Oh Russia

Oh Russia

 

 

Russia…

I hear symphonies and underlying notes of soulful

loss and pieces of Dostoyevsky and still she lumbers forward with

Tchaikovsky attending to the beat and refuses to look far ahead

at the leader who is stomping angrily in the snow looking

for the borderline knowing this earth belongs to him

and him only…

The world cries against him which enflames him

like men in backyards throwing kerosine at their

barbecues, exerting control over hot coals,

the tanks filled with children keep moving

and shooting and the people, they say they are

not running but the baby carriages filled with

spotted dogs, babies, canned tuna and handguns

progress to the western Ukraine border. We are all

onlookers: fearful, our mouths stuck shut with cello

tape, our wrists bound, our feet shoeless,

like those forced to watch the witches hang or

the Holocaust victims fall into the graves they

were forced to dig. Some say it will be stopped

but there are some who see the spread of evil

like an ink stain on a dark blotter and one country

seeps into another taking everything and everyone

with them.

 

 

Marla Ruzicka

Let’s talk about war. It’s so cold here that the moon withdrew itself last night. The fur on people’s dogs stopped  shedding for the day. I heard the word “honor” in connection with the memorial I saw from the second world war and I thought why is it honorable to be in a war or to create a war? Why is it considered honorable to be a hero when you kill people. Or why is it considered honorable to be a hero when you’re a leader and you decide to kill even more people? I am going to write this in the simplest way I possibly can. I don’t see any heroism in war. I think this concept should end But what really frightens me is that I think it’s a basic part of human nature. It seems to me it all boils down to the territorial imperative. Even if the  territorial imperative is 1 inch of space somewhere. I’m not a historian and ,in fact, I hated history because I hate precision in any form. I am an artist and a creative person so I don’t like squares, I like circles. I don’t like wars. I don’t like it when leaders stamp their foot and turn on their heel and walk away and send in their giant killing machines.

One of my heroes was a young woman who on her own counted the civilian victims of war in Afghanistan and Irac. Her name was Marla Ruzicka and Senator Patrick Leahy passed a bill in her honor stating that civilian victims of war would now be counted. Why in her honor? Because she was killed before she was 30 by a car bomb.

I had met her in New York one warm night at a friends reception for the Ploughshares Fund. Her blonde hair fell around her face in a kind of charmingly messy mop and she was wearing a tank top and some old pair of jeans and we spent 20 minutes talking about what she did. It was so inspiring to me and a few weeks later when I read on the front page of the Times that she had been killed my heart broke for her. I couldn’t stop crying. In my mind I kept seeing that wonderful, youthful face with her wide smile and a great soft glow about her. She was my hero and always will be.

It’s time for the world to wake up and realize who the real heroes are. It’s not the territorial imperative and the machines of war that are the brave things. It’s a single person who will dare stand up and make a point and risk their life doing so.

Last Night

Kissed in a restaurant

 

I met you in a restaurant outside and I wore a coat the color of dried blood and when I saw you I knew I had already known you. Sometimes when that happens there’s no denying it. I love this restaurant. All the waiters know my name and they think I’m a lovely lady. But that night when I met you and I was so close to your eyes while we were eating I just felt like I was on a roller coaster and I could shoot down that track right down into your soul. I couldn’t help it when you kissed me there even though I knew Megan, the maître d’, could see the whole thing. I don’t think she could see the depth of it all and may be that’s why I let myself be carried away by a pyre of woodchucks laughing as only they do at my willingness to be carried away. You and I were meant to have a dance. I don’t remember being carried away before but I do remember dreaming about it. There’s something magic that happens when you meet a person and everything about you and that person is the same size. And I’m not talking about our bodies because our bodies are really meaningless but I am talking about something I don’t have to talk about. Self! you think to yourself what in the world is going on? It’s like diving into a pool at night and you have no idea how deep the deep end is but you keep your fingers crossed and go for the gold.But in the end you know you can take care of yourself and that’s the most important thing there is. I’m always tempted to really look into abandonment because I think that’s the real issue in life. It’s like Dr. Dolittle in the push me pull you. Everyone wants to feel safe and in control but if everyone wants that then it’s never gonna happen. Somebody has to just dig in their heels and make a statement. That’s it.

We Call

We Call

 

We call to each other in “fluent transparent animal.”*

I might be gone from the living and this is the

Bardo.

We call, all the souls here with me,

waiting to move on, wanting to move on.

Not wanting to move on.

I am not thinking about breathing for once.

The others here are transparent like the fish tank in Monterey.

I want to say I knew it would be like this

but my lips do not exist just as I forgot how sensitive

they used to be when still alive.

I seem to be in the middle level as high up I see a light

Like a military searchlight it shivers me.

There is no apparent order

No signage

No music or noise

The volume is turned off.

It’s very pleasant here and waiting isn’t wanting.

 

 

*a prompt from Diane’s writing class

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Monday 08.09.21


The Tokyo Olympics just ended, but can you believe the Beijing 2022 Winter Games are less than six months away? Here’s what else you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On With Your Day.
 

By AJ Willingham

A medical worker rests last week at a Covid-19 ICU ward in Jonesboro, Arkansas.

