Category Archives: Satire

Conversation at the Bus Stop

[short story dialogue  by Sha’Tara]

“Wish you’d go weird out on someone else. I’d really like to be left alone now and I think that’s my bus coming.”

“I like to think about things, then I like to talk about things with someone else. You seemed like a proper someone else. That’s not your bus Rita. That bus is going down Main street to the mall, not Hazel down to townhouse row. Two more buses, then yours.”

“I didn’t tell you where I live. I didn’t even tell you my name. What’s going on here?”

“What’s going on is, I’m bored and when I’m bored I start looking around and playing little games. Your name and address are on your iPhone, Rita. If you don’t want all your data mined from your phone, entertain me. Talk to me.”

“My name isn’t Rita, so you got that wrong!”

“Agreed, it’s Margarita, and you positively hate that name. Everybody knows you as Rita.”

“So what are you, some sort of super-spy? Homeland Security detail? What am I supposed to be then, a Mexican spy?”

“Yeah, you’re spying on our Tequila stocks to make sure there are no worms in them.”

“I thought there were supposed to be worms in Tequila?”

“No. That’s Mescal, a cheap, low quality drink made from infested plants. If your Tequila has worms in it, it isn’t Tequila but Mescal. I guess you’re not a Mexican spy.”

“Great deduction, Sherlock.”

“Do you watch people Rita? Observe their antics? Wonder about their lives, what’s with them, what’s not. Dreams? Happiness quotient?”

“Yeah, I observe three people: me, myself and I. I try to make sure we get along most of the time.”

“Where two’s company, three’s a crowd. Are you a crowd, Rita?”

“OK, so you know my name. Now I think I’ve earned the right to know yours.”

“I’m agent 666. I’m from the bureau – you know the one.”

“Oh sure, totally. Aren’t you guys, and I didn’t know there were more than one, supposed to go around in a black robe wearing a hoodie and carrying a sickle or something?”

“I’m disappointed in you, Rita. Scythe, not sickle. The black robe and hoodie, that’s just drama stuff. I like wearing comfortable stuff and not standing out so much. You see, with all the violence in your society these days you’d be seeing us everywhere, all the time. After a while the novelty wears off and nobody cares. Remember the Black Death?”

“Say what?”

“The great plague, or whatever you want to call it. We were everywhere then but it was a time of super, super, superstition, so people thought we were hallucinations, or claimed we were, otherwise the Church would have had them burned at the stake, if you get my meaning.”

“Why should I remember something like that?”

“Well, it’s called past lives remembrances. Also it’s history.”

“Never cared much for that. I mean, who cares, right? People die all the time. Wars, mass shootings, Aids, plagues, what’s that other word for mass murder when your neighbours y’all got along with suddenly show up at your door in the middle of the night with a machete and start hacking at you and your family, that sort of stuff?”

“Genocide?”

“Yeah, I suppose.

“Yeah, that sort of stuff. Well we’re always around then too but not everyone can actually see us. It’s more like they can sense us and it takes the will to live from them. Remember the millions exterminated by the Nazis during the second world war?”

“No, but yeah, heard about that. Shit happens, right?”

“It’s a bit more than that Rita. What I meant to say was, these millions, if they’d realized how many they were they could have fought back and taken over all the camps and work sites. But they didn’t see themselves as a force to be reckoned with because they feared their bully masters, see? They “knew” they were going to die, so they just let it happen. Happens everywhen and everywhere, even today. Less and less will to fight to live, more a desire to run, to escape, to find safety and security but of course there is none, nowhere, if you don’t make it for yourself. But the fight’s gone out of most people. They feel entitled to life and as a result they just die or trust their leaders which is even worse than dying.”

“So, like, you’re trying to take the will to live from me then? And by the way, how come I can see you?”

“You don’t know much, do you Rita? Not much curiosity and not much of an attention span either I see. You can see me because I’m visible, not because you’re any kind of special. I want you to see me, so you see me.”

“Why? Am I dying?”

“Everybody’s dying, Rita, don’t you know that by now? Everything that’s born is born to die and the moment you are born you start dying. We’re the collectors and I daresay you keep us rather busy.”

“Gross!”

