Saturday, February 25, 2017

The best press money can buy



"The difference between burlesque and the newspapers is that the former never pretended to be performing a public service by exposure." -I.F. Stone, 1952

There is no such thing as an objective media. This is a lesson I learned a lot time ago when writing for and being part of the underground media movement.
Any media subject to advertising is automatically biased.
America has the best press you can buy, as long as you can afford to pay for it.
A free press is always an out-of-control press by its very nature, and the theory of having no overseer to regulate it, is that somehow with all the conflicting accounts, the truth emerge.
This, of course, assumes that the audience is intelligent enough to look for alternative opinions and not satisfied with accepting what it wants to hear in the first place.
When a majority of major media agree on anything, you have to be suspicious, especially in an era when nearly all major media is owned and controlled by a few individuals.
Free press stops being free when these individuals decide to take one side over another, and the control that we all so fear might come from government, comes from these puppet masters behind the scenes, who want to direct public opinion down a particular pathway.
This is largely what we are seeing now from major media, an unspoken agreement for an unholy alliance aimed largely at bringing down a government these individuals dislike.
American Media has always been deeply involved with politics a kind of strange dance and which media influences policy and policy reflects media's wishes and wants.
People talk about yellow journalism and when Hearst created his own war that made the United States into an international power.
This is nothing new headlines and propaganda go hand-in-hand.
What makes journalism great over time are those people who are the exception to the rule, a few brave people and organizations that have risen above the muckraking to become truly inspired.
This is why the Washington Post today is such a tragedy because it has -- to quote and Indiana Jones film -- fallen away from the true faith and become just more muck. It has ceased serving a public use and has become an instrument of destruction.
At a time when media is largely controlled by very few the concept of Free Press ceases to exist and what we get our propaganda machines designed to steer public opinion in certain directions.
Trump calls this fake news but in reality it is bad journalism, biased reporting designed to benefit a particular group or ideology. Individual stories may have validity but when you look at the pattern, the constant drumbeat that media like New York Times CNN and the Washington Post gives us, we begin realize there is an agenda in this case it appears that they want to bring down the current government.
Part of this has to do with its own frustration its inability before the election to steer voters into a particular outcome. This failure showed how less influential media has become now that everybody has access to their own media outlets.
I keep thinking I was a scene in The Godfather where the mafia don talked about controlling its own press ie we have people on the payroll.
To Greater extent this is what the Democrats are doing now to use liberal media to make up for what they could not do at the ballot box.
Since no one by the nature of media and journalism actually oversees what media does, we can do just about anything they just about anything and get away with it.
Trump can't challenge media without accusations of censorship. Media even those that are reasonably fair sides with slanted media to defend the concept of Free Press, a concept that is really not a reality
There is no such thing as a free press Just an Illusion
 There are individuals who might fight for objectivity in each newsroom but they are clearly subject to editorial review and in the end management controls the medium and the message


"I am not an editor of a newspaper and shall always try to do right and be good so that God will not make me one." -Mark Twain

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Best Women's Erotica of the Year (volume 2)




I wrote a review of “Best of Women’s Erotica of the Year,” volume 2, edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel for the Hudson Reporter last week.
Unfortunately, the review had to be very tame because of the general audience the newspaper serves, and so I could not give an adequate flavor of the stories the book contained, even though I made my own notes after reading each story to reflect what I thought the story was about. I intended to use them for a blog essay, and may still. I’m including a handful of these short pieces along with a link to the news review so you might get a better idea of what the book is actually about.



World's End

She came alone, naked, thinking no one might see her.
World's End, a last survivor, she thought and then saw the two men fishing, wondering at what they were about before realizing she needed to cover up since at the end of the world can be as dangerous as when all that went on as usual in the world before.
This story conveyed in print by someone who seems to want to imagine a world without the usual rules, where love doesn't mean shackles, where people can make new rules or live without any as long as all involved agree
And so she makes love to one then, the other and then both at the same time, feeling them together inside her in a way she could not imagine, somehow giving birth to a new world in which she can, they can, explore and she/they mingling limbs and seed, touching and being touched, finding out what it means to go beyond the borders of the Old World by leaping off its edge into one brand new.

