Friday, December 10, 2010

It’s The Hope That Kills You

I am essentially apolitical since I trust politicians about as much as I trust priests, prostitutes, and used car salesmen. But, I live in faith today, and occasionally that faith morphs into hope. (This is bad because it is acceptance, not hope, that assures peace of mind.) As John Cleese says in the movie Clockwise, “It’s not the despair, I can handle the despair; it’s the hope I can’t stand.”

I have strong feelings about the relationship between art and propaganda. Art must reveal truth, propaganda reveals and promotes an agenda; it is political advertising, which is to say, it uses the tools of art to lie. So, when I was asked to write a “protest poem” during the 1st Desert Storm, I initially resisted. In the end, I did write one, attempting to stay in the universal and out of the particular. It might have been entitled Plus Ça Change, Plus C'est La Même Chose, but that would have been affected, even for me.

Politicians are the ultimate cynics, believing in nothing but the emptiness of their pockets. And yet, their stock and trade is pretending to have beliefs, thus, they behave as though they do. This elaborate, disingenuous dance causes them to put adherence to purported beliefs before actual utility and so, like clergy, they become far more dangerous than garden-variety criminals.

Forward March

Femur in a furry hand
At the end of a stick
Dagger that slips
Through muscle
Like a spy slips
Through enemy lines
Suits of steel
Fit for a prince
Rifle, bullet
Silver fortress
High above

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