23 September 2007

Born with Sin




by
Justice Putnam
____________________________
When was the first thought?
The first inkling of cognition?

Can I reach back
Find the original light?

Or was it a sound?

A drum beat
Heart beat
Moving feet and souls?

I heard a crying
A low moan
Quivering breath
And then a scream

Shrill
Loud
And piercing.

Did I clench my fist
Lick and then bite my lower lip?
Did I pray to a god
That did not exist?

When would my scream begin?
And for what reason?

Would I scream for the woman
Who gave me life

Lying in the corner
With blackened eyes
And scattered dreams?

Or for the man
Whose sperm
Made up half
Of my emotional outlook?

Whose hands would caress
Upon one moment
And pummel
Through many others?

Or would my cries and screams
Be for myself?
Helpless under
The blankets of despair

Pleading to the Saints
Of battered children and wives
Never getting an answer
Only delays.

Cries and screams
For my bare feet
Running on the gravel
Of Camp Creek

The McKenzie
Nineteen fifty-eight
The United States.

But I was born into
A sonic boom of recognition
And a silent fear of remorse.

A mushroom crowd
Walking in atomic heels
Crying hydro-electric tears
Pumping Bourbon blood
With bias plied hearts.

There were Catholics
There were Atheists

There were Protestant politicians
Burning black flesh
On Southern barbecues

While a quiet
But effective
Northern bigotry
Butchered more lions
Dressed in African velvet.

And women
Were subservient
In sexual boredom

Stepping out
And applying
Lipstick and polish
Mascara and perfume.

Walking with a sway
Along a jazz bebop
Saxophone avenue.

Escaping the file cabinet bedrooms
And dish soap romance

Meeting lovers for
Back seat hand jobs
And cashmere petting

And they all temporized guilt
With motel showers
And a street sign excuse.

And the children were asleep
In station wagons
Parked at cocktail lounges

And fathers were doing time
For involuntary manslaughter

Drunk in a car.

Penitentiary phallus
And penetrating denial

Barred-window shadows
On concrete block walls

Absent and jealous

Fermenting hot-white revenge
In the testes
Of another born
In a suffering Nativity.

© 1978 and 2007 by Justice Putnam
and Mechanisches-Strophe Verlagswesen
_____________________________
(Born With Sin was performed as part of KCET's New Poets Series in 1983, produced by Luis Campos and filmed in Santa Monica, Los Angeles and Sun Valley. It has also recently appeared in "Art in a Liberal Frame: Selected Writings and Images of the Daily Kos Community.")


19 September 2007

The Princess and the Frog



by

Justice Putnam
______________________________________
By all means marry; if you get a good wife, you'll be happy. If you get a bad one, you'll become a philosopher.

-- Socrates

_____________________________________

She said she chose me because I was the best behaved in the whole pond. I guess those etiquette lessons my frog aunts taught me when I was a tadpole really helped. All those Saturday night Brown Derby dinners dressed in my little tadpole-sized frog tuxedo, my frog aunts in their pearls and gloves, all seated in our special Brown Derby frog booth, somehow all that prepared me for the chance of a frog lifetime; to be kissed by the most beautiful Princess in the world.


I must tell you, everything we frogs heard was true. The sun back-lit her dark red curls, her full ruby lips touched mine. I remember she tasted of lavender and orange. The transformation was magical; I was no longer the ugly frog. I became her handsome Prince standing tall and strong and happy!


Oh, sure. She had to change my wardrobe and make it more diverse, as a Prince’s wardrobe must be. I was mostly into turtlenecks because I thought it would hide my frog throat more. But she liked the open collar look, she said, because she liked how manly a strong neck was. I always thought my best feature were my legs! Such is the mystery of the most beautiful Princess in the world.


She insisted I grow my hair longer. I took to sporting a goatee and wearing little round sunglasses. I grew accustomed to jet lag on royal visits to her ancestral homes in Europe.


I became her Prince, but she seemed unhappy.


We had just returned from a weekend at the home of my best bullfrog friend. His property included some of the best mud baths in all of Sonoma County.


“Your frog friends are ill mannered and uncouth,” she sobbed, “they smack their lips when they eat and use terrible grammar. You must choose them or me and if you choose them, you will not be my Prince!”


I didn’t know that the spell could be reversed. I thought, once kissed and transformed, a Prince forever you would be.


“Are you serious?” my Bullfrog friend spit at me later when I told him of the ultimatum. “You think you’re a Prince? She’s too good for you, man. She’s way out of your league. Have you looked at yourself in the mirror? You might be a Prince, but in your eyes, not hers! What made you think you could keep a woman like that happy? I hate to hurt your feelings, but at least you have feelings to hurt!”


All of my frog friends practice “tough truth,” but knowledge of that has never lessened the sting of their observations.


A note sat on the table when I came through the door that hot afternoon. She had gone and would not be back. I went to the bathroom and looked at the mirror there.


