Wednesday, June 19, 2024

The mockingbird finally prevailed...


    When I turned in last night, I told God and the angels that I feel it is time I return to the being a mockingbird, and I will keep writing  at afoolsworkneverends.blogspot.com, redneckmysticlawyerforpresident.blogspot.com, Facebook, Poetic Outlaws and my Substack newsletter, but it is Their job to promote the writings, or not. People who wish to keep up with my writings can follow me on those platforms, and my books can be read for free at the internet library, archive.org. I may continue pestering my closest relations.
    
    In that context, I posted a couple of things at Medium Daily Digest, which seems sort of like Substack, and then I subscribed to Medium and posted the Father’s Day poem, and last night I received:

A letter from Tony Stubblebine, Medium CEO

Tony Stubblebine <members@medium.com>
Tue, Jun 18, 10:02 AM 
to me

Hi there,
This is Tony Stubblebine, CEO of Medium. I’m writing to thank you for becoming a Medium member. I’d like to share a clearer sense of what we’re trying to do, why it matters, and how to make the most of your membership.
We believe that everyone has a story to tell. On Medium, anyone can share insightful perspectives, useful knowledge, and life wisdom with the world. Each story has a chance to influence others, plant a seed, perhaps even start a movement.
We do our best to help these stories find the audience they deserve and help readers find stories that move them, through a system based on human curation and member-driven engagement. As a result, over 100 million people read and connect on Medium every month.
This is why Medium exists: To spread human-centric, human-created ideas that deepen our understanding of the world.
Medium is creating not just a platform, but a new information ecosystem—one that’s open for everyone to participate in, and rewards quality over quantity. One that values diverse perspectives and doesn’t allow hate, harassment, or intolerance. One that spreads important ideas and sparks intelligent conversations. When you read and write on Medium, you’re contributing to a global community that values depth, nuance, and substantive storytelling that wouldn’t be possible anywhere else.
So, how do you get the most out of your membership? Open Medium, and find your favorite writers. Discover your favorite corners of Medium: Start with our Staff Picks, or follow a topic. Read a story. Highlight a sentence or two (or browse your past highlights). Find a publication about the ideas you’re most passionate about, independently run by editors who share that passion. If you’re feeling inspired, leave a response. Add stories you love into lists. Even better, write your own story. Start your own publication! Build your reading lists, your followers, your knowledge base, your Medium community. We’re glad you’re here.
We have come a long way on this journey, but we’re just getting started. As a paying member, you’re critical to our mission. At any time, feel free to reply to this email to share your thoughts with our team.
Thank you for reading,

Tony Stubblebine
CEO, Medium

    I replied this morning:

Hi, Tony-

Thanks for the welcome

I will post stuff to my Medium page as it comes to me, which I have done at my blogs, Facebook and Substack. 

I've had a very unusual life and my writings reflect that.

Here's my Google profile:

After many moons, this southern lawyer took a road less traveled, which his family and friends viewed as stranger than fiction. I cannot prove any of it happened, and I would be crazy if I thought I could. The good, the bad, the beautiful and the ugly, of and not of this world, as I and other people experienced it. My fiction and nonfiction books are free reads at the internet library-archive.org, in English and around 33 other languages. The Redneck Mystic Lawyer Podcast is viewable at around 48 Torrent platforms, which have tech that translates English into other languages.

The first two of many poems set the course from which I wavered at times, but the two never wavered:

"Living Poets" 1991
Dead poets are poets who never write
Who obey shoulds and oughts
Who live to please others
Who value money over God
Who die without ever having lived
Death is their mark 
Dead poets are remembered by the living.
Living poets are remembered by time
Dead poets never sing their song
Living poets never stop singing it 
The difference between the two is this:
One worships fear, the other life 
To be a dead poet is hard
It requires being someone else
To be a living poet is easy
It only means being myself 
One choice is hell, the other heaven
That is what is meant by free will

"The Mockingbird” 1992
I happened upon a mockingbird
singing its fool head off –
I asked it how and why it sang?
But all it did was look ahead,
all it did was sing.
It never turned to see if I was watching,
or listened for money jingling in my pockets,
or asked if I liked its music,
or expected a recording contract –
It was too busy singing
to pay any attention to me.
Thus did I learn
the greatest sin of all
is to kill a mockingbird.

