Thursday, December 23, 2004

I Used to be an American.

I used to be an American. That’s what I say now. It was very difficult before. People would ask me where I was from. I tried saying I was a New Zealander but that’s a lie. Often I started out with an apology first, not wanting any association with the policies of America. And I’m not an American, not really. I don’t tear up or feel my chest swell at the Star Spangled Banner. The bad writing annoys me. I don’t like parades and I’d prefer tying a yellow ribbon around Tony Orlando’s dick to tying one around a tree who wasn’t asked for the privilege.

I don’t like the Fourth of July which seems to be a celebration of the Alcoholic Nation. Honestly, I don’t feel anything so why should I pretend. When I exercised my First Amendment rights I was thrown into prison; albeit under the guise of another offense- but since the offense was entirely manufactured I suspect we must go with the fact that I was too outspoken, for that is what drew the heat. Running afoul of Scientology didn’t help matters; once again I opened my mouth. And the second time they wanted to put me away for life it was again about the things I was saying.

I don’t like strip malls or suburban sprawl. I’m not after the so-called ‘good life’. I’m bored to tears by the Judeo-Christian ethic which really comes down to who you know, who you blow or a propensity to fuck the other guy over. The dreary hymns of a tedious luddite religion make me want to take all my clothes off and declare along with William Blake that I have regained the pristine innocence of my youth. Are you washed in the blood? You bet I am.

Sexuality is the engine room of Love’s evolution and it’s been a great climb. But I don’t recognize these new staircases. I’m also not blind or dead to the wonder of all the curving opulence of my reflection everywhere around. This doesn’t mean I want it leering at me with product in hand, on the hood of a car or glistening with beads of condensation upon gleaning asses and cocktail glasses. I’m not fond of makeup applied with a trowel; it’s an ugly sight to see mascara colored tears turning a woman into a raccoon emerging from a coal mine... and that seems to be a very American Kodak moment exported round the world. Sure, no doubt the ancient East had its contribution of painted faces and bound feet but it’s as American as the ingredients in supermarket apple pie with chemical names longer than even the Germans ever imagined.

I hate the taste of perfume heavier than air filtering into my mouth as a scent laden bag of bad opportunities glides past me on the sidewalk, rubbed down with body lotions and deodorants and what all. No doubt deodorant is a necessity for the stink of the corruptions of these prisoners of bad appetites.

The whole nation is awash in awful smells; the exploding hog lagoons of pork processing through bodies morphing into the like. I close my eyes and seagulls cannot fly from the weight of garbage bags wrapped about their feet. It’s a world of rats after dark. Millions of hungry red eyes gleam in the darkness of the alleys that house the ones who didn’t make the cut. Under the glamour and the feel good hallucinations of the pharmaceuticals is a rank decaying mass. I’m not part of that. I can’t just close my eyes to the turd laced toilet seats in Grand Central as thousands of suits go past on their way to a safe bathroom. When I tipped the Rasta-junkie with the mop it was more for the show than anything else.

I don’t support the troops. The dead Iraqi and Palestinian peoples are not highway scenery to me. I support the collective urge of these peoples to drive the invader from their lands. When bits of Halliburton contractors fly through the air, when suicide bombers are driven to give their life with the only means possible against far superior forces I understand. I don’t buy the hype. I know there’s no Al Qaeda, not in any sense as it is understood to exist. I know there’s no Bin Laden except as a poster child for fascist intent.

The amusement park gives me a headache. I’d machine-gun Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck but they don’t exist and neither does the American Dream that wallows in the bowels of a nation with half-digested Big Mac’s, Big Gulps, McFucking Fries and shits through the ass of a billion neurotic chickens on their way to a Kentucky Fried funeral. I can’t bottom-line the mind set that turns cows into cannibals. I’d be mad too.

I don’t want my water filtered through seven other kidneys before it gets to me. I can’t handle the jackhammer brain rape of Hip Hop, Rap or the treacle-laden songwriting of Clear Channel hypno-massage... remain calm, “row, row, row your boat...” Hey! What happened to all the terror alerts? I’m not sanguine about sexual alternatives manufactured by a yinned out lifestyle. Is that what it’s all about? An entire people bent over the rail in anticipation of recreational ass-fucking? When the whole country is a single mall, every customer is a woman.

I don’t want a drunken, psychopathic ex-football cheerleader for president. Yet as dangerous as this clown may be, the forces of political correctness raise a specter of fascism worse than anything he can come up with. The control of perspective, thought and speech is chilling. Let me go on record to state that I have zero respect for any and all cloying little obscenities of wounded sensitivities. I’m not heartbroken if some suburban witch is offended by a Halloween party. I don’t even like Halloween. I don’t care if Pagans, Christians, Gays, transgendered carnival freaks, plastic surgery addicts, over eaters, under eaters, manic depressives or kids with freckles get respect or nurturing on their way to ever more absurd destinations of fantasy. I don’t want to be around it. I don’t want to know about it and I don’t want to watch when they get caught in the headlights of reality.

