Saturday, July 23, 2016

High Summer - poem

Lawrence Hall

High Summer

High summer is but headaches, haze, and heat
Parasitical heat, malignant heat
Heat creeping through the walls, even at night
Mocking the futile thermostatic air

By day all thoughts are wither’ed away
The words of favorite books shimmer unread
On pages like an oasis vaporous
Unreachable, or by an enemy occupied

There is no healing, hope, or hope of hope:
High summer is but headaches, haze, and heat

Friday, July 22, 2016

The Cleveland Yellfest - column

Mack Hall, HSG

The Cleveland Yellfest

Roderick Spode: “Citizens…I say to you that nothing stands between us and our victory except defeat! Tomorrow is a new day! The future lies ahead!”

Barmy Fotheringay-Phipps: “D’you know, I never thought of that.”

- Jeeves and Wooster

Three disparate groups of civilization’s dissenters are said to have flung bodily wastes at each other in Cleveland, Ohio during the first of the two summer covens. Developing one’s ideological thesis statement in one’s urinary tract system is not quite Churchillian oratory.

+ + +

The discourse in the hall where the first coven was held was not exactly Churchillian either, with all those errant adverbs flying about. Communication becomes more effective when such clutter as “actually” is removed – after all, one cannot “unactually” do, see, or experience anything.

Further, an icon (also spelled “ikon”) is a two-dimensional religious image featuring Jesus or a saint. Icons are common in the Eastern Orthodox churches, less so in the West. Referring to a person as an icon is like referring to him or her as a crucifix, a cross, or a religious painting: “And now I want to introduce to you a real crucifix of our political movement…” or “He was such a religious painting of the music world.”

+ + +

Outside the Cleveland yellfest three, oh, real Americans were photographed posing in discount-store camouflage, gas station sunglasses, and the now requisite Pictish woad while cuddling what appeared to be poorly-maintained rifles with the usual curvy fruit magazines. They averred that they were present to back up the police. What a comfort to everyone, eh? One wonders if any of them ever took any military or police training beyond perusing the lurid pictures in a Captain Leotard comic book.

They should stop it. Just stop it. If they want to be cops, then they should apply for the academy. If they want to be soldiers, then they should enlist. But first they should grow up, stop playing with guns in the street, and get out of the way of the True Blues, the men and women who endure a rigorous program of physical and mental training, including ethics and law, and who take a sacred oath.

+ + +

The Republic of Turkey does not tolerate political conventions or political dissent.

Democratically-elected Turkish President Recezp Erdogan is reported by the Daily Mail to have sacked (so far) 50,000 judges, police, military, and teachers, and forbidden them to leave the country. This is in addition to some 9,000 others previously arrested on allegations of trying to overthrow their beloved leader. Those arrested include 115 generals, 350 other officers, and almost 5,000 enlisted men. Even before the recent coup attempt the loving father of his people arrested some 2,000 of his fellow citizens, including children, for not liking him.

If true, this means Erdogan is arbitrarily removing from both high-level and low-level government positions those industrious and thoughtful citizens from solid, stable working class and middle class backgrounds who are essential to the orderly life of a nation of laws.

In contrast to Erdogan’s fuhrerprinzip, American politics are goofy and undisciplined, but seem to work most of the time. At the ‘Publican Convention the Colorado, Alaska, and several other delegations, in the best tradition of a free people, made a spirited defense against being pushed about by the party bosses. They lost, but unlike the outspoken in Turkey they weren’t arrested, stripped naked, beaten in the streets, and crowded into concrete cells while shackled to each other, there to await show trials and executions.

Our inefficient political process, despite the stupid hats and cartoon tees and mugging for selfies, is in its bumbling pretty good after all.


Thursday, July 21, 2016

On the First Ballot - poem

Lawrence Hall

On the First Ballot

Whose are these snarling faces, grown ugly in
The primordial aggression of the pack
Made manifest through individual fears
Witch-stirred inside a cauldron adamant

Dark sorceries beneath arena lights
Ferality and fists pumping in hate
Unhappy beings robed in cartoon tees
Cruel-yelping for the blood of innocence

Now to be splashed and burned and hated more:
Whose are these snarling faces – yours? Or mine?

