Life & Island Times: Manchester

Editor’s Note: I am traveling and walked in from drinks last night just in time to see the cascade of horror from the UK. This is Marlow’s take on the latest savage act of wanton terror.

– Vic

We in quiet corners all over the world are suffering another war time loss of family and friends very dear to us. Long ago this war’s battlefields moved from foreign valleys and caves to our homeland. Our streets, transportation, athletic events and entertainment venues are where the enemy’s targeting efforts are focused.

Our hearts go out in sympathy to the families who are enduring these cruel losses of their young. There are many households that have been struck to the heart.

This most recent attack at a youth pop music concert revealed that this enemy is now targeting our children. And why? Surely you must have asked yourselves this question.

Why, in all conscience, should these be the ones to suffer?

Children, young people at the height of their promise. Why these? Are these our soldiers? Are these our fighters? Why should they be sacrificed? I shall tell you why.

Because this is not only a war of soldiers in uniform. It is a war of the people, of all the people, and it must be fought not only on the battlefields, but in the cities and in the villages, in the factories and on the farms, in the homes, and in the hearts of every man, woman, and child who love freedom.

As we have bury these newly dead, what will be our response to this escalating tyranny and terror that threatens to strike our children down? This is a people’s war. It is our war. We are the fighters. How shall we fight it?

Missing teenagers (from left) Olivia Campbell, Martyn Hett, Chloe Rutherford and Liam Curry

052317-1LIT

Copyright © 2017 From My Isle Seat
www.vicsocotra.com

Life & Island Times: Rock the Donny

Editor’s Note: Marlow, Sage of the low country, lets fly once more.

– Vic

Rock the Donny

051817-1LIT

Voted for him when he ran
Supported him when he played with the fire
Russian thing knocked Donny outta the trees
Now he’s on his knees
He asking for cover “Please, hey”
Donny, Donny, Donny
Didn’t you know you were gonna get rocked, Donny

He foxed the foxes
He ratted the rat
He aped the apes
We all knew about that
There is one thing we’re now sure of
We can’t take any more
“Darlings, don’t you Donny the Donny, hey” he cries
Donny, Donny, Donny
Didn’t you know you were gonna get rocked, Donny, hey, hey
Rock the Donny, hey yeah

(Donny) Tweets keep us churning
(Donny) Something’s burning
(Donny) Don’t like it but we guess we’re learning

Rock, rock, rock
Watch the Donny get it, Donny
Rock, rock, rock
Watch the Donny get it, Donny

Staff tries to cover him when he sleeps
Cover him after he speaks
He throws his pearls before us swine
the Donny thinks we’re deaf, dumb and blind
Cover me, he screams, please, hey
Donny, Donny, Donny
Didn’t you know you were gonna get rocked, Donny, hey, hey
Rock the Donny, hey yeah

(Donny) Too much at stake
(Donny) Ground beneath us shakes
(Donny) And the news is breaking

Rock, rock, rock
Watch the Donny get it, Donny
Rock, rock, rock
Watch the Donny get it, Donny

Rock the Donny
Rock the Donny
Rock the Donny hey hey
Rock the Donny

Twitter the Donny back to life
Rock the Donny

Rock the Donny
Rock the Donny
Rock the Donny

Twitter’ll rock the Donny to life

Copyright © 2017 From My Isle Seat with deepest apologies to Peter Gabriel
www.vicsocotra.com

Life & Island Times: A Fantasia on the Trump White House

Editor’s Note: To some degree, we are all a little disoriented by the state of politics. This is Marlow’s take.

– Vic

A Fantasia on the Trump White House

Even if we live 200 years, we’re never gonna figure out what’s going on inside today’s White House. Its real nature. We might be able to comprehend the universe, but not the truth about 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Never.

The American people are sullen. They’ve been clobbered on all sides by the endless Global War on Terror, the Great Recession, Globalization and so on. They turned off, opiated up, social networked but nothing helped. Along came someone who articulated their rage for them. They wanted angry action. Now — not later. They didn’t want conventional but anti-establishment.

What they got on the surface was what they wanted but . . . DC deals in illusions. None of it is true. But we the people sit there day after day, night after night watching it all. We believe the illusions they spin there. We think that the nightly news portrays reality. But none of it is the truth. At its best it is circus, carnival, high wire acts, storytellers, sideshow freaks, and celebrities. They’re in the boredom-killing business.

