As we Americans once again commemorate our war dead, and pay respect to the families of those who “gave the last full measure of devotion,” I wonder:

Will we ever come to terms with the fact that many of their deaths were preventable?

They not only died for us, they died because of us and our pride, arrogance, and nationalist ego-centrism.

We Americans are sure that we can do anything we set our minds and collective will to do. Why not peace?

Why can’t we learn to treat other people with respect, and so to gain friends instead of making enemies? We are so hell bent in self-righteousness, so mired in fear of others – and so completely confused about who they are – that millions of us want a dictator in our highest office.

Our dead didn’t die so that America would be weak and terrified, but we are. After 9/11 we raised flags and were defiant and strong for a while, until Bush-Cheney told us to be terrorized, and so we were and so we remain.

History will not be kind about the fall of the American Empire. For 15 years we have declined into willful ignorance, the victims of fear and selfishness. Trump is the distillation of that consciousness.

We don’t deserve a new birth of freedom if we deny it to each other.

We don’t deserve safety unless we stand up for the refugees and give them refuge.

We are not worthy to consecrate a moment, let alone a day, in honor of our dead, until we pledge in our hearts and minds that no more shall die in vain.


smokey weather

Alright, this kind of excitement I do not need. So I’m going on record as being one accustomed to placid tedium and not at all unhappy that way.

A short time ago, a smoke detector started going off in a neighboring unit in my condo building. This happens from time to time. One goes off, but it stops in a minute – like a car alarm – when somebody discovers their carelessness in the kitchen and opens a window or two.

This time, it didn’t stop. After a couple of minutes, I got up and put on my shoes, grabbed my phone, and went out. I saw a neighbor woman – whom I’ve noticed has a few small children – going out of the laundry room downstairs. I headed down my stairs and around the building to her condo.

The front door was open, smoke coming from the windows and the living room and kitchen full of it, but no sign of flame. I pounded on the open door, yelling “Hello! Do you need any help!?”

She didn’t. The fire on the stove was out, and I guess the kids were OK. I suggested she get fresh air into the dwelling – open more windows being my point.

Hey, we’ve all done it, left food cooking and become distracted. But like I said, someone is there when the smoke alarm goes off, right? To me, it seems unwise to start dinner and leave the kids while you go off to do laundry. Can I get an Amen on that?

Let’s be careful out there, people. Because, in the words of Randy Hickey:

Being dead is definitely worse than being alive. When you’re dead you can’t do all the cool stuff you can do when you’re alive. You and I, we can do all kinds of cool stuff cuz we’re living, we’re not dead, we’re alive. If we were dead we wouldn’t be able to do all the cool stuff we can do, becuz we’re alive. Dead people can’t do cool stuff. Only people that are alive can do cool stuff, cuz they’re living, and you have to be living to be able to do cool stuff. You have to be alive. Yeah, ‘cept when you’re alive sometimes bad stuff happens too. Like sometimes you can get into a car wreck, or you can have a headache or twist your ankle or even stub your big toe… So being alive is kinda hard too, but I think it’s definitely better than being dead…


In reality, every reader is, while he is reading, the reader of his own self.

– Marcel Proust

Well, the reading at Presidio Springs Community Center yesterday went well. It was a great turnout, and a good time was had by all. I sincerely appreciate everyone who came. Thank you so much for your kind attention.

Thank you, Joseph, for doing so much to make the event possible. It’s not often that any of us gets a chance to be “featured reader,” and have so much time to express himself. I felt free.

For those who couldn’t make it, or just want to read through it again, I’ve prepared my reading manuscript as a sort of digital chapbook, in PDF.

Read or download it here.

I got some feedback from one friend who was there, saying that such readings might be more enjoyable if the audience could follow along with the text. I think it’s a great idea. Everything would make a lot more sense. So next time I do a reading, I’m going to make a point of making my selections early, and posting the text online, as I have here. Food for thought, for you poets and writers out there.

Come To The Reading!

Please remember you are invited to attend Fused Realities. In case you missed, or were insufficiently annoyed by, postings on my blog and Facebook, and notices in the Independent, Daily Sound, and Noozhawk, here’s the information:

Reading by two local poets & writers

When: Sunday, October 4, 4:00 pm.
Where: Presidio Springs, 721 Laguna St., Santa Barbara [Map]

Two accomplished local poets & writers, J. Kyle Kimberlin & Joseph Gallo, will be reading from their collective works.

Mr. Kimberlin is the author of a collection of poetry called, Finding Oakland. His work has appeared in Pembroke Magazine, Art/Life, Cafe Solo, Rivertalk, Collage, Retooling For Renaissance, The Third Millennium, and Red Tiles, Blue Skies.

Mr. Gallo is the author of a collection of poetry called, The Shredded Mettle of the Heart. He has won numerous awards and has taught poetry & creative writing for California Poets In The Schools, Academy of Healing Arts, SB Music & Arts Conservatory, Artists In Corrections, UCSB summer writing programs, and numerous other venues and workshops.

His work has appeared in The Harrow, BOCA Magazine, The Brautigan Bibliography, The Eldorado Sun, Art/LIFE, Shared Sightings, Earthwords, SOLO, Santa Barbara Independent, Rivertalk and several other literary journals.

This event is FREE to the public.
We hope you can make it!

Reading Announcement

“Fused Realities”

Two accomplished local poets and writers, Joseph Gallo and J. Kyle Kimberlin, will share the podium, reading from their work in poetry and prose.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

4:00 pm

Presidio Springs Community Center

721 Laguna Street, Santa Barbara

 scroll down for links to media

Joseph Gallo


    Late birds flush the bush, streak
    beaks across a bruised horizon.

    Nightfall knows better than we
    precisely what to do with itself.

