Nothing Good Happens at the Edge of Town

Inspired by Edge of Town,

a show by portrait artist Warren Keyser,

coupled with my own reflections about the effects of

heroin addiction on people who have loved and lost an addict,

I wrote

this piece.

Angel’s Hellfire

Reflection upon terror attack at Pulse night club, Orlando, FL

Hypnotic beat
Pulses
Dancers meet
Seeking love
Soaking in acceptance
Social safe haven
Happy
Joyful

Cracks and pops
At first
Blend with the beat
Wait
Stop
Think
Too many
Screams
Save one,
All seek escape
Graphic violence unfolds
Carnage
Running
Falling
Trampling
Pain
Turns life to death
Hate spews
Fear cries out
Screams of horror
Begging to be spared
And grief beckon
Prayers lifted for
God to intercede
For life
For souls to take
For death

WHY?

To assuage repressed feelings
Cold heartedly calculating
Demonic possessions unleashed
Explosive bursts
Gunfire

To level a playing field
Stacked against
Oppressed minorities
With bloody pools of innocents

For retaliation?
For justice?
For purification?
For religion?

Misfiring synapses
Cause unfit mind
To unleash hellfire
Blindly upon angels

Until silence punctuated
With sobs
Last breaths
Ringtones
Flash bang
Shouting
Gunfire
Silence

Angels
angel wings test

In response to the needless slaughter and wounding of humans

in Orlando, Florida

on June 12, 2016

In honor of the medical personnel,

first responders,  investigators,

family and friends of each victim

who remain to piece together lives

which are forever changed

The Lunacy of the Sony Brouhaha

The recent brouhaha emanating from circumstances surrounding North Korea and the hack attack on Sony (which may or may not have changed the platform for the release of Seth Rogan’s “The Interview”) resulted in comments from President Barack Obama. He said, “Americans cannot change their patterns of behavior due to the possibility of a terrorist attack. That is not who we are, that’s not what America is about.”

I’ve given this some thought since the wide reporting of this particular sound bite. And you know what? On this point, the President is wrong—completely wrong.

There’s no doubt that America has its share of problems, though I’ll agree that Americans shouldn’t kowtow to every Looney Toon who threatens the country with annihilation (no offense to Bugs, Daffy, and Elmer.) We cannot continuously be intimidated by terrorists who appear to hate us for no other reason than that we exist. And let’s face it, North Korea keeps popping up on the radar like a Sesame Street game of “One of These Things is not like the Other.”

Photo Courtesy Warner Bros.

Since the September 11 attacks in 2001, Americans have changed their patterns of behavior—drastically. I can think of a half-dozen ways right off the top of my head, but there are a few that are obvious.

One that immediately springs to mind:

At various points in my life, I remember seeing off family and friends at the airport, watching as the plane detached itself from the boarding thruway and pulled away from the gate. I remember watching the plane taxi to its takeoff position at the end of a runway out of my view, and waiting with anticipation by the window to see the plane zip by all the while crying my eyes out and furiously waving goodbye as it lifted from the ground tucking its wheels into the belly. Today, not so much.

I have visions of days when entering a courthouse, arena, museum or other public place did not require a search of my bags, my person, or cause me any forethought about the metal or electronic objects with me that day.

Though I’m (as a general rule) not a chickenshit personality, I no longer feel comfortable in large crowds. That’s not to say I avoid them, or miss opportunities to participate in living among the masses when they arise, just that it can be unnerving in a way it was not before the attacks. These days, I own a Go Bag of sorts, something that never crossed my mind even at the height of the duck and cover era.

Maybe it’s just me, but I think the underlying current of the boomer generation and our attachment to our cells and handheld devices has very much to do with our collective fear of a terrorist attack. My theory is that we’re afraid to not  know where our loved ones are at all times. It may not be a debilitating fear, but it’s there bubbling under the surface. But no one is admitting to it or talking about it, at least I haven’t heard anyone. Oh, mind you I don’t think it’s the only reason we’re tethered, but a case can be made for it.

Nonetheless, it’s completely bizarre to me that the president made a statement saying that Sony “made a mistake” in failing to release the film to theaters for Christmas. Since when does the president make official statements about the business decisions of any publicly held company? It made me wonder when do media giants consult with the White House before making corporate decisions? Who stands to gain from it and where does the money trail lead?

I’m a reasonably intelligent adult, with a half century of experience at this thing called life, so I’m not so delusional as to believe that there are complex and covert things that happen in the upper echelons of government, business and media giants that may never be made public, but I do think the president should have left out his statement about who “we” are as Americans. Our patterns of behavior have changed due to the possibility of a terrorist attack and to suggest otherwise is in a word, wrong.

Victim

Chance
Randomness
Roll of dice
A spin of the big wheel
Run of a stop sign

Significant downward spiral
Until a choice between comfort or fear
Tempts a vulnerable one
Who in search of self-worth
Forsakes the past
Builds a new life of servitude
Torn between gratitude and fear
Addicted, beaten, and abused

Justice eludes those victims who
Undeniably deserve better than
Waiting lists
Judgement
Hasty, uninformed decisions

Youth flits precariously
Innocence disappears

 

Other Thoughts