Archive for February, 2010


February 21, 2010 2 comments

Here is another poem from my chapbook “America: Tales of Atrocity and Near Escape”. He was another great American that no one has ever heard of. Greatly influenced by the Quakers in Pennsylvania he was a peace and freedom loving guy who left the Iroquois country for Ohio to start the Mingos. Mingos were a tribe of Indians from several different tribes who came together in a voluntary mutual association. Unfortunately the Whites had invaded the hunting lands of the Shawnee and others (Kentucky) and when the Shawnee struck a militia was formed for retaliation and they took it out on the peaceful Mingos. Again my thanks to Alan Eckhart for his great histories of the struggle for the Midwest.

Talgayeeta was the son of a chief

Of the people called the Cayuga

They were a warlike nation

In the Iroquois Confederation

But Talgayeeta had found a better way

When the French and British fought

He wouldn’t go to war

He made peace where ever he was able

All the peoples of the tribes

And the white folks too

Were all welcome to his table

Talgayeeta, son of Shikelelemus

Talgayeeta, called by some Logan

Talgayeeta, taught to be a man of peace

But were the whites gonna let him be?

He left his tribe to move to the West

The land from which the wind blows

He started a new tribe where everyone was chief

And they called themselves the Mingos

Now Mingo means chief

And each was their own

It was homegrown Anarchy

And peace that were sown

Talgayeeta, called by some Logan

Talgayeeta, left the Susquhana

Talgayeeta, strove to be a man of peace

Talgayeeta, but where the whites gonna let him be?

Talgayeeta was away on a hunt

When the Kentucky Militia arrived

Welcomed as friends they turned on their hosts

And not a Mingo in the village survived

When Talgayeeta returned from his hunt

And saw what the white men had done

He pulled out his hatchet and cried out for vengeance

And swore he would kill a dozen for one

Talgayeeta, buried his unborn nephew

Talgayeeta, buried his whole family

Talgayeeta, lived to be a man of peace

But the whites wouldn’t let him be.

So the man of peace picked up the sword

And he led off the Mingos to war

He took a dozen white scalps for each of his tribe

And kept to the vow that he swore

But the waging of war has terrible costs

He took to drinking to ease his pain

And he was drunk when the assassin shot him in the back

And we’ve never found his like again

Talgayeeta, son of Shikelelemus

Talgayeeta, called by some Logan

Talgayeeta, tried to be a man of peace

But the whites wouldn’t let him be.

Categories: history, poetry


February 20, 2010 2 comments

I have been a big reader since my brother taught me to read peering over his shoulder of some classic DC comics. The first full on book I read was The Hobbit and after that I started to chew them up. Reading all the time, stashing books to read in class, on the bus, most of my free time. I read anything I could get my hands on. Growing up in the country or on the road with my truck driving daddy kids books weren’t always handy. I read what i could which was a lot of westerns, romance magazines, and books from garage sales. Reading changed my life. Opened me up to a whole ‘nother realm of experience. It helped make me smart which came to be a big part of my self identity and something to hold onto when the rest of life, not so much.

I still read, a lot. Usually i will crush 2 or 3 books a week. I mix it up with some nonfiction, some great literature, and a lot of crap genre fiction (sci fi and fantasy). Lately I have drifted away from the crap and have been reading several books a little more slowly and carefully than usual. All nonfiction. (the AA Big Book, a Jillian Michaels diet book of all things, some Foucalt) It slowed my pace down. Plus I’m back to reading magazines. Scientific American Mind is my new great read, so much interesting stuff and some interesting points for my groups and my clinical practice. The mind is well worth exploring and i like staying on top of new developments. Plus brother John got me a subscription to The Christian Science Monitor. I can stay on top of it as a weekly but it cuts into my book time. As does facebook.

All of that being said i started reading an S M Stirling novel of the change. Post apocalyptic fantasy, a little formulaic (but thats part of the charm, just ask fans of Law & Order) but likable characters and an intriguing world. I was away long enough to really appreciate staying up a bit later and getting up earlier to squeeze in more reading time. Makes me feel like a kid again.

Categories: books, childhood

St Valentines Day

February 15, 2010 Leave a comment

I had a bit more of a traditional St Valentine’s Day weekend than a single guy has any right to expect. To get it you have to understand the origins of the day. According to legend St Valentine was a priest who continued to marry soldiers after the emperor banned the practice fearing it would weaken the army. So Valentines Day should really be more of a celebration of marriage than romance.

That being said Saturday night i went out with a young couple to Sycamore a fancy restaurant with a seasonal/local menu to plan their May wedding ceremony. This will be my 9th wedding (not counting my own) and my first since Halloween 2003. I did my first wedding in the late 90s when a friend asked if i could do their ceremony. I looked into it, got ordained on the internet for the Universal Life Church, and applied f0r my license to solemnize marriages in the State of Ohio.

