Poetry Month – Thirteen – The Steeplechase

1983.01.0_Bad Toelz_ChurchProse first this time, ok? The title, “The Steeplechase” refers to a horseback race wherein riders competed to finish a cross-country race with church steeples as the in-sight goal. All obstacles — canals, fences, walls, etc. had to be cleared. Obviously, I am not speaking of literal horseback races in my unfinished poem – a work in progress as I am still uncertain where exactly it is going.   It is both a personal history and, I hope, a look at how humanity can escape self-deceit?  Onward, then – to the poem:

The Steeplechase

I could see it from my window,

No proper pointed steeple – that,

A bell tower squat, square, and silent,

Because the banker ‘cross the street?

Slept in hungover each Sunday morning,

Thus the Catholics came so silently,

Met weekly with no priest of their own,

He came like the full moon, once monthly.

 

Was it then – my heart beat for underdogs?

Seeing Mammon’s minion-man snoring in his cups,

Each silent Sunday kicking the Pope’s people,

That took me in sympathy to Church?

Gray and serious as any postulant, I went,

To the tree that bore no fruit save despair,

Long I stayed in duty to aging beauty,

While cracked promises withered in my heart.

 

Twas a different time – living a myth aloud,

Steeples every few blocks with pillars and stained glass,

Carillons and choirs and much sweet charity,

Oh yes, the blue laws and blue balls,

Self-denial, self-control, self-righteousness!

But righteousness becomes as corrosive as acid,

Elect, exceptional and “us versus them”,

Banks grew taller than churches left in basements.

 

Poverty became failure and judgement from on high,

Riches became the “righteous” fruits of grace,

Helping turned to enabling weakness,

Might became right and Arthur is truly killed,

Camelot more surely razed than the Twin Towers,

Fallen to anger and hate, to fear and greed,

That Sky Father in a stealth bomber?

Now that’s a Holy Fucking Ghost!

 

All those steeples skyward reaching,

So many towers of Babel to me,

“Saved” or not – all bleed as red,

Children starve while women bleed and weep,

Men ride to the hunt with dogs of war,

All in the names of god – Allah or Jesus,

If every bell and bomb fell silent?

Would we hear the echoes of our need?

 

(more tomorrow, mayhap?!)

ABCs – Agendas, Beliefs, and Consequences

coffee goldThere is an old saying about “the third time is the charm”. I certainly hope so, because I have now begun my  2016 “new year” three times: once at Samhain, once on January 1st, and most recently on Chinese New Year!  I’ve not been impressed with the 21st century, aka “age of Aquarius” thus far.  It brings up random dreads, glooms and dooms of various sorts that I’d be happier not dwelling upon over my morning coffee!

The level of apparent ignorance of our “politicians” about how our government is supposed to work, for instance?  (Politicians is in quotes because Trump is NOT one, he is the 21st century version of a Barnum and Bailly circus ringmaster.)  Makes me think none of them even TOOK civics class in high school.  The reaction from alleged citizens makes me think they never even heard of civics/American government class.  The Flint Michigan water debacle combined with this apparent latent idiocy reminds me of the theory that the Roman Empire finally failed because of lead poisoning rendering people too venal and dumb to properly react to what was happening to their world.

back tatts large_aSo, yes, I admit the century looks very dark to me just now.  I cannot really discuss politics any more.  I want Bernie Sanders in the White House. (Anyone telling me that makes me a “bad feminist” can expect a random hex tossed their way.  I don’t believe in lock-step ideologies of ANY sort, even if labeled feminist.  If Sarah Palin was running, nobody would be insisting I vote ‘as a woman, for a woman’, would they?)   I AM a woman (see photo above*) and I strongly advocate feminine power.  I want to SEE the “Nordic Model” at least attempted whole-heartedly before my nation rejects the idea and goes whole hog consumers-worshiping-the-rich.  I think our national anthem for the next five decades should be “Eat the Rich”, ok?  That is the limit of my political discussion these days. *Which is unduly large because WP won’t allow me the control to shrink it!

Now, about my little alphabet title.  Back when I took EMT training, it was “airway, bleeding, circulation” as the watchwords to keeping someone alive.  My socio-political-magical alphabet is a bit similar; my key to mental and social life and  guiding my actions towards keeping my nation and world alive!  Does agenda, beliefs, and consequences equate to the EMT alphabet of life?

Is an agenda similar to an airway?  It could be.  If you examine the seeming agenda of American economic systems – it does seem as important as breathing, doesn’t it?  But to my eyes, the agenda of fostering the very wealthy while ignoring the mass of society has a throttling, strangling effect.   When “corporations are people” and money is “free speech”?  That means speech is very much not free, it costs money the average American doesn’t have; if you are someone who likes those bumper stickers reading “Freedom isn’t free”?  Possibly we should admit that we now need one saying “Free $peech?

cyn & fireSo America’s current agenda is pretty counter-productive to the typical citizen, thus as a person who feels it just might be possible to affect change through magical action?  I need a countering agenda, don’t I?  Since Samhain last year?  I’ve given a great deal of thought to what that agenda might be.  I won’t lie,  I have largely focused on a tool I often regard as one chosen by those at last resort with no power in the social or political world they live in!  No, not terrorism, thank you very much.  Magic!   I have ever been inspired by the not-often-enough mentioned Magical Battle of Britain!