Performance

He plays her like he might his instrument, drawing out of her music even she does not know she has inside, each touch filled with harmony and pain and intensity of lust
Alone in a crowd at first to watch him on stage and later a private performance in which she is the instrument into which he injects himself bow and all and she taking it all in stir-fried magnified Turtle soup boiled up and served still in its shell also out of it, her pain also her pleasure, her need met and compounded like interest in a bank book she has come to collect.
He knows how to play her and she lets him, his fingers on her key and the key she keeps hidden deep, all the notes played hot but never sour, each reverberating elsewhere in her like harmony or echo or part of some instrument she alone knows of yet which needs him to set loose, a moist duet she aches four, hearing it all with every part of her not just her ears, his mouth blowing into her, his flute stirring up a haunting sense of something beyond hearing felt instead, powerful and complete.

Northern lights

Remote cold, she retreats from a warm place to escape herself and the baggage of a relationship that no longer works in her life, asking the woman she meets in the mist of the snow and the Northern Lights how she keeps romance together with her man for more than two decades and,  after hearing this woman make love with a man in the kitchen on the counter top the night before, is told she has no hold and so does not strangle love the way others might in other relationships and so she the Sun Queen makes love with the same man and then makes plans to become an ice queen instead, choosing to move to a place where she might continue to share this, stretching the limits of traditional romance, loving by letting go, preserving by not clinging, this need to have and have not, to love but not so much as to strangle the love itself, permanence that is not permanent or rooted in concrete.


On his knees

She is surprised when he asks to marry her; she a lady in a society where people do not cross class lines and he someone she hired to lug her gear as they go in search of artifacts, treasures in remote places. He says he needs the money when he doesn't and she wants someone to serve her and so needs this more than she apparently needs love, to maintain control, needing a man who will do what she wants him to do and rather than imposing his idea of Love or passion on her, this last lingering on the tip of his tongue and in the passion that he brings into her at her insistence and also as a surprise, she needing control of each aspect even as she spins out of control inside herself, his touch setting free something she did not know as caged and though she keeps him down on his knees she is the one set free and then once free can agree at last to what he asked in the first place, though they're both know who is the real master and how he must willingly continue to serve.

Wordless

What does it mean to surrender completely, to trust enough to let someone do whatever they want whatever they think you need, to give pleasure or withhold it, to lead you places you may not go on your own, you need not speak to give in and perhaps such lessons can be best given with a touch,  the soft caress, the kiss, the movement in the moist corners of your world, stirring up fire and then letting it linger, unabated, with you craving for the touch or kiss or more, trusting that the person to whom you've given all, will give you what you ache for, what you beg for, the idea that in surrendering you become free left with no need to choose only to obey, no need to think, only to accept and in accepting, feel drawn in, doing what you are asked to do and realizing in this you like it and feel it and sense the intensity of pleasure you would not have felt if left to choose for yourself, surrendering, trusting, feeling, and easing that ache you never knew existed until it is gone.

Teacher

You always wanted them to do what they eventually do to you, they taking charge after you've been in charge for so long, this taboo lingering in the air even after it ceases to make sense, you've always lusted after what youth gives them and they know it and they invite you back after they’ve ceased being under your control, where they might finally give you what you want and what you need, two of them, one after the other, or both at the same time, each touching you in ways you always needed to be touched, yet could not ask for and do not now, both around you like a duality you don't completely understand, unable to tell whose touch is whose when it no longer matters as if the two of them are one  but can provide you with double the pleasure inside and out, moving over and round you a serpent plunging into the depths of you, so deep you do not know where or when or if it will come out and do not care and want it never to stop yet when it does you feel satisfied in a way you only imagine, they are perfect gift to the teacher they finally had.

