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Exchange of Values

Exchange of Values
acrylic on board 48'X96'

"Structure of Color Perception"

"Structure of Color Perception"
48'X96' acrylic on board

Sunday, March 29, 2015

King crab legs 

“There are no unsacred places; there are only sacred places and desecrated places.”  Wendell Berry

I saw these crab legs at the store for 22 bucks a pound.  By my reckoning that makes a single King crab worth over a hundred dollars.  I haven't eaten one leg since my crab fishing days ended.

Its 4 in the morning and our wonderful dog Tehya just died and so we aren't sleeping but grieving, praying, and thinking, about our common lives together with all life on this Earth. 

Langley Dock
I took this photo today.  Below at the dock the crabber "Alsea" is ready for sea trials and then will be heading North to the Bering sea.  Above the Cumulus clouds are beginning to bunch up against the Cascades and create some impressive combinations in the convergent zone.  

Years ago I heard a sermon I think from Father Berbatov in Dutch Harbor AK about a story he was told by an Alaskan crabber who once caught a massive sea-turtle that had wandered far from her habitat in tropical waters.  The crew dumped the turtle out onto the deck and they all marveled at how amazing and exotic the turtle looked writhing among the red crabs.  The fisher said that he would never forget the discussion they had about what to do with the turtle, whether it was edible or not or if they could sell it.  Finally it was decided to kill it.  The fisherman told him that he had never regretted anything more in his life, that he knew in his heart that something had failed and been lost in all of them in that moment.

I can not say that anything ever failed in Tehya's heart.

Tehya and Carlee Rae
I have also walked this heart-breaking road with others many times.  It may be that the loss of a dog or other pet may be one of the most common and universal forms of grief and sorrow that we (usamericans) can share.  In some ways its surprising that churches and other religious/spiritual expressions don't imagine and create some/more liturgies that we can share together when we experience the loss of our 'Anam Caras' or animal Soul Friends.  John O'Donohue said that, "When my faithful dog rests his head upon my knee, I feel God's heartbeat."  I am going to miss her head on my knee, and I pray that I can learn to hear God's heartbeat everywhere.  Blessings and much obliged  brothers and sisters. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Untitled.  By Peter Kline
Klediments:  The Cloud-Reader.

“To make myself understood and to diminish the distance between us, I called out: “I am an evening cloud too.” They stopped still, evidently taking a good look at me. Then they stretched towards me their fine, transparent, rosy fingers. That is how evening clouds greet each other and they had recognized me.”  Rainer Maria Rilke, "Stories of God."

My Facebook friend Peter Kline made these 'clouds.'

But who are these clouds?  Where did they come from and what are they doing?  At first I thought bleeding, other times crying.  Sometimes they look like seeping wounds other times like Christmas ornaments or apocalyptic fruit caught in festering conflagrations.  But as the poet said, “sixty one years of my life had passed before I understood that clouds were not my enemy; that they were beautiful, and that I needed them. I suppose this, for me, marked the beginning of wisdom.”

I have been studying the science of clouds for months now but Peter's 'clouds' are…off the charts.  I have never actually seen clouds like them in any text book, schematic, photograph, or sky, although I may have spotted them in a dream once but they were upside down and black and white; more like dark comets streaking away from our desperate wishes.  But over time I am getting to know Peter's clouds and I am trying to let them teach me how to read them.  But it will not be for me to say who they are.  Even now this rage for order, classification, control, remains too strong in my heart and if not overcome it will eventually blind and kill me--unless what is written is true, that although my wings have been lost and forgotten someday I will surrender all my sorrows in a sky full of grace.

So let me share this inspiring poem by my neighbor David Whyte, an internationally recognized and respected poet and writer.  And although I have read his poems for decades and he lives close by, I have never met Mr. Whyte, but I did once have the privilege to make repairs to his house while he was speaking abroad.   


That day I saw beneath dark clouds,
the passing light over the water
and I heard the voice of the world speak out,
I knew then, as I had before,
life is no passing memory of what has been
nor the remaining pages in a great book
waiting to be read.
It is the opening of eyes long closed.
It is the vision of far off things
seen for the silence they hold.
It is the heart after years
of secret conversing,
speaking out loud in the clear air.
It is Moses in the desert
fallen to his knees before the lit bush.
It is the man throwing away his shoes
as if to enter heaven
and finding himself astonished,
opened at last,
fallen in love with solid ground.