After the past few weeks of beltway melodrama, I had a revelation. In several years this could take place.

– Marlow

PS I am not a cynic by nature.

051617-LIT
Green Room? Who knows? This was the scene in the Senate chamber during the impeachment trial of President Bill
Clinton in 1999, Chief Justice William Rehnquist presiding. 45’s hero, Andrew Jackson, was also impeached but not convicted (courtesy Wikipedia).

The heavy pancake makeup faced, mussed, champagne colored, mop topped, glory-seeking serial Twitterer. already impeached, looked about to be convicted according to the polls. He considered the coming verdict “a mega news-event” that would be his greatest accomplishment and believed that his legend would grow, not just live on.

Earlier that day he had tweeted, “Some of my fans may have wanted me impeached but only my enemies want me convicted . . . . This may be my final curtain call — the most theatrical and consequential moment of my life.”

He then delivered an astonishing, live, pre-verdict monologue as if it were some Hollywood award “acceptance speech” via a Snapchat story video during the verdict’s final vote tabulation, calling the Senate chamber his green room in another tweet. In an unknowingly prescient speech on the uniquely American cult of media celebrity:

“I’d like to thank all the wonderful people that made this great moment in my life come true. My daughter, who was wrongly convicted and jailed in order to further my career. My wife and ex-wives who should be here with me today. All my fans who died so gallantly when ObamaCare collapsed. And especially all those wonderful people who were kind enough to follow me in the newspapers, the internet and watch me on the television news shows. Without all of you, I, er we, could never have gotten this far.

“Have I learned anything about life? Yes, several things. The body, not the mind, has all the fun; but, it’s where all the germs are; so carry and use Purell. Don’t be bitter, get even. Do not spend time with bores like insurance and used car salesmen.

“Some of you might be thinking, ‘Selfish to the end, aren’t you? Thinking only of yourself with nary a thought for the country . . . ‘ Well, I’ve always had a weakness for our now once again great country. We are no longer alone and helpless. Heaven help anyone, should they attack our fully walled country.

“I’m not asking my supporters to forgive me. I’ll never understand or forgive myself, since there’s nothing to forgive. Just remember that we’re all alike — unselfish, driven yet shrewd and able to look folks and things in the eye and call them by their right names.

“Even if I had done something, what am I doing apologizing to my enemies? Why have I been hounded to always apologize to those little bastards? For three long years, my staff has been apologizing to them (he makes air quotes with his hands), without there ever being any reason. I never did anything wrong – why can’t we quit apologizing? They’re the ones who oughta be sorry.

“It is you, my fellow countrymen and women, that I burn for and it is you that I was impeached and may be convicted for! Please remember, I love all of you fuckers!

As the last few key Senators announced their votes, “Well, that’s about it for me, folks; but, it’s not goodbye.”

As his eyes scanned slowly side to side, he softly said, “I can’t let it go. I can’t. There must be some way to get this all back. I’ll go crazy if I don’t. I’ll come up with something by tomorrow. It’s all that matters . . . (voice rises, eyes directly fixing on the camera) Trump Tower! Home. I’ll go home, and I’ll think of some way to get it all back! After all, tomorrow is another day and news cycle!”

Copyright © 2017 From My Isle Seat
www.vicsocotra.com

Life & Island Times: Intel. Dumpster Fire

Editor’s Note: Marlow calls them the way he sees them this morning. I confess, I have never seen anything like this in my life.

-Vic
Intel. Dumpster Fire

Author note: I wrote this early this past week, while our imperial city started spinning out of control. It was so disorienting that I searched the past for some context. What I discovered were portents.

——

Three months ago to this very day, we were twittering about the new President’s relationships with the nation’s Intelligence Community. All of the following occurred during a single 24 hour period:

President Trump was complaining about its leaks and unmasking. Deservedly so.

A Wall Street Journal story trumpeted that the Intelligence Community wasn’t sharing the good stuff with the new guy. This was really bad, if true. Sort of a return to the old days where the White House was kept in the dark on many sources, methods and detailed reporting.

A counter punch article in response was based on the Director of National Intelligence statement saying the WSJ story wasn’t so.

During an impromptu press conference, the President referred to a Russian intelligence collection ship operating off the east coast:

“The greatest thing I could do is shoot that ship”

Trump claimed that the American people would think it was “so great” if he ordered an attack on the Russian spy ship reportedly loitering off the coast of Connecticut but that he wouldn’t because he wanted to try to preserve U.S.-Russian relations.