“Oh, an opinion! You should be careful with that, it could give you a heart attack, or at least a serious headache. Then you’d blame me and insist that you’re dying. Do you like living, Rita? Do you like your life?

“Why do I sense that’s a trick question?”

“Because it is?”

“I serve meals in a fast food outlet. How exciting is that?”

“So, you don’t like your life, then?”

“No I don’t. I’d do just about anything to get off this treadmill.”

“Seriously?”

“Yeah, seriously, what do you think?”

“I can make that happen.”

“Oh yeah? How?”

“Come on Rita, you can’t be that dense. How do you think?”

“What? You mean, like, I just die?”

“Well that’s a matter of speaking. You wouldn’t actually die, Rita, you’re already dead. You died some years ago.”

“I did? How so? I feel quite alive right now.”

“Remember that time when a friend was going to Tanzania to work as a volunteer nurse in an orphanage and she asked you to go with her? To be her assistant? Remember toying with the idea, only all you could think about was how it would affect you? Did you even think about those kids you would have been able to help?”

“Well sure but…”

“Whoah, you can’t lie to me Rita; maybe to yourself, but not to me. It was all about you and because of that you didn’t go. That’s when you died Rita. You had been summoned and you did not answer the call. That’s what happens to people. That’s why they die. That’s why we’re so busy all the time.

“Come along now, don’t worry about your body, they’ll get rid of it. I need to extract your soul now.”

“Will that hurt?”

“No, you can’t feel a thing any longer.”

Nothing is more deceptive than an obvious fact” – Arthur Conan Doyle – Sherlock Holmes

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Reblog: The Blue Pill Presidency

I just had to reblog this post from CounterPunch (more links pasted at bottom of this post) This is what I call writing… wow! One little tid-bit: ” We now identify with our captors – at least the ones playing the ‘good capitalist’ role, rather than recognizing that all the players in this absurdist spectacle of ‘Curtains for the Anthropocene’ are complicit profiteers of impending planetary collapse.”

July 19, 2018

The Blue Pill Presidency

by Jennifer Matsui

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Who would have predicted that in 2018, the FBI, the CIA, John McCain, Jeff Bezos, and now the monarchy would be feted as the vanguard of ‘The Resistance’ by the American ‘left’? Suddenly Trump’s presidency makes sense. To paraphrase a leaked Deep Squid memo from the deep swamps of Deep Space: “When they are forced to eat shit sandwiches around the clock, eventually deep fried vampire squid will appear delectable by comparison. Mission almost accomplished. Mwaah ha ha . . . !”

Our cephalopod overlords know us better than we do. After all, they created and control the devices that keep us under surveillance, and the algorithms that accurately predict at what point we will press ‘accept’ on the terms and conditions of a Trumpless, Squid-led world order that builds walls, empowers banks, oligarchs and polluters, while privatizing and militarizing everything that isn’t nailed down. We now identify with our captors – at least the ones playing the ‘good capitalist’ role, rather than recognizing that all the players in this absurdist spectacle of ‘Curtains for the Anthropocene’ are complicit profiteers of impending planetary collapse.

Fighting fascism is a noble and worthy pursuit. Unfortunately, we haven’t quite figured out how to do it. Flaming pitchforks or pussy hats? Collective struggle or individual belief in the power of existing institutions to rein in their own power? (Cue evil laugh track here) Allowing oligarchs, tech billionaires, war criminals, secret police agencies and monarchs to lead the charge is like treating a worsening chronic ailment with skin burrowing predator aliens from a deep space wormhole. Once you let ’em in, they will feast on your organs and prey on everything in their path. Don’t believe it? Just ask your local polar bear, honey bee or independent bookstore owner.

Notice how the Left establishment is suddenly enraged that a ‘classless’ dotard Bingo hall barker doesn’t know how to curtsy all proper-like on his tax-funded tour of Downton Abbey. Fancy that! Ten million slated to die of disease and starvation in Yemen? Whatever . . .

