The Kentucky Derby Is … What It Is …

The Kentucky Derby is a corporation –

like the coal companies and Japanese

bourbon barrel barons & back in the

old days  – was only a week-long festival …

– And I am sure,

Y’all are squeamishly hoping this

rant will end on a good note, like the house

slave that wants to get a good night’s rest –

comfortably in the quarters – “Y’all darkies

are supposed to be gay.” “Y’all know,

Papa gots his friends over an’ we

ain’t supposed to be talking about his

whips and all his tax breaks!”

The Kentucky Derby is as stupid

as full grown adults, waiting around

the fireplace, cookies placed and waiting

for Santa to come and leave big box warehouses

and nice new auto plants under the tree. And when

one of his beasts of burden, breaks its leg –

you wake the kids to help Santa shoot it

in the head.

The Kentucky Derby is a golden

cash cow worshipped, like the military air show

that runs up and down the Ohio river – while

the Belle of Louisville and our streets are

prostituted out to Masters of War and commerce –

we are supposed to be nice, like the bourbon

commercial suggests:

“Bonded” like the small-neighborhood family parties.

“Branded” like the jockeys exploited for profit –

like how the “green” justifies the horse shit

and the mint sprig, the alcoholism of the aggressor,

the audacity of gambling and gaudy hats of

the privileged.

The Kentucky Derby is a waste

of time because when this is all over,

your gonna wake up with a bad taste in your mouth,

praying that when you blacked out, you were not date

raped by your boss or fondled by one of

his frat boys, while his friends – standing

over – laughing and drunk –

money falling out of

their pockets – paid your friends

to hush up

about it.

But, don’t worry – It is what it is

Y’all come out smelling like roses!

Happy May Day!

When Woody Guthrie wrote –

This Machine Kills Fascists

on his guitar,

he was a volunteer in the

Merchant Marines.

The tool I am using now –

to write these words –

was made in China.

A Communist country

that has embraced

Capitalism.

 

When we had the

Good Neighbor Food CO-OP –

we had several 18 wheelers –

and a Federation of Ohio River Cooperatives –

we made our own distribution.

Kroger grocery is Union,

(so, was Woody’s boat)

and we were ordered

to compete and destroyed

because our services,

were a threat.

Now, look down at your

feet, past that pixilated tool

and those shoes made

by slave labor –

and tell me how many

lithium batteries you have

thrown away, into the Earth –

that we all are spinning on.

And like this we go

around and around …

– ring around the rosies

a pocketful of posies –

 

 – ashes to ashes

we all

fall down – 

1f339


 

 

 

The Poetry Dump

This weeks poetry dump is sponsored by you.

Please donate to my work .. i do PAYPAL. Suggested 

re – tail price = $2.00

railroadmusic333@gmail.com is my address …

and .. if you is strapped for cash, I understand ..

hows about a re-tweet for a share! 

Enjoy …


For – Mrs. Bonita Points

My neighbor, she is 96 years old –

came out and walked around our

pond. we share this place –

i watched as she and her cane –

hobbled around a little path that

she maintains – her mind almost gone-

her look – far off and she reaches out

her hand- i take it into mine

as if i am greeting

a royal queen.

 

i already knew

she wouldn’t remember

when she called the police

on us for chopping down

one of her trees. And when

the policeman came …

he asked me how long her

husband had been gone …

he asked me what we should

do to make this right.

and on that day, i told him

he had been gone a long time

and that we should listen to her –

she won’t remember this anyway!

 

(… all she really wants is to find her

husband on that path, she wants

to look up from her weed pulling

and see him standing there,

her partner – who she talks about

every time we meet …)

 

… and as neighbors do,

she parted with some kind words –

she made a mention that soon

she will meet him up there!

I told her, that he has been

waiting a long time! she

shuffled away into the afternoon …

seemingly content that all

of this is here, the pond, the trees

and the yard that she

once bought with him,

planted with him,

soon my neighbor will be gone …

the 96-year-old angel

of his dreams …


20170418

… and he asked me “what are your politics?”

