Collected Poetry

VOLUME FIFTEEN  

 

Original materials - Copyright © 2019  by Gary Bachlund    All international rights reserved

 

"We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed." In "Letter From Birmingham City Jail," Martin Luther King Jr., 16 April 1963.

 

Who just says what?

Who just says what? And who just defines
Amorphous notions of hateful whines?
One man hates another man's speech,
And to silence one extends the reach
Of who can say what and who shall define
Uniformed speech, the tyrant's sign.
Uniform thought is thought controlled;
An incorrect thought receives a scold.
Who just says what? And who just defines
When a thuggish tyrant speech maligns?
The fists of power rise up to crush
Whomever they deem it right to shush.
Hate means what? In what legal sense?
What should it cost? What recompense
Must be paid by cash, limb, or life,
As each tyrant seeks to silence strife?
Who just says what? And who just defines
When tyranny freedom's speech maligns?

 

Envoi:   "If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all." Noam Chomsky.

 

Addendum of an Inquisition:   "...the Inquisition, guided by its founding in 1233 by the steely intellects of the Dominican order, had developed the techniques that would torment Catholic Europe and Latin America for centuries to come and, in the process, provide the model for latter- day totalitarian control of the individual conscience." In "The Perfect Heresy," by Stephen O'Shea, Profile Books, 2001.

 

Addendum of a Modern Inquisition:   "Large groups of citizens, loyal to the party and serving as informers and enforcers at the grassroots level, can be seen almost everywhere in China today. They are easily recognizable by the red armband they wear prominently. The so-called “red armbands,” mobilized masses and cadres for patrolling and inspecting, have become the instrument that the CCP uses to monitor the community, especially dissenters and religious believers. The appearance of these zealous citizens enforcing a moral and disciplinary code on their fellow citizens reminds many of past Chinese social movements, like the Fengqiao Experience or the Boxer Rebellion." by Lin Yijiang, Bitter Winter, 30 December 2018.   [ 1 ]

 

Addendum of Another Modern Inquisition:   "The Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice enforces traditional Islamic morality by arresting or helping to secure the arrest of people who engage in conduct that violates Islamic principles and values. They are tasked with enforcing Sharia as defined in Saudi Arabia. In addition to having the power to arrest anyone engaged in homosexual acts, prostitution or fornication, they can also arrest unrelated males and females caught socializing and enforce Islamic dress-codes, eating habits (such as the prohibition from eating pork) and store closures during the prayer time. They prohibit the consumption or sale of alcoholic beverages and seize banned consumer products and media regarded contrary to Islamic morals. They also actively prevent the religious practices of other religions within Saudi Arabia." In "Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (Saudi Arabia)," Wikipedia article, n. d.   [ 2 ]

 

Addendum of a Choking Inquisition:   "The Justice Department has committed to ending a controversial Obama-era program that discourages banks from doing business with a range of companies, from payday lenders to gun retailers." In "Justice Department to end Obama-era 'Operation Choke Point'," by Victoria Guida, Politico, 17 August 2017. [ 3 ]

 

Addendum of an Artistic Inquisition:   " 'Every artist whose work appears on Netflix should be outraged that the company has agreed to censor a comedy show because the thin-skinned royals in Saudi complained about it,' a spokesperson said. 'Netflix’s claim to support artistic freedom means nothing if it bows to demands of government officials who believe in no freedom for their citizens – not artistic, not political, not comedic'." In "Outrage after Netflix pulls comedy show criticising Saudi Arabia," by Mattha Busby, Guardian UK, 1 January 2019.   [ 4 ]

 

Addendum of an Inquisition by Regulation:  "In short, Patreon is choosing to monitor the speech of any creators funded by its site and will apply its own standards to regulate that speech even though the speech isn’t being published or hosted at Patreon. It should go without saying that Patreon, as a private company, is free to do so. But in the video below, Peterson suggests the move to oust libertarian and right-leaning speakers is being driven by a left-wing group called Change the Terms." In "Dave Rubin and Jordan Peterson leave Patreon over free speech concerns," by John Sexton, HotAir, 2 January 2019.   [ 5 ]

