Thursday, August 13, 2015

Palms, John Singer Sargant,1917

Notes in August, 2015

I’ve kept a glossy flyer mailed to me by a local mega church for a week or so now. It is an invitation to watch a Hollywood blockbuster each Sunday in August and stay for the pastor’s unpacking of Biblical truths to be found within each movie. The movies aren’t named, but judging by the graphics, my best guess is that they are all apocalyptic. They offer 7 times and 3 locations (two of them public schools,) so everyone should be able to attend if they’ve a mind to. I don’t. My mind is not engaged by this invitation, just puzzled. Churches like this direct mail me occasionally but this is the first movie invitation. I live in the kind of town that warrants the expense of this kind of mailing, I guess. Lots of folks will show up for these screenings and the after-preach. Okay, I’m done with it now. Off of my desk and into the trash for it.

On MSNBC, Alex Wagner, subbing for Chris Hayes, played a political ad featuring Ted Cruz cooking bacon on an AK-47. Apparently his team has linked bacon, Ak-47s, and winning votes. Even with Alex (who’s a favorite of mine) guiding me, I missed the concept. Blew right by me. Ted Cruz looked very happy during his bit and even ate the bacon after it had been cooked up by the heat of the barrel on the gun. I may be using the wrong terms regarding the firearm, but I’m not going to google to check. Bacon is bacon, though, no doubts there.

My county and another nearby have put bumper stickers on their sheriff department’s cruisers  stating “In God We Trust.” The deputies have not as yet given up their guns, though. I write “my county” because I live here. It’s a long story…

Why don’t any of the politicians talk about “securing the borders” in terms of illegal drugs these days? Do we grow heroin and cocaine inside the borders now? No, right? I know we make meth all the hell over the place inside the US border. Cartels and the bankers that are making the big money, those guys, and the way they use the border— that is border corruption that bothers me. I’m more interested in stopping drugs from getting here (it’s not like addicts are happy people) than the refugees who don’t want to die from starvation or murder in El Salvador, Guatamala, and Honduras. I watched the first Republican debate and didn’t hear a word about this. I never hear a word about this on TV. Have we given up trying to stop drug smuggling? There must be a lot of it going on, because there are a lot of people (legally here people) whose lives are all wrapped up in life-destroying drugs and I know they don’t buy them at Walmart. Or, maybe they do. By bringing this up I am not cheering for our system of imprisoning the users and small-time dealers for using and small-time dealing. Hell, if I lived in any number of lousy neighborhoods where there was no work, no chance of getting out, no where to go, I don’t see myself (especially my younger self) sticking to the straight and narrow no matter what.

Speaking of the first Republican debate: there wasn’t much debating, was there? I didn’t watch the earlier one because two in one night was asking too much, but I sat through the second. Got me thinking about bullies. There was more than one on the stage. Big bully and a few mini-bullies. Bully-worshippers must be loving this. They can devote themselves to the loud guy with the comb-over or a selection of guys who claim they have God backing them up and can therefore lie with impunity, carry big clubs and swing them joyfully. Me? I like smart, am not impressed by testosterone or how frequently, worshipfully, a candidate refers to God and this great country of ours, or this could-be-great-again country of ours (code for a white conservative president.) For a long time now, my big idea is that God is a name for something I think of as good-orderly-direction, but I’ve never even considered voting Republican, even during my stints with religion.

It’s mid-August already and my plans about my second book of poetry being finished and ready to submit by now haven’t worked out. However! I have made progress. I may even be finished writing, even be finished revising. If I am, the next step is submitting the thing to publishers. When I think about that too much my soul shrinks, my brain buzzes, I wonder if I have leukemia.
Daunting process—printing the poems and prose poems out, putting them in order, formatting, mailing or emailing the manuscript off to random (I’m not big on researching publishers) and probably badly chosen presses. However! This summer I read and mostly followed Harold Bloom’s new book, The Demon Knows, Literary Greatness and the American Sublime, and I’ve read and re-read King Lear, (it was time.) Oh, and I took an online workshop with the Iowa Writer’s Program, even got a certificate of completion from them. And! I’ve found a local tribe to meet up with—started and kept on going to the Unitarian Universalist services every Sunday (except one, which was about grief and I’m sure it was helpful but I gave it a miss; cowardly, maybe.) This means I have therefore been about 1,000 times more social than I have been for the last several years. Accomplishments. I just haven’t brought myself to the edge of the cliff with my second book. Just haven’t. I will though. I will.