Friday, March 21, 2008

If I can just get off of this L.A. freeway without getting killed..

You see Amarillo, Gallup, New Mexico, Flagstaff, Arizona. Don't forget
Winona, Kingman, Barstow, San Bernardino.
— Bobby Troup, Get Your Kicks on Route 66
BARSTOW, CALIFORNIA —Hello. Spent the night in the Mojave Desert, amid the Joshua Trees, though I could not see anything, only a long, continuous line of vehicle lights headed up I-15 from Los Angeles to Las Vegas.

I drove from Tucson to Las Vegas yesterday, spent an hour in traffic getting over the Hoover Dam, trying not to pee all over my floor, then had time to enjoy rush-hour traffic in Las Vegas. I saw the exit sign for The Strip.

Then I met with the Las Vegas Drinking Liberally group at a restaurant and pub. If you ever get a chance to sit around and talk to a group of Democrats for hours and hours, I suggest you shoot yourself instead.

I got out of there, found the interstate and drove into the night, listening out my broken driver's side window for Wolfman Jack.

My radio doesn't work, so I just concentrate on worrying about every imaginable car failure. I did kind of see the Las Vegas strip out of my peripheral vision as I passed downtown. Wow. Cool. Awesome. I couldn't wait to get out of there.

I've got a new bumper sticker: This Vehicle Makes Frequent Stops For Urination.

The Tucson event on Thursday night was great. Leon Byerly just did an outstanding job of organizing.

We had about seventy people. That's more of a crowd than I had on last year's book tour combined.

I shared the microphone with a bunch of great poets: Lylvia Soto, David Ray, Nora Nickerson, Michael Rattee, Michael Gregory, and we got to see the work of artist Joe Rebhbolz, which also appeared in the book "Cost of Freedom," by Howling Dog Press.

Here's a recent review of Iowa Terror by Seth Sandronsky in the Chico News-Review.

Thank you for all the well wishes I have received on this trip. I appreciate it. And for those I have not heard from yet, just send cash.

Here is a piece of mine from "Cost of Freedom."

See ya in Los Angeles.

— Mike

from "The Truth" [2003]

And I Laugh

There's a photo on the Internet that makes me laugh.

A little, brown boy holding a silent scream forever in four-color.


The horrified little fellow now has no arms or legs, or brothers, sisters or parents, and I laugh out loud.

I laugh at the Marines, being all they could possible be in God's creation, at their tough-man commercials. The Army of One. What a hoot.

The rough-guy coaches and players who let this boy die — what comedy watching them feel strong while letting the real battles be fought by little guys with sticks and bicycles.

The boy has a bandaged head.

He looks so scared his hair might turn white, as in a Hitchcock film, and it sort of makes me chuckle.

I laugh at the ministers here in town and here on this TV saying bless our troops as they defend our freedom.

I laugh at the well-schooled and-coifed newspaper columnists with their earnest close-cropped photos in four hundred papers read by forty million people in forty million cities.

And I laugh.

The boy is flat on his back on dirty cement, with his stubs hastily wrapped in Ace bandages, surrounded by the world trying to get a look, by photographers and people on their way to work and out to dinner.

We are nothing. Nothing. Nothing!

Because this boy now has no arms. No legs.

Nothing we do today will mean a thing because we have ripped the arms and legs from this boy as if he was a fly and we are us.

The boy could be my boy, lying there at the feet of the world and the world looking the other way.

Goddamn us.


Give us what we deserve.

If you are a just God, rain down fire and hell upon our heads. Lighting bolts in our back yards and rivers of excrement down our smooth, well-scrubbed streets.

Please, dear God we pray.

When I awoke this morning, I thought it essential to the world order and being right, and a good person, that I shave, help out with the dishes, be on time, and drive on the right side of the road.

Do a good job. Be pleasant. Smile.

But now I just can't stop laughing.

The world thinks it still matters, and that's kind of funny in a way.

There, the flag flying over the Catholic elementary school and the yellow ribbons tied to the light poles on both sides of Main Street.

Stray cats wearing yellow ribbons around their necks, roaming the night, looking both ways before crossing the street, as if it mattered.

You are never so wrong as when you damage a young boy.

We sit down here like the Who's in Whoville celebrating the coming of War Season while this boy lies on the cold floor.

Tee. Hee-hee.



March 21: Los Angeles, CA
Track 16 Art Center, 7pm

March 22: San Francisco, CA
Bay Area Anarchist Bookfair

March 23: Santa Cruz, CA
Resource Center for Non Violence, 4-6pm
515 Broadway

March 24: Fort Bragg/Mendocino
Cheshire Books
Fort Bragg Public Library Conference Room, 3pm
Highway 1

March 25: Chico
CSU Campus
Glenn Hall, Room 212, 6:30pm
526 Broadway 95928
(530) 893-9078
Please Check HERE for Exact Time, Date and Location

March 26: Eureka, CA
100 Fires Bookstore

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