Perhaps some poetry, like some paintings, needs a drop-cloth to collect the runoff, drips, and spatter. Notice how Peter's clouds rest on a drip catcher, as if there was such surplus of meaning or intention that one canvas couldn't contain or control it.  The same happens with writing sometimes, the pigments in the saturated language gets drawn by gravity or flung by force and whatever is not masked-off gets splattered.  These splatters though can act like the seeding of frigid clouds, and their self-emptying can bring rain to parched souls, but of course sometimes they cause flash-floods and devastation too.  There is an interesting word though for that familiar scent that rain makes when it falls on drought stricken soil, it is called "Petrichor," from the Greek, 'petra' meaning ‘stone’ + 'ichor,' which is the fluid that flows in the veins of the gods in Greek mythology.  I once cleverly thought to call Peter's painting "Petrichor," but only until a more fitting word fell from a different cloud, one of Philip Levine's poems titled "Gospel."  The word he used was "Soughing." Soughing as I choose to define it is the sound wind makes passing through trees or sea-surge as it floods up a sandy beach, but also the thrush of a wing-beat, the breath between a mother's sighs, or the call of angels gathering the heavens just before the last trumpet sounds.   


The pines make 
a music like no other, rising and 
falling like a distant surf at night 
that calms the darkness before 
first light. "Soughing" we call it, from 
Old English, no less. How weightless 
words are when nothing will do.

Soughing clouds aren't weightless though, any more than soughing words are.  I read in "The Cloud-spotters Guide," that the average cumulus cloud weighs the same as 80 elephants!  Some Hindus believe that clouds are the spiritual cousins of flying albino elephants who brought rain and life and so they worshipped them.  Apparently elephants, as well as words, may have lost these magical powers, nevertheless I persist in praying and the rain keeps falling, or not.  Much obliged.         

Sunday, March 1, 2015

"Trinity"  Acrylic on board.  42" X 96"
 I have for now suspended my theological investigations and I have taken upon myself the structured and disciplined study of clouds.    

“The law of computers is the same as the law of the marketplace. The earth's atmosphere was divided up into a network of cubes, each reducible to a collection of points, and each point the product of a set of calculations. As far as science was concerned, this was the end of clouds, which were but a series of coordinates simulated in a space of greater than three dimensions.”  St├ęphane Audeguy, "The Theory of Clouds."

Sometimes I wonder if we haven't done that same thing to God?  Anyway, so far my favorite standard cloud is called a Cumulonimbus, you can find a picture on page 32 in the "Cloud Collectors Handbook," (or, depending on where you live you could maybe just look up?).  Of course you have to get the language correct to really know what you are looking at (it's the same with birdwatching). Right now I'm focusing on what's called a "fallstreak hole," also known as a "hole punch cloud."

Hole Punch Clouds

Hole punch clouds are sometimes mistaken for UFO's or prophetic sighns, just like a lot of clouds. Perhaps you will notice that that particular cloud's name is not Latin like most cloud names are. Indeed, until Luke Howard assigned labels to clouds no one, not even the Greeks, had thought to give all the different cloud-shapes names.

Although I have watched clouds my whole life I'm still a beginner and I often have a difficult time identifying all the cloud-forms, altitudes, and properties.  The transitional borderlines among evolving nimbostratus, stratus cumulous, cumulous, becoming cumulonimbus, are not easy for a novice to delineate and there is a lot of debate among the various cloud reading authorities just where these taxonomical borders are.  It turns out Nephologists (one who studies clouds, nepho is the Greek word for a vigilant watcher, like when Jesus says, "watch and pray") can be a fractious bunch!  And I thought *bird watchers* were a snooty bunch of tweed-vested Episcopalians!  Anyway, above is one of my cloud paintings and I hope to post some photos from my practicum as my inquiries continue.  Much obliged.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

***  Klediments:  'The Darkness Is Enough'

Your brightness is my darkness.
I know nothing of You and, by myself,
I cannot even imagine how to go about knowing You.
If I imagine You, I am mistaken.
If I understand You, I am deluded.
If I am conscious and certain I know You, I am crazy.
The darkness is enough."

