SELECTED POLITICAL POEMS


by



JONATHAN VOS POST



16 October 1992

Emerald City Publishing

Copyright 1998 by Magic Dragon Multimedia.
All rights reserved Worldwide. May not be reproduced without permission.
May be posted electronically provided that it is transmitted unaltered, in its entirety, and without charge.


TABLE OF CONTENTS

Introduction

Delayed Response

9-Teaze

That One May Live

Cynical Cannibal Childrens' Song

Yesterday's Tomorrow, or
Tomorrow's Yesterday

Fiscal Policies Reserve Bank Blues

Innocent Man Killed by Police
in Hunt for Freeway Sniper


Hiroshima: 30 Lines for 30 Years Ago

The Rat that Stole the World

Junior High

1980: Red, White, and Blues

Baby Boom Blues

Fax

Twilight Home

1980s: Consumer Decade {to be done}

The Twilight of Genetic Engineering




INTRODUCTION


Selected Political Poems is a "nonce publication" -- thrown together more-or-less at the spur of the moment in response to a particular event. It was a minstrel who struck the spark.

Fred Starner, noted folksinger, is also known for having co-authored the trailblazing study "The Economic Circumstances and Political Attitudes of Minstrels" with Lawrence A. Daellenbach, and presenting it at the Fourth International Conference on Cultural Economics and Planning (12-14 May 1986, Palace of the Popes in Avignon, France).

Fred and I met on 9 June 1992 at the Writers Rights Day rally in downtown Los Angeles, outside the headquarters of The Los Angeles Times , where he performed an original song ("Writer, writer, why are you so poor?"), accompanying himself on banjo, and I gave a fiery speech for the National Writers Union, as a member of the L.A. Local Steering Committee. As my guest at a garden party for writers and scientists, 30 August 1992, he invited me to perform with him as part of The Acoustic Conspiracy .
So on 18 October 1992, from 8:00-10:00 p.m., I shared the stage with this ad hoc group, which consists of Musicians: Liz Byrnes, Bobbie Jo Erikson, Janeen Rae Heller, Mary Kelly, Andrew Lorand, Mark Romano, Fred Starner himself, and Poets: Yvonne Lambert and Kathianne Osburn. We delighted the hip audience of Pasadena's Expresso Bar with an evening entitled Election Correction: Alternative Views on Society, Foibles, Elections. The event was subtitled "Songs the L.A. Times will not Review."

To organize my material, I retyped, laser printed, and bound an assortment of nominally political poems from my oeuvre of over 600 poems, more than 200 of which have been published in several countries. Two poems ("Delayed Response" and "The Twilight of Genetic Engineering") are from the 1990s, six poems ("9-Teaze", "1980: Red, White, and Blues", "Baby Boom Blues", "Fax", "Twilight Home", and "1980s: Consumer Decade") were from the 1980s. Most of the rest date from the mid-to-late 1960's (my High School and early college days), with most of those having been self-published in the collection Post in February 1970.

Some poems in Selected Political Poems respond to individual events -- "Delayed Response" to the Los Angeles Riots (or "Urban Unrest" or "Rodney King Riots"), "That One May Live" to a simultaneous Vietnam "victory" and Dr. Denton Cooley's first heart transplant, "Blues: Innocent Man Killed by Police in Hunt for Freeway Sniper" from an actual killing of 11 June 1969, "1980: Red, White, and Blues" with the presidential election, and "Hiroshima: 30 Lines for 30 Years Ago" from the bombing (whose radiation dosage is currently being recalibrated by new data on water vapor's effect of the slow neutron/fast neutron ratio).

Some poems deal with perennial problems in society -- "Cynical Cannibal Childrens' Song" with the psychopathology of violence, "Fiscal Policies Reserve Bank Blues" with economic inequality, "The Rat that Stole the World" with censorship/assassination, "Junior High" with gang violence in schools (clearly anticipating Rap a decade early), "Baby Boom Blues" with suburban angst, "Twilight Home" with institutionalized care for the elderly, "1980's: Consumer Decade" with rampant materialism, and "Fax" with the burnout and cynicism of war reporters.

A few are cautionary tales, dystopian science fiction, such as "9-Teaze" (whose protagonist was born in 1990), "Yesterday's Tomorrow, or Tomorrow's Yesterday" set after an atomic holocaust, and "The Twilight of Genetic Engineering" with unanticipated side-effects of bio-engineering the environment.