1

Coronavirus

The average number of new coronavirus cases in the US has increased ninefold since the beginning of July, and hospitalizations are at their highest rate since February. In some parts of the country, hospitals are at capacity, and loved ones of those battling the virus are pleading for access to life-saving equipment. As if the situation isn’t bad enough, new concerns are starting to arise: Dr. Anthony Fauci says the continued spread of the virus could allow new variants — possibly ones more resistant to vaccines — to emerge and spread if more people don’t get vaccinated. Experts are already seeing more cases of the Lambda variant, which is designated by WHO as a coronavirus “variant of interest.”

2

Afghanistan

The Taliban has seized five provincial capitals in Afghanistan and let loose a string of violence as foreign forces, led by the US, complete their withdrawal from the country. Among the areas now under Taliban control is Kunduz, a strategically important provincial capital that marks the first major city to fall to the Taliban since it began its offensive in May. Afghanistan’s swift descent into violence has been alarming and follows international warnings that a foreign troop withdrawal could lead to a Taliban resurgence. Now, there is concern that even the country’s capital of Kabul could fall. In the past week, the US has increased airstrikes against Taliban positions in a bid to halt its advances.

3

Infrastructure

The Senate has voted to cut off debate on the massive $1.2 trillion infrastructure package, clearing the way for a vote on the final passage of the bipartisan bill. Sixty-eight senators, including 18 Republicans, voted to invoke cloture (quickly halting the debate) to break the filibuster and push the process forward. The Senate is now expected to hold a final vote tomorrow morning. Senators are confident the bill will pass, but there’s been some recent shuffling of necessary Republican support of the bill. If it passes, it wouldn’t just be a win for President Biden’s agenda; it would also be a win for both parties, which have worked for months to come to an agreement on the bill. An affirmative Senate vote wouldn’t make it a done deal, though. The bill would still face significant challenges in the House. 

4

Climate

The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change just released a new report, and the message is clear: Deadly and irreversible effects of climate change are already here. Unlike previous assessments, the report also concludes it is “unequivocal” that humans have caused the climate crisis. It states the world has rapidly warmed 1.1 degrees Celsius higher than pre-industrial levels and is now careening toward 1.5 degrees — a critical threshold that world leaders have agreed should represent the upper limit of global warming. Scientists say the only way to keep from reaching this point of no return and to prevent even more catastrophic damage is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero.

Water

 

No Safe Place 2

Water      

 

Water,

wet, moist ,damp, soggy,

only a lost commodity .

When I first tasted your skin

it was covered in water.

Remember water?

It was hard to describe but it was free.

Lakes are craters now.

A child asks “Who pulled the drain plug?” as

you drive by the empty, barren memory of a

lake. T

There is deep sadness in the retreating

water leaving a reluctant

path of tears sinking into the dust,

searching for an oasis to nourish, water

looks down

and sees it’s vanishing.

Cries out to the lone red bird

perched on a burnt tree,

cries out to the cactus who needs no one,

cries out to

you and me who have forgotten water

already.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Despair

 

This summer the windows in the house steam up like they used to when there were teenagers inside.

All that glorious passion every morning.

This summer everything is slightly off:

The gaits of the horses, the timing of the stoplights, the phases of the moon, the beat of people’s hearts.

Reports keep coming of various things the vaccine does and continues to do yet they are always coupled with remarks saying of course you should have the vaccine.

Yesterday a newscaster reported that a disease which causes paralysis of the face is a side effect of one of the vaccines.

Tomorrow maybe it will be paralysis of the tongue.

In California there is no water and will not be water for a very long time. Sharing is not common among the western states.

Fires are burning and the police departments are passing out placard’s which state “evacuated” to put on your front gate when you leave.

More people died of a drug overdose in the past year than ever before. Suicide rates are up and the ages of those who kill them selves gets lower and lower.

People wonder if it’s best to keep all of this quiet. The sale of hearing aids has gone down. The news is quieter and quieter as people are turning down their television sets.

The optimists are fading and are becoming almost transparent like the colors in a bubble a child blows.

For a moment the fragrance of summer can blow across your face if you let it. Better make haste. Memories of fragrance are so fleeting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

         

 

 

 

Maybe

 

  Soon Enough

 

It is dark nearly all of the time.

People have forgotten the feel of water.

Lifetimes have shortened

Partners are assigned

The dictionary has been revised.

So many words no longer exist,

Joy, Hope, Heart ,Listen, Compassion,

Friendship, Cookie, Sunshine, Language

Touch

The past disappeared so rapidly that

history

Forgot to transcribe itself.

There are no more Buddhists.

It’s tomorrow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Person of Interest

“I bought a trailer because I joined a gang.

My feet itched and my rain was shutting

down so I became a nomad

something I’ve always wanted to be.

Some language has a word for it: people

who don’t feel like they belong anywhere.

That’s me. I’m pretty old so I was worried

about camping places

alone. Don’t get me wrong I’ve got two

dogs but they haven’t been trained for

anything

but disobedience which I am fond of.

I am old now so no one would be interested

never knowing that I have a flipstack of cash

stored in my hubcaps: left front and right

rear.

I’ve always liked going north.

It doesn’t matter where I start

I just like heading north.

And I like it

Alone”

Taken from the Missouri Star interview with Lulu Roamer photographed in front of her Teardrop camper