The recent death of the Russian poet with whom I was acquainted, Yevgheny Yevtushenko, prompted these considerations of the role of poets in social-cultural-political progress in general and in a particularly spectacular fashion in Russia. In few other countries have poets played a more significant than in Russia. Nonetheless, for centuries Russian poets have been harassed, persecuted, and punished for their songs. Dostoevsky imprisoned, Pushkin exiled, Yesenin, Mayakovsky and Tsvetaeva suicides, Mandelshtam and others perished in the cultural events of 1937. Poets seldom lead easy lives anywhere. The poet sees the ideals but he must flee from the world in order to rejoice in them and he cannot remain unaffected by the caricatures of these ideals around him.
From time to time it is a wake up call to just go back and read the writings of the Founding Fathers of the United States Constitution. In regards to things like goodness and liberty, ”We seek our own good for ourselves, and from our own live for ourselves, though in this vast recess, free and to none accountable, preferring hard liberty before the easy yoke of servile pomp”. Yes indeed, it is a wake up call to go back and read their writings.
Drifting in the fevered winter of a desolate mind
The captive pursuit of status and power a daily grind
In such a space the stilled bells of conscience no longer toll
For travailing arduously against sense and dignity many lose their soul Continue reading
(to the music of “The Times They Are A-Changin’ ” by Bob Dylan)
Come gather ’round people who count earth as home,
And admit that the sea levels around us have grown,
And accept it that soon we’ll be drenched to the bone.
If our future to us is worth savin’,
Then we’d better start pressuring those with hearts of stone,
For the climes they are a-changin’. Continue reading
Then young Angeleno revolutionary poet Matt Sedillo will perform one of his poems for us.
Listen: Continue reading
ourjourneytosmile·Apr 1, 2014
On the 28th of March, 2014, at about 4 p.m., the Afghan Peace Volunteers heard a loud explosion nearby. For the rest of the evening and night, they anxiously waited for the sound of rocket fire and firing to stop. It was reported that a 10 year old girl, and the four assailants, were killed. Continue reading
(to the tune of “On Broadway” by Barry Mann, Mike Stoller, Jerry Leiber & Cynthia Weil)
They say there’s profit to be made on Wall Street (on Wall Street).
That’s what the banksters & fraudsters, they all say (on Wall Street).
But when their schemes and bubbles burst,
It’s always us who get hurt the worst,
Unlawfully pincered between harsh collective punishment and base military aggression
The tear bedabbled faces of innocent children in constant lacrimation
Afforded no respite cling desperately to their progenitor for safety and protection
With breathtaking magnitude, resolute in forefending responsibility for war crimes and crimes against humanity
A darkly glib inhabits the psychic scape of a ruinously polished occupier seeking pseudo security