Revolutionary Words

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“Revolutionary Words.” Sounds intriguing, and possibly…violent?

Not that kind of revolution. We’re talking about the bloodless kind, the mind revolution, each individual looking deep and changing the one and only person he/she/we are able: ourselves, one at a time. “Revolutionary Words” are those that dare to speak the truth out loud. “Revolutionary Words” are those that refuse to accept the status quo just because that’s the way it’s always been. “Revolutionary Words” are those that question the basic assumptions our society and our lives are built upon.

Practically speaking, “Revolutionary Words” is a new Social Justice Open Mic that I’m curating under my stage persona, MK Punky. We’re looking for poets and prophets to join us in a kind and nurturing space, Elderberries Community Justice Café, where some sensational spoken word artists seen often at Da Poetry Lounge will demonstrate that the Consciousness Revolution is well underway.

We hope one . . . → Read More: Revolutionary Words

The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology

perverts-guide-to-ideology

Slovene philosopher Slavoj Zizek is a charming public intellectual whose accented-English, absentminded nose-wiping, and obvious enthusiasm for Ideas make him a kind of ambassador of deep thinking. In the 2012 documentary “The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology,” directed by Sophie Fiennes, Zizek delivers dazzling deconstructions of many popular films, showing how they function as instruments of ideology and propaganda. Jaws, Titanic, Taxi Driver — they all contain subtle (and not so subtle) cues that encourage the viewer to believe and accept a prevailing ideology, much like “Triumph of the Will” worked for the Nazis. Zizek, and “The Guide” are provocative and highly entertaining, often more so than the movies he analyzes.

Honoring Our Laborers

Laboring

As we make final preparations for the most solemn American holiday, Labor Day, our mind turns to ways that we, and perhaps all of us, can make Monday’s national celebration of workers into a perfect expression of how we all really feel about laborers.

Vegas, baby!

Disneyland?

Another less exalted way of honoring those of us who actually work is to take a small slice of time out of our vacation – thirty minutes maybe? – to ask ourselves a simple question: Why do I believe what I believe?

It’s a useful line of inquiry. Had the millions of Americans . . . → Read More: Honoring Our Laborers

Is the Tall Man Happy?

is_the_man_who_is_tall_happy_an_animated_conversation_with_noam_chomsky

Driector Michel Gondry (“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”) is currently flummoxing viewers with his persistently inventive “Mood Indigo.” But of all his blazingly original creations, the 2013 documentary “Is the Tall Man Happy: An Animated Conversation with Noam Chomsky” might be his most densely wonderful work. Gondry and the indispensable linguist and social critic Chomsky have a wide-ranging chat. But instead of filming the discussion, Gondry animates it (beautifully and strangely). The result is simultaneously light and trippy, heavy and profound — and consistently mesmerizing.

Additional Golden Rules

golden rule

The original Golden Rule — “treat others as you wish to be treated” — sounds fantastic in theory, but isn’t really possible to apply practically, as evidenced by the lives each of us lead. Or maybe it is being applied and is difficult to recognize. Maybe how people wish to be treated is “horribly,” which explains all the reciprocal cruelty and malice that comprises standard treatment.

Perhaps the Golden Rule is just too darned complicated, too nuanced, an ongoing invitation to misinterpretation. We need something simpler. More concrete. Less subjective.

Like these.

 

1) Be an encourager, not a discourager.

2) Make love — with everyone.

3) Be generous — with everything.

 

Maybe we should stop trying to treat others as we wish to be treated. Maybe it’s more important simply to be an encouraging, loving, generous person.

. . . → Read More: Additional Golden Rules

Brandon Wardell

young brandon wardell

Remarkable comedic talent in young people is easy to spot. It presents itself insistently and clearly. What the precocious possessor of the talent will do with it — develop it or let it wither — is hard to predict (as demonstrated by our previous comedy New Discoveries). In the case of DC-raised, Los Angeles-based comedian Brandon Wardell, 22, we have a hunch that he’s going to be making people laugh for a long time. Already, he’s a fine joke writer and a confident orator, with flashes of conceptual brilliance that recall Bo Burnham, another young man intent on doing his own thing. We sense in Brandon Wardell a nascent artistry, a growing acceptance of his comic individuality. It should be an interesting journey to watch.

Poem: A Brief Autobiography

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I was a punk rocker. A real one. Original Midwestern Hardcore Punk Thrash

loud and fast and angry enough to convey the depths of agony

residing in our adolescent breasts, the unspeakable (only screamable) pain

of being trapped like a bear in a sharp leg clamp,

tortured by the knowledge that we were ensnared in a system

we wouldn’t choose except under the threat of torture, and maybe not even then.

Not having a choice: “I want to have high ideals, I want to love mankind,

trust my fellow man, be loving true and kind – but everyone tells me ‘No!’ Everyone tells me

‘No such thing!’” That’s what upset us so in those naïve days before

we figured out how it’s all arranged.

 

For a minute or some decades of my life I learned

to play the game, the same one I . . . → Read More: Poem: A Brief Autobiography

Poem: If One Could Add the Entirety

Godhead of the light

If one could add the entirety

of what we can see

and what we can’t —

the supplicant on a rant,

the matter dark, unknowable,

a bitterness that’s stowable –

what we would have to examine

are children wrenched by famine,

a panoply of catastrophes,

like man-made war, and disease.

 

We would also deign to look

at an ancient antiquated book

imparting wisdom, dispensing lessons,

doling out her meager blessings

to those who care to think

that knowing God demands a link

to better angels, vibes much higher,

illuminated by your fire,

the one that burns within

where there’s no hell and there’s no sin.

When you glow the healing starts

proving science doth love the arts.

 

We know the good resides all ‘round,

that humble plots are sacred ground,

that if you focus on the light

you’ll develop . . . → Read More: Poem: If One Could Add the Entirety

Poem: The Difference

malnourished children

The difference ‘tween him and he

appears at first randomly

in mutations rare

results unfair

blessing him with ignorance

cursing he with intelligence.

 

 

If a plan there be

we fail to see

what force of kindness

manufactured blindess

to that which pulses like the breast

of pigeondoves and marmosets.

The one who looks not like you

the blackdykewopniggajew

heshehim your sisterbrother

emerging from a wombless mother

the difference ‘tween us and it

disappears when tightly knit.

Poem: Changeable

cute chamelon

Chameleons are cute

what with their changing colors and all that

adorableness ready-made for advertising campaigns

but when hunting they are less charming

more like their brutish brethren that merely slither

unblinking and expressionless

the toughest poker pedant to take

an oath

Hippocratic or otherwise

you would not find the same cute chameleon quite so cute

in a marketing cute kind of way

if you saw the lizard with a beetle in its mouth

not yet dead but vaguely aware that the insistent crushing pressure upon its abdomen

means among other less important things that this is the end

and please let it come soon and let the pain

this pain

this excruciating pain of jaws pinching into my middle

my guts and viscera starting to ooze

let it end

the three arms that aren’t trapped I flail about

summoning and being forsaken

in . . . → Read More: Poem: Changeable