Orchard

He doesn't lift a finger; she does all the work, he watching remotely, the perfect voyeur, while she roams strange rooms naked, seeking something in places like this even she doesn't completely understand, some sense of satisfaction she can't find fully clothed in the world beyond such walls, who she is and what she wants and how maybe to get these, giving herself the pleasure she knows she deserves and in a shock giving him pleasure, too as he stares at some screen somewhere, watching, then speaking to her, asking her to do what she does so he can see it and this relationship somehow stirring up passion, crackling like static on the radio when lightning flickers and lights dim and she hears distant voices of people  she will never know and yet somehow in touching herself with him watching she knows him and herself.

Serious faces

Some things are worth waiting for especially when it comes to an office romance she knows she shouldn't have, yet craves for, and gets at the moment when she most needs the comfort, sharing more than love making as she and he create a parting memory in a private personal party amid an office party where all others are oblivious to what they do, clicking off photographs in an old style photo booth, the way teenage lovers do, trying desperately to remain serious and stern and like teenage lovers, they can't keep it up, this serving as foreplay to that final moment when they both come to what was inevitable from the start, not love certainly, but romance, absolutely intense, knowing each other literally from the inside, out no cigarette ending moment just a heavy sigh.

Taste

Sometimes an old line is the best line when you really mean it, and when you have the look to make up for it, and she hears him and knows he doesn't mean a drink when he asked if she tastes as good as she looks and is no cannibal in the ordinary sense, and something stirs her to life, needing to be tasted, this line like old wine, perhaps even better with age, making her ache and wet, making her need to be sipped, spread hipped to let him in, just a taste and then another, so hot as to live up to her name, circling it all to make it all happen in one sitting, drunk on it, aching for him to come again so she could be, too, this brief encounter, parked in a parking lot not a Lover's Lane, burning, wanting more, this old line like fine wine, making her feel as if she has served him a full meal, just to taste, just a sip of the sap that flows out from her, she does taste as good as she looks maybe better, good enough for him to want to come again, anytime, she says.

Lime

When you wake to find a slice of lime on your pillow, you remember his mouth tasting you in ways you only imagined, his body pressing into you in ways you can still feel, the stranger you met on this trip you didn't expect to meet, needing to meet, feeling yourself before you are brave enough to go to him and demand he take you and aching when he does, this contrasted to the loneliness you felt before and how puzzled at his thinking lime makes pure what may not be pure and you wonder if the lime works when he goes to taste those parts of you you claim as unclean then he bangs you like a bell until you yell, this brief meeting in a place you never expected to meet anyone, your need lost in this taste of lime where his mouth goes, and then other parts going to that place in you of other need “please, please me” the Beatles once sang and he does, lime making everything pure, lime making it alright and you waking to a slice on the pillow beside you, a reminder of what was and a promise of what might be again.




