Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A Visit to the Continuing Present

There are many that I know and they know it.
They are all of them repeating and I hear it. I love it
and I tell it. I love it and now I will write it.
This is now a history of my love of it. I hear it
and I love it and I write it. They repeat it.
They live it and I see it and I hear it. They live it
and I hear it and I see it and I love it
and now and always I will write it.
There are many kinds of men and women
and I know it. They repeat it and I hear it
and I love it. This is now a history of the way they do it.
This is now a history of the way I love it.

Gertrude Stein The Making of Americans

Damn, Gertie, that fits me like a glove. That's what I'm doing as I'm doing it. Man, I like rocking along in life like that; that is the American way I came out of an American woman's womb using as my guide--a following the sun way. I came out knowing there were many knowing that I knew what I was knowing. Taking in what I was seeing and hearing and seeing and hearing repeated and the more I saw and heard the more I knew it and the more I knew about it, yes, the more I loved it. And, yes, seeing and hearing so many kinds of men and women--and in that sort of rhythm, yes, I knew it and began seeing it and hearing it more and more and hearing it and seeing it repeated more and more and I began to love it more and more and, yes, then I began to write about it and the more I wrote about it the more I knew about it and isn't it all about knowing?

I like Gertrude Stein grew up not really understanding this country we both called America and we both thought of ourselves as Americans, that is, as Americans living in the United States of America, those kinds of Americans.

When Gertrude Stein was a brilliant young Jewish girl from a well-to-do San Francisco family, in the late 1800s, around the turn of the 19th Century into the 20th Century, she came back East to go to Harvard--think about that bravery, a young Jewish girl alone at a mostly all-male Harvard--where she became tough and determined and, though maybe scared to death, bold and confident enough to drive on through the toughness ("You got to go through it to get to it"), bold and confident and determined enough in the adventure of her own narrative to end up in the lap of literary luxury in Gay Paree leading an American expatriate art movement, influencing American writing, poetry, music, and art like no other person at the time. Gertie influenced such a huge crowd of American writers and composers and poets and biographers--Holy Smoke! From Sherwood Anderson to T.S. Eliot to William Carlos Williams to Hemingway to Gore Vidal to Paul Bowles to Aaron Copeland to Virgil Thomson (composer of a great American opera with the libretto by Gertrude Stein, an opera no one growing up now will probably see staged in their lifetime, Four Saints in Four Acts--I can still sing parts of it in my head--"Pigeons on the grass, alas!"), influencing men especially--Hemingway falling madly in love with her (literarily and literally)--making out like discovering she was shacking up with Alice B. Toklas in a sexual way so shocked him and turned him against her--and Gertie saying it was because she rejected Hemingway's sexual attraction. And I can understand Hemingway's attraction to Gertrude. I myself as a college student read all of Gertie, so much I got to thinking of her as my Aunt Gertie, and I would talk to my swellheaded literature-driven classmate friends about my Aunt Gertie and what a great writer she was, not for what she wrote but how she wrote, in a continual present, and how I thought William Faulkner had to have read her and gotten into her because of his "stream of consciousness" style. And, yes, soon reading Gertrude Stein became a sexual experience for me.

The chapter on Hemingway's walking into the Rue de Fleurus apartment and hearing Gertrude encouraging "Pussy" [Alice] to lick away is from the great last-gasp of Papa's creativeness, A Moveable Feast, finished and published right before Papa flipped totally out into no man's land and finally like Dr. Hunter Thompson saw it best to blow the top of his head off with a prize weapon. All writers, by the way, who depend on their writings to make a living are neurotic wrecks who eventually unless sales increase or they make a Hollywood sale become paranoid wrecks. That's when suicide becomes big with them, though they are basically shy cowards who have to force themselves into life-and-death situations--where the best stories used to come from--I mean, war stories used to be the exciting tales--think of the great war novels--War and Peace, The Red and the Black, The Red Badge of Courage, All's Quiet on the Western Front, Catch 22, A Farewell to Arms, From Here to Eternity, and a book though not a war novel but about World War I, one of the bloodiest and dirtiest wars in human history, by a writer I truly dig, Siegfried Sassoon, Diaries of an Infantry Officer. Sassoon was truly affected by his World War I experiences in the trenches--he a poet--in the trenches having to live day and night in intolerable living conditions and facing death at any moment or facing having to give an order to send thousands of troops over the top of the trench to perhaps get mowed down by returned German fire--Sassoon writes about it with great depth and scary insight. Here! here's a macabre little diddy from the pen of Siegfried Sassoon--I love this:

Glory of Women
(Craiglockhart, 1917)

You love us when we're heroes, home on leave,
Or wounded in a mentionable place.
You worship decorations; you believe
That chivalry redeems the war's disgrace.
You make us shells. You listen with delight,
By tales of dirt and danger fondly thrilled.
You crown our distant ardours while we fight,
And mourn our laurelled memories when we're killed.
You can't believe that British troops "retire"
When hell's last horror breaks them, and they run,
Trampling the terrible corpses - blind with blood.

O German mother dreaming by the fire,
While you are knitting socks to send your son
His face is trodden deeper in the mud.

