Tuesday, April 15, 2014

RUST COLORED HAIR - SEGMENT FROM AN ESSAY IN PROGRESS


Rust Colored Hair -- segment from an essay draft, in-progress


        Aboard the chartered plane from Cancun, Mexico, the Cuban band rocked the cabin, playing for we, the illegals, the ones who dared to defy the United States government’s prohibition against traveling to the shunned island 90 miles off the coast of Florida. A few dozen of us, gathered by Global Exchange to violate and repudiate the U.S. blockade. The sanctions. And for me, the refusal to allow a government to prevent me from visiting with people from another land.

        This was the first of two journeys for me to Cuba during the mid-1990s. Our defiance on this one had a penalty, the threat of 10 years in prison and a $200,000 fine. We were felonious. Troublemakers. And many of us broadcast our intentions beforehand, including me, with a local television news report and write-ups in regional newspapers. The closing shot of the TV interview showed me walking away from the camera, along a Binghamton University path in upstate New York where I was working toward a Ph.D., conveying something dramatic, my guess. A troublemaker.

        The plane landed and we debarked, many amazed. No stamps on our passports when we passed through customs. We boarded buses, were given flowers of welcome, and rode through Havana, stopping once for some deliberation between the delegation leaders, including Media Benjamin, now of Code Pink, and our hosts. When the bus door opened, I stepped out, alone, with my flowers, crossed the road, and gave them to an older woman among the onlookers. Spontaneous. Probably a transgression of some kind. I wasn’t showboating. I had a gift to pass along. Contact.

        The trip became a gift, too. I wasn’t unfamiliar with so-called Third World circumstances, having traveled to Nicaragua twice, including to the northwest region along the Honduras border where the U.S.-backed contra forces marauded and murdered displaced Nicaraguans in the parched region, who chose to live in cooperatives, many of them radical Christian-based comunidades de base ecclesiales, thrown off their former properties by cotton and sugar plantation land thieves before the socialist Sandanista government revolutionaries came into power. That was history then, though. The Contra attacks were no longer necessary. The U.S. won. The Sandanistas were out of power. The base communities considered an aberration, condemned by the conservative Nicaragua Roman Catholic cardinal, the church. But a popular movement persisted despite that in Nicaragua. It wasn’t “communist” like the Cuban island. It was a means of survival, cooperative, collaborative in the midst of scarce resources, of a people who had known the feudal oppression of a dictatorship, the Somoza government.

Just a minute, though. Wasn’t it the dictatorial Batista government that Fidel Castro and his band of insurgents overthrew? And didn’t these usurpers seek assistance from the Eisenhower government before turning ultimately to Russia? By the time of our journey to Cuba, now entering its “Special Period” of increased impoverishment with the breakup of the Soviet Union? ...
 
(c) 2014 Wes Rehberg
 

 

 

 

       

       

Monday, April 07, 2014

EXPLORING RUSSIAN RELATED AND PROBLEMATIC THEMES


I'm researching several Russia-related and problematic themes at the moment.
Why? I'm trying to figure this out. A solid explicit reason has yet to emerge. 
The themes include:
-Russian history,
-Putin,
-Yeltsin,
-the Ukraine conflict and illicit and warlike opportunism on all sides,
-the Chechnya conflict and others,
-the polonium poisoning of former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko,
-the assassination and work of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya,
-Russian organized crime,
-the Gulag,
-imprisoned then freed Russian oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovski,
-the wealth and holdings ex-Ukraine president Yevtushenko gained,
-Russian literature,
-and others, some yet to be discovered.
 I'm studying the language as well (not easy at my advanced age).
With this, I expect to post summaries of some of that research.
Why again? A solid explicit reason has yet to emerge. Maybe it's the spirit of inquiry with integrity ...

Честность - honesty, integrity


Friday, March 28, 2014

ILLUSIONS FROM "WHEN" -- STORY IN PROGRESS ...


ILLUSIONS FROM "WHEN" - in progress

Agent One started the conversation above ground.:
"Of course this between us is only a matter of convenience."
Agent Two: "For now."
"And you have the state's resources."
"A mere suspicion. We're both elusive. And your resources? An enemy, maybe?"
"The state always speaks in terms of an enemy."
"The law, then ..."
"The state has control of judges, lawmakers, hired guns, lobbyists, influence peddlers, utilization of the underworld, you know that."
"We have secrets then to share?"
"That's what makes this alliance intriguing."
"So where did those two go?"
"We are not aligned. I don't know."
"But you're familiar with them."
"Only insofar as a brief historical encounter."
"The collapsed boardwalk then?"
"A mere demonstration, I suppose. There may have been another motive."
"We both have familiarities, then. To me it was a hallucination, an illusion. Nothing in the newspapers."
"Depends on the frame of reference, doesn't it?"
The two stopped walking, realizing they lost their bearings and an actual physical connection with each other, rapt in conversation. Both Agents ran their maps through their minds, pinpointing icons showing their locations, now several blocks apart, but converging.
Agent Two: "Our physical destination must be the convergence point."
Agent One: "I'll meet you there."
At that moment, police and fire engine sirens shot cascading shrill echoes through nearby skyscrapers. Both Agents received enforcement alerts: "The Museum of Culture!" They arrived within seconds, showed respective security badges, passed through quickly set up barricades, and stepped inside. The floors and walls looked empty. The intrusion alerts quieted and a guard pointed upward. All the works of that gallery appeared to have been spread across the ceiling, undamaged, but inaccessible beyond neon-colored wires.
"They're attached, perhaps they can't be removed, even if we get through the wires," a museum official announced. "Just this gallery."
"Those two," Agent Two assumed. Agent One agreed.
Agent Two: "Oh, it's a pun."
Agent One: "Amused?"
"I shouldn't be. They're commercially sacred artifacts."
 ...
She smiled as they sat on a park bench and watched the chaos.
Watch, this,” She said. She nodded her head.
I don’t believe this!” an arriving fire official shouted. “The whole thing’s a hoax!”
No, no!” a police official said. “The stuff was on the ceiling. Ask anyone inside?”
Arguments grew louder as those who witnessed the illusion claimed what they saw was real while latecomers questioned or derided them.
How on earth could all those artifacts be hanging from the damn ceiling one minute, then be back in place the next?” one official asked. "It is physically impossible. Come on, you can't be serious."
Afterward, the city formed a commission to investigate the occurrence. They would hire physicists to help them.
Both Agents smiled.
Agent One: “Typical of your people.”
Agent Two: “And not of yours? Are you sure yours are not there, too?”

