DRONES (19 December 2021)



I like to think I’m as well-versed about America as anyone.

I’ve got Ginsberg’s poem down pat, chapter and verse.

and am at least half as sentimental about the Wobblies

as he was. I’ve driven across the country coast to coast

six times, seen everything worth seeing, happy even that we

stole most of the West from Mexico. When I was a kid Dad

took me on a train trip across the USA, stopping to stay

with his old Seabee buddies. I loved SF and vowed to return

to live and did and swimming in motel pools in Arizona

at night was the closest thing to Paradise I could imagine.

I even got to meet Hoss Cartwright on the set at Paramount.

Downsides were a nosebleed Dad suffered at Memorial

Coliseum in LA just after Joe Pignatano homered (an event

in its own right) and bugs as big as rats in Dallas-Fort Worth.

Dad also showed me around DC after drinking lemonade with our

Mormon cousins in Silver Spring, all the monuments and memorials.

We even took a daytrip to Mount Vernon in search of Washington’s

wooden teeth. I became so enamored of Thomas Jefferson that

I wanted to take Jefferson as my missing middle name. (This was

well before his ties to Sally Hemings and slave-owning got him

cancelled.) Growing up, I loved JFK even if he was Irish

(the one prejudice I happened to imbibe), dedicated my (failed)

CO application to MLK, and even drove through Harlem

on the way back from a Knicks game the day Malcolm X

was shot. I mean I was there! Got maced in DC in May ’71,

protested Attica in Albany for God’s sake! I mean, what could

be more American than that? But after Nixon and napalm,

Reagan and the Contras and that nasty sonofabitch Oliver North,

after the world-destroying invasion of Iraq and soul-destroying

betrayal of Afghans, after Trump after Trump after Trump

after Trump (repeat four times for four years) and all the vicious

proud boys and Meth-heads and couch potatoes dressed like slobs with

red MAGA caps on January 6 and delusionals who voted will vote think

their votes for Trump were stolen by Democrats, the forensic analyses

of 20 years of drone attacks in today’s NY Times and the literal

annihilation of THOUSANDS of innocent lives, even during

Obama’s Nobel watch, is altogether too hard to take.