February 16 2017 seems oh so long ago. Today the earth is standing still.

America once had the world’s preeminent intelligence organization. We now have in its place a train wreck bordering on constitutional crisis. We now seem to have a beltway full of leakers both authorized and unauthorized, elected and unelected, career and appointed, all doing what they conceive is their duty or at least their agenda. It sure looks and smells like a stinky dumpster fire.

051617-1LIT

North Korea missile tests, mom of all bombs, laptop bombs,
Streaming murders, Facebook Live, Trump vs. the FBI
Leaking lips sink ships, get more stock . . . large blue chips,
Travel ban, germ-a-phobe, good God, there’s another probe
Repeal, replace, discount trips to outer space
Wanna Cry, Ransomware thieves can’t spend bitcoin currency
Onion rings, endless Game of Thrones inside the West Wing,
Clinton whining, finger pointing, Billy Joel song bastardized!
Codeward leaking, Israelis queasy, internet hoaxes drive policy

We didn’t start this dumpster fire
Should have seen it coming when Trump started tweeting
We didn’t start this dumpster fire
No one can believe it, we’re doomed to repeat it

Wikileaks, Comey this, Comey that, lock ’em up, ratta tat tat
Russian probe, Supreme Court justice, grinding ISIS, still no market crisis
They go low, we go high, Is America is “great again?”
Mike Flynn, mortal sin,
Zika virus, Al Qaeda ‘s back, Russian hacks
Stock market rise, 400 ppm, France got a new PM
Hashtag obsessed, news cycles and our minds compressed

We didn’t start this dumpster fire
Should have seen it coming when Trump started tweeting
We didn’t start this dumpster fire
No one can believe it, we’re doomed to repeat it

Drain the swamp, build a wall, Brangelina’s tragic fall,
Immigrants matter, ACA fail, nothing happens, country’s in the pail
Trump didn’t win the Nobel Prize, supporters wonder why
Trigger warnings, free speech is dead, Trump’s scary big head
Epic superbowl, no more birth control

We didn’t start this dumpster fire
Should have seen it coming when Trump started tweeting
We didn’t start this dumpster fire
No one can believe it, we’re doomed to repeat it

Taping system, memos for the record
Look at the mess they’re both in
Where the hell is old Mike Flynn
Crumbling credibility, kiss tax cuts goodbye

We didn’t start this dumpster fire
Should have seen it coming when Trump started tweeting
We didn’t start this dumpster fire
No one can believe it, we’re doomed to repeat it

We didn’t start this dumpster fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start this dumpster fire
No, we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it

What else do I have to say?
Summer’s here so I’m out the door
I can’t take it anymore!

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
But when we are gone
It will still burn on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on
We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No, we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it
We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No, we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it
We didn’t start the fire

Copyright © 2017 From My Isle Seat/Billy Joel
www.vicsocotra.com

Life & Island Times: The Good Life at “One Flew South”

Editor’s Note: Marlow is a real person. Don’t forget! But man, I love Key West!

– Vic

Author’s Note: After five brief but fun-filled days seeing old friends who still reside on our former island stomping grounds, we returned back to Savannah on Wednesday. This short piece describes an oasis we found that offered a respite from the perils of our modern American odyssey.

– Marlow

The Good Life at “One Flew South”

Screen Shot 2017-05-12 at 10.50.25 AM

Alanta, surrounded by travelers
we found a corner table alone
and ordered old fashions and sushi
others sat down,
and talked while looking at newspapers and streaming video boards across the way,
about the latest horrors in the Capitol City
they went on and on
with what-ifs and indignation
look, my man, said they to the waiter,
we don’t want anything to drink, we don’t drink,
but we could sure use
coffee, and haven’t we seen you someplace before?
give us another round I whispered to the
waiter. We drink, and we’ve never seen you
before.
the waiter came back with their coffee
and our drinks, and we sat there eating fabulous sushi
while the others sat there
twirling their spoons in their cups,
clink clink clink
and we told the waiter, this is great sushi
and ordered the bourbon pound cake dessert
it was superb, but the next one is going to be
better, and we lifted our old drink glasses and drained them,
and then drank some from our fresh glasses,
while clink clink clink
went the news feeds and the spoons against the cups
and one of the TV talkers coughed
everybody on the TV screen was not happy.
but we were

