Month: May 2020

America Apologizes

    We didn’t do it of course, it happened so long ago, but we’re truly sorry for the Tuskegee syphilis experiment and also the sterilization of retarded people in the ’20s that inspired Hitler, the Rosewood massacre and Groveland Four (what were those white women thinking?), not to mention the Scottsboro boys and poor Leo Frank, nor forgetting Sacco and Vanzetti, though perhaps they deserved it, but we do regret children working in the mills in Pownal, the Chinese Exclusion Act, General Funston’s capture of Aguinaldo, Red Summer, the bombing of Tulsa, Japanese internment, the Trail of Tears,...

Read More

Plague Diary, May 3

3 May In Spain, a medical team celebrates the closing of a field hospital.The hospital, which was full, is now empty. The lights go out like in a theatre – and the last nurses leave. I receive a message from Brazil: “Yesterday on my way back I felt the strangeness of the moment for the first time. We passed only delivery trucks and ambulances. A lot of ambulances.” Ambulances: pure speed, and anxiety conveyed from one place to another. Vehicles for delivery or help. The transfer between home and hospital. “China will never learn” from coronavirus, says the dissident...

Read More

I Believe I Saw Donald Trump’s Chariot Today

I believe I saw Trump today or at least his chariot. I was digging a long row of holes for dahlia tubers down on the farm–beautiful late morning, sun and clouds, wind, trees swaying around the edge of the field. Suddenly an unbelievably loud sound from above, as though the sky were being torn to pieces. And then a southbound 747 overhead, only a few thousand feet up, climbing fast with two fighter jets pinned to each wing. Then gone. My friend explained that he’s seen it all before. When Trump returns to Washington from his NJ golf club, he is flown out of Teterboro, NJ, not too far to the north of the farm. “Sometimes they are so low I duck,” he said. For me, a reminder of the sheer scale of American power, awesome and as V.S. Naipaul once said, obscene. Even when, on 9/11, other jets screamed north over Rutgers at minimum altitude and maximum speed toward the City. Or when decades ago, returning from two years with the Peace Corps in Kenya, I came into Piraeus harbor, Greece, at dawn and saw, as the sun burned away the fog, the U.S. Mediterranean Fleet at anchor, ship after ship after ship, an apparently endless unveiling of...

Read More

STAYING ALIVE IN PUERTO RICO

Photo courtesy of Frances Negrón-Muntaner More than a month into a government-mandated curfew that began on March 16, it remains unclear if the coronavirus outbreak in Puerto Rico will become another catastrophic turning point. Some believe it is inevitable due to the archipelago’s multiple “pre-existing conditions.” In addition to being legally subject to US Congressional sovereignty, these include a high proportion of residents who are older or suffer from illnesses, a limited number of medical personnel and hospital beds, numerous people in unsafe living situations due to gender violence or homelessness, and a profiteering and neglectful government. But unlike...

Read More

Angel From Montgomery

This is John Prine’s signature song, released in 1971 on the album of that name, most memorably covered by Bonnie Raitt in 1974.  Since he died on April 7th of C-19-induced complications, I’ve been working on this cover, this tribute, with my brother Andy over there in Illinois.  We had a hell of a time synching our tracks until his producer Robert Rose stepped in and made us whole.  Andy is the real musician in the family–that’s him playing those sparkling riffs and singing harmony in the refrain.  I hope old John hears us singing his song....

Read More
  • 1
  • 2

Subscribe