald Revell

A jet of mere phantom
Is a brook, as the land around
Turns rocky and hollow.
Those airplane sounds
Are the drowning of bicyclists.
Leaping, a bridesmaid leaps.
You asked for my autobiography.
Imagine the greeny clicking sound
Of hummingbirds in a dry wood,
And there you’d have it. Other birds
Pour over the walls now.
I'd never suspected: every day,
Although the nation is done for,
I find new flowers.
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Old 09-27-2008, 04:29 PM   #2
Angeline
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Howl, Parts I & II
by Allen Ginsberg

For Carl Solomon

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving
hysterical naked,
dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry
fix,
angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the
starry dynamo in the machinery of night,
who poverty and tatters and hollow-eyed and high sat up smoking in the
supernatural darkness of cold-water flats floating across the tops of
cities contemplating jazz,
who bared their brains to Heaven under the El and saw Mohammedan angels
staggering on tenement roofs illuminated,
who passed through universities with radiant cool eyes hallucinating Arkan-
sas and Blake-light tragedy among the scholars of war,
who were expelled from the academies for crazy & publishing obscene odes
on the windows of the skull,
who cowered in unshaven rooms in underwear, burning their money in
wastebaskets and listening to the Terror through the wall,
who got busted in their pubic beards returning through Laredo with a belt
of marijuana for New York,
who ate fire in paint hotels or drank turpentine in Paradise Alley, death, or
purgatoried their torsos night after night
with dreams, with drugs, with waking nightmares, alcohol and cock and
endless balls,
incomparable blind streets of shuddering cloud and lightning in the mind
leaping toward poles of Canada & Paterson, illuminating all the mo-
tionless world of Time between,
Peyote solidities of halls, backyard green tree cemetery dawns, wine drunk-
enness over the rooftops, storefront boroughs of teahead joyride neon
blinking traffic light, sun and moon and tree vibrations in the roaring
winter dusks of Brooklyn, ashcan rantings and kind king light of
mind,
who chained themselves to subways for the endless ride from Battery to holy
Bronx on benzedrine until the noise of wheels and children brought
them down shuddering mouth-wracked and battered bleak of brain
all drained of brilliance in the drear light of Zoo,
who sank all night in submarine light of Bickford's floated out and sat
through the stale beer afternoon in desolate Fugazzi's, listening to the
crack of doom on the hydrogen jukebox,
who talked continuously seventy hours from park to pad to bar to Bellevue
to museum to the Brooklyn Bridge,
a lost battalion of platonic conversationalists jumping down the stoops off fire
escapes off windowsills of Empire State out of the moon,
yacketayakking screaming vomiting whispering facts and memories and
anecdotes and eyeball kicks and shocks of hospitals and jails and wars,
whole intellects disgorged in total recall for seven days and nights with
brilliant eyes, meat for the Synagogue cast on the pavement,
who vanished into nowhere Zen New Jersey leaving a trail of ambiguous
picture postcards of Atlantic City Hall,
suffering Eastern sweats and Tangerian bone-grindings and migraines of
China under junk-withdrawal in Newark's bleak furnished room,
who wandered around and around at midnight in the railroad yard wonder-
ing where to go, and went, leaving no broken hearts,
who lit cigarettes in boxcars boxcars boxcars racketing through snow toward
lonesome farms in grandfather night,
who studied Plotinus Poe St. John of the Cross telepathy and bop kabbalah
because the cosmos instinctively vibrated at their feet in Kansas,
who loned it through the streets of Idaho seeking visionary indian angels
who were visionary indian angels,
who thought they were only mad when Baltimore gleamed in supernatural
ecstasy,
who jumped in limousines with the Chinaman of Oklahoma on the impulse
of winter midnight streetlight smalltown rain,
who lounged hungry and lonesome through Houston seeking jazz or sex or
soup, and followed the brilliant Spaniard to converse about America
and Eternity, a hopeless task, and so took ship to Africa,
who disappeared into the volcanoes of Mexico leaving behind nothing but
the shadow of dungarees and the lava and ash of poetry scattered in
fireplace Chicago,
who reappeared on the West Coast investigating the FBI in beards and shorts
with big pacifist eyes sexy in their dark skin passing out incompre-
hensible leaflets,
who burned cigarette holes in their arms protesting the narcotic tobacco haze
of Capitalism,
who distributed Supercommunist pamphlets in Union Square weeping and
undressing while the sirens of Los Alamos wailed them down, and
wailed down Wall, and the Staten Island ferry also wailed,
who broke down crying in white gymnasiums naked and trembling before
the machinery of other skeletons,
who bit detectives in the neck and shrieked with delight in policecars for
committing no crime but their own wild cooking pederasty and
intoxication,
who howled on their knees in the subway and were dragged off the roof
waving genitals and manuscripts,
who let themselves be fucked in the ass by saintly motorcyclists, and
screamed with joy,
who blew and were blown by those human seraphim, the sailors, caresses of
Atlantic and Caribbean love,
who balled in the morning in the evenings in rosegardens and the grass of
public parks and cemeteries scattering their semen freely to whom-
ever come who may,
who hiccuped endlessly trying to giggle but wound up with a sob behind
a partition in a Turkish Bath when the blond & naked angel came to
pierce them with a sword,
who lost their loveboys to the three old shrews of fate the one eyed shrew
of the heterosexual dollar the one eyed shrew that winks out of the
womb and the one eyed shrew that does nothing but sit on her ass
and snip the intellectual golden threads of the craftsman's loom.
who copulated ecstatic and insatiate with a bottle of beer a sweetheart a
package of cigarettes a candle and fell off the bed, and continued
along the floor and down the hall and ended fainting on the wall with
a vision of ultimate cunt and come eluding the last gyzym of con-
sciousness,
who sweetened the snatches of a million girls trembling in the sunset, and
were red eyed in the morning but prepared to sweeten the snatch of
the sunrise, flashing buttocks under barns and naked in the lake,
who went out whoring through Colorado in myriad stolen night-cars, N.C.,
secret hero of these poems, cocksman and Adonis of Denver--joy to
the memory of his innumerable lays of girls in empty lots & diner
backyards, moviehouses' rickety rows, on mountaintops in caves or
with gaunt waitresses in familiar roadside lonely petticoat upliftings
& especially secret gas-station solipsisms of johns, & hometown alleys
too,
who faded out in vast sordid movies, were shifted in dreams, woke on a
sudden Manhattan, and picked themselves up out of basements hung-
over with heartless Tokay and horrors of Third Avenue iron dreams
& stumbled to unemployment offices,
who walked all night with their shoes full of blood on the snowbank docks
waiting for a door in the East River to open to a room full of steam-
heat and opium,
who created great suicidal dramas on the apartment cliff-banks of the Hud-
son under the wartime blue floodlight of the moon & their heads shall
be crowned with laurel in oblivion,
who ate the lamb stew of the imagination or digested the crab at the muddy
bottom of the rivers of Bowery,
who wept at the romance of the streets with their pushcarts full of onions
and bad music,
who sat in boxes breathing in the darkness under the bridge, and rose up to
build harpsichords in their lofts,

