Culturally Discombobulated

Beating head against …

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Dreamcatcher outside Trump Tower, January 2017.

“I want you to quote this, the media here is the opposition party. They don’t understand this country.” Steve Bannon.

If Trump’s folly is to be erected across our southern border, let’s keep in mind that he not only promised the building of a wall, but that it would be a “beautiful” wall. If we must go through with this idiocy then let’s at least hold him to aesthetic standards.

All the dark nights, America

 

President Trump’s Twitter: January 20th 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again!

And then it was over, after almost two years of campaigning featuring a menagerie of candidates and hanger-ons it climaxes with the unnerving reality that Donald Trump is the leader of the free world. His entrance into this election’s narrative appeared easy to write off; a move not born from a sincere wish for public service, but rather a desperate ruse to boost ratings and media attention for his flagging reality show. But instead of giving him Nielsen ratings, we gave him the nuclear arsenal.

Going back to that day at the Fresno Convention Center when American-ness was conferred on me (a profound and almost transcendent experience that forever alters you – your voice will from now on be louder in public, covering bacon and sausage with maple syrup will no longer nauseate you, the deciphering of irony will be just a millisecond slower than it was before) I keep thinking that the ceremony involves the playing of a video greeting from the President to what is now a room of “fellow Americans.”

At some point, either today or in the coming week, Trump will sit down and record his greeting. Presumably welcoming those watching as the right sort of immigrant, ones for whom the wall is not intended. And yet with all his latent Nativist talk over the last year, I can’t imagine his message will be an encouraging one to many new citizens; who, if it follows the demographics of my ceremony, are overwhelmingly immigrants from regions he has vilified, bad hombres, to use his phrase.

While I have never for one moment doubted the President’s (how bizarre to finally use that in relation to Donald Trump) ability to lie, and to lie well, I suspect a warm and sincere greeting and congratulations to new, primarily brown, Americans may be a lie too far.

Never Seen A President Like This Before

Struggling to articulate my thoughts for today so I’ll let Elmo do it for me instead.

A New Year Greeting – W.H. Auden

I’m not the only one returning to Auden lately. Numerous articles I read after the election referenced “September 1, 1939”. The times are not good if people feel they need to retreat into Auden’s poetry to try and get an understanding of the present. Faber should publish a shrink-wrapped anthology of his work entitled “Break open in case of emergency.”

On this day tradition allots
to taking stock of our lives,
my greetings to all of you, Yeasts,
Bacteria, Viruses,
Aerobics and Anaerobics:
A Very Happy New Year
to all for whom my ectoderm
is as Middle-Earth to me.

For creatures your size I offer
a free choice of habitat,
so settle yourselves in the zone
that suits you best, in the pools
of my pores or the tropical
forests of arm-pit and crotch,
in the deserts of my fore-arms,
or the cool woods of my scalp.

Build colonies: I will supply
adequate warmth and moisture,
the sebum and lipids you need,
on condition you never
do me annoy with your presence,
but behave as good guests should,
not rioting into acne
or athlete’s-foot or a boil.

Does my inner weather affect
the surfaces where you live?
Do unpredictable changes
record my rocketing plunge
from fairs when the mind is in tift
and relevant thoughts occur
to fouls when nothing will happen
and no one calls and it rains.

I should like to think that I make
a not impossible world,
but an Eden it cannot be:
my games, my purposive acts,
may turn to catastrophes there.
If you were religious folk,
how would your dramas justify
unmerited suffering?

By what myths would your priests account
for the hurricanes that come
twice every twenty-four hours,
each time I dress or undress,
when, clinging to keratin rafts,
whole cities are swept away
to perish in space, or the Flood
that scalds to death when I bathe?

Then, sooner or later, will dawn
a Day of Apocalypse,
when my mantle suddenly turns
too cold, too rancid, for you,
appetising to predators
of a fiercer sort, and I
am stripped of excuse and nimbus,
a Past, subject to Judgement.

Leaving Modesto

I had intended to post this video about leaving Modesto so much earlier in the year, back when the most distressing part of 2016 was the death of Bowie. For purposes of housekeeping (or should that be blogkeeping?) I’m posting it now. It doesn’t seem entirely inappropriate to do so right at the end of the year as this is how the year began – with an ending, a leaving. It’s just an experimental little video (mere frippery) I did playing around with my GoPro in the weeks before I moved away from Modesto after seven curious years living there.