A Sunset in Bali By Gary Corseri

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By Gary Corseri
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
December 24, 2009

Revolution without the Arts is meaningless,” writes Gary Corseri, whose self-appointed task since his undergraduate days has been “to humanize and aestheticize political-social-economic consciousness and to revolutionize and socialize the perspectives of artists.” He has performed his work at the Carter Presidential Library and Museum in Atlanta. His dramas have been published and performed on Atlanta-PBS and in five states. His articles, poems, stories and plays have appeared in/at Dandelion Salad, Thomas Paine’s Corner, DissidentVoice, The New York Times, Village Voice, CounterPunch, Sky, Redbook, Philadelphia Inquirer, City Lights Review, CommonDreams, Georgia Review, The Miami Herald, WorldProutAssembly, Palestine Chronicle, TelesurTV.net, LuogoComune, and hundreds of other periodicals and websites worldwide. He has published two poetry collections and two novels (A Fine Excess; and Holy Grail, Holy Grail), and edited the Manifestations anthology. His work has been translated and published in Japanese, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and Icelandic.

Born and raised in New York City, Dr. Corseri holds holds degrees from the University of Florida, Harvard and Florida State University. He has taught in public schools and prisons in the U.S., and at universities in the U.S. and Japan; he has worked as a busboy in Miami and Atlanta, furniture-mover and grape-picker in Australia, gas station attendant in Atlanta, journalist, speech coach and editor. He currently resides in the D.C. area. He may be reached at gary_corseri@comcast.net.

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A Sunset in Bali is the first chapter of A FINE EXCESS, a novel set in Bali and Australia, with flashbacks to Japan and the States.  It’s 1976, and 29-year-old Tony Speed is caught in the riptide of sexual revolution and the whirligig of life.  The war in Vietnam is finally over, costs begin to be assayed; grief, pain and loss acknowledged so that new growth can occur.  At last, persistence begets a transcendental vision.  The novel can be purchased through Amazon or ordered through bookstores.  Gary Corseri can be contacted at gary_corseri@comcast.net.

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A Fine Excess: An Australian Odyssey

By Gary Corseri

Chapter 1  “A Sunset in Bali”

Pretending to be sun-bathing, Speed watches through one half-opened eye, as the child moves slowly and surely on the white, hot sand. It seems as though her tawny limbs have carried her a thousand years; it seems they’ll carry her a thousand more. One hand steadies the basket on her head and the other holds a metal container with ice and Western soft drinks. Cigarettes, straw fans, hats, and little carved birds of polished wood drift in the basket.

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Obama Out-Triangulates Clinton and Channels Reagan By Gary Corseri

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By Gary Corseri
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
December 13, 2009

“Of course we understand the folly of war,
But it’s a Grand Old Flag
Which we’ve planted into the navels
Of people all over the world in order to
Safeguard their digestion
So they can enjoy the benefits
Of life, liberty, democracy
And regular bowel movements.

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Bertolt Brecht in Hollywood By Gary Corseri

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By Gary Corseri
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
December 12, 2009

Bertolt Brecht walks past Hollywood and Vine.
It’s 1947; Hitler’s toast,
the devil in the mushroom cloud
still laughs
over the doomed, domed cities;
Russia is restive, but contained.
The air is sultry and redolent
with orange fragrance wafting from
the San Fernando Valley,
mingling with the alchemical combustions of
film splicers and assorted mage-technicians.
(Not to mention the sweetly greased axles
of trolleys—susurrant, tingling …
startling him from reveries.)

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Now, Let Us Stand for the Pledge of Allegiance By Gary Corseri

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By Gary Corseri
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
October 18, 2009

“Maybe that’s what it’s all about. … Maybe all that happens is, you get older and you know less.” — Frank Sinatra

Children:

In Amerika today we have two parties … the Fascist Union (also known as the F.U. party) and the Phony Cooperative Baloney party (also known as the P.C.B.).

The F.U. party stands for wholesome, Amerikan values–what we used to call “rugged individualism.” We don’t use this term anymore because today we understand the dangers of “individualism”–especially among the lower classes. We know that smart and crafty people always get together to form cartels, meshing economic, political and social lives to pursue their own best interests—and to hell with everyone else! This is a law of Nature known as “survival of the fittest.” It’s also known as the “invisible hand” of the market. Even the great slave-holder, Thomas Jefferson, understood this when he wrote about “liberty” and the “pursuit of happiness.” Notice that he did not write about “justice” and the “pursuit of truth.” Today we know that “justice” and “truth” are in the eyes of the beholder. Each person has his or her own idea of what those words mean and you can’t run the New World Order with a lot of loose threads hanging out, can you?

