Sunday, March 17, 2013

Terrible Poems

"Gun Control." This is a meaningless term and it leads to the silly question of whether you are for it or against it. Consider my suggestion for better language. The debate focuses on gun ownership -- who may legally own a weapon, and what type of weapons might be legally owned.

That's ownership. Possession means you have it, whether legally or not. "Use" means firing the weapon, but it can mean displaying the weapon with an intent........ but "control" doesn't mean anything.

We can make better laws if we use better language.

If you own a weapon and you loan it to your friend, then he possesses it. If he then uses that weapon to commit a crime, are you responsible? To what degree?

We can make better laws to govern this behavior if we make the effort to speak clearly.

Charlie Krafft. Charlie is still in the news. Yesterday I was interviewed by The New Yorker, concerning my objection to his words, which I consider to be anti-Semitic. This story began with the Frog Hospital letter of January 11 and then spread to national media websites. It should be ending pretty soon, one hopes. Anti-Semitism is not only shocking and evil -- it also gets very boring.That's one of it's tell-tale signs -- the banality of it.

I have objected to Charlie's words, not his ceramic art. But I will say this -- displaying the swastika in art is not a good thing, it scares people. No, not now, but maybe a hundred years from now it might be all right to use this symbol.

The New Pope. We can dispose of one problem quickly. The media cries corruption and scandal at the mis-use of money and power within the Curia -- the governing body of the Catholic Church. Where is the Vatican located? In Rome, in Italy. So, like, duh, to use California jargon, the Church is not corrupt, it's Italian.

The sex abuse situation is another matter. It's not funny -- they have to do better.

Pope Francis says he will help the poor. I'm glad he said that, but how will he do that -- give out food stamps?

I like the Catholic Church and the ruling papacy. It is the largest and wealthiest organization on this planet without a standing army. The Pope may cast you into perdition, but he cannot invade your country. As such, this makes him more useful than the United Nations -- he might be able to persuade or influence national leaders in a good way.

You Can Thank Me. I got up at 5:30, drove to the beach and took a sunrise walk. The fog was thick, the sound of crashing waves was muted, the light emerged quietly. I had the sand to myself, except for one surf fisherman. During this 90 minute walk I composed the outline of a 5,000 word essay on culture and politics. When I got back to my car I realized that I would not have the time to write it. This depressed me until I realized that you wouldn't have time to read it either. So it is much better for everyone if I just give you two short poems.

A Short Poem is a Good Poem

A Baptist and a Buddhist walked into a bar,
But I haven't gotten very far,

In writing this poem
In yellow and chrome
In pale-green sea foam.

The Buddhist said Save Me,
I'm scared half to death.
The Baptist laughed and said
Save Your Breath,

Cause I'm going to visit the Dalai Lama,
And tell him that it's time to stop this drama.

This is an old story, it might not be true,
Of a Baptist, a Buddhist, a Catholic, a Jew

In the LaConner Tavern in 1982,
Sonia was making crab-burgers for a select few.

That was back in the day when you could run a tab.
You could get drunk and walk home, you didn't need a cab.

Dirty Biter was scrounging,
Clyde Sanborn was lounging,

Robert Sund was sponging,
While he chalked up his cue.
And tourists came in for the view

Of Swinomish Channel,
The log rafts, the sea gulls,
The herons, the eagles,
And derelict hulls.

(Dirty Biter was a well-known dog-about-town at that time)

The Lion of Cambridge

I saw Harvey Blume
Arise from his tomb.

I am not dead, he lamented,
Only pickled and somewhat demented.

Dill pickled? I asked.
No, bone-weary, bare naked, un-masked.

That was in Cambridge in Harvard Square
Where Harvey played chess with devils and bears,

Bears of uncertainty, wild and free,
While the Red Line rumbled underneath on its way to the sea.

Does a bear shit in the woods? Harvey joked.
No, the bear took the Red Line to Quincy and croaked.

You can Thank Me. Frog Hospital is still surprising after 15 years. You still don't know what to expect from one issue to the next. We only have two rules. Tell the truth and don't waste anyone's time. Please consider buying a subscription, and I thank you in return.

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Fred Owens
35 West Main ST
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Ventura, CA 93001

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Fred Owens

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