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Only A Bully Would Say This


stop bullying

^This is unmitigated bullshit.^

When you analyze this, the only person who would make such an argument is a bully at heart, or at the very least siding with the bully mentality.

Of course they want to make people feel ashamed for asking for help when bullied — an isolated “go it alone” victim is much easier to bully.

They are the cowards. Truly brave people will face off against numerically superior opposition. A bully won’t.

A bully can’t.

Why do you think the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacists did everything they could to disrupt Martin Luther King Jr.’s organizing attempts?

Because they knew they could not face organized opposition!

John Wayne and the director Howard Hawks despised the movie High Noon for its “go it alone” attitude. It’s about a town that abandons its sheriff rather than face down a murderous gang.

Wayne and Hawks made Rio Bravo in response, a movie where the sheriff keeps telling people not to get involved because it’s dangerous and yet they keep getting involved anyway because it’s the right thing to do!

Stand up to bullies and bigots and persecutors and evil people of all stripes.  Stand up alone if you have to, but stand together when you see someone being singled out for bullying or persecution.

If you don’t, you are just as guilty as the person doing the bullying.

Desmond Tutu on injustice

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>Eyeroll< Not This Again


young girl eye roll

Somebody sent me this link and invited comments on it.

I’m going to try to reign in the snark on this one:
Alcoholism is a serious problem.

People who are struggling with alcoholism (and no alcoholic is ever truly “cured” insofar as the desire to drink truly vanishes; if they’re lucky they’re in recovery) deserve help, support, and compassion (short of enabling, but that’s a different matter).

So I’m not going to rag
Jamie Morgan for
striving for sobriety.
More power to her.

But I am going to rag on her presentation, because frankly it’s hypocritical shaming at best and openly blasphemous at worst.

She’s listed 50 points but I’m not going to enumerate them here (that’s what the jump is for).

That’s a fond tactic of many in the demagogue persuasion:
Throw out a ton of spaghetti — who cares if it’s redundant and / or nonsensical — and try to bog your opponents down answering your trivial pursuit questions instead of addressing the real issue at hand.

Screw that noise,
I’m going to the source
of the contagion.

First off, let’s tackle this from a Christian perspective: She says Jesus is evil.

If the consumption of wine is in and of itself wrong, then Jesus sinned as he is cited as drinking wine in several verses in the Bible, not to mention John 2 where he turns water into wine for others to drink.

Which means, according to Ms Morgan, he wasn’t merely committing a sin himself but making it possible for, and encouraging others to sin as well!

And don’t give me that bull about Biblical wine just being “fruit juice”, there are too many Old Testament and New Testament verses to the intoxicating effects of wine to swallow that canard.

So, it’s pretty clear from various points in the Bible that it’s not the consumption of alcohol that’s wrong, but the abuse of alcohol consumption.

So her central thesis is bogus,
nullifying all objections derived
from it.

Now, had she limited herself to “I shouldn’t drink alcohol and I wouldn’t recommend alcohol to anyone else” then I wouldn’t be posting this.

That’s a perfectly legitimate position to take.

But it’s the shaming aspect that is what’s wrong with her message.

Shaming is what passive aggressive Christians do to try to force their standards of behavior on others. Drunk shaming, drug shaming, slut shaming, divorce shaming, political shaming, everything except shaming shaming.

It’s one of the key reasons why people are turning their backs on organized Christianity in this country.

Shaming has nothing to do with love and concern and compassion for others.

It has everything to do with power and control and feeling superior to others by judging them.

So that’s why I’m calling shenanigans on Jamie Morgan’s message, not on her efforts to remain clean and sober.

God bless you, Ms Morgan, more power to you as you strive to avoid destructive harmful behavior…

…in you.

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Take This Test!


Imagine you are taking an elderly relative who uses a cane — a parent, a grandparent, whatever – shopping at the mall.

You decide to get something to eat at the food court.  You park your relative at a table and go to pick up your order.

When you return, there’s a commotion going on at the table.

Your elderly relative, while putting their cane away, accidentally knocked over the drink of a kid sitting at the next table.

