Thursday, December 31, 2009

Gut Shot

The shirtless man who stumbled into the bar clutching his side and yelling, "I’ve been shot." His hand dropped away from his wound to reveal a splash of red that looked like a carnation pinned to his skin.

Sunday, December 27, 2009


The drought dragged on for years, and the people kept anxious eyes on the heavens.

“Oh to live under a cloud,” the priests said, but the fathomless blue of clear skies persisted.

Finally, roiling clouds gathered over the near dead earth and the ground received the downpour. Puffs of dust arose as, not raindrops but, spiders struck the terrain. They clogged the streets and swirled down the gutters into the sewers, and within days all yearned for winter when crabs would lie in brittle drifts against the sides of empty houses.

An Inconclusive Rant Regarding Christmas, Work, and Dread

As much as I looked forward to having 4 days off of work this Christmas Season, I am now facing down a Santa-sized portion of Sunday Dread when I consider returning to work tomorrow. Oh sure, the holiday was pleasant enough, which isn't to say it went off without a hitch. In my family it is derigueur to have at least one blow-out, one out-sized flare of anger and hurt feelings that then sours my outlook like a lingering hangover. It is as if some malevolent elf, astray from his dungeon at the North Pole, inflicts chaos into my silent night. Still, though, we did, I think, come to some unspoken accord and, the egg-shells notwithstanding, managed to move around each other with a minimum of friction and dollops of graciousness.

So what, you might wonder, is so bad about returning to work? I can only say that the lurking quality of the endeavor replete with a circus's worth of elephants-in-the room (a distinct breed from African and Indian elephants; larger ears, fragile egos, and mawkish sensibilities) provides a weighty atmosphere suitable for the composition of dirges and the promotion of pharmacological interventions. Such is the back drop in the "helping professions" in which I labor...

Monday, December 14, 2009

Something is Rotten in the State of Denmark

Historically, Denmark has stood apart from the rash and reckless herd. It was Danish royalty who, during the Nazi persecution of Jews in Denmark donned the yellow Star of David in solidarity with the victims. How sad that now during the Climate Summit taking place in Copenhagen the Danish police have been granted the power of summary arrests and are exercising that power to suppress demonstrations critical of the manipulations by the world's wealthy nations to preserve profits over the welfare of people; how sad that Denmark has sided with a cynical conception of the Summit, one that elevates corporate profit as "law and order" against the preservation of the planet as "anarchy and activism."

To those of us in the U.S., long accustomed to such false framing of events, we might not even register the sadness of what the Danish Police are pursuing in the summary arrests of demonstrators. We accept without a flicker of doubt the assignment of the word "terrorist" to students in California who bravely and boldly seized University buildings protesting the state's economic blackmail threatening their education; and too many of us still believe as Joe Bageant recently wrote that "most terrorists just happen to live where all of the world's oil is." We live, as the title of Chris Hedges' recent book has it in an "Empire of Illusion", or as Henry Miller had it years ago, in "The Air-Conditioned Nightmare."

Long accustomed to the betrayal of our own ideals we may well scratch our heads in disbelief at the effrontery of those rabble-rousers gathered in Denmark who are trying to have their voices heard over and above the indifferent chatter of statesman.

Our abilities to deflect the costs of our rapacious appetites with the fog of consumerism and its resulting indifference to reality only demonstrates that , in the words of William Butler Yeats,

We had fed the heart on fantasy,
The heart's grown brutal from the fare.

And in Denmark, a cell door clangs shut on the conscience of the world.