who coughed on the sixth floor of Harlem crowned with flame under the
tubercular sky surrounded by orange crates of theology,
who scribbled all night rocking and rolling over lofty incantations which in
the yellow morning were stanzas of gibberish,
who cooked rotten animals lung heart feet tail borsht & tortillas dreaming
of the pure vegetable kingdom,
who plunged themselves under meat trucks looking for an egg,
who threw their watches off the roof to cast their ballot for Eternity outside
of Time, & alarm clocks fell on their heads every day for the next
decade,
who cut their wrists three times successively unsuccessfully, gave up and
were forced to open antique stores where they thought they were
growing old and cried,
who were burned alive in their innocent flannel suits on Madison Avenue
amid blasts of leaden verse & the tanked-up clatter of the iron regi-
ments of fashion & the nitroglycerine shrieks of the fairies of advertis-
ing & the mustard gas of sinister intelligent editors, or were run down
by the drunken taxicabs of Absolute Reality,
who jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge this actually happened and walked
away unknown and forgotten into the ghostly daze of Chinatown
soup alleyways & firetrucks, not even one free beer,
who sang out of their windows in despair, fell out of the subway window,
jumped in the filthy Passaic, leaped on negroes, cried all over the
street, danced on broken wineglasses barefoot smashed phonograph
records of nostalgic European 1930s German jazz finished the whis-
key and threw up groaning into the bloody toilet, moans in their ears
and the blast of colossal steamwhistles,
who barreled down the highways of the past journeying to the each other's
hotrod-Golgotha jail-solitude watch or Birmingham jazz incarnation,
who drove crosscountry seventytwo hours to find out if I had a vision or you
had a vision or he had a vision to find out Eternity,
who journeyed to Denver, who died in Denver, who came back to Denver
& waited in vain, who watched over Denver & brooded & loned in
Denver and finally went away to find out the Time, & now Denver
is lonesome for her heroes,
who fell on their knees in hopeless cathedrals praying for each other's salva-
tion and light and breasts, until the soul illuminated its hair for a
second,
who crashed through their minds in jail waiting for impossible criminals
with golden heads and the charm of reality in their hearts who sang
sweet blues to Alcatraz,
who retired to Mexico to cultivate a habit, or Rocky Mount to tender Buddha
or Tangiers to boys or Southern Pacific to the black locomotive or
Harvard to Narcissus to Woodlawn to the daisychain or grave,
who demanded sanity trials accusing the radio of hypnotism & were left with
their insanity & their hands & a hung jury,
who threw potato salad at CCNY lecturers on Dadaism and subsequently
presented themselves on the granite steps of the madhouse with
shaven heads and harlequin speech of suicide, demanding instanta-
neous lobotomy,
and who were given instead the concrete void of insulin Metrazol electricity
hydrotherapy psychotherapy occupational therapy pingpong & am-
nesia,
who in humorless protest overturned only one symbolic pingpong table,
resting briefly in catatonia,
returning years later truly bald except for a wig of blood, and tears and
fingers, to the visible madman doom of the wards of the madtowns
of the East,
Pilgrim State's Rockland's and Greystone's foetid halls, bickering with the
echoes of the soul, rocking and rolling in the midnight solitude-bench
dolmen-realms of love, dream of life a nightmare, bodies turned to
stone as heavy as the moon,
with mother finally ******, and the last fantastic book flung out of the
tenement window, and the last door closed at 4 a.m. and the last
telephone slammed at the wall in reply and the last furnished room
emptied down to the last piece of mental furniture, a yellow paper
rose twisted on a wire hanger in the closet, and even that imaginary,
nothing but a hopeful little bit of hallucination--
ah, Carl, while you are not safe I am not safe, and now you're really in the
total animal soup of time--
and who therefore ran through the icy streets obsessed with a sudden flash
of the alchemy of the use of the ellipse the catalog the meter & the
vibrating plane,
who dreamt and made incarnate gaps in Time & Space through images
juxtaposed, and trapped the archangel of the soul between 2 visual
images and joined the elemental verbs and set the noun and dash of
consciousness together jumping with sensation of Pater Omnipotens
Aeterna Deus
to recreate the syntax and measure of poor human prose and stand before
you speechless and intelligent and shaking with shame, rejected yet
confessing out the soul to conform to the rhythm of thought in his
naked and endless head,
the madman bum and angel beat in Time, unknown, yet putting down here
what might be left to say in time come after death,
and rose reincarnate in the ghostly clothes of jazz in the goldhorn shadow
of the band and blew the suffering of America's naked mind for love
into an eli eli lamma lamma sabacthani saxophone cry that shivered
the cities down to the last radio
with the absolute heart of the poem of life butchered out of their own bodies
good to eat a thousand years.