In the final analysis, all poems are political. The most metaphysical lyric, the purest erotic verse, the most experimental concretion -- all are shaped by the author's political environment and the author's perceptions of political "reality." This collection is merely a sampling of those pieces which bring an alternative view of the political scene to the immediate foreground.

Classical Greek civilization had a term for those citizens who were unaware or unengaged to the political process: IDIOTS . By having so much as turned the cover page of this volume, you have escaped the stigma of idiocy. NOW GET OUT THERE AND MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN YOUR COMMUNITY!

Jonathan Vos Post
Pasadena & Westwood
California
16 October 1992

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DELAYED RESPONSE
by
Jonathan V. Post

Chief Nero Gates

Fiddles while L.A. burns.

The public waits and waits...

Until Simi Valley learns.


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9-Teaze
by
Jonathan V. Post

9-Teaze was born in 1990, addicted to cocaine
shuddering in the Welfare Hospital Wing, illuminated pain.
(Daddy having OD'd at an End-of-the-Eighties Party
mid-snort, clutching his Nicaraguan Draft Notice). Astarte,
unmarried teenaged Mommy, barred by a court order
from visiting the kid, borrowed a cassette recorder,
and mailed synth-punk lullabyes, care of the night nurse.
Later, she did designer drugs, her memory got worse,
last seen on Peoples' Farm in '94, holding an empty purse.

9-Teaze despised the Neo-Welfare State, whose hands had fed her,
hated the parents who'd birthed, burned out, misled her.
She vowed revenge, she'd be the sick system's cure.
She'd kill off the bastards responsible and begin the Millennium pure.

She tracked down (beginning at age 8)
the Dealer whom she was born to hate,
who'd hooked her Mom on Bolivian snow...
and sent him to hell with a poisoned Bordeaux.

She found the official who'd drafted her Dad,
drafted him with forgeries so iron-clad
that he died as a prisoner in Leningrad.

She cornered the chemist who'd fried her Mom's brain,
got a job as a waitress and spiked his chow mein,
dragged him back to the condo, sliced open a vein,
then dissolved him in acid, and flushed him down the drain.

She piloted a crop-duster filled with killer virus spray
above a dozen major cities before she was taken away.
"Oh you who knew," she was heard to say,
"and did nothing, you'll be the ones to pay!"

23 Nov 1986

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THAT ONE MAY LIVE (A SONG)
by
Jonathan V. Post
[from Post , Feb 1970]



A renewed offensive, offensive renewed
bullets' trajectories laced in a web.
Marines have captured hill thirty-one.
Vietcong guerrilla's resistance subdued
hill casually scattered with dead.


Marines have captured hill thirty-one,
an enemy citadel stronghold for years
hot rivulets run with the blood of the dead.
The battle's decided, its course swiftly run
blood red is far thicker than tears.


Back home Doctor Cooley is said to have said
in Houston a surgical miracle's done.
A manmade heart-artifact's just been removed
from the chest of a man which with plastic was wed,
and the heart that he has is a real one,
and the heart that he has is a real one.



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CYNICAL CANNIBAL CHILDRENS' SONG
by
Jonathan V. Post
[from Post , Feb 1970]

Cowering nations, cannibalistic,
trapped in their concepts of infantilism;
building and stockpiling missiles ballistic:
glands, not cerebra, control each decision.


Watch children start fights with inhuman elation,
see bullies all pick on the helpless and small.
Reflections of countries with their escalations;
an infant's behavior reflects each world war.


Pre-adolescents attack one another,
contiguous regions all fortify borders.
"You'll get a black eye!"
"So? I'll get my big brother..."
Armies contend:
"We're just following orders."

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YESTERDAY'S TOMORROW, OR TOMORROW'S YESTERDAY
by
Jonathan V. Post
[from Post , Feb 1970]


Down the littered streets
the dark winds howled.
The icy fingers of the storm
Did scrape until each scrap of warm
Was twisted, drained of all its form,
Each house was disembowled.

Through the wreck and rubble
the cold winds prowl.
The slashing sheets of sleet and snow
Through crushed and crumpled ruins blow
Past dead and dying buildings go,
With searching hunger growl.

Past the shattered fragments
the cruel winds stream.
They hurl each chunk of glass and brick
And tear through mounds of paper, pick
Up shards of plastic, metal, sticks,
As if searching for a dream.

Around the jagged remnants
the sharp winds roll.
And where the rubble lost its sheen,
All melted, burnt, there now is seen
A sickly glow, atomic green:
Our species' final goal.

Across the shattered Earth
the lone winds drift.
The planet now is theirs alone,
No living thing to make it home,
Yet endlessly the winds will roam,
With hopeless searching, sift.

