Saturday, October 31, 2009

Changing Commanders-in-Brief

The last guy-in-charge said, “Go shopping.”
This war, he said, wouldn’t last long;
Our victims, he swore, would repay us
For plundering them for a song.

In six months, at most, we’d be winners;
The enemy vanquished and fled;
And then, with our mission accomplished,
We’d leave them to count up their dead.

Our generals trained for the last war,
Their learning-curve zero or less.
In six years they’ll figure out something;
Just what, will be anyone’s guess.

They had them a “surge” in their payments
To “enemies” placed on the dole
So they wouldn’t shoot us so often
Because of their land that we stole.

The new guy took over, saluting,
A race that had already run
Its course, ‘cause the bungler before him
Had exploited all of the fun.

The new guy got rolled up like sushi.
He blew his chance early to leave.
More "surging" has just raised the death count.
What next does he have up his sleeve?

It sounded so good while campaigning:
One little “good” war for one bad;
Except that the Afghans hate bombings
As much as Vietnamese had.

Our generals, though, won’t admit it:
They’ve taken eight years to do what?
Yet somehow they think we’ll applaud them
For not knowing doodley-squat.

They say they need more stuff and faster
Yet won’t explain what they would do
Except to extend their disaster
By breeding more pooches to screw.

In common-sense language, the answer
Replies to their “more, more, more” rant:
would have, of course, if you could have;
didn’t, therefore, so you can’t.”

The new guy Obama, like Dubya,
Thinks playing Commander-in-Brief
Means mission-creep “more” and saluting
The Pentagram treasury thief.

“A trillion a year?” Oh, who’s counting?
“And all for what?” Don’t be a bore.
“And who will pay?” No one, we promise.
It’s what we call slush-funded “war.”

Obama won’t ask the right question,
To wit: “What on earth have we ‘won’?”
Like Pharaoh, he thinks he can dictate:
“So let it be written, then done.”

He cried: “Yes, we can!” while campaigning,
This slogan he sold and we bought.
In office, however, he’s changed things:
Himself. Now he says, “We

Our Wealth Care
rules out Single Payer
Our troops
must remain on patrol.
The votes
don't exist in the Congress
That Democrats
cannot control.

We gave him majorities, plenty,
Yet these he seems ready to blow.
Now Wealth Care and Quagmire have named him:
Commander of Old Status Quo.

Michael Murry, “The Misfortune Teller,” Copyright © 2009

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A Mistaken Pardon

(In the style of A Forsaken Garden, by Algernon Charles Swinburne)

In a time of deceit, in an age of unreason,
The frightened find faith in the fabulous fraud.
Divided and conquered in Fascism’s season,
The browbeaten buffaloed brandish their GAWD:
A weapon of weirdness when doom encroaches,
Whom preyed-upon pray to for jobs and a meal,
While the thief who thrives and the prince who poaches
Smile and steal.

The lies laugh loudly, obscenely spoken,
As time and the tides for an honest man wait.
If a truthful word should appear as a token
Of dawn, would the dark not retaliate?
So long have the meaningless mantras befuddled
The passive consumer in word-magic’s trap
That the ad-man’s slogan has even muddled
Simple crap.

The duped can’t see when their eyes won’t focus
On cynics who say what they know they don’t mean;
For duplicity serves as the principle locus
Of talking-point “dots” so arranged as to screen
The head from hearing no thing but the bellows
Of nothing much else than the noise we receive.
Should a thought intrude with its doubting fellows,
None believe.

And yet, as he falters, he still dissembles,
Since witches once sold him some trifling crumbs.
The one who lit fires in the forest trembles:
To Dunsinane Castle now Birnam Wood comes.
And those he kicked hardest while climbing higher,
Ascending to roost at the greasy pole’s top,
Guffaw as the Furies pursuing the liar
Reap their crop.

The law, as we’ve heard it expounded in verses,
Presumes us all innocent, absent a proof
Of guilt beyond doubt, as a long line of hearses,
Gives eyewitness testament, terse and aloof,
To death’s final sentence which no one can question
And from which no pardon can later on spare
Since Nature, despite any plea or suggestion,
Does not care.

Yet in our own country, of late, we’ve seen visions
Of what The Law means when the outlaws in charge
Proclaim ex-post-facto that their bad “decisions”
Require of them only remaining at large.
And subsidies, too, they demand for their “service,”
While helping themselves to whatever is left
As “bonuses” stolen while never nervous
At the theft.