Thomas Merton, prayer before midnight mass at Christmas, 1941.

I very much admire this poem/prayer by T.M..   However I was watching TM's last presentation before his death in Thailand on youtube and I am less impressed with his last recorded words which were: "…So I will disappear from view and we can all have a coke™ or something."  I also question his assertion that the gospel, at least as it engages with economics, can only be lived in a monastery. Of course I could be wrong on this too, as T.M. says.  Still, as an electrician, I can't help but feel that if Merton would have had a little basic knowledge about electrons he might have lived another 25 years.   Here is a link to the short video:

***  There is always an abiding interest in who "The Richest Person In the World" is.  I don't know if there has been as much (or any) research about who is the "Poorest Person In the World."  Perhaps that is because their can be only one richest person but many, many, poorest people?  If you think about it, its possible to have whole populations of absolute poor with only one rich person on top (surprisingly, this is not that hard to imagine).

***  Photo of the week:  "Dominion"

Puget Sound
"It took dominion everywhere."  Poem of the week is "Anecdote of the Jar" by Wallace Stevens.  I shot this photo while working on a high bluff in Skachett Head.  That's Seattle and the space needle to the right.  Below in the sound, that tiny long dark shape is a nuclear submarine with enough weaponry to destroy all life on earth.

Anecdote of the Jar

I placed a jar in Tennessee,  
And round it was, upon a hill.  
It made the slovenly wilderness  
Surround that hill.

The wilderness rose up to it,
And sprawled around, no longer wild.  
The jar was round upon the ground  
And tall and of a port in air.

It took dominion everywhere.  
The jar was gray and bare.
It did not give of bird or bush,  
Like nothing else in Tennessee.



**** Miro: “Painting is a sandbox for the subconscious mind,  I intend to destroy, destroy everything that exists in painting. I have utter contempt for painting.”

On top is my grand daughter Emily looking at my painted copy of a Miro for the yearly 'Forgery Art Show' here on the island.  On the bottom is the original by Miro.  Miro offered an explanation of this painting, something that I resist doing for my own art, and this is an example why. 

"At first glance this painting may look abstract, but it is a landscape filled with rich iconography and suggestions of political strife. The large beige circle is a cross-section of the trunk of a carob tree that sprouts a leaf and a giant, all-seeing eye bisected by the horizon line. The stick-figured hunter, with a lit pipe protruding from his mouth, holds a freshly killed rabbit in one hand and a smoking rifle in the other."

Miro had an affinity for Catalonian culture, language and independence, and painted this work as an expression of his patriotic fervor. Nevertheless, despite Miro's painting the Catalonian people remain mostly enthralled to their Spanish overlords.  Perhaps the power of art to influence the life-world needs to be re-evaluated?

Anyway, Emily thought that the abstract shapes looked like bumble bees and she would make buzzing noises, touch the painting and then quickly pull her hand away giggling and then pretend to run away. 

Btw, there is a nice copy of Van Gogh's "The Sower" on the other side of the Miro.  Most of my paintings are painted on both sides so a customer really gets 2 paintings for the price of one.  I sometimes wonder how much 2 forgeries like these might be worth to someone?

The Sower  VanGogh/Imburgia  20X40 acrylic on board

****  This weeks fun facts:  These were the most cited social science book authors in 2007.  Not surprised by Foucault @#1, but a bit by Bourdieu at #2.  However I am mostly surprised that Nietzsche and Benjamin, who are so quotable, are so low on the list. 