I'm a Birmingham, Alabama native, and To Kill a Mockingbird was written by Alabama native Harper Lee. Birmingham is infested with mockingbirds, as are three remote places where the winds took me and I stayed a while, a long while at the third: Isla Mujeres, Mexico; Tortola, BVI; Key West.

Now I'm back in Birmingham, living in the same old inner city apartment building where I ended up two other times I quit running away from home, across from a beautiful city park filled with very old trees and shrubs allowed to grow wild and bramby, and lots of mockingbirds and other birds, and a pair of owls that raise a young owl each season, and an earth energy vortex in which lives something that takes me for rides elsewhere when I let it and it's in the mood.

Cordially,
Sloan

sloanbashinsky@yahoo.com

Monday, June 17, 2024

Janis Joplin v. Kurt Vonnegut: Freedom's just another name for nothing left to lose

    One of my kids cracked me up yesterday with a report that just a little while earlier their old retriever dog Grizzly, who never caught a duck and gets around about like I get around, had treed a black bear near their home with fierce barking from a safe distance. 

    My other kid left me a happy Father’s Day 💔 and a hope I don't get into too much trouble voicemail, and I called back and said I already got into a lot of trouble.

    Facebook reactions to yesterday’s Father’s Day
poem, which ended:

My body failing,
brain farts increasing,
I hoped to wake up on 
the Mother Ship this morning,
but since I didn’t…

Mary Sherrell
So,You Did awaken?

Sloan Bashinsky
seems so 

Elizabeth Hinds Davis
If you're a Vonnegut fan, try Sloan Bashinsky who still lives.

SloanBashinsky
As does Elizabeth 

“Pigs in mud” 
All want the security of the well fed pig.
Horror at the baseness unrecognized.
A lifetime spent in shirt stuffing.
And pen comparison.
Is truth more palatable when honeyed?
Is a stark soulscape less so with the eyes of Monet? 
May my affectations always be understood.

Peggy Butler
Deep from the heart of Sloan Bashinsky, this truly is a special work of art. Many of us can relate in so many ways. I hope you live the rest of your life in peace, dear soul.   

Sloan Bashinsky
Thanks, Peggy. I experience brief interludes of peace, surrounded by external violence that for now mostly is emotional, on the one hand, and not of this world origin on the other hand, and internal physical violence that is my failing body, on the one hand, and a very different sort of internal violence, which is not of this world. 
 
Peggy Butler
I hope soon the interludes of peace outweigh the violence of both kinds. I'll be thinking of you and hoping for that.

Sloan Bashinsky
Thanks, but given what old age and prostate radiation therapy did to my innards, and given I absorb the rough energies in what I engage, which are processed in me like a waste treatment plant of sorts, I don’t expect much relief other than what the Angel of Death or legal or illegal narcotics can can provide:-), and I don’t use either. 

Roy Knight
This is really special, and as my father was a friend of yours and your grandfather I can connect quite well with what you have expressed. That is even though our families were quite different. I also share the feelings about our children and grandchildren. Remarkable. Thank you for providing so much of importance to think about. 
 
