Saturday, December 17, 2016

Protest Series - David H. Rommereim

We are pleased to offer a poem and two thoughtful and timely essays by the Reverend David H. Rommereim as part of our Protest Series.

The poem appears on this page. You can access each essay by clicking on its title, below.

All work Copyright©2016 by David H. Rommereim – All Rights Reserved

“What do you hear?”

David H. Rommereim

What do you hear?
Is it what I said?
Or have you listened
with your, inner voice?

The morning news announced,
‘An election is completed.
We have a new president.
He has begun….’

And what I heard is:
‘A new president has a big gun.’

I guess you know what I hear
about this man.
I hope to listen, then ask,
whether he can holster his guns,
keep his finger off the trigger,
mouth off the spit.

Then he may keep a good job,
with perfect insurance,
and a decent pension.

If he is fired,
he will become
one of millions
who have given up
on the  unemployment line,
and stuck their nose into anger,
spit into slime,
and listen only to the voices
without purpose of those
who, after getting spit on,
replace the batteries of hearing aids,
and look for a chance
to join in the song of the future.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Protest Series - Thom Brucie

“River Run

Thom Brucie

Thaw, river, and unleash spring;
yank deadwood from the banks.
Spill forth and
resurrect all sleeping trees.
Roil your muddy stomach;
replenish the rekindled silt.
Revive the slumbering boulders which
adorn your path,
and enduring no caution,
feed the funnel mouth
of salt sea depth which makes all continents
islands of remote topography;
and shape the same intimacy between humans
as river run to ocean deep.

“The Parable of Faith”

Thom Brucie

Once upon a time, there was a crazy, homeless man with a dirty beard and a cardboard sign which read, "The End Is Near Here." His name was Marty.

Marty considered himself a bit of a political pundit, but no one paid much attention to him.

However, during the election year with its talk of civil cacophony, the Democrats and the Republicans began insisting in public proclamations that freedom was, in fact, a reality, and they sent television reporters to find the stories of real Americans.

One of them found Marty.

"We're trying to tell the stories of real freedom in America," the reporter said. "Won't you tell us yours?"

"Sure," Marty answered.

He coughed to clear his throat. He looked into the camera. Then, quietly, and without undue exaggeration, he told the parable of faith.
They hung the men naked like sausages from poles with ropes tied to their arms and legs, their heads all pointing down toward the dusty soil, and their backs curled against the tension of the ropes. They always killed three at a time under the little tent-bungalow set up in the park so everyone could watch.

At first, the executions were barbarous. Colonel Veritilious, the Colonel, used a machete to hack open a kidney or to cut off a head. Sometimes a body pulled apart at the sudden release of stress, and as body parts fell toward the ground, blood splattered on the observers.

On one occasion in the sweltering evening of a sun-soaked July, he missed the kidney and he cut into the spine of the victim, and the victim claimed to feel nothing. This discovery eventually gave the Colonel the ability to allow men to die without pain. Soon, families of those condemned began to bring the Colonel bribes so that he would utilize his secrets and kill their loved one with the painless death.

Originally, these killings were intended merely to subdue the citizens, to assure their obedience, and, after a time, they became ritual, regarded with a certain amount of sacred mystery. The Colonel even added a well dressed young man as an assistant who carried the machete like a relic in a hardwood sheath wrapped with braided twine made from the string of salt water palm leaves.

The machete was kept so sharp that its slightest touch drew blood.

The Colonel walked behind those hanging from the poles. He would pull the long knife from its sheath. He would slice open the back at the position of the kidney. And then he would administer a slice at the spine, one location, near the number four Lumbar, for a painless, numb, death, another location, near the number three Cervical, for an excruciating, prolonged one.

The painfulness of this second cut was said to be greater than broken bones, burned skin, and the sting of swarming ants combined. Therefore, the Colonel became wealthy from the bribes of families wishing to protect their loved ones from anguish and torment.

Eventually, the Colonel became so skillful that he could remove the machete from its wooden sheath soundlessly, and the knife grew so sharp it could open a human body with no more sound than that of a moth drying its wings.

For this reason silence was imposed during the executions.

Finally, the Colonel became so adept at killing that he could perform this task without even the need for the machete. At his mere gesture, kidneys burst open and spines split. If ever a victim displeased the Colonel, or if the family could not afford his rather expensive fee, he simply touched the wretched victim at the base of the neck which brought on the death of agony.

For a long time the executions were accomplished without incident until it was the turn of a simple-minded shoe cobbler to die. This one claimed that the Colonel found him distasteful because of his poverty, and he claimed that in spite of the fact that his family had paid half the fee for a painless death, all they could afford, the Colonel was nevertheless about to administer the death of agony.

His cries grew louder and louder, breaking the sacred law of silence, and the Colonel, in retribution, did touch the base of his neck, but slightly off-center, so that the cobbler screamed in agony for days. His moans and anguish echoed off the hills and reverberated within the hollows of trees so that even animals trembled in torment.

Finally, on the third day, he died.

This brought a new phenomenon – death by proclamation.

So agonizing was the dying of the young man, so horrible his cries of affliction, so precisely were his screams encoded into the minds of the villagers that now, when the Colonel sends his soldiers to escort the victims to the ropes, the loved ones merely pay the fee to the agents, and the victim voluntarily dies at home within the hour.

When Marty finished the parable, both the interviewer and the photographer, shocked by the tale, stood speechless, while the cameraman, somewhat mesmerized, continued to hold the record button.

Marty shrugged, picked up his sign, and smiled into the still running camera.

Eventually, the reporter rushed the unedited copy to leaders of both the Democratic and the Republican parties. In a rare gesture of authentic bi-partisanship, they ordered Marty jailed.