Michel Foucault (1926-1984) Philosophy, criticism 2,521
Pierre Bourdieu (1930-2002) Sociology 2,465
Jacques Derrida (1930-2004) Philosophy 1,874
Albert Bandura (1925- ) Psychology 1,536
Anthony Giddens (1938- ) Sociology 1,303
Erving Goffman (1922-1982) Sociology 1,066
Jurgen Habermas (1929- ) Philosophy, sociology 1,049
Max Weber (1864-1920) Sociology 971
Judith Butler (1956- ) Philosophy 960
Bruno Latour (1947- ) Sociology, anthropology 944
Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) Psychoanalysis 903
Gilles Deleuze (1925-1995) Philosophy 897
Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) Philosophy 882
Martin Heidegger (1889-1976) Philosophy 874
Noam Chomsky (1928- ) Linguistics, philosophy 812
Ulrich Beck (1944- ) Sociology 733
Jean Piaget (1896-1980) Philosophy 725
David Harvey (1935- ) Geography 723
John Rawls (1921-2002) Philosophy 708
Geert Hofstede (1928- ) Cultural studies 700
Edward W. Said (1935-2003) Criticism 694
Emile Durkheim (1858-1917) Sociology 662
Roland Barthes (1915-1980) Criticism, philosophy 631
Clifford Geertz (1926-2006) Anthropology 596
Hannah Arendt (1906-1975) Political theory 593
Walter Benjamin (1892-1940) Criticism, philosophy 583
Henri Tajfel (1919-1982) Social psychology 583
Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951) Philosophy 583
Barney G. Glaser (1930- ) Sociology 577
George Lakoff (1941- ) Linguistics 577
John Dewey (1859-1952) Philosophy, education 575
Benedict Anderson (1936- ) International studies 573
Emmanuel Levinas (1906-1995) Philosophy 566
Jacques Lacan (1901-1981) philosophy, criticism 526
Thomas S. Kuhn (1922-1996) philosophy of science 519
Karl Marx (1818-1883) Political theory, economics, 501
Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) Philosophy 501

Blessings and obliged.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

My son Daryl and grandson Jaxon

***  Conjecture of a Guilty Bystander: "We are already one. But we imagine that we are not. And what we have to recover is our original unity. What we have to be is what we are.  It is a glorious destiny to be a member of the human race, though it is a race dedicated to many absurdities and one which makes many terrible mistakes: yet, with all that, God is gloried in becoming a member of the human race. A member of the human race! To think that such a commonplace realization should suddenly seem like news that one holds the winning ticket in a cosmic sweepstake.   Thomas Merton, "Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander."

He assumed that I also celebrated the exoneration of officer Wilson.  He was grinning and laughing while pointing to the newspaper headline that shouted "NO INDICTMENT."  His wife's glee seemed somewhat tempered, but then she is from Canada so….you know.  But what kind of narratives about me, I wondered, had this man been constructing in his mind over the many months that I had been eating in his vegan cafe that caused him to think that I would share his opinion of the Killing of Michael Brown and that Brown "got just what he deserved."  It seems silly now, but for some reason I had assumed that he was some sort of a bleeding-heart progressive, I mean he was a Vegan for Christ's sake!  He also conformed to many of the identity markers often associated with sympathetic leftists such as opposing animal cruelty, driving a Prius, and expressing virulent scorn for Monsanto, etc..  In hindsight I guess I tended to downplay the fact that he was a pilot during the Vietnam war, perhaps because I knew lots of leftist veterans who criticized the Vietnam and Iraq wars, the 'military industrial complex,' or what have you.  But then he was a retired officer and I haven't known many vets who put in their 20 years and then spend their golden years reading Kropotkin, Noam Chomsky, or "The Little Flowers of Saint Francis" (the martyred monks of the Tibhirine being exceptions).  True we were both old, white, male, overweight, relatively affluent, amorphously Christianish, but surely he noticed that I never knew whether the Seahawks won or lost their Sunday game and that I didn't laugh at his jokes about Obamcare?  Apparently you can talk and eat with somebody for years and yet not really know them at all (or does he see deeper into my soul than I care to admit?).  Now that I think about it I wonder if he had known that I had a Black son if it would have made any difference in his assumptions.  I mean, why was he so damn sure that I shared his opinions (or should they be called racist ideologies, picking just the right language can be challenging).  Like at some point I guess I might have to talk with my Grandson about how to engage with police officers, like I told my son about how to be safer in the presence of armed cops, but i guess I was hoping that that wouldn't be necessary by the time my grand kids grew up (not my white grand kids but the brown ones that is).  I guess I was wrong about that, but I been wrong about a lot of things.


Thursday, November 20, 2014

****  Klediments:

****  The first page of my rejected paper proposal for the AAR convention.  I had been intending to write a follow up paper on one of my earlier post on Derrida’s “The Gift Of Death,"  but I was home sick for a few days and instead I watched the entire second season of “The Walking Dead.”  This series got me again feverishly thinking, dreaming, and studying a bit about Zombies and why Zombies (and Vampires, post-apocalyptic dramas, memes, and spectacles) are so prevalent right now in proletkult consumption, political economy, and the united-statesian imagination?  Is death really this deconstructably undecidable?

