At about the time that Finland and Sweden were welcomed into the NATO follies, YouTube pushed my way a tune by Canadian band Martha and the Muffins, their hit “Echo Beach.” I in turn recalled getting Martha Ladly’s first solo single in 1981, “Finlandia.” It was anthemic, the sleeve graphics imperial.
Just shy of twenty years ago the then-named Dixie Chicks were pilloried for daring to criticize W for his impending Iraq invasion. They responded with their masterpiece of resistance, “Not Ready to Make Nice.” I bought that album for my wife Andrea Carney, who liked the now-named Chicks. She converted me. Rick Rubin’s impeccable production was akin to what he’d done with Donovan’s Sutras and Johnny Cash’s several American Recordings: let the people play!
On August 30, 2006, I received a “don’t break the chain” email from a relative, apparently by mistake. Appropriately it had no subject line because it had no substance. Nevertheless its sentimentalism compelled my response. I offer this as a snapshot in time with which to compare the present discourse.
Saturday night, the Fall of Kabul, the Choppers of Cong, the mendacity of “Why didn’t we see this coming?” All I can think about is a poem I heard by chance on KPFK seventeen or eighteen years ago. Haunted then as I am now, remembering little, I wrote to the writer, Los Angeles poet Jan Wesley, asking for a copy.
I was annoyed Tuesday when the Biden-Harris tribute to the 400,000 fallen included that old, mm…, warhorse “Amazing Grace.” I muttered to my wife Andrea Carney, “Well, as long as they don’t trot out ‘Hallelujah’…,” which of course they did. “Amazing Grace” showed up time and again during the inaugural spectacle. Continue reading “The Old Normal”
There were varied responses to an earlier pandemic, and I first read the following poem in a 1989 collection, Poets for Life: 76 Poets Respond to AIDS. David Kalstone was James Merrill’s friend whose study of Elizabeth Bishop, Marianne Moore, and Robert Lowell was cut short by his death in 1986. Caro is an Italian endearment.
The year 2003 marked the fiftieth anniversary of the execution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. Their killing had a great impact on my wife Andrea Carney (see Part 1 and Part 2 of our trilogy). Somehow I learned that a major commemoration would be held in New York City on June 19, the same day they were killed. It was produced by the Rosenberg Fund for Children, founded in 1990 by the Rosenbergs’ son Robert, who was grateful for the support he and his brother Michael had been shown during the jailing of, and after the killing of, their parents. The fund’s purpose is “to find and help children today who are enduring the same kind of nightmare he endured as a child.”1Continue reading “Rosenberg Resistance”