Wednesday, December 24, 2014



The bug is humming
humming to itself
and the blood is drumming
in the numb tied hands
and the faces are laughing
pale hands prodding, slapping
the man in the sack who
hangs from the hook
who hasn't slept in a
hundred hours
whose legs have swelled
like sausage balloons
who knows nothing
and tells it all
to the shaved baboons
in Armani suits
while the bug
is humming
an American tune
inside our heads
inside our phones
in the dollar we use
for the death we buy,
in the lie
the bug is humming,
no price is too high.
Barely hidden under the drones,
we tilt the forbidden;
the humming bug, the perfect slave
for this abattoir, this decorated grave
where we kneel in fear of what we've made
of the land of the free
the home of the brave.

~December 2014

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Out of Standard: Humbug Origins
Izy Gruye (The Nice Cage) asks us to use the word humbug in it's original meaning, that of a sham or hoax, in a poem that has nothing to do with winter or Christmas. I have been wanting to write on this topic--the recently released Senate report on torture of detainees during the Bush administration--but have not been able to until today. This poem is just a shadow attempt at expressing that horror, with my apologies to the Talking Heads, for borrowing their line "I hope you're happy with what you made/from the land of the free and the home of the brave." as used in the song below:

Process notes: The word 'bug' here refers to insect life and electronic surveillance, as well as the challenge meaning.

Image" Cover page of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Study of CIA Detention and Interrogation Program, public domain via wikimedia commons


  1. ha. a sham or hoax....well that fits right in with the government...
    no price is too high...well that is rather depressing and disgusting
    when you think about it...and sad...almost as much as our follow
    the leader mentality...or our apathy...and of course makes me think
    of the jolly fat man in a different way...perhaps he will dole out
    something nice this year....

    merry christmas, happy holidays --- have an eggnog on me...smiles
    dang i love my eggnog this time of year...i will be paying for it in january

    be good hedge...

  2. I love the way you approached this, Hedge. The rhymes really darkens the horror.

  3. You've collected so many dark shades into one place...the brutality of it all makes the word "humbug" shrink in comparison. And so much of this was known. There can be no real innocence among the crowned heads. What to do...? Keep writing, I guess.

  4. This packs a punch, Hedge, as serious satire should.

    the bug is humming,
    no price is too high.
    Barely hidden under the drones,
    we tilt the forbidden...

    I find the whole drones thing very sinister indeed, so these lines struck me as being extremely well-placed in the whole. It's hard to keep the faith in a system we trust, when evidence of perfidy becomes hard to ignore. This theme will never be anything other than relevant.

  5. The bug here is also what's been irking us at some sub-sonic/-psychic level for the past 14 years, that we were struck on the cheek and turned horribly to the right to deliver back a fist. What's the saying -- wrong in the beginning, wrong in the middle, wrong in the end -- bad acts don't die, they ghost, a persistent miasma that makes it seem like our country suffers a wasting disease only its citizens can't or won't understand. We accepted it in the beginning--we were so afraid after 9/11--but that acceptance has only meant blessing the wrong. Failing to persecute Cheney the Terrible. While he smiles and says he'd do it again in a heartbeat. (As if the Chicken Hawk had one.) There's a tensile hover to this poem, a bug-like drone; holding the terrified victims forth is one thing, but also then as an American triumph, well, that takes the cake. I heard that the Friday's restaurant has been running mistletoe drones to get patrons to smooch. I guess once you get used the bah-sound of the humbug, there's nothing it won't subscribe. Thanks for not toddy. Yule be rockin'.

  6. where we kneel in fear of what we've made
    of the land of the free
    the home of the brave

    This sums it all! Very powerful take Joy! It drains the conscience to think that such things happened. It is more so now when it is plain and clear that the political will to end it all is still impotent in face of other considerations. Merry Christmas and happy hols to you!


  7. Hey Joy, I made a comment very early today and I realize just now, checking back, that it somehow didn't take--I've been getting a lot of captcha stuff lately, and maybe didn't do it right.

    This is a wonderful and masterful and horrible poem. I can't re-create the earlier comment--I think the whole thing is a very strong take, but I wanted to say that there were many especially deft touches--the Armani suit, which is not just the designer but related to the whole arms shipment business, I think; the abattoir, which I guess is a butchery but also can't help but bring up the battery of the broken ribs, something about the sausage legs that is just terrible, people as meat--it is all strong (and I feel sick). Also, I'm glad that you don't let the rest of us off the hook here--

    I must run--late here--thanks for this. Ugh. I have another one I haven't put up yet--I mean on this subject--it is really too painful. Just too very sad. Thanks. k . (Manicddaily, I'm not putting it in my non-blogger name as it may get lost again!) Thanks! k.

  8. geez..this one blew me away. timely. Relevant...and all I want to do is post John Stewart clips to this thread in solidarity. But ah, the poem, the line breaks, the rhythm....all well done. Merry merry, Lady, may 2015 be in your favor

  9. Stunning!--you include it all under that mental and moral buggery--torture, drones, materialism, blindness ...

  10. Yes, but we're willing to fight hard for the right to show a stupid comedy movie that was in bad taste to begin with! America! Yeah!

    I love the letterhead.

  11. 1. Never apologize for the TH. Some day I might bore you with my hypothesis (well, gut feeling) that "Remain in Light" is the musical apotheosis of Sartre's and Camus' peculiar brand of existentialism, brought into pop culture as an inverse image of the prevalent punk movement sweeping the anglophone world in the late 70's, and that it both accelerated and effectively capped the a-religious intellectual/ philosophical movement that had been brewing for, well, since Nietzsche. And which has receded ever since, much to the chagrin and dismay of those of us who rode that wave and expected to be taken further, only to be stranded at that high-water line, as parasites from the Nixon/Ford/Reagan/Cheney/Bush line took over the beachhead. Oh, wait, I just did. Anyways. Excellent use of the archaic term. Bah, indeed. ~

  12. Damn, no review as acute and awesome as grapes....damn that man has an incredible intellect I It's strange that this is the second serious piece of writing to come out this challenge, and both tremendously put with an abundance of reasonable thought and a lack of the cynicism that would lower this to mear ranting. Great writing and thought process on yet another ugly incident.


"We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, out of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry." ~William Butler Yeats

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