II

What sphinx of cement and aluminum bashed open their skulls and ate up
their brains and imagination?
Moloch! Solitude! Filth! Ugliness! Ashcans and unobtainable dollars! Chil-
dren screaming under the stairways! Boys sobbing in armies! Old
men weeping in the parks!
Moloch! Moloch! Nightmare of Moloch! Moloch the loveless! Mental Mo-
loch! Moloch the heavy judger of men!
Moloch the incomprehensible prison! Moloch the crossbone soulless jail-
house and Congress of sorrows! Moloch whose buildings are judg-
ment! Moloch the vast stone of war! Moloch the stunned govern-
ments!
Moloch whose mind is pure machinery! Moloch whose blood is running
money! Moloch whose fingers are ten armies! Moloch whose breast
is a cannibal dynamo! Moloch whose ear is a smoking tomb!
Moloch whose eyes are a thousand blind windows! Moloch whose skyscrap-
ers stand in the long streets like endless Jehovahs! Moloch whose
factories dream and croak in the fog! Moloch whose smokestacks and
antennae crown the cities!
Moloch whose love is endless oil and stone! Moloch whose soul is electricity
and banks! Moloch whose poverty is the specter of genius! Moloch
whose fate is a cloud of sexless hydrogen! Moloch whose name is the
Mind!
Moloch in whom I sit lonely! Moloch in whom I dream Angels! Crazy in
Moloch! Cocksucker in Moloch! Lacklove and manless in Moloch!
Moloch who entered my soul early! Moloch in whom I am a consciousness
without a body! Moloch who frightened me out of my natural ec-
stasy! Moloch whom I abandon! Wake up in Moloch! Light stream-
ing out of the sky!
Moloch! Moloch! Robot apartments! invisible suburbs! skeleton treasuries!
blind capitals! demonic industries! spectral nations! invincible mad houses
granite cocks! monstrous bombs!
They broke their backs lifting Moloch to Heaven! Pavements, trees, radios,
tons! lifting the city to Heaven which exists and is everywhere about us!
Visions! omens! hallucinations! miracles! ecstasies! gone down the American
river!
Dreams! adorations! illuminations! religions! the whole boatload of sensitive
bullshit!
Breakthroughs! over the river! flips and crucifixions! gone down the flood!
Highs! Epiphanies! Despairs! Ten years' animal screams and suicides!
Minds! New loves! Mad generation! down on the rocks of Time!
Real holy laughter in the river! They saw it all! the wild eyes! the holy yells!
They bade farewell! They jumped off the roofl to solitude! waving! carrying
flowers! Down to the river! into the street!
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Old 09-27-2008, 04:31 PM   #3
Angeline
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Bomb Crater Sky
by Lam Thi My Da

They say that you, a road builder
Had such love for our country
You rushed out and waved your torch
To call the bombs down on yourself
And save the road for the troops

As my unit passed on that worn road
The bomb crater reminded us of your story
Your grave is radiant with bright-colored stones
Piled high with love for you, a young girl

As I looked in the bomb crater where you died
The rain water became a patch of sky
Our country is kind
Water from the sky washes pain away

Now you lie down deep in the earth
As the sky lay down in that earthen crater
At night your soul sheds light
Like the dazzling stars
Did your soft white skin
Become a bank of white clouds?

By day I pass under a sun-flooded sky
And it is your sky
And that anxious, wakeful disc
Is it the sun, or is it your heart
Lighting my way
As I walk down the long road?

