Archive | December 2018

The Early Years: Before 1972

Everybody starts writing somewhere and somewhen. It is all relative. This Friday it will be Pearl Harbor Day and Mercury will go direct so it is a good time to review past projects before moving into new ones. None of the poems that I wrote before 1972 were any good, but like in everything, there are no mistakes, only lessons.

Teachers pointed haikus at me in grade school, and I wrote many. But the form never worked well for me in English. In poetry class I think I even dared to string 5 haikus together as stanzas for a poem called “Bushido”. It is someplace in the collected works.

Before I was 18, the only poets I recognized were Ogden Nash, maybe Robert Frost. I do not believe anybody tossed Shakespeare’s sonnets my way until college. There was a lot of fantasy reading when I was younger so there was influence there. My brain was not well marinated in emotion yet to achieve an understanding of powerful emotion in moments of tranquility. That was something mentioned in the preface to Lyric Ballads. There was a difference between poetry and prose, poetry had to rhyme back then, and I had no grasp of common language.

I have been going through old materials and am getting all my writings in some format for the web. I guess I am adding these early poems as a lesson for myself and others. Writing can be improved if you are dogged enough at it. It is a hard lesson to learn that you have to edit yourself as well as your writing. William Blake pointed that out in the Proverbs of Hell, “A fool who persists in his folly will soon become wise.”

There is a later poem I wrote called “Vase”. It is as good an explanation of how I learned to write, one piece at a time after many broken things. Maybe it is how all cognitive process works, one piece at a time and then fitting all the pieces together to see something bigger.

You also have to learn to laugh at yourself.

 

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Comet

 

The comet flies through space and time,

forever exiled from its kind,

for if it stops to cast a smile,

its fiery body is spread for miles.

 

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Life Spell

 

The spell is woven tightly round,

and down means up and up means down.

It is not magic; it is but life.

Although it’s simple, it’s never concise.

 

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Men Die

 

Tick, tick time sighs,

wind does fly.

Mountains rise, spiders cry,

and all men die.

 

 

 

Bad Poetry

 

Poetry school was in the early nineteen eighties: the Reagan years. I finally finished a BA in English in the year nineteen eighty-four, not ominous at all. So far, they have not strapped a rat cage to my head.

It was just one class and lots and lots of reading through the years. That class was transformative as far as my writing goes.

One of our first assignments was to write a bad poem. I wrote two. They are coming along after this short introduction.

My thinking at the time was the first represents emotion without form, and the second was structure without emotion. Did it work?

 

 

Forever

 

Quietly, peacefully,

the waves role on to

beach; they roll out.

Your hand in mine,

soft, gentle,

our love will last

even as the sun fades into

the darkness. I will

live in your glow.

 

 

Rolling Frost in His Grave

 

Birch trees are pretty neat.

They are better than the street.

They shield us from the sun,

And climbing them is fun.

 

My thoughts are never so sweet

As when the birches I meet.

Sometimes silver in the snow,

Cold and chilled, I walk slow.

Sniper Humor

(a satire of human ignorance)

Snipers are trained to shoot specific ways in certain tactical situations. It is called a headshot, and current training talks about the T area of the face with the eyes being the crossbar and the nose the down stroke. With the right caliber, this will just knock a human down, so they cease to function.

It is still best to gain all the information you can before walking into those tactical situations. Intelligence gathering is very important. You need to know your target. Some humans do not use their brain. They use their gut. It is best to use a gut shot on these people. It will knock them down, and they will cease to function.

 

 

The Cult of Personality

Driving around the recycling route all week long, I get to listen to the radio a lot. It is usually set between half a dozen stations from classic rock, top forty, and a country station that comes out of the LC Valley that use to be a classic rock station. I never changed the setting after the change because in a pinch, when the entire spectrum across the FM band range is trying to be chatty or trying to sell a person something, the one out of the LC Valley might have a tune going: cultural diversity!

