Tuesday, July 04, 2006

happy fourth...

this is better on the fourth of july

it is
to watch
an errant
in the weeds
of someone else's
an orange explosion
a blue and green canvas
still wet
from a thunderstorm

than to watch
in a department store parking lot
with thirty thousand people

the flower
is more independant,
turning its head
with heavy water towards earth
those people
look up as one

unable to
see the stars


it is hard for me to watch what is happening in our country. it is hard to fathom the hatred and the divisions and the ideologies and the disinformation and the fear. it is hard to listen to the reports of brutality in all its forms both here and abroad, both against us and in our name. it is hard to imagine our freedoms, our rights, being systematically dismantled and revoked in the name of war, murder and bloodshed. it is hard to think about children who are growing up today and this is the only world they will know.

but it is fucking impossible for me to gather with them and celebrate an Ideal that they do not even care enough about to stand up for when it is hacked and gushing on the gore-stained earth, when it is usurped and manipulated for the good of a few savage beasts with terrible yellow fangs dripping diseased thousand dollar bills.

nope. I'm gonna watch the storm roll in and pour heavy water. and wait.


I am vomiting on myself. think about THIS, then think about how few people in that goddamn department store parking lot, full of hotdogs and cheap beer and self-satisfaction for all the support they give to our troops, patting themselves on the back for what great fucking Americans they are, think about how few of them have ANY MOTHERFUCKING IDEA AT ALL about what happens to these boys and girls when they are FINISHED fighting for the OUTRAGEOUS LIES AND HORRIBLE GREED of G BUSH and CHENEY and RUMSFELD. how they don't think about the VA hospitals filled to overflowing with the wounded, tens of thousands of them not included in the always rapidly growing number of the American dead in Iraq. how they don't think about the nightmares that will plague these CHILDREN for the REST OF THEIR LIVES.

I cannot stand it. the war is WRONG. the way we act in the face of it is WRONG. there should be NO FIREWORKS, NO PARADES, NO SONGS, only contrition and sacrifice.

just like our brave soldiers who are the only heroes I can see on this bloody and miserable fourth of goddamn july.


thank god someone provided me with a measure of hope for what we do stand for here in America.

**Photo by Cynthia Etheridge, UPRIGHT's "staff photographer"**


Blogger Partisanpoet said...

Much truth in what you've said. I think we should make July 5th Interdependence Day becuse the truth is that we are dependent on each other and on the planet we're trashing. Better to celebrate the reality of our interdependence than the illusion of competitive individualism and the artificial borders they use to divide us.

8:37 AM  
Blogger Luis said...


Great poem here as well.

11:51 AM  
Blogger j.b said...

beautiful poem and photograph.

watching a storm is better than anything else you can do. a good thunderstorm is nature's firework display.

great post.

let the heavy rains begin.

3:31 PM  
Blogger christopher cunningham said...

thanks guys. PP, you are damn straight. we are SO interconnected in our "Freidman-esque flatworld" that it is impossible to go further forward without a massive GROUP effort. this falsehood of "individuality" that is promoted by a media with a vested interest in you purchasing what they are selling ALWAYS will keep driving fake wedges between us, will keep us from recognizing our common humanity and will eventually be our downfall. divide and conquer right? sure. as old as devious men attempting coup d'etats for their own bloody gain.

and it is always in their interests to continue the illusory divide of nation-states in a time of corpocracy and totalitarian conglomeratization.


3:55 PM  
Blogger christopher cunningham said...

and the photo credit of course goes to cynthia.

4:02 PM  
Blogger Luis said...

Yes, of course, I wanted to say great photograph.

My mom was telling today she hoped it would rain today. The fireworks have been going up for more than a month & I'm not at all into that as I was a kid. The fire engines have been busy as well, putting out fires. It has been too damn hot around here. A little cold rain would be just about right.

And those thunderstorms, yes, in the distance of course, would be great to see.

5:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

j.b here, circumventing the prying eyes of the NSA and posting anonymously via my phone.

a big storm has just arrived here in Utah. shallow thunder echoes through the valley and a cold, soaking rain pours from the dark skies. it's a rare sight here. the trees bent from the wind like old men stooped over their walker. the roads glazed with water swiftly cascading into the storm drains.

the power has been out for an hour now as the wife and i sit in relative darkness, the sliding door open to keep us cool, the pattering of the rain and the revving of the thunder keeping us soothed. we sit in the darkness keeping each other company, waiting for the storm to pass, but hoping it never really does.

they try to divide us, yes, but they will never truly, fully succeed because in the end there will be times like now when the power goes out and we will be alone with each other and the chilling rain and the deep, booming thunder. they will never be able to take this away from us.

6:22 PM  
Blogger Luis said...


Could it be an NSA designed thunderstorm, who've also left you in darkness?

Hope you are enjoying this day, fine images in your comment, enjoy the darkness...

9:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

j.b again.
the storm has passed. yet another weighs heavy on me.
i was not aware so many vets are homeless. this saddens me in a profound and deep way.


you're right, these half-witted countrymen of ours, so eager to denounce any dissent as unpatriotic, so eager to proclaim their jingoistic affinities, so eager to show their love for the good ol' RED WHITE AND BLUE just don't want to know about the truth.

there is a storm on the horizon, and great gales of wind and great streaks of lightning and great volumes of rain are waiting. i'm afraid, though, that we're not prepared.

11:40 PM  
Blogger christopher cunningham said...

I think about the money expended on fireworks, parades, hotdog feasts, red white and blue shirts from China, mall shopping fourth of july sales, the millions and millions and think to myself, "why the fuck are we not USING THIS WASTE OF MONEY to build these guys a fucking place to live? why don't all these "patriots" stay home and donate all their "fourth of july fun money" to some STARVING VET who cannot deal with the THINGS HE WAS FORCED TO DO IN THE NAME OF OUR PRESIDENT AND HIS LIES.

how hard is it to take care of the FEW PEOPLE BRAVE ENOUGH TO DEFEND US? even though their current battle is to stay alive long enough to come home from this MONSTROSITY WROUGHT BY CHENEY AND RUMMY, forged in the fires of some avaricious hell.

I agree, j.b I am saddened in a profound way here on this rainy fourth. the explosions from idiots sound all around me here at the compound, they are in the streets with their chinese fireworks, drunk on cheap beer, yelling and screaming, and FOR WHAT? if you asked, they would mumble something about "america..." and there you go, my friends.

ugh. shit.

and I like fireworks myself. just not watching them with cattle primed and fed for the slaughter.

12:34 AM  
Blogger j.b said...

you nailed.

and if you asked they would mumble something about america...

they don't know. they don't WANT to know. they just want to spend 9 hours a day working for the man, 4-5 hours a day in front of the tv being entertained by the modern-day minstrel shows and spend all their money on gas-guzzling, sweat-shop-made, fire-producing diversions.

and they don't WANT to know about the rest of it.

9:54 AM  
Anonymous MOM C said...

I can't argue with much that has been said here, in fact, I agree with it.

I am glad however, that some beauty crept into an otherwise sad and maddening situation - but, alas, I am a lover of beauty which sometimes gets in the way of the sad and maddening events that take place around me. I am sorry for that but not sorry for being a lover of beauty.

The beauty of the flowers with heavy water, the thunderstorm in the darkened sky, the beauty of fireworks shared with family while watching not only the grandeur of the explosions, but also the awestruck look on the grandkids faces when they are able to experience it for themselves by holding a sparkler or throwing a popper on the ground and screaming in delight at the sound they produced. I heard that sound last evening talking on the phone with my grandson - and all other sounds around me went silent.

So, yes, there is so much wrong with the country today, and so many people oblivious to it, that we must pay attention to all that has been said here and do more to repair what we can, but we must also never loose sight of the good that is around us as well.

Well said My Favorite Poet!

11:57 AM  
Blogger j.b said...

good points, mom c-
we must always look to what is around us. there is beauty everywhere. and it's this beauty that makes our lives worth living, be it the beauty of a grandson, the beauty of a beloved old car, the beauty of fireworks, the beauty of lone lily pushing through the loam in a desolate prairie.

i look to the poetry from a few certain poets where i know i will find truth and love and above all BEAUTY!

