Carnival

 

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Carnival
(29 March 2019 AD
12 April 2019 AD
25 June 2019 AD)

house of cards
jacks and jokers
twos and threes
running wild
vacant faces
loaded wallets
crowded rooms

dry bones
wizened teeth
tongue-tied cheeks
feet shuffling

tiny corkscrew
worms gnawing
through what passes
as a brain

high-wire tumble
into this tumbril
wheel-of-fortune-barrow
plentiful cornucopia
copycat horn of luck

clock faces blank
no numbers no hands,
egg-white circles
stuttering uttering
cluttering
flustered minds
meaningless circus sounds

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Divorce

 

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Divorce
Rage, rage …

Sometimes you wake up in the morning and you realize that you can do no more. So what is it about family split-ups, the pain and ugliness of a disputed divorce, the glue coming unstuck in an already unstable marriage, a financial settlement that satisfies nobody and splits and impoverishes both sides of a divide?

And how do you bridge that divide when you are friends with father, mother, children and the wounds are so deep that everyone of them wants out, whatever the costs and whatever it takes? And what is it about the deliberate wounding of each by the others, the permanent scars that will never heal over, never be stitched over, no matter how hard a third party tries?

And what right does a third party (fourth party, fifth party, sixth party) have to step in and try to force issues?

And what is it about lawyers, when too many guests gather around the Thanksgiving turkey and the knives are out for everyone to take the choicest cuts and what’s left now but a skeletal carcass, no flesh on the bones, and the guests all hungry still and their empty bellies rumbling for more, more, more … and this isn’t Oliver Twist, “Please sir, may I have some more?” though everyone is heading for the poor house and the beadles are also gathering by bedlam’s door with their handcarts and dogs and the full enforcement of a blue-serge law made to twist and torment, though I have never understood the law, especially when it is left in the hands of lawyers, for “the law, dear sir, is an ass”, a striped ass at that, black and white like a zebra, though grey and costly in the areas that matter most.

And what is there to do but rant away about the injustice of it all, the size of the checks and now you must check-out the food banks, the soup kitchens, the meals on wheels, the charity eating and boarding houses, because there’s no more roof over the head and the house is sold and the incomes are split and the children are more-or-less cared for, though rather less than more, and the dog is turfed from his dog house and the pussy cat booted from her feathered bed.

Rant, I say, rant and rage away, rage, rage against the dying of friendship and the death of love, because that’s all you can do in this blood sport where even the spectators are spattered with the refined frenzy of friends turned into fiends and foes, and this is a protest, a rant against love that doesn’t stand the course of time, against families that break up, against a society that breaks them up, drives wedges and scissors between people once bound by the puppet strings of love, against relationships that can no longer continue, against the rattling of dead white bones in empty cupboards where the skeletons dance their way into legal daylight and the spectators call for more, more, more, more blood, more money, more blood money, and the engagement diamond is a blood diamond now, a tarnished garnet, and where is the Little Old Lady of Threadneedle Street, that spire inspired needle that will stitch their world back together, and stitch you back together when you have been shocked out of your own ruby-sweet rose-tinted world and torn into little bits in their oh-so-bitter one, the biters bitten and those bitten biting back in return, a new world this world of snapping turtles, turtles standing on the back of turtles, and turtle after turtle all the way down until this carnival world wears its dead clown mask and turns turtle in its turn …

I dreamed all of this last night and woke up this morning and realized … I love them all, but  I can do no more.

 

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Teddy Bear’s Nick Pit

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Today’s the day the teddy bears have their nit-pick: and what a nick pit it’s going to be. Who knows who’s starting what? Who knows where it will go? Who knows where it will end? More than anything else it reminds me of the monkeys in the monkey temple, sitting on their steps and pinnacles, in hierarchical orders, each searching the other monkey for nits and fleas and squeezing them between thumb-nail and middle finger nail, with a blood-red ‘click’ and a life-ending ‘clack’.

“Great fleas have lesser fleas upon their backs to bite them. And lesser fleas have smaller fleas, and so ad infinitum.” I remember this from my childhood, but, more important, the rhyme bite ’em / ad infinitum goes back much father than that, as you will see if you click on this Wikipedia article. Oh boy, Jonathan Swift, and you thought I was bad. I am Canadian Maple Syrup compared to his Irish Thistle Honey. And don’t talk to me about Swift’s views on famine, and how to avoid it.