 

Addendum of Dulling Inquisitions:   "...without a vibrant commitment to free and open inquiry, a university ceases to be a university." In "Report of the Committee on
Freedom of Expression," University of Chicago, n. d.
   [ 6 ]

 

NOTES

 

[ 1 ]   From the article: "Another historical precedent was the turn-of-the-century Boxer Rebellion. The Boxers (literally the 'Fists of Harmony and Justice') were a Chinese secret society that led the rebellion against colonialism and Christianity. Political commentator Wen Zhao sees a common thread: 'What the Boxers and the Fengqiao Experience have in common is that both are forms of mass violence manipulated by those in power to commit outrageous acts in the name of truth and glory'."

          That violence and the threat of violence would be "manipulated by those in power" is that common thread which binds inquisition to inquisition throughout history and across all cultures.

          In this specific Chinese Communist example:  "The social credit system is based on the government’s phrase 'once untrustworthy, always restricted', and is set to be tested further on the country’s train system from May 1, it was announced last week." In "China's 'social credit' system bans millions from travelling," by Jamie Fullerton, Telegraph UK, 24 March 2018.

          One may survey modern trends in the West in this regard:  Veiled Threats - a commonality.

 

[ 2 ]   Similarly, as organized by such thought, one reads:   "In the book Taliban by Ahmed Rashid, the ministry is referred to as the Department of the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice. Maulvi Qalamuddin, the head of the ministry during the Taliban era, preferred the English translation Department of Religious Observances. The Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice of Afghanistan was in charge of implementing Islamic rules (Hanafi principles) as defined by the Taliban. Its religious police raided the streets arresting women not fully covered and people listening to music." In "Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (Afghanistan)." Wikipedia article, n. d.

          And With regard to music ....

 

[ 3 ]   More on this "choke point":  "For those unfamiliar, Choke Point consisted of bureaucrats in several independent federal agencies taking it upon themselves to shut legal businesses – such as payday lenders and firearms dealers – out of the banking system. Given the nature of the U.S. regulatory framework, this operation was easy to pull off." In "Newly Unsealed Documents Show Top FDIC Officials Running Operation Choke Point," by Norbert Michel, Forbes, 6 November 2018.

 

[ 4 ]    One could consider the accusation, a relatively recent term, of Islamophobia .  That the Saudi government may exercise its political influence in another nation to push back at being ridiculed is evidence of a government and its being very Thin-skinned .

 

[ 5 ]    From the Change the Terms website, one reads:   "While a free and open internet creates immense social value, it can also be used to engage in hateful activities and to do so at a large scale. For example, white supremacist and other organizations inciting hate are using online platforms to organize, fund, recruit supporters for, and normalize racism, sexism, xenophobia, religious bigotry, homophobia and transphobia, among others. This chills the online speech of the targeted groups, curbs democratic participation, and threatens people’s safety and freedom in real life." In "Adopt the Terms," Change the Terms, accessed January 2019.

          Thus one becomes enmeshed in the discussion, what constitutes hate. An opposing view politically can easily be defined as hate, and thus this tactic becomes thuggish in short order. Who shall "adopt" whose "terms?" Depending on the severity of the inquisition, it becomes simply a matter of exercising raw power.

 

Some People Don't Believe

 

          From the article above, a seemingly compliant official at the company stated:  "We understand some people don’t believe in the concept of hate speech and don’t agree with Patreon removing creators on the grounds of violating our Community Guidelines for using hate speech. We have a different view. Patreon does not and will not condone hate speech in any of its forms."  Yet it has not defined what hate speech is.