Sloan Bashinsky
Thanks, Roy. 
The child who died when I was in law school at Alabama left me in such all encompassing disarray that I simply was no longer able to fit into any hopes, dreams or plans I or anyone else had for me, and was in that sense, which I eventually had put on his grave marker, he opened my heart and set me on my journey, but the cost to his younger siblings and many women I came to love, one at a time, was extensive. Each of those women woke up something in me that I did not know was there. It was like a different lifetime with each of them, to go with lifetimes before and after them, and when I was alone along the way, and now. More lives than a cat even, and I’m still here for some reason I truly can’t imagine. 
The CVS I had used on Clairmont Avenue across from the Highland golf course went out of business and CVS shifted me to their store in Crestline Village, where I grew up and rode my bicycle everywhere in my second lifetime- the first lifetime was before I started school and was a free man- God, did I hate school, it was like being sent to prison 5 days a week. 
I had to drive into The Tiny Kingdom yesterday to pick up a script for something that wards off cognitive weakening, and to buy a lot more Prevagen than I was taking for the same reason, because a dream the night before had told me to increase the Prevagen from 1 to 3 pills a day. 
I only go into the Tiny Kingdom when I have to, and yesterday I also needed to go the Fresh Market on Lakeshore drive, so Ieft Crestline on the interior road that runs along the south side of the Birmingham Country Club's East Course, where I played thousands of rounds and won the club junior championship when I was 16. I did not recognize the once lovely home of my father’s brother Leo, when I drove past it.
I got onto Montevallo Road, where my family had lived a few years, and headed toward Mountain Brook Village, and turned left onto a side road, so I could avoid the main intersection at Culver Road. I saw homes I remembered, and I saw what had been done to homes so that they could not be remembered.
Arriving at Lakeshore Drive, I felt like I had escaped some place that is not healthy for me, maybe not for any living person, and I headed to the fresh market and bought some provisions I can’t get anywhere else but online, and headed back to Highland Park, where I have lived every time I quit running away from home since the 1995 return.
I watched the US Open yesterday afternoon, and I saw Irishman Rory Mcllroy missed two short puts, not quite gimmies, on 2 of the last three holes, and Bryson DeChambeau, who was not able to hit his drives in the fairways most of the day, won by one stoke amidst "USA, USA" chants by so-called Americans who ignored Bryson had sold himself to the Saudis for generational million$$$, while Rory had remained faithful as modern times allow to earn a good pro golfer living the old fashioned way, and I was ashamed to be an American. 
After dinner, I waddled my old body down into the beautiful public park across the street from this old apartment building. The city parks service has let the shrubs and bushes grow wild and brambly. Some of the trees in the park are older than me, 81. I have an arrangement with something that lives in the park. I sit on a bench and wait on it to show up and take me on a ride that is 100 percent not of this world, and that happened for about a half hour yesterday, and I came out of it and waddled my body back up the ancient stone stairs to Highland Avenue, to where I live, to watch Netflix and Amazon Prime and play chess at chess.com, until I got sleepy, after two naps yesterday.
Now I’m up at way before dawn, still wondering what a dream about Texas A & M and someone reneging an important promise is about?
The boy who grew up in Crestline had no clue how many prisons and prison breaks lay ahead.

sloanbashinsky@yahoo.com

Sunday, June 16, 2024

Father’s Day

Father’s Day

That’s today.

What do I feel about this being Father’s Day?

What do I feel about being a father?

What do I feel about my father?

What does it matter how I feel?

Does it matter?

I doubt it matters to the florists,

I certainly don’t want roses delivered to my front door step.

Maybe that’s the best thing about Father’s Day-

it’s not a great day for merchants.

Looking back,

I’m not impressed with myself as a father.

I was too preoccupied with me

to be what my children needed.

No mystery, I copied my father.

I’m fortunate my children forged their own way
 
without me trying to bend them to my will.

I’m fortunate I don’t depend on my children to

entertain and look after me,

ever trying to help me feel better,

hounding me for this and that.

They have their own lives,

their children have their own lives.

I enjoy watching and hearing about them

live their lives, 

move forward into the great mystery

unhindered by me,

envied by me,

I’m proud of them,

wish them all the best.

I hope they and their children

somewhow get to experience 

the America where I grew up.

Knowing that's not gonna happen,

I worry for them in this America.

I hope they are cunning and gentle

and brave enough 

to live their lives fully,

be who they really are,

keep moving forward,

changing,

growing,

deepening,

loving,

being true,

without remorse,

in an America I’m glad 

I did not help create

and tried very hard to prevent,

where where money, guns and fake narratives

are more important than anything else,

an America the Founding Fathers could not possibly imagine.

I’m glad the final round of the US Open will provide

something to entertain me this afternoon.

Golf was my father’s game,

he could have been a pro,

but he wanted more than anything

to win his father’s approval 

and went into business with his father;

and I followed suit, for a while.

The only time I beat my father at golf,

I didn’t count all of my strokes.

Played the old way, 

no mulligans, 

no improving your lie,

counting all of your strokes,

golf is an X-ray of the soul-

Thanks, Dad

And thanks for the inheritances,

without which

I would be homeless,

or dead.

And thanks for suggesting I take a typing course

my first year in high school,

which gave me a life skill,

even if it didn’t make me a living wage.

My body failing,

brain farts increasing,

I hoped to wake up on 

the Mother Ship this morning,

but since I didn’t…

    After that crawled out of me, this from Erick Rittenberry arrived in my email, and I crawled in.


How to Be a Poet
By: Wendell Berry

POETIC OUTLAWS
JUN 16, 2024

Make a place to sit down.   
Sit down. Be quiet.   
You must depend upon   
affection, reading, knowledge,   
skill—more of each   
than you have—inspiration,   
work, growing older, patience,   
for patience joins time   
to eternity. Any readers   
who like your poems,   
doubt their judgment.   

ii   

Breathe with unconditional breath   
the unconditioned air.   
Shun electric wire.   
Communicate slowly. Live   
a three-dimensioned life;   
stay away from screens.   
Stay away from anything   
that obscures the place it is in.   
There are no unsacred places;   
there are only sacred places   
and desecrated places.   

iii   

Accept what comes from silence.   
Make the best you can of it.   
Of the little words that come   
out of the silence, like prayers   
prayed back to the one who prays,   
make a poem that does not disturb   
the silence from which it came.

“How to Be a Poet (to remind myself)” from The Selected Poems of Wendell Berry by Wendell Berry.

Sloan Bashinsky
Sloan’s Newsletter

Amen.
I turned in last night, wondering what, if, I might write for Father’s Day. 
I woke up this morning wondering the same.
I got onto my laptop, sorry Wendell, but my father told me to take a typing course, it would come in handy later - if only he knew :-), and this crawled up outta me, with a few brief timeouts, in about 30 minutes total.

Father’s Day

That’s today. 
 
sloanbashinsky@yahoo.com

Sunday, June 9, 2024

dead poets never write and other baa baa black sheep tales from the twilight zone

    Pondering some new sport to banish care, I opened this Sunday's serving from Erick Rittenberry:

The Traveler
By: Friedrich Nietzsche 

A traveler who had seen many countries, peoples and several of the earth's continents was asked what attribute he had found in men everywhere. He said: "They have a propensity for laziness." 

To others, it seems that he should have said: "They are all fearful. They hide themselves behind customs and opinions." 

In his heart every man knows quite well that, being unique, he will be in the world only once and that there will be no second chance for his oneness to coalesce from the strangely variegated assortment that he is: he knows it but hides it like a bad conscience—why? 

From fear of his neighbor, who demands conformity and cloaks himself with it. But what is it that forces the individual to fear his neighbor, to think and act like a member of a herd, and to have no joy in himself? 

Modesty, perhaps, in a few rare cases. 

For the majority it is idleness, inertia, in short that propensity for laziness of which the traveler spoke. He is right: men are even lazier than they are fearful, and fear most of all the burdensome nuisance of absolute honesty and nakedness. 

Artists alone hate this lax procession in borrowed manners and appropriated opinions and they reveal everyone's secret bad conscience, the law that every man is a unique miracle; they dare to show us man as he is, to himself unique in each movement of his muscles, even more, that by being strictly consistent in uniqueness, he is beautiful, and worth regarding, as a work of nature, and never boring. 

