Tag Archives: exploitation

On the Next Child Prodigy

I don’t begrudge a twelve year old
their wish to idolize
an artist of their own time-frame
with the same likes and sense of space
that come from being twelve a while.

But for adults to seek the same —
to push aside their own age peers,
in some great quest for “the next big,”
neglect those like themselves

who’ve worked for years
to understand and know their craft
and bring to it a wealth of time —
who treasure the precocious youth

that somehow came forth from the womb
with an “old soul” or some like crap,
who’d rather find a young maybe
than risk an older yes,

who stoop to conquer, so to speak,
their greedy eyes upon the prize
of novelty to hawk their wares,
it seems like pedophilia.

03 AUG 2007

Share This:

Dear Kleenex

As of late, there’s been a commercial advertising your products that runs a little something like this …

A man with a shaven head (not tonsured, but completely shaven), wearing maroon robes very similar in style to those worn by the Dalai Lama, is shown during his daily activities to be careful about not harming the natural world around him. He rights a beetle so it can go on its way. He checks his steps to make sure no creatures are harmed by his footfalls. And so on.

Then, he plucks a tissue from a Kleenex box and blows his nose. There is a voice-over reminding us all that Kleenex tissue kills millions of germs. Germs, of course, are living creatures too. This puts a very worried look on the man’s face. I say man, but quite obviously he is supposed to be some kind of monk, most likely a follower of an Eastern religion, particularly as he has been acting with a Jain-like level of non-violence, and even sports a set of japa beads, not a rosary.

But all is not lost, the voice over assures us, saying “Thank goodness for forgiveness. Thank goodness for Kleenex.”

However, there is a bit of a problem here. So far as I know, and I have been studying Eastern religions and the myriad of paths that preach non-violence and “do no harm”, none of the sects to which the monk might belong have what you might call a “Doctrine of Forgiveness”. That is, I believe, a Christian notion. Where paths preach non-violence and non-aggression, there is no forgiveness, regardless of how small or petty the infraction may seem. There is payment due. It is called Karma. It is also, in some strange circles, referred to as a law of physics: for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. To coin a phrase, what comes around, goes around. If you truly believe in non-aggression and non-harm, you take personal responsibility for your every action, and do not seek (or expect) forgiveness. You expect a bill, and you are prepared to pay it. Even if it is mere, lowly germs who have given their lives to afford you better health, you are inclined to thank them for the sacrifice.

As one non-Christian practitioner who thinks that the beliefs of others should not be parodied out of ignorance, particularly to sell products, I think this oversight (and I’d like to think that’s all it is) is nothing to sneeze at. But it certainly has inclined me to purchase Puffs instead.

Share This:

Death of a Circus Lion

His speech was almost poetry;
I say almost, because to claim
such subtle acts of sophistry
as conscious art is to enflame
the ire of critics, who exist
with their sole purpose to decry
encroachment on their world as lies,
and play the constant pessimist.

The world’s not ready, they proclaim,
for such a mix of show and tell;
for movements that defy a name.
The vanity of hope won’t sell
a single copy on the coasts.
Besides, a voice we cannot tell
“be silent” is quite mad; to boast
its worthiness despite our well
intentioned praise, or degradation,
seems to smack of heresy.
I ask you, in this situation,
would you dare let such things be?

In these and other ways, more sly,
the world prefers its genius mute;
no small surprise that you and I
give up such goals as our pursuit,
and gambol, as if without care,
through life without a moment’s thought
to who built our cage bars just there,
or for what purpose we were caught.

25 JUL 2005

Share This:

Ah, New Orleans: a villanelle

The air is thick with history, with years of sweat and toil.
Old ghosts play hide and seek in sheets that show more recent use;
the wiser tourists avoid alleys and shun Bourbon’s roil.

Old men of different colors sit on their front steps and broil,
and stare across at one another, hearts filled with abuse;
the air is thick with history, with years of sweat and toil.

Some drunken fools careen along the street, in beads and foil
and pay five dollars to discover “where they got their shoes”.
The wiser tourists avoid alleys and shun Bourbon’s roil.

For two weeks in the spring, pre-Lent, the tense peace turns turmoil,
and you don’t want to see OPP for the weekend, that’s old news;
the air is thick with history, with years of sweat and toil.

If you look closely, underneath the surface, a slow boil
festers even in the minds of drunken revelers at Krewes.
The wiser tourists avoid alleys and shun Bourbon’s roil.

So come to spend your money here; we’ll throw our beads at you
and like as not you’ll end up poorer but show no scar or bruise.
The air is thick with history, with years of sweat and toil;
the wiser tourists avoid alleys and shun Bourbon’s roil.

29 JUN 2004

By request, here is a villanelle that theoretically also provides some impressions of New Orleans. Although I have to admit, feeling rather Tom Waitsy at the moment, the picture I’ve chosen to put in the Viewmaster for this one is a bit on the sadistic side. But then again, Nawlins does have that contingent. Ya know, vampires and all. With bondo fangs and everything. Giving tours. Pointing out witches … and strippers.

Share This: