Last Monday on Martin Luther King Day, I posted as a comment here some stuff I’d written a long time ago about Arizona’s concerted effort(s) to overturn former Governor Bruce Babbitt’s MLK-Day proclamation. What really fascinated me way back then was how much popular support the bigoted viewpoint had managed to muster. The “opinion” I posted here consisted of five verses from a topical poetic “essay” I’d worked on and written some 25 years ago in the early months of 1990, my summation of the local political stupidity of the day, a task which eventually wound up consuming a LOT of five-line metered stanzas, each with a defined rhyming pattern. I did separate them into various topic categories — ranging from the English-Only movement to the official attempt to regulate Dildos plus everything in between — but I mean Jeebus, how many layers of stupidity can stupid politicians come up with in a relatively short amount of time? Answer: LOTS!
Anyway, while looking for the MLK verses I read the whole thing once again and actually had to laugh. I mean, here we are twenty-five years later and we’re still surrounded by political stupidity — even MORE of it today than back then. These days it seems more concentrated in D.C. than in the several states, although certain states today most assuredly have advanced the ‘dumb’ to new levels. And even more fascinating is the fact that a great many of the issues back then remain issues today, everything from racist bigotry to crooked politicians to uninformed (uninformable?) voters to toxic waste disposal to air quality to . . . etc., ad infinitum.
So here it is, my nearly ‘ancient’ poetic essay titled “The Land Of ‘AZ’ / A State Of Mind (???).” I suspect most readers today won’t recognize too many of the names (nor did I, actually), but I’m willing to bet everyone will spot a familiar (and current!) political issue that’s mired in the same muck as was spread all over the place twenty-five years ago. So take a look at 1990 Arizona and compare any or all to most everywhere out there today. Has anything really changed?
ARIZONA: The Land of ‘AZ’
A State Of Mind (???)
An Exploration of Issues Confronting the
Grand Canyon State
(With parenthetical explanations added to assist
the uninitiated and/or uninformed)
With Unabashed Gratitude to Samuel Taylor Coleridge,
Who Once Wrote:
Sir, I admit your general rule,
That every poet is a fool,
Though you yourself do serve to show it
That every fool is not a poet.
Arizona’s Canyons, Grand,
Are more than scars upon our land,
For canyons here are metaphors
Which well-define those classic bores
That we anoint to guide our lives;
Thus, empty-headedness now thrives
And open spaces do equate
With minds in our ‘Grand Canyon State!’
Frank Baum, with perspicacity,
Created Oz for all to see;
Since lands like Oz we know about
(‘Cause Arizona’s Oz’ redoubt),
We stoop to honor Baum’s creation
And give you “Az” as assignation!
For Az, you see, has lots of lizards,
Plus its fair share of mindless wizards,
(Those folks whose hearts pump blood that’s blue,
But won’t pay Principle her due);
Here thinking folks with minds, constrained,
Watch common sense flushed down the drain,
So let’s examine, case by case,
What fills Az up with empty space!
*** 👿 ***
On Official English:
(Most Gringos need not ever fear,
For “English-Only’s” spoken here!)
A man from Az seems quite upset
By voices which he deems unsound
(They come from those whose backs are ‘wet,’
Whose culture might suggest a threat,
For, after all, their skins are brown!)
Then after checking ’round the State
He noticed more that wasn’t right,
For others, too, did not equate
That English ‘speak’ has made us great,
While foreign tongues are but a blight!
He set upon a private quest
To mandate Az’ official tongue,
And, as most readers might have guessed,
‘Official English’ finally passed:
Thank voters from the bottom rung!
On Dr. King and His Holiday:
(“Let’s vote on it,” the bigots say,
“We hate the spooks, so we’ll vote ‘nay.”‘)
Some liked the Reverend, some did not,
To many, Martin lived in sin,
But while most rednecks have a pot,
(Above the belt, you know the spot)
It’s clearly not for pissin’ in!
Now, Julian Sanders, Architect,
Hates Martin’s foibles; deems himself
As our ‘White Knight,’ to help reject
King’s day (black sin, we can’t accept!)
But white sin? Hide it on the shelf!
Thus, drawing strength from Fascist Right,
King’s holiday he did rebuff,
Though ignorant, to our delight,
That Kings are always Kings, despite
The fact that once a “Knight’s” enough!
Still, lawmakers, in reverie
(Like babes in woods with no foresight),
Enjoy their own soliloquy
While fearing their constituency,
With little ken of what is right.