I told him Frank Zappa was my favorite

guitar player. Because he paid his musicians

a fair living wage.

Why don’t we talk

like that anymore?

 

I believe in my Djembe!

I believe in collectivism,

cooperation –

like as in an Arkestra …

 

Who followed the leader,

because the leader knew he

would need to make another

mistake and do something

wrong … and make another

mistake and do something

right!

 

(and … all of this is but fragments

of thought radiating from years of

experience. Nights, burning away,

high on life’s blood surging

like panic and inspiration.)

 

It’s after the end of the world,

so … workers … fellow workers,

as we are forced to build their

pyramids – and as we are forced

by gun point and neglect – to watch

the takers of the world destroy all

that is … don’t forget to look at the

stars – remember to look into the

water at the mirror image,

and remember this is all about you!

and me too …

 

ashes to ashes –

we all fall down

if we fall to fear …

 

our religion is reason,

my political views

are man-made. The laws of nature are

relevant to us all. Self-help comes

directly in action and inaction.

 

We revolve …

resolute –

If we build a new world?

They will try to destroy it.

I, don’t want no part of theirs.

They can keep their ashes –

their corpses – and monuments.

 

OBU

 

(Yours for the Alter Destiny…

Space is the Place….)


From a recent show at Lettersong Gallery 


from today – Sunday – Oh, Louisville .. SMH …

20170423 –

Sunday Mournings

Agitated –

the slaves cry from the field …

master – with watchful eye

his employee shall do his

doing –

bidding –

so as to keep his hands

free of responsibility –

master doesn’t whip his slaves –

he sub-contracts out that labor …

(now turn over the tag

on your shirt)

and ask this question …

Do I Support Slave Labor?

How do we defend that?

Pick up a rock!

Are you (triggering)

A revolt – a slave

insurrection – intersection

from the other

side of the tracks?

(I’ll clean a pane of

my glass house

and continue)

agitated-

the slaves cry some more –

and X – Marx the spot

where they killed the

reformer – turned

against him –

they listened to all

the critical judgement-

the name calling-

the War of factions –

(now, turn your clothing

inside out- and walk

a mile in my slave made

work boots)

Buy into my story –

agitated –

gather round me children

a story i will tell –

of a code talker

and a heroine-

the slaves knew her well-

(now, i am holding a tool

made by machines)

agitated-

and marginalized

seeing red…

wave that flag

wave it high

i got the US blues –

(this is madness)

wave

that freak flag

and kiss the sky –

and now call me

a punk… and pick

up another rock!

(now, let us remember that

LP’s are made from oil)

and what about this

and what about that –

the house slave is getting

nervous – it’s awfully

comfortable and cold

in his

glass house!

so, he fracks a bit of coal

(now, slaves- have you

mourned enough)

Organize!

Agitated- ill sip

some more of my

morning coffee

made by farmers

who collectively

own a coop –

and the seller owns

his business – yet

his employees?

(this is a family business

you can talk to us directly)

Now ask yourself …

What is a union?

and X Marx the spot

where ISLAM and Peace

rests. (They) killed Malcolm

The code talkers?

No! (A black mass)

movement –

(and X Marx the spot

where C+C still = C if there

is no slave to trade in

a market that is free)

and 2+2 still = 4 unless

you fall to fear –

a caged mind

of duality!

(i’ll change a pane

of broken glass)

You could think

about time …

grab another rock

because X Marx the spot

where (They) killed

MLKjr … the code

talkers?

No!

Fear

Agitated

for Change …

The slave slips

away – and the

farmer

is drunk

as the animals

gather …

(have you learned

the lesson yet?)

I’ll go (Even Further)

so gather round me

children

Hop on the buss

and a story i will

discuss

about the hero

who stole from the rich

and gave to the poor …

and then Quit!

He had gone far enuf!

Agitated.

(now, get back to

revolt.)

Agitated-

shit floats to

the top

jP

 

Muckrakers United

I B of C local 1

amen & Sisters too!

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A letter to Wendell Berry …

Dear Mr. Berry.