          The article notes that this is mere and sheer politics:  "...the bottom line is that very well-funded left-wing groups are pushing to 'no-platform' hate. In practice, that looks a lot like going after anyone on the right who has a different opinion. Put another way, if the Southern Poverty Law Center is now in charge of defining hate speech online, you can bet a lot of people who aren’t remotely white supremacists are going to be swept up in the dragnet as well. In June the SPLC made a $3.3 million settlement with Maajid Nawaz over his inclusion in its 'Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists.' Other groups targeted by the SPLC have said they are considering lawsuits as well."

          Such circles back to the above mentioned capitulation by Netflix to the Saudi government, as one of many contemporary examples of the application of power, even national borders.

          As to Patreon and their censoring of users, one reads:  " Podcast host Sam Harris objected to Patreon's approach and announced that he would be leaving the platform because of it. Shortly thereafter Patreon deleted the account of It's Going Down, a hardline left-wing news website, for doxing. Patreon CEO Jack Conte subsequently announced that he would be expanding the company's appeal process, regretting the initial wording of the letter which said '[we] will not consider an appeal'." In "Patreon," Wikipedia article, n. d.

 

[ 6 ]    The similarities to the various topics above cluster. In the University of Chicago protocol, one pledges with this:  "...the University is committed to the principle that it may not restrict debate or deliberation because the ideas put forth are thought to be offensive, unwise, immoral, or wrong-headed. It is for the members of the University community to make those judgments for themselves. As a corollary to this commitment, members of the University community must also act in conformity with this principle. Although faculty, students and staff are free to criticize, contest and condemn the views expressed on campus, they may not obstruct, disrupt, or otherwise interfere with the freedom of others to express views they reject or even loathe." In "Statement on Principles of Free Expression," University of Chicago, July 2012.

         Consider the truths being revealed within the same old strife appearing in this time as the dissonance between Free speech, hate speech and the rage of the hopefully fading Totalitarian .

 

Addressing and Blunting Totalitarian Urges

 

         The observation as above of "totalitarian control of the individual conscience" functions well as a sketch of many entities across history, and in this modern era. Such Committees for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice" as one finds in Islamic lands are akin to "Fists of Harmony and Justice" and "social credit systems and choke points strategies and de-platforming attempts as "Change the Terms" cited above espouses, all similar attempts towards the "totalitarian control of the individual conscience."

         Not restricting "debate or deliberation because the ideas put forth are thought to be offensive, unwise, immoral, or wrong-headed" allows ideas, theories, narratives, debates, research and clarity to sort themselves out in a free society not dedicated to "totalitarian control." This is the new revolution.

         Thus, Chomsky's assertion is pointed and clear:  "If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all."

         Who just says what? And who just defines / When tyranny freedom's speech maligns?


 

¯\_(?)_/¯

I'll make reply quite readily.
A shrug's part of my medley.
¯\_(?)_/¯
I don't know much, that's for sure,
So I prefer to oft demure.
¯\_(?)_/¯
I'll confess, huh? not just guess.
Some might not, but I profess...
¯\_(?)_/¯


 

Pronouns at play - so some people say

I'm
    Smarter than you.
    Game over. I've won.
    Thanks for the contest;
    Thanks for the fun.

You're
    Dumber than me.
    Game over. You've lost.
    I judge as jury
    You must be bossed.

He's
    Greater than you.
    You will believe
    By hook or by crook,
    Or must we deceive?

We're
    Sure to have peace
    As long as you heed
    The rules as we rule.
    You simply will heed.

You're
    Bound to submit
    To our perfect views
    And if you will not
    We'll tighten your screws.

They're
    Surely the best;
    And you will obey
    Or righteously we
    Will flay you this day.