Do you:

  1. Ignore the kid’s complaint?
  2. Shrug it off and say “Stuff happens”?
  3. Tell the kid they doubtlessly spill lots of drinks themselves?
  4. Say it’s not your fault your relative knocked the drink over?
  5. Apologize to the kid but do nothing else?
  6. Compensate the kid by giving them the drink you just picked up?

Any answer other than (6) means you’re nothing but a sac of excrement.

There is not a single problem facing the United States of America today that was not (A) caused by white people, individually or in concert, acting to benefit themselves at the expense of others or (B) willfully ignoring the input of non-whites regarding the problem.

I’ve had people sneer at me, accusing me of feeling “white guilt” or “self-loathing”.

There’s a vast difference between guilt and responsibility.

Responsible people want the right thing to be done, regardless of how it affects them, and if circumstances prevent full justice, to at least acknowledge the wrong that was done and make efforts to prevent it from ever recurring.

Guilty people deny their guilt, coming up with excuses and blame shifting and constantly moving goal posts in order to avoid facing their responsibility.

And I feel loathing, all right,
but it’s not self-directed.

Rather it’s targeted at people I am unfortunately grouped with who proudly, ignorantly cling to pure unadulterated evil and call it virtue.

We’ve discussed Prohibition before, but it’s as perfect an example of what we’re talking about as could be hoped for so let’s revisit it.

White Christian Protestant Americans, to keep those God damned sub-human Irish and Italians in place, pushed laws to ban the sale of alcohol in the form of wine and whiskey; to punish sub-human poor white trash, pushed laws to ban beer; to punish sub-human blacks and Mexicans, pushed laws to ban marijuana; to punish sub-human Asians, pushed laws to ban opium.[1]

Prohibition had nothing to do with ending a very real problem, but rather had everything to do with White Anglo-Saxon Protestants maintaining control over ”them”.

And in the process of keeping “those (sub-human) filth people” in line, we elevated small potatoes local gangs into international crime cartels; destroyed public confidence in law, police, and courts; allowed corruption on a heretofore unprecedented scale to infect our government; and did nothing to actually address a real problem but instead created a legion of new ones.[2]

A while back I reviewed a disgusting movie:  Santa Fe Trail.

The only thing that can be said in its favor is that it is refreshingly candid in its brutal racial prejudice — they come flat out and say that African-Americans should suffer pain, death, and degradation if it means white bigots don’t have to feel uncomfortable about themselves.

Screw that noise.

Just as we are responsible for what our elderly relative does at the food court for no other reason than they are related to us, then we are responsible for what white people in the past did to African-Americans and other minorities.

We can either see justice is done…

…or we can remain sacs of excrement.


[1]  Despite the fact that the Asians had a handle on the opium trade until British merchants, denied the financial rewards of slavery by abolition, instigated the Opium Wars and forced the Far East to get involved in the sale and trafficking of that drug.

[2]  One the other hand, Prohibition did make comic books and pulp magazines possible, so there’s that…



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For Black History Month We’re Going To Talk About White People


There would be no need for a Black History Month if white folks walked the walk instead of just talking the talk.

And I congratulate and praise everyone who is doing stuff this month that shows the hidden history of African-Americans in this country and the rest of the world.  Go for it, dudes & dudettes!

But here we are going to be examining why Black History Month is a vital necessity.

And a lot of people aren’t going to like it.

And I couldn’t care less.

frankly I dont CAP

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Two Conflicting Currents


The challenge facing the body politic of the US of A today is one of two conflicting currents.

We have already slid into a plutocratic oligarchy. There are few citizen / officials among us, and most of those only at minor local levels in non-influential communities and regions.[1]

Most politicians are professionals; they either settle into a career as an elected official, or they seek appointments to high office, or they serve in advisory / lobbying positions to those who are elected, or they serve in organizations that facilitate the elections of others.

By nature — by very real, very human nature — these people are disinclined to dismantle the system that gives them value (read “$”) and worth (i.e., pride).

So be it:
At least try to be competent at your job and realize that killing the golden goose by starving it to death so you will have more grain is a foolish strategy.

Nearly a century before the French Revolution erupted, the more observant members of the aristocracy (which includes high ranking clergy) could see the storm clouds coming. Thirty years before that storm actually broke, French kings were assigning their best and brightest scholars with the task of figuring out how to head it off before it reached them.

