Category Archives: Uncategorized

Whining Managers and CEOs to Blame

I have to say, I am so disappointed to see over and over CEOs to managers whining about everything regarding the quality of labor , while completely failing to realize, a failure of labor is ALWAYS an failure of management. On the rare occasion I see a leader who gets this, I see a vibrant growing company full of people who look forward to coming to work and who hate to leave. “When ownership treats the employees like owners, there is no limit to the growth a company can achieve.”

“an Attack Against One of Us…”

House Speaker, Paul Ryan, speaking of the shooting of a fellow representative: “An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us!” I like that sentiment, as long as the “one” isnt simply congresspersons.

I feel the need to remind him that 30,000 Americans every year are killed with a gun, thats not one, that about 5-6 times more Americans that died in all of the Afghan-Iraqi wars, its half as many as died and have their names on that black wall and half as many who died in the forgotten Korean War.

So Congressman Ryan, if you really mean we, as Americans stand together against that which attacks any of us, lets work together to come up with some realistic gun safety regulations. Rules that will not prevent a law abiding citizen from acquiring and keeping a gun, if he or she wants one. simply make sure the person who wishes to by a gun pass a mental health test, a weapons proficiency test, and carries a million dollar general liability policy to cover intentional and unintentional acts of violence in which their gun is used. These measures would not be an impediment to the 99% of gun owners who are responsible, but its that tiny fraction of the 120,000,000 gun owners, just as it is a tiny tiny fraction of the 1.6 billion Muslims who mean us harm.

In both cases, Muslims or (mostly) white male Christian gun owners, lets take an attitude of what is the most effective against a few thousand bad actors, without draconian measures that harm the 99.9% of both who cause no harm. Currently, we have policies that are probably too onerous, regarding Muslims, and not reasonably discriminating enough about who should walk down our streets with a gun.

Lets not focus on how we might be more fair to Muslims, at the moment, and just make sure that a mass shooting in California the 156th of 2017 isnt so common that it gets lost in the background of your colleague’s shooting.

So, yes, I agree, an attack on any American is an Attack on all of us, be it cops shooting down unarmed Americans, be it a sadly self hating Muslim who in a veil of guilt kills 49 of his fellow gays, or some sicko who thinks he is furthering a left wing political agenda by shooting a congressman he disagrees with, the common thread is the gun, not the ideology. And while its true that guns dont kill people, their easy access means a crazy American is likely to kill more people than a crazy people in another place where guns are more reasonably regulated.

So, please, Speaker Ryan, stand with the American people today, stand against the merchants of death at the NRA . Lets not ban guns, but lets be reasonable about their access and their use.

ryan

What is Reserved for the Poet?

Recently, at a gathering we call ModPo South, some of my smartest friends gathered to discuss poetry, among other things. We had previously selected Frank O’Hara to be the poet to discuss and it had gone rather well, so the question was raised as to who we should pick for our next meeting. As I had just handed out a copy of my most recent self-published chapbook, Sometimes California, or the March Set, someone suggested, in half jest (or maybe three quarters), that we study and discuss my poetry.

I responded sincerely that I was flattered but I didn’t think my poetry was the kind that lends itself to a close read. We quickly moved on to Naomi Replansky, as we had touched on her because of Arif’s participation of a close read for ModPo Plus of her most recent and “last” poem. I was most happy to yield to Naomi, but I was left with two questions, for which I have no idea the answer, and hope someone reading this will offer one, or two.

  • To anyone who has read any of my poetry. I don’t think my poetry is deep enough to dive into. (If you haven’t read any of my stuff, there is plenty on the internet, and some of it is collected at https://anthonyuplandpoetwatkins.wordpress.com/) Can a poem be too shallow to close read? How do you know if it is?

 

  • Should a poet, who has already had first crack at writing the poem and therefore owns all the words in the poem, be allowed to contribute to a close read? Should their inspiration, their intention be given any weight, or is the point of a close read to expand the poem into the readers’ minds? I have noticed plenty of times when I hear someone discussing one of my poems they find meanings and depth that I either never intended or intended on such a subconscious level I THOUGHT I never intended that meaning or reference!

 

I have always approached poetry, first from a writer’s perspective, my own, and then secondarily, and far down the road, thought of it from a reader’s perspective. Unlike some poets, I do write 100% of my poetry for public consumption. If it isn’t read, in my mind, it isn’t written, yet, at least not on a conscious level, I don’t write it FOR the reader. I write it as I feel a must capture a “thing” even if that thing is just the feeling of 7:30 air on your skin on a warm-going-to- hot spring day and the sun is setting and some of the heat is leaving the earth. I write to hold that experience as a thing in my mind. Then as soon as I write it, just as I will with this non-poetic piece, I will rush to publish it and promote a dozen places. Never seeing that that air means more than what it thought it meant to me. Again, I really would appreciate some answers, because I don’t have an inkling.

On Manchester May 22 2017

Like so many other westerners, I awake to the news that what we feared seems to be a reality. Another violent attack leaving innocents dead, including children. We are horrified. Though the real horror is for the families and loved ones of the dead and wounded.

I always have two thoughts when these attacks happen. The first time I had these thoughts were when a crazy Christian white supremacist blew up a federal building in Oklahoma in hopes of starting a race war, and then again when Muslim anti westerners knocked down two buildings in NYC in hopes of starting a religious war.

One: to the terrorist: What is your purpose? I am sure on some level you think the society of which your victims are a part of need to suffer like the communities they victimize. Do you really think your side, be it your fellow white supremacists, or fellow radicalized Muslims, were going to start and win a culture/religious war and conquer the progressive west? Really? Do you not realize you only cause more death and destruction, not at the federal building, or at the WTC, but in your backyard where the crackdown against your kind escalates? You are starting a war or firing another shot in a war that takes ten of yours, maybe, for the Muslim, 1000 of yours for each one you kill. I understand the frustration, even if I disagree with both your method and your motive, but the 22 dead in Manchester, the nine dead in the Charleston church, does not help your cause in anyway. Do you not see that? Are you basically stupid? Or do you hate “your kind that much” or is there something I am missing?

 

Two: to the rest of us: Do we not understand we are the real terrorists? We, as society, both allow poisonous philosophies like “Christian” White Supremacy and “Islamic” Anti-Westernism to flourish, in the first case, by not bringing EVERYONE into the success and wealth of our country, by leaving this core of entitled, but excluded whites, who are easy picking for those who would exploit pain and suffering for profit, and in the case of the radicalized Muslims, because we have, in both Europe and the USA taken the attitude that we expect them to live by our rules, we resent them for the actions of a tiny few, who, by the way, have very legitimate complaints either about their own oppressive leaders whom we have long been too happy with in the name of stability, and in the name of fighting terrorism, or against Israel and its murderous policies to its own people, or to us western powers who murder Arabs like knocking down dominoes, if we kill a hundred innocents and get one bad guy, we think that’s ok, and if we kill 1000 innocents and miss the bad guy, we mostly bemoan missing our target, not the “collateral” lives lost. As foolish as it is for the attackers to think they will win in anyway, given that somehow, the west calls them cowards, even when they die for their cause, it is more foolish to think by committing genocide against Arabs we will end the scrouge of the occasional and random acts of terror in the west.

 

When we look at areas where peace more or less reigns after long periods of oppression and terror, we find peace came not through terror nor through total annihilation of the oppressed peoples, but when sadness and loss on both sides that both parties were ready to do what they should have done to start with, bring everyone to the table. Why do we, the rich and powerful, fail to see that the same thing that has gone on for thousands of years will continue. If we live our rich powerful protected life while we exploit and kill others, including the daily deaths of innocents in various places around the world that we either cause or in some way contribute to, we will have to pay, in the pitiful feeble (but not cowardly) way that the oppressed have to fight Empire, terror and sabotage. When we commit or allow the horrors of so much of the world to exist, so that we can have cheap food and fuel and consumer goods, when we do not demand for every man woman and child around the globe, the same justice and opportunity we expect for ourselves, how do we expect to end terror?

So yes, I cry for Manchester, like i cry for Aleppo, and Gaza, and the US Mexico border… and gay men in Russia and Black children in America….

Manchester Heart

 

Wanna Rewrite the Bible?

As usual, I had a thought, almost a joke of a thought, but then I realized I was serious. I don’t know how many of you are familiar with the Christian Bible. I was raised on it. It was my primary source document for literature, for THE TRUTH, for pretty much everything. I had read it through before I had read any great author besides maybe Mark Twain.

I loved the King James Version. I loved Jesus. Eventually, I became an atheist, this happened while I was at God’s Bible College in Cincinnati, of course. The problem is, not so much for me, because I look at the Bible as some beautiful poetry, some great stories, and generally a pretty good philosophy of life, that is sadly, not what modern Christianity is about for too many Christians.

But that is neither here nor there, except, that for millions of people, having a modern version of the Bible is critical. There are a dozen modern versions, with varying accuracy to the original texts, or at least what we think was the original texts. I cant vouch for their accuracy, nor do I particularly care. My problem is that none of them have held onto the beauty of the language. Some of what makes the King James Version appealing is that it is OLD! 1611 was over 400 years ago, so it is the literary version of walking into an old European cathedral. But it is also a work of art, for the most part, and the modern versions are about as concerned with beauty and creativity as an Ikea instruction manual.

It seems to me, a properly motivated group of good modern poets and short story writers with help from a team of theologians and language experts could stay close enough to the meaning to not offend the average Christian and yet create something as beautiful as wicked ole King James commission way back when.

I have no funds, no experience in this, other than being a poet who spent a long time with his nose in the KJV. To hire a dedicated and skilled team would cost between $3 – $10 million and take 1-5 years.

I have about $12.00 to spare, and I could bite off a few of the 800,000 words (plus the 130,000 in the Apocrypha. Just wondered if this project appeals to anyone else in this group, enough to see if we can do it, and if we want to, does anyone have any idea about funding?bibles a stack

Today’s Rant about the English Language:

“I would like English a lot better if it had rules!”

Ah, but you say, “IT DOES!!!!” That is the beauty of it all, and folks like me simply go around tearing at the fabric by ignoring or worse yet, not learning the “RULES.”

Do you realize that in most of the world, in most things, “Rules are Rules!”

In Spades, you cannot lead with Spades until a spade has been played. I know, if you dont play spades you neither understand nor care. In baseball, if you hit the ball in “fair territory” and run to first base before someone tags you out, you are safe, you can even overrun the base as long as you step on it and do not turn left, you are safe. this is true no matter how many people are on base, no matter who the pitcher is, no matter what inning you are in, or on which day of the week you are playing. you are safe, and conversely, if you are tagged before stepping on the base, you are “OUT!” no question. These are the rules. learn them once, and never think about it again. its like the pledge of allegiance, hand over heart, right hand over left chest region. never changes, unless you are a one armed person, you do not pledge with your left hand. simple.

now lets review the “rules” in English:

maybe the most famous is: “i” before “e”, except after “c,” except sometimes.

yep, especially the “sometimes” part. there are at least a dozen common English words without a “c” preceding the combo that break the rule, there are several words with “c” that break the rule. why not spell science sceince? is that any sillier than spelling “Stein”  (sounds like stine, in fact, why not use the name “Stine”?)?

my most hated combo is the “au” pairing, which is au or ua, and i can never remember why, especially as i have never heard the difference between language and gauge. and then there are words that end in “ent” or “ant” like equivalent, extravagant, and experiment. does anyone really pronounce the “ant” and “ent” differently here? and is there a rule, oh use the ant when the previous vowel is an”a” or when it is an “e”. and for gods sake, lets come up with consistent, consistant? rules.

and did you know if you put english on a ball, it can either be capitalized or not, but if its the country, it must always by capitalized? do you realize with the three letter word “its” and “it’s” means one word automatically violates a standard rule that freaks so many grammarians out anywhere else?

So lets start with dual vowels:

New rule, unless you can say the word so distinctly that you can actually HEAR the difference, twin vowels are to henceforth be written in alphabetical order, so “e” ALWAYS, like baseball, come after ‘a” and before “i” and the only time to use “ant” is when the proceeding syllable has an “e” spelling, so different would become differant and equivalent and experiment would stay the same, as restaurant, but language would become langauge yes, it is “lane gwij” and the new spelling is a bit more lane gauge, but that brings another point, why not spell words the way we say them? this isnt french where letters have secret handshakes and underground passages, this English, or what’s left of it after the English get through chewing it up! i mean is gwij any sillier than glish?

if we sat it iNG(ɡ)liSH, why not write it that way? and what the heck is the little ‘g’ doing there?

 

Seven-Thirty Sunset

just driving home today

Anthony Uplandpoet Watkins

As grandmother and toddler

turn towards home

and the Hispanic boy

with a gold necklace

runs through a back yard

and the Haitian girl tosses

a worn brown

basketball to her young nephews

life flows out onto the narrow

streets of lake worth

in the hot yellow air

that turns all the colors

black in silhouette.

The almost chill rustles the uncut palms

and thrusts paper wrappers

against sagging chain-link fences

and the nine o’clock sunset

is still two months away

but the thin old man

steps into the street and closes

the door on his Chevy

glad to be home

before dark.

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