When the great thinker despises human beings, he despises their laziness: for it is on account of their laziness that men seem like manufactured goods, unimportant, and unworthy to be associated with or instructed. 

Human beings who do not want to belong to the mass need only to stop being comfortable; follow their conscience, which cries out: 

"Be yourself! All that you are now doing, thinking, and desiring is not really yourself.”

You can find this passage in Friedrich Nietzsche’s work— Schopenhauer as Educator. 

    I recalled Neitzche eventually went off the rails and my first poem, which slowly wormed its way into my writing journal in 1991, my 49th year, as if it was told to me.

"Living Poets"  

Dead poets are poets who never write
Who obey shoulds and oughts
Who live to please others
Who value money over God
Who die without ever having lived
Death is their mark 
Dead poets are remembered by the living.
Living poets are remembered by time
Dead poets never sing their song
Living poets never stop singing it 
The difference between the two is this:
One worships fear, the other life 
To be a dead poet is hard
It requires being someone else
To be a living poet is easy
It only means being myself 
One choice is hell, the other heaven
That is what is meant by free will

   I received an email about yesterday’s When the poets stop singing, hell wins, and other twilight zone cemetery operettas  from a childhood friend, who also grew up in upscale white Mountain Brook, aka The Tiny Kingdom, over the mountain from Birmingham:

Another in a long series of good reads from my old buddy, Bash. And did you see that the OT[Orange Turd]  now says we should indict all the members of the Congressional Jan 6th panel?  As my old Army First Sergeant used to say, "if you can't say nothing good about someone, don't say nothing at all" like 'he's dead, that's good!!!'" Have a nice weekend. 

    I replied:

Thanks, yeah, I saw that and that would be good, but so far he seems to have more lives than a cat.

    I got to thinking I was burned out writing about a rich white family spoiled brat who never grew out of it. I hoped I grew out of it, but I suppose that is for God and my rich white father and financial benefactor in heaven to decide? But then, perhaps my older half brother Travis I never met, the son of my father and the daughter of the black servants in the home of my father’s parents should have some say in that? 

    In mid-1998, I learned of Travis in a dream, and then I learned more about him from the dreams of my two best men friends, one of whom had worked many years for my father’s company, Golden Flake. I went to see my father’s older brother Leo and asked him if I had an older brother I didn’t know about? Leo’s head snapped to look me dead in the eye, and he said, “I don’t want anything to do with that!”

    In 2004, I would memorialize Leo in the “He called a spade as spade” chapter of A Few Remarkable Alabama People I Have Known, a free read at the internet library, https://archive.org/details/a-few-remarkable-alabama-people-i-have-known_202210

   When I finally got around to asking my father about Travis in late 1999, what was progressing came full bloom family black sheep, and I felt STRONGLY MOVED to change my name from Sloan Young Bashinsky, Jr. to Sloan Young, and to grab my new passport and leave America.

    A year later, I arrived in Key West, broke and homeless, where I began an entirely new life and met a lot of new people, some of whom I was very pleased to meet, and some of them I was not so pleased to meet, and vice versa. 

    In June 2003, I entered Florida Keys Outreach Coalition’s halfway house program, described in yesterday’s When the poets stop singing, hell wins, and other twilight zone cemetery operettas post. FKOC clients had to attend Twelve Step meetings daily.

    The angels, who dragooned me in early 1987, began applying the 12 Steps to me, and I heard in my sleep one night, “Your passport was issued by mistake." I woke up flummoxed, because I was convinced the angels had told me to change my name to Sloan Young and to leave America, after which I had really important experiences overseas.

   Sloan Young was the bravest, toughest, most genuine man I ever knew, but I was a soldier, and I got a judge in Key West to change my name back to Sloan Young Bashinsky, Jr., and I tried very hard to live up to Sloan Young’s legacy, and sometimes I did okay, and sometimes I faltered, but I never stopped trying, and Sloan Young never really left.

    His defining poems came as fast as I could write them.

