don_socalAugust 7, 2011

Freedom is another word

puppets and masters who are who who's in charge

what purpose what end who is small who is large

power relinquished power misused information false

for advantage repeated till reality lost

so many have none prosperity for few

no outlet for anger from frustration for you

protection domination at home and abroad

image degraded the recovery hard

value uneven quality askew

less good and abundance what to do

greed drives the ones that have much and want more

no heed for old saying watch what you wish for

microscopic life supports life above

without the lesser they undo what they wove

unbalance dissipates like water seeking it's level

hoarding too much leaves no room to revel

true balance and fairness to all rich and poor

is the way our plenitude will restore

the one in the mirror who can it be

what is the difference between you and me

hold up your hand look past it you "see"

through your fingers our body a vessel of thee

live true to the self that the inner mind knows

the one that sees others the same as it grows

we say "rest in peace" is that what peace is

at the end what is left are we really free

by Don Case on Sunday, August 7, 2011

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Don, you said a lot, much to think about. "live true to the self" is so important, whatever your perspective, make sure it's really yours and not something someone else wants you to think for their benefit.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2011 at 12:24AM
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Don, I luv your poem. It is written in a language and topic I can associate with, here in the US, August,2011. How on earth you can come up with a poem about the present situation, is beond me, but you did it.
But then again, poems fron years past has survived and flurished, and I think yours will do the same.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2011 at 7:32PM
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Don for President!!

"power relinquished power misused information false
for advantage repeated till reality lost"

This line resonated with me very strongly. The poem had to be read a few times, at different times. Your effort is appreciated.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2011 at 11:24PM
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Don, you're right on target with your poem. I'm not commenting on the topic, but your timing. You have company all over the net. See the link below. Scroll down.

Here is a link that might be useful: Poetry-2011

    Bookmark   August 9, 2011 at 7:28PM
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I see that the link I posted does not lead you to the article. I did not know that.
I've c&p the article. I hope it works.

ELKO, Nev. � This isolated town in the northeast Nevada mountains is known for gold mines, ranches, casinos, bordellos and J. M. Capriola, a destination store with two floors of saddles, boots, spurs and chaps. It is also the birthplace of the annual Cowboy Poetry Gathering, a celebration of range song and poetry that draws thousands of cowboys and their fans every January and receives some money from the federal government.


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Djamila Grossman for The New York Times
The Western Folklife Center does not receive much federal money, but enough to stir debate. After Senator Harry Reid offered it as a positive example of financing for the arts, Republicans cast it as a symbol of waste.

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Djamila Grossman for The New York Times
Country music are among the items for sale at the center's gift shop.

That once-obscure gathering became a target in the budget battle a world away in Washington last week, employed by conservatives as a symbol of fiscal waste. Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, a Democrat and the majority leader, invoked the event in arguing against Republican cuts in arts financing in the budget debate, setting off a conflagration of conservative scorn.

It put cowboy poetry and Elko, a heavily Republican town with a population of 17,000 about 230 miles east of Reno, very much on the ideological map, like it or not.

By every account, Mr. Reid is an admirer of what takes place here. He grew up in small-town Nevada, is a fan of cowboy culture and has boasted in news releases of getting money for the Western Folklife Center, which sponsors the event. His mention of the gathering, as an example of what he views as valuable projects financed by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts, appears to be an innocent � if unfortunate � political misstep by a leader who is known for occasional political missteps.

"He was trying to defend the National Endowment for the Humanities and the N.E.A., and he thought, this is something that he was familiar with and he�s always liked, and he was holding this up as an example," said Charlie Seemann, the executive director of the Western Folklife Center, a converted 98-year-old hotel on Railroad Street. "And, whoops! In this political climate it was too good a target: �Cowboy poetry, say what? We�re paying for that?� "

Mr. Reid, through a spokesman, declined to comment.

In fact, the amount of taxpayer money going to the Cowboy Poetry Gathering, which has met since 1985, is someplace between small and minuscule.