The reporter led the agents to Marty's homeless home, and they took him to a prison where they tortured him without mercy. They stretched him out on the pain-inducing table allowing the machine to inflict its precise afflictions.

As Marty twisted in agony, he cried out in anguish and in torment.

Yet, those outside who heard the cries could not remember the meaning of the sounds.

Copyright©2016 by Thom Brucie – All Rights Reserved

Friday, December 9, 2016

Protest Series - Sharon Scholl

“Second Thoughts on the Second Amendment”

Sharon Scholl

Not reason – but romance,
power in the palm,
death dancing on the finger tips.

Not sense – but swagger,
street punks wearing menace
like a sport coat,
hunters hoisting bloody fur
above the grisly door to manhood.

Not deliberation – but delight,
the stroking hand gliding down the barrel,
the sensual satisfaction of a smoking bore.

Not study – but status,
the video hero spraying
a fire fan of bullets.

Blind fear – security in a desk drawer.
Blind rage – revenge by fire power.
The shotgun in the truck,
the pistol on the hip.
not reason – but romance.

“The Mute”

Sharon Scholl

She never spoke again
after the rape.

Not from fear, for what worse
might she suffer.

Not for lack of sympathy
for those whose tears and pleading
turned her silence to their despair.

She simply had nothing to say
to a world in which
such things can happen.

“Gathering Petition Signatures”

Sharon Scholl

The elderly I can’t forgive;
how they shuffle up like gray cranes
poisoned on pollution,
how they peruse the proposal
and declare it futile.

Too many defeats, too many
passionate ideals gone to seed.
They care too much about being fooled
to care about being foolish.
Whatever the idea, it will cost too much.

I want to yell at them, SIGN
because you have lost so much,
because you enable the robbery,
because you need to be angry.
Sign because you aren’t dead yet.

Copyright©2016 by Sharon Scholl – All Rights Reserved

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Protest Series - More from J.K. Zimmerman

“The Bad Rappin' of D-Rap Da Donald aka Li'l Hands”

James K. Zimmerman

(as performed live on YouTube
with DJ Micky P and Kellyanne Da Con)

Yo! (beat) Let's go! (beat)
Lemme hear ya say no to Mexico!
Do it, yo! (beat) Go low! (beat)
Lemme hear ya say no to Mexico!

I don't gimme no hugs
to the thugs with the drugs
gonna build me a wall
so straight, so tall
so beautiful! (beat)
so beautiful! (beat)

(beat) Give it up now!
Yo! (beat) Let's go! (beat)
Lemme hear ya say no to Mexico!
C'mon, yo! (beat) Go low! (beat)
Lemme hear ya say no to Mexico!

Make a fist (beat), make a fist! (beat)
Get rid of them Muslim terrorists!
Take 'em down (beat), bomb 'em out (beat)
y'all know every day what I'm talkin' about!

Say yo! (beat) Let's go! (beat)
Lemme hear ya say no to Mexico!
Do it, yo! (beat) Go low! (beat)
Lemme hear ya say no to Mexico!

Put your hands up! (beat)
Put your hands up! (beat)
Put your hands up! (beat)
Put your hands up! (beat)

I can catch any bitch
by the tits or the snatch
I can take it so far 'cause
y'know I'm a star!

Believe it! (beat)
Show me love now! (beat)
Believe it! (beat)
Show me love now! (beat)

An' say yo! (beat) Let's go! (beat)
Lemme hear ya say no to Mexico!
Say yo! (beat) Go low! (beat)
Lemme hear ya say no to Mexico!

Stand up! (beat) Stand up! (beat)
Put the cuffs on Crooked Hillary
'cause she lies (beat), no surprise (beat)
don't give 'er no bail, she be rottin' in jail!

Put your hands up! (beat)
Put your hands up! (beat)
Put your hands up! (beat)
Put your hands up! (beat)

An' say yo! (beat) Let's go! (beat)
Lemme hear ya say no to Mexico!
Do it, yo! (beat) Go low! (beat)
Lemme hear ya say no to Mexico!

Give it up now! (beat)
Give it up! (beat)
Put your hands up (beat)
for America!

Give it up now! (beat)
Give it up! (beat)
Put your hands up (beat)
for America!

(Fade to white)


James K. Zimmerman

they accepted you
with grace in their midst
though your face

was not like theirs, your need
was not like theirs, and with you

they prayed for an hour
or more, ‘til the dark

in your heart opened up
their blood flowing free

and the walls cried out
with every shot, the pews

crumpled in pain, the street
wept red in the gutter

it was all of us
dying, we were all
of us dying, all of us

dying last night

Copyright©2016 by James K. Zimmerman – All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Protest Series - Lauren Coe

“do not tell me to smile”

Lauren Coe

locker room talk.
boys will be boys.
but it was just a joke.
you’re so pretty when you smile.

his words are far away but i can feel them inside
coursing through my inner organs 
my throat my chest my veins my heart.
you’re so pretty when you smile. 

his words are the finger that punctures me
the organ that penetrates my quietest moments
the blade that scrapes the wound
you’re so pretty when you smile. 

but i am not surprised by his words. 
they are deeply held beliefs 
they are the religion that feeds our society.
and from his pulpit he will continue to preach

but unlike the first time, the second time,
the third time, the last time
he will not speak over me. 
i will not abide by the predatory sermon.

i will play the nastiest hand with my deck of woman cards because
my body is not ratable and my choices are not punishable
and my pussy is not up for grabs
so don’t tell me to smile. 

don’t tell me to smile because
this time i’m fighting back. 

Copyright©2016 Lauren Coe – All Rights Reserved