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Order is necessary
for the function of the universe,
but too much order
It is a trickster's duty
to point out when rules
have become a stranglehold
and leaders have become despots.
Someone needs to be there
to slip a whoopie cushion onto the throne,
to mock a politician's callous words,
to look at the Emperor in his new clothes
and shout, "Hey, that fat man is naked!"
Humor is activism,
Plan C for comedy --
a tradition dating back
to trickster deities in pantheons
and court jesters tumbling in front of kings.
There is nothing so important
that it can never be laughed at.
When things go wrong,
there is always
"The Right Reasons"
-- an indriso
They come into our land with tank and tread,
The bark of guns and stamp of heavy boots,
And where they pass their bloody banners spread.
They hunt for us and call us rotten fruits,
As if the world is better when we're dead,
That they should end us all from bud to roots.
For reasons such as this we go to war
And claim as good the life we're fighting for.
Justice is meant to be fair
but there are countless practices
that aim to lay a thumb on the scales --
institutions too big to fail,
conflicts of interest,
those who would be above the law,
deals under the table,
lobbyists dancing with revolving doors --
and every one of them
is a chink in the foundation
of a stable society because
if the law is not for everyone
then it is for no one
if rational methods do not resolve conflicts
then people will choose less rational ones instead.
-- an indriso
Geeks and nerds play with language to amuse,
Folding words like paper, shooting the hoops,
Bowing to applause noisy and profuse.
Partisans play with language to confuse,
Making the nooses, slipping through the loops,
Looking for the next thing they can abuse.
They make whole loops like this, Moebius troops,
Until someone slits the ribbon -- oops.
"The Lady of Athens"
The people of a nameless place
beseeched the Olympians for a patron.
"I will go and take care of this city,"
said Athena and Poseidon
at the very same time.
They glared at each other.
"You will both go," said Zeus,
"and show the mortals what you can do.
It is their decision which of you
to claim as their patron."
Poseidon called on his magic
and brought forth a saltwater spring
which was excellent for trading but not for drinking.
Athena called on her magic
and brought forth a domesticated olive tree
with valuable fruit and oil and wood.
"That is very impressive,"
said the people of the nameless place
as they gathered around the olive tree.
"Wait!" exclaimed Poseidon.
"I have another gift.
I will teach you martial magic and
create the greatest navy the world has known."
Athena smiled and said,
"I, too, have another gift.
I will teach you communal magic and
create the first democracy the world has known."
"With a navy," Poseidon said,
"your leader will be the most powerful man
and you can accomplish anything you want in battle."
"With a democracy," Athena said,
"your people will be the most powerful city-state
and you can accomplish anything at all you want."
Then the people chose Athena as their patron
and named their city Athens.
Athena helped them draft articles of democracy
and fixed Her autograph to the scroll
in letters of gold.
Athens became a seat
of agriculture and government --
and since Poseidon could not take back his gifts,
also a formidable sea power.
The magic of democracy grew
as slowly and surely as olive trees,
sometimes torn apart by savage storms,
but always regrowing
under Athena's mindful care.
This poem came from the March 5, 2013 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired and sponsored by Shirley Barrette. Yes, it's true that empty houses greatly outnumber homeless people.
All homes are houses
but not all houses are homes.
There are over five empty houses
for each person who lacks a place to live.
America is becoming a nation
of homeless people and tenantless houses.
They look through the windows at each other,
yearning for what they are told they cannot have.
It is considered more important to protect
the wealth of the few than the well-being of the many.
Every man for himself, chant the headlines,
while the Devil takes the hindmost one by one by one.
Think about how much of modern culture is a reprise of things that have been done before, a way to take apart and re-imagine what we already have. Except a handful of people keep taking things away, so there is less for everyone to work with. That's a problem.
I am becoming increasingly fond of creators who show up and go, "I made a thingie. Let's everyone play." If it's a cool thingie and I like watching other folks play with it or I play with it myself, I'm morely likely to want to support it and fund more of it. I am less and less inclined to spend my very limited funds on conventionally copyrighted material. I still buy some of it. But I'm buying less, and the bar is rising, and most of what I buy is stuff that I got hooked on a long time ago. It's just less likely to feel worthy of my attention.
You know what? "If you don't let someone stick a probe in your vagina, you don't get medical care" is the same kind of force as "If you don't fuck me, I'll fire you from your job." It's all about forcing people to do something they don't want, because they don't have the power to stop it.
Fuck. That. Noise.