Tag Archives: dissent

Hello Mister America

Hello Mister America, you’re just in time for tea
There’s no Kennedys or Rockefellors, so I guess it’s just you and me
I’ve got soda crackers instead of crumpets, but I think you’ll agree
We’ve got to watch the deficit ’cause sugar sure ain’t free

Sit down, Mister America, I heard you weren’t feeling well
Your constitution’s been weakening and your ratings have gone to hell
And that bill of rights you stand for, is it just a hollow shell?
Does it mean as much to you now that it really doesn’t sell?

Well now, Mister America, how’s God been treating you?
Do you feel closer to Him now that the Senate seats are pews?
Do you still serve the Catholics, Atheists, the Baptists and the Jews
By singing the un-separation of the church and statehouse blues?

Hey now, Mister America I have to tell the truth
I hardly recognized you from inside your voting booth
I realize that television can rob you of your youth
But substance outlives style, so I am sure that you’ll recoup

OK, Mister America I have to say goodbye
Don’t make me any promises, ’cause I know you hate to lie
Just help me get a loan so I can keep my powder dry
‘Cause my enemies aren’t overseas, they’re right before my eyes

So long, Mister America, I won’t tell them you got lost
And I’ll be steady, strong and true in summer and in frost
Just do your part and keep the constitution reinforced
‘Cause if you forget your principles, then who could count the cost?

Mister America, I think you knew my dad
He worked your land, he fought your wars
He taught me good from bad
Mister America, do you know who I am?
I’m your younger generation you think doesn’t give a damn.


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When They Come for Us, Who Will Protest?

Against such foes as ignorance and greed
what good are merely human flesh and bone?
In which fierce battles waged to rule the soul
of a proud nation shall the victor be
its best and brightest minds, its stoutest hearts,
when fear and rank injustice swell the rolls
of those conscripted soldiers armed and aimed
by puppetmasters who would work unseen?

If in such times as these, the few who sense
a wrongness in the aims of governance,
instead of crying out are meek and mute,
what hope have those blind masses, huddled there
for warmth in the great blanket of deceit?
If those with minds still clear give little thought
save for their small domains and precious selves,
what hope have they when their turn comes to pass?

When poison finds the bloodstream, all is lost;
there is no purpose then to treat the wound.
Once tainted, can a cause that once was pure
be ever cleaned again of evil stains?
The names of gods, if used to claim the world,
unless they touch more than the tongues they loose,
become pale, haggard shadows of what truth
they may have once possessed, and are no more.

If what we do not exercise, we lose,
reduced to merely wisps of once brave words,
then what good are proud speeches or parades
except to eulogize the selves we’ve lost?
What point in our lamenting the forged chains
that by our apathy we choose to wear,
and through our lack of action help to build
a prison we were told was not for us?

How loud do we protest the slightest thing
that limits our convenience and our ease,
yet quietly accept far greater ills
that jeopardize our prized integrity?
We guard against the slow, menacing creep
of some imagined danger with such pomp,
yet when the wolf, well-dressed, knocks at the door.
we smile and offer him our favorite seat.

What hypocrites we are; what grand buffoons!
To think we find ourselves somehow evolved,
and self-possessed with intellect and poise
equipped to teach the other fellow truth.
No wonder half the world begins to laugh
when as the grand messiah we approach;
while huddled in our shadow, the rest wait
for hubris to collect its karmic toll.

07 MAR 2005

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Goodnight for Gonzo

for Hunter S. Thompson

A life in isolation breeds its own brand of malaise,
that the respected classes just ignore
and seek instead on worthless causes to heap shame or praise,
with their good sense, naming such moods a bore.

The paranoia of the underdog they call a sham,
not worthy of their time, a waste of ink;
the causes that disturb the peace are just not worth a damn,
or dangerous, if they make people think.

And who would dare innoculate the tough, unfeeling side
of such a beast, except a man possessed
with his own brand of madness and a sense of civic pride,
when noticing the emperor’s undress?

Beyond the limits of good sense, and often at great risk
(where reputations are built on mere whim)
who is to say where genius crosses into wild hubris?
The line between the two is faint, and slim.

But madmen are the world’s redemption; there amidst the cracks
in grand facades, under its public face,
they toil to bring to our ennui the honesty it lacks,
and see beyond our masks, to our disgrace.

When leaders bend reality to disguise or deceive,
cloak their ill intentions with a winning smile,
despite volumes of evidence they cannot be believed,
are any sane who hold back on their bile?

Too many sane, respected souls stand silent and do naught,
while freedom, trust and liberty are sold.
It is the madmen, in these times, whose minds cannot be bought,
that shock us into breaking from the fold.

They ask why should such things take place, in language coarse and rough,
and whisper their dissension in our ear.
What’s more, they make us wonder if we’re paranoid enough,
or numbed by false pretense and hollow fear.

Truth lies somewhere past the lines that we’ve been taught to see,
those boundaries of someone else’s dreams.
Too often, we accept as gospel such insanity
that even madness is not what it seems.