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FISCAL POLICIES RESERVE BANK BLUES
by
Jonathan V. Post
[from Post , Feb 1970]

I hear the clink of coins,
the rustling of the money.
The bank is open now,
and we're together, honey.

You are just a file clerk,
I program the machines.
But with compound interest
our love approaches new extremes.

Chorus:
Oh, Money is God,
Economics is King,
Gold rules the world,
And the Bank is the center of everything...

See the faceless people come,
waiting all in lines.
Entries in a ledger only,
they have no hearts or minds.

See the starving artist who
withdrew his final dime;
don't those punch-card figures know
that poverty's a crime?

(Chorus)
Oh, Money is God,
Economics is King,
Gold rules the world,
And the Bank is the center of everything...

The numbers have to balance, dear,
it's the only way.
Chaos is a dirty word,
like freedom, too, today.

The millionaire has everything,
he must be worth his salt.
All the money-hungry ones,
it must be their own fault.

(Chorus, with heavy irony)
Oh, Money is God,
Economics is King,
Gold rules the world,
And the Bank is the center of everything...

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BLUES: INNOCENT MAN KILLED BY POLICE IN HUNT FOR FREEWAY SNIPER
by
Jonathan V. Post
[from Post , Feb 1970]

Well, this is the tale I'm a tellin' you
about a murder in this here land;
Donald Lee Oughton was killed by police,
he was a totally innocent man.
He was always well liked by his family and friends
and he never did anything wrong,
then he's killed by a cop
before he could yell stop,
that's the story in this here song.


It was a very dark night on the 11th of June, in 1969
and a couple of officers were crusin' in L.A.,
tryin' to hold down crime.
And at 8:16 p.m. they received a call
and what the call did say,
was that a man with a gun was seen on the run,
shootin' cars on the Hollywood Freeway.


Well, these two cops, the was very fine cops,
they was really as fine as could be.
There was Henry Kennedy and Norman P. O'Malley
and the former was a rookie, you see.
And they was zoomin' down at Temple Street,
at the Westlake intersection,
when along the street, there within their beat,
they saw an individual run.


"All of a sudden," a cop later said, "he slowed down to a walk,"
so O'Malley and Kennedy turned the headlights on
and gestured him over to talk.
Donald Lee Oughton reached into his pocket
and Officer Kennedy shouts:
"Watch it, he's got a gun!" says he,
and he pulls his own revolver out.


Kennedy fires at this unarmed man,
and hits O'Malley's index finger instead.
And O'Malley's confused, he draws his pistol at once
and he shoots Donald smack in the head.
Donald Lee Oughton is dead on arrival,
though they brought him at a rapid pace.
He's got three bullet wounds in his upper body
and one smack-dab in his face.


Officer O'Malley is treated for his hand wound,
and they say his condition is fair.
Rookie Officer Kennedy and his pal are sorry,
they wish they'd have never been there.
Don's mother is weeping when they politely inform her
that her son's been shot by mistake.
But accidents happen, and they're sorry as hell,
but, like, this is the United States.


Donald lived with his mother and step-father
right there in L.A., he had a bad speech defect,
made it hard to talk, he was nonetheless a wonderful guy.
He fed kittens in his backyard, gave comics to children,
he had dozens and dozens of friends.
The police are sorry, say it's all real tragic,
and they wish that they could make amends.

He used to watch TV with his neighbors on Wednesday,
that's what he'd been hurryin' for:
he'd been visitin' his friends, and the time was late,
he's goin' back to the neighbors next door.
And he'd reached into his pocket to get a card
that had his name and address.
That's why they accidently shot him,
they will now always confess.


"My son doesn't own a gun, and he never carried a gun.
He never stayed out late without calling me,"
he'd be anybody's favorite son.
He visited all his friends every day,
the children especially.
"He was always well liked," everybody admits,
as well as anyone could possibly be.


Well, that's is the tale I been tellin' you
about a murder in this here land.
Yeah, Donald Lee Oughton was killed by police,
he was a totally innocent man.
If yah don't believe in killin'
and you don't believe in death
whether here or in Viet Nam,
just think of Donald Lee Oughton
he was killed by police,
he was a totally innocent man.


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HIROSHIMA: 30 LINES FOR 30 YEARS AGO
by
Jonathan V. Post

For the children never born
who never know by sunlight on their faces: they are alive,
for the children born
who never know the sudden light by which they cease to be alive,
come, swollen mothers, to the birth of fire

Conception was a distant act of will in the desert
and these have been months of invention of form
and these have been months of purification of material
and these have been months of delicate assembly,
of polished joining, fine adjustments, careful packaging,
and awkward transport of the ticking weight above the clouds.
The time is close, you smell ground zero, close your eyes.