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The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle by Gary Corseri

By Gary Corseri
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
August 27, 2009

Welcome to the Tipping Point! The End Times. The Bizarro Hall of Mirrors. The Funny Farm. The Monkey House.

Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle
By Chris Hedges
Hardcover: 232 pages
Publisher: Nation Books (2009)
ISBN: 9781568584379

If you’re looking for one of those treacly Oprah books—The Secret, and its variants—avoid this one. Those books nourish like potato chips and leave most people more confused, more desperate, more thirsty for fantasies than before. No amount of wishing, earnest yearning, visualizing and New Age mysticism is going to get us out of the morass we’re in. In Empire of Illusion, Chris Hedges takes a sober look down our hall of distorting mirrors. The son of a minister, with a degree in theology from Harvard, a columnist for Truthdig.com, Hedges has worked as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. His books include War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning and American Fascists. He was part of the New York Times team that won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for the paper’s coverage of global terrorism. Here are some of the pertinent facts he contemplates:

  • The top 1% of Americans now control more wealth than the bottom 90% combined.
  • World-wide porn revenues, including in-room movies at hotels, sex clubs, and the Internet, topped $97 billion in 2006—more than that of Microsoft, Google, Amazon, eBay, Yahoo!, Apple, Netflixs, and EarthLink combined.
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Disturbing the Universe: Holocaust Denial, Revisionism, Religion, Censorship and War By Gary Corseri

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By Gary Corseri
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
July 23, 2009

“They will take evil and call it good.  They will take the lie and call it truth.” –Isaiah

“The unexamined life is not worth living.”  –Socrates

“War is always finally about betrayal.” –Chris Hedges

“A static universe isn’t physically self-consistent.  The sun can’t shine forever.” —James Peebles, Physics Professor Emeritus, Princeton University

“Do I dare
disturb the universe?
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.” –T.S. Eliot

On July 11th, author William Blum e-mailed me a Washington Post article about Ken Meyercord.  Fredrick Kunkle, a Post staff writer, described Meyercord as a 65-year old with a “high tech job at Freddie Mac, a local public-access cable television show … and a long history of writing about what he says are ‘myths’ of the Holocaust.”  Meyercord, the article continued, hoped to win “an at-large seat on the board of the Reston Citizens Association, a quasi-government body … for the community of 60,000, which is not officially a municipality.”  Reston is basically a D.C. suburb in Virginia.

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Barbecuing Iraqis on the 4th of July By Gary Corseri

By Gary Corseri
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
July 1, 2009

Thoughts of a Summer Solstice:  What Are We Now?

Those who study signs and omens may find the conjunction of Father’s Day and the summer solstice on the very same day—a mere 13 days before the onanistic, self-congratulatory celebrations of the birth of our lost Republic, with its concomitant nod to the “wisdom” of the “Founding Fathers”—a matter for concern, or whimsy … or fantastic speculation and extrapolation.  The rest of us will mutter “mere coincidence,” rush to the malls to remember dear old dad, fire up the grills, and wonder perhaps if time is shrinking?

After all, wasn’t it just a few days ago, on “Memorial Day,” that we unfurled the flags, honoring the Empire’s liveried fallen?  That was for a war that started 95 years ago and seems never to have ended—since the “enemy” is still at the gates and threatening anew our long lost Republic.

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Tom Paine’s Bones (a poem for voices) By Gary Corseri

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By Gary Corseri
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
June 14, 2009

CHORUS: Go down to the Valley Forge, Tom Paine;
go down to the Valley Forge:
four thousand ghosts of an idea stand
guttering in the siege of winter,
slow-jigging in their ragged socks
while the Master General broods;
while the Master General writes and begs
aid from the wavering French.
Go and be prodigal; seal:
the holes in their blankets with words;
knit: the soles of their shoes with courage;
write: on a drumhead by the fire’s crackle,
drum-beaten words for their wounds,
balm for their wondering wounds:

PAINE: These are the times that
try men’s souls.
The summer soldier
and the sunshine patriot
will, in this crisis
shrink
from the service of their country;
but he that stands it now,
deserves the love and thanks
of man and woman.

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Torture? What Torture? We Need More Torture! By Gary Corseri

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By Gary Corseri
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
May 28, 2009

“What they regard as Tao is not Tao, and what they consider as right is often wrong.  [They] do not really understand Tao, but understand some of it. … They are able to worst others by argument, but do not convince people in their hearts, because they are just playing around with words. … [They get] lost in the bypaths.” — Chuang Tse

What’s all this nonsense about torture?

Now, I ain’t no Einstein, but it seems to me, if it makes us safer, it’s a no-brainer!

In fact, maybe what we gotta do is torture a whole lot more.