The name of the road is your name
Your death is a young girl's patch of blue sky
My soul is lit by your life

And my friends, who never saw you
Each has a different image of your face
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Old 09-27-2008, 04:35 PM   #4
Angeline
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I, Too, Sing America
by Langston Hughes

I, too, sing America.

I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.

Tomorrow,
I'll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody'll dare
Say to me,
"Eat in the kitchen,"
Then.

Besides,
They'll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed--

I, too, am America.
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Old 09-27-2008, 04:37 PM   #5
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Exquisite Candidate
by Denise Duhamel and Maureen Seaton


I can promise you this: food in the White House
will change! No more granola, only fried eggs
flipped the way we like them. And ham ham ham!
Americans need ham! Nothing airy like debate for me!
Pigs will become the new symbol of glee,
displacing smiley faces and "Have A Nice Day."
Car bumpers are my billboards, billboards my movie screens.
Nothing I can say can be used against me.
My life flashes in front of my face daily.
Here's a snapshot of me as a baby. Then
marrying. My kids drink all their milk which helps the dairy industry.
A vote for me is not only a pat on the back for America!
A vote for me, my fellow Americans, is a vote for everyone like me!
If I were the type who made promises
I'd probably begin by saying: America,
relax! Buy big cars and tease your hair
as high as the Empire State Building.
Inch by inch, we're buying the world's sorrow.
Yeah, the world's sorrow, that's it!
The other side will have a lot to say about pork
but don't believe it! Their graphs are sloppy coloring books.
We're just fine—look at the way
everyone wants to speak English and live here!
Whatever you think of borders,
I am the only candidate to canoe over Niagara Falls
and live to photograph the Canadian side.
I'm the only Julliard graduate—
I will exhale beauty all across this great land
of pork rinds and gas stations and scientists working for cures,
of satellite dishes over Sparky's Bar & Grill, the ease
of breakfast in the mornings, quiet peace of sleep at night.
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Old 09-27-2008, 09:05 PM   #6
My Erotic Trail
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To debate the debates
is like two wolves fighting between one's ears
was it a seasoned war-horse
doing verbal battle with a noisey young colt
or a wagon to jump on
say that of the middle-class band wagon
vs the empire strikes back

Soliciting souls is a politicians job
but I saw one doing this
while another simply explained what this nation needs
and this probably was like...
pouring salt on a sore
which is always the score
when you pick a basket of fruit
a packaged deal for a simpleman's meal
while chewing on this horse-meat in an MRE
they discussed, the IRS, IED'S, CIA and...
...I RAN

Last edited by My Erotic Trail : 09-27-2008 at 09:15 PM.
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Old 09-27-2008, 11:30 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by My Erotic Trail View Post
. . .

Soliciting souls is a politicians job
but I saw one doing this
while another simply explained what this nation needs
. . .
That's exactly how I read the body language. Though my politics are far removed from either of these two men, my emotions sided with the yonger. The old guy came across like a smiling version of Marlin Brando's Godfather while the younger reminded me of the New Testament's words ". . . and he spoke earnestly. . ."

You ran, but how many insecure people want a Godfather to protect them? That's the horror of it all.
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Old 09-27-2008, 11:52 PM   #8
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When Cindy Sheehan withdrew from her noble campaign, some men sneered loudly enough to provoke these lines from me:

Judeo-Christendom Crushes as it Falls
For Cindy Sheehan and the mothers of the dead

What is this society that stands silent witness
to abuse hurled at this woman merely for asking
that the nations affairs be attended
with compassion and responsibility?

Driven by greed, never
any hesitation to plunder and pillage
at precisely the level of brutality
it takes to to feed the insatiable.

This road to SAH-tish-faction
adopted in your delusional pursuit of happiness
while your poor toiling masses are driven insane with
the incongruity of your reality. Thus maddened,
they cling to the Destroyer,
egging him on even as He destroys them.

Hiroshima and Nagasaki through the lens of 9/11 to Baghdad and Fallujah
Agent Orange, Phosphorescent Whiskey Pete, Guantanamo Bay and Abu Graib!
Yet still they stand tall singing the Battle Hymn of the Republic.
E Pluribus Unum, In God We Trust,
while the star-spangled banner
flutters with anthropomorphosized pride in the wind
filling their hearts with warmth, as blood
flows unseen, as screams pierce the firmament
unheard by the pride and joy of America standing tall in salutation,
cut off from the world they destroy.

I watch them knowing their alienation from even their own souls
and the conscience of Cindy Sheehen
Whose pain and love turned her eyes to the potential for peace.

Chilled by the horror of dying America,
(the stagger-dangerous giant)
somewhere someone weeps
for what could have been . . .
and hope, retreating further into the future,
dwells in the few who are compelled to continue
diminished by her parting.