It is torn hot from the belly of the plane,
the fall is blind, the air too weak a cushion,
a moment arches like a bridge, and we are over it
and under us is flame too hot for color.

Sudden flower whose petals slice flesh from flesh
whose leaves level cities
whose rootless stem rises indifferent to the dim cold sun:
we pray against your accidental planting.

A smooth round body like a mushroom
a door from dark to light that locks behind
a screaming faster than the nerves can carry
a silence of steel dissolving into plasma
a smooth round body that locks behind
a mushroom like a dark steel door
a scream dissolving into plasma
a silence faster than the nerves can carry
a silence that locks behind
a silence

2230-2405
6 Aug 75


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THE RAT THAT STOLE THE WORLD
by
Jonathan V. Post



With a gun in his hand
and the airbase in flames
with a voice of command
gun loaded, he aims
from the Rio Grande
to the sheriff's brains


The gun is a laser
the brain is yours
at your throat, the razor
down on all fours
the dead star-gazer
and the matadors


The gun's at your head, the laser's hot
when the thinker's jailed, and the artist shot.




2200-2300
21 jun 77



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JUNIOR HIGH
by
Jonathan V. Post

rumble in the schoolyard
classes dismissed
principal's bodyguard
says "cease and desist"
zipgun in the lunchroom
switchblade on the stairs
flunk out, push a broom
nobody cares

winos, romeos, bust out the windows
funky, monkey, junkies in the john

piss in the parkinglot
miss another class
kiss like a hottentot
cover your ass
caught when the gang split
better say your prayers
report card counterfeit
nobody cares

winos, romeos, bust out the windows
funky, monkey, junkies in the john

hell with the homework
smell like a skunk
junior-high jerk-off
pinball punk
hookers in the homeroom
hey, welfare!
dropout bridegroom
nobody cares

winos, romeos, bust out the windows
funky, monkey, junkies in the john

1730-2030
7 aug 78




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1980: RED, WHITE, AND BLUES
by
Jonathan V. Post


I weep for my generation,
age of the condominium,
the dolphins' extermination,
and the end of the millennium.

I cry for a country gone crazy,
I mourn for the minds gone mad,
from the leadership of the lazy,
to the underground undergrad.

The pride of the politician
is the fall of the nation state.
Where is the brave coalition
that made our democracy great?

Why do these marionettes
command the political stage?
Why crowns and coronets
upon the puppet and the page?

Why are the wise and the witty
so rarely on Nightly News?
Conspiracy or committee,
why won't they do interviews?

When did the puffed and the pompous
acquire the right to rule?
The north pole pulls on the compass,
the network lies down with the fool.

Politics makes strange bedfellows,
the lion lies down with the lamb.
Campobellos and Monticellos
and money by telegram.

The Yellow Brick Road to the White House
is nothing particularly pretty:
the prime time hype, and its spouse
the Political Action Committee.

A Western-type Hollywood actor
outpolls the others for President
with initials "R.R.", what detractor
thinks "Roy Rogers" is whom I meant?

A Naval and nuclear farmer
the most powerful force for humanity?
He shot down the B-1 Bomber,
but could barely outadvertise Kennedy.

Not Democrat, no, not Republican?
Well, then, lift up a third-party flagon.
Let's all party while we can
on the Anderson-Bandersonwagon.

A Socialist nun for Vice-President?
Further out than what any astronomer
can see is November's experiment.
Can the Citizen's king be a Commoner?

Can the media really provide?
On your screen is the new Lilliputian.
Consult anyday's T.V. Guide,
not that old black-and-white Constitution.

Why should I leave my apartment?
Why should I make a decision?
Democracy's not my department,
I'll stay home and watch television.

There's no use appealing to reason,
Congress, Cabinet, courtroom, or panel --
there's four years to this comedy season,
there's no good in changing the channel!


1726-1821
13 Jly 80


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FAX
by
Jonathan V. Post

Lovely shot! Child's skin ripped by slugs
crying, dying to a bubbling cough
yet fumble-fingered by the native drugs
I couldn't get my lens cap off.

Gas went down good, girls dropped like flies
but light was bad, blood blossomed on the lens
six-year-old shudders, stares with f-stop eyes
while I hike back to the hotel. Told my friends:

"The business stinks. You take the pix to early
they're just a bunch of people, haven't bled
couldn't make it to the big-time pearly-
gated front-page. Later, they're only dead."

