Category Archives: Yesterday’s Artists in Today’s World

Daily Micro: Yesterday’s Artists in Today’s World ~ Frank Baum

Acknowledging Frank (Baum)

From his mighty castle and surrounded by armed-to-the teeth bodyguards, The Great Bloombug prepares to scan the yellow brick road for surely he knows they come.

“They will surrender all their weapons to me,” he says to the King Monkey, “because they yearn to find gold at the end of the yellow brick road.” Turning to his high-powered surveillance screens, he says, “Come to me, my little ones”

He watches the long parade, led by the five of them, the farm girl, her mongrel dog, the strawman, the coward and man made of tin, food, animal life, building materials, wariness and minerals. And all of them in the parade, as far as his computer-enhanced eyes can see, ready to exchange their guns for his protection.

“Such chicanery,” he says to the King Monkey, “we’ve tricked them to believe in gold instead of themselves. If they knew their own power, they would build their own city.”

He pauses, thinks for a minute.

“Then what would I do? No, they must believe in me.”

In that moment, The Great Bloombug makes a decision.

“Man the drone monkeys,“ he says to King Monkey. “Have them drop pamphlets that say ‘The Gold is at the end of the Road” and drive the parade to me. I want their weapons and when they come, they will be mine!”

In his blunderbuss, The Great Bloombug fails to notice that the farm girl’s dog strays off the path, wanders through the woods and finds a river alongside an emerald valley. Racing back to the farm girl, Toto shakes his fur and splatters water onto her shoes.

The long faced coward, who in his caution and wariness senses something amiss in this endless march to The Great Bloombug, reaches down with great care and runs his finger against her shoe. “Water,” he says with a whisper, “makes things grow.”

The man made of tin chimes in, “And we are hungry after walking so far.”

And the straw man says, “We can’t eat gold.”

And the farm girl, Dorothy by name, as if she awakens from a trance, says, “We are on the wrong path. The yellow brick road does not lead to one who will grant our wishes. The yellow-brick road leads to the one who wants to steal our freedom.”

And her words ripple through the long line of those seeking The Great Bloombug’s protection and they slip off the road, all of the marchers, keeping their guns with them, heading to the river and the emerald valley where they will grow food, tend animals and build homes, create power sources and be ever wary to not step foot on the yellow brick road, again.

 

~ Stephen J. Bergstrom

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Daily Micro: Yesterday’s Artists in Today’s World ~ Little Orphan Annie

Acknowledging Little Orphan Annie

I look at his great, gleaming skull and his shaking body and know I must go with the people.

“Return to the simple life, Daddy, “ I scribble, “your beginnings are better than you end.”

Broken and exhausted, he slumps against the endlessly spewing ticket tape that spells disaster, the markets in free fall, currencies collapsing worldwide.

And for him, I sing.

 

Over and over

The corn fields

Over and over

The wheat fields

 

Run a lot

Do a lot

 

Throw away

Mr. Hershey

Mr. Pepsi

 

White sand

Warm water

 

No no

Daddy Warbucks

Go away

 

Warm breezes

Lake rivers and

Streams

Mountainsides

Sandy loam

Earth

Fire

Air

Water

 

The music falls

Lost to all

Tomorrow

A day

Away

 

~ Stephen J. Bergstrom


Daily Micro: Yesterday’s Artists in Today’s World ~ Orson Welles

Acknowledging Orson (Welles)

As human beings struggled in the aftermath of the wars that would not end, they were scrutinized and studied, as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinize transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water. Across an immense ethereal gulf, intellects vast, cool and unsympathetic, regarded the planet with envious eyes and slowly and surely concluded plans with earth-bound allies against the whole of humanity.

Oh, they were a devious group, the lot of them. After years of economic dislocation and non-ending wars, they had knocked the world down and were coming for the kill.

But they were insidious and clever in the extreme. They would come in a way that the peoples of the world would welcome them, would cheer their arrival. This would be a trap sprung in steel and millennia-long deception.

After decades-long insurrections, the people battled on. Would the New World forever be in the hands of the mighty and powerful? Would the peoples of the earth ever be free? Or would he come, the mighty one, the Redeemer?

And then, the day came. Global satellites relayed images of a brightening sky overtaking the sun, overtaking nighttime, to worldwide plasma-screening stations. Instant message systems crackled. Ministers and preachers, priests and rabbis, imams and gurus prayed and humanity looked upward.