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Iconophiles - poem

Lawrence Hall


Iconophiles are true revolutionaries
Lowering their voices but raising their hearts
Falling into a written picture-prayer
Upon a bit of board or card – Creation

Made small and held within the hand, the eye
And knowing deeper in, all that was made
And Him Who was begotten before all
Permitting us to see before we see

Hymning formlessness into light and truth -
Iconophiles are true revolutionaries

Monday, July 18, 2016

Unintelligible Screaming - poem

Lawrence Hall

Unintelligible Screaming

Young conscripts posted to a midnight bridge
They lean against an armored car and smoke
Wondering what idiot had the bright idea
Of a pointless exercise in guarding a road

Young conscripts posted to a midnight bridge
The first few drivers turn around as ordered
But then there are more, and these leave their cars
And gather ‘round, and yell and push and grab

“Get the lieutenant on the line…no…wait…”

Young conscripts dead upon a sunlit bridge

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Must There be a Balloon Drop? - column

Mack Hall, HSG

Must There be a Balloon Drop?

Why do political conventions always feature balloon drops as the final spectacle of spectacles? Such is appropriate for a child’s birthday party, not as part of the sober, serious governance of a republic.

Okay, that’s just grumpiness. For a good, restorative laugh nothing beats watching superannuated Republicans in funny hats and cartoon sunglasses trying to dance to the groovy pseudo-sixties rhythms of the convention rent-a-band

Don’t mock them, Democrats; you’re next.

+ + +

The Atlantic, nee’ The Atlantic Monthly, features a useful article on “book deserts” in the USA, and as its thesis asks this relevant question regarding the intellectual and ethical development of pre-school children: How do you become literate when there are no available resources?”

God bless those who through taxes, contributions, and volunteer service make public libraries free to all, especially to little children.

+ + +

One of the new robot cars is reported to have caused a fatal crash. What a marvel of technology modern science has given us: a car driven by a computer that can text, apply makeup, take selfies, look for those PokeyThings, light a cigarette, get drunk, scream obscenities at other computers in other cars, change the radio, ignore stop signs, and drive twice the speed limit.

+ + +

Yesterday, upon the stair,
I met a man who wasn't there.
He wasn't there again today,
I wish, I wish he'd go away...

From “Antigonish,” Williams Hughes Mearns

Americans, ever submissive to little plastic boxes that light up and make noises, have taken to searching for little beings that aren’t there. The little Orwellian telescreens layer beings that don’t exist upon physical realities that do – including parks, streets, cemeteries, churches, and gang headquarters. The purpose of this new game (“Human – fetch!”) is – well, let’s be real: the initial free access is a loss-leader for selling the player stuff. There’s nothing wrong with that, but the game also allows a certain internet company-which-must-not-be-named to access the player’s machine, including contents and emails.

Let’s blame the police. And President Bush. And fluoride.

Old people are already complaining: “By cracky, in my day we played Angry Buzzards on a Mac II, and we were glad to get it.”

+ + +

There were probably no PokeyThings or pretty balloons in the streets of Constantinople and Angora last week. Confused and leaderless young conscripts were sent out – by whom? - in what was later said to be an attempt at a coup. Unwilling to shoot their fellow citizens, these isolated lads were quickly overwhelmed by hordes of healthy and better-organized young men who were not unwilling to humiliate, beat, and murder the young soldiers who had been ordered into an impossible situation and not told why. And as someone asked later, where did all those thousands and thousands of brand-new Turkish flags come from in the middle of the night?

How good it would be if children could go to bed with their mothers reading Goodnight, Moon to them, all without any fear of gunfire, rockets, mortars, rioters, tanks, and murders just outside the window.


Saturday, July 16, 2016

Gently Used - poem

Lawrence Hall

Gently Used

Gently used clothing, and gently used shoes
Gently used school supplies for charity
Gently used cast-offs – there’s nothing to lose
Gently used humans? Not a priority

The Summer of 2016 - poem

Lawrence Hall

The Summer of 2016


In Viet-Nam you looked around
For even a stem of grass astray
You watched the water; you watched the ground
Upriver along the Vam Co Tay


Safe home, the earth did not explode
There was no need to pause your breath
And hope they hadn’t mined the road
With stakes or bombs of gutting death

No cause to bring your piece to bear
On creeping shadows among the trees
Or a curious movement over there
Upon the sweet, leaf-singing breeze


Except that now there is – O dreams
Lost and desolate among death-screams