I knew which fork to use for the salad and how to swirl a vintage red to check its legs. But there was no mistaking it.


I had always been a frog.


But now I was one with a goatee and little round sunglasses.


© 2007 by Justice Putnam
and Mechanisches-Strophe Verlagswesen






30 July 2007

Kurds And Weigh







by
Justice Putnam

________________________

(Little Miss Muffet
Sat on a tuffet,
Eating her curds & whey.

--
child’s Nursery Rhyme)
____________________________________


The Barsanis are a clan in the Middle East. Every nation in the region has persecuted them. I don’t know enough about all the particulars, but in a culture of Gypsies, the Barsanis are the gypsies of the Gypsies in the Middle East.

I don’t really care to know more than that. It would just interfere with my job. It is a challenge to administrate to such a stubborn population, for sure. But I was put in touch with another graduate of RU Right who now works in the Department of Education, but used to visit Africa as part of her church’s wildlife fund, anyway! We had a fellowship by e-mail and I found out she’s a Goodling too, just like me! Anyway! She pointed out that Wildebeest roamed the Savannah since biblical times and so did the Kurds around the Holy Lands!

Put that way, I understood completely. But I still had to figure out how much drayage of human pounds moved over the square miles I had to factor for.

I must confess, I feel a little like Noah's personal assistant at times. After all, the Company is a little like the Ark. There is going to be a flood, and the Company is building the infra-structure for the survival of the Exalted Few. It is rapturous to know that by working for the Company and graduating from Regent University, or as we alumni affectionately call the school, RU Right, and even more importantly, being a Penitent Goodling, that I am part of the Exalted Few, that I have a seat on the Ark.

Praise be to the Lord!

Now, where was I? Oh, yeah. I had to figure out how much human tonnage roamed over the square miles that I was to factor.

I saw a nature show once when I was a little girl that showed the animals of the bible and I remembered how Wildebeest would stop for water along their grazing routes. That was important to me, because I once worked for a major hamburger chain and I would provision supplies for outlets that had major sales along well-traveled commuter routes!

Now this is getting easy! Because all I have to factor for is a soft drink syrup for the region. We already have the local bottlers in place.

Who knew that the right prayer circle would get me a job with more pay and less work?

Praise be to the lord!

Anyway! For some reason, the Company has decided to factor supplies by “human tonnage” than by Point of Sale Units. I’m sure it has something to do with accounting for the upcoming Government Contract signing. I have another friend from RU Right, and another Penitent Goodling, too! Who works for Homeland Security and she says her department always uses the heavier approach.

When dealing with Government Contracts, she said, the heavier the sound of the documents hitting the table when dropped from one foot above the surface, the more important the document and likely that passage would occur. No one can read that much business jargon, so very few do.

My report will generate more paper than just a Point of Sale analysis, so this is a really important Government Contract, I can see! It is so wonderful to do God’s Work by adding my small part. Of course, that is what makes me a Goodling.

Praise be to the Lord!


© 2007 by Justice Putnam
and Mechanisches-Strophe Verlagswesen

15 April 2007

For The General Good

by

Justice Putnam
________________________________
(Under every stone lurks a politician.
-- Aristophanes)

_____________________________________
I thought the State had no need for my services any longer. But a Certain Member of the Assembly visited a few days ago with a message from the Forum Of One Leader.

“The FOOL requires your expertise,” the Certain Member of the Assembly pleaded, using the jargon peculiar to all bureaucrats through all of history, “without your special talent, the People will remain unconvinced and the Assembly will not act. Only you can report the Good News of all that has been done for the General Good!”

An Appropriations Bill was stalled because the People were only hearing negative reporting from the Just Deserts region. It was on all the news. The Forum Of One Leader had decided to silence his critics once and for all, so he recalled my commission and brought me Back On Board.

A good decision, I might add, because that not only makes me one of the BOB’s, I am also a Brownie. You see, I was once the head of the Federal Emergency Manipulation Agency, otherwise known as FEMA. Our task was to communicate how to make lemonade. Life and Government throw many things our way. So it is important that the People can find the pony; that they know at least it’s a dry heat; and if bridges are to be mended, what better time than during a flood?

"It’s not necessary to fly to the Just Deserts region," I said to the Certain Member of the Assembly, "I only need to address all 135,000 of the Brownies."

"How does the Superdome sound?" the Certain Member of the Assembly asked.

"Super!" I responded.

The next day I’m at the 50-yard line of the Superdome surrounded by a sea of brown; not a brown like the muddy Mississippi. No, this was a crisp, ironed and buttoned-down sea of brown. Everyone wore brown shoes, everyone wore brown slacks, (brown skirts for the girls and women, of course!) and most important, everyone wore a brown shirt.

