Archive for December, 2011

Free Mumia

December 8, 2011 1 comment

It seems like there has been an inordinate amount of good news in the paper today. Driving is down 6 months in a row, as Baby Boomers stopped driving their kids around is the biggest factor. Desegregation is rolling along as more black folks move to the suburbs. Asians and Latinos open the door moving in creating space for black folks in white neighborhoods. (Whites don’t move into black neighborhoods except in isolated cases of gentrification. Boo whites.)

The biggest piece of good news was that Mumia Abu Jamal was taken off of death row. I knew it yesterday, because even though I’m pretty attached to paper newspapers (anything worth doing is worth doing like in the 19th century) I appreciate what my brother said when his buddy asked “what’s that?” when he tossed me the paper in its tight plastic sack. “That’s a newspaper. Its what people read before there was an internet. It tells  you what happened yesterday.”

So yesterday Mumia Abu Jamal was taken off death row. I have heard some of his stuff and read one of his books. I worked a short quotation of his into a wedding I did in Canada on “the primordial forest”. I went to Philadelphia and protested many years ago. This has been going on so long. There is good evidence his trial was fraudulent and the circumstances are murky. Even if he shot the cop he’s been in the joint a long time and has done much good. It was a racially charged time and there was a lot of weirdness around the whole thing. I was moved largely by my gut which has always told me he’s a good man.

I also wrote  poem about his situation. Its pretty dated but I am putting everything up and archiving it and its probably worth sharing. I take a light, almost tongue in cheek approach as I was poking fun at my strident to the point of humorless activist friends who have as little room for dissenting thought as the mainstream they rail against. I love them nonetheless and largely root ’em on. The biggest thing about the piece is its dated. This might be my last chance to share it with any kind of relevance. I always thought it was a tight little piece and I like the ending a lot. Almost feel like I squandered it on a piece so set in a particular time.

He’s as innocent as OJ

And Clinton, well of course

So why’s he on death row

And not on the golf course,

Looking for the real killers

And the guys who killed Vince Foster?

Why aren’t there black tie dinners

With key note speaker Kevin Costner?

He’s as cool as the dolphins

As exotic as Tibet,

And they say there might be riots

But they haven’t started yet,

And so they will try to kill him

In the name of God

Because if you spare the child

Then you spoil the rod.

2 haiku about Old Style

December 5, 2011 Leave a comment

Its definitely turned cold today, the biggest change is people are complaining about it. I try to embrace the weather and prefer to think of it as brisk. Its easier to do when the sun is shining but the skies were gray and overcast, and its breezy as well. Glad I have got things pretty winterized. I put in mostly new windows except I kept my big picture window with regular windows on each side. They were the only trim not painted over and everything on them still worked. I don’t want to live in a house tight as a drum. I want a little air flow otherwise I’d have to test for radon or leave a window cracked to let that stuff seep out. Seemed easier to keep my pretty window. This year I put in these guards that are like foam tubes that fit into a 2 pocket sock one on each side. They were supposed to slide with the door but did not work as expected.

Last year I added weather tight storm doors but they have a little gap at the bottom which somewhat defeats the point. I was supposed to put the kind of weather stripping that connects to the ground but I forgot that part when I asked John to do it when he was crashing here and doing projects. He got weather stripping but the doors aren’t really built for the stripping to be attached to. I’ve added the floor kind to the list but even without it, the house is pretty tight now. I grew up in a drafty house in Michigan and later when Dad had built a more modern house we did a couple of winters without LP gas for a time and lived with just a fireplace so I know enough to be thankful for a snug little house and adequate heat.

I keep it chill 65 degrees which is fine if you have a sweater or your doing something. I have a down comforter (a dollar at Salvation Army, but of course I had to shell out $45 for the cover on clearance at a big box store) and am snug and warm at night. I also have on my list a programmable thermostat. I’ve forgotten it once but I think I can save some heat when I’m gone and maybe even drop the night temp and justify splurging on a 72 for the hour when I first get out of bed. That would be a luxury.