November 2007 © Lorencino

Last edited by lorencino : 09-27-2008 at 11:54 PM. Reason: To add my dedication
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Old 09-28-2008, 02:03 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Angeline View Post
I'm a political junkie.
Try:
Art of Agreement.
(It's just a very fractional and modest beginning. I hope to continue. "Money -- economy (part 1)" already indicates a healthy system.)
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Old 09-28-2008, 11:27 AM   #10
Angeline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Senna Jawa View Post
Try:
Art of Agreement.
(It's just a very fractional and modest beginning. I hope to continue. "Money -- economy (part 1)" already indicates a healthy system.)
Thanks, Senna. I think your painless tax proposal makes a great deal of sense and would save a lot of money wasted on administration, not to mention the nightmare of filing. Such a simple solution.
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Old 09-28-2008, 11:31 AM   #11
Angeline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lorencino View Post
When Cindy Sheehan withdrew from her noble campaign, some men sneered loudly enough to provoke these lines from me:

Judeo-Christendom Crushes as it Falls
For Cindy Sheehan and the mothers of the dead

What is this society that stands silent witness
to abuse hurled at this woman merely for asking
that the nations affairs be attended
with compassion and responsibility?
<snip>

November 2007 © Lorencino
Kate Smith Talks Back to the Mirror
A Poem by Angeline

America, and I'm not agreeing
with you but remember when
we were young, and I could still
jump high enough to catch
lightning bugs in a jar without coughing?

You looked so beautiful then
in the gloaming, the way you wore
your trees half unbuttoned. It was no
accident when your leaves fell in that
ancient ritual. Years passed like years,

and not some nostalgic memory
for the good times. America, we didn't
need to laugh or cry on cue. This was before
we took you to the streets, slapped you
silly, battered you with tear gas, made bruises

of your silly anthem. Do you remember
how we ducked and covered, stacked
cans of Spam in backyard bunkers,
played Combat for ant hills and bid you
sweet dreamsicles? Those were the days,

eh America? We worried over times
tables, not your ugly restricted lunch
counters and nightmare sheets. Life
could be a dream, ba-dum, ba-dum,
but you didn't take us up to paradise,

you dragged us screaming across oceans
and into burning rice paddies, all the time
singing about amber waves of grain
while Billy and Dave and Leroy
from Algebra lay face down in those

rice paddies never again to wake
by the dawn's early light. So excuse me
for being tired of your strident platitudes,
your moral majority, your go-get-em,
ass-kickin, yeehaw optimism. I need a nap

now, America. I'm getting too old
for this roller coaster nationalism.
Turn off the light on your way out,
would you, and we'll both say a prayer
that God will bless somebody, somewhere.

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Old 09-28-2008, 01:43 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Angeline View Post
Thanks, Senna. I think your painless tax proposal makes a great deal of sense and would save a lot of money wasted on administration, not to mention the nightmare of filing. Such a simple solution.
Thank YOU.

Presidents, Senate, Congress, politicians, economy experts, and millions upon millions of people do not understand that income tax is just an operation which gives some money to government, and it should be done (if at all) in the simplest possible way. Income tax is not and should NOT be treated as an instrument to solve problems of social economic inequality. Doing so is useless (doesn't help anything) and causes great harm to society, including the poor in the first place. Charity is the way. But charity is based on responsibility, while income tax (especially excessive income tax) deprives people of feeling any duty to get involved, and it translates into a monstrous waste.

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Old 09-28-2008, 02:36 PM   #13
Angeline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Senna Jawa View Post
Thank YOU.

Presidents, Senate, Congress, politicians, economy experts, and millions upon millions of people do not understand that income tax is just an operation which gives some money to government, and it should be done (if at all) in the simplest possible way. Income tax is not and should NOT be treated as an instrument to solve problems of social economic inequality. Doing so is useless (doesn't help anything) and causes great harm to society, including the poor in the first place. Charity is the way. But charity is based on responsibility, while income tax (especially excessive income tax) depraves people of feeling any duty to get involved, and it translates into a monstrous waste.
I agree with you that charities mostly avoid the bureaucracy of government which is costly and nighmarish (people can read Kafka if they want to understand how bureaucracy undermines governance), but unregulated charities, to my thinking, also have many pitfalls. As do we all because we're human and complicated. What people don't seem to understand about the bailout--or maybe they're beginning to understand--is that we can print all the money we want, just as we can cut all the taxes we want, but if the underlying value isn't there it's just a bigger or smaller pile of paper.

I'm not going to argue about free markets versus regulation, but last night I watched a documentary about health care in a group of countries including the USA, which has the most expensive health care in the world. Every country that the program showcased that oversees health care has quality and availability of care that is arguably as good (or better) than America's, and every one of them is spending way less on it than Americans do. And in every country but the USA (in this show), no one goes bankrupt because they become ill. No one is rejected by an insurer because they are in less than perfect health. A Swiss official talked about health care as an inalienable right, the way Americans treat education. Not that those other countries' systems are problem free, but it is food for thought.
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Last edited by Angeline : 09-28-2008 at 02:38 PM.
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Old 09-28-2008, 03:02 PM   #14
eagleyez
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Put the speech to sound...

accelerate the afternoon with drums and
elevate the voice of three, jangle the guitars,
the bass is sitting on the bed,

and now the pictures arrive, the Virginia rally,
but your too rythmed out, to watch it straight,
turn down the tv sound and watch the movements
as if an I-Ching turkey shoot is at the helm.

the parties dance in color bending to the sound,
its a frollicking peek of perception.
train whistle bellows down by the river.