Before we all break out into a Beyonce led chorus of “God Save the Queen – She’s a Stellar Human Being – She Smote the Tangerine – Let’s Put Her Name on a War Ship’s Submarine”, here’s a little reminder: The old lady might look like she’s luring yet another loose cannon lunatic into a Paris tunnel with her super monarch powers, but QE2 would sooner submit to a golden Trump shower before she would relinquish her role in the feudalism that keeps her in jewels and corgis. The oaf in office is just another necessary evil the class system’s crypt keeper has to contend with for the survival of her undead progeny.

Post-Trump, we will never question the tentacled Master Race again, or doubt their wisdom. Eternal warfare and worsening poverty will be viewed through a ‘blue pill’ haze of relief. The nightmare ends. We are none the wiser, having taken the option to forget and move on. An escape back into reality, as the metaphorical ‘red pill’ suggests, would require a brutal confrontation with truth and the permanent discomfiture that comes with knowledge. Instead, we will once again swallow the same pill that transformed George W. Bush a beloved and unfairly maligned statesmen a few short years after his presidency unleashed those still burning hellfires across much of the earth. Her Majesty will once again be properly genuflected to by a visiting American head of state with better hair plugs.

FLOTUS will be decommissioned, disassembled, and sent back to the offshore factory that makes state-of-the-art Living Dolls for moneyed incels. With any luck, she will be rebooted as a life sized Barbie companion for a lonely 12-year girl old in Dubai. Worst case scenario: A shipping invoice mishap will have her sent to Barron on his 30th birthday.

The ceaseless bombing and starvation will continue under a different Twitter feed, and POTUS 46, after proving he can clip on his own tie before launching a nuclear strike on Iran will be embraced by woke folk, arms dealers, spooks and crowned heads of states alike.

After being hogtied and injected with near-lethal doses of absurdity, we find ourselves collectively hallucinating a tinpot tycoon blowing up Twitter one day, a giant orange clown in a diaper floating over London the next. Carefully sowed confusion will give way to an equally orchestrated acceptance of the war-as-usual status quo when the blue pill kicks in. A return to normal will be a much welcome steel-toed boot to the face.

More articles by:Jennifer Matsui

Jennifer Matsui is a writer living in Tokyo.

CounterPunch

What’s it Like – a Lesson from the Anthill

[thoughts from   ~burning woman~   ]
 
What’s it like when an age-old and more-or-less trusted, definitely believed-in system begins to unravel, and as it does, it reveals that neither the emperor, nor those who bow before the august personage, have any clothes on despite having spent fortunes to convince themselves they had the best clothes any age, any society, any nation, any empire, ever wore? 
 
The system I’m talking about is capitalism. For most, capitalism is the best way if not the only way, to handle economies and satisfy the desires of the go-getters.  It’s bloody competition, but instead of lions in a savanna, or sharks in an ocean, this is done with money and the blood isn’t actually food, just collateral damage. For the believers, such damage is not only acceptable, but necessary to keep the system going. How else could it work? Capitalism’s first need is war, and it’s health depends entirely on perpetual war.
For those who doubt this, show me a true period of history that does not involve some form of war or conquest; an era concerned solely with the welfare of people and the planet during which there is no war at all. Please!
 
Capitalism, for those rare few in the know, aware, and sensitive to things that really don’t work, is a system designed solely to create the mass illusion of scarcity in a world of plenty.  The pretend competition is what gives meaning to the illusion of monetary motion between individuals and/or large collectives. Another word for manufactured scarcity is debt. 
 
According to the Gospel of Capitalism, every nation on the planet must, of necessity, be hopelessly indebted to organizations invented strictly to create the illusion of debt. International banking houses, organizations like the IMF, the Fed, (watch these replicate as time tightens the rope around the capitalists’ necks) these dictate who loses and who wins as they are forced to participate in gambling casinos they call international trade deals. First rule of gambling: the house always wins.
 
Think for one moment: why should those who sit on, and own by right, national, natural and labour (the only real resources), be indebted to institutions because these institutions say they are entitled to all of it, and entitled to distribute the spoils as they see fit?

Hello, out there?

“Beam me up Scotty, there’s no intelligent life down here!” 
 