The scholars’ answer was invariably “Curb the power of the aristocracy and tax them fairly.”

The aristocrats did not want to hear this and while many gave lip service to the idea of reform, in actuality they worked to prevent such reforms from happening.

And then one day everyone lost their heads…

Fortunino Matania - just a little off the top CAP

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the big red truck


the big red truck
blocks the small parking lot
like the cat on my blue chair

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Let me explain the circumstances behind my re-watching Mad Max: Fury Road so as to better explain my additional thoughts on the film.

Along the way we will eventually drag in
Stephen King and The Horror Of Party Beach.

Soon-ok is a light sleeper, so if the volume on the TV downstairs is above a whisper — particularly for an action film — I run the risk of waking her when I watch movies late at night.

To compensate for the volume being waaaay down, I turn on the closed caption subtitles. This actually makes it a lot easier to track most modern films.

I re-watched Mad Max: Fury Road the night after the last GOP debate. Reading the dialog as opposed to hearing it thunderously shouted at me on a theater sound system sparked a couple of thoughts.

First off, it’s lousy pretentious dialog. George Miller & co get away with it by keeping the pace and spectacle so huge and over-the-top that you only catch a few phrases and ideas tossed out here and there.

Mad Max: Fury Road doesn’t do a lot to develop those ideas, and a lot of them (like the entire premise of the movie) would collapse under their own weight if examined too closely, but they go ripping by so fast that when you do catch them they sound Really Important and, like much of the rest of the movie, we fill in vast blank spots on the mental canvas with our own imaginations.

Which is okay:
Mad Max: Fury Road is a popcorn movie and is meant to be enjoyed as a visceral experience.

And as a visceral experience, it is enjoyable.

So call this a post-apocalypse motor-fantasy, not an actual bonafide sci-fi movie, and have a good time.

But reading the dialog made me recognize how much the language of the GOP debates parallels it.

I’m not talking about the weasely obfuscation found in standard issue political / diplomatic discourse, but rather the very specific ways the bulk of the GOP candidates use language. [1]

A fast pulp writer could turn this whole election cycle into a Mad Max pastiche with no real difficulty.[2]

In the film, Immortan Joe uses language not so much to convey information as to trigger responses in his followers.

They literally hear what they want to hear, and a catch phrase tossed out at the right moment will trigger a reaction that Immortan Joe can exploit.

The war boys can not explain their reactions, they can not analyze why they do the things they do. They have been conditioned to respond and respond they will, even when it’s painfully obvious it’s against their own self-preservation, much less self-interest.

In fact, only when Nux thinks of himself as cast out of Immortan Joe’s blessed circle does he take even the most rudimentary steps towards analyzing his own personal situation.

So how does this tie in to big Steve King
and The Horror Of Party Beach?

Well, in his book Danse Macabre[3], King writes about how the lowest forms of pop culture can tap into the cultural gestalt at a basic, more intrinsic, more primal level than high brow art.

Case in point:
When the makers of The Horror Of Party Beach wanted to make a movie about hideous monsters attacking slumber parties full of teenage girls, their explanation of where the monsters came from was a short sequence showing leaky drums labeled “Radioactive Waste” being dumped into the ocean.

An A-production from a major studio on the topic of handling nuclear waste would have taken years to get produced; it would have faced both political and business pressure not to denigrate such an important industry so vital to America’s future. It would have required A Major Star or three as well as Some Very Important Writers and it would be all yak-yak-yak and in the end not a single person would have had their mind changed because by the time said film actually reached said eyeballs, their audience would have predetermined if they believed those liberal Hollywood types or not.

But The Horror Of Party Beach just chucks a couple of cans into the water, shows a couple of monsters evolving from the muck, and bingo! – next thing ya know they’re attempting to devour and/or mate with teen girls in negligees.[4]

Stephen King’s point was that instead of rationalizing it, the makers of The Horror Of Party Beach just tapped in on something they instinctively knew everybody else instinctively knew: It was not a good idea to dump radioactive waste into the ocean, yet if there was a buck to be made doing so, somebody or some business would do so.

Mad Max: Fury Road is a film about
the end of civilization as we know it.