Somewhere over the last twenty years, Living Color’s Cult of Personality has been imprinted in my brain, and whenever it comes on it tickles a long dormant braincell. Where have I heard this phrase before? It was in the early seventies.

There was a young woman I was fascinated with for a bit who lives in two terrible early poems I wrote, but she was adorable. I can remember her saying once, “Peace, love, and the revolution, hopefully without the cult of personality.” It took me a long time to really let that concept sink into my brain, but it is firmly there now, a dangerous thing the cult of personality.

Last week I was standing in the check-out line at the cheap food store, and I happened to see a special edition of People Magazine with the title “The Crime Special: Cults”. On the cover were the pictures of Jim Jones, Charles Manson, and Marshall Applewhite. I thought to myself that all they need on that cover is Donald J. Trump. He is starting to build up a body count as well.

Jones and Manson are totally imprinted in my brain, but all I could pull up in my head was “UFO cult suicides” for Applewhite. So, I looked him up and sure enough he was the man involved in the Heaven’s Gate cult waiting for the UFO coming in with the tail of the Hale-Bopp comet. That was one of the two comets that I have seen without aid of field glasses or a telescope. The other was Hyakutake about the same years. Hale-Bopp was certainly an ill omen for the Heaven’s Gate people.

I dug out the two poems that I wrote about that woman, and peace, love, and the revolution was featured in one of them. It is over forty years now, and we still have the cult of personality. That is why we have a con-man in the White House. He is not the only one still in operation either. It is getting harder, and harder to keep the peace and love alive during the revolution. I guess Milton is right, “Thousands at his bidding speed and post o’er land and ocean without rest, they also serve who stand and wait.” Battle fatigue adds up.

 

 

Apophenia

Corsi files complaint against Mueller alleging bid to seek false testimony.

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Trump’s claim accuses Mueller of seeking lies from witnesses.

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Conspiracy to obstruct justice in coordinated defense.

Through a Glass

darkly, childhood ends eventually and Hoody Doody, Lamb Chop, and Charlie McCarthy, the marionettes, puppets, and manikins who you saw as having voices of their own, you saw their lips moving, turn out to be wood and cloth.

Then you start looking at the people whose lips do not move, but you can see the little trembles in their throat. By then you have learned to research and can dig up the script.

You can look back and smile at how gullible you were and come the winter solstice season you can view from your burrow and hope for St. Nick. But you know that come spring, it will be time for the next campaign.

When you put away childish things, you can remember what you have been taught, and look at that glass a little less fogged. We do not prosecute our political enemies. It is bad form. You must ask yourself new questions at childhood’s end. What happens when they are criminals? Then it is time to review the fine print of the social contract.

Daredevil Dies First

Daredevil

 

That was the title of the comic book which started me on my Marvel Comics collecting jag. There was a colorful splash cover with DD and Trapster at odds over New York. I was hooked.

Last month Netflix put out the third season of Marvel’s Daredevil. I started it after work on Friday and with some restraint, polished it off on Sunday. I needed some serious vigilante justice after a couple of years of the U.S. Constitution being knocked around and the much-lauded checks and balances of my school days losing out daily.

Daredevil was the Marvel character I bonded with most. There were a whole bunch of other ones that did a close second, but I did make my version of the Billy club when I was younger. It is a shame I could never figure out the nifty cable inside.

The movie version with Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner came out, and I guess my expectations were too high. I later heard a rumor that the director’s cut was a better film, so I picked up a copy, and they were right. It was a better film. It still lacked something.

I think Netflix has come closer. I have enjoyed all three seasons and am looking forward to any more they want to do. Defenders was a nice little hit of Daredevil between two seasons as well. The Marvel Universe is more fun when hero meets hero along the way to stopping the bad guy. It makes for good character development with each of them getting to show off and demonstrate their quirks.