Clarity of chest- mind formlationg the jokes,
they speechify and gob gob gob over podiums
as if Dali folded them over ledges,

All the while we return to the music,
voice like a train,
roiling up from southern mud.
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Old 09-28-2008, 11:34 PM   #15
lorencino
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Angeline View Post
Kate Smith Talks Back to the Mirror
A Poem by Angeline

. . .

rice paddies never again to wake
by the dawn's early light. So excuse me
for being tired of your strident platitudes,
your moral majority, your go-get-em,
ass-kickin, yeehaw optimism. I need a nap

now, America. I'm getting too old
for this roller coaster nationalism.
Turn off the light on your way out,
would you, and we'll both say a prayer
that God will bless somebody, somewhere.

That last line so powerfully conveys the tired, disillusion-driven sadness that I sat empty of thought for a moment and just felt.
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Old 09-28-2008, 11:53 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by lorencino View Post
That last line so powerfully conveys the tired, disillusion-driven sadness that I sat empty of thought for a moment and just felt.
Thank you. It's one of my favorites of my more recent stuff.
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Old 09-29-2008, 12:05 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Senna Jawa View Post
Thank YOU.

. . . while income tax (especially excessive income tax) deprives people of feeling any duty to get involved, and it translates into a monstrous waste.
There is much that is fallacious in arguing against socialist solutions in the context of a capitalist society for the ideology of capitalism is that the common good is served as a byproduct of selfishness, competition is considered the engine of progress and the only duty is to yourself. Taxation is against self-interest and therefore only acceptable to pay for things that benefit the competitive game.

Charity, on the other hand is the complete antithesis of capitalism in that self-interest is replaced by altruism, competition by co-operation and one has a duty to the community.

Now while it is perfectly acceptable for these two forms of ordering society to co-exist, the government is expected to always respect the capitalist, competitive selfish mode and to keep out of the community-centred, co-operative mode of our daily life.

Why?
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Old 09-29-2008, 02:09 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lorencino View Post
There is much that is fallacious in arguing against socialist solutions in the context of a capitalist society for the ideology of capitalism is that the common good is served as a byproduct of selfishness, competition is considered the engine of progress and the only duty is to yourself.
Such views should not be interpreted in a simplistic, primitive way or else they should be abandoned. It is in the self-interest of the rich neighborhood to send kids from the near poor neighborhood to school rather then to keep them on the street. It is in the interest of those who are well-to-do to keep their city clean, the night lights working, and their roads and streets in a good shape. Etc. They don't get active when they pay high tax and government is supposed to take care of such things. That's why education is so lousy--it's done by ignorant, nearly monopolistic bureaucracy, while the huge intellectual potential of the society is for the education wasted.
Quote:
Taxation is against self-interest and therefore only acceptable to pay for things that benefit the competitive game.
In theory taxation is NOT against self-interest, because we expect to get several things in return, and to an extent we do. The problem is that taxation is a terrible method to achieve positive goals. The main effect of taxation is the growing percentage of the society who depend on non-productive jobs. That's one of the reasons for which it is not easy to make any progress in this area--many people personally benefit from the crappy system, at least in the short time range. They drag the society and the next generations down.

Quote:
Charity, on the other hand is the complete antithesis of capitalism
Not at all! True charity is the antithesis of communism and of bureaucracy--they hate true charity.
Quote:
in that self-interest is replaced by altruism, competition by co-operation and one has a duty to the community.
That's another primitive and false statement. There is a lot of room for cooperation under capitalism, way-way more than under other systems, which believe in force rather than cooperation. Under capitalism, cooperation is a must, since you cannot force anything. Progress of industry means for instance the progress of standards, which is a high form of cooperation.
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Old 09-29-2008, 03:30 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Senna Jawa View Post
Such views should not be interpreted in a simplistic, primitive way or else they should be abandoned. It is in the self-interest of the rich neighborhood to send kids from the near poor neighborhood to school rather then to keep them on the street. It is in the interest of those who are well-to-do to keep their city clean, the night lights working, and their roads and streets in a good shape. Etc. They don't get active when they pay high tax and government is supposed to take care of such things. That's why education is so lousy--it's done by ignorant, nearly monopolistic bureaucracy, while the huge intellectual potential of the society is for the education wasted.
You seem to be giving a concrete example of the the self-interest principle I outlined. In reality, if it is cheaper in the short term, to have gated communities of the well-to-do isolated from crime-infested slums than it is to ensure the entire city is crime-free and safe, then that is what is most likely to be the choice.
As for the "ignorant, nearly monopolistic bureaucracy" you speak of that is just as easily remedied in the public sector as it is in the private sector. It has nothing to do with taxes or government providing education, but simply inadequate performance evaluation, and accountability.