Death was in the press room, didn't need a pass.
I really would have shot him, but he moved too fast."

19 July 1983

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BABY BOOM BLUES
by
Jonathan V. Post


Their pride in marriage melted into myth.

The baby-boomers boomeranged through the boondocks

of bondage, baby, in the blue suburban sprawl.

Flash-flood affairs, divorce deluge, and all

left them tangled up like childrens' sox

on the floor of Motel Room Zero -- "Mr. & Mrs. Smith."



"Something's happening but you don't know what it is

do you, Mr. Jones?" Keeping up with Them,

keeping in the Fast Lane, keeping in Touch

and keeping it Together go to be Too Much.

Propositioned by the former President Pro Tem

who would trade a quickie for the answers to the quiz,

they lost their words are were caught red-handed, humming.



Their terrible anxieties about what they were becoming.


2200-2225
25 Jly 82


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TWILIGHT HOME
by
Jonathan V. Post


Abandon responsibility
all ye who enter here.
You do not know the date or year?
Be childish, be fancy-free.

The nurses are attentive, so
take every chance to bend an ear
to praise your son-in-law's career
in voices cracked and tremolo.

Surrender to the undertow
of timelessness from garden walls
while toilets flush like waterfalls
while paint peels from the portico.

Take fruit-juice in the banquet hall:
the one who stares, the one who coughs,
the one who pulls her dresses off,
the one who chants "I can't recall,"

the philistine, the philosophe,
the one who steals the other's cake,
the one who lisps "for goodness' sake."
but do not criticize or scoff

nor plead "there must be some mistake.
Why am I in this catacomb?
My grandson swore he'd take me home."
It goes much better, half-awake.



1250-1320
9 Apr 87



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ELECTION SEASON: RED, WHITE, AND BLUES
by
Jonathan V. Post



I weep for my generation,
age of the condominium,
the dolphins' extermination,
and the end of the millennium.

I cry for a country gone crazy,
I mourn for the minds gone mad,
from the leadership of the lazy,
to the underground undergrad.

The pride of the politician
is the fall of the nation state.
Where is the brave coalition
that made our democracy great?

Why do these marionettes
command the political stage?
Why crowns and coronets
upon the puppet and the page?

Why are the wise and the witty
so rarely on Nightly News?
Conspiracy or committee,
why won't they do interviews?

When did the puffed and the pompous
acquire the right to rule?
The north pole pulls on the compass,
the network lies down with the fool.

Politics makes strange bedfellows,
the lion lies down with the lamb.
Campobellos and Monticellos
and money by telegram.

The Yellow Brick Road to the White House
is nothing particularly pretty:
the prime time hype, and its spouse
the Political Action Committee.

Can the media really provide?
On your screen is the new Lilliputian.
Consult anyday's T.V. Guide,
not that old black-and-white Constitution.

Why should I leave my apartment?
Why should I make a decision?
Democracy's not my department,
I'll stay home and watch television.

There's no use appealing to reason,
Congress, Cabinet, courtroom, or panel --
there's four years to this comedy season,
there's no good in changing the channel!


1726-1821
13 Jly 80


[Jonathan V. Post, a 3-time contributor to the Los Angeles Times , is a scientist and author of over 600 publications, presentations, and broadcasts. He has worked on Voyager, Magellan, Galileo, Space Shuttle, and Space Station, and has appeared on the NBC-TV Today Show ]



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THE TWILIGHT OF GENETIC ENGINEERING
by
Jonathan Vos Post



Jungle-floor bacteria devour helicopters after war;
ripped human corpses thaw, screaming, in battle zone

Smog-sucking moss evolves to grow on auto bumpers;
gas-tank tapeworm writhes: blind premium dreams

Heavy weaponry of corporate wars, intractable
ultimatum when lawyers subpoena their own DNA

Cockroaches skitter: dust of broken televisions;
lay phosphorescent eggs between commercials

Reunification pressures force abandonment of immortality;
death substitutes for taxes: final cost of doing business

Skinned headless lizard throbs, shoved into your chest:
replicant replaces your broken-once-too-often heart

Time & nucleotide
wait for no man





2300-2320
15 sep 92



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Emerald City Publishing

Copyright 1998 by Magic Dragon Multimedia.
All rights reserved Worldwide. May not be reproduced without permission.
May be posted electronically provided that it is transmitted unaltered, in its entirety, and without charge.