Anyone could wear brown shoes, or brown slacks; but only a Brownie is allowed to wear a brown shirt. A Brownie takes a kind of blood oath. In the beginning, the FOOL’s loyalists were called brown-noses for what critics said was the obvious ass-kissing that allowed the FOOL to govern as he did. But the Federal Emergency Manipulation Agency went into action and issued brown shirts to the loyalists in response. A Press Briefing was organized and the first ritual ass kissing was broadcast. About 70 loyalists, on bended knee, kissed the ass of the FOOL and then donned their brown shirt.

Now a Brownie gets his or her brown shirt when they kiss the ass of a life-sized statue of the FOOL. It’s a lot easier on the Forum Of One Leader, as you can imagine!

"When I was called by the Forum Of One Leader to bring back the Good News of all that has been done for the General Good," I began my speech, "I thought of the hurricane that almost brought down this reverent stadium. Harsh winds tore at her roof. The floodwaters rose and threatened to inundate her. The Little People who used to live in the Old City flocked to her arms for succor in their time of need; and succor them she did!"

135,000 right hands rose in unison as if at a great evangelical church service and shouted in one giant voice,

"Amen!"

"And I thought of our brave troops" I continued, "who have sacrificed so much and for so long because of our freedoms! Those brave men and women who are your brothers and sisters, your husbands and wives, your aunts and uncles, your mothers and fathers; and yes! Your grandparents, too!"

The Brownies couldn’t restrain themselves. Pandemonium broke out as they bounced straight up and down like on pogo sticks, their right arms thrust upwards with shouts of "Amen!" echoing throughout the Stadium. I let them have their riot of ecstasy. After several moments I put my finger to my lips to hush them.

"So when our critics accuse us of self-serving political treachery," I said, barely above a whisper, "when our critics accuse us of self-centered political gain," I raised my voice, "when our critics accuse us of inaction, ineptitude and incompetence," I was now full throated, "I want each and every one of you to find those critics," I was yelling, "you find them in their libraries, you find them in their secular schools, you find them in their chat rooms and you ram your finger in their bony chests and tell them, all that we do is for the General Good!"

"Amen! Amen!" echoed throughout the giant structure.

"And it’s all true," I was patting my brow like a great evangelist, "it’s all true! Because all that we do, all that we are, is for the General Good! Because at midnight tonight, the Forum Of One Leader will don his ceremonial fighter jet jacket and forever be known by his new title, THE GENERAL GOOD!" I shouted.

135,000 Brownies took to the streets on that clear as crystal night shouting, "For The General Good! For The General Good!"

I know a few windows were broken and a few fires were set. I know I got them hot under the collar. But at least it’s a dry heat!

© 2007 by Justice Putnam
and Mechanisches-Strophe Verlagswesen

05 April 2007

I Have No Mouth


by

Justice Putnam
____________________________________
Like the wind crying endlessly through the universe, Time carries away the names and the deeds of conquerors and commoners alike. And all that we are, all that remains, is in the memories of those who cared we came this way for a brief moment.

-- Harlan Ellison
I Have No Mouth, And I Must Scream


Mes den hep tavas a-gollas y dyr
From the Cornish, the tongueless man gets his land took.

--Tony Harrison
National Trust
_______________________________________


I had to, don’t you see? You’d do the same if you were in my place, and a lot sooner too! I’d tell you if I could, but as you can see, one of the conditions of my release is that my mouth has been surgically removed.

I just couldn’t take it anymore. I couldn’t take standing for hours, the threats of beatings. Oh, they beat me, for sure. Early on the beatings were constant, so much that you expected them, so a mere threat was enough for some of us to literally piss our pants. I couldn’t take being forced awake after just a few seconds of sleep in seventy hours? Or was it a hundred? Did I sleep only an hour ago?

Don’t you see? This is what they have done to a man! I have lost all sense of time; a minute is a year and a year is a mere minute! Damn! Why won’t you listen to me? I’m blinking my eyes in Morse code! If you would just listen, you’d see that I am talking to you!

The first time they let me see the sky was after five months of darkness! They let me see the full moon, I only know this now, but at the time I thought it was the sun at noon! It was that bright and blinding and painful.

There are so many things I want to tell you, I want to tell you about the years of abuse, I want to tell you how they break a man to confess to killing God, how they can make you confess to crimes committed by ancestors twenty years ago. I want to tell you about why I chose to have my mouth removed so I could go home.

In fact, I planned this long ago. That’s why I taught myself Morse code. I started to teach myself sign language, but I was caught and isolated for another year and a half, or was it longer? Damn it! This is what they do! I see now on all the legal documents how long I was isolated at different times during my imprisonment. A year one time then out for four months, isolated for two years and then out for only three weeks, then another year long isolation.

It went on and on and on like that. So I taught myself how to blink my eyes in Morse code because I knew they would remove my mouth! I know they are fighting a war and wars are messy. I knew I had a story to tell and I would tell it, no matter what! If you would just listen, I’d tell you one.

In fact, I was not even a soldier. I only drove some soldiers to an airport in my cab! I even had the paperwork to prove it! It was that paperwork that convicted me, I see. The new laws they passed said I helped those soldiers by driving them to the airport.

Why won’t you listen to me? It’s so obvious! Look! Dot, dash, dot! Damn it, and all that follows! Someone has to know Morse code, here! Why won’t you listen to me? I’m looking right at you! Listen!

"Hey Sarge," the young reservist called to the military contractor, "look at that one there."

"Yeah," the military contractor, replied, "that one just got out of iso this morning and is being prepped for another cycle in a day and a half."

"But Sarge?" the young reservist asked, "what’s with his face?"

"That was one of the earlier ones we picked up," the military contractor informed, "the worst of the worse. After a while these little mama’s boys admitted to anything we wanted, which proved that they were capable of anything. But we also got tired of hearing day after day how they did this or they did that just so’s they can go home to their mamas. So we had one of our plastic surgeon contractors do a number on these slime ball’s mouths!"

"But what’s up with the eyes?"

"Oh, that!" the military contractor laughed, "one of our company’s division vice presidents for procurement made that call. Since we were moving these slime balls from one prison to another and we didn’t want them to know where they were; and also since all of them would be in isolation, it was decided it was more cost effective to just sew their eyes shut. Some of them don’t even know, they look around just like they can see, just like that one!"

"When does this one go back to iso?" the young reservist was looking at the prisoner’s chart.

"A day and a half." The military contractor replied.

© 2007 by Justice Putnam
and Mechanisches-Strophe Verlagswesen

23 March 2007

A Windy Day in Normandy







by

Justice Putnam
__________________________

Your floral-print dress
A breeze across fields
Of Sunflower and Lavender

You told me the story
Of the tragedy of
Your family

Your grandfather on
His mailman bicycle
The delivery of
Resistance correspondence

The fear of discovery

(The inevitable retaliation
Against the village

An Uncle hung
In the Square
A few weeks short
Of the liberation)

I watched your tears
As you prayed near
The soldier multitude of
White crosses and
The occasional
Star of David

Here and there even
An alabaster
Crescent Moon

You wept for them all
As the tournesol
Faced West

Your dress clung in folds

And your red hair
Framed the History
Of your familial grief


(Saint Ceneri, France)


© 2005 Justice Putnam
and Mechanisches Strophe-Verlagswesen

01 March 2007

What’s It All About, Alfie? Bye Bye Buchwald



by

Justice Putnam
__________________________________
I think of a song lyric, "What's it all about, Alfie?" I don't know how well I've done while I was here, but I'd like to think some of my printed works will persevere -- at least for three years.
I know it's very egocentric to believe that someone is put on earth for a reason.
In my case, I like to think I was. And after this column appears in the paper following my passing, I would like to think it will either wind up on a cereal box top or be repeated every Thanksgiving Day.

So, "What's it all about, Alfie?" is my way of saying goodbye.

-- Art Buchwald
“Goodbye, My Friends”
___________________________________
Goodbye, Art Buchwald and thanks for the laughs. Not only for the ones you gave me, but also for teaching me how to make others laugh; just like you.

Goodbye.

I have never laughed so sadly as I did at some of your stories. Some of your other stories made me laugh in howls. But all of them made me think. The first time I finally understood Satire was in relation to your work. I finally understood a power that could change minds without violence. I was eleven years old. The year was 1966.

That was the year the first cross was burned on our front lawn. We were always active as a family in the civil rights movement. My father was a history professor and my mom had been a jazz singer with some regional fame in the Northwest briefly. They were and remain free thinkers and we were raised the same. We moved from Oregon to the San Gabriel Valley of Southern California in the summer of 1965, a few weeks before racial tensions exploded finally on the West Coast with the Watts Riots.

We stayed at my great-aunt's place in West Covina that summer of 1965. My dad had been teaching at Oregon State and was to begin what turned out to be a thirty-five year tenure at Cal State Fullerton. We moved to Rowland Heights before the school term began.

Shortly after the New Year, my parents found out there was no ACLU chapter in the San Gabriel Valley, but there was a chapter of the John Birch Society near Diamond Bar and also a Chapter of the West Coast version of the White Citizens Council in Hacienda Heights; there was only one thing to do.

The local papers covered the ribbon cutting and also conveniently publicized our address. That was when the fun began; death threats called to my dad's office at the university, bottles thrown at our house and the first of several cross burnings I mentioned earlier.

I knew what a cross burning meant. Not only had my parents started the first ACLU chapter in the San Gabriel Valley, but my parents also had many friends and colleagues, many of them black, asian, hispanic; and they all came to the many soirees my parents had.

Racial slurs were an every day occurrence in that neighborhood.

It was around that time that I was allowed to use my dad's library at home. His home library held almost 8,000 books. Many of them in his field, but he also used a lot of literature in his classes on history, so that was what I was looking at and that's how I found your work.

I pulled down one collection of stories and opened it randomly. Little Green People caught my attention. I've looked for the story recently so I could link it here, but I was unsuccessful. Anyway, Little Green People was the story that taught me that power I mentioned. I know you've written many stories in your life, so I'll remind you a bit about how you had been in a conversation with a spokesman from the NAALGP (the National Association for the Advancement of Little Green People) and the President of the White Citizens Councils. The NAALGP spokesman argued that it is irresponsible to use the Jolly Green Giant as evidence of advancements the aliens had attained, that the unskilled little green person was deemed just as equal in our society and needs to be helped to become skilled. The White Citizens Council President complained that they were just getting used to blacks moving into the neighborhood and now they have little green people being jammed down their throats.

You brought up some salient points and the White Citizens Council President asked how you'd like it if your sister dated a little green person and you demurred.

"You bleeding heart liberals are all alike!" The White Citizens Council President retorted.

Well, that story put me on a quest to read as much satire as I could and try my hand at it. As I got older and traveled more, I put your Paris writings next to Genet's on my shelves.

And now you're dead but you still have us laughing.

So, what's it all about, Alfie?

Au Revoir and Goodbye. Je ne suis quand Americain, but you taught me something about being a citizen of the world. You taught me that laughter has great power; that laughter can illuminate a wrong, change a mind and even seduce beautiful women.

You taught me that authority must always be questioned, no matter who it is; and these last months, you've taught us all how dignity is not bestowed, it is lived.

You lived so very, very well.

Goodbye, Art Buchwald. Goodbye.

© 2007 by Justice Putnam
and Mechanisches-Strophe Verlagswesen


23 February 2007

On Poetry and Fathers





by

Justice Putnam


The one thing
That always amazed me

Even from the
Earliest moment
Of your life

Was the utter trust
You had in me

And I was struck
At the time
By the amount
Of doubt

I had in myself.

Even though
Your mother and I
Had half a year
To practice breathing

I doubted that
I could remember
Properly when to
Encourage the right
Breath

And when the doctor
Said I could assist
And I finally held
You

Gray and small

I thought to that
Distant day
When you would

Hold your own son
In the same way

And I thought of
The resolve you would
Have

Just as I had

To love
Like no other
Father has loved.

So the years pass

And I doubt
You felt the
Prayer of love

Over that distance
And separation
You grew in.

A correspondence
Is a poor substitute
For a kiss

Yet each word
Was a universe
Of touch

I doubt it
Was enough.

I cannot now
Apologize

For all that you
Went through

I wish it were
Otherwise

But mere words
And sentiment
Are hollow.

You are now
A father

Kiss your son
While you can

Circumstance
Has a way
Of intruding
Upon the best
Of plans

And apologies

Become terrible
Temptations.


© 2004 by Justice Putnam
and Mechanisches-Strophe Verlagswesen

(This piece has appeared in the Berkeley Daily Planet and Art in a Liberal Frame.)

08 January 2007




The Lost War Dispatches: A Public Parody
by

Justice Putnam


“Authentication no longer required reference to the individual who had produced them; the role of the author disappeared as an index of truthfulness and, where it remained as an inventor's name, it was merely to denote a specific theorem or proposition, a strange effect, a property, a body, a group of elements, or a pathological syndrome.”

-- Michel Foucault "What is an Author?"

“Perhaps our eyes are merely a blank film which is taken from us after our deaths to be developed elsewhere and screened as our life story in some infernal cinema or dispatched as microfilm into the sidereal void.”


-- Jean Baurillard “Simulacra and Simulation”

__________________________________________________

The story of Gerry Bronco is a story of mystery. He was first noticed by other war correspondents during the Balkan War photographing for AP. Convinced that the cult of personality was the only avenue open in the New Reporting, Gerry set out to create a character he called the, Corresponding Corespondent. Taking a page from the Civil War writings of Whitman, the dispatches to the Toronto Star by Hemingway and the swagger of a seasoned stage actor, Gerry achieved a minor cult following. He made fast and long friends, as evidenced by the following testimonials:

“We had a seating chart. The student with the highest score sat first seat, first row. Second highest, in second seat and so on for ten seats for each seven rows. Gerry sat first seat, first row the entire year save for the last two weeks of school. He confided to the Mother Superior that he should be sat last seat, last row. 'But why?’ Mother Superior asked. ‘Because, he answered with a question, ‘when I have something to say, should not the whole class hear it?’”


-- Sister Bernadette First Grade and Catechism Instructor Sacred Heart Academy Klamath Falls, Oregon

*****************************************************

“He finished our four year program in just under two years. The first week of the term, he handed in a five hundred-page manuscript entitled, ‘The Socratic Conception of the Soul.’ In it, he posited the thesis that the function of the soul was not just to know good and evil, but that the soul was to be used to govern one’s actions; so that good was achieved and evil avoided. The brilliance of his argument of good thoughts and good actions reverberated throughout the campus. This was a scholar athlete the University had never before encountered. So you can imagine the surprise of student and faculty alike. He not only turned down a professional contract to leave school and play football, but he also turned down the invitation for the Rhodes Scholarship, all that, so he could work as a cook on a tuna boat in the Gulf of Alaska.”