While perched at the top of the heap, The Decider
Has chosen to pardon preemptively much
That courts should consider infractions wider
Than just misdemeanors like lying and such.
But too many judges, for lifetime appointed,
Who think of the Law as “semantics,” at best,
Enable our “leaders” whom they have anointed
Truly blessed.

The truth turns timid, afraid of facing
The gargoyle who grins at the trust now betrayed;
So why would the sheep ever think of replacing
The forces of fraud now against them arrayed?
While memories fade in a flash of forgetting
And what didn’t happen now screams that it does,
The perps blow their bubbles without fear or fretting,
Just because.

The talented traders of tripe roll in riches
Yet swear that – for taxes -- they haven’t a sum,
While Congressmen beg them to scratch where it itches
And unemployed men by the millions grow numb
To poverty, homelessness, debt and disaster
As fewer grow richer and more become poor
The fish in their feeding, ever faster,
Take the lure

Till the cows come home to the chickens roosting,
Till hens crow at sundown and pigs take to flight,
Till the world and its woes need a lot less boosting,
The touts and promoters will hype-up the fight
To customers, baffled, but only too willing
While Goldman and Sachs to the government turn
For more money, gratis, which then for a killing,
They can burn.

Michael Murry, “The Misfortune Teller,” Copyright © 2009

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Fall and Autumn, from a child born old

(After reading Spring and Fall, to a young child, by Gerard Manly Hopkins)

Village priest, why this decrying
Margaret’s grief for gold leaves dying?
You tell her that, as young girls grow,
Hardened hearts will coldly know
And with few regrets or sighs
View an Autumn’s due demise.
Yes, she'll weep, but not grow wise.
For the Fall will look the same;
Sorrow goes by any name
When all sadness you conflate,
Misconstruing mankind’s fate,
Like an older child reborn
Not to celebrate, but mourn.

Michael Murry, “The Misfortune Teller,” Copyright © 2009

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Ichthyological Metaphysics

"There is a science which investigates being as being and the attributes which belong to this in virtue of its own nature." -- Aristotle, The Metaphysics

"No one can justly or successfully discover the nature of any one thing in that thing itself, or without numerous experiments which lead to farther inquiries." -- Francis Bacon, The Great Instauration
In honor, and illustration, of this fundamental philosophical dispute, consider:

Ichthyological Metaphysics

When I need a word that rhymes with "fizz,"
A term that brings to mind an empty bubble,
I can always call on good old "is,"
And save myself the slightest bit of trouble.

When I want a noise that sounds like “fuzz,’
To symbolize a meaning I’ve forgotten,
I can do with nothing less than “was,”
Which changes “new” to “old” -- from fresh to rotten.

When I need the past for him-and-her
Or the subjunctive mood in doubtful cases,
Postulating that, and if, they “were,”
Joins fact and logic, and them both debases.

When I feel like heading to the bar,
But don't wish to examine my intention,
I can say my cravings simply "are":
For lazy drunks, the neatest word-invention.

When I wish to take off on the lam
To dodge the karma earned from lousy choices,
I can vaguely note the way I “am,”
Which tends to silence any nagging voices.

When I want to never look and see,
But jump instead at any mere suggestion,
I can ask: “To ‘be’ or not to ‘be’?”
Avoiding action through this pseudo-question.

When I need to shift from “now” to “then”
Because I’ve screwed the pooch for all to witness,
I can point to how things might have “been,”
And hope this covers up my own unfitness.

When I cannot face the sordid taint
Of life as it confronts the normal peasant,
I – like Tweedledee – say “isn’t” “ain’t.”
Conflating timeless absence with the present.

When I gather these inflections few
Into a “verb” that sums up disagreeing,
I speak bubbles as the others do,
And chalk-up ignorance to magic “being.”

When I swim in school I seldom sink,
But waste my time, like any son or daughter.
I just feed and float and breathe and drink,
While never taking thought about the water.

Michael Murry, “The Misfortune Teller,” Copyright © 2009

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Mere Looking

(After reading Wallace Stevens' poem "Of Mere Being")

Wallace Stevens, an attorney,
Switched careers and sold insurance
For a living.