Again, why should a native of El Salvador live in abject poverty, fear for his, or his family’s lives, or slave for some multinational corporation that has nothing to do with his country and is nothing but a vulture sitting on a carcass it claims for itself?  Can anyone explain the justice in that? If not, why not? If unjust, then why is it accepted as normal? Is injustice so ingrained in the Earthian brain that it no longer matters… maybe never has mattered until it slaps that brain across the face when it expected a handout and a silly and meaningless revolution results?  
 
“The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves that we are underlings…” And yet it fascinates me to see, in the current times, reasonably intelligent underlings scatter about each time someone or something kicks the anthill of civilization, to repair and rebuild, despite the fact that each repair and rebuild leaves the edifice in less working order than before the first kick and the ants much worse off. 
 
I used to do that to anthills in the north, there were lots of them, and watch what happened, week after week, after each time I flattened their hill. They’d swarm out and immediately set about rebuilding. As long as there was a queen in there, the rebuilding happened, though it looked less and less like a “hill” as the ants were too busy rebuilding to seek out food and tired themselves out in their useless labour. If I got the queen, the anthill was abandoned and reverted to grass. 
 
I see “the economy” and “climate change” and increased population with associated disorders, kicking “the living shit” out of civilization’s anthill, and I see those frightened, angry, brainwashed ants immediately rushing about madly plugging, patching, repairing the worst holes. They live in the “hope that springeth eternal in the human breast” that a younger queen (say, alternative energy, a “green” government, even perpetual motion machines – call it what you will)  will be able to prevent the final disaster: the end of the collective, for ants, being ants, cannot imagine life without the anthill. 
 
Collective madness: that’s what it’s like at the moment on earth’s kicked anthill.

“Say, ants, have you thought that perhaps it’s high time to imagine and implement an entirely new type of interaction with the environment, with each other, one that doesn’t require the maintenance of an entropic anthill?”

Injustice is ingrained
in my Earthian brain.
I struggle in vain
hoping for some gain
but the system’s a bane
in which I but wane
to an end which is pain.  (File that one under truly bad poetry)

 
Quote: “War is the only true industry capitalism can produce.” (Comment by Sojourner on TubularSock, WordPress)
 
 
 

What about Pastafarianism, then?

[thoughts from a bottle of wine, by Sha’Tara]

Well, all that writing and comments on religion, one side being those who ardently support the existence of God, one side being those who equally, ardently do not support the existence of God, was a lot of fun. It would be more fun if all of it wasn’t taken so darn seriously, but this is Earth, so I guess the proper expression here is: deal with it and get over it.

So… I think I have. I can’t be sure, but you will notice that at the very least, I’m thinking and that, again this being Earth, is no small feet… I mean feat. (I must have joined my earthworm at the glass of wine a bit soon, and stayed a bit too long, time will tell.) If that aside doesn’t make sense, either you did not read some of the comments, or, bless you, you had better things to do and then, yes, of course it does not make sense, it will not make sense and probably I can’t explain it either so it could make sense. Shall we move on, then?

Having thus overcome the terrible desire to engage, engage, engage, as if I were the captain of the Enterprise, and use up all my demagoguerite vocabulary on smoke and mirrors, I did some research about alternatives to, you know, Absolutely Certainty, and came up with the following. First, to avoid all errors, let’s start with a link. Links, as we all know, are the 21st Century’s Word of God. Links are The Truth. Without Links, no one is going anywhere and there is no salvation.

https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Pastafarianism

What is Pastafarianism?

It’s the great and almighty atheist religion which teaches how the world was created by the flying spaghetti monster who happened to be drunk which thus explains why bad things happen. Pastafarians follow the church of the flying spaghetti monster and when they go to heaven they will enjoy a beer volcano and a stripper factory (which makes me wonder what’s in it for the ladies but let’s not quibble about small matters, it’s only eternity after all), however in hell the beer is stale and the strippers have VD! In pastafarian terms agnostics are known as spagnostics and all prayers must end with RAmen. September 19th is the national “talk like a pirate” day and the religions founder Bobby Henderson has published a “Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster”.

What attracted me to Pastafarianism – not saying I’m going to join, I don’t own a colander to wear at special functions and a veil or burka (or burqa or burqah) would definitely be frowned upon – were the very words of the Flying Spaghetti Monster Itself, specifically the eight “I’d really rather you didn’t” non-commandments, as brought to us by Its Prophet, Bobby Henderson (No, not that Bobby Henderson, the other one!)