I’m not talkin’ about droppin’ bombs on people from Predator drones.  That’s a kind of torture if you get your limbs blown off or a beam thru your skull.  But, it ain’t personal enuf.  It’s what you call “collateral damage.”  What we gotta do is intentional damage—up close and personal.

And let’s not stop with the so-called “terr’ists.”  Let’s not pussy-foot.

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Be My Valentine (Sort Of) By Gary Corseri

By Gary Corseri
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
February 14, 2009

My wife, my lover, my mate, my friend,
Till death do us part (or the heart
Finds an escape clause)-inseparable as
My own self’s clone (where I extrude, though,
You invert), think you nothing without me (and me
Even more nothing without you).
Think we are one living pulse, one beat
Of the Eternal Beatnik. In all the hoary annals
And canals-we sing singularly.
We are je ne sais quoi and sine qua non.

We are what we are-only more so.
Let me not volley your praises to the sun.
Let me not whisper the shadow of your namecard.
I have your number at number.com.
I lie upon my chocolate escutcheon
Sighing the impossible, unwavering love-note
That manages somehow never to screech,
Beseaching in nooks and crannies and fields,
Finding you somehow year after year
Familiarly reassuringly
Dappled and dewy in the great melange.

Gary Corseri has posted/published his work at hundreds of venues, including Dandelion Salad. His books include the literary anthology, Manifestations (edited) and the novel, Holy Grail, Holy Grail. Associate Editor of Cyrano’s Journal Online, he can be contacted at gary_corseri@comcast.net.

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The Other Brother: Hybrid Vigor and Reconciliation By Gary Corseri

By Gary Corseri
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
February 5, 2009

I had the good fortune to be born a hybrid: half Sicilian Catholic and half Ukrainian Jew. Beyond that, I was blessed with parents who let me evolve my own identity in my relationships with the Divine and the human.

On both sides of my family tree there were fools and sages, cynics and dreamers, the myopic and the far-seeing, the generous and the greedy. I grew up in a middle class Jewish neighborhood in Queens. On weekends we were far more likely to spend time with my father’s rather large extended Sicilian family than with my mother’s rather small Jewish family. My friends went to shul and studied for their bar mitzvahs. I went to my best friend’s bar mitzvah, and once I went to a Christmas Mass with one of my Italian aunts. I liked the bar mitzvah because I got to drink a little wine. I didn’t like the Mass so much because I didn’t understand the words and I soon got tired of all the sitting and standing. But I liked my Aunt Sadie’s face when she prayed.

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Killing Gays And Feminists In Gaza: America’s Boutique Morality; And History As Manufactured Event By Gary Corseri

By Gary Corseri
featured writer
Dandelion Salad
January 21, 2009

“No use beating a dead horse,” they say, and there’s probably no horse deader on the planet today than that strip of God-forsaken land called Gaza.

It appears that not only have Yahweh and Jesus Christ forsaken Gaza, but so have the U.N., the E.U., the US, the Arab League and every other institution and congregation of arrogant nation-states that have mis-managed our post Cold War era.

Israel tied up its slaughter in Gaza with a ribbon and handed it to Barack Obama just in time for his Inaugural warning to Muslims: Don’t shake your fists at us or we’ll defeat you! And our news-media Sanhedrin blessed the proceedings. Two days before the Inauguration, Bishop Lester Holt on NBC managed to anchor 30 minutes of drivel about the “historic event” of handing the “reigns of power” from one pitchman to another-and never mentioned once the fact that both Israel and Hamas had declared separate “truces” on that very day.

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Holocaust Now: The Niggers of Gaza … And Here By Gary Corseri

By Gary Corseri
featured writer
Dandelion Salad
January 12, 2009

“And why should ye not fight in the cause of Allah and of those who, being weak, are ill-treated and oppressed?—Men, women, and children whose cry is, “Our Lord!  Rescue us from this town, whose people are oppressors; and raise for us from Thee one who will protect; And raise for us from Thee one who will help.” –The Holy Koran, Sura IV, Verse 75

“Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites!  You lock the kingdom of heaven before human beings. … You have neglected the weightier things of the law: judgment and mercy and fidelity.” –The Gospel of Matthew, 23: 13-27

“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you?  Even sinners love those who love them.  And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you?  Even sinners do the same. –The Gospel of Luke, 6: 27

Just before the exit of the restaurant, my thoughtful, septuagenarian Leftist writer-friend is contemplating a poster of “The Rat Pack”–Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Lawford and Bishop in front of the old Sands hotel in Vegas, circa late 50’s/early 60’s.  They’re all slim and young, hip and cool, smiling–and I comment, “The good old days! … Looks innocent now, doesn’t it?”

And he answers, “Are things worse now—or do we just know more about what’s going on … so they seem worse?”

“They are worse,” I aver, “because we know more—and because it is now.”
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