Consider The Truth - no doubt about it


 

I'd like to fill the void that God once occupied - a reflection on secular modernity

"Nietzsche’s works express a fear that the decline of religion, the rise of atheism, and the abscense of a higher moral authority would plunge the world into chaos. The western world had depended on the rule of God for thousands of years -- it gave order to society and meaning to life. Without it, Nietzsche writes, society will move into an age of nihilism. Although Nietzsche may have been considered a nihilist by definition, he was critical of it and warned that accepting nihilism would be dangerous." In "God is Dead," Philosophy Index, n. d.

 

I'd like to fill the void that God once occupied,

            And so I seek for other gods and many have applied.
The god of genitalia is hard on opening wide,
            While the god of ego preens with all it finds inside.
The godly state salutes itself with flag and proper pomp,
            While the god of money counts its riches' ripened romp.
The god of ideology is well suited to its task,
            While the god of lordly pleasures oft must wear its mask.
I'd like to fill the void that is unsatisfied,
            And so many little gods line up, all to be glorified.

An alternative view:  I prefer a vital God


 

Wonder Boy looks small and pale

"Elle relève d'une recherche quasi mystique, à l'image de la recherche du nombre d'or ou de la divine proportion dans la Grèce antique." In "Emmanuel Macron ou Jupiter 2.0 ?" by Harold Hauzy, 31 May 2017.

 

Wonder Boy looks small and pale
In the lashing light of day;
Great he was on the glistening screens;
That slogan-slick image fades away.
Reality is that glaring light
Which strips pretense's play.
After 'The End' life goes on;
Tomorrow still has its say.
Wonder Boy was a role with lines
But behind the script's scrawled fray
Hid the ordinary and average
Which spotlights don't display.
Reality's not a fine fan of tales
Which repeat, rerun, replay.
Wonder Boy looks small and frail
In the slashing light of day.

 

Envoi:   " 'C'est le roi. Il ne voit rien rien rien rien', enrage Philippe, 74 ans et chef de file d'un groupe de 'gilets jaunes' qui filtre régulièrement la circulation dans la région du Mans." In " 'Gilets jaunes': la 'haine' contre le 'roi' Macron, moteur de la colère," Agence France Presse/ Le Point, 5 December 2018.

 

Addendum of the Same Old Same Old:    "Research published last week by the Cevipof political institute at Sciences Po university found more than two thirds of the French people still had overwhelmingly negative views of politicians. When asked to sum up their feelings towards them, 37 percent said they felt 'distrust', 32 percent 'disgust', eight percent 'boredom' and four percent 'fear'." In "Same old elite? Macron's 'revolution' fails with fed up French," France 24/Agence France Presse, 18 January 2019.


 

Run around in circles

"There are stirrings of discussion these days in philosophical circles about the prospect of human extinction."   In "Would Human Extinction Be a Tragedy?" by Todd May, New York Times, 17 December 2018.   [ 1 ]

 

Run around in circles,
            And mull the end of days.
Man is sure to go extinct
            In oh so many ways.
Philosophic circles
            Circle round and round,
Prospecting for an ending
            On which one may propound.
Run around in circles,
            And mull the finish line,
Which extinguishes the circle
            And stirs discussion fine.
Philosophic circles
            Are circles without end
Until there comes some tragedy
            Which prospectors might defend.
If philosophy in the forest falls,
            And none will hear its fall,
Philosophic circles
            Will mean nothing much at all.
Run around in circles
            And word the tragedy
Before the end is truly nigh
            There's time for parody.

 

Addendum of So Many Options:    "In futures studies, human extinction is the hypothetical end of the human species. This may result from natural causes or it may be the result of human action. The likelihood of human extinction in future by wholly natural scenarios, such as a meteorite impact or large-scale volcanism, is generally considered to be extremely low. For anthropogenic extinction, many possible scenarios have been proposed: human global nuclear annihilation, biological warfare or the release of a pandemic-causing agent, dysgenics, overpopulation, ecological collapse, and climate change; in addition, emerging technologies could bring about new extinction scenarios, such as advanced artificial intelligence, biotechnology or self-replicating nanobots. The probability of anthropogenic human extinction within the next hundred years is the topic of an active debate." In "Human extinction," Wikipedia article, n. d.