The Sacred Eight I’d Really Rather you Didn’ts:

1)I’d really rather you didn’t act like a sanctimonious holier-than-thou ass when describing my noodly goodness. If some people don’t believe in me, that’s okay. Really, I’m not that vain. Besides, this isn’t about them so don’t change the subject.

2)I’d really rather you didn’t use my existence as a means to oppress, subjugate, punish, eviscerate, and/or, you know, be mean to others. I don’t require sacrifices, and purity is for drinking water, not people.

3)I’d really rather you didn’t judge people for the way they look, or how they dress, or the way they talk, or, well, just play nice, Okay? Oh, and get this into your thick heads: woman = person. man = person. Samey = Samey. One is not better than the other, unless we’re talking about fashion and I’m sorry, but I gave that to women and some guys who know the difference between teal and fuchsia.

4)I’d really rather you didn’t indulge in conduct that offends yourself, or your willing, consenting partner of legal age AND mental maturity. As for anyone who might object, I think the expression is go f*** yourself, unless they find that offensive in which case they can turn off the TV for once and go for a walk for a change.

5)I’d really rather you didn’t challenge the bigoted, misogynistic, hateful ideas of others on an empty stomach. Eat, then go after the b******s.

6)I’d really rather you didn’t build multi million-dollar churches/temples/mosques/shrines to my noodly goodness when the money could be better spent (take your pick):
Ending poverty
Curing diseases
Living in peace, loving with passion, and lowering the cost of cable. I might be a complex-carbohydrate omniscient being, but I enjoy the simple things in life. I ought to know. I AM the creator.

7)I’d really rather you didn’t go around telling people I talk to you. You’re not that interesting. Get over yourself. And I told you to love your fellow man, can’t you take a hint?

8)I’d really rather you didn’t do unto others as you would have them do unto you if you are into, um, stuff that uses a lot of leather/lubricant/Las Vegas. If the other person is into it, however (pursuant to #4), then have at it, take pictures, and for the love of Mike, wear a CONDOM! Honestly, it’s a piece of rubber. If I didn’t want it to feel good when you did it I would have added spikes, or something.

In the words of the flying spaghetti monster himself, (and written by Bobby Henderson, the creator of Pastafarianism)

There you have it. The best news of all is, you don’t have to be Italian to be a pastafarian. Or at least I don’t think so, I’m deducing, à la Sherlock Holmes (Yes, that Sherlock Holmes)

What did you expect, it’s Canada Day here, or so I’m told, and we all take that very, very seriously here, or so I’m told. I might hang out some laundry today. I hope it isn’t mistaken for a foreign flag and someone sends the RCMP to investigate. Nah, this is Canada. What flag? We keep changing our minds about that, and the national anthem also… Not to worry, some day we’ll get it right, or left, or leave it and join a Word Federation or something so that we can have social justice, equality and happiness when meeting a stranger.  I’d like that, even better than Pastafarianism.

 

 

Is Nature Man’s Enemy?

[thoughts from    ~burning woman~    by Sha’Tara]

“His little fleet was indeed going into battle, against the enemy that Man would face to the end of time. As he spread across the Universe from planet to planet and sun to sun, the forces of Nature would be arrayed against him in ever new and unexpected ways. Even Earth, after all these aeons, still had many traps for the unwary, and on a world that men had known for only a lifetime, death lurked in a thousand innocent disguises.” (A Fall of Moon Dust, Arthur C. Clark)

How many times have we read quotes like this?

I will admit that we do not as easily sync with such sentiments as we did, say, even fifty years ago, but overall, has anything regarding man’s relationship to nature actually changed?

Much has been ballyhooed in recent years about anthropological climate change; about the long-term, perhaps irreversible negative effects of large scale logging of rain forests, fracking, open pit mining, deep sea drilling, pipeline building, but based on electoral results, how much of that has even made a dent in the thinking of the rank and file Earthian and its rulers who put power and riches at the top of their list of priorities?

Even as the planet is showing serious signs of stress and weakening from over-extraction, over-use and over-consumption of manufactured “goods” most of the news media remains focused on entertainment, whether from organized sports and/or global political buffoonery.