And, no, not in the obvious manner you think:
On that level it’s just another mindless action movie, and you could change the costumes and the location and the handwaveum and turn it into a Bond film or a Star Wars movie or a Harry Potter adventure and get pretty much the same superficial story / spectacle.

No, it’s not about blowing things up and then people ride really cool junk cars out in the middle of the desert: It’s about the triumvirate of religion / business / defense finally collapsing. It’s about white boys, the staunchest supporters of that triumvirate, finding themselves replaced and superseded and ultimately ignored by a new non-white boy culture.

“It’s the end of  the
world as we know it,”

sang R.E.M.,
“but I feel fine.”

What Miller & co have done, in their brilliantly brainless fashion, is to cut through all the obfuscating bullshit of talking head TV pundits and show what all of us instinctively know: Established organized religion is empty; big business can not even recognize its own self-interest if it doesn’t mean an immediate profit; defense is never about protecting anyone.

There is, like it or not, a new world being born around us. It is a world that, for ill or for good, is going to be much more responsive to the needs and objectives of the non-whites and the non-boys.

Mad Max: Fury Road calls its white boys “half-lifes”. They are recognized even by themselves as being a dying breed, kept alive only by the machinations of Immortan Joe and The People Eater and The Bullet Farmer; kept alive to serve them in exchange for a promise dangled in front of the white boys, a promise neither Immortan Joe nor his ”brothers”[5] intend to keep — in fact, that none of them are actually capable of keeping.

That’s the old world we have let the greedheads build, the one that can no longer be sustained, the one that’s unraveling and in that process terrifying those who bought into the false promises and now live in abject horror that the powerball lottery will be closed before they have their chance to become multi-millionaires.

That is what Mad Max: Fury Road is all about.

It’s not a hopeless message, and it does show a way out for those who have invested heavily in the old system (such as Nux): White boys can recognize that change is upon them and help birth that new world, but instead of trying to dominate it, be prepared to step back and serve it.[6]

So in retrospect, I have somewhat modified
my opinion of Mad Max: Fury Road.

It’s a good movie,
but not a great film.[7]

And that’s a good thing, because if it had been any better, if it had been any smarter, it could have never said what needed to be said.

The Faces Of

MMFR Mad-Max-Fury-02


MMFR People-eater-3


MMFR Bullet_farmer03




[1] And I’m focusing very specifically on language use as opposed to the topics purportedly being talked about.

[2] Anybody out there who wants to take that idea and run with it, be my guest.

[3]  Highly recommended, BTW.

[4] The teen (ha! Twenty-somethings!) girls are in the negligees, not the monsters; we had to wait for The Rocky Horror Picture Show for the latter.

[5] Literally? Figuratively?

[6] A lesson audiences seem more than willing to embrace; viz. Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

[7] However, it would make one helluva double-feature with The Hateful Eight.


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Berodnid (be-rod’nid [noun])


I’ve had unusual dreams in the past, but this one is among the most unusual.

I remember very little visually about the dream[1] except for one pertinent detail which I’ll mention in a moment.

The core of the dream was that I was participating in a discussion with several people, some of whom I appeared to know in the context of the dream, on the topic of identity.

alfonso bedoya

Not identity in the trivial sense of a name tag or a driver’s license or a birth certificate but rather the core essence of who we are.

During the discussion, someone used the term “berodnid” and I, being unfamiliar with it, asked what it meant.

They referred me to a Google definition (and here’s the one part of the dream I actually do remember with clarity:  An actual Google screen defining the word and showing how it was pronounced).[2]

Don’t bother
looking for it;
it isn’t there.

In my dream, “berodnid” is synonymous with “being” but not in the casual, ill-defined manner we typically use the verb / gerund.

Rather berodnid means the actual / true / objective being, i.e., the real identity of every person / creature / object / thing in existence.

Not what we present as our identity, and most certainly not the identity we slip on like a mask when we look at ourselves in a mirror, but the real actual identity.

I woke up around that point, and while most of the dream faded the idea, the concept, indeed the very berodnid of “berodnid” hung with me.

I presume there is objective truth in this universe.  I do not presume that anyone, neither the most rational materialist or the most spiritual theorist, has a lock on any aspect of that reality.

There are parts we can agree upon because they remain consistent to one another and to us, not because we are 100% certain we see their true nature and essence.

