on Ukraine

dreaming of sleeping
interrupted by sleep's dreams
awake through nightmares

~

n.b. Terrorism for terrorism’s sake. Moscow’s War on Peace consists undercover of darkness.

CLP 16/10/2022

on time

if this is home
what am I doing about it?
home for good or move

~

n.b. Home is not the house, but the location.

CLP 15/10/2022

on Ukraine

evacuate call
cruel deceit of remaining
victims who'll be blamed

~

n.b. A call to Moscow to help evacuate Donbas as Ukraine’s army advances, means the area will only be lived in by people who wanted to stay in their homes, but they risk being called Ukrainian patriots and therefore “enemy” to the recently retreated occupiers. Victim blaming being set up, like an idiot’s chess move.

on music

run through final bars
encores finally completed
melody drifts off

~

n.b. Barbès bar, Brooklyn. Merci et adieu. La fin.

CLP 13/10/2022

on Ukraine

original sin
reimagined in slaughter
fear of losing face

~

n.b. Somehow the self-importance of one man perpetuates the maiming and murder of civilians, deaths of combatants from both sides and the pointless destruction of villages, towns and cities.

CLP 11/10/2022

on Ukraine

let us not pretend
a Russian life has less worth
deaths are not victories

~

n.b. War mentality dehumanises us all.

CLP 10/10/2022

on streets

Having a good time, everybody?
empty eyes, blackened
fingernails, frayed cuffs, alone
throng gets down and dirty

~

n.b. Nashville, Tennessee, ‘The Recording Capital of the World, (as I heard a man in a check shirt, jeans, cowboy boots and a cowboy hat label the place to two men in check shirts, jeans, cowboy boots and cowboy hats), is a busy place on a Saturday around noon.

It is mighty crowded. The sidewalks too narrow to accommodate the people. The shops too small for the lines of customers. The Johnny Cash Museum fulsome of people buying tickets, lining up to enter its exhibition rooms, queues of others waiting to have a gander around the souvenir store.

The air is filled with the low throb of traffic congestion; the whoopin’ and a hollerin’ of open wagon loads of young-acting women and men drinking heavily. Every building that isn’t a boot store, or souvenir shop is a bar with a stage that positions a duo, a trio, or a full band with their backs to the sidewalk. The bass drums and cymbals, distorted guitars and amplified voices tumble, conflictingly onto the street.

All around groups of friends, couples, families, stag and hen parties, step around each other trying to agree where to go next, what to do, or hesitate to check their party retains some coherent form.

In the bigger bars, several storeys of open windows and roof top terraces are full of people standing and drinking, or sitting and eating, often with bands bashing out popular songs which encourage customers to try singing along.

A plane passing close overhead on its landing flight path cannot be heard. If you add a couple of ambulance sirens, or a police vehicle’s whining to the cacophony, then you have a good idea of the unholy racket. Music City indeed!

Well, getting back to the senryū above, in the heart of this overwhelming nonsense, there are some very isolated people. They carry all their belongings in a plastic bag, or even a suitcase or two.

They are not of this tourist party world. The crowds so loud and busy there is no hope of being heard if asking for handouts. These sun-weathered ghosts just wander around, or sit in the not so rare boarded-up doorways, or just stand and stare, sometimes mumbling to themselves, maybe fumbling a rolling tobacco cigarette.

Hieronymus Bosch would have loved Nashville. On a Saturday lunchtime, a setting for the centre panel of The Garden of Earthly Delights; at night the setting fit for Hell.

~

CLP 09/10/2022

on Ukraine

sat in their silos
weapons of horrific strength
attention focused

~

n.b. Whatever my thoughts on this, writing them would only trivialise the seriousness of the current situation humanity now faces.

on guard

IN YUNG GUNS WE TRUST
threat? self-determination?
people get ready

~

n.b. Graffito on a low-rise social housing development in a beautiful, wooded district on the north side of Birmingham, Alabama. Not just scrawled on a wall, but painted large across the building.

At first, my response to these words was that this slogan, for it is big and prominent enough to be a political slogan, was an act of immature bravado, possibly delineating gang territory. However, this is not necessarily the case. Gang signs are usually more subtle, more discreet, almost meaningless to the naïve passerby, instantly recognisable to friend and foe.

Here in Birmingham Alabama, (the neatest, tidiest city centre in the whole of the USA as far as I have seen), there has been a long history of open warfare on people of colour by racist whites.

As a civil war was fought, as legislation was introduced, as civil rights were argued for and established, the racists have beaten, bombed and murdered people in this small city for speaking up for their basic rights as citizens of the USA. The racists in this city, made it a point to openly and brutally resist the changes USA society needed to go through to begin to live up to its constitutional promise, “all men are created equal.”

Birmingham, Alabama is a place of pilgrimage. A place to pay respect to the church-going children fire-bombed, the Freedom Riders set upon, the brave people who endured attacks by police dogs, batons and boots, our fellow human beings who were treated worse than dogs for boycotting, travelling, marching, sitting in, or simply praying.

This history of living memory does not just disappear overnight. It might be, given the attack on the Capitol Building in Washington DC on 6th January 2021, that some people do not feel entirely at ease with the increasing aggression of the extreme right.

It might be that the public murder of George Floyd and the deadly shootings of so many other black young people by police officers around the USA, has provoked some to think that if the ghastly NRA can argue guns are for defence, then these young people are not going to be sitting on their hands and hanging about for official help in policing their community.

In the USA those, who have made sure access to firearms is so easy, need to appreciate that self-defence means everyone has the right to be armed. These trusting in “YUNG GUNS” are taking the freedom to carry deadly weapons argument for defence to its obvious conclusion. If you believe you can’t trust the police, courts and the prison system to act humanely, who can you trust?

Then, after asking who do you trust, the next question needs to be “Who do you love?”

Unfortunately, sadly, awfully, I have since heard that the YUNG GUNS who had sprayed the blue paint on the wall, (barely visible on the brickwork in the photo above), had been enforcing their own form of terrifying justice locally.

~

CLP 06/10/2022

on Ukraine

Opening paragraph from ‘The Measure of a Man” by Martin Luther King Jr. (1959) Published by Fortress Press, Minneapolis.
ask "What was it for?"
"We are liberating land
without people on..."

~

n.b. The first quoted line, reported in The Guardian in the UK, are words of a citizen of a town liberated from the retreating invaders.

The second, (same source), from a Ukrainian soldier making his way through the ghost towns of the temporarily, but deeply scarred territory, briefly held by the occupying force.

The attempted annexation of Ukraine has again demonstrated the empty rhetoric of nationalism, the pointless slaughter of innocents and vile destruction of homes.

Are we not all African, brothers and sisters?

~

CLP 05/10/2022