****  “Purity of heart is to will one thing.”   S. Kierkegaard.

Some initial reflections/questions about Zombies for n.americans:
 1.  Zombies are mindless consumers.  That is, they pursue their consumptive compulsions without satisfaction yet they are relentless in their quest for human destruction, and thus their own destruction as well.  So perhaps something of their humanity abides after all?  Zombies are pure desire in collective form.

2.  Are Zombies evil?  Is it possible that their singular focus demonstrates a type of goodness?  Perhaps Zombies are equivalent to viruses or cancer cells?  If so, aren’t they still part of the ethical economy of creation, part of the balance that obtains when, for example, a lion kills and eats a lamb?  As Herbert McCabe argued, the lamb that is killed and eaten suffers real harm and loss, but the lion obtains real life-giving benefit, thus the badness that befalls the lamb is proportionate and necessary for the good of the lion (and in a big picture sort of way for the good of the Lamb as well, at least in theory as discussed by intellectual lions).  And this all seems so reasonable too, until one is actually hunted down and chewed on by a lion, a cancer, or a Zombie.

3.  Zombies eat brains but their own brains are dead.  Yet no matter how many brains zombies eat it does not regenerate their minds.  Could it be said that zombie brain eating is a kind of false worship or materialist sacramentalism?  But if “false worship eats you alive" who are the real heretics here, the Zombies or their so-called “living” victims?  Is being eaten alive by a Zombie a judgement on the false-worship of the living or the heterodox worship of the un-dead?  Perhaps Zombies are just another kind of protestant?

4.  Zombie communities are an ideal model (and a critical example) for the Christian Church in the following ways:  Praxis supersedes dogma and doctrine.  Zombies have a unity of purpose.  Zombies don’t kill and eat each other.  Zombification can happen to anyone regardless of gender, wealth, class, beauty, age, nationality, or sexual orientation.  However, Zombies are easily distracted and misled and spend a lot of energy sniffing out those that don’t belong.

From Derrida’s The Gift of Death: "Christianity offers a new significance for death, a new apprehension of death, a new way in which to give oneself death or put oneself to death.  Christianity demands a gift that involves renouncing the self, this abnegation of the gift, of goodness, or of the generosity of the gift that must withdraw, hide, in fact sacrifice itself in order to give.  Thus, the genealogy of responsibility is interwoven with the history of gift and of death: in short of the gift of death. The gift made to me by God as he holds me in his gaze and in his hand while remaining inaccessible to me, the terribly dissymmetrical gift of the mysterium tremendum only allows me to respond and only rouses be to the responsibility it gives by making a gift of death...”(p 28).

Perhaps Zombies are the new gods of the coming age, but I wouldn't count the Vampires out in the next election!  I am looking fwd to seasons one and three.  God bless and much obliged.  

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

***  THE GOD IN WHOM I BELIEVE (English translation from

By Judith Bautista Fajardo

'Rev, Judith Bautista Fajardo is Colombia's fourth Roman Catholic woman priest, she was ordained by ARCWP Bishop Bridget Mary Mehan. Rev. Fajardo now joins Colombia's three other women priests -- Rev. Olga Lucia Alvarez, Rev. Marina Teresa Sanchez Mejia, and Rev. Martha Aida Soto Bernal.  The 47 year-old native of Bogota says that her call to the priesthood was always present. Despite that, she spent her earlier religious life as a nun, a vocation she nurtured for nine years, ministering to women and youth. For the last 27 years, Rev. Fajardo has been working in spiritual direction and pastoral care. Trained in philosophy, theology and psychotherapy.'

"Behold, as the clay in the potter's hand, so are ye in my hand." (Jeremiah 18:6)

The God in whom I believe
is the one who gives me a reason to take each step.
The God who whispers that I'm not yet done,
that I lack a poem, a song perhaps,
that maybe I need a firm smile,
a willing hand and a friendly word.

That I still need to forgive an offense,
travel another mile, and share my coat.
That I yet need to create, to invent other worlds,
simpler ones perhaps, nobler and more sincere.

