American Idyll

yes, the river knows

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Anything Can Happen

desert wind

There was a desert wind
blowing that night.
It was one of those
hot dry Santa Anas
that come down
through the mountain passes
and curl your hair
and make your nerves jump
and your skin itch.
On nights like that
every booze party
ends in a fight.
Meek little wives
feel the edge
of the carving knife
and study
their husbands' necks.
Anything can happen.
You can even get
a full glass of beer
at a cocktail lounge.
--Raymond Chandler
Red Wind

Darkness At The Break Of Noon


darkness at the break of noon
shadows even the silver spoon
the handmade blade the child's balloon
eclipses both the sun and moon
to understand you know too soon
there is no sense in trying

as pointed threats they bluff with scorn
suicide remarks are torn from the fool's gold mouthpiece
the hollow horn plays wasted words
proves to warn that he not busy being born is busy dying

temptation's page
flies out the door
you follow
find yourself at war
watch waterfalls of pity roar
you feel to moan
but unlike before
you discover that you'd just
be one more person crying
so don't fear if you hear
a foreign sound to your ear
it's alright ma
i'm only sighing

as some warn victory
some downfall
private reasons great or small
can be seen in the eyes
of those that call
to make all that
should be killed to crawl
while others say
don't hate nothing at all
except hatred

disillusioned words
like bullets bark
as human gods
aim for their mark
take everything
from toy guns that spark
to flesh-colored christs
that glow in the dark
it's easy to see
without looking too far
that not much
is really sacred

while preachers preach
of evil fates
teachers teach
that knowledge waits
can lead to
hundred-dollar plates
goodness hides
behind its gates
but even the president
of the united states
sometimes must have
to stand naked
and though the rules of the road have been lodged
it's only people's games that you've got to dodge
and it's alright ma i can make it

advertising signs they con
you into thinking
you're the one
that can do what's
never been done
that can win
what's never been won
meantime life outside
goes on all around you

you lose yourself
you reappear
you suddenly find
you got nothing to fear
alone you stand
with nobody near
when a trembling
distant voice unclear
sartles your sleeping ears
to hear that somebody thinks
they really found you

a question in your eyes is lit
yet you know there is no answer fit
to satisfy insure you not to quit
to keep it in your mind and not forget
that it is not he or she or them or it
that you belong to
although the masters make the rules
for the wise men and the fools
i got nothing ma
to live up to

for them that must
obey authority
that they do not respect
in any degree
who despise their jobs
their destinies
speak jealously
of them that are free
cultivate their flowers to be
nothing more than something
they invest in

while some on
principles baptized
to strict party platform ties
social clubs in drag disguise
outsiders they can
freely criticize
tell nothing except
who to idolize
and then say god bless him

while one who sings with his tongue on fire
gargles in the rat race choir
bent out of shape from society's pliers
cares not to come up any higher
but rather get you down in the hole that he's in
but i mean no harm nor put fault
on anyone living in a vault
but it's alright ma if i can't please him

old lady judges
watch people in pairs
limited in sex they dare
to push fake morals
insult and stare
while money doesn't talk
it swears
obscenity who really cares
propaganda all is phony

while them that defend
what they cannot see
with a killer's pride
security it blows their minds
most bitterly
for them that think
death's honesty
won't fall upon them naturally
life sometimes must get lonely

my eyes collide head-on
with stuffed graveyards false goals
i scuff at pettiness which plays so rough
walk upside-down inside handcuffs
kick my legs to crash it off
say okay i have had enough
what else can you show me?
and if my thought-dreams could be seen
they'd probably put my head in a guillotine
but it's alright ma it's life and life only

Bob Dylan: It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)

Monday, November 14, 2016

The Only Shadow That The Desert Knows

Hamza El-Din

In Egypt's sandy silence, all alone,
Stands a gigantic Leg, which far off throws
The only shadow that the Desert knows:
I am great Ozymandias, saith the stone,
The King of Kings; this mighty City shows
The wonders of my hand. — The City's gone,
Naught but the Leg remaining to disclose
The site of this forgotten Babylon.
We wonder, and some hunter may express
Wonder like ours, when through the wilderness
Where London stood, holding the wolf in chase,
He meets some fragment huge, and stops to guess
What powerful but unrecorded race,
Once dwelt in that annihilated place.
--Horace Smith