-- Dimitri Dimitrischen, Ph.D. Professor of Philosophy and History Portland State University Portland, Oregon

**************************************************

“Yeah, we was buildin’ the tunnel at 54th Street, and in walks this galoot. We all look at each other and our eyes roll up in our heads, see. Because when we looked at the union job card it said Gerechtigkeit Imbronciato. Well we’d had Krauts and boys from the old country, but this guy, geez. Anyways, he comes right up to the foreman and says, ‘Hi I’m Gerry Bronco, which stack of rebar do you need tied first?’ Well, wouldn’t you know it, this guy works like a dervish, carries big bundles of rebar, and get this, recites Baudelaire. I know it was Baudelaire because he told me. I been readin’ Baudelaire ever since.”


-- Vince Vecchio Teamster Brooklyn, New York

***********************************************************

“We initially hired Gerry as a roadie. Big, strapping kid. We were playing some dive poker bar in the Badlands and one of our back-up singers got sick. Gerry said he could carry a tune, so we thought what the hell, we’re in the middle of nowhere, it couldn’t hurt. But damn, didn’t that kid know all our songs. We played a couple sets and asked Gerry if he wanted a solo. Well, he moves slowly to the center stage microphone and whispers back to the band, ‘House of the Rising Sun.’ He stands at the mic and keeps us from starting. He just stands there until the place gets a little quieter. Then he says to the crowd, ‘I want to dedicate this to my mother, without whom I wouldn’t be where I am today.’ And he sings this song in a style I’d never heard before; totally caught the audience unawares. Loudest applause we ever got.”


-- Jerry Foreman Musician Paradise, California

************************************************************

“He wasn’t like the other guys that came into the bar. I mean, sure, he’d talk to the girls, but he was polite, real polite. He made you feel like you could just hang on his arm and follow him upstairs at the Ritz.”


-- Nikki Stone Cocktail Waitress & Exotic Dancer Huntington Beach, California

****************************************************

“We were in Madame Breussling’s Salon in Frankfurt. Most of the group was there. We had been discussing something dreadful, either about the Balkans or wine. Madame Breussling introduced Gerry to us during the cocktail service. I was certainly struck by his physical presence, indeed. But his repartee’ was quick and I must say, very sexy. I knew right away that he was to have a major input in my life.”


-- Miwa Ito Classical Cellist Tokyo, Japan

*************************************************************

“The whole time we spent together at La Tranche Sur Mer, he kept referring to the movie, ‘The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.’ The part I remember him speaking most about is when old Walter Huston is telling larcenous and impatient Humphry Bogart how much the mountain was like a woman. How you must put her back together, that she must be in better shape when you leave her than she was before she met you. I’ll always love Gerry Bronco for that. He taught me how to live in my body again.”


-- Flore de Valicourt Actress Paris, France

**********************************************************

The following “Lost War Dispatches” were found two days after Gerry Bronco disappeared attempting to locate Sebastian Junger in the Afghanistan Mountains in late 2003.

Though rumors of his sightings have surfaced regularly, he has not been seen or heard from officially since:

Princess Abdullah Acquires Adequate Assurances


New Wreck Times--

Dateline: 2340 GMT 16 Aug 03

-- Senior Bureau Chief Gerry Bronco

Baghdad-- Saudi Princess Abdullah toured this war-ravaged region of Iraq last week and remarked how it was that,

"...with all the technical know-how of the United States Concessionaires..."

... that something as simple as a nautical tour along the Euphrates could not be arranged. Her Highness was bedazzling in a floor-length faux ermine robe and cosmetics by Thomas Gustavason. Her henna-red curls glistened in the desert sun while the infamous High Temper seethed.

"First I must hide the fact that my cousin's terrorist activities are tied to my Trust, but even more insulting, are the published dates of my breast augmentations."

Princess Abdullah was reported to have had surgeries to enhance the lift and fullness of her breasts on August 6 of 1993 and February 14, 1997; on May 17, 1998, a nipple realignment was performed; a symmetrical maintenance procedure was conducted on June 7, 1999; scar tissue was removed on September 12, 2001.

Princess Abdullah was here to meet Coalition High Commissioner Paul Bremer to discuss possible alliances for the building of roads and mosques in the emerging Iraq. Prince Abdullah had discussed the same issues with Mr. Bremer last month.

The Princess's visit was considered by pundits to, seal the deal.

Dancing girls undulated across the mosaic floor of the exhibition hall. Figs and melons were served on the backs of faux Nubian slaves, imported especially for the occasion. Tapestries designed by Ralph Lauren sighed in the slight breeze, a breeze made possible by the feathered palm fans swung in wide arcs by Filipina au pairs on vacation from Kuwait.