There is a reason women get accused of witchcraft, because historically women get deprived of power and must use what they can take for themselves.  No, this does not mean bowing to mystical escapism and prayer.  For me, it means experiencing and experimenting, as I often discussed at former blogs of mine.  It has been said that magic is only that which science has inadequately explained and I think that is likely true.  No, the picture of me at right doing sorcerer’s apprentice dramatics is ritual, not a magical working per se.  My agenda for the next year will be down in the dirt practical magic combined with mundane efforts like contacting elected officials, refusing to engage in certain social habits while espousing others.  I will work while magically focused and half-entranced, using actions like naming things for things I want destroyed (boko haram anyone?) and then I will destroy said objects.  Since for some reason “3” does seem to hold significance regarding effectiveness, I usually do this for three DAYS at a run.  So yes, I will work routinely this year for what you could call (or dismiss as) magical justice.

Woman-0n-the-crossAnd “B” for “bleeding” or “beliefs”?  Everyone has beliefs.  I do think there is a profound difference between a belief and a fact.  I don’t care if you believe in Jesus or Buddha.  But if that means you don’t believe in a woman’s right to control her body and destiny?  Or global climate change due to human action and pollution?  If your beliefs give you some specially mandated right to deny facts and rights of others?   Well, then you and I are going to have a serious disagreement.  I am also going to be both angry with you and somewhat pitying because you are a deluded moron.  The only thing consistently crucified this century, if you ask me?  Not Jesus, but WOMEN.  You know, the half of humanity that does (apparently terrifyingly) BLEED monthly and yet live? I don’t think anyone’s beliefs should require the life blood of others without their permission.  I know I keep my beliefs aligned with this idea; it is why I have not personally sacrificed anyone screaming about patriotism while screwing over soldiers and veterans and never serving in harm’s way themselves!  (Oh, come ON, take a joke, You!  You know who you are — those of you who say horrid things to women and then claim it was mere humor?)  So check those beliefs at the door if the believer isn’t willing to bleed for it, but thinks other non-believers should bleed out for their satisfaction.  Or their “god’s” satisfaction.

yowe kachinaI am a humanist, not a theist.  I believe in human action on this human filled sphere of existence!  I posit the idea that gods/goddesses may exist, but if so?  They are beings with their own existence to be concerned about; I don’t believe they take an interest in us any more than we notice ants on a log.  I could be wrong, I’ve had experiences that often make me think I am wrong.  But I simply cannot wrap my mind around the idea of deities that need humans to enact their alleged will.  If your god needs you to go kill or die for him?  He’s a pretty piss poor god, in my opinion!  So I won’t be holding with anyone killing OR dying for god.  There it is my belief on THAT!  That Navaho kachina at right?  That is “Yowe, the Priest Killer” and I have him in my house for a reason: to remember that Pascal was wrong — beliefs DO have real life and death consequences that can be damned undesirable!  He holds a priest’s head in his left hand and a knife in his right.  Gruesome, yes?  And terribly reminiscent of ISIL actions on the alleged behalf of their god.  Take warning, America….

That brings us to “C” for “circulation” or “consequences”, right?  If you drop a grand piano on some dude’s leg, the consequence is going to be a crushed extremity with no circulation likely unless it is lifted off in a hurry.  I see so many people who seem to not be capable of seeing consequences.  Five members of the Supreme Court, for instance, more concerned with circulation of money in business instead of circulation of pollution in air.  The consequences to big business go to the bank; the consequences of that air pollution could be with the inhabitants of the planet for the next ten thousand years!

As a country, we seem too willing to believe our light-minded and fast-mouthed media.  They talk about ideas in circulation, sure enough; but they neglect serious discussion of consequences.  And money seems to buy a way out of many deserved consequences, too.  If the only “consequence” worthy of action in America has to do with bucks in Daddy Warbuck’s pockets?  How does that serve YOU, the ordinary citizen?  I promised myself on this new blog that I would not swear, nor use crude metaphors about things like what really trickles down; but I sometimes fear that a consequence to the dearth of intellectual circulation means that nothing save utter crudeness will reach the majority of American minds. It always deeply troubled me that my most profanely furious posts were the most popular, while carefully enunciated and considered writings were ignored.  What is the consequence of never thinking more deeply than the latest media “viral” thing?

cold war vetThe consequence of believing Communism was the most evil thing ever was the decades of the Cold War.  I was a Cold Warrior.  Yes, the wind across the Berlin Wall did, in fact, feel colder and deadlier, as I recall it.  But what really made it that way was nothing to do with Communism; it was that we were willing to use nuclear annihilation instead of examining what our beliefs were doing to us and to others.

We are a small planet, growing ever smaller and more connected.  Nearly every epidemic has a very good chance of becoming a pandemic these days.  What China puts in the air darkens the sky above me eventually, here on the Western edge of America.  Oil is running out, and worse, water is the next scarcity.  Shall we go on blowing each other up over scarce things necessary for life  — food, clean water, clean air, places to live, medical care?  Shall we go on buying lies and promises of pie in the sky while the very, very wealthy practice the age old crime of gluttony?  Shall mankind be a biological experiment of the natural world that fails without need of asteroid strikes?

Or can we grow up?  Can we talk about our SPECIES instead of our nationalities, our ethnicities, our religions, our genders?  I can take my beliefs and make and act upon my agenda to change the consequences I see even without a crystal ball.  What about you?