The God in whom I believe creates me and re-creates us
and also invents us anew each day
and feels and shudders with the people's pain
and sings and moans and cries in a thousand sister voices,
banished perhaps on the side of the road.

Today too, demanding cries of anguish rise
and the afternoon wind brings me their wailing
and again my God, heartbroken,
has lit a burning ember in a thousand breasts.

The God in whom I believe, like a patient potter,
from dawn to dusk gives Himself to His creatures
and celebrates their feasts and weeps for their sorrows,
His heart set on the work of His hands.

The God in whom I believe is a demanding flame,
a penetrating sword, deeper and more poignant,
that, though sweet on the lips, turns the belly bitter,
inviting to surrender in season and out.

The God in whom I believe, like a loving mother,
cradles her little ones with the pangs of birth.
And sets forth with them each day
behind the abundant life that proclaims Her Kingdom.

(a link:

*** My latest painting/experiment.  44 in. X 36 in.  Acrylic on canvas.

"Pitzut El Haolam Haba"   

Pitzutz means 'explosion' and El Haolam haba = to the next world!  (obliged Ethan for the title)    

I like to post this poem by Dan MacKenzie with the painting:

"So awestruck were we, by the falling stars, that we never noticed that the world was burning. And as the smoke filled our throats, our final words - we spoke without knowing we would forever after be silent - were thank you. Then we too were burning. With the plants, with the oceans, with the animals, we were all of us burning. Our lungs blossoming into flowers; the fire in our bones at last released to join the fire in the earth, in the air, on the water."

Much Obliged.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Mark of the Beast
(a sabbath reflection by Daniel Imburgia).

Revelations 13:  "And he compels all to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead, and he provides that no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark."

It was nothing like we expected
We hardly noticed it at all
Honestly I never slept so peacefully
What were we all so afraid of
Haven't we dreamed of becoming family
Making earth Eden again
This time we'll get it right
This time there will be no tempters and
Only one tree will grow in our garden
So lift up to the sky in praise
Your visibly marketable hands
A thriving economy speaks for itself
Numbers aren't prayers
Numbers don't lie

But it wasn't so much a 'mark' as
A seed impregnating our heart
It may have been there from inception
Dormant and waiting for the command
Come forth
A gold shoot sprouting from the
Scorched plain of Megiddo
New life emerging from ashes and death
Call it a miracle
Call it a birthmark

'Beast' is really more of a pet name
An endearment for true believers
A modality for interpellation  
Beast commands us: Be free
Beast individualizes
Beast marks borders
Beast marks enemies
Beast administers desire
Beast love kills for love
Beast is god without mystery, chaos, silence
Beast is whiteness without fracture
Beast is cataclysm without apocalypse  
Beast is tradition without history
Beast is the simple truth
Beast is an infinite inventory of the unnecessary  
Beast is the icon we sacrifice our children to
Beast is ultimate victory
Beast marks Man (sic)

Beast is all those manifold consolations
That the lamb would deny you
Harden your hearts against
Their pain and pleading
For who is liken unto the Beast
Wounded, entombed, born-again
From a sea of glass mingled with fire
Death Reflecting back on itself
Worship the appearance
Surrender your passwords
Resubmit your profiles
Publish all your identities
Conform your screen presence
Colonize some-body
Strip your fig leaves
Prepare for blood

"…and all the world wondered after the beast."


Sunday, August 24, 2014

 From the song, “The Revelator.” by Daniel Imburgia.

“I don't even call it violence when it's in self defense; I call it intelligence.”  Malcolm X

Banjos, bangles, and lynching trees
Blood sausage and collard greens
Dark shapes flit across our screens
Whitey’s bull horn cuts the screams

Moon shines and dropped dimes
Gassy tears tear tare these times
For whom do these death bells chime
The poets of hip-hop rhyme-crimes

Duck calls and cotton balls
Dred Scott in his hoodie falls
Beloved Sethe haunts shopping malls
Where justice rolls like cannon balls

If the crack is how the light got in
Then the devil followed right behind him
The chosen peoples have god as kin
Bluest eye twins and alabaster skin-sins

Man, if you gotta ask you'll never know
Just how much you really owe
Those invisible men y’all kept stowed
For their sweat and blood and furrowed rows

