Friday, April 20, 2012

Blue State Reds, Red State Blues

Isn't there something comically ironic about Right Wing states being "Red"? Which leaves the Lefty states to give you the Blues. But any adult person cognizant of history knows that the assigned colors in fact should be reversed. Maybe, but I did say "cognizant."

In this time of media-mogul control of the once independent and skeptical press, of search engines and social networks, wee speedy gadgets and short attention spans, even a partial working knowledge of history seems, if I may purloin a phrase, “a consummation devoutly to be wished." Yet any such possibility is rapidly receding into the past.

Wearing narrow-focus blinders tricked-up by evil terrorists, fighting hellishly expensive desert and mountain guerilla wars for which we are ill-equipped (no matter how spectacular our weapons and stalwart our soldiers), we are left with an economic Depression, a crumbling education system, a rising tide of random violence
everywhere, a stupid resist-all-taxes posture embraced by the rich and powerful (c’mon, you fools, these are just dues, the ordinary everyday dues you owe your country!)… and thus no money available for the nation’s needs. So in time-honored fashion (“Blame outsiders”) we now nurture a shameful animosity toward all immigrants.

Yet with so many streaming here from nations shaped by the former USSR, still we neglect the curious Putin puppet show enacted behind the tattered Rust Curtain--
with potentially hazardous developments reaching from the onion domes of Moscow to the steppes of Central Asia and the sub-zero wastes of Siberia. Did Reagan truly ring down the Iron Curtain? Or was it Gorbachev instead--and was he realist or dreamer? Or does the credit/blame actually belong to Stalin’s crazed policies starting back in the Thirties?

Who among the young of America now can discuss intelligently Hegel, Marx, the Manifesto, Communism vs. Socialism (that word the Republican’ts throw around so casually)? What about the Red and White Armies? Or Stalin outmaneuvering Lenin, Trotsky, and others, becoming the savage leader who killed more of his various peoples than the many millions of Jews, Romany, leftists, and others murdered by
the Nazis (that other word favored by our black President’s enemies)?

But enough. It’s easy for me to get wound up and start hollering these days. But... surprise! This latest addition to the blog is actually intended to house and introduce a love poem… or, rather, an out-of-love poem I wrote when my first marriage came to its bitter end, but couched in the language of the collapsing USSR, with lots of Iron Curtain wordplay and oblique historical references thrown in to keep things lively... suitable for another false Springtime in the Pacific Northwest.


Glasnost, with Fallen Angels

The thaw has breached us.
And now in our icebound Baltics
a certain freedom of movement strikes

the alders, as flights of rhetorical starlings
pursue their social revolutions.
Snow that lay like linen

now flows in rivulets
down the steps and sidewalks,
and dissident speech of crows marks

preparations for the May Day coming.
In all the withered-away reaches
of the state, suddenly

budding green workers arise,
throwing off the chains of mothering earth.
It is Progress of Spring all

over, again, the break-up of
our sovereign union, after the Fall
and Winter chill of years. In

this spirit of no love
and understanding, we brush aside
the dust of bitterness, shed

our heavy coats and, compromised,
walk carefully, negotiating each
step, taking the sun and air…

apart.

* * * * *
As I mentioned last week, a pinched nerve in my back is wreaking havoc. Blog posts will be more erratic than usual for the next few weeks. As a deejay friend is wont to say, Thanks for being out there.

I hope you choose to stay tuned.

2 comments:

Peggy said...

Hi Ed,
did you notice that Chris Ethridge had passed away?

http://articles.latimes.com/2012/apr/25/local/la-me-chris-ethridge-20120425

Chuck may have done one of his last interviews...
U take care,
Peggy

I Witness said...

Good to hear from you, however obliquely, but bad news about Chris. The world grows bleaker and darker with the passing of Southern gents such as he. Do you have a link to post here for the interview with Chuck?