The Dr. Is In

in Poetry

Dr. Wes

Rage Against the Real

I want to talk about surrealism this month. But first I want to present the following unpaid anti-advertisement:

The first issue of the zine Out of the Margins, a new publication of the Real Change Homeless Empowerment Project, became unavailable in stores throughout Seattle last week. Out of the Margins will not be sold at various shelters and at drop-in centers every other month. Should any of you unwisely attempt to purchase any single copy* of Out of the Margins, we at Real Change intend to be highly uncooperative. We shall not return your phone calls, we shall delete your email messages to us, and we shall run from you when we see you approach on foot. But we hope the rest of you will enjoy it. [* Annual subscriptions are available for $20 at (206) 441-3247]

OK. So lets talk about surreality. First, why do I want to do this? Everyone else, wherever I go in this great universe of ours, prefers to talk about reality. So: "What's MY problem?" I ask.

I came to realize only days ago that not only did I indeed have this problem, but that so also did some of my most loved ones, in addition to others who have been subject to my globule of influence. That I did so then was due to the unselfish, caring, concerned intervention of Bob "the Other" Redmond, who is Real Change's Production Manager, Editor Manager, and most importantly, fellow Poet Guy.

I was gazing at what was supposed to be, according to reality, the black and white computer image of a pair of male (hence blue) blue jays. The computer gave the blue jays a copper tinge. I consciously thought at the time that, if there should be any tinge whatsoever, it (the tinge) should be of the blue kind.

Gazing thusly at these nonblue yet nevertheless certainly blue blue jays, I began to declaim openly regarding their lack of bluehood. I found that I could not contain myself; I experienced a sense of urgency, a compulsion, a need arising from some one of those things that I might on occasion call whatsits. One of those things that my therapist often used to term feelings.

Nor was I alone. Fellow editor Anitra L. "Please Help Stabilize Me" Freeman was also there, and she practically precisely echoed my own concerns about the missing bluehood. OK I lie, she said as they were symbolic in nature, or rather symbolic of the nature of blue jays, hence they were justified (in her thinking) in manifesting any hues that they damn well wanted to be. "Symbols can do that," she said.

Just as I was about to embark upon a tirade decrying the serious problem of bluelessness in computer monitor representations of gray scale images of avia generally, and the consequent need for urgent federal action, I heard the gentle voice of Bob Redmond from behind me framing the simple remark, "I can't believe how surreal you guys are! Constantly! I mean, WOW! Like, where does that come from? Gee."

Thanks to Bob I have looked within and I have faced my demon. I now fully understand how it is that I can be surreal all of the time.

It comes from PURE hostility! Every cell of my being rages against the real! "Are you REAL?" - I ask that question of every stinking lousy little bit of world-stuff that comes my way, and if the wormy pathetic little stuff squeaks "yes" out of its unworthy windpipe, I say, "then, in that case: CHANGE!"

That's right. It's just me, Anitra, Salvadore, that Rene-Magrite dude, Barney Rubble, Ernie Kovacs, and the artist formerly known as Pee Wee Herman - just the seven of us against all that exists in the cosmos that claims special privileges just because it IS.

For example, Blake Nordstrom IS. The Nordstrom garage IS. The Seattle City Council IS. The adjudicated unassailability of the ethicality of Nordstrom, their contractors, the City Council, HUD, and the money that passed about between them just IS.

Me and my Dali Posse say it ain't that easy. We say that it "matters" (or should we have to say it "spirits"?) that the money passed around was intended to bring relief to people in our cities suffering from a level of poverty normally associated with hurricane victims. And that those who direct Nordstrom, however inbred they may be, have no excuse for being unaware of that intention.

Just as Nordstrom just IS, likewise anger just HAPPENS.

Speaking of Nordstrom, I see that now the company wants the federal government to allow it to convert its credit services to a savings and loan! And they will probably get permission! Just so they can as conveniently as possible put people in debt whenever they can't afford to buy their goods! Remember the savings and loan crisis? Our government apparently doesn't. Look forward to paying extra taxes to support the desire of the not-quite-rich-enough to have the same imported shoes that the rich-enough get to have.

© Dr. Wes Browning:

2129 Second Ave., Seattle, WA 98121 (206) 441-3247

Adventures in Poetry Columns       © Dr. Wes Browning's Home Page
The Great Speckled Bird Columns on Homelessness