There also seems to be a lot of ideological/political interference in education. Politicians who know nothing about education pander to prejudices they think will ensure election or re-election and thus blind the public to the educational research findings which languish in acedemia and never get implemented at the elementary or high school level. There is a wealth of research results on developmental psychology that point to a rational approach to maximizing the effectiveness of education and the development of critical thinking that never gets implemented. Why?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Senna Jawa View Post
In theory taxation is NOT against self-interest, because we expect to get several things in return, and to an extent we do. The problem is that taxation is a terrible method to achieve positive goals. The main effect of taxation is the growing percentage of the society who depend on non-productive jobs. That's one of the reasons for which it is not easy to make any progress in this area--many people personally benefit from the crappy system, at least in the short time range. They drag the society and the next generations down.
What exactly is a non-productive job? I wonder if the CEOs of all these failing banks have productive jobs when one considers how much it costs to employ them and exactly what they contribute in return. Is a poet or sculptor struggling to make ends meet while devoting themselves to their art involved in non-productive work? If so, will it transform into productive work as soon as they become popular enough to actually support a family on the money they can sell their art for?

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Originally Posted by Senna Jawa View Post
Not at all! True charity is the antithesis of communism and of bureaucracy--they hate true charity.
Where did communism come into this. I suspect from what I'm reading here that you are referring to that great big bureaucracy that Stalin built up to exploit the workers of Russia in order to attempt to out compete the more advanced capitalist economies of the time. Stalin's bureaucracy managed to move the country from an essentially feudal country at the end of WWI to an advanced industrial country by the beginning of WWII. Just as capitalism functions by accumulating capital through paying workers for only a portion of the wealth they produce, Stalin's "communism" accumulated profits to one "corporation" I like to think of as "Kremlin Inc."

The only difference between Stalin's exploitation of the working class and the exploitation by the "free world's corporations is that the Kremlin had an absolute monopoly within the country and was able to exploit more ruthlessly than competing corporations in the the rest of the world. And there can be no doubt that the Kremlin competed on the world market like any other capitalist firm and the people who did all the work where denied the personal consumer goods their economy could just as easily have produced in place of massive military expenditure and the space program, for example.

So what I'm suggesting here is that it is the bureaucracy that is the problem not co-operative modes of production. Surely we humans are intelligent enough to set in place the types of safeguards needed to ensure that when a bureaucracy is needed to administer some service or other, that it remain accountable to the community and cannot become a refuge for opportunistic parasites. I am convinced that by the end of the Soviet Union, there were no communists left in the communist party, just a bunch of opportunists who clearly understood that if you wanted to get ahead, you had to join the Communist Party. A belief in socialism had nothing to do with it. Can anyone believe that the current members of the Chinese communist party are actually communists when their rule can only be described as that of a criminally corrupt and completely opportunistic oligopoly. It's as though, far from being the most advanced form of society that Marx spoke of, they have regressed to the ancient form of government that existed in Athens before that city became a democracy over 2500 years ago.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Senna Jawa View Post
That's another primitive and false statement. There is a lot of room for cooperation under capitalism, way-way more than under other systems, which believe in force rather than cooperation. Under capitalism, cooperation is a must, since you cannot force anything. Progress of industry means for instance the progress of standards, which is a high form of cooperation.
How many times have we heard something along the lines of "Communism/socialism is all very fine in theory, but human nature being what it is, it (communism/socialism) can never work in practice. Since Milton Friedman helped to destroy democracy in Chile in the 70s, we have witnessed so much of this theory about the superiority of capitalism, we've heard Francis Fukuyama's "The End of History" theories about how we've finally arrived at perfection with "liberal democracy (read laissaire faire capitalism or the invisible hand of the market replacing all other moral considerations) and delusional suggestions like "if capitalism is not working it is because we are interfering with the market so less government, less taxes, less welfare and everyone will be forced to drag themselves up by their bootstraps."

So why are we having to bail out all these banks at this time. Is it not fallacious to argue that you have to pay the poor less to ensure that they don't become lazy and you have to pay the rich more to ensure that they create the jobs we need.

I realize that this may be a weak anecdotal argument but my personal experience with manufactured goods over the 60 years of my life is that competition has forced industry to cut corners on quality, contrary to the theory behind free enterprise. In fact competition on price and quality has been replaced by competition becoming confined to the realm of advertising as similarly inferior products continue to decline in price and quality in order for their manufacturers to be able to stay in business.

Just look at the state of things in what is essentially a global capitalist economy today. A brief and decidedly non-exhaustive survey reveals:

1. Banks proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that the market has failed to provide economic security even to the most advanced capitalist country in the world

2. Poisoned pet food, poisoned milk, toys that are toxic to the children who play with them,food cans leaching toxins into the food they contain and brutal child labour in the country with the fastest growing capitalist economy in the world

3. Extensive pauperization throughout the majority of the Global South as a direct consequence of the implementation of WTO and World Bank policies designed to remove the barriers to free enterprize and tragically

4. The promise of freedom that the end of Apartheid heralded in South Africa has all but evaporated as a result of what economic globalization has done to the country. Though there are a few millionaires and a small group of newly wealthy, the vast majority of blacks are far worse off economically now than they were under apartheid. That this should be the case is a matter of fundamental sadness. All the hope that the struggle for black freedom from apartheid ignited throughout the world has been betrayed because we did not realize that apartheid, though a racist ideology, was also a particular form of capitalism suited to the conditions the elite found themselves in at the time. The mistake we all made was to think that the struggle was exclusively against racism so that the enemy we ignored now has a more brutal grip on South Africa than ever before.