I do not think there was as much Catholic-guilt in the early comic book, but again it makes for easy conversional and visual character development. Just an aside, if anybody ever tries to do another version of Conan in a movie, leave out the father issues and leanings toward Christ imagery. The film industry tried it with Solomon Kane as far as Christ imagery also. Howard did not write that way, and it detracts from the character.

I picked up a couple of things in the last of Daredevil Season Three that just goes to show how much the last couple of years in politics have imprinted on my brain.   One was when Wilson Fisk is wooing the press and crowd with how he is really fighting the system which is out to get him, and they start to put down their protest signs as if he is winning them over with his “believe me”. If that is not a shot at Donald J. Trump, I do not know what is. Another thing is Fisk’s tendency to look in the mirror and see the scared, bloody child he once was. You do not need to be a psychologist to see that in Trump. I think somebody was playing with Trump and Fisk similarities, or maybe I have just been psychically scared, as when he is trying to get the return of a painting that is important to him, but the survivor of the holocaust will not sell it back to him; Fisk is more than willing to kill that person to get what he wants, but the painting is special to him because the woman he loves got it for him.   He does not kill her because his lover would not want him to get it that way. I believe in this scene, they were deliberately making Fisk a better person than Trump.

I have never tried to write a screen play, someday maybe. But I find in my writing the use of images takes more than one role, especially in the denser material where there are subtexts. Given how much frustration that a huge part the American population must be feeling, with the two little bits of circumstantial evidence mentioned in the last paragraph, it could be that somebody’s writing was exploring the possibility that Trump and Fisk are really both comic book characters. Both are fictional characters. Fisk was written by somebody; Trump’s persona was self-manufactured. The writers could have been trying to make Fisk is s stronger character even though Donald J. Trump is a real boy; I mean man. Trump has the most pliant opinion I have ever seen in a public figure. He changes his statements from minute to minute, depending on who he is telling him something. Politicians may avoid answers by seeming to answer with what you want to hear yet really say nothing. Trump is different. Trump just agrees with whatever the current speaker says, then the next speaker even if it is opposite to what the last person said. His silver tongue and zero memory shift reality minute by minute. At least Fisk does it with a spine. I imagine the two both have the same temper, but the villain Trump would have to have his minions hold his victims down unlike Fisk who just pounds people into goo.

Like I said, I may be psychically scared. This stuff is supposed to be escapist entertainment.

Got of track there didn’t I? Season Three was the introduction of the villain Bullseye. I wondered about that character when I saw him in the Affleck movie. I looked up his first appearance on line and found out that he did not appear until nineteen seventy-six.   I had stopped collecting comics by then. Air raids, refugee status, coups, women, North Koreans and Japanese police at night, etc. had caught up with me, and I was trying to write and earn a living by then. If I had been able to draw, graphics might have kept me in that world. It is visually more colorful and hands on, words just ran me all over the place.

Since last month, there have been many disturbances in the Marvel Universe. Stan Lee has died. I was amazed at the out pouring of tributes on the web. Comics had a huge effect on me when I was younger, but that much cultural effect? So cool!  On the practical side of how the movie and television franchises will affect all of us who need this kind of escapist hit on a regular basis we will have to see what Netflix canceling Luke Cage and Iron Fist and Disney’s launching their own television franchise will do to us.

Cage was better on TV than in print for me, but you cannot take what I say as far as the comic book goes because I was drifting away from them at that time. Iron Fist never even saw the beginning of a run on my shelf. Jessica Jones, I had never heard of, but loved the Netflix version, Defenders also for those interconnections that made the whole Marvel Universe work for me when I was growing up (They meet in last month’s issue #47 of FF, ‘nuff said). A fake reference, so do not waste your time looking for it.

Daredevil, the man without fear, as Carlos Castaneda points out in the Teaching of Don Juan, fear is the first thing that needs to be overcome in the journey to becoming a “Man of Knowledge”. Don Juan was a diablero, a sorcerer or witch. I think Dr. Strange would like Netflix’s Daredevil as well. I just hope with all the upheavals in the world today, we all get to see a season four.