All of this seasonal talk is just prelude to a couple of my early haiku, back before I felt obligated to make them seasonal. Can’t say I find the art form at all compelling any more, but I used to like them before I could write poetry. The rigidity of the form allowed me to express my creativity in a way that formlessness did not. I tend to tell stories and write about ideas which are not really great with haiku either. They feel to me now like they should evoke mood, place, and image.

I wrote these hanging out with Sarah and Eric maybe others hanging out on the Washu campus. We were drinking Old Style, a local favorite at the time and I don’t remember exactly how it came to writing haiku about beer but these are the two I remember:

Trapp’d in a tin can

Fermented hops and barley

I will free the Old Style


Old Style is a cage

Set to ensnare the drunkard

I think I’ll drink more



Categories: environment, friends, poetry

Krampus Day Eve

December 4, 2011 Leave a comment

Happy Krampus Day Eve. Krampus, if your unfamiliar with him is the Swedish anti-Santa. He beats bad girls and boys with birch twigs and has kind of a demonic cast to him. I have been wishing people Happy Krampus Day Eve and telling folks about him all day.

I have done mine up in style making my biggest splash into the spirit of the holidays yet so far. Kevin and I went and got a tree from the Optimists. I got a longleaf pine this year. I like firs and don’t mind paying a little bit more but I got one last year and thought I would mix it up. Its not my first but we never got them when I was a kid because Mom thought the short needle ones were less of a mess. I like it because it has a shaggy look like something out of Dr Seuss.

I didn’t have it bagged because the truck was close and I thought waste the plastic and that was the right move because it was pretty easy. The Optimists cut off the bottom for you too. I have two tree stands, struggling with crappy stands is not worth the trouble. I used the big plastic one because it will hold like a gallon and a half of water so I usually only have to water every other day to stay out of trouble.

I am going to have a New Years Day party so I will want it looking fresh through that long at least. It has scented up the whole house, much more than the fir I got last year. I considered going to a cut your own place but the Optimists are close and it goes to a good cause. I have the angel on top but haven’t put up lights or anything yet. I still may do that tonight. I will also decorate Mom’s ficus and moved it to the other side of the living room instead of the corner next to the tree so it should be more prominent.

I also went to the Odd Fellow’s Christmas banquet. It was fun. I played door man and wished people  a good afternoon. It seems early to wish people a Merry Christmas and the fellahs who go to meetings I’ll see twice more before the day. Tomorrow is the meeting and I didn’t walk the dog today, maybe I’ll do that instead of decorating the tree. Getting some dinner and a walk would be a struggle.

After the dinner I went to Amy and Michael’s so Fido could play with Olive. They had a good time and Fido is sacked out. He’ll get up for a walk though. Although since he got a good play in he’s probably fine to wait until Tuesday for his walk. I worked pretty much a full day on Saturday so with the abbreviated weekend it might not be a bad idea to just chill. Curl up with a She Hulk comic and relax. I’ve been reading a stretch of hers lately starting at the beginning. Pretty crappy but they’re getting better in the second year, the character is fleshing out and becoming a little more interesting. Watching this growth process has been interesting, certainly a lot more to it that I didn’t get when I was reading them as they came out.

I’m also continuing to read Foucalt’s archaeology of modern thought. I’ve been reading the book off and on for like seven years now so I am certainly savoring it. Currently reading about the dualism of man with the Cogito no longer proving existence because what we know rests on this foundation of the unknown and we know enough about thought to know a lot of it is unknown to us. I’ve been reading 2-4 pages a couple times a week and taking time to let it settle in.

I’ve also been talking about dreams. I did two groups on them Saturday, what they are and how they work and am working it into conversation so I learn the stuff. PET scans have shown which parts of the brain are active, visual and feeling motion, deep centers of emotion with a deactivated volition, propriety, and logic centers. Explains a lot about dreams. To sum it up dreams are thinking but they feel different because of chemical changes in the sleeping brain. We think in dreams about the same stuff we think when we’re awake. You need dreams to solidify memory and they can be used to problem solve, hence the old saw, ‘let me sleep on it’.

What does all this mean and have to do with Krampus anyways? I don’t know, let me sleep on it.