It made me aggressive is what it did. I got prone to back kicking shopping carts that people with no control thought it was okay to run into me with. I can’t ask the whole world to step outside. I don’t want to be angry, disappointed or sad. And there really aren’t many other choices in the bedlam of a country turned into a shake and bake matter maker.

I expect the New Jerusalem to rise from the ashes. I am convinced that life has a grand purpose. I know there is a master plan. I do not value American lives above Iraqi lives. I do not honor Christians more than Muslims. I have no family. You are my family. But you have lost your way. You have no vision. And “where there is no vision the people perish.” My heart goes out to you. Yet I know that if I went among you and spoke the truth you would tear me to pieces. I could handle that if it served a purpose. It would not. I don’t want to work within the system because the game is rigged. Until you can find your voice and articulate a collective outrage you are doomed. There is no bright rainbow on this path you walk. You are unhappy; you are seething in your impotence. You know it is wrong and yet you go on, trapped within your idea that this is the way it was meant to be. Au contraire, this is not the way it was meant to be. It does not have to be this way. Was I ever an American? I wonder.

I’ve written letters to a number of you but received no replies. I wonder if you are getting them. Let me know. I’ll close with a poem I wrote on the fiftieth anniversary of Pearl Harbor when many in congress were calling on the Japanese to apologize. I think it says what I think about this great American experiment.

Should the Japanese Apologize for
Pearl Harbor?
(written on the 50th anniversary of the event)
the Japanese were not the first to bomb Pearl Harbor
we were
so i think the Japanese should apologize for Pearl Harbor
just as soon as we apologize to the Hawaiians
for bringing the mosquito and yellow fever
killing thousands
for bringing venereal disease
for the horror of sugar cane
and purple mountains travesties
above the looted plains
for sabotaging the beaches with kiawe thorn trees
to force the natives to drape their bodies
from the hot gaze
of their twisted
christian missionary eyes

i think Japan should apologize for Pearl Harbor
just as soon as America apologizes to the Japanese Americans
for interning them in concentration camps
and as soon as Richard Nixon’s Quakers apologize
for stealing their properties
(which were left to them in trust to be returned upon their release
which they were not)

I think Japan should apologize for Pearl Harbor
just as soon as we apologize for Hiroshima and Nagasaki
(still simulated every year at a Texas airfield)
i will always remember how the blast fused their shadows
into the building walls

i think Japan should apologize for Pearl Harbor
just as soon as we apologize to the Native Americans
for the ruin of their culture
the theft of their lands
the whiskey and infected blankets
the destruction of their hunting grounds
and for stripping them of all humanity and dignity

i think the Japanese should apologize for Pearl Harbor
just as soon as America apologizes
to the African Americans
for slavery
hobblings and brandings
pretended emancipations
the slandering
and murder of their heros

i think Japan should apologize for Pearl Harbor
just as soon as America
apologizes to Cambodia
for 3640 B-52 bombing raids
and 110,000 bombs dropped
during a war that never took place
and for backing Pol Pot
as the legitimate representative of the people
(i remember to this day
the pyramid mountain of skulls outside Pnom Phen)

i think Japan should apologize for Pearl Harbor
as soon as Attila appologizes to Rome
Salome apologizes to John the Baptist
on the day that politicians become honest
bankers become generous
no fault applies to love
and the Pope shits in the woods
and should be delivered to the White House
by a woman on ice skates
ten minutes after Hell freezes over


Anonymous said...

So sad, but much of this is right on the mark. I could possibly get depressed about it but why bother? What good would that do (other than make me fit in better)? All I can do is work diligently on myself and hope it has some effect on this place around me.

This is a land of robotic, mindless existence, and intentional living is not at all fashionable but hey..
I've really attempted to quit sucking down this shit that I've been spoon fed since pre-puberty. It can be a lonely endeavor; but it has produced remarkable results in my soul, and yes, it has even had a positive effect on those around me. Not really much else I can about any of it.

This is a bleak essay but once again, though this time with regret and sadness, I have to agree with you.

(i'm reading Thoreau right now and finding some comfort in his writing)

Hope you have a good Christmas Les. Tell Portugal hello for me.


Anonymous said...

vintage Appolonious!


Anonymous said...

Les Visible/Appolonious, that was painful to read. As you know, I consider you one of the premier songwriters on the planet. Your work at this blog is unreal. You are without a doubt also one of the finest living writers about. Your passion, conviction and high wire act with words is inspired. You have true inspiration from another place. You may be relatively unknown at this time but one day you will rank with the immortals. You already do, it's the recognition that is wanting. I am in continuing awe

z a

Anonymous said...

Finally some red meat. I love it when you do this kind of thing. I'm selling everything I have and moving to Greece.

Thanks for the fire.




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