In conclusion

I suggest that Both Soviet-style communism and capitalism have proven themselves failures in securing the needs of human beings. Both of these systems were involved in competing on the world market and both have shown that the successes resulting from competition are clearly not durable and periodically lead to catastrophic upheavals. Both systems also required that a majority lead a brutish sort of life while a minority are relatively comfortable. (I'm speaking from the global perspective rather than pockets of wealth where the wealthy may be in the majority.)

So I'm looking for some co-operative modus operandi where we can all get together and focus on the essential requirements of decent survival rather than trusting in systems and saviours we essentially have no input into. The last thing we need is a bureaucratic being patronizing about our rights and obligations to society. One cannot consider a soviet factory of intimidated workers following the orders of bureaucrats an exercise in co-operative functioning. It is this lack of cooperative democracy that gives the lie to calling that system socialism. Socialism that is not democratic is a contradiction in terms. With capitalism, as with Soviet Communism, you leave your democratic rights at the door when you clock in at work. So if your democracy excludes your workplace, how important can it really be.

****************************************

On another matter:
If anyone thinks that this is supposed to be a thread for political poems and the evaluation of those poems, your are quite right. However, as we can see, the political content of poems is going to trigger dissenting opinions that look at the politics of the poems in isolation from the poems. That is inevitable. Perhaps this needs splitting as was done with the chit chat thread recently.
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Old 09-29-2008, 03:39 PM   #20
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Confronting the Boss-Man

I left to escape the mob,
the doings of the mob mentality,
the thronging bestiality, when
more then two nice people
drive an invective-spilling car
past a hurried, harried Black.
Draw head into shell
to un-provoke the Boss
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Old 10-01-2008, 06:00 PM   #21
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This Republic

I assume it is a test
with due diligent preparation
handed out by learned experts

I have read the constitutional cliff notes
excelled at the pre test preamble
suffered only a slight subtraction
for the hand over the heart parts
where in full patriotism I pretend
that I cannot see what I can

democracy on a grading curve
plotted by bones
and years buried
subtracted by memories
that reduce or amplify
every true spark of independence to
the mean

my mean
or maybe
the meaning of
to be without means
which means we failed

I pretend it is a test
and struggle to live
while I practice how to die
with the cliff notes
that the founders left for me
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Old 10-01-2008, 07:55 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DocktorWu View Post
I assume it is a test
with due diligent preparation
handed out by learned experts

I have read the constitutional cliff notes
excelled at the pre test preamble
suffered only a slight subtraction
for the hand over the heart parts
where in full patriotism I pretend
that I cannot see what I can

democracy on a grading curve
plotted by bones
and years buried
subtracted by memories
that reduce or amplify
every true spark of independence to
the mean

my mean
or maybe
the meaning of
to be without means
which means we failed

I pretend it is a test
and struggle to live
while I practice how to die
with the cliff notes
that the founders left for me
This is great. I'm really enjoying reading you. Feckin cliff notes!
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Old 10-02-2008, 07:53 AM   #23
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It's a start

Thank you Angeline,

It's a second draft and I"m still not sure if the outcome has done honor to the effort of writing it. I am very grateful for the prompt you offered. I don't often write on the body politic. Anything that forces me to push in a seldom traveled direction is a really good thing.

I gather you are in Maine, while I am not a native I have spent a great deal of time there and the rhythm of that world continues to touch me. Greetings from a honorary Down-easter.
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Old 10-02-2008, 09:56 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DocktorWu View Post
Thank you Angeline,

It's a second draft and I"m still not sure if the outcome has done honor to the effort of writing it. I am very grateful for the prompt you offered. I don't often write on the body politic. Anything that forces me to push in a seldom traveled direction is a really good thing.

I gather you are in Maine, while I am not a native I have spent a great deal of time there and the rhythm of that world continues to touch me. Greetings from a honorary Down-easter.
Maine for the past five years by way of Joisey, but the calmer, quieter rhythm of life up here has slowly changed me. I can't imagine going back to the rat race ever again. I'm happy to consider you a Maine-ah. Ayuh. I've read quite a bit of your writing here (and at Lotus) from years past. I think I arrived shortly after you had moved on. I'm glad to be on the same page with you now. Now if only I could lure that karmadog back here.

I'd love to see Katpurrs (sp?) around again, too. I always loved the way she wrote, but now that I'm in Maine I have a real affinity for her poetry.
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Old 10-02-2008, 10:57 AM   #25
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Sheesh, you are going way back with those members. I first came here in 2001, and both were here then. I'm glad to see some folks are still here. I think I came back here partly to chase some ghosts, I have no idea what I will do when I catch them though.

I did hear from karmadog awhile ago he's doing well.
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