This cracker thief who steals your words
And covered songs of cloistered birds
All those cries that went unheard
The fire hose and snarling curs

‘War, war, and Fiddle dee dee’
We hold these sacred truths to be
As holy as those hung from trees, or
Crucified between two thieves


Saturday, August 2, 2014

Israelis watching the bombardment of Gaza

Massacre of the Pequots

Mystic Massacre:

Before the massacre the devout Reverend John Stone spent the night in prayer.  In the morning he announced to his Pilgrim flock that ‘God was going to clear the land of its savage inhabitants and gift it to his chosen people’ (that is, give it the pilgrim invaders and their corporate masters and joint-stock holders in Europe).  The next day armed colonists led by captain John Mason and a few of their Mohegan allies attacked the sleeping Pequot village at Mystic (Connecticut) and slaughtered nine hundred men, women and children  (+/-).  “Thus was God seen crushing the enemies of his people, burning them up in the fire of his wrath and dunging the ground with their flesh.” Wrote Mason. “It was the Lord’s doings and it was marvelous in our eyes.”  So ferocious and unrelenting was the fiery massacre that the colonists few native allies withdrew from the fight, unable to participate in this revolting type of genocidal massacre.  The few Pequot women and children who were able to escape the burning town were found hiding in a swamp and were circled by colonists and all were murdered.  Captain Mason proclaimed, “We must burn them. God was above them, He who laughed his Enemies and the Enemies of his People to Scorn, making them as a fiery Oven.  Thus did the Lord judge among the Heathen, filling the place with dead bodies!”  Rev. Cotton Mather of Boston heartily agreed stating that the massacre was “the just Judgment of God that In a little more than one hour, five or six hundred of these barbarians were dismissed from a world that was burdened with them” (btw, the jubilation about the Mystic Massacre is probably the actual inception of the holiday americans today celebrate as “Thanksgiving”).

Of course this is a very biased account of this incident, one that privileges the deaths of the Native American women and children.  I could just as readily told this story from the perspective of the corporations and share holders who financed virtually all of the early american colonial enterprises.  These corporations/persons continually harangued settlers to occupy and clear more land in order to grow more tobacco and other exportable commodities, often causing them to neglect their own food crops. Unfortunately, when winter came the settlers often ran short of food which then caused them to justify raiding any nearby Native villages to steal their stored grain and dried meat.  These invasions and occupations would incite the surviving Natives and others to retaliate against these assaults.  The colonists would then use the excuse of Indian raids for further violent military reprisals and occupations.  This pattern was repeated over and over again until the entire continent was occupied and it’s Native inhabitants killed or concentrated into reserves. Occasionally a few of the more squeamish colonists would question the morality of these slaughters and would ask, “shouldn’t Christians have more mercy and compassion?” To them Captain Mason responded:  “I would refer you to David’s wars. Sometimes the Scripture declares that women and children must perish. We had sufficient light from the Word of God for our proceedings.”

On the other hand.....

As one who manufactures way too many hollow words I need to start taking this saying to heart (plus a little Buddhism might help distract me, I’m getting so sick of so-called Christians, Jews, and Muslims and all of their god-damn killing and wars right now).  And yet, against all reason I cling by my fingernails to a tiny measure of hope and something that might be called a christian faith.  This poem by David Scott helps a bit:

“Ibn Abbad Woke Early*

All three went to Paradise,
Ibn Abbad, Rabbi Shmelke of Nikolsburg,
and Father Louis, and sat to eat
at the same table. They drank the water of life
and ate the meat of friendship. Whenever
their cups ran dry or their plates were empty
a little Nazarene came by and filled them up.
Who are you? they said.
I am Jesus, son of Mary. Can I sit awhile?
Be our guest, they said.
As they sat, the ground beneath them shook,
their faces paled and their eyes were filled
with knowledge, and with grief. Today,
said Jesus, they will hate more and
love more, than on any other day since
the world began. Hold hands,
and ask our God to speak to us
in Spirit. And there they sat
in love and prayer, all day, all day,
Ibn Abbad, Rabbi Schmelke of Nikolsburg,
Father Louis, and Jesus, Mary's son.
and their silence was more profound than words
and their communion was most eloquent
and they willed the world to peace

Blessings, and much obliged.