© Wes Rehberg 2014


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

THESE ARE DRAFT VERSIONS ....

I probably don't need to say this -- it helps me that the clarification is specified though.
Some texts in posts have since been altered, even radically, as I weave things in a story.
Drafts, then, is what's in this blog.
Posted with trepidation.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

ANOTHER EXCERPT FROM "WHEN" -- STORY IN PROGRESS

Another excerpt from "When" ...
------------------------------------
Speaker One and Speaker Two sat at a little round cafe table in the middle of a noisy chain restaurant and bar. The waitress came.
Speaker One: The special.
Speaker Two: The same.
She: Will it be the same then?
Both speakers: Of course, what else?
When She returned, She brought blackened catfish, baked potato and mixed vegetables for Speaker One and placed it on the table. In front of Speaker Two, She placed barbecued chicken wings, celery and sauce, and french fries.  Voilá, She said.
Both speakers: See? The special. The same.
The bartender, He, shouted to the other patrons to rise, circle their table, and applaud.
Speaker Two: No illusions here.
Speaker One: Thank you, all. Thank you. Enjoy our meal.
Both got up from the table and exited the restaurant.
Images of them eating remained.

What else now? He asked.
The museum, She said.
They rode the subway.
In their car, Speaker One sat at one end, Speaker Two at the other. They texted each other, oblivious to others aboard..
She intercepted the messages and displayed them on the train's windows, invisible to the two. Occasional lights in the dark subway tunnel flickered behind.
Speaker One's message: "They're on board with us."
Speaker Two's message: "How can you tell?"
Speaker One's message: "Our car is decoupled, we're coasting."
Speaker Two's message: "Wait ... we're pulling into the station."
Speaker One's message: "That means when the train pulls out, we'll be left behind."
Speaker Two's message: "No problem, this is our stop. "
Others on the car observed the interplay of messages, looked at who might be transmitting them, and headed for the doors. The doors opened. They all exited and turned to look at the car. The doors closed. The car left the station with the rest of the train.
"What the hell was that?" a subway patron asked, angered. "I got off, but this ain't my friggin' stop!"
Others turned looking for someone to blame. Speaker One and Two stepped on the escalator. Halfway up, it stopped.
Speaker One: "We'll have to walk the rest of the way."
The escalator started again.
Speaker Two: "No we won't"
The angry man shouted. "It was those two!" Others turned to look. Just then another train pulled into the station. "Forget it," one of the others said. "Here's another ride. There's always another one."


 © 2014 Wes Rehberg

Sunday, March 09, 2014

SHORT EXCERPT FROM "WHEN," STORY IN PROGRESS ...

Short excerpt from "When" ... 
------------------------------
Look behind the illusion, like journalists are supposed to. These two are a layer beneath, under the myth that is perpetuated on the superficial membrane that most take for reality, the game of the frame, said the one speaker
Oh, such cynicism, said the other.
That's it. Swallow it whole. Did not the boardwalk collapse? The journalists will be told how it happened, will read the documents given to them in conspiratorial tones like precious manna that's really manure. Even though one of them may have witnessed what we had.
Oh, it was a hallucination.
How can you depart from your senses like that, said the one speaker.

She leaves the frame of the two speakers' reference and slips between them, ephemeral. He, a wisp, with her, coils a filament around their left ankles. She and he merge and sing in one voice. The sound brightens the filaments and sends a message along the outermost layer of the two speakers' skin so that it appears to be both sound in their ears and printed words to their optic nerves.
See, said the one speaker. Is that a hallucination?
I am still suspicious. Are we getting the same message? said the other.

---------------
© 2014 Wes Rehberg

Saturday, March 08, 2014

FROM "WHEN," A WRITING IN PROGRESS

FROM "WHEN," IN PROGRESS ...

I could waste our time and talk about the inner sense of torque she used to remove the carriage bolts without a tool in her hand.
It was evanescent.
That is such a trite word. The whole thing collapsed.
Boardwalk and all.
It was the argument on the boardwalk along the beach.. A question of scale.
When?
When they were talking about scale.
What they expect? Of course they would have to shrink.
But then the estimate could be wrong. Too small. Too large. They're too random, careless.
They use a frame of reference.
Oh sure, them. Disrupting. Decoupling. Oblongs into wisps of steam and she shouting "integrity."
When?
At the estimated appropriateness. She never misses.
He's the randomizer though. Clever. Subtle, like an atmosphere of illicit behavior.
All of it.
---------------
© 2014 Wes Rehberg