Sunday, January 15, 2017

How the Democrats created The Big Lie



Like it or not, it doesn’t matter who hacked into Hillary Clinton’s campaign emails: Wikileaks, the Russians or the man on the moon.
The act was designed to exposed Clinton – not so much to win votes that weren’t going to be won anyway – but to show what a hypocrite she is.
This was largely in responses to the unrelenting attacks her campaign waged on Donald Trump, desperate to make him look like a racist, homophobic and sexist pig.
Her campaign was loaded with so many secret private deals designed to undermine her primary challengers and to paint Trump in the worst possible light in the general election, that is was wrought with hatred, bigotry and misinformation – largely reiterated by a main stream media bent on making sure Clinton would become the first woman president.
It should have worked.
Trump is the perfect foil for any Democrat to run again, any Democrat other than Hillary Clinton that is.
The hacking of her campaign emails, however, did nothing to convince Clinton voters to change their vote. They are so fanatical that she could have murdered someone and they would have found an excuse for it – much in the way they ignored the mass slaughter she ignited when secretary of state in calling for the overthrow of the Syrian government – a key Russian ally in the Middle East.
What the emails did is show just how ruthless Clinton was and convinced many of us Bernie Sanders voters how right we were to distrust her in the first place, showing just how the chair of the Democratic Party worked on Clinton’s behalf to undermine our choice for president, and how unethical Clinton was when one of her supporters handed her debate questions ahead of the debate.
We did not yet suspect how her campaign managed to create a stealth Green Party candidate in Jill Stein in order to siphon off disaffected Bernie voters and keep them from switching our vote to Trump. In public, Clinton had the audacity to believe that we had no place to go and would hold our noses and vote for her rather than see Trump ascend to the White House.
She arrogantly assumed that if she called Trump a racist, black voters would also come out in droves for her, and Latinos would rally to her flag because Trump proposed deporting illegal aliens and building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico (a wall ironically Clinton as U.S. Senator voted to pay for just as she voted to allow Bush to invade Iraq.)
Although President Obama never called for a federal investigation, a leaked tape to the Clinton campaign became the instrument that allowed her to depict Trump as a sexist (nobody is blaming the Russians for this leak, however.) This helped shore up Clinton credentials as a hard core feminist – something she had modified greatly after her husband, Bill, lost his reelection campaign a governor in the early 1980s. The feminists along with the gays perhaps made up Clinton’s most reliable base, who would fall on the sword for her regardless of emails or her failed foreign policy.
Clinton freely called Trump supporters “stupid thugs,” so angering a mostly white population that they came out against her in the general election. She said something similar to Sanders supporters, as well as Catholics, revelations that would not have come out without the hacking, but largely did nothing to alter her votes – since gays and feminists were already anti-Catholic.
With most major media slanted their coverage on her behalf, Clinton should have trounced Trump.
But blacks didn’t come out in the numbers her campaign expected, especially men, and her campaign failed to note the outrage some legal immigrants felt against illegal immigrants or the differences in Latino culture in which some Latinos didn’t like Mexican immigration any more than conservative whites did. Obama’s outreach to Communist Cuba further outraged Cuban refugees. But Clinton’s biggest mistake was her belief that she did not need rural whites to win the White House.
In a brilliant general election campaign very similar to the one Bill Clinton waged in 1992, Trump steered away from the liberal urban strong holds to embrace those very people Clinton ignored – and those small towns responded, more than making up for the massive (questionably legal) massive voter registration drives in the liberal states.
The results shocked Clinton and the Democratic Party.
While Democrats clung to the moral victory of a supposed popular vote victory, both sides knew going into the election that they had to win the Electoral College. CNN and other pro-Clinton media predicted she would have a landslide victory in the Electoral College vote, a stunning testimony to the inaccuracy and the lack of real influence major media has in a post internet society in steering real public opinion.
This “popular” vs. “college” vote was the first step in creating a lie that would questions the legitimacy of Trump’s victory. The lie would get worse as the months went on as it became clear Democrats had lost control of the Senate and would soon see a major shift in the Supreme and other federal courts as the GOP gets its chance to fill vacancies.
The magnitude of the loss for Democrats is incalculable, and will likely mean a shift in policy as dramatic as the one that resulted from the election of FDR in 1932. All the rich cats with ties to Democrats getting favors and contracts will be replaced by rich cats associated with the GOP instead.
In a panic, Democrats orchestrated five days of protests nationwide, a kind of temper tantrum we come to expect from spoiled children. But someone somewhere in the Democratic regime must have realized how asinine this must have look and then began to create a new lie, one so outrageous in scope that it has the potential to undermine the foundations of American democracy, making use of government intelligence agencies for political purposes, few honest people trust when it comes to truth, agencies that have a history of killing, torture and imprisonment, as well as a history of attempting to overthrow unfriendly governments such as Russia and its allies – now to be used to overthrow the legitimately elected government of the United States.