There is some seriousness being expressed, but that remains marginal at best. Some entrepreneurs who would, or could, make a difference have to play the game according to capitalism’s rules, and that “Power” is only concerned about profits, couldn’t care less about life.

What I mean to express, once again, is that for real change to happen, people have to develop not only a counter, just and peaceful system to capitalism, but a whole new nature. That’s right: nature. Up until now, man has considered nature to be his enemy, to be conquered, plundered, poisoned, that is, to be endlessly warred against. That is the foundation of the current civilization and however much that is denied, it remains a fact. This civilization has been constructed from war after war, conquest after conquest, enslavement after enslavement and the inexorable extraction of any and all natural resources that could be sold for a profit in the market place which has become a global super market.

Until now Homo Sapiens has chosen not to exhibit any sense of oneness with his natural environment. Whether that came about through fear or hubris (from bad design or faulty evolution – I’m being satirical!), it came about and we are reaping the results in exponential terms. We are facing the truth about depletion of non-renewables in a finite environment. Man’s earth struggling in the stranglehold of unchecked capitalism has developed a cancer called entropy.

What is entropy, and why should we be very seriously concerned about that?

Definition of entropy:
1 a measure of the unavailable energy in a closed thermodynamic system that is also usually considered to be a measure of the system’s disorder, that is a property of the system’s state, and that varies directly with any reversible change in heat in the system and inversely with the temperature of the system; broadly: the degree of disorder or uncertainty in a system
2 the degradation of the matter and energy in the universe to an ultimate state of inert uniformity, or towards death and disorder. (gleaned quotes from Merriam-Webster web dictionary)

Death and disorder. If we think wars, population displacements, refugee crises and the dangerous political trends that support a new rise of dictators, we see death and disorder. Such trends lead to global war. Can this world survive a third world war and resultant levels of entropy?

We go to war because we do not value life and couldn’t care less about nature except to provide our smart phone cameras with colorful sunsets caused by environmental pollution and cute animal antics. We are, as history will record if there is a history, the last generations of the terminally entitled. We may pay lip service to nature’s plight but our wants continue to take priority.

From complaints about weather and bugs, yes, nature remains considered as man’s number one enemy.

Why is that? Simple: man is not, never was, a product of natural evolution. Nature is not man’s enemy, man is nature’s enemy and in the end, one will win over the other. If nature wins, Homo Sapiens disappears. If Man wins, everything dies.

Third and final option, if it isn’t already much too late: a full and complete reconciliation of man and nature, with man, being the perpetrator of the evil that is being done, agreeing to abandon his anti-life predatory ways and live simply, that all may live. That requires more than a change of system or even a change of mind, it demands a change of nature, meaning that Homo Sapiens must morph into a new species entirely. There’s the challenge.

“Extremes invariably lead to disaster. Only through balance can we fully harvest the fruits of nature.” (Kevin Anderson: Sandworms of Dune)

 

What we Settle For

(So, I thought to myself as I read this written who knows when, why not? And here it is)

a poem… by   ~burning woman~ 

It’s there – for all to see it doesn’t work –
but no one can see it;
not until it collapses in your lap:
when the hopes and dreams
shatter as glass when a rock is thrown
and children run laughing
while another screams inside a dark house.
Isn’t it amazing what we settle for?
What we convince ourselves of?
There is the tried and true and failed –
Oh yes, failed, utterly failed –
but what can one do? It’s all there is, isn’t it?

We are born into society – a pattern set in cement –
and even if we notice (too late)
the cement is cracked and crumbling
no one is pouring fresh stuff down here.

Let’s see, what are the options
for the budding human’s dreams?
There’s church – some kind of religion
so you can get hooked to God – the Great One
who’s more silent than the grave;
family – parents and siblings and fights
followed by separation and divorce
and relocation to another apartment.

There’s government – you register to pay
everyday of your life and beyond;
there’s school – education to make you fit in
and teach you how to walk with eyes wide shut.
There’s work – you have to make money —
it’s what makes it all go round and down.
There’s repetition: your own family now —
the confining straights of marriage
and kids and responsibilities no one ever taught —
you fly by the seat of your pants
and you remain afloat – maybe –
or you lose and fall and lose again.