Anyway, who knows what will happen. Apparently, my former family and clan, the Brits, do not know the old Spanish proverb: Martes, ni te cases, ni te embarques‘ / Tuesday: don’t get married and don’t set out on a journey. Why ever not? Because Tuesdays were apparently the days when the Spanish Inquisition punished the adulterers, male and female, set them upon donkeys, naked from the waist up, and whipped them round the streets while the town criers sang out their crimes in time to the executioners who wielded the whips and painted their sins in red stripes upon their criminal flesh.

Tuesday, bruise day: it’s going to be fun (gallows’ humor). What will become of (once great) Great Britain? What will become of Europe? What will become of our cultural and philosophical world order? Climate change, cultural change, ideological change, political change, the wind of change …  I guess it’s blowing, but who knows in what directions it will blow us all? So easy to open Pandora’s Box: so difficult to pack everything back inside.

Martes, ni te cases, ni te embarques‘  …

By the bye:

I wrote this two or three days ago, before the test squad for the West Indies was selected. Today (Monday, Monday), Theresa a decided not to hold the vote tomorrow, Tuesday, Tuesday, which is now today. Does anyone really know what is happening? How United is the Untied Kingdom [sick]. I certainly don’t know. Meanwhile, the Teddy Bears are having a picnic, and they are all out there, in the woods, Sherwood Forest probably, watching out for the Sheriff of Nottingham, and nit-picking.

 

 

 

Run, Turkey, Run

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Do turkeys vote for Thanksgiving or Christmas? Good question. An equally good question, do turkeys have a democratic vote? Well. I doubt that. If they did, they would probably vote for vegetarians and vegans, and who could blame them? I certainly wouldn’t.

One of my memories of the Dominican Republic is seeing young ladies standing on corners by the highway with chickens and geese beneath their arms. The birds looked very excited to be out, flapping and squawking at their moment of liberty. Every so often, a car would stop, a bird would be exchanged for cash, and off it would go, flapping and squawking happily away with its new family. Little did it know the fate that lay in wait. I am reminded of Boxer, in Animal Farm, promised freedom and an after-work-life of clover-filled pastures only to be led unceremoniously into the rag-and-bone man’s truck, destined for the glue factory.

I am reminded too of the Quebec referendum and Separation H. The vote was close and, as the Parizeau man said: “as soon as they have voted ‘yes’ we have them in the lobster pot.” The lobster pot, the roasting dish: Thanksgiving, Christmas, Brexit, Separation H … oh boy, the joys that await us as we mark our little square boxes with their little neat crosses, never remembering the crosses, row on row, that mark the graves in Flanders Fields where all those lovely poppies grow. ‘Sheep unto the slaughter’, thought the French troops as they bleated like sheep while marching towards the meat-mincer of Verdun. A voiced protest, maybe, but not really a mutiny. In spite of that, 1 in 10, 10%, the true meaning of decimation, were then shot by their own side … for mutiny. Afterwards, the offending regiments were forcibly broken up. Clearly, the authorities didn’t want the war effort affected by the voicing of any hint of the realities of that war.

So, my fellow democrats, liberals, free-thinkers, and well-wishers: let us link hands and join in the Lobster Quadrille, or if you’d prefer the YouTube version, click on the second link. And while you are waiting for the link to appear you may as well sing that sublime chorus so often associated with Separation H:

“Parizeau, Parizeau:
is it yes or is it no?
Parizeau, Parizeau:
into the lobster pot you go.”

 

Brexit

 

What a mess! If anyone thinks that they actually do understand what is really happening, please enlighten me. Please, pretty please, with sugar on.

In my cartoon above, the road to hell is clearly paved with good intentions: but what are those intentions? To remove Britain from Europe under the donkey’s nasal bray that ‘the people once they have spoken may never again change their minds’? It would seem so. It would also seem that many are still speaking, and most of them at cross-purposes. I want to know what the conditions are that will  be applied after the British Exit from Europe? I haven’t seen them clearly set out nor have I been able to read the small print. The devil is in the detail, indeed, and the devil is waiting in the fiery furnace to the left at the bottom of the cartoon. 

Will the United Kingdom morph into the Once-United Kingdom? It certainly seems to be the Dis-United Kingdom at present. Once again the nationalist and separatist movements are waving their flags: Scotland for the Scots (and stay in Europe), a united Ireland with no borders, political or otherwise (and stay in Europe), Wales for the Welsh (and, according to Plaid Cymru, also stay in Europe).