The lie started out small, oozing out of the snake-like lips of Clinton’s Manchurian candidate, Jill Stein. First Stein said someone – most likely the Russians – had hacked into the election machines in those states where Clinton has lost by a narrow margin. Stein demanded a recount, not in closely contested states overall, but only those states where Clinton lost. The logic was so ludicrous that even Clinton was hesitant to put her name to it (I’m sure there are emails someone might hack to find out how much more of a role she played in the recount effort.)
But Stein may have stumbled on a thread Democrats might be able to use to discredit what was clearly an honest election: blaming the Russians.
Historically, we have always blamed the Russians. Red scares have accounted for more personal misery than nearly any other American purge since the introduction of Prohibition (which is why Hollywood is so hypocritical in shaming any performer associated with Trump. You would think they would remember the black list of the 1950s orchestrated by then film union representative Ronald Reagan and the movie honchos.)
The problem is: no one up to that point had actually proven the Russians were behind the hacking (something that is still not proven as fact). Providing evidence would take the intervention of a higher power, someone whose ties were uncomfortably close to the intelligence community and to whom the intelligence community owed many favors.
President Obama called for an investigation that came back with mixed results. His close friends on the CIA gave the Democrats fuel they needed to manufacture doubt about the election. But the FBI was convinced.
The FBI had become a political enemy of the Democrats when its director noted a week before the election that the FBI was again looking into other unsecured Clinton emails that were put at risk of hacking while she served as secretary of state (emails that mysteriously were not hacked by the Russians, even though they contained information considered classified.
The arm-twisting of the FBI must have been very powerful as to convince them to go along with the game plan – even though the state department has called for an investigation of the FBI director while ignoring the Attorney General who had private conversations with Clinton during the original email investigation, suggesting collusion.
From here the lie gets bolder. Intel said that there may be some link to the hacking that could extend all the way into the Kremlin.
Based on this somewhat vague evidence, Democrats took the next step and claim the Russians interfered and influenced the election, where there is no evidence to suggest that the hacked emails – even if the Russians were responsible – had any impact at all on the final vote.
You also have to understand the international backdrop behind all this. Trump and some of those who he has nominated for his cabinet and other key positions have business and other ties to Russia. The NSA informed Obama that during the investigation of the hacking, Trump’s appointment as ambassador to Russia actually had numerous communications with the Russians.
This all sounds suspicious until you realize that part of the presidential campaign involved what nations the United States would favor in its business dealings. The loss by the Democrats killed a NAFTA like agreement with China and other nations in the area, an area of the world Clinton also has significant interests in.
The Democrats are also concerned with Britain’s vote to leave the European Union. Must of Europe is gravitating towards Russia, and Trump has begun to reach out to the English, creating a whole new international business network that may not fit in with the Democratic agenda.
So in notching up their campaign against the Russians, Democrats are claiming the Russians went far beyond hacking, but that the scandalous information leaked caused Trump to win the election – as if any true Clinton supporter would actually switch from Clinton to Trump just because emails showed she was ruthless and power hungry.
This is such a ludicrous claim that no reasonable person could believe it. But media, desperate to regain its influential status (and perhaps undermine a new administration that does not need media or trust media) hopped on the Democratic bandwagon, pumping up this new conspiracy as to make its claims seem legitimate, and so Democrats as well as some cold war Republicans fell into lockstep and treated it all as truth.
Even if it is true that the Russians hacked into Clinton’s embarrassing emails, there is no proof that it affected the outcome of the election. It is merely cover for Democrats and medial bent on steering the ship of state for its own nefarious purposes.
Of course, to give a lie this big legitimacy, you can’t just have a known liar such as Bill Clinton mouth it, you need someone so universally respected that no one could possible doubt what comes out of his mouth must be truth. So the Democrats march out John Lewis, a true icon and hero of the Civil Rights movement, to give lip service to their lie. Perhaps he is even deluded enough to believe it something he would not have done in the days as a reformer when we all knew neither party could be trusted and the world liberal was considered as much a four letter word as the KKK.
So the Democrats humiliate Lewis’ legacy in order to undermine an election that was not only fair, but the logical outcome of the mass failings of the Democratic Party which assumed that poor people, blacks, Latinos would follow their twisted lead when the Democratic Party has become more like the GOP than the party of diversity, filled with arrogant liars, hungry power, willing to throw down the American government to further than own ambitions.
For shame!




