Risk Rap

Rapping About a World at Risk

Triumph of the Willfulness

This little ditty on NPR this morning about the Smithsonian Exhibit,  Hide and Seek, an exhibition of Gay portraiture.  Seems  Virginia Congressman Eric Cantor and Bill Donahue, President of the Catholic League is upset that taxpayer money is being used to showcase what they consider to be unacceptable art.  Here’s the link:

Gay Portraiture Exhibit  at Smithsonian.

Smithsonian Hide and Seek Website.

Its a doubled edged sword when government underwrites the creation of art. Exhibitions can confer a type of sanction  that promotes censorship  in service to state sponsored propaganda.   From my perspective that is not  the issue at stake here; but  if you listen to the audio Bill Donahue condemns museums as “liberal elite institutions”.  Mr. Donahue probably considers Hide and Seek as the latest subversive initiative by Obama’s Politburo to undermine American Family Values.

Mr. Donahue, still smarting from Andreas Serrano’s Piss Christ gets off his best shot in America’s escalating culture war by asserting that “working people, like himself, (read real Americans) don’t go to museums. He says they go to WWF wrestling matches.” He sarcastically suggests that perhaps government funding of the arts would be better spent underwriting WWF ducats for the masses. Beholden to his dogma, Mr. Donahue fails to recognize the difference between pedestrian commercial camp and artistic pursuit. He confuses the spectacle of bread and violent circus with aesthetic encounter, discovery and contemplation.

Mr. Donahue’s insistence that his position should be viewed in the same light as Muslims reaction when depictions of the Prophet Muhammad appear in visual art presentations is disingenuous.  Muslims prohibit all visual representations of the Prophet Muhammad.  The same prohibitions of promoting visual images of Jesus Christ is not a common practice of  Christian denominations.   Secular democracies also do not sanction fatwas and post bounties for jihadists to take out apostates and infidels.  That is a unique blessing of secular societies that fundamentalists, religious zealots and Mr. Donahue fail to perceive.

File this one under the dumbing down of America Series, Triumph of the Willfulness.

Walt Whitman: Calamus Poems

You Tube Music Video: Aaron (Gay American) Copland: Fanfare for the Common Man

Risk: culture, censorship, homophobia

December 2, 2010 Posted by | art, Christianity, culture, democracy, LGBT, Muslim, photo, poetry, politics, psychology, secularism | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Blue Beams

Two Blue Beams
rise in the twilight
from the dark recesses
of a scarred metropolis

astral projections
paint night clouds
in looming hues
of temporal intent

declarative beams
affirm a bold portent
of an insistent will
and timeless aspirations

one thrusting light
projects wanton determination
bequeathed from unhealed wounds
of a lacerated city

the other casts fervent hope
onto the vast celestial sea
boldly etching upon the heavens
an earnest nations highest ideals

the pillars of light
reveal the dual nature
fixing our place
in a turbulent universe

the brighter light
affirms the beneficence
of liberties eternal grace
so divinely conferred

received by a higher self
accepted with gratitude
the gracious anointing
of freedoms rich abundance

ride this beam of angry cries
conjure ghosts from a dead past
channel a full measure of resent
the light of restoration is quelled

stirred from nagging agonies
nursed righteous indignation
untreated wounds fester
the weak blue spire cannot heal

a bleak azure apparition
screams for selfish retribution
heed this dire admonition
a promised fury of
full demonic dimension

the rankled city
yearns to come together
united in communion
around these lights

drawn to the blue flames
like swirling moths
unconscious of what
compels shock and awe

earnest yearnings
flutter to exhaustion
struggle toward the light
aspires to heal in the inviting glow

transcending the fissures
of our fractured nation
the waning resolve
of a national will

a restless Zeitgeist
cannot be repressed
nor will it relinquish
its will to manifest

a city’s fondest hopes
entombed in collective memory
is foretold again
around these bold lights

entranced by the light
a solemn urban campfire
transfixed and sealed
we speak our hearts

holding hands
gnashing teeth
we bite into
our bent knees
tucked up
to sullen chests
heavy hearts
bear pains of loss
dreary tears wash
ash stained cloths
crumpled photos
dear bereavements
of faded memories
and expired hope

resolve is renewed
in bursts of pride
incendiary nationalism
suppress dissent
pummel thoughts
of perceived sedition
pump iron fists as
zealous sledgehammers
forged with conviction
in kilns of
righteous indignation
seething with infected
emotional hangovers
from prurient
tribal diatribes

these sweet sentiments
swing between the polls
of the vast pendulum’s arc
along a narrow celestial scale