6:53 PM  
Blogger cat said...

mom-i wept at your words (being on the other end of that cursed umbilical cord we call the phone!) But even if that is the only beauty we can find in this, just the SOUND, then i'm thankful at least we are able to find that.

And isn't that the power? The ability to find the beauty at all? I agree with you, Chris, that talk is cheap. And yet that's all I've done. I haven't contributed anything to the state of this nation but opinion and tax dollars that line the already thick pockets of the rich. I feel compelled to take your idea of redirecting my "patriotic spending" to those who really need it. Even the $40 I spent on fireworks for the kids could have fed a family that had none. Words are easy, action is hard.

And yet, I am also one of those who have been left behind to fend for myself. One who has been beaten down time and time again by our screwed up system. Educated, talented, working my ass off to feed my kids and still bending over farther to the benefit of the elite.

Not to take anything away from the vets!! They have suffered far more than I, and will continue to. But there are countless numbers of middle class (like us) who are also in a deep hole because of our Dear Leader.

There are more of us than them....where's the revolution?

12:06 AM  
Blogger cat said...

But to look for the beauty...at least I COULD afford the $40 for the kids. I didn't have to explain why we didn't have any fireworks when all their friends did. And it brought me joy to watch theirs and to hear mom's. That's better than anything and for that I'm grateful.

12:09 AM  
Blogger christopher cunningham said...

a great commment cat. and very good points. it is surely the middle class that is under seige here in america. when congress votes itself a raise and then DENIES the pooorest motherfucking americans a SLIGHT raise in the MINIMUM WAGE (that there even has to be a minimum so folks won't get paid in SLAVERY is an atrocity in this country of wealth) which hasn't been adjusted for inflation in YEARS, it disgusts one. when the vets don't have armor EVEN THOUGH WE"RE SPENDING EIGHT BILLION DOLLARS A MONTH IN IRAQ, when HALLIBURTON CAN LOSE NINE BILLION AND NOT BE CRUCIFIED FOR IT, how can we expect our $40 will REALLY help these vets. well, it helps in that it shows us to be DIFFERENT from THEM, in fact, better than Dear Leader and his evil cadre of fanatics. it helps when we illustrate to our friends that MILLIONS OF DOLLARS blown up in the skies for the oooohs and ahhhhs of folks who don't understand that there are 200,000 HOMELESS VETS IN THIS COUNTRY, I WANT TO PUKE.

certainly I don't begrudge ANYONE a moment of joy and peace and relief from the struggle, but on the FOURTH OF JULY, INDEPENDENCE DAY, I expect more from so-called PATRIOTS.

we are going to start a monthly fund, and find a soldier's family to help with some dough each month they are serving in that horrible place. we can't afford it but we can't NOT afford it either.

when our vets come home and sleep in their cars with their nightmares, something MUST change FUNDAMENTALLY in this country.

thanks for reading.

6:31 AM  
Blogger christopher cunningham said...

and j.b, sorry about the puke cliches littered throughout this post. cliches are truisms that have been overused by necessity sometimes, I guess.

6:32 AM  
Anonymous MOM C said...

What a fantastic idea. When you start that fund for a soldier's family, we will be a contributor. We try to help the homeless (human and animal alike) and your idea of helping a soldier's family is a wonderful one and we would want to be a part of that as well. AND THAT IS BEAUTY FOLKS. AT LEAST WE WILL HAVE DONE SOMETHING AND THAT IS MORE THAN DEAR LEADER HAS DONE.

My heart is smiling!

Hopefully your poet friends aren't getting nauseous at all this wonderful mush we are making.

9:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tommy, NSA here:

well, we all get sick of the hippie love fest around here at times, mom c, but it does this Agent's "inner-Frenchman's" heart proud to hear all of this Actual Patriotic Talk, mushy or no.

and Shakespeare wanted me to tell you that if any of his so-called "poet's" friends have something to say to him, they'll have the entire damn NSA to deal with, plus Shakespeare is an angry wiry motherfucker with a sharp blade and a bad attitude most days, so you get what you pay for if you call him out, so speak freely.

this is America after all, even if it feels like France sometimes on this freakshow of a blog.

end transmission

9:40 AM  
Blogger c. allen rearick said...

just a quote i love and wanted to post in light of the resent ruling and the 4th of ju-lie.