Then upon a poet’s journey
He embarked, with no assurance
That forgiving

Readers would approve enough.
With feathers fangled and dangled,
His bird in a palm

At the edge of space; golden fluff;
In nothing like reason tangled,
Sings an offbeat psalm.

Thus, "modern," which word suffices
To redefine for poetry
What will "free" it.

Whatever its aural vices,
We know it, like obscenity,
When we see it.

Michael Murry, "The Misfortune Teller," Copyright 2009

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Maligned Madam does Fox News

“And now we have, for our next guest,
A lady of the night,
Who has, for reasons none too clear,
Agreed to speak what we shall hear:
Some ‘answers’ meant to bring a leer
To lips that freely grin or sneer
When overhearing questions queer,
Profound, or simply trite.”

“We thank you, Madame Magdalene,
For giving of your time
To scandalize the girls and boys
With lurid tales of wanton joys
Supplied for rent to Jews and Goys
Entrapped by your seductive ploys
While honest men, your hapless toys,
Must suffer from your crime.”

au contraire! I say to you,
My bogus blowhard host:
I only serve your vain desire
And offer up what you require,
And, yes, I do it all for hire,
While you ejaculate, retire,
And afterwards feel only ire,
Or else the urge to boast.”

“I only see the truth too well,
And live by what I do.
I understand men’s vanity,
And lives filled with inanity
Till driven to insanity
By Murdoch, Fox, and Hannity
You use me like profanity
And swear: ‘GAWD told me to!’”

“But, Madam, what of Juliet,
Whose virtue fiction tells?
Does not her pure, Platonic love
Deflect the need to rudely shove
Some Romeo without a glove
Into an orifice above,
Below, or in the region of
Some pulchritude that sells?”

“Oh, no, dear sir! Such fantasies
Just fan the flames of lust.
As I have often told the priest,
My holes are not for sale, just leased
To poles whose sweaty palms have greased
My own with cash, and not the least
With ‘love’ for me, a meager feast
For wretched lives gone bust.”

“Then might I ask, Ms Magdalene,
About Ophelia’s tale?
You know, the Danish maid who pined
For Hamlet’s love: the crazy kind,
Both unrequited and resigned
To ambiguity; designed
By Shakespeare, meaning: ‘Never mind.
Such tragic love must fail.’”

“Ophelia, just like Juliet,
My case could never plead.
Because, as fiction, they – not we –
Exist for sport of men who flee
From nature -- like the urge to pee;
Who make up tales that don’t agree
(Except when offered on TV)
With what they really need.”

“So have you any final thoughts
Here as we end the hour?
Do you not have a heart of gold
Despite the johns that you have rolled
Together with your pimp who sold
Your services to young and old
Who wanted heat but got the cold
Of sordid sex gone sour?”

Mais oui, Monsieur! but let me say
To males by us enthralled:
That we who ply the oldest trade;
Who make our living in the shade;
Who walk our alley promenade
Until our looks begin to fade
Know men will call a heart a spade
To get their ashes hauled.”

Michael Murry, “The Misfortune Teller,” Copyright © 2009

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Near Misses

I’ve heard the angry bumble bee buzz by
My ear, to leave me thinking with a sigh,
That just a little further to one side
And I’d have lost an ear, an eye, or died.

Someone whom I had never tried to hurt
Had almost left me lying in the dirt,
A victim of a patriotic plot
Designed to keep me tethered to my lot.

A stranger in the tree line taking aim
Had barely missed collecting me as claim
To all I might have seen and done; but then,
I lived because he missed, so I might pen

Some verse expressing puzzlement and rage
At why I served, like others of my age,
As dupe and tool of erstwhile statesmen dumb
Who beat the truth about the head till numb,

While spouting endless lies, both crass and lewd,
“Explaining” why those pooches they have screwed
Have turned to bite the bare and bogus butts
Of “strategists” forever stuck in ruts.

The game of saving face continues on
Because the ones who’ve left us all in pawn
To death and debt accruing each new day
Cannot envision any other way

To sell themselves as masters of our fate:
A missing meal served on an empty plate
Together with the bill, a perfect fit
For us, the only target they can hit.

Michael Murry, “The Misfortune Teller,” Copyright © 2009


Neck Deep in the Big Sandy

We now sink in a quagmire like
The one not long ago
In which we went insane and fought
A non-existent foe:
A Monolithic Communist
In Southeast Asia so
Determined to resist us that
We had make him go.

