By Gary Corseri
Nov. 7, 2008
Here’s how it is, God/Lord/Goddess/Ineffable Holy Spirit: I spent all my money on drugs trying to reach a higher consciousness. This was during the Vietnam War when I couldn’t figure out why in God’s name—I mean, Your name, Your Holiness!—my beloved country was killing 3 million people in Vietnam and unleashing Pol Pot’s killing fields (4 million dead) in Cambodia-Kampuchea. So I smoked until my lungs hurt, made love until my pecker drooped, and listened to “Abbey Road.” I tried ‘shrooms and coke (not cola!), read “Howl” and “On the Road,” marched against the war and racism and I finally concluded: It wasn’t my country that was doing this crap. My country was lost down the memory hole with Carroll’s rabbit, lay mouldering in the grave with Thomas Paine, Frederick Douglas, Henry Thoreau, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Tecumseh, Geronimo, Crazy Horse, MLK, et. al.. When I had my epiphany, I gave my worldly goods to the poor and spent years sleeping in the enfolding, upward-reaching limbs of a giant sequoia. I made friends with wolves and eagles who told me their stories and invited me to share their food.
Occasionally, they’d tell me news of the simian world: how Nixon had been pardoned for his war crimes; how Kissinger was still pissing on the world; how Carter walked to his inauguration but was defeated by a man on a horse; how the son of a Nazi sympathizer got to be president; and how a guy from Hope bombed Serbia—and the people said, “Where’s Serbia?” They told me that elections were stolen in 2000 and 2004, but people no longer cared because they’d lost two towering symbols of their wealth, power and prestige and they were hell-bent on revenge; how their revenge was killing them and how the thieves had stolen their treasury of the children’s future. So now I’m asking you, God, Jesus, Holy Mother of Buddha, Laotze and the Horned Toad, the Flying Serpent, the Green Ant, and the Wild Horses—send me a bail-out cause I wanna do some good before I die, I wanna save some people who are hurtin’, I gotta start a community, I gotta start a whole new country, I gotta dismantle the White-wash House and the do-nuttin’-but-B.S. Congress and the Un-Supreme Court and Treasury and the FBI and the Pentagon so the people can just live—so they can walk thru the forest and feel the sunlight and the rain. Because Laotze and Tacitus both said, the more laws, the less freedom, and Laotze said you rule an empire the way you cook a small fish—carefully, attentively, gently. So, fire up the barbie, Lord, and let the coals glow red, put a couple quadrillion in my bank account, cause I still got dreams and this ain’t gonna come cheap.
Minerva, Juno, Mother Mary, you sent us your messenger, Barack Obama, who delivered his sermon, called, “Change We Can Believe In.” And the wind soughed, filling my world with pine freshness, and the clouds scudded and I thought: It’s change I can’t believe in that I want! I can’t believe that America will declare peace on the world, cut its military budget by 9/10 and work towards the elimination of all weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear, by 2010. I can’t believe our hospitals will open their doors to the needy, treat our citizens to the kind of health care enjoyed by the Japanese, Venezuelans, Germans, Scandinavians and other people in rich and poor lands around the world. I cannot believe that we shall have socialism in America—not real socialism with a little “s,” based on fairness and egalitarianism (though I do believe we shall continue to have “socialism for the rich” which is really just another phrase for fascism!). I cannot believe that our media will relinquish control of the airwaves they’ve stolen; that they’ll disseminate views countervailing and discordant to the cozy relationship between our corporations and government. I cannot believe there will be campaign finance reform thanks to said cozy relationship and the fact that the System has prevailed again. I cannot believe that we shall have a “re-birth of freedom” in our arts; that we shall have more public financing of “people’s art”—art that captures the Zeitgeist, unites people, and informs our minds, hearts and spirits. I cannot believe that funding for our schools will be based on a national tax—not local taxes—so that the children of rich and poor communities will have equal opportunities to learn, grow and fledge their wings. I cannot believe that we shall abolish student loans and that we shall open our universities to all who seek proficiency and greater understanding. I cannot believe that we shall have free television to bring us language-learning programs, and local, national and international theater. I cannot believe that we shall have high-speed, clean-running trains as in France or Japan. I cannot believe our police officers will stop arresting our youths—especially minority youths—because they smoke a joint for recreation or are addicted to crack or heroin, seeking release from pain or poverty, drudgery or desperation. I cannot believe we shall double or triple the minimum wage, and cap wages or maximize taxation at the top in order to restore ideas like noblesse oblige and a shared humanity. I cannot believe we shall find you again, Pan—wild god of the forest—and make peace with you, honor your sanctuaries, restore your ravaged heritage. I cannot believe we shall clean Neptune’s oceans and Hermes’ skies. I cannot believe we shall change our diets, grow our own food, stop the industrial slaughter and torture of animals. I cannot believe we shall stop torturing other human beings, or that we can control our own growth, our population explosion. I cannot believe we’ll trade in our insane culture of greed, celebrity and power-lust for one of compassion, community and common sense. I cannot believe we can restore balance to our fractured world.
Oh, God, send me a check for a quadrillion, make it out to the poor, forgotten and desperate–those still longing to believe, though they cannot now believe.
Gary Corseri has posted/published his work at Dandelion Salad and hundreds of other venues. His books include: A Fine Excess; Holy Grail, Holy Grail; and, Manifestations (edited). He can be contacted at Gary_Corseri@comcast.net.