Copyright © 2017 From My Isle Seat

Life & Island Times: Gong Show

Editor’s Note: This just in. Marlow lives in the city I used yesterday as the poster child for the charm of Washington as we leave it behind to live on New York Time. Oh, important correction to yesterday’s screed.: Bill Clinton was the last President to fire a Director of the FBI. President Clinton fired FBI Director William S. Sessions in July of 1993, ending a six-month drama during which the former federal judge refused repeated requests from administration officials to resign. Dick Nixon’s offense was to fire the Special Prosecutor, Archibald Cox, in 1973. Sorry- fake news is everywhere.

– Vic.

Gong Show

051117-LIT1

Americans don’t know what political cataclysm is – –
someone getting fired can set them to shrieking
like monkeys —
someone clearing out his desk after a private jet trip back home
a cushy pension, board memberships, a book contract,
and cable talking head contract awaiting . . .
6 AM
we sit in our cars
we’re all driving around – –
where are we going?
a little excitement has broken into our
artificially flavored lives as the radio drones on about the horror
we stand next to strangers
chattering nonsense about
our faux fears
righteous graveyard humor snickers . . .
our country . . . it, the constitution . . . oh my, the tax cut . . . maybe,
our stock and bank accounts
this is just another tickler
a baby bird tuft of a feather
and the newsies can’t bear it . . .
suppose a real enemy invaded or bombed the Imperial City
as it and NY were bombed?
not with nukes or missiles
but with ordinary gravity bombs
day after day,
every day
as happened in London
and other cities of the world?
if the rest of the world could truly see Americans today
as we clench our panties into smaller and tighter wads,
their laughter would bring them to their knees
and even the ground beneath us would tremble from their guffaws
and chase our minds away to where we do belong
wherever that is,
and who cares where it is
as long as it’s somewhere far away from
this Gong Show

Copyright © 2017 From My Isle Seat
www.vicsocotra.com

Life & Island Times: North Georgia Cemetery

This piece came about when a friend emailed me that this cemetery no longer existed. Someone had come and exhumed all of its inhabitants and left a dilapidated fifth wheel RV in their place.
– Marlow

050217-1LIT

Just outside the small north Georgia town of Clayton on a forgotten country back road rested for many years the strangest cemetery I have ever seen. This resting place was for Ice Boxes. True to its southern location, it was in the parking lot of an abandoned bait shop.

050217-2LIT

I came to know and visit it, when Daniel, a dear friend and fellow two wheeler rider, moved nearby. Being Georgia born, he thought nothing of it. To this Yankee, it was a complete and utter mystery. It remains so.

We first saw it when Daniel and I putted back from a day long visit to the place he credited with saving him thirty five years before — Rabun Gap Nacoochee School. Before that place saved him, Daniel was on an express train ride to a short and violent end to a life filled with physical abuse by his father.

Some anonymous person or foundation knew of his situation and secretly offered to send him from his Maryland hell home to this faraway place of real education. Not without some troubles did he graduate from this place and Georgia Tech four year later.

Daniel subsequently became a refrigeration expert and worked as an arena heating/air conditioning and rink chilling expert for the NHL and the winter Olympics for over twenty years before his multiple toxic exposures to these machines deadly gasses nearly killed him. So it didn’t surprise me that he had little interest in exploring this Ice Box graveyard.

Some folks are collectors of odd things. The person or persons who gathered these machines was one such. Examination of their manufacturing plates said they were from a broad spectrum of makers, years, and models. Over my subsequent visits, their numbers grew and none of them were left to decay or became dirty. Someone was obviously curating this collection as well as coming by to care for and clean these dead chill creatures.

050217-3LIT

At my request Daniel asked around the local HVAC businesses if anyone knew who or what was behind this collection. No one knew or at least would share what they knew or had heard. It was just one of those things folks paid no attention to.

The same was true of what led to their disappearance back in 2016.

050217-4LIT

2016 was surely a strange year.

Copyright © 2017 From My Isle Seat
www.vicsocotra.com

Life & Island Times: 5 AM

Editor’s Note: one of Savannah’s most earnest scribblers contributes this poetic gem this morning. It reminds me of lying in bed at Refuge Farm, listening to the lonely sound of the horn on the freight train rolling down the tracks that my ancestors helped to build. Trains, and night. A lot going on here, none of it particularly interesting. But you will be happy to know that the plumbing works again.

