The Perceval Press Anthology of Verse 2008

November 2008

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Congratulations to Barack Obama and Joseph Biden for winning the
presidential election. Now, as they surely know, the real work begins.
Hopefully President Obama's administration will follow through on his
promise to initiate real change in the way the United States of
America is governed and the way the United States government behaves

Hopefully, for starters:

1) It will discontinue the long imperialist tradition the United
States of America has followed until this very moment of using its
military might to threaten, invade, plunder, and in various ways
meddle in the economic, social, and political affairs of other nations
regardless of international law. No matter what the self-interest of
individuals or corporations in the U. S. A. might be, there is no
valid excuse for using against other nations and societies any
unilateral military action, funding of political opposition groups,
the fomenting of unrest, economic piracy and/or environmental
devastation, facilitating or carrying out of assassinations or any
other acts of murder or mayhem on any scale -- all of which have long
been hallmarks of the U. S. A.'s business-as-usual approach to foreign
policy. This, Mr. President, includes Pakistan, Iran, Venezuela,
Colombia, North Korea, Afghanistan, Iraq, Russia, and any and all

2) It will truly put the "Universal" in universal healthcare,
overhauling the system regardless of political inconvenience or
criticism. We do not need the half-measures that Barack Obama and
Hillary Clinton have proposed. We do not need to merely alter the way
insurance companies are allowed to compete for the financial resources
of individual citizens. We need real, tax-payer funded universal
healthcare. We need to start counting wealth in terms of health and
not in terms of dollars in this country, we need to start measuring
strength in terms of the physical well-being of individual citizens
and not in terms of the size of our military arsenal.

3) It will make a sincere effort to make schooling at all levels
universal and free-of-charge.

4) It will try to see that the right to vote is granted to anyone who
is a citizen and has a Social Security number and a valid mailing
address. Registration should not be required of anyone who has a
Social Security number, photo I.D., and a valid mailing address.
Ballots should automatically be sent to all who are thus qualified.
Election Day should be a national holiday.

If any of the expectations expressed above seem confusing, impossible,
"socialist", or in any way unrealistic to President Obama, it might
behoove him to get in touch with individuals like Dennis Kucinich,
Congressman from Ohio's 10th Congressional District, who will most
likely be happy to advise him on how these much-needed steps toward
Real Change might be initiated and followed through on. You have
promised us and the world a lot, Mr. Obama, and we expect a lot from
-Viggo Mortensen


The House
They are building a house
half a block down
and I sit up here
with the shades down
listening to the sounds,
the hammers pounding in nails,
thack thack thack thack,
and then I hear birds,
and thack thack thack,
and I go to bed,
I pull the covers to my throat;
they have been building this house
for a month, and soon it will have
its people...sleeping, eating,
loving, moving around,
but somehow
it is not right,
there seems a madness,
men walk on top with nails
in their mouths
and I read about Castro and Cuba,
and at night I walk by
and the ribs of the house show
and inside I can see cats walking
the way cats walk,
and then a boy rides by on a bicycle
and still the house is not done
and in the morning the men
will be back
walking around on the house
with their hammers,
and it seems people should not build houses
it seems people should not get married
it seems people should stop working
and sit in small rooms
on 2nd floors
under electric lights without shades;
it seems there is a lot to forget
and a lot not to do,
and in drugstores, markets, bars,
the people are tired, they do not want
to move, and I stand there at night
and look through this house and the
house does not want to be built;
through its sides I can see the purple hills
and the first lights of evening,
and it is cold
and I button my coat
and I stand there looking through the house
and the cats stop and look at me
until I am embarrased
and move North up the sidewalk
where I will buy
cigarettes and beer
and return to my room.
-Charles Bukowski


Dear President-Elect Obama,
Please do all that you honestly can to bring to justice Dick Cheney, David Addington, John Yoo, William "Jim" Haynes, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Paul Wolfowitz, John Bolton, George W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, Condolezza Rice, Colin Powell, George Tennet, John Ashcroft, Alberto Gonzalez, Karl Rove, and numerous other members of the Bush administration since the start of 2001 who have either been directly responsible for or complicit in the almost countless acts of treason, human rights violations and other crimes in the United States of America and abroad, including in but not limited to Haiti, Iraq, Afghanistan, Venezuela, Bolivia, Colombia, Pakistan, Syria, Iran, and Lebanon. There have been many violations of domestic and international law by the Bush/ Cheney regime, but the use of torture by this administration, in blatant disregard of long-accepted international and U.S. standards, is on its own enough to see many U.S. officials prosecuted and jailed. The energetic promotion and white-washing of torture by U.S. interrogators are not only reprehensible and damaging to the reputation of the United States, but have undoubtedly placed all of its citizens - military as well as civilian- in increased danger from reprisals and acts of terrorism for years to come. The fact that a good part of the torture has been conducted by U.S. citizens not just in Saddam Hussein's former house of cruelties in Abu Ghraib, but also in the lawless confines of Guantánamo's Camp Delta and in numerous secret sites around the world tied to U.S. government use of "rendition", only makes it harder to forgive and forget these acts of savagery. These and other war crimes and the clearly-impeachable misconduct of the Bush/Cheney administrations cannot go unprosecuted and unpunished if citizens of the United States of America are to move forward with relatively clear consciences and the hoped for restoration of their country's standing in the community of nations. This is about moral responsibility, common decency, and historical legacy. Thank you in advance, Mr. Obama.
-Viggo Mortensen


And how does the government pay for universal tax-payer funded
healthcare and universal tax-payer funded education? You might say it
is only a utopian dream, that it is naïve to ask for the government of
the United States of America to provide free comprehensive healthcare
and education for all of its citizens. I say that it was not dreaming
to expect Barack Obama to become president, and it is not dreaming to
expect the United States of America to behave like a modern, civilised
democracy. Where does the money come from? For one thing, it comes
from not bailing out the privileged few who have, through willful
mismanagement of their financial institutions and through corporate
piracy, raped and pillaged the nation's economy and robbed the U.S.
tax-payer blind with the encouragement of the government officials
whose campaigns they continue to fund. It does not come from
continuing to make a lucrative business of war-profiteering and
military-backed corporate imperialism, from perpetual armed corporate
robbery around the world, largely funded by U.S. taxpayers of today
and tomorrow.