    Wild dogs skirl ritual like Pawnee,
    their plain song sere against the sea.

    Fluters hoot the winged oaks and every
    mouse shadow stands its still ground.

    To move now would be to
    do the only human thing.

J. Kyle Kimberlin

    from Pictures of My Forgetting

    You know that life is hiding from us, though
    we caught a glimpse this morning, where
    it fell as light on the carpet by the door.
    It rose and flew like a moth down the long
    hall and disappeared. As a child I saw it rest
    that way. It would lie by the window while
    morning arrived and my grandmother
    was singing in another room. It fluttered
    by and rested a while on my hand. It spread
    its wings and loved me, whispering a psalm.

    The house is gone but not that room, not yet.


a pressure front moves through

Wow, that was a hell of a day yesterday wasn’t it? I’m still decompressing. I mean the resignation of Gonzales, who has defiled our national community for too long, and the guilty plea of Vick, who has defiled what it means to be a man.

I am letting my resentment go. I reached up and handed it to the last full lunar eclipse of my lifetime, and Luna was big enough to handle it. Also, I went swimming this afternoon. That always helps, as does riding my bike. It’s them endorphins.

They said on the TV that the next such eclipse will be 2058, three years before my 100th birthday. While I’m hopeful that recent improvements in my health and lifestyle will have beneficial effects, I’m skeptical of 51 more years. So it goes.

I’m reminded of a little line from the writer Anne Lamott:

“A hundred years from now? All new people.”

That’s OK isn’t it? You and I won’t give a shit, we’ll be doing something else.

And speaking of the moon and green cheese, here’s a pale green Luna Moth, at the recent Butterflies Alive exhibit at the Museum of Natural History in SB.

Peace, sleep well, and don’t worry about that 100 years thing. We have tonight, if not tomorrow.

don’t cry for alberto

“Al Gonzales is a man of integrity, decency and principle. …After months of unfair treatment that has created a harmful distraction at the Justice Department, Judge Gonzales decided to resign his position and I accept his decision. It’s sad that we live in a time when a talented and honorable person like Alberto Gonzales is impeded from doing important work because his good name was dragged through the mud for political reasons.” — President Bush.

Alberto Gonzales is a spineless toady, who instead of serving the people as their senior law enforcement official served the president as one of his flying monkeys. He’s a liar, or so say the US Congress. Bush is sorry to see Gonzales go because he’s losing an excellent Yes Man and the co-author of many of this administration’s crimes against civil and human rights.

As for potential lost because of being dragged through the mud, W should be referring to Bill Clinton, not Al “no recollection” Gonzales.

By the way, has Bush broken the all time world record for vacation time for a national leader yet? Last time I heard, he was really close to Nero or somebody. But seriously, I read that Reagan had the record for US Presidents and Bush topped it last week. He’s spent almost 30% of his presidency taking a break. During time of war.

If Bush wasn’t so dangerous, he’d be useless. He should be impeached.

irony, as only DC can fry it up

Monica Goodling, a Justice Department official involved in the firings of federal prosecutors, will refuse to answer questions at upcoming Senate hearings, citing Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination, her lawyer said Monday. “The potential for legal jeopardy for Ms. Goodling from even her most truthful and accurate testimony under these circumstances is very real,” said the lawyer, John Dowd.

How do you know when your Government has reached the nadir of corruption, when they’ve absolutely hit rock bottom? When the Justice Department starts copping the 5th, that’s how. I sincerely hope they’ve done the worst they can do. I don’t mean to hope that we’ve seen the worst of it exposed to the bland light of public scrutiny, but we can hope they’re done doin’ it, right?

She works at the Justice Department, dear reader. The Justice Depatment.

what a shock

I just finished my workout, made a cup of joe, and turned on the news. CNN, Faux and MSNBC are simultaneously reporting that Anna Nicole Smith died of an accidental drug overdose. What an appalling surprise. Who would have thought that?

If you are a regular reader of this little cyber-pamphlet, you know how I feel about this Smith thing. Her death is a bad thing for her family. It’s not irrelevant that she’s dead, but a lot of people are dead. Her death is no more or less relevant to society at large than anyone else’s. It’s not news. Her drug problem is troubling and sad, but millions of people are hooked on drugs. It’s not news. The questionable parentage of her daughter is a little ugly and too bad for the kid, but countless lives start out in difficult circumstances. Not news.

The real story behind the trainwreck life and death of Smith is the way the media have exploited it, using it as a diversion from real issues of economics, politics, the welfare of the planet, and global morality. CNN has become ANS – All Anna Nicole, All the Time. I’ve mostly stopped watching it. (Larry King simply needs to retire; he has no more place on TV than I do.) MSNBC is a little better; I like Olbermann. Faux isn’t worth mentioning, but I did.

When they cover this tripe, they do not broadcast in the public interest. Carrying round-the-clock coverage of tawdry, tabloid concerns is not the basis for an FCC license to act as a news venue.

For cryin’ out loud, let’s move on. She’s as dead as she’s ever going to get.

dark days for dictators

Sixteen days after The Decider of Baghdad did the old drop, snap, and wiggle, the government that W ordered from Geppetto’s EBay Workshop dropped another debacle. Can you believe this? I’m not going to tell you what happened this time, except that it’s worse that what they did to Saddam. It’s not for the squeamish. Or the sane, for that matter.

Well, that’s just the first game of today’s totalitarian double-header (bwahahaha! … sorry.) Shifting metaphors, in the center ring we have the evidently impending demise of Fidel Castro. What can we say about that? I’m indifferent, except that it’s too bad I can’t think of anything funny.

“Tragedy is when I cut my finger. Comedy is when you walk into an open sewer and die.”
— Mel Brooks