cover art by Marylyn Felion
“And I Laugh”
from The Truth
by Mike Palecek
There’s a photo on the Internet that makes me laugh.
A little brown boy holding a silent scream forever in four-color.
The horrified little fellow now has no arms or legs, or brothers, sisters or parents, and I laugh out loud.
I laugh at the Marines, being all they could possibly be in God’s creation, at their tough-man commercials.
The Army of One. What a hoot.
The rough-guy coaches and players who let this boy die—what comedy watching them feel strong while letting the real battles be fought by little guys with sticks and bicycles.
The boy has a bandaged head. He looks so scared his hair might turn white, as in a Hitchcock film, and it sort of makes me chuckle.
I laugh at the ministers here in town and here on this TV saying bless our troops as they defend our freedom.
I laugh at the well-schooled and coifed newspaper columnists with their earnest close-cropped photos in four hundred papers read by forty million people in forty million cities.
And I laugh.
The boy is flat on his back on dirty cement, with his stubs hastily wrapped in Ace bandages, surrounded by the world trying to get a look, by photographers and people on their way to work and out to dinner.
We are nothing. Nothing. Nothing!
Because this boy now has no arms. No legs.
Nothing we do today will mean a thing because we have ripped the arms and legs from this boy as if he was a fly and we are us.
This boy who could be my boy, lying there at the feet of the world and the world looking the other way.
Give us what we deserve.
If you are a just God, rain down fire and hell upon our heads.
Lighting bolts upon our backyard decks and rivers of excrement down our smooth, well-scrubbed streets.
Please, dear God we pray.
When I awoke this morning I thought it essential to the world order and being right, and a good person, that I shave, help out with the dishes, be on time, and drive on the right side of the road.
Do a good job. Be pleasant. Smile.
But now I just can’t stop laughing.
The world thinks it still matters, and that’s kind of funny in a way.
There, the flag flying over the Catholic elementary school and the yellow ribbons tied to the light poles on both sides of Main Street.
Stray cats wearing yellow ribbons around their necks, roaming the night, looking both ways before crossing the street, as if it mattered.
You are never so wrong as when you damage a young boy.
We sit down here like the Who’s in Whoville celebrating the coming of War Season while this boy lies on the cold floor.
by Sheila Conroy
International Progressive Publications Network
Against the backdrop of history, we have the story of a small-town mailman whose son is one of the U.S. casualties during the Occupation of Iraq.
We see his almost inevitable realization of the cruel, deceptive and cynical context within which many sons and daughters continue to sacrifice their lives.
Mike Palecek’s latest book The Truth is a vital book on a vital subject.
Democracy (of any definition) is threatened in the United States more than any time in her history.
It is threatened not only by the erosive events enacted by the Bush Administration (and the events are many, both in domestic and foreign affairs), but also by the inertia in response, or non-response, by a truly frightening number of the American public.
The book is organized with even-numbered pages carrying quotes of significance to the point of the lockdown of America (from Goebbels, from Goering, from Ari Fleischer – but also the wonderful and inspiring words of such human beings as St. Augustine, as Thomas Jefferson, as well as writers and thinkers and journalists ranging from Helen Thomas to William Shakespeare..) and the odd-numbered pages relate the story of Pete Penny.
Either the quotes alone or the story would be fully satisfying, but together they serve in creating an acute tension of the individual life in historical context.
This same tension is further played out in the very, very funny sections that run throughout an otherwise almost Kafkaesque unraveling of the life of one man.
The extremely comic attend the tragic of both the story and history’s narrative, just as the ludicrousness of an absurd President underline the daily horror.
The horror of the Administration’s avarice and lies in a bloodshed which shows no signs of abating; the mockery and indifference to much that the American people have valued; the ravaging of any American dream.
It is without hesitation that I urge everyone to read this book.
For those who are lost in the chaotic events of our times, it is illuminating and for those who are familiar with the aspects that Mike describes, his lucidity and fine perceptions further organize our thinking.
(“I found out the truth, man, but it’s better to stay stupid, go to ball games, smoke cigarettes and fish from the shore. Figuring it out is not the hard part. It’s what are you gonna do, now, man? That’s when it gets tough. What you gonna do now?”)
ALL THINGS SELF-PROMOTIONAL
Palecek book covers, inside art pages by various artists
Ben Heine, Allison M. Healy, Ian Ward, Russell Brutsche, Brian Barber, Monty Borror, Marylyn Felion, Robert Carter, Michael Paul Miller, Anthony LeTourneau, Jeremiah Palecek, Keith McHenry
The New American Dream Radio Show:
This week’s Guests, Thursday, May 22, 2014:
Phil Farruggio, Anthony Rayson, Michael Annis.
Bigfoot Howls: Actual Bigfoot howls (I think) that I recorded near our home in northern Minnesota:
Like nine million other people in the United States I call myself a writer.
And like any writer I want to be read, that’s the main thing.
And thanks to my friend and radio show co-host, Chuck Gregory, who has been helping me since, well, way back when we put out The American Dream together and I drove my car all around the country, I have been able to make my books available.
Go here for Chuck’s CWG Press.
For a long time the books have been only print books, in the $15 or so range, which might be too much to afford.
Chuck is working to put all of my books in ebook form, which puts the price down to the $5 range if you like ebooks and have a way to read them.
Right now we have:
One Last Liberal Outlaw
A Perfect Duluth Day
The American Dream
… available in ebook form, ready for ordering.
We have these books yet to put into ebook form:
Looking For Bigfoot
The Progrrressive Avenger
Joe Coffee’s Revolution
Guests of The Nation
FREE on Smashwords
The Bigfoot Chronicles
SWEAT: Global Warming in a Small Town & other tales of The Great American Westerly Midwest
Thanks for taking a look.