NOTE AND WORD

Notes did more than ride on rhythm

Pulsing through the unity that was the song, is the song

Uniting string, amp, voice, and ear

Hearing players sound together song

Dionysus dance energy and harmony

ALL HARMONIOUS

 

What text can never do, even if spoken

Written reference to literature speech and word

But there is the I AM

Logos

Being in existence and the regression into terms

Name and it’s gone

 

The harmonies that played together knit

Player, hearer, heart, and feet tapping

Nodding, dance, night-time, night-club

Night after night and us three

All harmonious over time

And a long time

 

Life vicissitudes over much time

The song sung together, composed of us three

Now and echo

To talk about together

WHAT MATTERS IN THE CHAMBERS OF MY HEART

I played my heart out one sunset flag lowering

Playing taps on trumpet at church camp

How I held that long, lingering note till my breath nearly ran out

It moved everybody—children surrounded me at chapel afterward

Moved me too, I felt it all, feel it still, I’m there, now—44 years later

 

I had played solo trumpet in filled concert halls

Been interviewed on radio about it

But that doesn’t hit me now

Like sunset, flag lowering, at church camp

 

I played trumpet duets that I’d composed

Before and after evening chapel at church camp

44 years ago, and it pleases me now to be there again

 

I played bass at a church Convention worship service

I see the drummer lean forward to look at me

After a drum solo to get in the groove again

I’m there, 5 years ago, even now

 

I played bass in packed bars, jazz clubs, hotel dance floors

Church Convention sits with me more pleasantly, now

 

Then there was Memorial Day at the family trailer campground

Mom and dad and children danced on the cement floor

Mom sang along with the ‘50’s Little Richard song

We played Monkees for a boy who saw them on Nickelodeon TV

And it sits with me like church, 33 years later

 

COVID-19 affords me much time, much occasion to reflect

Success deconstructs in reflecting over a life well-lived

It sits as a matter of what means to me

And meaning is not a matter of acclaim or money

Church and family camping echo pleasantly

Through the chambers of my heart

And sit well with me in reflections of COVID-19

ETHICS AND COVID-19

I drove home today, after a long walk in the park,

Past the reopened bars, coffee shops, on Whyte Avenue

Observed the patrons seated at tables outside and inside in the darkness

During the past few months ethics were easy:

Stay home

That meant pass time, pass time well, at home:

Read good books, go on walks, play music, binge TV

My little money lasted longer

Now that I don’t have to stay home, is it enough

To pass time, pass time well, at home?

Why did I wander around shopping malls, eat breakfast at coffee shops, lose money at the

casino?

Crave more money.

I know why I went out to hear live music.

Maybe I will still shelter in place

Read good books, go on walks, play music.

I am not the same since COVID-19

Will not be the same.

We’ll see about binging TV, craving more money.

THE MASK THAT WASN’T THE 50’s

The veneer that was the 50’s

Cracked open, broke decent pretense

A massive cultural mythology

Imposed by retired military-industrial-congressional complex

Reasons for the mask that suburbs looked like

Took a generation of activists to unmask

And uprise against the subordination of the feminine mystique

White-washed and express racial exclusion

From proximity, opportunity, drinking fountains

Pulling the covers off infidelity

Drunken suburban neighborhood house parties

Off-stage of Ozzie and Harriet and Donna Reed

Woodstock didn’t so much liberate

As unmask, dismantle dissemblance, crack the veneer

That wasn’t the 50’s

Capitalism, Socialism, and COVID-19

In the Unites States, there is pressure to reopen.  And some areas are reopening in ways that disregard the advice of medicine.  For instance, in Wisconsin, bars are open with patrons partying shoulder-to-shoulder, swizzling beers and shots.  Wisconsin is a laboratory for the rest of us.  If everything goes well, so much the better.  If Wisconsin shows a peak of new COVID-19 cases, then the medical experts were right.  I gamble sometimes, but I wouldn’t gamble as Wisconsin is.  But the real issue is, why this desperation to reopen?  I think that the answer is in political systems.  And it comes down to a test of capitalism versus socialism.

The pressures to reopen in the US are driven by economics.  People are out of money.  The US government redistributed wealth in the form of a one-time check for $1,200.  For most Americans, that wouldn’t even cover one month’s rent.  Then there are electric bills, cable and internet bills, phone, and food–just to name a few expenses that an average household owes monthly.  So Americans are desperate.  It wasn’t cabin fever that led to armed protests in Lansing, Michigan.  It was desperation driven by economic deprivation.

In France, which has a more socialistic government than the US has, people receive nearly 90% of their work salary as a government subsidy.  I haven’t seen protests in France to reopen.  Neither have I seen them in Canada, where residents can apply for a monthly $2,000 check.  Let’s assume that cabin fever is about equal in the US, France, and Canada.  We see that in France and Canada, cabin fever hasn’t driven people to protest.  The US society is based on capitalism.  Also, the US has a strong tradition of individualism.  That means if you are a white-collar worker, you can work from home and keep your high income.  But if you are a blue-collar worker, it is probable that your income derives from the very workplaces that are shut down during the pandemic.  President Trump has used an executive order to force meat processing plants back to work.  And he hasn’t insisted that proper safety protocols be implemented.  He just wants to eat well.  He has the power to use executive authority to produce COVID tests, to help identify which workers are a threat to others.  But he hasn’t used such an executive order.  For the protesters in the US, money is driving them to risk their lives and to go back to work unsafely.  And for workers in meat processing plants, where safety protocols are not being implemented, Trump is ordering them back to work.  In France and Canada, the national government has set in place safety measures for the whole country to observe–the familiar shelter-in-place orders.  This has not happened in the US.  Trump thinks that such a national policy is socialism.  His capitalistic ideology leads him to encourage the country to open without federal guidance.  “Vaccine or no vaccine, we’re back,” Trump bragged.  The US is careening toward a desperate COVID-19 spike in a few weeks, as it opens economies unsafely.  While France and Canada have kept their numbers down and are instituting a graduated, staged reopening.  That is the difference between capitalism and socialism.  And it is playing out as unsafe and safe reopening plans for the respective political systems.

GENERATIONS

Well known that the elderly don’t

Connect well with the young

But what is new is that it is me

Intellectual trends pass relatively rapidly

I’m out of touch, and

I doubt that what is timeless

Is current

I can’t appreciate contemporary art

Poetry publishers eschew rhyme

Educators put lessons on students’ cell phones

I write poems with pen on paper

 

When we were young, we were hostile

To the older generation

Deliberately sought to overthrow

Society, social dropouts, protesters

We were, when we were

Young

 

Today’s young are indifferent to us

Neither in opposition, nor respect

To them, we are not

I am

Though I am displaced

Generation gap

Agism

But now it’s me

A LITANY COMMERCIALIZING COVID-19

Now that we are all staying apart . . . buy our product

We are all in this together . . . buy our product

Front-line workers, we salute you . . . buy our product

We stand together, though we stand apart . . . buy our product

During these extraordinary times . . . buy our product

There will be a time when we all can stand together . . . buy our product

Your home is now your office, your gym, your school-house . . . buy our product

Together we can help save the restaurants we love . . . by using our product

Adversity came to town, but together we’ll get through it . . . buy our product

We have no shame; we’ll use anything to get you to buy our product

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