Hamza El-Din / Grateful Dead: 10/22/78

Thursday, November 10, 2016

And The Veil Is Hidden Behind A Veil

You are right.
There are no mists,
or veils, or distances.
But the mist is
surrounded by a mist;
and the veil is hidden
behind a veil;
and the distance
continually draws away
from the distance.
That is why
there are no mists,
or veils, or distances.
That is why it is called
The Great Distance
of Mists and Veils.
It is here
that The Traveler
becomes The Wanderer,
and The Wanderer
becomes The One Who Is Lost,
and The One Who Is Lost
becomes The Seeker,
and The Seeker becomes
The Passionate Lover,
and The Passionate Lover
becomes The Beggar,
and The Beggar
becomes the Wretch,
and The Wretch becomes
The One Who
Must Be Sacrificed,
and The One Who Must
Be Sacrificed becomes
The Resurrected One,
and The Resurrected One
becomes the One Who Has
Transcended The Great Distance
of Mists and Veils.
Then for a thousand years,
or the rest of the afternoon,
such a One spins
in the Blazing Fire of Changes,
embodying all the transformations,
one after the other,
and then beginning again,
and then ending again,
86,000 times a second.
Then such a One,
if he is a man,
is ready to love the woman;
and such a One,
if she is a woman,
is ready to love the man
who can put into song
The Great Distance
of Mists and Veils.
Is it you who is waiting,
or is it me?

--Leonard Cohen *
Book of Longing


I am so often accused of gloominess and melancholy.
And I think I'm probably the most cheerful man around.
I don't consider myself a pessimist at all.
I think of a pessimist as someone who is waiting
for it to rain. And I feel completely soaked to the skin.
I think those descriptions of me are quite inappropriate
to the gravity of the predicament that faces us all.
I've always been free from hope.
It's never been one of my great solaces.
I feel that more and more we're invited to make ourselves
strong and cheerful. I think that it was Ben Jonson who said,
I have studied all the theologies and all the philosophies,
but cheerfulness keeps breaking through.

9/21/34---11/ /16

Wednesday, November 09, 2016


Half of the American people have never read a newspaper.
Half never voted for President. One hopes it is the same half.
--Gore Vidal

Saturday, November 05, 2016

We Must Take Care Of The Earth

We are
a natural part
of the creation.
We were put here
on the sacred mother Earth
to serve a purpose.
And somewhere
in the history of people
we’re forgetting
what the purpose is.
The purpose is
to honor the earth,
to protect the earth,
to live in balance
with the Earth.
And we will never
free ourselves until
we address the issue
of how we live
in balance with the Earth.
Because I don’t care who it is,
any child who turns on their mother
is living in a terrible, terrible confusion.
The Earth is our mother, we must take care of the Earth.
--John Trudell **

**: Take Back the Earth Speech...Thanksgiving 1980

We are going to have to start
working more realistically
with a resistance consciousness,
a resistance, something we can pass on
as strength to the coming generations
--a resistance where organizational
and individual egos don't get in the way,
a resistance where the infiltrators
and the provocateurs and the liars
and the betrayers do not get in the way.
We will not get our liberation
if we do not seriously analyze
the experiences of our own lifetimes.

from Koyaanisqatsi

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Blankets For Land Is A Bargain Indeed

Buffy Sainte Marie: My Country 'Tis Of Thy People You're Dying

Now that your big eyes have finally opened,
Now that you're wondering how must they feel,
Meaning them that you've chased across America's movie screens.
Now that you're wondering how can it be real
That the ones you've called colorful, noble and proud
In your school propaganda
They starve in their splendor?
You've asked for my comment I simply will render:
My country 'tis of thy people you're dying.

