Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Here's to Return to the Past of What We Were All Trying to Forget About Just About Five Years Ago
OK, she tells me I don't sit. Like the act of contrition, not Catholic style. Not in this case. Certainly not. But in prayer, meditation, she says. Like a Feri witch. I say, "So, since I don't pray like you, something is wrong? That's my whole problem?" She gets pissed ... But I pray in my own way. I used to blow smoke out to the mountains, like Daniel Rolling Bears taught me, blowing out smoke like a prayer. But I can't see that mountain from here in Denver ... Plus, I do the transcendental thing, like I learned in that high school humanities class when we were studying Henry David Thoreau. The teacher, Jack, looked down at me as we were getting instructed outside of the classroom, right there outside on the grass at Chaparral High, in front of everyone, all the cars going by, a few students, giggling, I guess; anyway he looked down at me and said: "You get it, don't you, the thing" ... and there's this other way, the most important way, that I do. That I have been doing for 33 years, and I'm not going to tell you what it is, because it's mine ... mine only.
She knows. She's the only one who knows.
But I've been sleeping like a mad alchemist lately, or the way they said about Napoleon: only a few hours at a time ... It has become problematic ... I wake, and after I twist myself out of this knot of noir I've been feeling lately when such quick alert comes to me, I go back to the old 'puter and start creating wildly ... If that's the word for it ... finally got another book of poetry out that way ... filed for another 400 jobs ... posted up and played tickles with all of the Masters of the Universe who I find online ... until I get tired again and turn back to bed to sleep, my eyes watery as hell, but I'm way too numb to weep.
Since I'm a cat with sleep apnea ... it's only been my lifestyle for about, say, ever ... I know that's why I know anything about Dante at all, about Milton, or Blake ... because I read them then, when the muses come to visit ... in the quiet of the night ... that's when I summon them for the damn impenetrable non-fictions and the poetry ... which is easier on the eyes ... but I really didn't see how sitting before a bunch of candles, or snorting the incense was going to do much for me ...
But tits and a plastic Jesus! ... Just this morning, when I got up at fucking 4:30 a.m. that I went out to smoke, only to blow smoke rings out to this urban ghetto ... sure, it's nice enough ... there could be worse ... but I don't see damn nothing more than cement and cars and if I had X-ray eyes for about three or four miles to the east ... the cannon of the U.S. Air Force here in Denver ... and the black helicopters, of course ... and I just decided, shit ... I need to pray, like a Catholic on his knees ... so the One can see so those in the middle cannot? ... that can't be it ... I mean, the mere height of the pagan godz can't have anything to do with it, right? ... but because I'm out in the dark, as usual, smoking, blow out to nothing like a prayer now, but maybe a little blue for the new dawn ... and I look up and there's the Big Dipper again ... I've been noticing it a lot lately, pointing North East ... the ladle-handle part, that is.
I look down, there's this dirty rug. I go on my knees, squeaky, one knee clicking from a paper-clip-like inplant, maybe 30 years old now, from football a long time ago ... and I point my head to the northeast and go to the contrition a Navajo de la rodeo-aye-lo! ...
A Funny Thing Happened on the Road to Mythville ... As we walk through the trees, let us summon the Muses to invoke their aid for this adventurous song. Yes indeed, yes indeed, in bringing the dark star Merlin with us, we have done he, and therefore ourselves, wrong. For when taking the irrational rationalist out for a stroll in an attempt to justify the way of elves to men, we do our gothic truths deep harm. Although our intent is to be armed with swords forged in light, by the time we get to the gate of Mythville, we are more wounded than whole. Dragging Merlin along is, well, the road to woe.
Sure, at least you get him as the gate, but later you will find wisdom in simply leaving him home. Just as the elves shed their garments and tools of modernity at the gate, guiding sage Merlin, who you thought would give you strength, instead leads you down the path of self-hate. Sure, you at least got him to the gate of Atenveldt, one of the many baronies for the local chapter of some Society for Creative Anachronism, but doing so is liking dragging a chain and an anchor.
The first big mistake: buying him a beer. Since once soused, Merlin is like an old dying dog who growls from the memory of old wounds, and in all likelihood, at his worst, Merlin will bring issues of his own race (he’s black) to the conversation. Yes, he’s a dark star, wise and cruel with the truth, and beaten down in life by the facts of his birth, too. And also, yes, Mythville is mostly fair elfin folk, so there is some truth in what he says. But also true, Merlin has come from the richest and ablest of traditions, from a family of composers, seers and princes. No doubt, this well-bred wizard is also of blue-blooded stock. He has chosen a path of solitude and dark shame as a kind of penance. And of his spiritual path, we must tally respect.
But listening to him as you walk through the woods to the village, listening to him grouse about people he has never met as mere objects of Caucasian vanity, well, it can become way too heavy to bear.
Yes, Merlin is correct: it costs these fair folk a fortune to dress up their mundane lives into something more pleasing to their own egos. But it is also, is it not, better to see the Hopi snake dancers spinning up a wheel, or the Yoruban heirs moving to the talking drum of the rhythm possessor, Dhambala, or the German girls going oompa, loompa with heavy breasts and jugs of beer, dancing to their polka music? Yes, ‘tis far better to watch merlin walk away with his brooding satisfaction that, as he turned his back on Mythville, he had spoken his peace and that you are in some way wiser for it as he disappears, like some limping haint (or hart?), into the woods. And you, dear adventurer, harken and hear: At the gates of Mythville, turn off your clock, or better yet, leave your watch and 21st century con? at home. That is the way of the elves, their scribes, their kings and queens, their bards, and yes, their gnome.
At the gate, as the evening passes into a grander version of the dark, damp cold, the citizens of Mythville gather under the soccer lights of the park. From a distance, you can see the steam blowing from the nostrils of the pikemen, archers and knights as they don their wares of war. With each new attachment symbolizing the armaments of a brutal age, rest assured by the notice: Mythville is a protected place.
The soccer lights glow soft in the mystic (?) as the mundane world disappears.
They bring bags of equipment, lay them in the wet grass, then unload for some kind of post-Halloween feast for the eyes. The terminology for their varied style of dress, even the exact period (sometime between 1200 A. D. and 1400 A.D.) is elusive as is the sense and meaning for all of this escapist activity.
(Meanwhile, outside the gate, I dial up my queen, who said she would avenge my death should my mission fail, or worse, far worse, should a black knight slay me . . .
. . . O Merlin, I miss you now, but of her her, even more, since she is my light through the way of these darkened woods. I have not crossed the threshold either, but now she gives me strength to push on further as I attempt to link up my crop circles on into the American night.)
Here that? ‘Tis the clatter of arms crashing. The clash is on. There is no time to waste . . .
Where is technology going? Well, you could ask a number of people in all fields, and you’d likely get a different answer, although the color green, implying nature and more fire with less fuel for yet another revolution, something akin to instantaneous science fiction, as the world slowly moves from monoculture to permaculture, would be the most common synthesis of what people are thinking.
If you asked the person who knew something, quite a bit actually, about technology who had gone away for a while to enter the new city of glittering lights, they would nonethless be inclined to refer to it more in terms of the clash upon their ears. The unbearble noise. The glare, the lights, the strangeness of things. And of course, the smell.
Or you could ask the person living in such a place as Denver with little technology other than a cell phone. If they are lucky. If they are not members of the dispossessed in the long-promised, ever widening digital divide. They might say it’s all they need, that cell phone. But that one thing is being used to try to attain all they really need: such as a job or a way to reach so and so to score such and such ...
You could speak to someone who knows everything about technology in the 21st century. However, they might be difficult to understand since in all likelihood their speech will sound like Martian.
Clearly, better, clearer ways of communication are needed. Efficiency in every category, more Promethean fire with less fuel, machines that think and think green, are needed. They could run by their own volition so man can return to some semblance of balance and spiritual, creative and sustainable growth. The new hunger for tech is headed now in that direction, too, as many of the old alchemical questions are not how to turn the lead into gold, but the gold into soul.
But during a political season and the possibilities of an intensified global war loom, the crystal ball is muddy at best. Or so it seems. If one tries to predict the future by looking at history, you end up with some pretty good answers about where technology is headed.
For example, seasons of militarism have always been the leading edge of technology. The world wide web itself was built for those very same reasons.
Meanwhile, the counter force of cyberwar, disinformation and surveillance are surely the factors to be most felt by the consumer and refugee under such dystopian conditions. Other than the bombs, themselves, that is, more likely delivered by soldiers with laptops than those with guns, we can just trust in the knowledge that the art of war will improve.
Where is technology going? Look at those who developed the web, the brains, the geeks, if you will. Twenty five years ago, when the academic-based internet was being built, it was Dungeons and Dragons players who were leading the way.
Today you could ask them and they would point you to one of their 500 social networking links, perhaps one titled, “13 Aspects of Technology, all of it leading to improved Techno-pop-gnosticism.” Then, they would try to explain the 37 more technolopolitical “proto-psychic stages” to follow. They’d say: “It’s all leading to the planet becoming one quantum, quite convergent tool ... always coming together, then falling apart, but why, despite all of our web hits and faster, ever faster need and desire and ability to get our kicks with just one click, we still don’t know. Perhaps, we know even less, now. Despite our best efforts and examinations and experiments. But, no worries. If the bee in the hive doesn’t know why it makes honey, why should we?”
Or you could ask someone in business, who works B-to-B, who is entrenched in every conceivable technology. However, they would likely not have the time, since they are so busy (to coin a phrase that inspired Google.com) pouring water endlessly into broken vases, trying to keep all of the fires burning. They might be more inclined to simply let go of technology for at least a few days, to enjoy things that either have nothing to do with technology at all, but are, like a fine old motorcycle, quite beautiful as old-tech. Like a simple fire in a fireplace. Or, better yet, in the woods, testing their varying degrees of ability, among those in the group, to remember, exactly, how it’s done.
Of course, most employed people don’t have that kind of luxury these days, as the global situation is calling for increased time keeping the global technology wheel spinning. But trying to maintain the current dependency on the status quo of the monotechnoculture is clearly folly. Looking at it on this date, all we really know that everything could change in a blink of the eye. Because, during the time you read this, it actually did.
Just today, there is a story about a new building, a tall one, that “defies gravity.” Meanwhile, somebody, somewhere is developing a new kind of snowboard to defy gravity better.
But the real word on technology street is about war, not of the usual kind, but the global war to turn all new tech toward fighting the battle of man against nature. A long slow hard struggle to turn the Titanic around. That is, to save the planet. According to a world-class scientific panel put together by the United Nations, the human race can now start enjoying the last days of the ski industry, for example, like the last days of disco.
Right down to the rapidly escalating decrease of snow in the mountains. Word on the streets of science is global warming and its effects are so well past being recognized, it’s no longer hip to say it’s so, Joe. The environmentalists, then, the greens, can keep doing good works, sure, but otherwise, go into transition mode. Intractable positions can now be transformed into a simple “do no harm, but allow for existing energy-alternatives- development” mode.
Time to reassess, to pat yourself on the back. The environmentalists managed to get even the biggest idiots to listen, and their online savvy played a big part. But now what’s need is not to assign guilt, but action. What we are looking at now isn’t convincing everyone trees need to be preserved for mere aesthetic values, but that the ethic now is the avoidance of the global warming effects leading to a red line event, as in mass extinction.
That is now actually the task at hand, according to the word on the streets of pure science.
That’s right. We got the “asteroid is going to get hit us” notice from the U.N., from NASA, from everyone, including Exxon. I say “notice” because this is the part of the movie about human history where Bruce Willis gets drafted, after initially refusing the call, as all film heroes do, and says, “OK, I’ll do it, I’ll join the world army to save the planet using the best of all available technology.”
The local emergency management response for any responsible adult should now include a list for a few things. First, you need to make some sort of announcement to your kids. Tell them “Sorry, we all have to join this world science army, or we are cooked. If we all stopped driving our cars today, if we even stopped heating our trophy home, stopped doing all of the things that made it happen, the effects of the greenhouse gases as they currently exist is enough to raise the seas by almost five feet and turn your futures as video-rock star dandies playing at a venue at any town on earth with a dock and a bay into a precarious – yes, sadly, it’s true my sweeties – impossibility.”
Tell them sorry, sorry, sorry. Tell them, “Sorry but, you beautiful little eagles, it’s time to put the video game down and get back to your physics and engineering and mathematics studies so that you can, as soon as possible, make some horrendous choices in global energy needs, such as gas-fired and nuclear power plants, safer and more efficient for human survival.”
Tell them to go outside and invent something fun, like an airborne nanotech methane eater to make the world sky-woes go away.
Tell them the days of such pleasantries as gravity games are over. Meet the new hip: Wind. Storm. Fire. Drought. Disaster. Catastrophe in cascades … you get the picture. Give them good survival tips for a future world that will feel a little like Venus and Mars, but it can’t decide.
In Colorado, for example, where we sit on enough resources to turn the country into Western Arabia for the plundering of lodes of natural gas and uranium, resisting the trend is not just difficult, if not impossible – to resist is an act of global irresponsibility.
It’s a hell of a thing to get one’s mind around, this paradigm shift of what will be necessary for human survival, but you only have a few days to think it through, tops. Then, soon as you can, pack up the Hummer, drive it out to your nearest drilling rig, and see if there’s anything you can do to make it more efficient, cleaner, better. Say here, have one of our extra Thanksgiving turkeys, all cooked at the necessary temperatures in our big ass ovens. Tell the gas rig workers, “Thanks, next time we come around, we’ll bring you something nice from the Salvation Army store.” Invite them to stay, when they get world-weary as the hours get longer and the daily temperature averages continue to rise, in one of the bazillion rooms of your trophy homes for the weekend.
Tell them, “Sorry, sorry, sorry. We’ll stay out of the way of your siphoning of the earth. Just, in this century, could you be a little more Zen about it? OK, great, thanks. Good luck saving the planet for the rest of us.”
Then it will be OK to ski and dance, a little, I hope. We’ll see how it all looks with the guns and technology gods and cannons during the next big American Revolution in 2012, when it will be yet another time to re-define under great pressure. When we get another big check on the earth, the sky, the seas and all of our technology. When we can look at our tools, our responsible uses for fire, always a dangerous trick for mankind for 10,000 or more years, asking ourselves, did this tool work? Why or why not? Then start that big wheel turning, hopefully by this time without any fuel needed at all, again. For the next generation. A perpetual motion machine that benefits with a beneficial campfire glow for not just one, but all things, all day, and especially, night.
“Riot, n., a popular entertainment given to the military by innocent bystanders.”
-- Ambrose Bierce, the Devil’s Dictionary
Just listening to a few lines of conversation from a recent meeting at Capitol Hill’s Gypsy House Café made it as clear as the view of the nearby gold dome could be easily found around the corner, if you cared to walk, that is, or of beautiful downtown Denver, all to be dressed up very soon like a $50 million red, white and especially blue bag of chips — or, if you prefer, the view of the nearby head shop: Re-Create 68 defies definition. Pin down Re-Create 68’s purpose? Try pinning down smoke.
Surely it’s not an organization. Not when its whole raison d’etre is to question authority, which pretty much precludes the act of organizing. Nor, for that matter, can it be defined as a lobbying group, considering that each member seems to have a different idea of what message it’s trying to convey. That is especially frustrating for those among us, especially in the media, who seek easy answers in order to write headlines.
Especially big headlines. Such as “Denver to Riot! See you there!”
Perhaps it could be at least loosely defined as a production company to encourage performance art. The meetings due seem to be, to the great disappointment of those headline writers, and the denizens of the outward blogosphere, more ready to cast protest in the light of a festivarian glee. To those in the middle, stuck in their easy chairs, watching all, clucking their tongues, its members seem to have some sort of common goal that involves getting people to drop out of their 21st century lives in order to come to Denver during the Democratic National Convention and replicate the turbulent druggy-leftist-protest-music-inspired lifestyle practiced 40 years ago.
But really, it’s just a bunch of people who, rather than rushing home to water their lawns or preen in their SUVS in the suburbs ... just not-so-plain folks, controvertionaries, who were actually paying attention.
“Re-create 68 is just a bunch of groups together and individuals. I didn't start it, nor am I a member,” said one of its meeting-goers, Jill Dreier, who is an organizer for the Visualized Film Festival in Denver. “I organize a film festival and used to be part of the Colorado Campaign for Middle East Peace ... so from those groups, I know a lot of people, including the R-68 folks.”
Perhaps the Gypsy House Café itself offers some clues. Women in hints of gypsy garb, most of it slummed out to the basic tune of what you can now get pretty freely in the resale shops up and down Colfax Avenue, with perhaps a piece of two purchased at the nearby Cherry Creek Mall ... just maybe, maybe ... men in bleak-chic anarchistic looking black T-shirts, short-cropped hair, soccer moms and men in ponytails mix amiably as sitar music plays and members of the Denver Police Department stroll by, unobtrusively taking photographs.
Hey, where’s the tie-dye? What? No one calls anyone a “pig?” Where are the familiar boundaries we can trust, the old division the division between “us” and “them.” Where are the assurances that this is just some kind of cliche. And that, at least, the re-appearance of its rough best to serve as notice that, like it or not, ’68 is back in Denver, perhaps bigger than ever.
During their orderly meetings in the café’s basement, the group’s core, er, “people,” have sought to reignite the antiwar ethos of 1968, organizing events for a “mass mobilization” during the convention. There is no rabble, maybe a ramble of two. But if you really want a rabble, go cover the San Miguel County Commissioners in the high-priced echelons of Telluride for some real gripe and grinners. They seem to be about as radical as the Town Council there.
Anyone seeking a clearer definition might consider visiting the group’s Web site, www.recreate68.org. There, one can learn that Re-Create 68 represents “the grassroots movement opposed to the two-party system,” is a “convergence center for the antiwar movement” and has an agenda that includes everything left-leaning, from fighting poverty to bringing the troops back home. Environmentalism, too, but there’s still actually some faith in politics here.
Maybe you can turn the Titanic around in four years, eight, tops?
Among many, however, Re-Create 68 has become the hobgobblin of dysturbian anxiety.
As a result, the Re-Create 68 people have spent a lot of time lately trying to deal with dissent within their own loose-knit ranks as other liberal groups and activist organizations reject whatever it is that Re-create 68 stands for. That is to say, what the media says they stand for. The scary thing they have to say. The quick thing easy to rail against before you click off Uncle Bill to catch up on some reality TV in order to get a load off and feel better.
All politics is local, ‘tis said. This is no different. Earlier last month, eight left-leaning groups — the American Friends Service Committee, Code Pink, Colorado Street Medics, the Green Party, Iraq Veterans Against the War, the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center, Students for Peace and Justice and United for Peace and Justice — announced they were splitting with Re-create 68 and forming a new coalition, the Alliance for Real Democracy. Such is the business of politics: Gyres winding in and out.
Re-create 68 co-founder Glenn Spagnuolo said it’s strange for groups to resign, considering that there’s no membership. It’s like going on Facebook.com and quitting one of many groups, such as the Rolling Stones network, to give the appearance you once played for the actual band. The participation from the other groups, he said, has been limited to dropping in on Re-create 68’s open gatherings, which usually draw about 20 or 30 people. For example, members of the Green Party came in a few times, then left, never really got involved.
But then came heap big headlines, assuring stuff to say, hell yeah, the center can hold. But, as far as it goes with the Green Party, or this other rainbow coalition of orgs, mostly driven by pushing for people to come from the outside toward Denver: “They were never part of Re-create 68,” Spagnuolo said. “Their groups reach a different audience than us. There are just multiple coalitions reaching different groups. We think that’s great.”
Green Party chair Claire Ryder, speaking for herself rather than on behalf of the Green Party, said that after attending several meetings she’d decided to stop going because she didn’t feel the group allowed everyone to be heard.
“I didn’t agree with the way they organize, and the name was chosen before anybody got a chance to participate,” she said. “It’s run by three people.”
Again, county commissioner boards come to mind: But it’s really not that simple.
Ryder also said she didn’t care for the way the group’s activities have been characterized in the media. Who would, if you were inside, looking out. Now the members of Recreate ‘68 have to put themselves through the rigors of “talking to the media” training sessions in order to keep from further fanning these so-called fire of Orc.
“The conflict is what the story is about now,” she said. “The big thing is the violent or nonviolent thing. It has been reported in the press that way. I don’t want to be a part of that conversation.”
It is, of course, the choice of the name “Re-Create 68” that causes people to visualize Denver’s streets filled with tear gas and billy-club-wielding police during the last week in August. The resonance to Chicago 1968’s Democratic National Convention, turns out, was a somewhat doubled-edge sword.
And there are those who seem ready to act out such a scenario. Especially the police, who are planning for the chance to arrest around 3,000 people, and who are going to look pretty damn silly, after arguing for all of that budget money, if they don’t actually fill up that hotel from hell.
If a comment posted recently on a Rocky Mountain News blog is to be believed, at least one person is “Getting ready for the anticipated and promised R-68 assault. Let’s hope the National Guard is prepared to deal with arson.” Arson, of course ... ding dang ... there has actually been no table set up plan made for how to commit arson, the Rush Limbaugh crowd might be disappointed to find.
Such saber-rattling wasn’t even actually behind April’s announcement from Tent State University that it wants no ties to Re-create 68.
The group describes itself at Tentstate.com as a “Coalition of Projects in Pursuit of Democracy.”
“We were never a part of Re-create 68,” said Adam Jung a University of Denver student who serves as the group’s Colorado spokesperson. “We severed ties because the media had married us together, and the messaging was incompatible.”
See these words?
As in, watch and learn ...
Spagnuolo, however, says the groups had been linked, but there are no money trails here. No special sections to produce. And since the troubles of the world are so diverse, nothing the logic choppers can real get their minds around.
Of the Tent State thing, yeah, sure, not even the left-of-the-left of center can hold these days for very long. “That’s a group where there has been a split,” Spagnuolo said. “There was a falling out, and we admit that. For them to say, though, that they weren’t a part of our effort is ridiculous. They clearly were. They even participated in one of our early press conferences.”
Still, Spagnuolo is willing to concede that the members of Tent State “were drawn in by … issues over name, and issues about how nonviolent we (actually) were. But we support nonviolent groups and we still support them.”
Tent State, of course, could’ve have been accused of casting the some sort of resonating flames from a bad die gone by, the Kent State shootings that inspired Neil Young’s classic, “Ohio,” but who’s counting?
Not the mainstream media. They are always going to glorify the dissent within the dissent, rather than the real way business works under the Golden Dome of Rome: Just follow money, it flows toward authority, to the right. Like the Demos could even think clear enough with Hillary and Obama banging in out, to come up with any comprehensible copy, for say a special section to run in the local state political gossip sheet, the Colorado Statesman, like the Republican party was able to do for its own state delegate convention. Follow the money, indeed ...
Re-create 68 also had been disinvited from using a tent designated for demonstrators during the convention, it was announced at a R-68 meeting in May. But at at Re-create ‘68 meeting, some of that news was regarded with a happy challenge. At least there was something within target range they could actually break through.
Fellow co-founder Barbara Cohen says Re-create 68’s early “successes,” as she put it, haven’t helped its image. That includes drawing the attention of conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh.
Limbaugh seized on the name, saying he “welcomed” the notion of riots during the convention and was “dreaming” that they’d happen, exclaiming, “Riots in Denver! The Democratic Convention would see to it that we don’t elect Democrats.”
When critics charged that Limbaugh was inciting listeners to riot, radio station KOA, which carries the show, issued a statement saying, “A review of the full transcript from Limbaugh’s show on Wednesday, April 23, shows that Limbaugh was not advocating violence in Denver at the Democratic National Convention, but trying to make the point that if there were riots in Denver, it would hurt the Democrats’ chances of winning the 2008 presidential election.”
The controversy thrust Re-create 68 into the spotlight as the focus of liberal anxiety and conservative glee and helped make Spagnuolo a darling of the radio talk show circuit.
It also has led the three co-founders, Spagnuolo, Barbara Cohen and her husband, Mark Cohen, to assert that the anti-war movement during the breakout year of protests against the Vietnam War is the real source of their inspiration in naming the group.
“We all agreed the name would get attention, but it’s not re-create Chicago ’68, but re-create the year 1968,” said Barbara Cohen, a longtime local peace activist who, with her husband, was a plaintiff in the famous Denver “Spy Files” lawsuit after police targeted the couple as “criminal extremists.”
“We are an umbrella group that is trying to get the other umbrella groups together ... from every political stream,” she said. “We’ve worked with progressive Democrats, anarchists, Green Party members, everybody working together to put on nonviolent events.”
Spagnuolo says he also wishes the media would characterize Re-create 68 not as a group of rabble-rousers, but rather as an alliance of leftist dissenters that’s trying to get the Democratic Party and its presumptive nominee to commit to bringing the war in Iraq to a speedy halt.
The group has recently obtained hard-fought permits to demonstrate during the DNC. During those demonstrations, rather than rioting, Spagnuolo says the group plans peaceful protests of what they characterize as Barack Obama’s “toned-down” anti-war rhetoric.
Spagnuolo says the new tack indicates Obama is moving his political position “more to the center, in order to get votes.”
If Re-Create 68’s most ambitious hope is to denounce Obama’s move the center, it’s hard to believe the group will draw down the National Guard. Nevertheless, Spagnuolo believes Denver’s government is stocking up on anti-riot weaponry and is itching to use it.
Spagnuolo alleges Denver has purchased such devices as a ray gun to send microwave pulses into a crowd, creating an extremely uncomfortable heat sensation, and an acoustic device that bounces sonic waves off crowds to induce stomach distress.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado has sued the city for access to public records related to the purchase of security-related equipment, Spagnuolo said, but the city, “will neither confirm nor deny whether they have purchased these weapons” for the upcoming Democratic National Convention.
In response to a request filed by the ACLU under the Colorado Open Records Act seeking disclosure of the records, the city’s Department of Safety records coordinator, Mary Dulacki, denied their release on the grounds that disclosure “was contrary to the public interest” and because “it could potentially disclose tactical security information.”
Whether or not they’ve been purchased, Spagnuolo says even the rumor of such devices has sent a chill to groups planning demonstrations.
“They are trying to build up paranoia to make people afraid to come out and execute their constitutional rights,” Spagnuolo said. “I think the city should be embarrassed with their actions to date ... It’s going to leave a lasting black eye, the way they view people who protest as a criminal element.”
City officials have attempted to quell this type of criticism by announcing parade routes for public marches and promising to process parade permits promptly.
In a written statement, Katherine Archuleta, senior policy and initiative adviser to Mayor John Hickenlooper, recently stated, “We’ve been working to enable organizations with diverse viewpoints and agendas to have access to a safe and visible parade route for the purpose of public expression.”
The notice coincides with an agreement reached with the ACLU, which on May 1 had filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court on the behalf of groups seeking improved access to certain areas for public expression.
But Spagnuolo, who has been a Denver resident for seven years but cut his activism teeth on the streets of New York, isn’t convinced.
“This city doesn’t want its $50 million party interrupted,” he said. “They feel like this will tarnish the Democratic Party.”
National and local media outlets have been quick to jump on such statements.
For example, in January, 9 News political analyst Floyd Ciruli said: “If they actually do turn Denver into Chicago, there’s a very good chance they will turn off the voters. It could be directly counterproductive to what they would like to do.”
Yet, back in the real space of the Gypsy House Café, the only violence under consideration was dealing with Pieface, a relic hippie activist they think might try to hit Oprah Winfrey in the face with a pie.
If Re-Create 68 actually is a front for subversives working under Limbaugh, things must be tougher than they seem in the right-wing military-industrial cabal. Cohen announced to the circle that the group had a mere $1,600 in its antiwar chest. An early plan to have people show their support by underwriting portable toilets for protesters just hadn’t panned out as successfully as the PBS “All Things Considered” had reported. The size ... the size of things ... they are seem to depend upon the distance they are seen from.
But for the geriatric set, the Boomers, who clearly have the practical real world in mind, they clearly have such important questions to ask regarding the survival of the human race as: Has no time been “wasted,” buzzed in some Statesman editor from her office hotbox, stressing in the addressing of the hygienic or other bodily needs of the estimated “thousand to 100,000” demonstrators who actually might hitchhike into Denver in August “wearing headbands, bell-bottoms and beads, bearing flowers and protest signs, and taking an occasional mellow toke as they flash the peace sign.”
(That same editor tried to insert those same lines into this same similar report ...)
But it didn’t work, just like the economy, or, the war machine doesn’t seem to work right anymore: Instead, the group discussed presentations, film fests and which bands to book. You know, stuff to keep the people outside the castle walls entertained while the real deals are made at the DNC.
As the meeting broke up, Spagnuolo was asked if he thinks Re-create 68 will bring a repeat of the rioting and violence that gripped Chicago during the 68 convention.
“That will be up to the Denver Police Department,” he said. “Any violence would be at the hands of the Denver Police Department.
“I’m more worried about people being killed in Iraq in my name,” he said. “The local media has branded us (as violent agitators) because it’s what sells. But there’s nothing sexy to report when people’s constitutional rights are being violated.”
And if he’s a radical, he’s an equal opportunity opponent of the two-party system. When asked if he’d also be protesting at the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis/St. Paul in September, he said, “I will be if I’m not still in jail.”
Word on the street is that this old house has too much snow on the roof, and that it’s sagging now in cold and wet and disbelief.
The icicles are a mile long.
So much snow, the chimney is clogged, and we can’t see out the windows, or across the street.
Yep, the sidewalk talk all about town is all about that vampire five-bedroom black-lit empty trophy shell, all appliances fully hooked up, amped up and ready to go, while this old house has empty rooms, and the snow is coming in still, see, just as it’s coming into your old house, too.
Word on the street is this old house is in need of repairs. It’s tilted from the winds, as well as the snow drifts pounding in from the storms. This old house has rusty antiques, an old well, trees along the corner to hide it away, pristine (as in priceless) mountain vistas, ghosts inside going back to before the day anyone living in this old house could read by electric light.
This old house tried not to be an energy vampire. Failed.
This old house served a mining town, got worked hard as on old boarding house, as a whorehouse, a hospital, as an administrative office for the barons of ore, kept generations high and dry for a century. Saw boom and got busted, then busted out a new boom boom. Yeah, this old house is full of ghosts. Vampires and golems, too.
This old house has a gargoyle on the perch for protection.
Out on the fringes of the frontier, as you might see it, open space appearing, at least, to be undeclared; This old house is on 35 acres, but we don’t see a GPS line and so then we don’t know where property, as theft, begins, ends or starts. Since this old house serves as a buttress to the winds, the gales, the storms blowing from across the southwestern desert lands, the Navajo lands, the great broad sea of sand, this old house has known that score. Holding on.
This old house has held on.
This old house has seen floods. Its brick-made foundations have outlasted those times when the creek turned its fireplace into a roadside stop for a wild down-canyon ride. This old house is on a precipice. This old house overflows. But beauty and being contained within such a high place requires a high price, and since this old house is built within the very web of life, it moves with it, through the seasons, and these days, their meandering, collapsible, incomprehensible patterns chip at the rafters and bend its floorboards.
This old house has seen a lot. This old house has been a ship.
Now it’s sinking. Now the bills are ringing, and it’s too late to turn that electric light off, too late to suck all that heat back into the house.
This old house had its roof blown off. This old house saw helicopters land to unload crews with bombs and tourists and documentary filmmakers, beauty people, Type-A daredevils, rich guys, Robb Report readers, with the full gear, Gore-tex, gravity machines, Navy Seal hearts and all ...
This old house has a pressurized pipe capable of generating electricity right beneath it. This old house has a dusty old Tesla coil in its attic for storage.
Batteries not included.
This is old house is not off the grid. The sidewalks out front have pipes rusting beneath the town street, which are built upon mining tailings, and the road to this house has potholes large enough to be given Indian names like Chipeta Crater, or, for the larger gods, Neal Blue Lake, To-Hell-You’ll Ride Any Further Rut.
The porch to this house has Tibetan prayer flags coming down. An American flag on the window, all torn up, to make ya think of Jimi Hendrix-sized, star-spangled riffs, searing away. No sign on the door, but the door was left open.
It’s locked now.
This old house is moving on. This old house has seen its day. This old house has a leaking diesel tank outside, a poisoned well, no place to plug into e-Bay, and the dogs have been all chased away.
This old house is empty now. Though it saw Valley cows walk across its gateways, presidents and kings on its porch. This old house has come and gone. This old house is moving on. That it, from this point on, the residents of this house have been moving on ...
It takes full surround sound from a booming wall-hung television sports broadcast to admit it, but I would prefer to believe some Mormon when he goes over the hill with some wild tail about how he saw rabbit tracks do so and so and Raja’s giant gait out there, chasing him down, down, down, into the canyon.
Right now I’m in a town with a big dog lean, Ouray, Colorado. The altitude is 7,800 feet and I’m breathing pretty heavy, but it probably has more to do with that half gallon of tequila I drank last night, or the rolling tomb of dread I felt when I saw Barrack Obama up there on the podium in Houston. Yeah, seasick dread. Such a great speaker, so comfortable up there, calm, still, with his big booming hoarse voice ebbing and flowing, in something more rael sang than any Baptist preacher named Jesse could conjure, yeah, I remember them all and get the Kennedy vibe, sure, but this thing deep down inside me calls and all I see up there is a target, our nation being hijacked by the machine and all, and I’ve seen nothing happen over the last eight years to believe something so good could happen to this country, this shameful disgrace, this Placerville of contempt.
So the hounds of Norwood went over the hill and she sleeps in the unquiet slumbers of a bed down the road, believing a simple act of transference, in the form of another dog, would make it better. But I’ve seen the blood stains in the snow. I’ve got this image of western style brutality, the kind that puts scars on cattle, the hot branding iron of truth, of property, of contempt for newcomers, of their disdain for anything that isn’t as inbred as they are, the clan. The question that keeps coming up in my head is where did I exactly come to believe I could weigh in on grazing issues. I have no idea, nor do I care a wit. Yet the big however always is this, if I’m planted on a place where I feel something, I’m going to write it up the way I see it, see, since I can’t abide a lie on this plain.
So Raja goes missing for a couple of days and I can’t stop seeing red. I knew they would come after me this way. I see cold blooded murder. I see my neighbors as part of this crime, and I want some kind of justice to take place. Is that too much to ask. For a dog, shot, perhaps, because it wasn’t where it was supposed to be, but just how deep does the depravity go here. On that score, these hillbillies never seem to disappoint me.
By extraordinary, almost princely right, Raja crossed all borders for dogs in both areas of activity and intellect. Or, at least, perceptivity. He sniffed around the deserts of central Arizona, which is where we found him, a big starved Scooby Doo, with weirdass tendencies to fly away at any scare. Indeed, he was big enough to scare off any animal in the bush, but he was more inclined to run at first.
But rather than go there, into this deep blue monoliquoy about a dog’s life, I’ll just remain content with myself in this coffeehouse in a town with a big dog lean and notice who the early risers are. Those are my people, I believe, and it’s no sweet contentment I’ll ever find with sleep, since I wake each day with a breach-birth sort of panic. The Egyptian myths say it’s the sun Ra that behaves this way. I’ll take the title then and just gloom my way across this page.
The first to arrive was a bunch of politicos, I’m sure, to console themselves with the idea that some old county commissioner crank can lead the way. They can poll up over coffee, seven of them around the table, and espouse their conservative, keep it the same blues, but all I can do is reek from the agonies of the night, the way I tried to drown it down with tequila, but still I see red, red, red, in the snow.
The barrista has left some cheesy tourist oriented video on the television, with some horrible jazz beaming in. Miss the rancor and noise of the Screaming Bean, quite frankly, to this, but there’s also a calm and sense of community that really isn’t all of that much different. People who know each other wave themselves to each other into their days.
When a town is on a tilt such as Ouray I wonder if there’s some kind of gravitational effect of all interests rolling down the street. But right now it feels as if a town at tilt is one to hang in the air with for a while.
The screen on the TV has this cascading waterfall reel playing over and over again. My question is why do this, this, broadcoast, all day long. Can’t they just unplug?
No more than I can let go. Now I’m back in Snorewood, and we have two different kinds of signs planted all over the place. New theories have emerged, and the blood-in the snow images have faded from my tangled mind. Haven’t had any tequila for some time, so it makes sense. Those missing doggy signs have been greeted by kind members of the community who have come forward and expressed their disbelief: Raja is gone.
Acceptance moves in, ya know, and it’s only the empty solace of this page that dogs me now.
The eclipse of the winter season is passed, and things are appearing more clearly to me. Not having that damn dog sure makes it easier to move, but I still remember that day I woke up in the Tracker, a jeep, with him breathing in my face. Loved that animal. He was the symbol of grace. Two images persist. One, that of him going out the door. I had seen that look before. That don’t think I’ll pay attention to you this time look before. I closed the door and he disappeared into the moonlight forever. Another image: His great gait running across the beach on the Oregon Coast, right up there at the 45th Parallel. He would go way out, maybe a mile away, down sandy, pristine, glassy beach, with great big ass waves pounding at irregular intervals. I suppose we might have felt much worse if a sneaker wave had taken him then. But it did not. And so we have that time to remember. That dog could go a long way fast.