Saturday, December 24, 2016

In search of Princess Laia



Saturday, December 24, 2016

Princess Laia has been rushed to a hospital in Los Angeles after apparently suffering a serious heart attack while in flight there from London yesterday.
The news comes as a shock since we are all wrapped up on nostalgia these days after she reappeared in a squeal Star Wars film last year.
She touched our lives in a way many of us do not fully understand, part of a myth that came real at a time when we all desperately needed something to fill the gap we all felt in our personal lives.
The reunion only went to show how we are all aging together, and that she has become an icon of a generation that is in the process of passing on, leaving behind a marker for what was, not so much of what will be.
We live in perilous times, when all the promises for a bright future dim and become the harsh reality few of us predicted let alone prepared for, of children who have become so spoiled as to presume they deserve things without the struggle and pain that their parents (us) and our parents and their parents before them went through, and now have to learn the lesson over again the way those generations unlucky enough to get born into times such as these have had to, so that we might rebuild a vision of the future we were denied.
Star Wars came out at the end of the 1970s just when the fabric of our lives was starting to shred, and we came to realize that the high hopes we’d had coming into the 1970s did not seem to be materializing, musicians, artist, poets and such forced into manual labor so similar to that which our fathers labored we were rapidly becoming our fathers.
Then, dangling before our eyes, the way the space ships in the film dangled from hidden strings, we got introduced into a new, brighter, and mythological future, filled with heroes and villains we came to love and hate as if they were real.
Laia was the woman we all wished we could love, and did from afar, not because we knew who she really was, but only that which she was to us.
Media is full of stories about her struggle during the flight, mingling fact with fancy as she struggles against a power far more lethal than Lord Vader, in a conflict we all must face and are coming to face with her: our own mortality.
Today is my best friend’s birthday. He would have been 67 had he lived, passing away at the age of 45 in the mid-1990s when we all had already come to face the morality of our parents and their parents, and glimpsed our own on the horizon.
Carrie Fisher’s age surprised me. She in fact is younger than we are, a mere 60, when the rest of us have already passed through half our 60s and plunge towards that age when we can no longer deny that we are old.
I sincerely hope she gets better, both for her sake and our own. We still need her to help guide us through this dark universe towards some brighter future. We need to know there is still hope for us.


Wednesday, December 21, 2016

A poem for the inauguration of President Donald Trump





Abe Lincoln once said:
“All the armies of Europe, Asia and African combined…
With Bonaparte for commander
Cannot by force take a drink for the Ohio [River]…”
If we choose to stop them,
This is even truer now than in the pre-war years
When Lincoln said it.
“The danger,” Lincoln said, “If it every reaches us,
Must spring up among us, it cannot come from abroad.
If destruction be our lot, we most ourselves be its author…”
A forewarning of the events that would later shake our nation
In war we ball by different names
Depending on which side of the Mason Dixon Line we live:
The Civil War, The War Between the States,
The War of Northern Aggression, a war we continue to fight
Despite Gen. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox Court House,
Because the issues that gave rise to that war
Continue unresolved, despite all the blood spilt
In places such as Gettysburg and Manassas,
We live as divided now as we ever did,
In a nation populated by people
Who do not hear each other because
We do not listen to what others says,
Our war is no longer a war between north and south,
Or even east or west, but on some ethereal landscape
We cannot see or touch, but only feel,
Though the pain is just as real and so is the bloodshed
This all coming at a time when we see ourselves
As something less than what we really are.
Donald Trump campaigned on the idea of
Making America Great Again
In truth, it has never ceased being great.
We have simply forgotten it,
Losing our vision in the petty squabbles
Unworthy of a great nation,
Passing judgment on people who disagree with us
Based on personal prejudice and ignorance
We ourselves have created,
An exchange of hostilities that might make
Fort Sumter seem tame
Yet filled with fears no more real
Than the ghosts in the closest
and monsters under the bed
We feared as children.
We make them real by own relentless assumptions,
Each degrading remark contributing
To our own downfall, from within, not without.
It is not ISIS or the Russians or even an asteroid from space
We must fear most but our lack of faith
In who we are as a nation
And what we are capable of doing as a people,
Black or white, gay or straight,
Liberal or conservative.
By faith, I do not mean religious faith,
Though it is made up of the same substance,
Out of which all faith is derived.
Mrs. Obama talked about hope and its loss.
Hope is not the answer.
Faith must be.
Father that we as a united people can accomplish anything,
Overcome any barrier, whether it be terroristic theater from without
Or more potent and ultimately deadly threat
Of a divided nation within.
We need to rebuilt the faith that Lincoln help recreate,
A faith that we can learn again with far less bloodshed,
To listen to each other, feel each other’s pain,
Elevate each other so we can see the best of those we opposed
Rather than the worst,
We must have faith that can overcome all those things we fear most,
And then, indeed, like a dreamer waking from some terrible nightmare
We can remember just how great we really are.