Politics Again
I was insulted by President Obama's speech before the backward thinking (since their founding) American Medical Ass(hole)ociation, the AMA. I say Fuck the AMA. As they are today, only a third of US doctors belong to it now it's so regressive. The AMA stands for higher pay for medical care--higher pay for doctors--that's what they stand for and what they've always stood for. They opposed FDR's health reform proposed by Francis Perkins during the Great Depression; they opposed Teddy Kennedy's national healthcare plan; and they opposed Slick Willie and Hillbilly Hill's effort at a national healthcare when Bill took the reins after promising us all a national healthcare plan based on the Medicare system. "You see this little card," old Billy Jeff said in his 100-day speech, holding up an already printed up national healthcare card, "All Amuricans are gonna have one of these...blah, blah, blah. I'm putting my dumbass wife in charge of this and she's gonna...blah, blah, blah." Hillbilly Hillary of course ended up sheepishly backing away from her first big government job assignment--giving in to the big insurance hogs who had by then gotten their big puffy paws around Slick Willie's nuts and soon HMOs had monopolized healthcare and turned disease and illness and dying into a multibillion-buck-a-year industry!

In his speech to the AMA, and I heard it all thanks to delicious Amy Goodman, Obama just flat didn't tell the truth. First of all, why would you speak before a group of quack doctors who only represent 33% of all doctors? Second of all, why would you insult the people who elected you by kissing these fool doctors's asses, and deep down in their filthy money-grubbing cracks, too. Why would you insult your constituents by assuring these old whacked out doctors that the government wasn't going into the health insurance business! Why the hell not, god-dammit, Barack, why the fucking hell not can't we have single-payor health insurance?--healthcare paid for by the government through government-issued insurance plans--following the working formula of Medicare and most of the rest of the world's most industrial countries? Fuck HMOs. Do away with them. You aren't a dumbass. You know damn good and well keeping our present healthcare system is going to lead to a chaotic system that will cost We the People a trillion more dollars in debt. With single-payor healthcare, rich assholes could still buy their Power Elite policies; they could still go to the BEST hospitals--you know, get the luxury suites--why don't hospitals build luxury suites on their top floors for Power Elite patients--put the government-insured single payors on the lower floors or even build basement floors down deep into the earth for them. You see how farcical all this bullshit is?

Obama is a god-damn liar when he says that if he were starting from scratch, he'd back single-payer healthcare, but, he says, the problem is, we already have a system in place--we have traditionally depended on getting our healthcare from employers! That is absolute bullshit. It was the unions back in their glory days that got what were called in those days "INCENTIVES" or "BENEFITS" put into their employment contracts. As long as they were working hard in factories that weren't so healthy or physically safe, why not provide coverage for them and their families. This, however, didn't mean every fucking employer gave you healthcare as a benefit for working for them! My dad was a businessman and he and my mother bought their health insurance directly from Blue Cross or Blue Shield. When my dad worked for other people, he never got healthcare. Even when my dad was a department head of a major Dallas department store, he still had to obtain his own healthcare. Besides, what the hell is Obama talking about--employers more and more aren't paying employees health benefits anymore--in fact, they offer shared-payment deals now in most offices, don't they?
LIES continue to lead us straight down into the pits of Chaotic Hell. When will someone be brave enough to lead us all into the streets likes going on brilliantly in Iran as I type this. One million people ganged into the main square in Tehran in protest against what they're considering a stolen election yesterday. Isn't it ironic how G.W. Bush stole two elections in this country and even his opponents, Al the Bore Gore and John "Vietnam Nutjob with Heinz Catchup smearing his logic" Kerry giving up without even a whiny, nerdy challenge. Can you imagine if a couple a'million of us had of stormed the Supreme Court in 2000 and arrested the whole lot of them for unConstitutionally and therefore illegally interfering in an election--not their job--and then by the millions we should have marched over to the White House and arrested G.W. and Pickles and then over to Cheney's bunker and shot it out with that coward bastard--but, no, only in Iran do they get upset when one of their fearless leaders tries to steal an election. Of course, in a religious democracy like Iran there's not really any democracy. Their supreme court, the caliph, the actual ruler of Iran, can say, "Mow down the protesters, the election was fair and is now officially, Allah be praised, over." Just think, Iranians are pouring back into the streets again today, this time under the threat of being killed. Five Tehran U. students were bushwhacked by the Iranian whack squads last night. In Iran, the government calls a private army into service when it needs protesters massacred. Still, watch the YouTube action--you can see it--millions of Iranians out taking over their country! Silly Obama watches big eyed. If he'd of gone to Iran rather than fucking Saudi-Arabia or Egypt...sorry, I was getting hopeful there. I know there is no hope, only faith in yourself. It's time to bring back that American-born statement, "Keep the Faith, Baby!"

for The Daily Growler

From Gestalt Therapy
by Frederick Perls

"A highly important connection and discrepancy is between the front of the body and the back. For instance, while to all appearances your gaze is directed ahead, it may be that you are more concerned with what lies behind, in which case you can never see where you are. What unknown thing do you fear from behind? Or what are you hoping will overtake and assault you? If you tend to stumble and fall down easily, concentration on this discrpancy between front and back will prove useful" [p. 181, Dell Publishing, Delta Book edition, 1951, 9th Printing.]

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