Paul Bremer was not available for comment.

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Private Private Privy to Privileged Positions


New Wreck Times--Dateline: 0050 GMT 26 Aug 03

-- Senior Bureau Chief Gerry Bronco

Baghdad-- Pvt. David Private of Vida, Oregon, age 20, had never heard of Donald Rumsfeld before his Reserve Unit was called up last September. A bright-eyed young man more acquainted with the lush green of his Oregon Cascade home than the sands of Iraq, he nonetheless displayed an uncanny knack for keeping things in perspective.


"We used to dune buggy on the Florence Sand Dunes every summer and winter," Pvt. Private said, referring to the Coastal stretch west of Eugene, "though we never had people shooting at us from all sides."


Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld met with a small contingent of soldiers for pictures and handshakes. Pvt. Private had just been relieved of, "VIP Duty."


"That's when a VIP comes through," Pvt. Private described, "a twenty block radius around the Green Zone is swept clean of all indigenous peoples. The 82nd Airborne conducted the sweep. My unit wore Desert Camo and looked happy while Mr. Rumsfeld talked about the great job we're doing."


After "VIP Duty," Pvt. Private's unit was ordered to, "play the shellgame."


"That's when we take a dozen M-1 Tanks and clear the main roads into the Green Zone of old blown up and burned out cars and trucks. It's really fun, just the shells of the cars!"


Pvt. Private's tour of duty was increased by 90 days during Mr. Rumsfeld's visit.

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Mobile Medical Management

New Wreck Times -- Dateline: 2230 GMT 27 Aug 03


-- Senior Bureau Chief Gerry Bronco



Baghdad-- Civilian Military Subcontractor, Mobile Medical Management is but one of scores of subcontractors under the Halliburton umbrella. Appointed Lead U.S. Concessionaire just after 11 September 2001, the Halliburton team called on its subcontractors for a meeting in Vice President Dick Cheney’s Office at the White House.

Mobile Medical Management of Laguna Niguel, California, won its “bid” for supplying battlefield hospitals with hi-tech cauterization lasers for preparing amputated limbs for stateside prosthetics.

“Another subsidiary of Halliburton supplies all the Kevlar armor the troops wear in the field,” Mobile Medical Management Inter-Regional Manager C.D. Parks said recently, “that armor is so effective, that without it, the kill rate of U.S. troops would be eleven or twelve a day, not the one or two we are seeing now. The armor is especially protective of the torso area; less so for arms and legs. The upside for our company is that we not only supply the cauterization lasers, but we also supply the prosthetics. Why, I was just crunching the numbers last week. We’re going to publish a profit increase of over 600% since March.”

Mobile Medical Management Spokesperson, Melody Wrangle held a press conference outside one battlefield hospital near the Halliburton Headquarters in what was once, downtown Baghdad.

“Mobile Medical Management is committed to this patriotic mission we’ve been entrusted with. Our motto is: we not only staunch the flow, we offer a helping hand and give a leg up!”

Vice President Dick Cheney cited National Security issues and invoked Executive Privilege when queried about the meetings with the Halliburton Subcontractors.

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Lamentable Lawlessness Lessens Lateral Liquidity

New Wreck Times -- Dateline: 0050 GMT 01 Sept 03


-- Senior Bureau Chief Gerry Bronco

Baghdad-- Mudhar al-Abdel, a Baghdad resident his entire 36 years, is but one of thousands of Iraqis being interviewed by Halliburton subsidiary, Hopkins Research. A member of the important moderating force in Iraq, The Badr Brigade, Mr. al-Abdel hopes to also become a member of the “All-Iraqi Security Detail.”

The “All-Iraqi Security Detail,” is the brainchild of Hopkins Research’s Senior Vice-Research Fellow, Dr. Dwight Gilman.

“I’ve been analyzing the situation for many weeks now,” Dr Gilman stated today, “I finally came to the conclusion that the ratio of situational liabilities to causal field casualty reports will lessen lateral liquidity, so the use of indigenous peoples is warranted.”

Unidentified American Officials conceded today, that trained Iraqi security personnel are now much-needed. With a rotation of U.S. Military personnel still months away, a skilled force of Iraqi nationals is required to quiet the foment that has reached a peak with the assassination of the cleric, al-Hakim on Saturday.

“What we are looking for,” an unidentified American Official said, “in the prime candidate for the Security Detail, are individuals who can identify disparate Iraqi tribal clans and help us codify their intents so we can better serve the building of this nation.”

Halliburton officials declined to respond to repeated requests for comment.