too and fro
angst and expectation
ebbs and flows
in this astral assignation

the heavenly helix
a set of blue axles
a modern vision
of Ezekiel’s Wheel

the rung-less vertices
of our Jacob’s Ladder
invites all citizens
to climb again

ascend this pathway
in the company of angels
arrive transfigured
renewed again

build new cities
transcendent destinations
new Edens await
pioneers to explore

fearless pilgrims
sojourn onward
moving to secure
liberty for all

conscious stewards
of the blessed good earth
celebrate rich diversity
of all the beloved

descending back
to an expired past
is a ridged stasis
anchored in Hell

witness flitting
nostalgic phantoms
pathetic pantomimes
of histrionic fictions

the downward path
of the lesser light
tethers us to the place
we cannot leave

The upward light
abhors a hells decent
resolved to vacate
acrimony and hate

the dancing helix opens
a blue portal to heaven
don angels garb
wing upward in light

transcendence calls us
to traverse with angels
touch the luminescent hem
of God’s divine robe

Selah

You Tube Music Video:
Aaron Copland: Appalachian Spring , Simple Gifts
NYC
9/11/10
jbm

September 13, 2010 Posted by | 9/11, poetry | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Resolution 2010: Gotta/Gonna

gonna commence a journey
gotta get on the way
provision and direction
will appear along the way

gotta open brand new doors
become a bit unhinged
gonna loosen the damn tethers
that forge the chains within

gotta sail uncharted waters
lose sight of familiar land
gonna become a fearless sailor
track footprints on exotic sand

some jagged mountains beckon
sheer cliffs gotta be scaled
the ascent gonna bring blessed growth
not to try is to miserably fail

gonna explore hidden valleys
with courage, grit and resolve
all risks are opportunities
problems that gotta be solved

gotta leave my tiny comfort zone
with great dispatch and haste
a new life is mine to have
gonna banish fear with grace

*************
*************
*************

Happy New Year
I predict that 2010 is gonna be the most important year of our lives.
It’s gotta be, because its the only one we got.

Peace and Prayers Beloved
jbm

You Tube Music Video:  Auld Lang Syne Red Hot Chilli Peppers

You Tube Music Video: Beach Boys,  Sail On Sailor

December 31, 2009 Posted by | holiday, poetry, seasons | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dreaming of Electric Jazz

The weather report called for a mix of sun and clouds.

The forecast read, partly sunny, partly cloudy, rain would change to sleet and snow. The temperature would rise to just below zero; a new all time high, as I lay sleeping, dreaming of electric jazz.

A purest said, “that ain’t jazz” as I wrestled him for the last copy of “Get Up With It” in a dilapidated record store. (This is the same guy from my baseball dreams. He hates the designated hitter.)

“This fusion is just the bastard child of rock & roll; a mere reaction to heavy electric guitars and synthetic synthesizers,” he shouts as I rip the record from his hands.

“This synthesis is more then just three cords strummed in a Capitol Records executives head,” I said. “This bitches brew, will return forever as long as I sing the body electric.”

I rolled over and pulled the blankets up to my ears as the clock radio played Miles’ Red China Blues.

jbm
Oakland
11/26/98

You Tube Video: Miles Davis, Electric Miles

February 3, 2009 Posted by | jazz, poetry | , , , , | Leave a comment

Step Into The Sunshine My Friend


Step into the sunshine my friend,
let it kiss your face and refine your spirit into a golden bar.

Step into the sunshine my friend,
come out of the shadows of your past,

emerge as a saintly being clothed in angelic white.

Step into the sunshine my friend;
may the great sun inflame your soul

with its magnificent grace and transformative power.

Step into the sunshine my friend,
wipe the darkness from your eyes
and see what miracles the new day brings.
Believe in all the light you see.

Step into the sunshine my friend,
let the radiant beams of love ignite your passions;
and your heart will bust forth like an exploding star
washing the galaxy with positive energy.

Step into the sunshine my friend,
receive the fantastic glories the day brings to you
and revel in them all.

Step into the sunshine my friend;
bathe yourself in the warm river of humanity.
Recognize yourself for the first time in its watery mirror.

Step into the sunshine my friend,
witness the delicate flower break through the hard crust of earth,
and marvel as its fragrant bud blooms.

Step into the sunshine my friend,
experience the glow of a child’s face,
and let them lead you to the next 10,000 sunrises.

Step into the sunshine my friend,
feel the soft rays touch your wounds;
know how the daylight can heal.

Step into the sunshine my friend,
smell the ocean heave against the climbing sun
and listen to the wisps of the meadowland’s verdant fragrance.