 

I am a forty five years old locomotive engineer Kentuckian. I have read only but a few of your words and have watched only two videos that you are featured in. I have learned in my middle age that it is very unfair and dangerous to put someone on a pedestal. I have and just might be somewhat in what some might call a midlife crisis.

I feel as if I am being pulled.

I must mention, that I have a reading disability and have a very hard time enjoying books. I also must mention that I have found an amazing resource in a service called Librivox. This service is a crowd sourced audio book collection. 

 

I just finished listening to everything Upton Sinclair ever wrote. “They Call Me Carpenter” and “The Profits of Religion” being my favorites. I am now upon suggestion from a very good friend of Utah Phillip’s, listening to the “Iron Heel” from Jack London …

I feel as if I might mention that their words have only further grounded and centralized my feelings that I was raised to have. I am the son of an activist who knew and worked with Anne Braden. My mom did not get national credit for her work. My mother was a teacher in Jefferson County, Kentucky but she did not write a book, but she was as instrumental part of getting the University of Louisville to divest its funds from South African Apartheid.

 

I was raised by activists, railroaders and electricians, in Kentucky. 

 

My front yard was George Rogers Clark Park in Louisville, Kentucky, Mulberry Hill, The Clark family home is where I played … in a creek that ran into Bear Grass Creek, catching crawldads and building dams with grey clay.

In this park, there is a very large tree.

The Tree is located very close to where the Clark family positioned their spring house. It was at this tree that I found the Great Spirit. Where I read “Touch the Earth”.  (I got it from John Gage’s son ….) I spent many a day with my back leaning against this tree reading speeches from the great native chiefs of our land called America. This tree is where I fell in love with our Mother Earth. I visit this tree when I miss my mother. Sometimes I visit it alone. By myself. I loved my mother and miss her … She loved the tree too. 

 

I have fallen in love with one of your poems, but, before I fall any deeper in the well known as Wendell Berry, I must mention, that I feel very drawn to your vibrations. Maybe it is because we have drank of the same water, maybe it is because we share a love for the same state. Maybe it is because our accents are very close.

My mother in law is from Henry County. I suspect you might know who Vernon Rucker was. He was my wife’s grandfather and at one point the Sheriff of Henry County. Florence, her Grandmother, worked at the Chat and Nibble in Eminence for many years. 

 

I am writing you to ask a favor, but to further explain somewhat my request, I must explain something that I am still trying to figure out. So I, a brave to the elder, might suggest that maybe you should organize the International Brotherhood of Contraries.

The labor movement sure could use it.

I am a rank and file union activist, and that don’t get you very many friends in the labor movement these days. I am a serious defender of union democracy.

The men of today have been taught an aggressive union thug mentality.

I am struggling to survive at CSX railroad. This is partly the pull that is fueling my crisis. I am afraid…. but… I am only afraid for others, or at best, very confused. 

 

As I write this, I have put it out there in the air, that I request a meeting with you, to ask a favor. I am helping to organize a Labor / Environmental conference in Richmond, California and Olympia, WA with my organization Railroad Workers United.

If this letter was to make it into your hands, I would be extremely excited. I have tasked longtime friend and somewhat spiritual adopted father John Gage with the task … to see what he could do to get this meeting done. John is getting old and his heart is well … John is another of these folks who have not received the national attention that I personally feel he should have been bestowed.

He has played a million camp fires …

at least that is his figure. I am a folk singer labor activist train driver, and that brings me to this statement. 

 

I feel a very “fierce urgency of now” of course that is a quote from Martin Luther King, Jr. I am hoping to get a solidarity statement from you. Let me explain. Some more. I love talking, as you can probably tell, I am not the educated seasoned writer. But if you have ever read Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, you would understand the reference to the trees that I make. I feel that many of you Ents are waking. John Gage is one of them, his versions of your poems are amazing.

I am inspired, by the few words of yours that I have read, but it is in your cadence of voice that I feel shaken and moved. So far what I have heard of your voice from Youtube videos has been music to my Kentucky tuned ears.  I know, now, why I should have listened to you earlier. I know you have been “working on a ship” that we are building for a while now. That is a U. Utah Phillips song. If I get to meet with you, I’ll sing it to you and further explain the conference. 