21 FEB 2005

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For Stephen Stills

We have become so polarized. The lines
are drawn so black and thick between each side,
the pickets filled with stark and ugly words
that only emphasize a hate that grows

when one’s own thoughts have turned to stone
fit just for use as weapons behind walls,
where in a soldier’s stance we fear what change
would come if doubt encroached upon our minds.

Our single drops of rain gather for storms
that we would have directed at our foes;
yet as the skies turn somber and morose,
we each lament, and blame the restless clouds.

Is this the force that would improve the world,
with great lambasting vitriol and spite?
Have we forgotten that the ends become
perverted by such cold and heartless means?

With scorn emblazoned on our barbed wire hearts,
we seek to prove our way the truth and light;
but bury any hope for growth or peace
and for compassion dig a shallow grave.

04 FEB 2005

What a field day for the heat
A thousand people in the streets
Singing songs, and a-carrying signs
Mostly say, “Hooray for our side”
— from For What It’s Worth,
by Stephen Stills and recorded by Buffalo Springfield
during the Vietnam War

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Random Passing Thought

The difference, in a nutshell, between what Michael Moore is saying and what I’m saying:

MM: The emperor is naked!
ME: That naked man is NOT the emperor!


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Independence Day

I heard the sounds last night of war
outside my window and front door,
wild shells and streaks of fire and light;
and I was troubled at the sight.

No thought of where the sparks might land
entered the minds that worked the hands
that with their matches struck these bombs;
a country of brave automatons.

The flash of light, the burst of sound
and emptied beer cans all around
while through the smoke which slowly cleared
the throng of wise non-voters cheered.

They cheered the colors and the show
and cursed the duds that would not blow
their senses wowed by shock and awe,
and the ends of their fingers raw.

The cost of fireworks? Twenty bucks,
from out the back of nameless trucks;
The cost of freedom? Tears and bone
worth more than any flag now flown.

For what good pomp and grand parades
to celebrate a poor charade?
It lessens knowledge of the cost
if lives in some great lie are lost.

This freedom that we celebrate,
is it a license by which hate
and fear become the only sense
by which we gain experience?

Our independence, so hard gained,
is its dirge to be our refrain?
I seek, although perhaps in vain,
to define freedom, once again:

Freedom from the right of kings,
in matters large, and petty things,
and from the presumed word of God
that with chains bids man’s feet be shod,

and from the whim of landed wealth
who seek first their own fare and health
and from the bane of presumed right
that sees darkness, save its own light

and from the harsh slavemaster’s whip,
and fear of persecution’s grip,
and from the unseen, hurtful ties
that persecute the meek and wise

and from the threat of hangman’s laws
that seek to punish without cause
and from the hand that seeks to still
the tongue, the mind, the heart and will

and from the bloodied, soulless crowd
that sees itself as just and proud
and from the ignorance that seeks
to serve itself, and harm the weak

and from the politician’s greed
that dines in pomp, while poor men bleed
and from the engines geared for war
that gnash their teeth, and cry for more

and from the state, that seeks to bind
the tongues of reason, and be blind
and from the cloaked and hidden cause
that bids us follow, just because

and from the forked and evil ways
that seek by bloodshed gold and praise
and from all those who would be kings
and paint themselves with angels’ wings

and from our baser natures, too
that seek reward where none is due
and from the impulse not to act
when those who guide us go off track

and from the right to hold one’s peace
when liberty and freedom cease
and lastly, freedom to believe
and when that freedom’s risked, to grieve.

06 JUL 2004

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The Light of America

America, your shadow casts a lengthy darkness where
it should serve as a lamp to guide the blind;
and those enemies you imagine beyond your hallowed gates,
fermenting with opportunities to express their angst
and shake you from your complacent sleep,
why do you seek to destroy them, wishing them dead?
Does not a worthless and weak opponent serve
to weaken your own resolve and reduce your own strength
while encouraging the illusion that you are omnipotent?

Wouldn’t the best defense against the Red Menace,
rather than castrating the Left Wing,
been to strengthen democracy,
live up to your stated ideals,
proving by example the fallacy of your evil foes claims?
Surely, America, you are more than empty words
backed by full missle tubes, aimed at any dissenting voices.

Do you believe in equality? In the sanctity of free speech?
Wouldn’t the best course be to act
as if your sacred principles were the truth?

America, your hypocrisy is that you don’t believe in yourself;
and yet, your jingo jangle rings across the globe,
your corporations seek to spread your gospel
laced with the poison of underlying greed.

There is a better way to defeat your enemies.
Make them no longer your enemies.

To fight the war of proof,
using weapons that defeat your message,
underhanded dealings,
covert operations,
corporate pandering,
strong-arm tactics,
and ulterior motives,
is to lose your self,
and without that, America,
you are just another fascist regime
that supports self-righteousness
because it entertains your illusions of profit,
at least while they are expedient.

America, yours is not a national campaign —
it is a return to the high ground that is required,
and that elevated place knows no borders
but shares its light
rather than casting a shadow.

09 JUN 2004

Pondering John Kerry’s use of Langston Hughes to convey a message of sorts, I thought I would write a poem focusing on what I think Kerry’s message should be.

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