Worldwide voice simulcast ONLY with the venerable and trusted CARL PHILLIPS interrupted all electronic transmissions, hijacked every social network, turned all electronics into a singular VOICE transmitter.

PHILLIPS: The time is now, ladies and gentlemen. I am Carl Phillips and I am here at Mt. Graham at the world’s most heavily fortified Observatory, the Vatican Observatory. There is all about us a hush, a stillness, a calm as if we await greatness, as if human destiny unfolds before us, as if all wars shall end, as if freedom beckons.

Forgive me if my words become disjointed (pausing) … I feel like I am disassembling, like my body’s breaking up. I need to catch my breath. (pausing)

All right. I’ll try to describe the scene. (slowly) Words, words, words are inadequate. (pausing)

I am standing in a large semi-circular room, pitch black except for an oblong split in the ceiling, barely standing, my legs shaking, where I can see, I truly can see this, this, this (SOUNDS of voices, NO, NO, NO) bright object, this incredible LIGHT approaching earth in a lovely arc, a soothing arc, descending, descending, coming closer, the whole sky beginning to shine, beginning to shine. (screams of “IT CAN’T BE” in the background, screaming voices, heavy breathing).

With me, Monsignor Carinale peers through a giant lens. His hands quiver and beads of sweat … The sky’s SHINING! The sky’s ON FIRE!

CARINALE: (exclaiming) I can see it! I can see it! It’s HIM!

PHILLIPS: Ladies and gentlemen, we can’t be sure. I can’t be sure what the Monsignor is seeing. Wait, wait. Oh my God! Am I seeing things? Must my eyes be true? Monsignor Carinale is getting on his knees. I’m bowing down. Ladies and Gentlemen, all of humanity, wherever you are, bow down, bow down. HE is HERE!!!

We’re going LIVE in the SKY. All the world shall see! You shall ALL see! BOW DOWN, everyone of you and PRAY! BOW DOWN and REJOICE for HE is HERE!

 

POSTSCRIPT (NOT for RELEASE – DO NOT REPEAT – VOICEOVER REMINDER, ONLY):

As human beings struggled in the aftermath of the wars that would not end, they were scrutinized and studied, as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinize transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water. Across an immense ethereal gulf, intellects vast, cool and unsympathetic, regarded the planet with envious eyes and slowly and surely concluded plans with earth-bound allies against the whole of humanity.

Oh, they were a devious group, the lot of them. After years of economic dislocation and non-ending wars, they had knocked the world down and were coming for the kill.

But they were insidious and clever in the extreme. They would come in a way that the peoples of the world would welcome them, would cheer their arrival. This would be a trap sprung in steel and millennia-long deception.

 

~ Stephen J. Bergstrom


Daily Micro: Yesterday’s Artists in Today’s World ~ Harriet Beecher Stowe

Acknowledging Harriet (Beecher Stowe)

He was short thick-set man with features common but made up to appear distinguished. His nose was bulbous in a way that made him, despite his well-appointed dress, when combined with his mannerisms, gruff and obviously self-centered, ugly.

Sitting with him at the long table were an equally offensive group of conspirators whose features and appointments demanded fear.

“But what shall we do with them after we call their debt,” the thick-set man queried, polishing his nails, “for they will be no good to us, then.  We will have saddled them with eternal debt. They shall have nothing with which to repay us and yet they will continue to want to eat and their usefulness as slaves shall be no more. For we shall have all and they shall have nothing.”

~ Stephen J. Bergstrom


Daily Micro: Yesterday’s Artists in Today’s World ~ Sister Carrie

Acknowledging Sister Carrie (T. Dreiser’s Caroline Meeber)

This was the great city? This is why she left Waukesha? She went down Van Buren Street, her sister’s address scrabbled in her eighteen year-old mind, her memory of her father and his former workplace, the shuttered grain mill, sketched against her mother’s farewell kiss.

When she heard gunshots, she knew this was a dreadful place. She retraced her steps and headed towards the Lake. A family passing by, ice cream cones in hand, laughing in the hazy afternoon sun, buoyed her spirits. Surely, good things must await her.