Now that the longhouses breed superstition
You force us to send our toddlers away
To your schools where they're taught to despise their traditions.
You forbid them their languages, then further say
That American history really began
When Columbus set sail out of Europe, then stress
That the nation of leeches that conquered this land
Are the biggest and bravest and boldest and best.
And yet where in your history books is the tale
Of the genocide basic to this country's birth,
Of the preachers who lied, how the Bill of Rights failed,
How a nation of patriots returned to their earth?
And where will it tell of the Liberty Bell
As it rang with a thud over Kinzua mud,
And of brave Uncle Sam in Alaska this year?
My country 'tis of thy people you're dying.

Hear how the bargain was made for the West:
With her shivering children in zero degrees,
Blankets for your land, so the treaties attest,
Oh well, blankets for land is a bargain indeed,
And the blankets were those Uncle Sam had collected
From smallpox-diseased dying soldiers that day.
And the tribes were wiped out and the history books censored,
A hundred years of your statesmen have felt it's better this way.
And yet a few of the conquered have somehow survived,
Their blood runs the redder though genes have paled.
From the Gran Canyon's caverns to craven sad hills
The wounded, the losers, the robbed sing their tale.
From Los Angeles County to upstate New York
The white nation fattens while others grow lean;
Oh the tricked and evicted they know what I mean.
My country 'tis of thy people you're dying.

The past it just crumbled, the future just threatens;
Our life blood shut up in your chemical tanks.
And now here you come, bill of sale in your hands
And surprise in your eyes that we're lacking in thanks
For the blessings of civilization you've brought us,
The lessons you've taught us, the ruin you've wrought us --
Oh see what our trust in America's brought us.
My country 'tis of thy people you're dying.

Now that the pride of the sires receives charity,
Now that we're harmless and safe behind laws,
Now that my life's to be known as your "heritage,"
Now that even the graves have been robbed,
Now that our own chosen way is a novelty --
Hands on our hearts we salute you your victory,
Choke on your blue white and scarlet hypocrisy
Pitying the blindness that you've never seen
That the eagles of war whose wings lent you glory
They were never no more than carrion crows,
Pushed the wrens from their nest, stole their eggs, changed their story;
The mockingbird sings it, it's all that he knows.
"Ah what can I do?" say a powerless few
With a lump in your throat and a tear in your eye --
Can't you see that their poverty's profiting you.
My country 'tis of thy people you're dying.


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

To Test That It's A Mountain

Allman Brothers / Jerry Garcia: 12/31/73 (1)

A beginning is the time for taking the most delicate care that the balances are correct. This every sister of the Bene Gesserit knows. To begin your study of the life of Muad'Dib, then take care that you first place him in his time: born in the 57th year of the Padishah Emperor, Shaddam IV. And take the most special care that you locate Muad'Dib in his place: the planet Arrakis. Do not be deceived by the fact that he was born on Caladan and lived his first fifteen years there. Arrakis, the planet known as Dune, is forever his place.
--Manual of Muad'Dib by the Princess Irulan *

Think you of the fact that a deaf person cannot hear. Then, what deafness may we not all possess? What senses do we lack that we cannot see and cannot hear another world all around us?
--Wanna Yueh's favorite passage from The Orange Catholic Bible *

I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death
that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it
to pass over me
and through me.
And when it has gone past
I will turn the inner eye
to see its path.
Where the fear has gone
there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.
--Bene Gesserit Litany
Against Fear

Allman Brothers / Jerry Garcia: 12/31/73 (2)

Any road
followed precisely
to its end
leads precisely
Climb the mountain
just a little bit
to test that
it's a mountain.
From the top
of the mountain,
you cannot
see the mountain.
Family Commentaries
by the Princess Irulan


Sunday, October 23, 2016

Only Those Who Will Risk Going Too Far

Schubert: Symphony No. 8 (unfinished)

Only those
who will risk
going too far
can possibly
find out
how far
one can go.

--T.S. Eliot


Saturday, October 15, 2016

No Less Than The Trees And The Stars

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

--Max Ehrmann

Pau Casals: Bach ~~ Six Cello Suites

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