If we wore rose tinted glasses, we would see blues as shades of purple and yellow as shades of orange; those shades would remain internally consistent with one another and follow certain rules of light and color, but they would not be the true colors.[3]

We can never know our own berodnid; no eye can see itself, only an image of itself, just as no set of numbers can describe itself.

We are in eternal pursuit of a very real spirit that flits and flies just out of reach, darting around corners and into dark crevices before we can catch a good glimpse of it.

So what actually is berodnid?
Something I invented?
Or something very real?

Or a decoy left in my path to distract me?




[1]  Moss green was the predominant color scheme, but what was moss green I can’t recall.

[2]  The prefix “be” from “being”, the suffix “nid” related to the suffix as found in “hominid”.  What the root “rod” derives from I cannot guess.

[3]  Even here I indulge in hominid-centric perceptions to discuss the truth of “blue”.  We see “blue” only because the rods and cones in our eyes are capable of interpreting that frequency of light as that color; we have no way of knowing if our “blue” is the same as another person’s “blue”, only that it remains consistent with other colors in the schemata.  What color would the sky be if we were blind?

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Compare And Contrast: TARANTULA vs THE SPIDER


I’ve been asked about a phrase I used in an earlier post re one motion picture being a better film while another was a better movie.

This kind of distinction can be made in any art form, any media, but for English speakers “film” and “movie” describe two ways of enjoying a motion picture.

I could blather on, but rather than discuss the matter in abstract terms, I’ll use two perfect examples to illustrate my point: The giant monster movies Tarantula (Universal 1955) and Earth Vs. The Spider (AIP 1958) a.k.a. The Spider.

CnC TvS a2

They’re similar enough yet different enough to demonstrate my thesis. Both hinge on the same basic plot: Giant arachnid threatens remote community.

But each is significantly different.

Tarantula is a Universal production directed by Jack Arnold, Universal’s go-to guy for 1950s sci-fi. It’s well written, well produced (a B-picture from a major studio), well cast[1], and with good make-up and special effects[2].  The Spider, on the other hand, was a Bert I. Gordon production for AIP. Story is minimal bordering dumb, cast (aside from a pair of stalwart minor supporting characters) is merely adequate, and the effects are not-so-special.

Of course, it’s tons o’fun and far more
entertaining than the Universal film.

Now, it’s fair to point out much of The Spider’s entertainment value comes from its campiness (such as twentysomethings playing high school students), but the truth is it’s a much faster paced and exciting movie.

Tarantula offers some handwaveum explanation for its big arachnid[3], The Spider skips all that: Their audience just shelled out sixty-five cents to see a movie about a giant spider so there’s no need to waste time with explanations where it came from.

For that same reason, there’s no futzing around by the characters, wondering if there’s a giant monster on the loose or not: The teen heroes convince their high school science teacher and the local sheriff with remarkable ease and they all go to confront the beast in her cave with a tanker truck full of DDT.[4]

This refreshing head-on approach is what gives The Spider its goofy charm: Twenty minutes into the film and they’re already at a point it takes Tarantula the better part of an hour to reach.

Once they think they’ve killed the damn thing, they drag it to the local high school gym[5]. Of course the monster revives midway through an impromptu sock hop and goes on a low budget rampage through town.[6]

The quality of The Spider’s effects are pretty minimal — mostly a real spider walking in front of a still photo of the live action location — but there’s a lot more of ‘em and they show her doing a lot more than Tarantula ever did.[7]

The Spider’s rampage is a remarkably effective piece of low budget film making and includes one of the really great iconic moments in 1950s sci-fi: A woman gets her dress caught in her car door as the spider bears down on her and in her very realistic hysterical panic doesn’t think to open the door so she can escape.

Gordon also stretched his budget by showing more of the aftermath of the giant spider’s rampage (i.e., junk and bodies strewn in the streets) before moving on to his climax in which the heroes electrocute the big bug (sic!) in her cave.[8]

Tarantula’s characters (an admittedly higher caliber cast) are adults with boring grown up concerns; they never really connect with the audience. The Spider’s central characters are the teens, and everything in the movie orbits back to their teenage concerns in some fashion. Because of that, they and their problems are much easier to identify with.  Tarantula may do a better job of explaining where its big spider came from, but The Spider sucks us along for the ride.

