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Scrap Paper Review
Issue #38
February, 1999

1999 A.D. Sullivan
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War Monger  A.D. Sullivan
Flyer  A.D. Sullivan
Astronomical Birthdays  Michael J. Maiello
Freedom of Thought  Terence Ripmaster
Dreams of Perfection  A.D. Sullivan

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War Monger

It doesn't take a gun to kill-- just inaction, the cold
indifference of liberal minds who need clear right and wrong to
take a stand, as if bombing babies was moral from any view, aerial
bombardment sending fifty thousand tons of hot metal down the
throats of desert merchants-- four poor souls died to Scud
missiles in Israel and we hear the wail ten thousand miles away.
But there is silence beneath the falling bombs of Iraq, the
shaking earth covering over thousands dead as if they did not
exist, as if the bombs that struck them were crossed with
crusading morality-- Bush asking God to bless his butchery on
national TV. Blood, however, is blood, and pain is pain, and the
moaning arabs crying from the desert are human, too, despite
American headlines of hate and the propaganda machine of its media.

Table of Contents* * *


"Zero one two, this is Alpha Seven approaching target area," I said, sweat dripping from my upper lips into the microphone's mouth piece. My fingers of might right hand twitched with only the thumb holding steady on the white firing button. The cross-hairs of the target screen wavering only slightly with the movement of the flyer towards the planet's surface. With things going so wrong, I couldn't help wondering if the laser cannon would work or had it been torn from the body of the craft the way some of the heat shields had. Only luck had kept me from burning up on initial reentry, and liberal use of the deceleration jets. Fuel was dangerously low.

I did say wrong? I mean disastrous. Five interplanetary craft lost, four scout ships, three defensive craft and six fighting flyers like mine, all gone up in a blaze of flame and refuge. I suppose I could have found comfort in survival, but I didn't relish the idea that all those defensive systems below were none targeted on my lone craft crashing through the lower atmosphere at them. The control screen lights flashed wildly with bright red, filling the small compartment. While none of the internal seals had broken, another hit would. The engine compartment shield lights blinked, two hits having weakened their wall's integrity, despite manufacturer warranties saying it could handle more.

"Zero one two," I repeated, checking the readout for the wave transmitted. It said nothing was wrong. But who knew what kind of interference the empty could put up, though Command Central said the waves couldn't be blocked. "This is Alpha Seven."

I had to presume that Mother was lost, too, another of the interplanetary craft, leaving me a stringless puppet falling deeper and deeper into inescapable trouble. Lights winked up from the cool blue and green surfaces of the planet, though I couldn't see any details. Early reports said whole cities rose from those plains, part of a significantly high level civilization, each cluster complete with its own defense network.

The only real lucky bit was their idea of danger. None of the flack was meant for a craft as small as our fighters. My brother's fighters had been lost in the explosions and cross fire caused by the larger more seriously armed craft. With everything they put up in the air, it was likely they couldn't even see me on their screens. It probably scared the hell out of the operators, knowing something was coming, knowing it could sting them to death, but nothing showed -- sending up even more out of fright making the situation that much worse.

So for me, it was largely a game of dodge, letting my instruments read the danger, then steering clear of them, or blasting the unavoidable out of my way. The only question was: What was the point? Even if I got down and unloaded on them, it was but one small strike on a very large planet.

If I got down. If I managed by some miracle or sense of skill to steer through every one their accidental bursts, anyone of which would leave me and my flyer molten dust.

I had two eggs to deliver. Two red-tipped toggle switches to the left of the laser cannon. I wanted to put them down, useless as the gesture was or not, in the memory of my flyer mates, Bill and Joe and Jim and Hank, none of whom would fly home again. I felt guilty about them. I'd always been the odd fish in their little group, the man they mocked for his moody silence and meticulous habits. More than once I'd envisioned them vapor, evaporated much in the way they had been. Now with the remains of their ionize atoms swirling in the trail of my craft, it felt as if I had killed them with a wish.

Forty five seconds to target, the computer's soft feminine voice rang, a little too cold despite the owner manual's claims, reminding me of no woman I'd ever met. The red digital readout on the control board confirmed. The numbers clicking as they slowly counted down to zero.

Forty five seconds and a million green-skinned creatures would die in their sleep, or shivering in their shelters like the dogs our training videos made them out to be. I tried not to grin, but it came. I couldn't help enjoying the work.

Then, the instruments went crazy-- flashing once with bright red before blanking out one after another as systems failed.

"Hello, what's this?" I said and punched a few buttons, trying to ward off the potential doom, cutting off unessential attack systems to save life support and some shields. The heat grew. Though the three inch quartz windscreen I could see the tip of the flyer glowing, first red, then white, then tell-tale black of burning metal.

Suddenly, it was a trail of my own charged ions sprawling out behind the flyer as it plunged towards the blue-green surface, a comet streaking across this alien sky.

"Mayday! Mayday!" I called into the mouthpiece, the heat now making it slip away from me. I could barely hear my own voice for the static. I thumbed the retros, keeping the button pressed until the fuel evaporated. Still, something stirred inside the beast and it slowed, angling again as if preparing for the standard landing pattern. The gravity here, of course, was slightly less than home world, an advantage I soon discovered when the few remaining readouts showed an incomplete landing cycle. The small flyer was making to land, but at an 80 percent rate.

It would come in hard.

I closed my eyes and hit the lockup system, feeling the gentle arms of the landing mechanism curl around my shoulders and legs, pressing me deeper into the soft seat, as pillows of air filled its fabric and made a womb for me. But I couldn't resist opening them again, watching the world draw me down, the blurs changing into rigid detail: brown mountains jagged against the sky, and blue oval lakes and seas. A green light flickered on the control panel, clicking out the computers commands, as sensors searched the surface for an appropriate site -- as if any site would suit once the enemy found where I was and sent its brutal legions to capture or kill me. I was the alien here, the creature from the stars who had come to kill their children and burn their crops, leveling city after city without compassion.

Then, the flyer hit ground, sliding along some flat surface in a canopy of blue, yellow, orange and red sparks, the rest of the systems blinking, and dying as the craft slowed with friction. Only the minimum readouts showed when the screeching metal had ceased and the craft come to a halt. Radiation levels higher than safe, but not yet deadly. It would take hours even days for the radiation sickness to hit. But there was no leak in the pile, just flack fragments and the loose ions left from the exploding ships of my dead companions.

I punched the release and the canopy exploded back and away, sailing back into the smokey sky as if returning to the stars from whence it had come. I didn't listen to it to drop, hitting the second release that freed me from the self-conforming cushions of the chair, then, weakly, scrabbled out, boots slipping on wet metal or catching on the dents the flack concussion had left on the wings. Down, I slid, off the curved side that was closer to the surface, floating for a moment in the unaccustomed lower gravity. Mother ship had maintained life at one full gravity, and the third weight made it all too easy, though impact shook me to the teeth, my hands sweating inside the suit.

What was the matter with the air-conditioning unit?

I checked the wrist readout. Everything seemed normal except for the climbing level of radiation outside. Something glowed orange beneath the belly, like a light rising out from under deep water. It bore all the signs of an impending explosion. I thumbed the jet key loose inside the thumb section of my glove and pressed it hard, a gust of CO2 pouring out hidden tanks on either side of my legs. Up, I went, following the canopy's trajectory, though not has high. Another button and I leveled off.

Where to? Even close up the landscape looked foreboding, ridges of sharp stone jutting up everywhere like a mouth full of brown teeth, separated by pools of flapping neon green and blue. It seemed I had landed in the midst of some water color rendition of reality, my ship melting through the only flat place for many klicks. But there were smaller places among the rocks, man-sized platforms climbing the mountain sides like stairs. I selected one, steering my suit through a gap in the peaks of stone, putting the mountain between me and the craft that would soon explode.

This landing came easier, the gas letting me down in a slow feathery descent, a few fragments of loose stone shifting and falling off the edge as I came to a halt. The scere cliff went straight down, the ridge wide enough for me to lay down feet to the wall without my head poking out into the space beyond -- but no more than that. One slip on loose gravel and I'd follow the stone down to the depths of the planet.

Still, it felt good to be on solid ground again. Mother ship was never solid enough. Always in the back of my mind, I could feel the strain of the circling hull struggling to maintain gravity -- slight variations creating a subtle flux. But here, I could feel the gravity tug on me, drawing me down to earth with a solid, unbreakable bond I had not known in years.

But it was not home world I faced now, as I leaned against the mountain, a strange breathless coming over me. Against, I checked my wrist computer. All systems functioned properly -- though my blood pressure was elevated and my heart beat a little faster than justified by the flight.

What exactly did I fear? To be caught and tortured? Until this moment, I hadn't much considered that end of things. Now I did, studying the world around me, the jagged stone and the almost impossible climb up to my little ledge. I couldn't stay here forever, of course. Air was no problem. If I had to I could release the seals to my suit and breathe what was all around me. Other supplies were lacking. The suit packed survival rations for a few weeks at best -- with water the tricky element. It looked as if I'd be drinking purified urine before long unless I found some trickle from the mountain.

Yet, considering all that, I was alive, and oddly relieved by the fact. I called up the electronic file on the place. Full documentation had been stored in the computer's memory upon leaving, and updated through the data entry system the whole way down to the surface. It knew more about this planet that the natives likely did. The reports came first, a string of numbers that detailed air, gravity, radiation, temperature and weather conditions. Then, charts rolled up mapping out my location, and altitude. Then, everything flickered, huge streaks of red spread across the sky from my exploding flyer. The readout on my visor screen showed the elevated radiation levels, though these faded quickly. The mountain had taken the brunt of the small nuclear reaction, sheltering me from the most harmful of its impact -- but not from the impact of its loss, that final cut cord between me and the stars. I sagged a little against the stone and felt it tremble, the rumble of a world still under attack. Now, I sat on the surface wait like one of them.

It reminded me of rule number one for downed flyers: Don't stay still. The readout for the jets said some gas remained. But I doubted its ability to bring me safely to the surface. I would have to climb -- a feat precarious even without the suit. A map rose to the screen, radar and recorded images searching the mountain side for a more gentle approach-- a pathway down to the Eastern plains. A bright blue line flickered onto the map, with a throbbing green arrow indicating my current location and direction. I turned right until the indicator came level with the line. Down a thousand feet, a path hid among the jagged stones. Squinting, I saw nothing -- even with the enhanced telescopic visuals of the helmet camera.

A thousand feet? The gas might last for that kind of drop, though maps were hardly reliable guides, especially those generated through flyer sensors and satellite photos. There might be gaps I'd need the gas to overcome later on. Still, standing on the side of the mountain waiting for death or discovery seemed equally foolish. I stepped forward, thumbed the button, and slowly floated forward, keeping tight to the map's blue line.

I landed in sand, boots leaving deep holes where they struck, sliding a little till the gyros equalized my weight.

Path? Hardly. The gorge down looked as if something had crashed through the stone walls, leaving a hole in the mountain side as wide as mother ship. Stone arched overhead like a dull red bridge, with clumps of blue green that might have been growth. The descent was all sand and I eased forward, aware of the overworked gyros keeping me level and my boots from sinking again. The kilometer figures rose in the corner of the screen, tiny white numbers counting down to the surface, while slowly the attitude changed and the readout for the external atmosphere indicated something closer to acceptable than it had been up above. I was tempted to release the seals on my suit, stifled by the enclosure. Even in the mother ship I had felt contained, too many walls for a man used to open farm land. Here and in space, the question occurred to me, what I had sought in leaving home.

Space had seemed an incredible lure then, an escape from the mundane day to day ritual of rising at dawn, working till dusk, only to sleep like stone at night. Now I ached for sleep, to lie down and think about nothing, to know what when I opened my eyes the friendly streaking yellow of dawn would be streaking across the sky rather than war machines.

My breathing quickened as I walked, not steaming the visor, but making me conscious of the rhythm of its in and out, and how narrow my world had become. The boots that moved below me did not seem apart of me, nor the arms, clinging tightly to the suit's side in a defensive gesture, ready to activate their lasers if someone or something should attack.

It took hours to get down, gyros struggling to maintain my erect posture on the slippery slopes of sand. But the surface changed and the air grew more acceptable. I turned off the interior supply and activated the vans, filtering that from the outside. An internal monitor which switch everything back if it sensed something dangerous, though it was no guarantee. Things had a way of slipping through such devices, and we'd been cautioned in training.

The only safe system is a closed system, we'd been told.

A slight scent came through despite the filters, not unpleasant, yet mildly metallic, something I could almost taste with each breath. Perhaps it was the smell of the trees that had appeared with the increased air, twisted little yellow-leafed plants whose brown roots clung to the cracks of stone like desperate fingers. They looked nothing like home world trees, loose-limbed in the freer gravity, each leaf made up of many thousand smaller fragments, as if unable to congeal. These clung to my suit as I brushed passed, gluing themselves to the fabric, releasing their hold only with a sharp electrical charge through the external skin. I dared not dwell on the thought of what those leaves might have been seeking. Perhaps they only sensed warmth in the upper climbs, but I'd heard of plants that could smell blood, even through the dense fabric of a space suit. A brief analysis confirmed a small part of the danger, and counter acted the acid left behind on the suit by their touch. After that first encounter, I learned to avoid touching local fauna.

Lower down, this became more difficult as a new variety sprang up in long rows running counter to my descent, a magenta colored plant with larger but no less scattered leaves. It took me hours to find gaps in these walls and slip through, moving back and forth across the descent like a rat stuck in a maze. Finally, unable to bear the waste of time, I used the lasers and blasted holes through, making my own passage. Yet I knew I was leaving an unmistakable message for those who might come seeking my ship out, or those who searched from the ship down. I was drawing a arrow on the landscape that pointed to any flying craft the direction I'd taken. Yet, it was hours before I felt any real threat and saw the search lights in the sky, moving in a criss-cross pattern, searching for something in the rocks and crevices. At one point, I took cover under an arch of fallen stone as the beam neared me. It passed over the red pillars and up the slopes without apparent alarm. Yet, I hurried on, seeking the flatlands and the better cover I knew existed there.

But the flat lands eased closer as the mountain grew less steep and the stone ridges turned into ridges filled with growing things, too numerous to avoid. Green and blue and yellow and red plants, all so inappropriately designed that I might have been stumbling through a nightmare. I did not test their touch, but blasted frequently, carving a path out for myself until the recharge glow on my headset panel said my power had drained dangerously low. The solar panels would recharge the system, of course, but not for hours-- and I dared not drain the lasers to the point of leaving me defenseless.

So I stepped where I could, letting the plants do what they could to my suit, glad for its thin protection. The computers kept track of their activity, but apparently found no acid in these low land varieties, giving me more courage to move ahead.

But even as I moved, the lights came on, crawling down the mountain behind me like a hound sniffing out my trail, sensing me by some means of their own-- some residual radiation perhaps, or some psychic connection with the planet, the way rumor had repeatedly said of our enemy's ability-- sweeping down the same trail as I took, crawling over the crags, lingering over the gaps in the vegetation, following steadily and ever so slowly catching up.

Of course, my suit was full of decoys. Few war suit were better equipped, but I trusted none of them, sensing with some inner part of myself that they would only serve to betray me, the way some alien element in any body is betrayed by its oddity-- so out of place in their world, so incapable of disguising myself to appear better fitting.

Why hadn't we been taught better, given more information? We were not an ignorant race without our own means of finding things out. We devoured such kind of knowledge, taking our own world apart to find out how it worked -- sometimes unable to put the pieces back afterwards. We should have been able to spy out this world and learn at least its more superficial secrets, what it looked like, what a man might do if trapped her to fit in.

Yet search as I might, the computer could tell me only what our ships had seen from space, and what I had learned upon my crash. Just geography, not the anthropology.

On came the sweeping beams, illuminating the landscape where I had walked, coming on towards me even as I stared.

We know you, some voice whispered in my head, dripping over my insides like warm water.

"What?" I said and staggered on a stone, bushes rising up around me on every side, green and yellow and red blooms opening around my visor like mouths.

We know you.

"What do you know? Who are you?"

There was no face or shape to the thought. If anything it seemed to bring brightness inside my head, as if I was standing inside a translucent dome of light. I shot laser holes through the bramble and pushed on, but there was more bramble beyond them, and a red light blinked on my helmet screen, saying I had dipped below required laser strength for defense.

We want you to know us, the voice went on. But you must answer the question for us.

"Question? What question? I'm nobody important. I can't tell you anything about our plans."

Silence followed. I pushed forward, this time ignoring the warning signal, blasting at the growth even when it was not in my way, charging through the gaps, cropping of stone popping up in my path which I could not blast through. Sweat dripped down my face. The ventilation had closed off. Poison? Radiation? Or was it a malfunction in the sensors as well as the air conditioning. I could smell the fluid track, the scent of ammonia curling up from the urine storage tank. Even the water I sipped tasted slightly wrong, a tang of something like that of the plants farther uphill. The smell grew. So did the heat. I snapped open the seals and let the air in manually. In came the scent of this world's air, overwhelmingly sweet-- a planet of flowers. It was the kind of smell my world always associated with death, funerals and burial. I gagged on the thick air, but it was too late to seal things again.

One question, the voice said. If you answer it, you shall live.

Keep sealed, they taught us in basic. The only total protection against foreign poisons was to keep sealed.

My head swelled with inappropriate thoughts.

"What question? I don't know anything about troop movements or our plan of attack. I don't even remember my own name..."

It hadn't been shouted at me in days and I suspected all those who even knew it once were now dead, vaporized into ions permanently in orbit around the planet.

If you answer it, you shall live.

Keep sealed, they taught us. I struggled for the air clamps, clipping them back into place.

One question!

"No, no," I said, feeling the contact return, the last gap in the sequence. "Computer on. Activate life support."

Why do you hate yourselves so much?

The lights came on, cutting across the foreign landscape like clashing swords, bringing the bright vegetation colors to life where ever they touched. It blinded me. It made my head spin, the world turning under my feet as the heat boiled up.

"Activate life support!"

Where was the computer? Why wouldn't it listen to me? Why did my head swell so with the pounding words? Why did my lungs ache?

Keep sealed, they taught us, it's the only way...

I staggered down, suit and gear catching on the sharp thorns of some new greenish plant life, each thorn like fingers tearing at the fabric. Not acid. No gradual wearing away. Knives slicing at the strong web till the foreign air crept in.

Keep sealed...

Why do you hate yourselves so much?

"I don't hate myself. I don't hate anybody!" I screamed and started to run, but the fingers, thorns, claws or whatever they were, held fast to me, their tips now touching my skin.

If you answer the question you'll live.

The world now spun around me, lights and colors smearing into one long flash that made no sense. I could have been spinning in space, orbiting one of the planets many moons, one small ion in many no longer invested with life.

Answer, the voice demanded, as one light caught me, then another and another, until the sky was full of falling light, like pillars holding up the sky, the weight of it pressed on my head and chest.

Why do you hate yourselves so much?

"Because..." my mind fumbled for the words. "Because..."

One by one the lights faded. And the colored world. I was lying on my back, the helmeted face of another flyer hovering over me, hands fumbling at my throat, at the still open seals that I had disconnected. There were no plants. No flat lands. Just the place where I had left my craft burning in this foreign world.

"Dylan?" the voice from the other suit said. "Are you still alive, Dylan? We got med-vac coming in for you. Just hold on, all right."

"Where are the lights?" I asked.

The face inside the other visor frowned. "Lights?"

"They asked me..."

"Just hold on," the voice said. "We got med-vac coming. You're hurt. You crashed. Your system failed. But you'll make it. You hit your target, Dylan. You hit their main defense system. You're a freakin' hero, boy. The rest is just mop up."

I nodded, feeling the strangers air seep into my broken suit, his computer regulating my life support, clearing out the poison from my air. I would be all right. We would win the war. Yet, the question remained unanswered in my head.

Why did we hate ourselves so much?

Table of Contents* * *

Astronomical Birthdays

It happens every time they say
I have to make a wish: the drifting darkness
and recollection of Anasazi ruins.
After forty you can live inside your head,
envisioning the clearest night sky
possible on this planet, exploring the various
meanings of being completely cholesterol
The entire universe: a landscape much misprized
to which I frequently beg passage.
Angst: the conviction that this time next year
I won't be in Tibet.

by Michael J. Maiello

Table of Contents* * *

Freedom of Thought
by Terence Ripmaster

There's lots of blabber during these bicentennial celebration days about "freedoms" we "enjoy" in this land called America. I do regard those abstract words in the Constitution, "The blessings of liberty" with respect. I can think of lots of nations on this earth where I would not want to live, because I would not have these liberties and freedoms.

Having said this, I would like to reflect on the "freedom" of thought. It is fairly easy to define the freedom of religion. It simply means that no one can force me to attend an "established" church or maintain an "accepted" faith. I am free to believe or not believe in religion. Give or take a few religious kooks, I would think that this is how it will continue in America. As for Freedom of the press, it is also fairly well established that anyone can print anything he or she desires. There are bookstores in America where you can buy Klan literature, anarchist manifestos, communist, conservative, and fascist books. You can buy any kinky sex stuff that excites your gonads. You can't say anything you wish over the "air" or on TV, but George Carlin has discussed those "seven dirty words" in his own fashion. As for Freedom of Speech, that too is fairly established and protected. There are few prohibitions about what, when and where you can blow off your mouth, but you can say just about what you want. But, we still have not gotten to freedom of thought.

There's a strange thing about freedom of thought. Thoughts rumble around in just about everyone's mind. We think about God, money, sex, relationships, metaphysical issues (not always in metaphysical terms) and, of course, living and dying. We think about cars, music, being cold, hot, sick, happy, having fun, not having fun, and of course, more metaphysical issues related to these reflections.

The greatest compliment I receive from students is "You make me think too much." It's strange! What is the opposite of making someone think too much? "I like your class, it doesn't require any thinking."

Then there is the actual history of America, where one can point to countless examples of the lack of freedom to write, broadcast, print, discuss and promote ideas. There are endless examples of religious dogmas being stuffed down our ears and throats. There are libraries filled with accounts of these unfreedoms.

Adams and those revolutionary boys, who advocated that colonists break from the British Empire, were labeled as criminals and were "hunted" by British officials. When Adams and the boys started the American Revolution, they dubbed the Tories (the people who supported the British Empire) as criminals and had them arrested and their property confiscated. After drafting the constitution, those who argued for the abolition of slavery in American were often called criminals and their journals banned. As capitalist industrialism expanded, various Labor and Socialist organizations were banned and members jailed and beaten. Of course, native Americans never had a "voice" in the land that was burned and shot out from under them. Then came the Cold War of the 20th Century. Those who advocated "Peace" and reconciliation were not jailed or banned, but their protests and publications were not exactly welcomed by the 'official " mouthpieces of madness. As Kurt Vonnegut would put it: "And so it goes."

During the 1960s it became popular, even mandatory to assert that all of our freedoms were so much bourgeois baloney. There was (and is) a lot of justification for this cynical viewpoint. There was King and his non-violent, civil rights followers being beaten and jailed. Free Speech! There were the anti-war protestors being trashed by cops. Freedom to Assemble and redress the government? There were the "alternative" people being booted out of communes and off the streets. Freedom of property? Whose? There were millions of voices crying out to stop the war and not a single network presenting this side of the issues. Freedom of the Press? About the only freedom the blue meanies and piggies did not take away was the freedom of thought. Well, almost!

The opening of the new "secret" FBI files from the 1960s show that more than 50 American authors were under FBI surveillance. The authors who were "watched" were W.H. Auden (whose poem "The Age Of Anxiety" perhaps tells us much about our times), Truman Capote (whose novel In Cold Blood said something about our criminal justice system), John Dos Passos (whose trilogy, USA still tells us something about how the system works), Tennessee Williams, Thomas Wolfe (For God Knows what), Ernest Hemingway, Pearl S. Buck, Sinclair Lewis, and Nelson Algren.

Writers work with a basic premise, Freedom of Thought. If you can't allow your pen (now computer) to rove over the human landscape, you can't write. It's as simple as that (for you out there looking to be writers.) Sinclair Lewis, for example, in his novel It Can't Happen Here, explored how a form of Hitler's fascism could happen in America. If ever a novel needed reprinting and rereading (or a first reading), it's this novel.

Kurt Vonnegut, speaking at William Paterson College, warned us of another way that our "freedom of though" is eroded in America. He told the audience that the big publishing houses (and other means for disseminating ideas) are now owned by multi-national corporate conglomerates: Gulf-Western, etc. There are no Alfred Knopfs, and other individual "men of books and ideas" in the publishing business any more. It's all market/profit publishing today. So, the next generation of readers will probably not have any Lewis', Audens, and Vonneguts to explore. That message is far more frightening to me than all of the J. Edgar Hoovers put together. The New York Times Book Review already reflects this trend. The look-alike book stores with walls of how-to-books and Gothic Romances are part of the trend as well. In these corporate bookstores, the philosophy, poetry, and literature sections are either non-existent or in the back of the store near the Garfield Calendars.

Yes, we do have those abstract freedoms and give or take some political and cultural repression, a few "voices" will take those freedoms seriously. The Thought Police of the corporate networks and Reagan's (now Bush's, Ed.) America will try to work us over, but I am sure that the noise of revolution, intelligence and revolt will come ringing through, even above the din of the "official" celebration of the bicentennial nonsense.

Well, I didn't get to why Allen Ginsberg can't read his famous poem "Howl" over WBAI-FM or why you often feel condemned for thinking your thoughts. But that will give you something to think about until I get around to writing some other reflections on this topic.

(T. Ripmaster is a former Professor of History at William Paterson College, Sussex Community College, and has been a strong influence of many of us who attended his lectures. -- Ed.)

Table of Contents* * *

Dreams of Perfection

There is no perfect being,
just the rumors of dreams left by Gods in their passing,
the sense of how things should be,
or were before our time, for us to live up to,
or tumble over, or drop down like broken dolls
or stand upon our merits of who we are and what we must be.
There is no more than that,
just vibrations of light and gravity,
curling about this special area of space,
given name and span of time,
through which we either find happiness or
dwell in misery.

Table of Contents* * *

Copyright 1999 A.D. Sullivan
All work is by A.D. Sullivan except where otherwise indicated.
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