Barack Obama received considerably more campaign funding from "Wall
Street" than John McCain did. Does this mean that he will
automatically bail out the rich who continue to steal from the hardly-
as-rich vast majority of U.S. citizens and their children? Ask him. If
he tells you that it is just too complex an issue, that bailing out
these for-profit failed capitalistic institutions and corporations is
a necessary stop-gap measure to save the economy, I would venture to
say that the answer is "yes". I would venture to say that he is as
bought-and-paid-for as George W. Bush, Bill "Nafta" Clinton, and every
other president in memory. Sadly, this would mean that "Change", that
word Mr. Obama so eloquently used - if often vaguely - as a
rhetorical cudgel to win the presidency and a chance to really make a
difference, is worth nothing more than a handful of pennies to the
economic future of the average citizen and to the hope of a socially-
responsible democracy. If the answer is "yes", then those who have
stolen Big will be richly rewarded and the profitable (for the
privileged, amoral few) military-industrial empire will thrive and
prosper as the noble dream of a just society suffers ever greater set-
backs. Let capitalism function as a responsibly-regulated system, not
as a costly welfare safety-net for billionaires and their capitalist
enterprises. We have a dream. It need not be further compromised by
the next U.S. administration. Sometimes the picture is quite clear.
Take a stand.
-Viggo Mortensen


You are bound to get lots of people from all over the world offering their opinions - more people than ever before who are concerned, waking up, standing up, wanting to do something, speaking up, caring what happens next - in regard to what Barack Obama ought to do, ought to avoid doing, ought to fix, ought to keep in mind. I include myself. The reason seems quite clear: The behaviour of the U.S. government toward its own citizens and toward all life on this planet has inspired such extremes of callousness and dishonesty around the world that a great many people - not all, certainly, but perhaps a significant majority - actually give a shit for the first time in quite a while what the government and citizens of the United States of America are thinking about right now, thinking about doing, thinking about not doing. We begin to break loose and honestly wonder if something good might come from this new government and from us, the people of this nation. Bring it on! There is absolutely nothing wrong with caring that Mr. Obama not waste this golden opportunity to improve the lives of people and the relations between nations in at least some small way. But with freedom comes chaos, or rather the reminder that nature in its pure, well-observed state seems chaotic. So what? Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness! It's beautiful, it's easy, it's difficult, it's unpleasant, it's us. Let's go. No time like the present.
-Viggo Mortensen


Citizen's Question:
With the numerous individuals that Barack Obama has already brought onboard to be part of his presidential governing team clearly being either directly responsible for or permissive of outrageous financial fraud in banking and other institutions, including his Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, or active supporters of the war in Iraq and an approach no less "hawkish" than that of the current Republican administration with regard to Pakistan, Iran, and foreign policy in general, including his Vice-President Joe Biden and his probable Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, how can we possibly expect anything other than a continuation of the U. S. government's pursuit of ultra-violent imperialism and rapacious, class-warfare capitalism?
-Viggo Mortensen


Mene metsään
Mene vuorille
Mene kauas merelle
Anna yksinäisyyden hyväillä sinua
Kunnes ihosi on kyllin ohut
Niin ohut
Että sydämesi
Näkee sen läpi minut
Että minä se olin
Joka hyväilin,
Hyväilen sinua,
Mene, mene
-Tommy Tabermann (1947- )

Go to the forest
Go to the mountains
Go to the far off sea
Let loneliness
Caress you
Until your skin is thin enough
So thin that your heart
Sees me though it
That I was the one
Who caressed you,
Who caresses you
Go, go.
(Tommy Tabermann)
English Translation: Börje Vähämäki


Nos dicen: Sed alegres.
Que no escuchen los hombres rodar en vuestros cantos
ni el más leve ruido de una lágrima.
Está bien. Yo quisiera, diariamente lo quiero,
mas hay horas, hay días, hasta meses y años
en que se carga el alma de una justa tristeza
y por tantos motivos que luchan silenciosos
rompe a llorar, abiertas las llaves de los ríos.

Miro el otoño, escucho sus aguas melancólicas
de dobladas umbrías que pronto van a irse.
Me miro a mí, me escucho esta mañana
y perdido ese miedo
que me atenaza a veces hasta dejarme mudo,
me repito: Confiesa
grita valientemente que quisieras morirte.

Di también: Tienes frío.
Di también: Estás solo, aunque otros te acompañen.
¿Qué sería de ti si al cabo no volvieras?
Tus amigos, tu niña, tu mujer, todos esos
que parecen quererte de verdad, ¿qué dirían?
Sonreíd. Sed alegres. Cantad la vida nueva.
Pero yo sin vivirla, ¡cuántas veces la canto!
¡Cuántas veces animo ciegamente a los tristes,
diciéndoles: Sed fuertes, porque vuestra es el alba!
Perdonadme que hoy sienta pena y la diga.
No me culpéis. Ha sido
la vuelta del otoño.
-Rafael Alberti


Last edited: 27 February 2012 13:24:24