Wednesday, June 05, 2013
Journey Through a World Desperately Out of Balance
Climbing Franklin Ave in search of a view in the hollywood hills accosted by signs forbidding trespass, warning of armed and private justice, no view to be found multi-million dollar estates commandeering the horizon, not an itinerant soul in site except for Spanish-speaking gardeners in coveralls and armies of servants hired to sustain the elaborate and costly american dream. Meandering through the back alleys and corridors of downtown Los Angeles homeless and the dispossessed, everywhere, at night fall they scatter like gypsies staking claim to park benches and whatever space that will accommodate, members of a vast itinerant army without leadership or purpose, not so pleasant reminders of the dimwitted idea of prosperity. Walking the streets of Los Vegas in the shadows of the towering casinos business cards proffered by buxom women suggesting sensual delights at competitive rates, a slot machine paradise where cheap food abounds, the siren call of easy riches, a fortuitous throw of the dice, paradise awaits. Beyond the boundaries of this make-believe oasis of implausible wealth squalid houses and bereft children clothes lines with the wash hanging indecorously against the brilliant desert sky whose occupants are those who service the visitors to this synthetic oasis and clean their toilets and change their besotted bedroom linen, live out their lives without benefit of the dilapidated american dream. Wandering through the D train on its early morning run in that city that moves without rest where commerce is clock that times runs on, paying homage to all those curled up on unoccupied seats without a home or safe place, terrified of the shelters where chaos is the norm, where personal safety is left at the door, paying respects to all those plagued by unsavory demons dancing in their heads, all their belongings deftly placed beneath their seat, to those speaking in tongues, reciting verse they memorized in grade school, airing repetitious arguments with those who gave up on them long ago, to those made wretched by loneliness and wrecked upon the unforgiving terrain of mental illness with its jagged peaks deep, dark and foreboding valleys and perpetual night, Wandering through tunnels far beneath the new York skyline where whole communities abound, a caravan of sleep-deprived battalions digging out uninviting niches in the stark underground with rats for neighbors, breathing fetid air, a place where hope cannot thrive in a world that has already pronounced them dead. Above this inferno that not even Dante could imagine, there are those who sit upon their riches derived more from subterfuge than honest endeavor and accumulate their earnings like hysterical and crazed hyenas within their gated lairs, they are incapable of meaningful introspection, a proven ability to build absolutely nothing, a self-proclaimed superior race without the capacity to master anything except treachery and the illustrious art of subterfuge, holding all the cards squandering all the gold, wearing privilege without sufficient grace, taking possession of the future without weighing the cost of their icy calculations, modern day alchemists turning all things that fall within the slant of time into possibilities for endless profit with an accountant’s fatal logic, they live a lie and barely deserve the dirt that will ultimately cover them. Investigating the deluge that was Katrina and the diaspora that drowned the soul of New Orleans, the wrecked homes, the devastation and unruly death brought on by such calamity. Upon this chaos, the parasites descended sensing profit in the mouth of catastrophe, with voluminous bags of money they planted seeds of acquisition among row upon row of good intentions, sequestered within their voluptuous airs was the venom that filled their disposition and established their voluptuous conclusions, they came in the hope of conquest like the conquistadors that were their inspiration. Hiking the trails of the Great Northwest once the wondrous home to magnificent evergreens, sprawling unfettered verdant valleys, where people are strangely grateful for the remnants that have been left behind by those who see profit in every scrap of nature in every unturned stone, in every wily stint of nature, now it is left to the pinball wizards and electron-beam junkies with as much an affinity to nature as a toaster oven with internet capability. In the shadows of all this magnificent moneyed plenty, tent cities grow and multiply enhancing the human geography with the denizens of the new reality, desperation a way of life, begging an institution, old men in wheel chairs queuing up at the baseball stadium, for a loaf bread and a free bobble head, young women picking up tricks at the laundromat, children studying the advanced art of invisibility, human endeavor replaced by machines deepening the pockets of wily industrialists at the expense of the worker’s soul. Paying homage to the nation’s capital, wandering the halls of power and idle and capricious justice, battalions of lobbyists agents of the royalty of commerce, solicitors of acquisition their briefcases brimming with receipts and promissory notes, eyes on the prize, they come to bargain to craft legislation with slimy regulations to trump benevolence with profit’s wet dream, to squeeze coins out of the pockets of the many to fill the coffers of those who already have everything, they come to usurp the public good for the investment bankers to dismember, piece by piece. Not far from this white-marbled citadel of affluence and limitless power lies the boundary separating privilege from penury paleness from color, lavish homes from prison cells, expensive appetite from aching mindless hunger, across the divide where even the policemen are skittish where a monstrous bleakness resides sucking the will from agile minds, shredding hope from the corpse of the spirit, into the aching frontier where guns are distributed like candy ammunition always plentiful death always resident, not far from where committees are forever in session, the news being made, deals being crafted, where power is so thoroughly idolized, lies the dark reality of the moribund american dream a corpse ceremoniously displayed where politicians and their wily aides line up for autographs, vital organs removed, the air scented with only the ghost of reality remaining, beneath the re-sculptured torso, beneath the painted yet pallid features all vitality of life blood replaced by syrupy substances to forestall but not prevent inevitable decay with blank death presiding. At the banquet table to which few are invited, greed is dispensed on golden skewers, bountiful earth is methodically dispatched piecemeal with grave intent into the graveyard of the future, the game is defined, the rules determined the winners all chosen, all seated, before them lies the entrails remnants of the spirit of wizened compassion, all prepared for the return on their investments. After the meal has been thoroughly consumed and spoils divided, the guests impaled on the sharpened edge of inglorious vanity, the crumbs are dispensed with fanfare to barely fill the bellies tormented by hunger, not enough to rescue the dispossessed from their hapless future or quell the restless spirit of the modern age.