 

So, therefore be it resolved that …

 

I think I may start reading Wendell Berry. I might as well … but, I promise not to put you on a pedestal. It is your sincere unapologetic honesty and willingness to be mindfully truthful that I am most inspired by. I can feel your passion. I am listening.

I can only hope to influence and resonate

with as many people as you have.

 

So far as I can tell, I can make heads or tails of this that and the other when it comes to the words and voice of a one Mr. Wendell Berry … thank you for your time. That is what we all seem to need more of … 

 

And be it further resolved ….

“we all put our paints on the same way….”

 

In Solidarity,

 

John Paul Wright

Railroad Workers United

IMG_7917

Bandanas and Beer

Bandanas and Beer

 

I read in the paper that my father’s bar was sold,

probably will be torn down for some new office

buildings. A bar named for a derby horse, a place

where I could find his truck, there, every working

day. I would ride my bike across George Rodgers

Clark Park, to listen to men, be men. My father

never sat at the bar, but stood at the end, like

the father sits at the head of the table.

 

I am dreaming of bandanas and beer, turtle soup

and hot red potatoes. A Grandmother with a pairing

knife, hot bacon grease and great Grandmother eating

the peels as we go. I am dreaming of what used to be

and what is now just some memory, that floods into

my mind with just one mention of a smidgen of it.

 

Yes, I knew Leo Burmester, but he is merely a thought,

he was the brother of my father’s best buddy, who had

a wife named George. Like the first name of the park

I grew up on. Walking dark nights in the tamed wilderness

of the city, growing up in the shadows of cherry trees

that stood while Louisville was young.

 

Those men, Joe, my father, Mike and Leo. My motorcycle

stars, bandanas and beer flood into my mind. The bar

on the far reaches of Germantown, Tim Tam’s will be

gone, like the bar Shacks, down the street from Check’s.

The bar where I drank my first Falls City, while men

cheered the game, I was only nine or so, the son of

a Wright, in a neighborhood built by families and

German-American dreams.

 

Dreams, like the thought that I am from that place. Like the

dream I am now following of a wife, who’s deep roots in

Henry County, are not strong enough to hold her spirit there.

I have been accused of dreaming, and yes, soon, if not already

most of what I see as me, is gone.

 

The German Club, the wooden chairs that we as children sat in,

waiting for our families to get done rehearsing some weird version

of heritage. My Grandmother’s friend Ruby, trying to hook her friend up,

yet, she still, even though He has passed, She is married to Lester. She

dances with him every New Year’s Eve, as we stood around

the bar in the basement. She twirled, maybe high on Old Grand Dad

and coke, a highball of thought, bonded like the whiskey.

 

So, yes, I knew him, and I know he is famous, like that man you

are archiving! The last time I met with the wise man of the river,

I sat in the front seat of his truck. We brought his sheep in from

the pasture. He told me that someone thinks he needs a new truck,

and I knew what was wrong with it. It wasn’t loaded up for a trip

down Dixie Dieway.

 

There wasn’t an orange bag of Mammoth Cave Twist on the dash.

Leo was not in the passenger seat as my father cuts me a piece

and I, throw up my guts, because I just wanted to be like my cowboy

elders, listening to WAMZ, stopping at the bait shop for a pickled

chicken dinner. The fellers that would trick me to duck as we passed

the tank, at Fort Knox and then get me to carry a heavy skillet down

the path to our weekend middle class cabin at Rough River and make

fun of me, because it was too much for a little guy to handle, like all

those memories that flood into my mind, run on and on with just a

mention of Leo’s last name.

 

My Grandmother Kaelin, and her chicken house. The place us kids

played every Sunday. She lived next door to my Grandmother who

lived next door to my Father. And every Sunday, we all sat and ate

ice cream and chocolate syrup. Bless us oh Lord, for these and thy gifts,

for which we are about to receive, just one neighborhood, under God,

indivisible, like the Red Bandanas and Beer and tight-knit families.

Amen.

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