    “The World's Greatest Failure” (April 2000)

I know what it is 

to love fully,

have my heart broken by death

and by loved ones’ rejections,

Over and over again,

So I can love even more. 

 

I know what it is 

to be engulfed in pain,

Awash in evil,

Terrified, enraged, despaired,

Believing God has again forsaken me,

Then be given the truth

that again makes me free 

 

I know what it is 

to doubt,

Be lost and wandering

time and time again,

Then be rescued yet again

and my faith grows deeper. 

 

I know what it is 

to blindly trust,

Then be destroyed by betrayal

time and time again,

Until I trust only God. 

 

I know what it is

to have much

and be completely of this world,

Then have it all taken away

and be in the world but not of it. 

 

I know what it is 

to fail in this world,

And fail and fail and fail:

The world’s greatest failure,

I can serve only God. 

 

I know what it is 

to give and give and give and give;

I cannot stop giving

because giving is receiving. 

 

I know what it is 

to explain God

time after time after time again. 

Something demands I keep explaining:

Maybe someone will listen, 

 

Maybe me.

 

“I AM A MAN” (June 2003)

 

I am a man. 

 

I said,

I am a man! 

 

What means it, 

being a man?   

 

A man is a warrior:

he lives by a code of honor,

his word is reliable,

his actions confirm his words,

his commitment is holiness,

his enemies are welcome at his hearth,

he fears but moves forward,

he cries and gets up again,

he hates but forgives,

he loves and let’s go,

he doubts but trusts God,

he’s a good friend,

he seeks resolutions,

he demands nothing,

he risks everything,

he regrets his mistakes,

he seeks to make amends,

he puts others’ welfare first,

he accepts apologies truly made,

he expects nothing back,

he lives ready to die,

he laughs when he “should” scream,

he screams when he “should” laugh,

he sings just because,

he shrugs off insults,

he learns from misfortune,

he cusses God for making him,

he wishes he was done,

he loves children and animals,

he relishes a woman’s scent,

he smiles when he’s content,

he knows God’s his master,

he walks in rainbows,

his garden is the world,

his way is nature,

he loves fishing,

his wife is his soul,

his food is life,

his pay is whatever he receives.

Yep, he’s crazy.

 

“SHANGHAIED” (June 2004)

 

A calling to serve carries its own wisdom,

which legitimates both the calling and the serving

so that the two are one.

Only the one called to serve

can know this wisdom,

and for some who are called

the knowing comes easily,

while for others the knowing is a fiery baptism.

Each calling is different,

and while some callings can be declined,

others cannot,

and those whose calling is without repentance

know they are in it for the duration of the calling,

and while others may try to persuade them out of it,

the calling for ones such as these always prevails;

thus is it advised to all called for keeps

that they view their calling as a blessing

even when it seems at times to be a curse,

and that they try to reconcile the loss of their captain status

and allow the Spirit of God to man the helm of their ship

and be glad and willing crew members thereon,

knowing that all sailing ships of souls

need a crew as well as a captain

to maintain and navigate the ship through

seas of many tones, depths and flavors;

so consider each league sailed

as part of the overall journey

going to where the captain deigns to go

by using winds and sea currents available

to navigate the ship to the experiences

this ship and crew need to have

in order to fulfill their calling and its wisdom

revealed by the journey of many leagues,

many known only to the ship and its crew,

all of whom come to know,

some sooner than others,

that once conscripted

there is no safe jumping ship.

    Sloan Young wrote the cosmic love story novel Heavy Wait: A Strange Tale on a public library computer in 2001. Key West’s Grande dame Shirley Freeman said she reed it in one night, she could not put it down. Sloan Young and I wrote the sequel, Return of the Strange, in 2023. Not for the faint of heart, free reads at the internet library, in English and about 35 other languages.

    https://archive.org/details/heavy-wait-a-strange-tale_202212

    https://archive.org/details/retun-of-the-strange-v-20_202306

sloanbashinsky@yahoo.com