With stroke of pen, they could defuse
Az’ image, seen as quite retarded
By those with more enlightened views;
But still, they say, they must refuse,
Since ‘think’ in Az ain’t well-regarded!
On the Politics of Sex:
(Our solon’s minds are queer, it seems,
They fear both hetero-sex and ‘queens.’)
Our legislators oft’ convene
(While resting on well-trussed behinds)
To censure sex, while we, serene,
The ‘Great Unwashed,’ now deemed unclean,
Them re-elect: blame empty minds!
So now it’s not correct, you see,
For youths to fondle budding breasts,
And with our Courts’ proclivity
To not endorse indecency,
It’s jail for kids who flunk the test!
(Sex aids are bad, as we should know,
Thus, all but the five best must go!)
We recognize the bad effect
That dildos might create, for whores,
So solons seek new laws; in fact,
The “Regulate The Dildos” Act
Suggests we stuff ours in our … (drawers?)!
On Evan Mecham:
(There’s still a lot to say ’bout “Meek,”
Since it’s a fact he’d run next week.)
Old Ev’s upon us once again,
His mind’s a-lyin’ on the table,
The ninth floor chair, he’d like to win,
To spite Ed Buck, who lives in sin,
Ev’s vision’s unimpeachable!
He claims that he’s Republican
(Though many don’t believe it’s true),
It seems an insult to Abe Lincoln
That Ev espouse such lowly thinkin’
Reflective of a ‘ short’ I.Q.!
Ev proved to Az some time ago
That nonsense gets us nowhere fast,
Still, ‘Mechamistas’ join the flow
While dancing Evan’s do-si-do,
Determined Az rejoin the past!
We are, they say, a Christian Nation,
That pickaninnies, we embrace,
That if we heed John’s ‘Revelation’
We’ll pave the way for our salvation,
Creating, here, a State of Grace!
Yet, still remains a simple task
Much like the one we gave to Custer,
For one more question’s there to ask:
Pray, Evan, what’s behind your mask?
Savant or simply mindless bluster?
Az’ future’s here for us to read:
Expel the past or else relive it,
Yet some folks, born of mutant seed,
Still think that Evan’s what we need;
If he returns, we’ll sure deserve it!
On Air Quality:
(Though “brown clouds” visit every day,
Our solons look the other way.)
While desert air turns shades of brown,
Officials oft’ don’t seem to know it;
They’re usually more involved, downtown,
With things to make the voters frown,
Like naming AZ’ ‘Official Poet!’
On Deck Park:
(An Irish cottage soon will grace
Our Central Phoenix Homeless Place.)
The freeway’s buried ‘neath the ground,
For just about a country mile,
The deck’s the neatest park around
Say City Fathers who have found —
Some Irish eyes that still can smile!
A patch of garden, Japanese,
A ‘Central’ bridge where beggars squat,
An Irish farm with piggeries,
And here and there, some grass and trees,
But master plan? Pray, what is that?
On Charles Keating:
(Seems Charlie Keating’s really miffed,
Says, “Uncle Sam stole Lincoln Thrift!”)
Charlie Keating stormed the West
With love of bucks, disdain for sin,
So decency became his quest
While dollars filled his treasure chest;
“Morality,” he preached, “must win!”
He rode his White Horse ’round the town
While bilking folks with little ken
Of millions; yes, he let them down,
Now even ‘Lincoln’ wears a frown,
Morality, you lost again!
On Our Senators:
(Two Senators, we have elected,
Az’ special interests, now protected!)
While big shots waltz around the state,
Our John McCain and DeConcini
Both dance along, while they berate
Those interests we all love to hate,
While slipping us the silver weenie!
For Dennis made big bucks, you see,
While cleverly, in Real Estate,
Investing dough where C.A.P
Canals (he knew) were going to be;
Guess we all know his interest rate!
And John McCain’s spouse (Cindi) made
A pile (or so the pundits say);
Built shopping centers, unafraid,
While teamed with Keating’s Silver Spade
As John helped Charlie pave the way!
(With no-show votes notorious
Some issues aren’t victorious.)
Some covet bus and rapid rail
To speed the Valley’s stop-and-go,
(Most surface streets can slow a snail);
Yet ValTrans, there to pass or fail,
One-quarter showed and said, “Hell No!”
The old Salt River bed’s a scar
As it traverses, east to west;
Still, visioned parks did not get far
Since nihilists alone did star;
Again, three-quarters flunked the test!