Saturday, December 3, 2016

Blue Collar or black




Sept 29, 1979

I get the idea of college from an incurable Dead Head with an incurable growth of cancer on his chest, a need to escape this place full of dust and sweet perfume, the slave trade warehouse work life in which people like us are trapped, our lives tied down to a time clock and a weekly pay check we can’t make stretch to cover rent, meals and the few beers at the local pub on Friday nights, we all resenting the welfare checks we see other people collect when we cannot not, this struggle to make sense of a world that feeds some and lets others starve, with someone like this Dead Head figuring out that if he can get his ass through college he might get out of this rat trap and maybe find a better rat trap where he won’t have to envy the welfare crowd, and won’t feel like a racist when he sees them doing better than we are, working half as hard, and so I start thinking maybe I might go to college, too.
But I soon find out that kids on campus don’t like white people like me, even though they’re white people, too. We remind them too much of their parents who grew up and fled places like Paterson for places with fancy names like Wayne, so they aren’t reminded of where they come from, father who labored most of their lives for companies like Continental Can, rubbing shoulders with black men wearing the same blue collars they do.
The college kids don’t hate blacks; it’s hip to be block, and they act more black than the black kids on campus do, shamed by parents who don’t like blacks, calling people like me racist because we came to college ten years after they did, too late to get steered down the twisted path some professors want to mold us to.
I’m not racists. Though my family is, living on the border of the ghetto in a house my grandfather broke his back to buy, filling every window with a WWII era carbine for that time when they believe the riots will spill over into our neighborhood out of the black side of town.
But I’m not ashamed of my family the way these kids are of theirs, because I have worked the way my uncles worked, and understand just how scared they are of losing everything they worked so hard to get, when they mistakenly believe black people get too much handed to them and still want more.
I know it’s not like that; but you can’t argue anybody out of being scared.
Maybe that’s what’s wrong with the college kids, who really have had the good life handed to them, lives built on the backs of their hardworking fathers they are so ashamed of, never having lived except in some safe place where they don’t actually get to meet any black people until they come to schools like this, or understand just how hard life can be, blue collar or black, with blue collar and black fighting over the crumbs some rich man leaves, calling it a pay check or a welfare check that neither blue collar or black can feed his family with.
Even the black kids on campus don’t get it, somehow magically elevated out of a ghetto only their father’s truly understand, desperate to cling to the noble traditions of their race, but rapidly becoming whiter than the white kids are, because in a white world like this, it may be the only way to survive.



Sunday, November 27, 2016

Vacancy near Deal Lake




November 27, 2016

When we got to the old house on the street between Deal and Sunset lakes, we found it empty -- a shock, if not a complete surprise since everything is changing in Asbury Park, and this was hardly the icon the old arcade is, or the copper round carousel where the merry go round once was, now assigned to bear the beat of music and the rattle of skateboards.
This house was a private house that we stumbled upon late in 2014 during our Christmas trip here, a pleasant surprise amid the routine places that lined those streets, summer cottages or even old mansions to which this place barely compared.