It went really well, the bride asked me to be sincere and that has been my watchword. Personalized and sincere. I really like doing weddings, its an exciting time to share with people and it is one of the few times in our society that we ask ultimate questions of what we really believe in. Most of the people who want a friend or acquaintance to do their wedding have no set religious beliefs. There is this vague tentative agnostic-paganism prevalent in most of my friends approach to spirituality. There are also family members with more traditional beliefs that you also want to speak to you. I at least want to also honor my own spiritual principles. It makes for this really interesting tension as you try to dump the bullshit but keep enough to meet everyone’s expectations in the shared experience.

The first wedding I did was Christian/Jewish. That was easy i stuck to the old testament. I found this nice reading about “two are better than one. How can one be warm alone?” It was such a sweet idea that just laying together is a spiritual act. I really wanted to use a Jesus quote so i just referred to him as the Sage of Galilee, as i had seen in some Jewish works.

It was a big hit and that led to several more weddings, a Christian/Native American one, an atheist one complete with a quote by Mumia Abu Jamal. I married my former brother-in-law which was particularly flattering because his uncle was a minister.

The most different wedding i did was based in West African spirituality. It seems the essence of ritual is spontaneity to provide room for the spirit to move, so i was largely unscripted. I had folks in the back light candles and say a few words about the bride and groom and then passed the flame across the hall to the bride and groom with everyone saying something. it was sweet.

I’ve done two holiday weddings one on New Years and one on Halloween. The New Years one was tough because i had just separated from Amee two weeks before the wedding. Oh I cried before driving up there, the last thing on earth i wanted to do, it also was fun, got hit on by a former co-worker and got her number even though she had a date with her. Being a wedding minister is a little bit like being a rock star, especially if you’re the drinking and smoking kind of minister, with a novel, spiritually nuanced message, delivered with some panache. The Halloween wedding was perhaps my best. The theme they wanted was horror movies and i worked that into a whole child like thing, they had great music, a ghost story and a fun crowd and the ceremony was a big hit.

This will be my first wedding in Missouri. No license required. Might generate some more gigs. And i love this couple which makes it quite a bit more fun. So this year, divorced though i may be, i was more than ok with being single on the big couples day. I got to celebrate the real reason for the season and feel a part of something special.

Categories: history, religeon

sick again

February 12, 2010 Leave a comment

I have been sick twice this winter. Its probably been a decade since that happened. How often I get sick is directly proportional to how much stress i allow in my life. When i was working 40-50 hours and going to college full time i would get sick all the time, i remember going down with the flue for two weeks. Gradually i learned to take better care of myself, workload wise. It is easy for me to lose myself in helping others. After my mental break down i became more cognizant of taking care of myself. When i would get overcomitted i would flee to the woods or the desert or the road to rest and heal. I went four years without getting sick when i worked jobs with moderate hours and lower stress. I moved to columbia and my second winter i knew i was going to get sick. and i did. this year i was positively looking forward to it. a chance to sit down, without the expectation of doing anything. so this year i went down twice. too much of a good thing. I am trying to not run away from stress but carve out reasonable limits in my existing environment. I think i have a long way to go but i’ll get there.

Categories: feelings, health, work


February 10, 2010 Leave a comment

When the Spanish Empire ruled the world

Spending all the Indians’ gold

Living High on the backs of Heathen Slave Labor

Wrapped in their Savior’s fold

Twenty-five percent, yes one out of four

Was a Priest, a Brother, or a Nun

To say prayers full time for the sins of man

To God and Mary and the Son

And I would ask if God heard their prayers

Over the tortured screams of the damned

Beautiful and innocent and made in Her image

Killed in his name, put to flame.

But can I ask that question in America

In the year two thousand ten

Living High in the Heart of Corporate Empire

Buying when they tell me when

Far from the holes that we rip in the Earth

To pull out the fuel for the fire

Far from the pits of Flaming Brimstone

Where they forge our heart’s desires

Far from the villages where we drop our bombs

Far from where we crush whats wild

Far from the tears that fall to the Earth

When a mother weeps for her child.

