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the week in review

It was a pretty good week here in COMO. The weather has been perfect, 80 & sunny, cool at night. It feels like a thunderstorm is blowing in and we do need the rain, its already gonna be a short color season.

Wednesday I went with Trevor to see the last poet laureate of New Jersey Amerie Baraka, which was pretty cool. He read his poem about 9/11 which led the garden state to abandon the post when he wouldn’t resign. It was pretty good asking a lot of piercing questions and bringing a lot of the ridiculous assumptions of The Black Iron Prison into question. It did bring up that tired old piece of propaganda about 3,000 jewish workers calling in sick that day, but he phrased it in the form of a question, and its one line in a long piece, but i could see why people would be offended. Mostly he just talked which was fine but i would’ve liked more poetry and less rhetoric.

Friday i went to a Shelter Happy Hour at my friend Nancy’s. We had good food and drinks and Nancy and Sarah Cleveland played guitar and sang songs. I did some poems and Rachel shared one that was particularly good. Leigh asked me to do a little poetry at The Voices multi-media installation on 10/18. I’ll be doing it if i can work it around my batterer intervention group.

Here’s one i didn’t read Friday but did a couple month’s back in Scout’s backyard. It would make a good John Fenn song (hint, hint, hint). I wrote it maybe a year ago after visiting my friend Harry’s church and really liking even Sunday School except the teacher made a couple of comments that i couldn’t really get behind. Later she said if you are silent people can assume consent so i raised my objections which were politely debated and i guess we had to agree to disagree on that one. I wanted to write her a letter and more carefully show how i think on the issue and wrote this song instead. The alternative title is Why I don’t go to Church.

Letter to a Sunday School Teacher

Hey Teacher, Hey Teacher

I went to your class and I heard

What could’ve been the holy word

You know beauty, truth, and love

And Heaven Up above

And Jesus, and forgiveness of sin

Well we had some of that

And you didn’t even pass the hat

And we talked and prayed

In beauty, truth, and love

But on more than one occasion

You said of the gay persuasion

The Church is way to tolerant of Them

Well i didn’t even know their was a Them

Because i thought there was an Us

You know, every single living human being

And the call goes out to all

And its the same Spirit that falls

Upon every heart that turns to God in prayer

And I’ve been to a church in San Francisco

And another across the Bay

Where the congregation was less straight than gay

And the same Spirit filled the hall

That it does when i pray with you all

Surely God does love her children all the same

And I call it a new circumcision

When you say you know with precision

Just how God does view every right and wrong

Cuz if a law was good enough

Jesus wouldn’t of had it so tough

To make salvation a free gift for all

And like meat sacrificed to idols

Lo’ all is permissable

If its done with love to the glory of God

Everyone who knows to do good

And does it not, that is sin

Love and only love is the highest law

Everyone who loves is a child of God

That’s how God’s love’s perfected

Love and only love is the highest law

And by their fruits you shall know them

Love and only love is the highest law

God says, love and only love is the highest law

In addition to the veritable frenzy of activities i also found time to crush some books. Last weekend i read “The Professor and the Madman” a historical acount of the Oxford English Dictionary, which was really excellent. It was plotted better than most novels and is i am sure inspirational to crazy people all over. I’ve also been reading some classic sci-fi; Asimov’s “The Gods Themselves” which is better than most of his, though “The Bicentennial Man” made me cry. I also read “Brain Wave” a Poul Anderson novel from 1958. It supposes that the Earth has been in a field that dampens electrical activity and we pass out of it and inexplicably everything with a brain has a huge intelligence increase. It managed to be both progressive in speculating instant world wide anarchy if people were smarter but never questioned the social order of the white male protagonists contending with whip smart farm animals, housewives, colonial subjects no longer stupidly complicit in the systems that exploit them. I wrote a little poem debuting here in the inside cover:

brain wave

He treats housewives like farm animals

They have capacity for growth

To make the present inequities meaningless

But they’re not the protagonist

That is reserved for the new men of genius

And the ernest every man

Fresh faced from the apotheosis of privilege

No, housewives and farm animals

Are not protagonists

But merely obstacles, hazards really

For even average man.

The whole human geology

The stratified edifice of

The way things have been

Unquestioned by its champions

Even as it crashes around their heads

From the democratization of power.

I know why I am not free

when others are oppressed

For oppressors should sleep uneasy at night.

If one’s necessary comforts

Arise out of exploitation

How’re ya gonna live,

When the meek done rose up,

And took what’s theirs?

Thank you readers and thanks for those who’ve emailed me comments. If you have a poem to share or some feedback on the blog please post a comment.

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