We were drawn to it the way we are drawn to all things that defy the normal, things that stand out as rebellions against the homogenized sameness society breeds people to become.  This was much like the house in Cape May we loved, filled with creative junk, items reused as art.
But the house in Asbury Park, when we found it, was a testimony to something else, filled with statues of saints, cupids, and other fairy creatures in a garden that appeared unkempt, but was clearly of some higher design.
Since seeing it the first time, the house became a regular stop on our unofficial tour of Asbury Park, one of a handful of places that had nothing to do with Bruce Springsteen, even though his finger prints are on nearly everything that remained of this once industrious seaside city.

We missed seeing the house during our first autumn visit this year because we went to Main Street to see the deli where Bruce sometimes goes, not so much in the hope of seeing him there (we didn't even look inside) but with the need to somehow connect, it being a touchstone for us, the way the stars on Hollywood Boulevard are for tourists, something tangible to see and touch at a time when Bruce seems more like a spirit, the ghost of Christmas past (we have never seen, but only heard rumor of) and so we need places such as the Deli and the Stone Pony to remind us of what is real.
When we came two weeks ago, we only realized we had missed the house on that visit when we arrived at Sunset Lake Park and were too weary to make our way back in the direction of Deal Lake, putting it off to this visit.

We don't go to Asbury Park in summer and so we only take stock after many months, during which changes always happen, and as in this case, a somewhat sad change.
Like many events that happen when we go away to places like Asbury Park or Cape May, there is usually a tie-in to our lives, and so seeing the house vacant and its yard stripped of icons was made sadder by the fact that news had reached us that our old house back north in Jersey City was in the midst of being demolished.
Even though we sold the house knowing this would happen, the news did not sit well with me. Places where I have lived become icons of their own, a different sort of touchstone that comes with a bundle of memories I renew each time I go passed them. Nearly every place I've ever lived still exits in much the same condition as I left it, and so have one vanish before my eyes brings a strange sense of loss like a death in the family, carrying to the grave a history I feel cannot be recovered.
We didn't know the history of this house in Asbury Park until our second or third visit, when some woman walking her dog noticed us gawking in front of the place.

Not quite an eyesore in the traditional sense, the place had an exotic air -- situated on corner lot with three wooden gates, two of which were so overgrown with vines as to be inaccessible, with a third leading to a slate path up to the porch and front door. The fence along that side of the house had a line of statutes of saints large enough to seem garish in a grave yard, yet somehow appropriate here.
Two of the gates were guarded by stone lions, more than half buried in ivy and so worn by time and weather as to have lost their growling demeanor.
Each time, we came here we spotted some icon we'd not seen prior, not because anything new got added between trips, but because things became hidden and revealed as nature covered and uncovered things that had been placed there at some time in the past, items meaningful to the person who had installed them, but whose meaning we could not piece together in any cognitive fashion and had to accept the whole and its parts the way we might some piece of art hung in a gallery, seeking from the impression to guess at the artist' intent.

The pantheon of saints and cupids were both provocative and innocent, to which we added guesses with each visit -- though the dog walker filled in the basic background against which we could better guess.
The house belonged to a gay man, a long-time resident of Asbury Park who had lived with another man for many years, and whose passing the gay man could not reconcile, and so began to decorate the house and yard as a tribute to his missing lover, pieces added over many years, each apparently having some personal meaning, but conveyed always this sense of faith, innocence and sexuality.
The gay man never connected with anyone else, living apparently in the house alone, in perpetual mourning for a man that he still missed, and whose essence was somehow reflected in the collection of icons, a tribute to love that was supposed to be immortal, but was not, as all flesh must succumb to time, and precious memories lost.

The windows of the house looked like vacant eyes, absent the coverings that had been there at our last visit, the lace lashes now stripped away, as was the land itself, every icon, even the sad toothless lions, gone so that the yard looked more grave-like than it had before, filled with a vacancy so acute it hurt to witness -- icons sold off no doubt by some relative, who had no memory to preserve or appreciation of what they had meant to the house's occupant, leaving only the now untended garden over grown with weeds and the slightly sagging unguarded wooden gates, the last testament to love we never knew and yet still felt , lingering and sad, a memory that is not ours and yet we somehow shared without substantiation, merely taking it all on faith.