Reflections on our age of misrule

Donald Trump’s unceasing media travesty brings to mind studies of societal collapse from Arnold Toynbee’s A Study of History [he looked at 26 civilizations] through to Jared Diamond’s Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed and Ronald Wright’s book A Short History of Progress, which Quebec filmmaker Mathieu Roy and I adapted into the theatrical documentary Surviving Progress.  Each of them identify as a primary cause of collapse – Wright calls them “progress traps”  - the disastrous leadership of elites.  They are shown to misgovern through ignorance, self–serving belief systems, and their growing insulation from the interests of the larger society. 

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Kara Walker Show

It was as horrifying as it was life-changing, the lack of any facial feature or details erased from her quasi-cartoonish figures engaging in a chaotic interplay of violent revenge and total domination, confronting the viewer with the stubbornness of slavery’s legacy that had been transmuted into 150 years of racist governmental policy and cultural stereotypes.

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Heaven and Earth: Starshine & Clay by Kamilah Aisha Moon

If we were to accept the notion that the individual body is a microcosm of the world, and a person’s disease and illness can be mirrored in the ruin of the broader world, then we would have no trouble believing that somehow, each of us struggles between the proclivity for self-destruction and the perpetual hope for healing and survival. If we’ve ever thought about the parallels between these two organisms – the body and the world, then we would have no trouble tracing the logic of Kamilah Aisha Moon’s second collection of poems, Starshine & Clay.

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Two Poems

Early evening in Firenze.  The day’s main events have passed. 

Paint spread across canvases, lovers embraced, gelato devoured.

Have the clouds begun to shift into their twilight stance? That distinct Florentine merging of gold, yellow, pink? 

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Two Poems by Justin Banks

Society attempted to box me in, in an attempt to make me
one of them, telling me I must live, must speak their way,
but if don’t; I’ll be punished for being different, for being
extreme. A menace to society. When I was chasing a
dream. I will stand for the destruction of mankind not
another day! Soon is the time to break down the walls of
society.

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Poetry & ProseJustin Banks