Step into the sunshine my friend;
see the sparrow take flight toward the light,
watch its tireless wings glide on a blanket of rising thermal air.

Step into the sunshine my friend.

jbm
Oakland
122698

Note: Risk Rapper is still enraptured in the ebullience of Obama’s Inauguration. Though not composed for the event the above poem captures some of the current sentiments of Risk Rapper. We will be posting on current events tomorrow. Cheers, RR

You Tube Video: Ramsey Lewis, Sun Goddess

Risk: Cursing the darkness

January 22, 2009 Posted by | Obama, poetry | , , , | Leave a comment

Homeless Shelter

bitter winds bite a desperate heart
early darkness unsheathes a slivering moon

the perfect celestial sickle
threatens to thresh exposed digits

wayward trundlers heaving bulky sacks of woe
scutter down the city’s darkest side streets

making haste to the only lighted room
that still welcomes them

cots boast lumpy clots
of errant springs and jagged hooks

grappling the lodger atop a mattress
in bumpy knots of institutional green

coughs and snores, cusses and laughter,
sighs and tears all ceaseless prayers,
some mumbled, some shouted, some thought,
some farted, some sang, some roared

Speaking mutely of the weighty day
resenting new hard memories
hoping for a dreamless sleep

jbm
NYC
12/31/08

You Tube Video:

Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers: Moanin

Risk: moral clarity

December 31, 2008 Posted by | homelessness, poetry | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Darkest Night of the Year

The winter solstice has arrived. The shortest day of the year brings forth our longest night. Robert Frost memorialized this eve in his famous poem. If this be a metaphorical nadir of our slide into hard times take heart for tonight we turn a corner. The duration of night lessens with each passing sunset. Winter commences. Nature slumbers. Nocturnal time begins its descent and we have miles to go before we sleep.

You Tube Video: Mozart, A Little Night Music

You Tube Video: Vivaldi, Winter

Risk: immutability, changelessness

December 21, 2008 Posted by | classical, music, poetry, seasons | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

City of Broad Shoulders

“Boyish Man”

The cosmic scales are correcting Chicago’s over abundance of positive karma. A rebalancing was clearly overdue. The Windy City’s favorite son, Barack Obama was beaming constellations of light and hope like an exploding quasar showering positive electrons onto a depressive American culture in a recessive state of mind. We needed the positivism. We needed a reason to believe that we can uncouple ourselves from the fear and loathing of a broken political system, bankrupt bankers, the drudgery of war, the gloom of recession and a nation tearing itself into a thousand pieces along the million fault lines of our fractured cultural divide. President Elect Obama convinced us that it didn’t have to be. We could arrest our slide into the slow boil of constant simmering conflict within our boarders and in the far reaches of the globe where America is intent on projecting its dissipating power. The man from Chicago said it didn’t have to be. The man from Chicago said he had a better way. The people from American agreed with the man from Chicago and said, “Yes We Can.”


But fate, destiny and determinism has a curious way of bringing us back to earth. After we have looked over the highest peaks of our expectations to glimpse the possibility of our ideals we get smacked in the face by greed, corruption and the callous disregard for others that human beings use much to frequently as the common currency to guide our interactions and relations with one another.


First there is the greed exemplified by Sam Zell. That crusty Chicago street guy who is as tough as he is smart. He parlayed his gifts and built a multi billion dollar real estate empire in Chicago and eventually sold his company at the height of the market. He pocketed a cool $6 bn in that transaction and used a tiny fraction of the proceeds from that deal to buy the Chicago Tribune newspaper chain; owner of the LA Times and the Chicago Cubs and Wrigley Field as part of the package. Mr. Zell financed the large portion of this transaction with equity participation and debt assumption collateralized by the assets in the Tribune Company pension funds. As the fundamentals of the newspaper industry deteriorated the Tribune deal quickly went south prompting Mr. Zell to initiate his exit strategy while the company filed for bankruptcy. Zell’s trying to cash out of the deal recouping his small initial investment. Workers at The Tribune Company feel Mr. Zell did irreparable damage to workers retirement funds and degraded the company brands by placing the company in a most precarious financial position to extract a maximum return on Zell’s small initial investment.


Next there’s the story of the month, the arrest and indictment of Illinois Governor Milorad “Rod” R. Blagojevich. Mr. Blagojevich is accused of seeking compensation or favors in anointing the successor to sit in Mr. Obama’s vacated US Senate seat. Apparently this is a trend with Illinois Governorships. Once they leave the governor mansion the career path leads to a cell in a federal penitentiary. Three of the last four sitting Governors made the move and one is still serving time. The culture of corruption among our country’s political and business elites seems to know no bounds and its symptomatic of Americas deep crisis in leadership and citizens deepening cynicism and distrust of institutional leadership. This distrust was a major reason why the American electorate overwhelmingly turned to Mr. Obama. His message of change resonated with our deep revulsion of executive fiat placing their personal interests first last and always in any decision or program.