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Rumsfeld Rues Repercussions

New Wreck Times -- Dateline: 2345 GMT 05 Sept 03


-- Senior Bureau Chief Gerry Bronco

Baghdad-- A glum Donald Rumsfeld, on his own "world tour" to drum up support for a lagging endeavor, parried a volley of questions from the Baghdad Press Corps today. The familiar scowl still firmly in place, Rumsfeld seemed to be jabbing off his back foot the entire Press Conference. When confronted with the increasing costs of the War, both monetary and in human lives, Rumsfeld was quick to point out, "I never said this conflict was going to be a rose garden. I never said we'd come out of it with nary but a thorn prick. I told you all along that it would be rough. Well, it's rough!"

When asked about United Nations help to stabilize the region, Rumsfeld shot back, "That's a State Department tactic! You need to talk to State! Whatever happens, the United STATES will be firmly in control, just as we are now. Never forget that we won the war in record time. That cannot ever be discounted. That is why we are firmly in control. We won, dammit!"

149 American Soldiers have died since 1 May 2003, the day President George W. Bush announced from the Aircraft Carrier the Abraham Lincoln, that the war was over.

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Optimism Obfuscates Outrage


New Wreck Times -- Dateline: 0052 GMT 10 Sept 03


-- Senior Bureau Chief Gerry Bronco

Baghdad-- Paul Wolfowitz and Donald Rumsfeld have been touring this decimated country with the most wide-eyed optimism. Determined to prove a horse somewhere in all the filth, both have embarked on a whirlwind tour of Iraq. Mr. Wolfowitz held a press conference shortly after President Bush's Address to the Nation. Standing on a crate, so he could reach the podium's microphone, Mr. Wolfowitz answered questions for almost fifteen minutes before departing to his next conference down the road. Later, in a private moment with his motorcade, Mr. Wolfowitz confided to all within earshot that all was well in Iraq.

"Of course," Mr. Wolfowitz said, "the reason so much chaos has been endured is because the War is not over. The War can never be over. That's the Beauty of it!"

Reminded that the President declared the War over in May, Mr. Wolfowitz retorted,

"Yes, he did say the War was over. In a sense, that War is over. But the War can never be over. It will go on and on. It must!"

166 Billion Dollars has been allocated for the cost of the War in just the last six months.

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Chemically Killed Kurds Commemorated

New Wreck Times -- Dateline: 0020 GMT 17 Sept 03

-- Senior Bureau Chief Gerry Bronco

Baghdad-- Standing near rows of white crosses commemorating the 5,000 Iraqi-Kurds who died in a chemical weapons attack, Secretary of State Colin Powell pledged such brutality was over.

“I can’t tell you that Saddam Hussein was a murderous tyrant; you already know that. What I can tell you is that what happened in 1988 will never happen again.”

Powell was in Halabja to dedicate a memorial and museum for the Kurdish victims of modern chemical warfare. Women wearing black thrust bouquets of flowers toward him. Many in the audience wept, holding framed photographs of family members killed.The massacre on 15 March 1988, in the northeastern city, 7 miles from the Iranian border, has been cited repeatedly by President Bush as evidence of Hussein’s brutality.

The chemicals used in the massacre were developed by Dow Chemical and sold by a subsidiary of Halliburton as part of a yearly 120 million dollar U.S. Military Aid package to our longtime ally to secure its border with Iran. Two months after the massacre, Iraq requested and was granted an additional 10 million in U.S. Military Aid to replenish its depleted chemical stock.

Iraq continued to receive 120 million a year in U.S. Military Aid until three months after its invasion of Kuwait.

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Self-Fulfilling Prophecy Denied By White House


New Wreck Times-- Dateline: 2220 GMT 20 Sept 03

-- Senior Bureau Chief Gerry Bronco

Baghdad-- Responding to withering criticism over it’s invasion of this Gulf State, the White House today denied that al Qeda and Iraq were involved in any way with each other before the U.S. invasion in March.

"When even William Safire accuses us of a self-fulfilling prophecy," an unnamed White House Official lamented, "it’s time to set the record straight. There was never any terrorist link with Iraq. You might think we think that, but we don’t. We never did. Of course, there is tremendous terrorist linkage now. That must be stopped, and we really need that $87 Billion to make sure!"

U. S. fatalities continue to average two a day.

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“A man who has depths in his shame meets his destiny and his delicate decisions upon paths which few ever reach, and with regard to the existence of which his nearest and most intimate friends may be ignorant; his mortal danger conceals itself from their eyes, and equally so his regained security. Such a hidden nature, which instinctively employs speech for silence and concealment, and is inexhaustible in evasion of communication, desires and insists that a mask of himself shall occupy his place in the hearts and heads of his friends; and supposing he does not desire it, his eyes will some day be opened to the fact that there is nevertheless a mask of him there--and that it is well to be so."

--Friedrich Nietzsche "Thus Spake Zarathustra”





from: “Philosophy in Tongues” Part 1 “The Public Parody” and Part 4 “The Lost War Dispatches”

© 2006 by Justice Putnam and Mechanisches-Strophe Verlagswessen

(This has also appeared in the Rescued section of Daily Kos: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2006/7/1/232513/1219 )