 

Addendum of Choosing Nihilism:   "We’re the only species evolved enough to consciously go extinct for the good of all life, or which needs to. Success would be humanity’s crowning achievement. May we live long and die out." In "Success," The Voluntary Human Extinction Movement, n. d. From their website, "When every human chooses to stop breeding, Earth’s biosphere will be allowed to return to its former glory, and all remaining creatures will be free to live, die, evolve (if they believe in evolution), and will perhaps pass away, as so many of Nature’s 'experiments' have done throughout the eons. It’s going to take all of us going."    [ 2 ]

 

Addendum of 'It Could Be':   "Likening it to a dangerous weapon in the hands of a child, he [ Nick Bostrom ] says the advance of technology has overtaken our capacity to control the possible consequences. ...change is coming whether or not we're ready for it. 'There is a bottleneck in human history. The human condition is going to change. It could be that we end in a catastrophe or that we are transformed by taking much greater control over our biology. It's not science fiction, religious doctrine or a late-night conversation in the pub. There is no plausible moral case not to take it seriously'." In "How are humans going to become extinct?" by Sean Coughlan, BBC, 24 April 2013.   [ 3 ]

 

NOTES
 

[ 1 ]  One learns from the New York Times byline that "Todd May is a professor of philosophy at Clemson University and the author of, most recently, 'A Fragile Life: Accepting Our Vulnerability.' He is a philosophical adviser for the television show, 'The Good Place'." 

          As to the verbiage of "a fragile life" and "vulnerability," an anonymous student opines:  "Todd is a very bright philosopher but he thinks very highly of himself and doesn't really want to see you stretch your boundaries and contradict him." In the ULoop of Clemson University, n. d.

          May opines in the NYT article, "It is humanity that is committing a wrong, a wrong whose elimination would likely require the elimination of the species...."  It is an interesting notion to blame "humanity," but it is not an unusual notion, as one finds for those who see humanity as The Scourge of the Planet .

          And so continues the larger tale of predicting an Apocalypse sometime .

 

[ 2 ]     "We" is such a fine pronoun, as an individual purports to speak for a group, a movement, an entire nation or group of nations, race, or the greatest of all, mankind. One may take a lesson from those who so easily speak of "we," and to opine that "we" might well be demonstrably wrong. As an example:  Extremely Green  - wrong for more than forty years. Oddly, "we" seem not to be choosing nihilism as readily as some would like.

 

[ 3 ]   "It could be" is such a fine phrase for scientists, as is the longer sentence, "it could be we will get more funding."   One could and one may consider the use of such wiggle words as used so frequently in the public handwringing of various sorts on parade now as in the past:  Could and May - an up-to-date play.

          An editor's pick among the comments allowed by the BBC:   Scott0962 on 24 Apr 2013: "Whether humanity may go extinct or whether it even deserves to survive are questions for scientists, philosophers, theologians, and perhaps science fiction writers to debate--the rest of us are busy living."

          Before the end is truly nigh /  There's time for parody.  And there is time to be "busy living."

 


 

The Easy Button

"...they were men with well-defined and sound ideas on everything concerning exports, banking, the fruit or wine trade; men of proved ability in handling problems relating to insurance, the interpretation of ill-drawn contracts, and the like; of high qualifications and evident good intentions. That, in fact, was what struck one most, the excellence of their intentions. But as regards plague their competence was practically nil." "The Plague," Albert Camus, 1947 (Gallimard, French) trans. by Stuart Gilbert, 1948 (Hamish Hamilton, English).   [ 1 ]

 

Push the button;
That's the way.
Easy is but
One push away.
Flick that switch,
Come what may;
It's short and sweet,
But hell to pay.