On Power Companies:
(Five billion bucks to save us dough
With nuke plants? Let’s all laugh: “Ho, Ho!”)
Our Palo Verde nuke plant stands
On desert flats outside of town,
The slickest plant in ninety lands,
(Built by local power brigands)
It seldom works, it’s always down.
So, lights are lit by older plants
Not burdened by this nuke plant’s schism,
But power brokers still can dance
While lifting wallets from our pants;
So, where’s old Santa when we need’im?
On Drug Law Enforcement:
(Who says it’s not completely fair
For cops to trap kids, in a snare?)
When Paul McCartney came to town
To play a concert, in Tempe,
(A place, we’re sure, where drugs abound,
Since college kids, there, hang around)
AZ’ D.E.A. stopped by to see.
The night, it’s true, had some success,
For sixty thousand fans were there
While fifty cops in ‘funky’ dress
Sold thirty kids some pre-rolled ‘grass:’
Some charged, “Entrapment!” Cops asked, “Where?”
On Child Molesters:
(Two child molesters, swathed in sin,
Are punished, based on tint of skin;
For one man has a year to do,
The other? Hundred forty-two!)
Herr Mueller has a heart that’s cold,
As does Señor Martinez,
For each enjoyed girls ten years old
Whose souls, to Devil’s Hell, they sold;
So now, Az’ juris prudence says:
“Mueller gets a year in jail, plus
His pension from our City’s purse;
Martinez gets a one way bus
To prison: now, before you fuss,
Recall he’ll leave there in a hearse!”
Herr Mueller was a fireman, see,
As such, his union did prevail,
To act as his fiduciary
To salvage said pecuniary,
Which he can spend when out of jail!
And, what’s Martinez’ greatest sin?
Molesting children? Yes, perhaps,
But maybe, also, dark brown skin
Has come to haunt a life, again,
While Az’ “Blind Justice” takes a nap.
On Toxic Waste Disposal:
(The town of Mobile’s quite remote,
So solon’s said (I’ll try to quote),
“Let’s put a firery furnace there,
Burn toxic waste and foul the air!”)
Az needs a place to lose its trash,
With such a theory, we can’t argue,
Though now, perhaps, we should rehash
The premise that for lots of cash
We’ll burn dioxins in our venue.
Some folks think burning toxic stuff
Is not a great idea, because
Our State’s already fouled enough
With dirty air that makes us cough;
Such plans give many people pause.
So Az folks, at a public meeting
(Who came in force to air their views),
Received our State’s official greeting
By way of an official beating
At hands of Az’ jackbooted crews.
Yet, in this land of rock and sun
Just who condones such crass behaviours?
The County Sheriff’s force, for one,
Plus politicians who’ll soon run
For one more term as our State’s Saviours.
A year ago, in Beijing’s Square
Most freedoms fled in just a wink,
And, though Red China’s ‘over there,’
Some acts in Az make us aware
Of thoughts that we don’t like to think.
The Land of Az, Summation:
(Agendas shroud the Land of Az,
Most seem to make scant sense, because
There’s little else they do, you see,
Than fracture Az’ fraternity!)
Clear vision’s not a force in Az
As witnessed by vignettes, declaimed
In verse preceding; thus, ‘Great Cause’
Is now interred: Its headstone says,
“INCISIVENESS, HEREIN, DETAINED!”
For silliness, in Az, pervades;
Those charged with making great decision
Are loathe to garner passing grades
(Insightfulness, in darkness, fades,
Hence, they view ‘light’ with great derision!)
Yet, Az folks still will not admit
They’ve chosen leaders who beguile ’em
(For leaders here have half a wit,
And most of them seem full of shit!):
Are inmates runnin’ Az’ asylum?
The present here reflects the past,
And future’s scant consideration,
Our ‘Ship of State’ sails without mast
While others wonder, minds aghast,
If Az’ll e’er rejoin the nation!
So now, for Az, a eulogy
From Burns, ‘The Bard’ who pointed out
That, “… thou art blest, compared wi’ me!
The present only toucheth thee:”
Which Az defines, without a doubt!
(To those fair minds entombed herein,
‘The Bard’ now speaks to you again,
So read this script wherein he says
Some able thoughts: perhaps of Az?):
When from my mither’s womb I fell
Thou might hae plung’d me deep in hell
To gnash my gooms, and weep, and wail
In burning lakes,
Whare damned’ devils roar and yell,
Chained to their stakes.
from Holy Willie’s Prayer)