In most years, the government provided about $45,000 to the Western Folklife Center; the conference costs about $650,000 to $700,000, with two-thirds of the money coming from ticket sales. The N.E.A. provided seed money in the early 1980s that allowed researchers to gather oral histories from aging practitioners of what was than seen as a dying art, and to finance what turned out to be the first cowboy poetry gathering.

Yet no matter. The Cowboy Poetry Gathering has been mocked by Sarah Palin on Twitter, most recently on Friday, and on Rush Limbaugh�s show.

The gathering and Mr. Reid have been denounced by prominent Republicans in Congress � Representative Mike Pence of Indiana drew loud cheers as he attacked Mr. Reid�s position at a rally outside the Capitol last week � and by a host of Tea Party supporters on full battle alert in the budget fight in Washington.

"Given where we are with our financial situation � and some people would argue regardless of that � this is not something that the federal government should be doing," said Thomas A. Schatz, the president of Citizens Against Government Waste. "If people want to support a certain amount of activity in the arts or humanities, they should be paying for it. And the fact that Senator Reid for some reason picked this as an example of how extreme the Republican budget was � he might have picked something else."

Inevitably, some of the argument, as it were, is taking place in verse. Representative Jeff Flake, a conservative Republican from Arizona, posted this on his Twitter account:

Way out in the prairie

To a rustler named Harry

Being broke ain�t no reason to sweat

Just sit in yer barn

Spin a rhythmic yarn

And you�ll pay down the national debt!

One of the most established cowboy poets, John Dofflemyer, a central California rancher, came to Mr. Reid�s defense on his worth-a-click Web site, www.drycrikjournal.com:

Easy to get emotional on the Senate floor, misspeak

extemporaneously to take the snipers� potshots while

trying to save the arts for humanity like a little girl lost

in the crossfire, or before investing more on war.

If Mr. Reid has succeeded in bringing to light a fascinating aspect of Western culture that is not known to many Americans, it came at a price.

"They brought it up on the Rush Limbaugh show," said Mr. Dofflemyer, who is 63. "They�re trying to make a mountain of a molehill. Taking away money from the humanities is not going to balance the budget. What do they want to do � send it to Libya? Afghanistan? Iraq?"

Paul Zarzyski, 59, a rodeo cowboy and a regular reader at the gatherings, acknowledged that at first glance, the idea of cowboy poetry might seem strange.

"A lot of art forms at first brush might sound peculiar," he said. "After you learn a little bit about them and the people who perform them, you find out that they are as significant as any kind of art forms. Cowboy poetry comes out of a culture that most people don�t understand. Most of that criticism is urban and uninformed."

The event itself started with 1,000 attendees � in January because there is not much else for a cowboy to do in the winter, and here because it is the middle of cattle country � and now attracts 6,000 a year. It has inspired dozens of other poetry gatherings. It lasts about a week, can cost participants hundreds of dollars to attend all the events and includes, besides poetry and singing, workshops on rawhide braiding.

The poetry gathering will no doubt survive if the final budget cuts end a subsidy for the center, as most of the revenues come from ticket sales. But Mr. Seemann said winning grant approval from federal agencies gave the organization legitimacy that made it easier to compete for private grants.

Hal Cannon, the founding director of the Western Folklife Center, said the uproar had sent tremors through other cowboy poetry gatherings. "I don�t know anyone in any nonprofit organization who isn�t nervous," he said.

Part of the complication for Mr. Reid was that he did not phrase his argument particularly well.

"The National Endowment of the Humanities is the reason we have in northern Nevada every January a cowboy poetry festival," he said. "Had that program not been around, the tens of thousands of people who come there every year would not exist."

Mr. Seemann said Mr. Reid was not entirely wrong. "The real connection to the N.E.A. for us is that they helped seed the gathering. In that sense, Senator Reid is correct that we wouldn�t have existed in the first place."

"None of this surprises me," he said. "It�s the kind of thing that lends itself to derision. Just on the surface, it seems goofy.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2011 at 8:04PM
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Thanks West, good article, hard to get into a heated argument when reading and writing poetry, makes people think.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2011 at 11:21AM
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