 

Envoi:   "Sir, Hell is paved with good intentions." Samuel Johnson, 1775   [ 2 ]

 

NOTES

 

[ 1 ]     Camus' novella ends, observing "...he knew that the tale he had to tell could not be one of a final victory. It could be only the record of what had had to be done, and what assuredly would have to be done again in the never ending fight against terror and its relentless onslaughts, despite their personal afflictions, by all who, while unable to be saints but refusing to bow down to pestilences, strive their utmost to be healers."

 

[ 2 ]    A generation of politicians passes, as one reads "...communities experienced massive upheaval, and just as here in the U.S., there were race riots and community tensions. One man predicted it all, but was widely panned by the media and the political class for doing so. Enoch Powell was sure to be a Conservative Party leader if he had just kept his mouth shut, but as he said on April 20, 1968, to a small room of supporters in Birmingham, UK, 'All I know is that to see, and not to speak, would be the great betrayal'." In " 'Enoch Was Right,' Raheem Kassam writes in his new book on a forgotten hero of our times," review by Ned Ryun, American Spectator, 27 April 2018.

 


 

 

Try to cite the sources,
    As 'experts say' speaks dumb.
        Name and clearly reference
            As the obvious rule of thumb.
                Assertions without sourcing,
                    Citations to be checked,
                        Is that old three card monte
Assuring disconnect.
Believe, an anonymous source says,
                        Because of -- well, you know --,
                    Is a shill game played by many
                Who dance their dazzling show.
            But 'they' tells nothing really,
        When 'they' have no named names,
    And without the names and faces
There's are cynical unsourced games.

 


 

 

"Three people have appeared in court in Zimbabwe, accused of stealing a suitcase containing $150,000 (£117,600) of cash from the country's ousted president, Robert Mugabe." In "Mugabe: Suitcase of cash stolen from ex-Zimbabwe leader," BBC, 10 January 2019.    [ 1 ]

 

Wouldn't you like a suitcase
Like the one a trio stole?
Politicians in most every place
Seem on quite a roll.

    Wouldn't you like a stash
    Like that which prime folk cache?
    Politicians in most every land
    Labor for their cash.

        Wouldn't you like a packet
        To lavishly lug about?
        Politicians in most every age
        Are rarely found without.

            Power seems to travel
            With pals that pay quite well,
            Even when their nation
            Fails in parallel.

 

Addendum of Suitcases Full of Cash:   "...'it was a huge surprise when we found the empty apartment and just the suitcases and boxes covered by a sheet,' Daniel Madruga, who coordinated the operation, told local television station Globo. Corruption has been an endemic problem in Brazil for centuries, but a massive investigation has unexplained piles of cash popping up around the country like never before. Believed to be the largest corruption case in modern history, the probe uncovered a complex scheme in which top business executives traded bribes for lucrative government contracts." In "Brazil’s top politicians are getting busted with literal suitcases full of cash," by Marina Lopes, Washington Post, 7 September 2017.

 

Addendum of a Money-Stuffed Suitcase:   "Guido Alejandro Antonini Wilson, the star witness of the money-stuffed suitcase scandal which involves Argentine and Venezuelan officials, declared in a federal court in Miami that the plane in which he flew August 2007 to Buenos Aires was carrying a second suitcase with 4.2 million US dollars besides the 800.000 which were seized by Buenos Aires Customs." In "Suitcase scandal: where's the rest of the money?" Merco Press, 24 September 2008.

 

Addendum of Money-Bag Politics:   "The history of Nigerian politics is replete with money-bag politics. Although, there is hardly any country in the world where instances of bribery or political corruption are not present in their national politics, researches on Africa’s postcolonial history, have however shown that, in Africa, corruption is an institutionalized and a systemic practice affecting not only the postcolonial state itself, but also the majority of the citizenry. Using Nigeria, as a case study, this paper argues that since the 1964/1965 Western Region elections to the 2007 general elections, there has hardly been any election conducted in Nigeria without associated cases of corrupt practices such as vote buying, ballot snatching, election rigging, election violence, political and legislative lobbying etc." In "Money-Bag Politics, Rent-Seeking  [ 2 ]  And Flawed Elections In Nigeria: A Theoretical Statement," Derin Ologbenla, Waziri Babatunde Adisa, Journal of Public Administration and Governance, Vol. 2, No. 1 (2012). 