I remember all too well the Quebec separation referendum here in Canada. The comedians called it Separation H (after a well-known medical application to a certain part of the anatomy). However, I saw the anguish and the hurt and the damage that the Quebec referendum brought to all Canadians and I would not wish that on anyone. Yet, the British people seem to be going through not the same, but a similar, deeply-felt existential anguish over Brexit. 

According to the proverb, in the kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed  man is king. So what far-sighted, one-eyed man or woman will rise to the top of the bonfire to sort out this mess? I crave enlightenment. I want reason to return to an emotional tangle of mashed advertisements, baffling propaganda, twisted tweets, and mingled myth and legend. 

Rex quondam, rexque futurus: perhaps King Arthur, the once and future king, will return with his knights of the round table to sort all of this out. One thing is certain: he’d better bring Merlin the Magician back with him, or nothing will get sorted, and that’s for sure.

Nota Bene: I no longer live in Great Britain and, as a result, I am neither for nor against Brexit. I would just like to understand what is happening and what the eventual results will be. Perhaps, as Blake once wrote

“I shall not cease from mortal strife, /
nor shall my sword sleep in my hand, /
till we have built Jerusalem, /
in England’s green and pleasant land.”

However, I notice that Blake didn’t mention Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, nor did he offer us a timetable, nor did he say where the money and the [re-] construction material was coming from. Perhaps there is a glorious and wonderful future ahead for all of the people who live in Britain (no longer great and a kingdom no longer united)  … but, looking at the wild fires in California, and the hurricanes in Puerto Rico, and the flooding in the Carolinas, and the early snow outside my window, I somehow doubt it. I also doubt that, right now, smaller is better.

Thursday Thoughts: Divorce

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Thursday Thoughts
19 July 2018
DDD
[Divorce, Division, Dissent)

Sometimes you wake up in the morning and you realize that you can do no more. So what is it about family split-ups, the pain and ugliness of a disputed divorce, the glue coming unstuck in an already unstable marriage,  a financial settlement that satisfies nobody and splits and impoverishes both sides of a divide? And how do you bridge that divide when you are friends with father, mother, children and the wounds are so deep that everyone of them wants out, whatever the costs and whatever it takes? And what is it about the deliberate wounding of each by the others, the permanent scars that will never heal over, never be stitched over, no matter how hard a third party tries? And what right does a third party (fourth party, fifth party, sixth party) have to step in and try to force issues? And what is it about lawyers, when too many guests gather around the Thanksgiving turkey and the knives are out for everyone to take the choicest cuts and what’s left now but a skeletal carcass, no flesh on the bones, and the guests all hungry still and their empty bellies rumbling for more, more, more … and this isn’t Oliver Twist, “Please sir, may I have some more?” though everyone is heading for the poor house and the beadles are also gathering by bedlam’s door with their handcarts and dogs and the full enforcement of a blue-serge law made to twist and torment, though I have never understood the law, especially when it is left in the hands of lawyers, for “the law, dear sir, is an ass”, a striped ass at that, black and white like a zebra, though grey and costly in the areas that matter most. And what is there to do but rant away about the injustice of it all, the size of the checks and now you must check-out the food banks, the soup kitchens, the meals on wheels, the charity eating and boarding houses, because there’s no more roof over the head and the house is sold and the incomes are split and the children are more-or-less cared for, though rather less than more, and the dog is turfed from his dog house and the pussy cat booted from her feathered bed. Rant, I say, rant and rage away, rage, rage against the dying of friendship and the death of love, because that’s all you can do in this blood sport where even the spectators are spattered with the refined frenzy of friends turned into fiends and foes, and this is a protest, a rant against love that doesn’t stand the course of time, against families that break up, against a society that breaks them up, drives wedges and scissors between people once bound by the puppet strings of love, against relationships that can no longer continue, against the rattling of dead white bones in empty cupboards where the skeletons dance their way into legal daylight and the spectators call for more, more, more, more blood, more money, more blood money, and the engagement diamond is a blood diamond now, a tarnished garnet, and where is the Little Old Lady of Threadneedle Street, that spire inspired needle that will stitch their world back together, and stitch you back together when you have been shocked out of your own ruby-sweet rose-tinted world and torn into little bits in their oh-so-bitter one, the biters bitten and those bitten biting back in return, a new world this world of snapping turtles, turtles standing on the back of turtles, and turtle after turtle all the way down until this carnival world wears its dead clown mask and turns turtle in its turn …

I dreamed all of this last night and woke up this morning and realized … I can do no more.