If you want a symbolic gesture, don't burn the flag; wash it.
-norman thomas

9:46 AM  
Blogger christopher cunningham said...


thanks for the kind willingness to donate to our "fund." it is still in a planning kind of stage, but we may decide to post more on it here, see what kind of money we can generate after doing a bit more research, etc.

and mom, I AM LAUGHING MY ASS OFF TO HEAR YOU SAY DEAR LEADER. TOO MOTHERFUCKING FUNNY. sorry for the swearing, but jeez. that's just great. and VERY ACCURATE ALSO. check out this link to find out how LITTLE he has done. especially note this part here:

"Bush was asked if he was planning any special benefits for U.S. troops who had served multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. He said he had already worked to increase military benefits but he had nothing specific in mind for troops who had deployed many times.

“I will work with Congress if people bring up good ideas,” he said."

this motherfucker is the Decider?

well, he has to consult everyone first:

"One soldier now serving in Iraq asked how many times he would have to return to the war zone in the next five years. Bush said he did not have an answer.

“The conditions on the ground will determine our troop levels..."

"“In asking that question through the chain of command..."

"Bush called the question hypothetical and deferred comment to Gen. George Casey, commander of Multinational Force-Iraq..."

you get the idea...

more later on the "fund", everyone.

9:46 AM  
Blogger christopher cunningham said...

great quote CAR.

I needed to wash mine after all the burning it's been thru recently.

9:47 AM  
Blogger christopher cunningham said...

to sum up the link further:

"political talking point..."


"blatant lie..."


"misleading statement..."

"evasive answer..."

and hell, that sums up the ENTIRETY of the presidency to this point.

9:50 AM  
Anonymous MOM C said...

Tommy, NSA,

Ok then, speak freely I will - mushy or no - and, by the way, who are you anyway!!!

10:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tommy, NSA here:

mom c, I can neither confirm nor deny that I am the NSA agent (National Security Agency) who is tapping your son's phone/email/blog/letters/poems/books/website visits/friends houses/your house/etc.

see here for one of our Friendly Program for Governmental Friendliness, and here for another.

end transmission

11:08 AM  
Blogger j.b said...

not much time...
just wanted to quickly say that the wife and I are very interested, Chris, in contributing and helping with your plans to help the returning soldiers who are having a hard time.

we must do something.

lots of good stuff going on in this post. lots of good comments. almost gives me hope.

1:01 PM  
Blogger cat said...

I, too, am willing and excited to help with the fund contributions. It would make me proud to be able to DO something. Keep us posted. I'm thinking it could have an impressive ripple effect. We might just be surprised how much we can really impact the situation. Possibly even get Mr. Lou Dobbs on board? You know he's my hero!! We can start the revolution with this one simple act. Watch it grow!

3:01 PM  
Anonymous MOM C said...

Tommy, NSA
Don't you guys in the NSA know not to mess with a mom and her family!!! We are not afraid of you - besides, we're Italian - need I say more!!! You'd better watch YOUR back!!! And don't go trying to trick me into going to those links so you can infiltrate my computer. Ugh, maybe you have already done that - oh well, it still stands - we're Italian - nuff said.

There is no love lost between me and DEAR LEADER. I don't have all the information you do, I just don't like him - period!

This is exciting isn't it. You did not give up hope on your house so I can't magine you giving up hope on anything else. This is just one more thing to get through and if we all ban together, we can make a difference in at least one persons life - that's beautiful!

You are so right, this may be something major going on here and it will be nice to know we have DONE something instead of just TALKING about doing something.

3:26 PM  
Blogger Luis said...

Count me in Chris, on the contribution.

It is Dear Leader's birthday
or so I heard on the news.

2:39 AM  
Blogger j.b said...

if it IS in fact Dear Leader's birthday, then what am I doing at work?

it should be a federal -- strike that, a GLOBAL -- holiday.

Hail, Dear Leader. All Hail!

10:08 AM  

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