Chicago had the Art Museum and she’d heard of Millennium Park, Second City and the Lyric Opera. It was as she neared Lake Shore Drive that she first noticed the big, burly men in the yellow vests and the runners coming up Michigan Avenue.

Looking down an alleyway, she saw camera crews and long trailers and make-up artists splatting blood on the bodies of actors and actresses dressed up like tourists, bystanders and policemen and she remembered. Oh, in the deepest part of her heart she wanted to be an actress.

As she gathered herself, she knew Chicago was not the right place for her. She should go to Hollywood, that is where she should go. She was thinking these thoughts when she heard the first explosion, rattling the windows and then she was down, knocked over by the blast.

That is when she heard the strangest thing. She could have sworn a voice called out, “And Action”. And as she rolled over, she saw actors and actresses with blood-splattered clothes pour out of the alleyway and mingle with the runners crossing the finish line and the same voice booming, “Roll it, Roll it.”

 

~ Stephen J. Bergstrom


Daily Micro: Yesterday’s Artists in Today’s World ~ Buddy Holly

Acknowledging Buddy (Holly)

Well that’ll be the day when you say goodbye

Yeah, yes that’ll be the day and no more lie

We say you’re gonna leave, you know you’re gonna die

Cause that’ll be the day when I fly

 

~ Stephen J. Bergstrom


Daily Micro: Yesterday’s Artists in Today’s World ~ Emily Dickinson

Acknowledging Emily (Dickinson)

I believe in Saturn

The Earth, Moon and Sun

Ah the lofty fern

About her run

 

But I am most glad

By the Earth’s silent nudge

That drove ol’ Saturn mad

 

~ Stephen J. Bergstrom


Daily Micro: Yesterday’s Artists in Today’s World ~ Ring Lardner

Acknowledging Ring (Lardner)

His name was Fake I. Money and, if somebody had ta no, the I stood for IOU. You see, his pa was an wily ol’ coot and I got ta no hem. Never a day went by, he didn’t remine Fake that he give em that name so his head wouldn’t get sweeld when they paid em in IOU’s they called Federal Resereve Notes.

He was a cenerfielder, as graceful as Willie and Uncle Oscar Charleston, Fake I. Money was. He never did a play that didn’t get you thinkin bout the differenece tween fake money and real money. I’d say, “did you see Fake’s over the shuler catch” and I coud, I’m tellin you this tru, I coud feel the compoun inerest eatin away insie my debit card.

Fake was and Fake is but Fake I. Money was a beautiful basebal player. Man, he could play tha game.

~ Stephen J. Bergstrom


Daily Micro: Yesterday’s Artists in Today’s World ~ Inanna

Acknowledging Inanna

From the great below she set her mind on the great above. From the great Earth the goddess set her mind on the great Above. From the great Earth Inanna set her mind on the great Above. She remembered.

My mistress remembered. She abandoned the great Above, she became Earth and traversed the soul worlds. Inanna abandoned heaven, abandoned earth and descended to the underworlds and the outer worlds where she saw the imposters and she remembered.

She became many Earths and birthed trees that birthed children and she remembered. She saw the men come down and enter the Earth and she remembered.

She belonged in the Above and she had not intended the Earth that has become. She remembered her warrior self and she stirred and the soul worlds stirred and the beings Above heard her. And through the imposters rippled great fear and they knew their time was short.

With each memory she reclaimed, they would be desperate. And fear would sweep through their earth-bound allies.

~ Stephen J. Bergstrom


Daily Micro: Yesterday’s Artists in Today’s World ~ Upton Sinclair

Acknowledging Upton (Sinclair)

After I compromised to get The Jungle into print, success came from all the wrong reasons. I aimed at the public’s heart, and by accident I hit it in the stomach.

Meatpacking was a dangerous occupation and the food that resulted was far worse but even greater was the deception wrought onto humankind’s soul. And now that deception has become institutionalized.

Enter the modern grocery store, capitalism’s great food delivery system. Corporately-owned, the food behemoths distill factory-created, fake food devoid of nutrients and demand payment in private banking IOU’s packed with layers of compounding interest within mind control, propagandizing, glitzy physical environments.

The robbery is multi-fold. Foodstuffs meant to endanger health, rigid utilization of wealth transferring paper currency and the foisting of untold misery unto plants, animals, waterways and humans.

~ Stephen J. Bergstrom