This scandal has legs. It has the potential to walk down Wacker Drive taking with it important allies and supporters of our President Elect Obama. Already Senate Candidate #5, Jessie Jackson Jr. name has surfaced in this scandal. Republicans can make this a major political trauma for the incoming administration. Good grist for partisan politics is bad medicine for the United States as it desperately needs strong and focused leadership from our executive branch of government to get us through our current multidimensional crisis.


Lastly we have an industrial action at Republic Windows and Doors. The management of the company shut down the business stiffing the 300 plant workers of their separation pay and benefits rightfully due them under federal labor laws. In response, the workers have taken over the factory and refuse to leave until they are paid the separation compensation due them. This is the callous part of our initial equation of greed, corruption and disregard for those who are vulnerable. We salute the courage of the Republic workers actions. The Republic workers have turned their vulnerability into a strength that inspires all Americans and hopefully will open the hearts of Republic management to settle accounts with their former employees.


Yes the cosmic scales over Chicago are correcting. They are tilting back in an infinite flux of balancing the attainment of our desires and needs with the prohibitive reality of restraint borne from the power elites inability to cede anything. A return to normalcy as its business as usual in sweet home Chicago.


CHICAGO

HOG Butcher for the World,

Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat,

Player with Railroads and the Nation’s Freight Handler;

Stormy, husky, brawling,

City of the Big Shoulders

Carl Sandburg



You Tube Video: Muddy Waters, Mannish Boy


You Tube Music Video: Buddy Guy, Sweet Home Chicago


Risk: political, ethical, moral,

December 12, 2008 Posted by | corruption, Obama, poetry, politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Victory for Republic Workers

workers41MASSES

AMONG the mountains I wandered and saw blue haze and red crag and was amazed;  On the beach where the long push under the endless tide maneuvers, I stood silent; Under the stars on the prairie watching the Dipper slant over the horizon’s grass, I was full of thoughts.

Great men, pageants of war and labor, soldiers and workers, mothers lifting their children–these all I touched, and felt the solemn thrill of them.

And then one day I got a true look at the Poor, millions of the Poor,
patient and toiling; more patient than crags, tides, and stars;
innumerable, patient as the darkness of night–
and all broken, humble ruins of nations.

Carl Sandburg, Chicago Poems

The laid off United Electrical Union workers who took over their shuttered Chicago workplace to receive separation compensation due them under the Federal WARN Act have been offered a settlement by Republic management. According to breaking stories, The Bank of America and JP Morgan have created a fund that will provide each Republic worker 8 weeks pay, any accrued vacation time and a continuation of health and welfare benefits for the next two months.

We thank the banks for making the funds available to redress the just grievance of the Republic workers. Unfortunately the close of this incident signals the beginning unemployment for the 300 Republic workers. In this economy the availability of well paying jobs will be difficult to secure. We wish them well in their search. We once again commend the Republic workers for standing up for their rights. Their steadfast commitment in the fight for justice is a courageous example of speaking truth to power and a lesson that power concedes nothing without a struggle. You are the salt of the earth. You are a light to the world. Thank you.

We wish the Republic workers a holiday filled with abundant joy.

You Tube Music Video: Pete Seeger, Union Maid

Risk: labor unions, bankruptcy, credit, unemployment, banking,labor unrest

December 10, 2008 Posted by | banking, bankruptsy, folk, poetry, unions | , , , , | Leave a comment

People’s Guide to Recovery Acronym’s

Carl Sandburg
“The People, Yes!”

The economic recovery program is creating new acronyms faster then Hank Paulson can spend a $100 billion of taxpayers money.

This is an modest attempt to develop a glossary of acronyms so taxpayers can keep track of where, how and who is spending the dough.

EESA: Emergency Economic Security Act

TARP: Toxic Asset Recovery Program

VEPP: Voluntary Equity Purchase Program

LIBOR: London Interbank Overnight Rate

FDIC: Federal Deposit Insurance Corp

SEC: Security Exchange Commission

The US passed EESA to legalize TARP and VEPP to lower LIBOR so the FDIC and SEC can help banks get us out of this xo#*!&^ mess.

Got it?

You Tube Video: Carl Sandburg: The People Yes!

Risk: language, communication, humanity

October 14, 2008 Posted by | EESA, Paulson, poetry, SEC, TARP | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment