Posts Tagged ‘prosperity’

A Poem for Christmas

December 24, 2016

Chrsms

Every Christmas season that comes and goes brings an emphasis that is different from previous years. This year’s discovery is something called a “Christmas market.”

This term, which seems to indicate a market that is in some way unique to the Noel season, a market that is more joyously conducted, perhaps, than just any old assemblage of vendors selling stuff. I first pondered the phrase while reading sad reports of the murderous bus driver at the “Christmas market” in Berlin. A day or two later, while Pat and I were skyping with our daughter, who is in Europe, Katie mentioned that Christmas markets are “all over the place” over there.

This Christmas eve morn, I was sitting in the chair by the tree,  listening to Handel’s Messiah, and wondering about the Christmas market phenomenon, and how it might be different from just any old walmart or kreske store. In order to learn what it is, I thought I’d look it up. But suddenly, a star shone brightly in my brain and I decided to write a poem about it instead, without even knowing what a Christmas market really is!

Oh Christmas market, O Christmas market free,

How lovely are your goods to see!

Though not in session when summer’s here,

You’re only in the Noel time of year!

Oh Christmas market, O Christmas market free,

How lovely are your figs and pears to see!

Oh Christmas market, O Christmas market free,

How festive Man hath profited from thee!

Thou biddest us to all buy faithfully,

Our trust in free enterprise, consumerly!

Oh Christmas market, O Christmas market free

How enterprising  Man hath been with thee!

Oh Christmas market, O Christmas market free,

Thy giftings gleam so, so brightly!

Each purchase doth add its tiny part

To make our economy glow and spark!

Oh Christmas market, O Christmas market free,

Thy prosperity doth shine so,  so brightly!

Oh Christmas time, O Christmas time so holy,

Thy nativity’s obscured now almost wholly

by buying and selling of so many services and goods.

We would buy them all, if we could!

Oh Christmas child, O Christmas child,

Where art thou now in this world so wild?

But hey! What light through yonder darkness breaks?

Still through our dark markets shineth

The everlasting light.

The thoughts and gifts of all our years

are giv’n in Thee tonight!

Feliz Navidad, Jesus!

Glass half-Full

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The life song of J Alfred Bourgeois

May 11, 2016

We’ve worked hard for what we’ve got;

maybe we’re smart and maybe we’re not.

Thanks to the courage of long-dead soldiers,

we can grow and prosper and manage to get older.

We’ve read about .gov by the people, republics, and democracy;

we try to stay decent, clean, and free from hypocrisy.

And yes, we’ve heard of that Marx guy, and Lenin and whatnot.

but I’m here to say we aint no proletariat.

We don’t wanna change the world;

we like stars and stripes in the breeze unfurled.

Dinner on Sundays, work on Mondays, weekends for fun days;

this is what we like, and cultivate in predictable ways.

Jefferson said let’s do .gov by the peoples.

We say along with that came letting folks raise their steeples.

Marx, on the other hand said we need dictatorship of the proletariat,

but this home-making bourgeois boy giveth not a plug nickel for all that.

We’re happy to be plain ole boojwazee,

with a washer, dryer, car, and a home someday mortgage-free.

There are plenty out their who wanna die for the Cause;

we just like living in freedom under reasonable laws.

Floral

Glass half-Full

Ole Uncle Sammy

April 18, 2016

My uncle Sammy worked hard; he worked every day.

He made good money, and he put some away.

He made a good living; but then he got older

Ole Sam carried the weight of this world on his shoulders.

WorldWait

I was told that in his gathering of wealth,

he had worked the land, done well, and maintained his health.

He managed to save a little more than he needed

so he squirreled it in the bank where his fortune was seeded.

WellsFarg

He figured, you know, everybody’s got to eat

so he opened a burger joint, it was quite a feat,

because his humble, capital enterprise

eventually become a growing franchise.

BurgerOld

And in America, you know, everyone wanted wheels,

so Sammy expanded into more wheels and big deals;

he got things going, built up a good team;

he was riding in style, living the dream.

CarOldIntr

But then ole uncle Sammy, one day, up and died,

so we laid him aside; he went out with the tide,

No longer an icon on tracebook, nor twittee,

maybe we’ll see him in eternity city.

CityBay

Glass half-Full

We Boomers wil have a Choice to make.

December 12, 2015

Well, the boys came marching home from Germany and France,

and the bomb had made a blast in Hiroshima,

We were driving brand new cars;

we were waving stars and bars,

and everywhere was another factory.

Back in in 1953, cruising with Dwight E,

Elvis sang the white-boy blues,

McCarthy looking under every bush.

In the home of the brave and the free, rolling on prosperity

and all the kids were going off to school.

Ten years down the road. . .

another dream had come and gone

and the power of one gun had made itself known. Then,

back in 1964, big Lyndon opened the door

for civil rights, and a bloody Asian war:

Young men on pork chop hill; young women on the pill;

at home they said don’t kill, get a psychedelic

thrill.

But the dreams of a Woodstock nation

were just an imagination

when the boys came trudging home in ’73.

And it’s hey hey! ho–is there anybody home?

and it’s hi hi hey!, seeking light in the night of day,

but the dreams of a Woodstock nation

were just an imagination

when the boys came trudging home in ’73.

Well, it just don’t pay to sob.

Guess I’ll get myself a job

selling leisure suits or maybe real estate.

I’m not moving very fast,

just waiting in line for gas

and Johnny Carson gives me all my news.

Back in 1976, overcoming dirty tricks,

some were moving back to the sticks.

Some were looking for a fix.

Ayatollahs on the rise,

sulfur dioxide in the skies,

and the System makes the man that’s got his own.

They say an elephant don’t forget.

Let’s play another set.

There’s always another ghost on PacMan’s trail.

Don’t let this boom go stale.

Let’s find an airline for sale!

or pop another tape in the VCR.

Back in 1989, we’re living on borrowed time,

getting lost in subtle sin

eating oat bran at the gym.

But there’s an empty place inside,

and I was wondering why

thèse vanities don’t suit.

I’m going back to the Gospel truth.

And its hey hey! ho–is there anybody home?

and its hi hi hey, seeking light in the night of day.

Yeah, there’s an empty place inside

and I was wondering why

thèse vanities don’t suit.

I’m going back to the Gospel truth.

Put on your Sarajevo, Mogadishu, Kalashnikov and Columbine

shoes,

for the way is treacherous with ruts and rocks.

Yeah, we figured our digits out

before that Y2K could spoil our rout,

but that 9/11 call was in the cards.

Did you consider the question of heaven

before the wreck of ’97?

Will you hear the trumpet call from the Ancient

of Days?

Our way is littered with freaks and fads,

from Baghdad through our mouse pads

as the reaper swings his steely scythe across

our wicked ways.

And its hey hey! ho–is there anybody home?

and its hi hi hey, seeking light in the night of day.

Its a dangerous world outside

and I was wondering why;

this world don’t give a hoot.

I’m going back to the Gospel truth.

Listen to it:

Boomer’s Choice © ℗ Carey Rowland 2004

Music and Books

Road to a Grecian Turn

January 30, 2015

With apology to John Keats, a new poem for 2015:

 

Oh, You unbridled bride of Entitlement,

Can you still afford to pay the Rent?

You, love-child of Austerity and Free-spending,

Is your ambrosia Never-ending?

Paid debts are sweet, but those unpaid are sweeter

says your new Syriza leader,

’cause we’ve got to get the people working,

so in Unemployment they’ll not be lurking.

Ah, happy, happy days that cannot end,

as long as EU-lovers still do send

debt forgiveness, and credits new

so you’ll never bid EU adieu.

UmbrelSyntagm

Who are these coming to the Sacrifice?

a little help from Euro friends would sure be nice.

The Germans, the French, will surely come

and Play the Games until they’re done!

MarblStrt2

Oh Athenic State, on marbled path of Austerity

Can you reach that elusive peak of Victory?

Winged Athens, her goddess wings now torn away–

Has she lost her head in heat of the fray?

PleatedFigur

Oh, for ever may you live, and Greece be fair!

as long as EU pals still care.

Austerity puts Prosperity on the go–

That’s all you really need to know!

Glass Chimera

AcrpRokFlag

We Built It

August 28, 2012

We built it.

We are still building it.

We will build it: United States of America

Glass half-Full

The Swan Song of J. Al DasCapital

May 24, 2012

For some it’s a good thing; for others a bad,

to be like the capitalist, or provoke socialist rad.

Back in the day, Rockefeller and Carnegie forged the enterprise deal;

JPMorgan and Ford cranked up  capitalist zeal.

But then in ’29 the machine broke down; all hell broke loose.

It was a train wreck for sure, from engine to caboose.

Smart as he was,  Hoover was thought clueless in ’32,

so they brought in Roosevelt to set up a new deal crew.

The gov from New York saved us, so they say,

with a big shot of socialism,  making work for payday.

 

Now these days, since the meltdown of ’08,

we’ve the same situation, but reverse, on our plate:

Big Spender Barack’s in the driver’s seat; he’s catchin’ the flack,

while Money-movin’ Mitt says its time to get back

to those good ole days when investors and innovators were calling the shots,

before all these Keynesian Krugmanites got the hots

for quantitative easing, and stimulus, and priming the pump;

’cause they give us a ride, but we don’t get over the hump.

 

Now out here on Main Street where the grassroots grow,

in the shops and garages where the mom and pops know,

we whip up the long tails; we push pins in the bubbles;

we wink at the black swans and laugh at the troubles.

Class warfare’s just a phrase in some socialist goad,

inequality  just a pothole, a mere bump in the road.

No flash-tradin’ froth, no credit default fizz,

we just work with what can be, and we deal with what is.

If the day ever comes when the gov regulates us beyond reason,

or corporations have all the wealth tied up for the season,

we’ll just stick out our necks and  we’ll sing our swan song,

cuz life in the free market goes on and goes on.

Glass half-Full

Seattle, spruce and sunshine

March 25, 2012

This January afternoon of 1855, the old Chief’s careful direction would be guiding his people, like or not, to a destination of peaceful reconciliation with those who were to come. Big changes were in the wind, and Chief Seattle knew this. The ancient ways were being compacted to legend by these whitish immigrants with their steam-breathing machines. In the face of narrowing options the Duwamish peoples had no simple, and no welcome, adjustments to make.

Chief Seattle was getting up in years. His footsteps along the mountain trail were not swift, nor as eager, as when he had first trod them as a young Suquamish.   As the ancient path turned his party into a high clearing on the ridge, between tall evergreens, Seattle’s sight was filled with  magnificence of the Great River and wide bay below– what the whites were now calling Elliot Bay.  At that moment the clouds parted; a rare burst of winter sunshine splashed its welcome brilliance through cold, silvery afternoon. He paused to appreciate the scene, then raised his right arm and placed it on a familiar spruce tree, resting. The sunshine warmed the old man’s face, and raised a smile upon his wisdom lips.

Down on the bay shore, Henry Yesler had been operating his sawmill since about two years ago. He had shut the machine off for the day, for this was a day like no other.  He would soon join a few others of his American associates, to sign a treaty with the natives whose ancient lands were all around. Chief Seattle would arrive to represent the Duwamish and Salish peoples; he was known among the new settlers as a reasonable man, a leader who understood the tectonics of this moment’s history.

By the next summer, the high spruce upon which Chief Seattle had leaned was cut down by hordes of Scandinavian lumberjacks who had immigrated across an ocean and an entire continent.  The woodsmen were busily thrusting their cut logs down a skid road to the Yesler sawmill at the waterfront. There would be many a skid road in the Northwest and beyond before this fierce harvesting was all over with.

By 1893, the Great Northern Railway had been completed. Its trestled tracks twisted through the Cascades and over the Rockies, all the from  St. Paul, Minnesota and beyond. Men with names like Washington, Smith, Stevens, Schwabacher, Nordstrom would soon carve a Pacific Northwest 20th-century culture out of the wild Washington woods.

The next hundred years tumbled an avalanche of civilized chaos and semi-organized caterwaullin’ enterprises across that Duwamish River, and out the Puget waterway to the wide Pacific and beyond: hauling millions of felled timbers on rails and ships and, with every imaginable sort of huffing puffing machine, slurry of mined minerals, casting Klondyke gold, picks and axes, bootstraps, neckties, highfalutin’ starched shirts, hopes and dreams, mice and men, with newspapers, rumor mills, steam-driven capitalism and a whole lotta just plain old hard work, driven by a slue of Swedes, Finns, English, Italians, Africans, Asians, Irish and generally all those Americanizing yankee types whose enterprised fervor propelled an expansion unprecedented in the history of the whole dammed world with all the blood, and toil and sweat that have ever and always dropped our tears along the holy terrible trail of human progress.

By late 20th, a slab or two of Seattle spruce had been railed across the prairies and the heartlands, and delivered to a shop in St. Louis, where a selected piece was seasoned, sawn thin and stretched across a resonant box with a hole cut out and a fretted neck with six steely bronzed strings stretched across it. And there from that sound-hole rolls out a reflected resonance of the sunshine and the spruce upon which old Chief Seattle had paused and contemplated, before he was to meet his Maker, all that was to later happen.

CR, with new novel, Smoke, in progress

The Malaise? again?

March 22, 2012

The question of whether the news is good or the news is bad–

whether America is in decline or not,

whether anything can be done about it or not,

whether we are citizens or are we just consumers,

whether the government must needs be the initiator

of of all our rehabilitative and wealth-generating strategies,

or whether the corporate powerhouses that be are bound

to lead us out of this withering prosperity that so easily distends us,

or whether by some miracle the people shall rise up

by yon legendary bootstraps and from within themselves

and through their own God-given and/or earth-extracted resources

take on the responsibilities and burdens of their own freedoms and

well-being (let us not call it welfare),

whether we shall or whether we will not–

that is the question.                      My vote is: go for it.

 

Glass half-Full

So this is what it’s come to

February 6, 2012

As a working citizen of these United States, I am struggling with this notion of personal responsibility.

Many leaders, most notably our President, speak publicly about the idea that everyone is duty-bound to “do their fair share.” This is certainly true.

How do we construct a society in which everybody can be incentivized to “pull their own weight?”

Almost everybody seems to be running out of money. The government is gone hog-wild with uncontrollable spending. Its as if we’ve got a monster perpetual motion societal machine that grinds up resources and assets and then extrudes them as public benefits–“benefits” if you’re poor, “profits” if you’re rich.

Some people game the system and do really well at it; they come out smelling like a rose, and richer. The liberals call these “the rich,” or the “1%.” The Dems and the Occupyers  want to up the ante on these opulent types by raising their tax rates, so that there is more for the rest of us. I’m not so sure the system actually works that way. Once assets get ground-up in that perpetual motion spending machine, maybe they’re lost forever. Maybe they come out in a black hole somewhere out in space beyond the demoted Pluto.

Other Americans, on the low-income end, barely get by. They wander around looking for employment, and get public assistance–welfare, subsidies, disability, and whatnot. But there seems to be a dropping point, a precipice, at the end of a slippery slope of public assistance. If po’ folks have been on the dole long enough they forget (or do they?) how to really look for work. Do they forget how to think like a person who needs a job and must go out and just dam-well find one? Like, the next-one-that-comes along! What if it IS McD’s? What if they DO have a diploma that is irrelevant to our present situation? Do they, instead of taking that minimum-wage insult, then choose to ease on into the public fix? Will they drift into our 12-step welfare enablements until they have at last lapsed into a prison of their own making?–a hazy cubicle smoked-up with cigarettes, beer, narcotizing tv, maybe little pops of legally-acquired or not-so-legally-obtained pills? These are the ones that the Repubs and the Tea Partiers want to cut off, because they are not pulling their weight.

In my helpless opinion, we’ve got dead weight on both ends–the rich skaters and the poor slackers–and there’s very little we can do about it. The Dems and the President cannot fix it; the The Repubs and Romney cannot fix it, although they claim that they can. Ha! We’ll see about that round about this time 2013. Furthermore, Congressional supercommittees, God help ’em, have passed the buck as business as usual.

I certainly don’t know what to do about it, so I guess I’ll just go to work this Monday morning–thankful that I have a job– and hope for the best, and pray: May God help us work this dam mess out in some kind of way that every citizen will somehow find cause to  somehow “do their fair share.”

So you see I’m praying for a miracle here. But I have faith in God.

CR, with new novel, Smoke, in progress