 

Addendum of Mexican Millions:    "Until Monday, the most prominent Mexican official accused of taking bribes was Genaro García Luna, the country’s former public security director. When Jesus Zambada testified in November, he told jurors that he had met twice with Mr. García Luna in a restaurant and both times gave him a briefcase stuffed with at least $3 million in cash." In " El Chapo Trial: Former Mexican President Peña Nieto Took $100 Million Bribe, Witness Says," by Alan Feuer, New York Times, 15 January 2019.

 

NOTES

 

[ 1 ]    Some details:  "Mr Mugabe, now 94, was forced out of office by Zimbabwe's military in 2017. Up to that point, he had been in power for 37 years, first as prime minister and later as president. Once famously claiming that a country could never go bankrupt, he was accused of enjoying a lavish lifestyle while presiding over Zimbabwe's economic collapse."

 

[ 2 ]   It should become obvious to all observers that the notion of rent-seeking by political avenues is endemic throughout government at every level around the world. By legal as well as illegal means, governors -- those who govern -- and legislators -- those who legislate -- feather their own nests first and foremost.

          One only need a cursory survey of Corruption in the United States, and, in the parlance of this little world of rhyme, Corruption has a middle name , to see that Politics itself is the mechanism which so easily corrupts, as the feeding frenzy on the part of "leaders" in the public arena has defrauded citizens in every land and every age.

 


 

Double down on failure

Double down on failure;
Why not fail twice?
Triple down! Why not?
Heed the worst advice.
Wager on a losing scheme;
Roll those pesky dice.
Dream that you cannot lose;
Then pay the loser's price.
Double down yet again,
For dreams smell oh so nice.
Fail and then fail again;
So goes it in a trice.

 


 

Martiniade - paraphrase of Joachim Ringelnatz

Who'd effervescent, festive evenings seek
Knows quite well, where off to sneak.
            Blow nose and dress up
            And ready pourboire.
            Mainz' thoroughfare's
            M a r t i n i   B a r.
There party the fine folk with drink all around;
Right and left toasts bright resound.
            With bubbly dress and drink,
            Oft rowdyish,
            Music the senses tease
            As one might wish.
The guests, oft well known, oft maybe not,
Are always an interesting lot.
            Who then at evening's end
            Cheers, waves his hat:
            'How fast does time fly by!
            How great was that!'

See:    Martiniade (2019) 

 


 


I used to read the New York Times
And do their crossword puzzles,
With Entemann's and Sundays' chimes
And coffee enough to guzzle.
            I used to read, front page to back,
            When windowed sunlight streamed,
            And lounge away some morning hours.
            I mused, and so daydreamed.

The corner vendor scratched a life
In that Amsterdam neighborhood;
Back then the Times was cheaper than
Today, and I understood...
            That time's a respecter of no man
            As tick tocks the ages by.
            I no longer read the New York Times
            And am quite another guy.

Subway tokens are keepsakes now,
And it's time for other folks.
Old memories are fleeting and
My errors age as jokes,
            My own, for I've learned to chuckle
            At how silly was I once,
            Though changed by time's meandering,
            I still can play the dunce.

 


 

One can know when one has learned

Bad choices breed bad outcomes,
    As engineering tells.
Fresh follies fail foolishly;
    While science plain excels.
Asserting there is nothing bad
    Is to make the fatal choice.
Avowing that there are no sins
    Is to mute each still, small voice.
Tales begun tell outcomes
    And trajectories foretell their ends;
One can know when one has learned,
    When in learning then one bends.