– Vic

5 AM
042717-LIT

there is something about
Savannah,
it doesn’t let me feel guilty
that I have not had feeling for the
things so many others
need.
it has left me alone.

sitting up in my chair
with one dim light on,
listening for 5 AM train
whistle,
finishing off the
bottle of wine,
the softness of
the fruit
hits
me
as I hear a distant rumble
moving towards the
house.

I prefer trains
to
clocks

maybe I’m
crazy
trains know and call
out my name
clocks do
not

Copyright © 2017 From My Isle Seat
www.vicsocotra.com

Life & Island Times: Death Arrived on Time

Editor’s Note: Traditional Disclaimer: This is a touching tribute to friendship from Marlow, who is a real live human being.

– Vic

Death Arrived on Time

Screen-Shot-2017-04-24-at-4.18.42-PM

Death arrived on time this past Tuesday morning. It was easier than we thought it would have been. Ned had been suffering from congestive heart failure for several years; and, it had spiraled out of control recently. He was deeply sedated when he passed.

I met him more than twenty years ago, when he was about my current age. He was a brilliant patent attorney who had run-and-gunned with the titans of American manufacturing. He counted the Reynolds Aluminum brothers amongst his close personal friends. The Ned I knew was a regular guy, possessed of a sneaky quick wit, a taste for good wine and do-anything-love for his two talented children.

He was never drunk on New Year’s eve nor overly satisfied at Christmas. We would loaf together on Labor Day and clown with friends when they were patients in hospitals. He was nervous at the birth of his grandchildren. They and his wife Jacquie made his later years good.

We spent countless evenings talking about our kids, jobs and past lives while sitting on my Lee Street front porch steps, in his Old Town backyard rose garden on lawn chairs under a 150-year-old oak tree, and at wine bars and restaurant tables in Washington DC, New York and Paris.

We inhaled life’s perfume deeply as if its flowers were everblooms.

We departed the Alexandria shores of the Potomac River years ago — I to my southernmost island, he to a coastal town in Maine. We kept in touch. We visited each other several times when the weather was seasonally perfect at the others pad.

I can see him now after a few days in that Maine hospital bed, being fed and aired by his caring nurses and a high tech ventilator . . . there he was sitting propped up in his bed . . . almost blind, eyelids resting closed but his eyes hungrily searching the darkness to see the mercy of death with his children and grandchildren at his bedside.

“Isn’t it a lovely day, Mr. Martin?” the day nurse said when she saw him after Tuesday morning’s shift turnover.

“Oh, yeah . . . ” he tried to say.

Offshore through his room window, you could see the sails of a passing yacht with a champagne breakfast party on deck, lots of girls, laughter and the rest.

“It’s the first sunlight we’ve had in three days, Mr. Martin. Spring is finally coming. I can feel it.” observed his nurse.

Ned’s face flushed a rosy pink and he smiled a small smile as he thought “I can feel the warm light coming.”

The nurse came in and turned off the flashing monitor.

Rest in peace, my friend.

Copyright © 2017 From My Isle Seat
www.vicsocotra.com

Life & Island Times: March for Science

Editor’s Note: Standard disclaimer applies. Marlow’s voice is his own.

– Vic

March for Science

W and I were taking in the annual hidden garden tour of old town Savannah yesterday, when the Hostess City’s March for Science shambled past us. Not much science, no chanting. science celebrating or politics was in evidence. Even the signage was tame (“Living past 30 #thanks science” was a Twitterized one while “Science is the mitochondria of our society” read a lame attempt at nerd humor). This was probably due to the fact that most of the marchers were students at the Savannah College or Art and Design.

I wasn’t sure whether I should weep or chortle when I spotted”Data Saves Lives” and “Show Me Your Science.” One placard was spot on “Alt Facts = √-1”

042517-LIT1
Foxy Loxy’s Fire and Wine

Meanwhile we ended the day celebrating the scientific fruit of oenology at Foxy Loxy – a local coffee beer and wine bar on Bull Street. They offered half price bottles of wine, free marshmallows to toast over their blazing fire pits, while enjoying its youthful vibe.

042517-LIT2

Yay Science!!

Or to be fashionable

Copyright © 2017 From My Isle Seat
www.vicsocotra.com