Categories: poetry, politics

going insane part 9: flying first class

February 6, 2010 Leave a comment

I settled back into the luxurious seat and enjoyed an immense feeling of rest and safety. I had been telling myself for better than a week that i would sleep on the plane when i was safe, when i was out of this nation of peril, and now i was here. I was seated in the back, in the middle seat with empties on each side. There were only a scattering of other passengers throughout the rest of firstclass. Seeing all of the well dressed folks made me aware of my own appearance. Green cords,  a matching flannel i had bought with Debbie at the Berkeley Ross especially for the trip, and the Vans Kirk had left at the CAN house after we had booted him for slinging acid out of the house. I had been wearing that outfit for about 2 weeks, no socks, tshirt or undies. I think i’d lost them when i came out of the isolation tank all freaked out by the womb without a heartbeat. I wasn’t drawing any bad vibes from my fellow travellers and figured they thought i was a rock star or something.

The flight attendant, a body builder type with the brown hair and mustache of a 70s porn star and the biceps of a lou ferrigno of the 80s asked if i need anything.

“Like what?”

“Oh something to drink, maybe?”

“That sounds good what have you got?”

“Water, champagne, orange juice…’

“That sounds good give me an orange juice and a champagne.”

“Very good sir, champagne and orange juice. I’ll have those out as soon as we get in the air.” Almost immediately the plane began to taxi up the runway and we gained speed and left the ground. I could feel our acceleration in a very visceral way and as we sped down the runway my feelings of relief increased, i had made it.

Once we leveled off the muscular flight attendant brought me two flutes one of orange juice and one of champagne. They were both so good and i felt more rejuvenated and more relaxed. They went down easy and I quickly finished. “Finished already, would you like another round.”

“That would be fine, but probably just one more mixed.”

“Very good, a mimosa.”

“Yes a mimosa. Thank you.” I drank it down when it arrived and reclined back in the comfortable seat. I looked out the window at the sun, such a strange angle to be seeing it and looked at the electronic map of our path going up and over the arctic and coming back down across greenland to minimize our flight over open water, i’d learned on the way over. I closed my eyes and fell into a deep sleep.

I dreamed i was flying over the world in the company of Lucifer. He pointed out the great expanse of the world below and said it was all mine if i should desire it. He was very beautiful and i felt relaxed in his presence, i felt he was sincere but part of me new i was in very dangerous ground. I told him no i did not desire the world. He told me i could save those masses of folks from all the pain and misery i had felt and they all feel in our brief and pitiful lives. I told him no i did not wish to save the world. He showed a flash of anger then. “Well alright then. There can be nothing but enmity between us. I will raise an army and you shall raise an army and we will finish this now.”

I saw in my minds eye myself walking through the streets of paris an unkempt mob behind me marching too some great and final confrontation, knowing many would die but that final victory would be mine. This reality was far more tempting. I felt my Michael self resonate to the call of battle and a final end to all of the destructive nonsense through one act of bitter destruction.

I said, “no, my friend not now. Let the truce abide awhile longer. Let someone else marshal the forces of good for i will not fight this fight. Not at this cost not even for the final victory will i pay that price.” I awoke with a sense of momentous loss. of a missed chance to put things right. of a sense of relief.

Categories: insanity, religeon, travel

yellow snow

February 5, 2010 Leave a comment

Its been an eventful midwinter at leslie lane. Oni the piss hound had an active period, hitting the futon and my bed (twice). The second time i said she has to go. Sure she’s family but she’s been trouble since she came in the door. The first time i said she had to go too but she’s crafty. She always pisses on like a friday night knowing the humane society only takes dogs on thursdays and fridays and then she tries to be cute until i give her one more chance. The last bed shot i had had it and was not going to back down. Then Harry went to the cool no kill shelter, who of course won’t let a piss hound of no small renown anywhere near their no kill place. (no kill shelters aren’t more moral for the most part they just export their kills elsewhere) They said have you checked with your vet, maybe its a medical problem. Now that is what i said the first damn time it happened but now its a brilliant idea and dad had already made the appointment. So she goes and gets some antibiotics in case its a UTI and some drops i can’t find any info about because of all the noise from people selling the drops that are supposed to “tighten her up” according to dad. we shall see. all in all, i’m calling it a reprieve from the governor.

Oni led to some interesting conversation in my batterer intervention group. Somehow i mentioned i was going to make dad take the dog to the pound for furniture pissing (everytime i type “the pound” oni moans and looks at me pitifully) a batterer, a crusty old biker type called me out on being a dick for sending a family member to her death. I couldn’t protest too much as i was thinking about this guy in my group years ago who killed the family dog bouncing it off the wall. Once the situation resolves itself i’ll probably talk about dog killing.

Changing the subject the snow has been incredible. Its been coming down hard all day but it was warm air and has been melting.  A foot has fallen and we don’t even have an inch. I had to drive an hour to a meeting and it was slippery this morning in places but still gorgeous.

After work i took The Onerous One out for a walk in the snow. She wasn’t enjoying it so i went back for The Turtle Dog. Dad says hamburger helper’s ready so on to dinner.

Categories: dogs, work