So, in the end, which is the “better” motion picture?

Oh, c’mon, get serious:
They’re both giant spider movies, and the difference between a really good giant spider movie and a really bad giant spider movie is negligible.

You make movies with your head, and you make movies with your heart, same as any other creative expression. Use both, but if ya gotta go with one over the other, go with your heart.




[1] Clint Eastwood shows up unannounced at the end as the jet pilot who saves the day.

[2] Arnold and his crew recreated the film’s live action landscapes on a sandbox covered with white cloth then guided a real tarantula’s performance by squirting air at it from a rubber bulb. Not only did their tarantula create its own traveling matte, but it threw a realistic shadow when superimposed on the live action footage. Arnold was ingenious in this manner: To simulate water drops hitting The Incredible Shrinking Man’s match box house, he had technicians drop water filled condoms on the set. When asked by Universal’s accounting department why he had purchased one gross of condoms, Arnold’s straight faced reply was “I throw a hell of a cast party.”

[3] Leo G. Carroll was experimenting with making big critters small and small critters big because, hey, science!

[4] The Spider may be dumb but it sure ain’t stoopid.

[5] Because, hey, science!

[6] Which is a hell of a lot more than Tarantula ever accomplished: A few stray cattle and cow boys, a mid-century modern ranch house, and that’s it. She’s a mile or more out of town when Clint finally fricassees her.

[7] Bert I. Gordon — affectionately known as “Mr. BIG” by B-movie fans — is Arnold’s chief rival among sci-fi directors of the 1950s, at least in terms of the number of films he made. Like Arnold, Gordon was a clever innovator of special effects, and while his films may fail due to lack of time, talent, and taste, there’s nothing in the raw materials that prevented them from rising higher. Indeed, when finally afforded an adequate budget and schedule, Gordon produced the entertaining children’s fantasy The Magic Sword. An extra week spent on any of his other films would have made all the difference.

[8] This is an example of the rule of three in low budget film making: Always try to get a minimum of three key scenes out of each major location; this stretches the budget and shortens shooting time.


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The Comedian’s Dead Son’s Memorial


ennis cosby memorial

we would take
out of town guests
up there all the time
point to the fresh wreath
on its thin wire easel and ask:
“Do you know what happened here?”

then tell them the story
of the comedian’s dead son

it is a tragic tale
drenched in irony

they found the son’s body
beside his car
on a side road
overlooking the 405 freeway

he had a flat

pulled over

and was killed

at first everyone assumed
he was targeted because of his father
either a kidnapping gone wrong
or a strike at a black man
who dared to be successful

but the truth
was much sadder
than that

a common punk
looking for a rich score
saw the young man’s fancy car
nicked its tire
to cause a slow leak
followed the son
until he

pulled off
the 405
and up

to the access road
to change his tire
(and get murdered)

the punk
had no idea
who this victim was
other than
one of ten thousand
other young men
driving fancy cars
when the punk
drove junk

when the punk was caught
and the truth came out
everyone felt sorry
for the comedian

“Geeze, if it
can happen
to his family,
it can happen
to anybody’s

and parents
hugged their sons
and daughters
a little tighter

(and though
it was never
the unsaid thought
in the air:
“Well, maybe if
he hadn’t bought
his son such
a fancy car
the young man
might be alive

for years after that
the comedian and his wife
saw to it that
a fresh wreath
was placed
on the exact spot
where their son died
along with
their dreams
and hopes

you used to be
able to see it
heading up
the freeway
about a third
of the way
up the side
of the mountain

a few years ago it
was determined
the 405 needed
to be widened
and so they
made a
the side
of the mountain
and carved away
the physical place where
the comedian’s son died

completely by chance
this was also the time
the comedian’s
career / reputation / life
began unraveling

if you want to see
the spot where
the comedian’s son
you have to find
an invisible point
in mid-air
about forty feet
above the rightmost lane

the crime remains
but there is no place
for a memorial
and the unspoken thought today
is that of all parties involved
maybe the son
got the best deal
at least he didn’t
have to witness
his father’s humiliation

and if that isn’t irony
I don’t know what is

text © Buzz Dixon



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