And at that point there’s jail — you had your good times
they brought you too low and you couldn’t climb out
so they scoop you off the sidewalk,
in cuffs you watch your shiny stolen car
burn inside the basement of a house
and an ambulance screams away.

Stop, you say, stop already —
it’s not that bad, not for most —
and sadly I have to agree, it is not:
most accept the middle road, the common ground.
They warm the pews, fill the voting booths,
sit at desks half asleep to make it work
and in the end they commute, commute, commute –
like the beat of a train’s steel wheels
on a cheaply laid track —
to the job and back from the job,
“I owe, I owe, it’s off to work I go!”
and it all becomes the same, blurred, wasted emptiness
mixed with forgotten dreams alluded to
with sarcastic laughter once or twice at a party.

And hope, what happened to it?
Well, it’s still there, somewhere —
in the shoe closet with its broken flip shelf,
in the empty baby’s crib or the rusting barbecue.
Sometimes it’s in the cold hot tub
and sometimes in the boat with no license
or under the scum in the swimming pool.

Mostly it’s in the maxed-out loans and mortgages
maybe just enough to tell the Sheriff: not today,
just barely enough.
Dreams and hopes becoming the memories
rounded up to form the padding in the coffin.

Am I Driving?

[thoughts from     ~burning woman~    by Sha’Tara]

There’s an old joke that goes something like this: two old ladies, Amy and Blanche, are out for a Sunday afternoon drive in Amy’s mint 1958 Caddy. As they push on down Main Street, Amy, who’s the passenger today, notices they drove through a red light. She cringes, says nothing and they proceed to go through two more red lights, at which point Amy can’t stand it any longer and says, “Blanche, do you realize you just drove through three red lights in a row?” Blanche looks around and says, “Oh my, am I driving?”

Am I driving? When one is in a car it seems that such a question would be of paramount importance. The funny, or sad, part of this story is, we’re all born ‘in a car’ or maybe better put, in a ship, and really, we’re all supposed to be driving, or piloting. Except for children and those of severely diminished mental capacity, there are no passengers on spaceship earth.

So why are so many of us continually going through red lights and paying no attention? Well, because we’ve come to believe that we could delegate the job of piloting the ship to certain individuals who claimed some sort of right to that position and we’ve grown used to the idea that it isn’t “me” who is driving through that red light, but the one I voted for. If the ship manages to survive as it blasts its way through shoals of meteorites and no real damage ensues, we hail our elected captain as a hero. If there is damage, we can always blame the guy. I’m not driving the ship of state, he is, or she is.

If you voted for those people and put them in power, doesn’t that make you responsible? The answer usually is, well, yes, but only at voting time. After that I’ve got no say in the matter. That’s the deal, you see? If I don’t like the job they’re doing in piloting the ship I get to vote them out next time around.

What if by then they’ve turned the ship into a hulk floating through space with hardly any life support systems working?

Not to worry, it’s never been that bad. It’s a big ship. It’s made it through billions of years, it’s got a lot of mileage left in it.

So, what’s all the bitching about then? What about changing circumstances in and around the ship which some claim could mean the ship is going to run out of fuel; the shielding could fail; life support systems shut down?

I wouldn’t worry about it. We’ve always had the doomsayers and conspiracy theorists. The problem is the Internet and speeded up communication that allows these fear mongerers to spread their sick ideas. There’s nothing wrong with the ship. Those in control say we’re on course and all is well. I for one believe them. I got to believe in something, right?

But isn’t it true that there is a lot more chaos and conflict aboard the ship recently than there was, say, a hundred years ago?

It’s all relative. More people, more conflict. It’s natural see? Nothing to worry about.

If you were voted in as captain of your section of the ship what would you do differently?

Oh, I don’t know. I’d like to see those in power given more power to do what they want to do. As things stand, there’s too much emphasis on diversity. We need more centralized power. More power gives you more control. That’s what I’d want.

I see. More of what you already have, right? Can I quote you on that last bit?

You bet, and you’ve given me an idea: maybe I should take a stab at becoming the driver.