He looked like a Vietnamese,
This awful threat to us,
Whose very foreign nature made
Him frightening and thus
A perfect proxy for a war
Against a concept, plus:
He even lived a world away,
Which made him less a fuss.

Still, he prevailed, this “enemy.”
In time, we packed and went.
And since we never met him it’s
A wonder why we sent
Our youth to squander so much blood
And all that money spent
To buy a house we didn’t want
And couldn’t even rent.

We’ve come around to sink once more
Where no one ever planned.
Instead of Delta mud, this time,
We sink in desert sand
Because an adolescent twerp
Could not wait to “command”
Some troops behind which he could hide
His thieving sleight-of-hand.

But things have not gone well, of course.
Wars based on lies and fraud
In no time go awry and leave
Our legions mauled and clawed,
Marooned for years and trapped by those
Who – neither shocked nor awed --
Reserve the right to rule themselves
And name their own one GAWD.

With chickens coming home to roost,
Our “hawks,” like capons clipped,
Cluck mighty yarns to obfuscate
The fact that they have slipped
And fallen face-down in some shit
In which them fate has dipped
To show what happens when the dumb
Some booby-traps have tripped.

So now they stall and drag their feet
And hope to pass the buck.
They cannot “win,” yet fear to “lose,”
Which means they’ve gotten stuck
For knowing not what makes a train
So much unlike a truck,
And what makes gamblers lose when they
Confuse blind faith with luck.

They offer up excuses now,
Some new ones every year.
To kick the can on down the road,
They’ll peddle any fear
As long as no one questions all
That loot that they hold dear.
Examples follow, now, of what
We’ve come to see so clear:

We stay because of violence
That we cannot prevent.
We stay, inflicting violence,
To mask our true intent.
We stay so that the perpetrators
Never must repent.
We stay for any rationale
A baboon could invent.

We will not leave because we can’t
Acknowledge what we’ve done:
Destroyed another nation just
To have a bit of fun,
Convincing no one but ourselves
That “We are Number One!”
While promising eternity
To never cut-and-run;

Which cavalier vainglory and
Contempt for other lands
Has proved that power ought to lie
In someone else’s hands
Since we’ve abandoned reason for
Stupidity’s demands,
Secreting noxious hormones from
Our self-indulgent glands.

We stay because we stay because
We stay because we stay,
And have not one intention to
Reflect in any way
Upon the dumb decisions we
Make each and every day
Allowing war’s lewd profiteers
To keep on making hay.

The senselessness might puzzle those
Who once thought that they think
But now must face the music and
The awful fact they stink
At any form of logic, needing
Visits to a shrink
To straighten out crude fallacies
Revealed in blots of ink.

The psychiatric tradesmen say
That once a lie is bought
It then makes perfect sense to claim
That no one ever taught
The method of distinguishing
The concepts “is” and “ought,”
Implying that what we have done
Does not mean that we’re caught

In vicious-circle riddles
That contain no terms defined
In such a way that one might solve
Conundrums of a kind
That only fools would formulate
To muddle up the mind
So that the answers to our woes
No one will ever find.

Michael Murry, “The Misfortune Teller,” Copyright © 2009


The Answer off the Table

The bankrupt brainless blowhard beast defies
The reason to contest stupidity.
Grown fat and lazy on its loathsome lies,

The perpetrating predator feels free
To gorge upon the surface spoils of war:
Domestic profit far as eyes can see

Where foreign puppets groomed to play the whore
Return a portion of their greedy gains
To congressmen who leave us poor and sore,

While death upon a target people rains
And soldiers into pudding pounded are
By roadside bombs. How little now remains

Of them and us who suffer while we spar
Against the bogus baby made of tar.

Our new commander in his briefs has bought
The dreary drug of endless, pointless fights
And thus cannot discern the Truth he ought

That Quagmire in its sophistry delights
In making men of straw, red-herrings, too:
Those lifeless foes whose fragile feeble slights

Prove easy for the brain-dead to outdo;
A dialectic dodge that paints "extreme"
On any choices obvious and true,

Which leaves decision "centered" in a dream.
The feckless failures flail about and flop.
With each New Year they COIN a great new scheme.

We hear of "options" on the table top,
Just not the one to clearly think and stop.

Michael Murry, “The Misfortune Teller,” Copyright © 2009