“No Names” play the hunger games
(not movie stars, not athletes, nor
heroic challengers). Forget about Hollywood
and its glam girl/glam guy health club figures,
who can hurl spears, throw knives, shoot
arrows, with the aid of their doubles, and
face down trouble without out a blink,
victory is written in the script, or there
would never be a popcorn selling sequel to any
of this idiotic Rambo bullshit.
Down and out ghetto dwellers are the real
Slum, barrio, hood, backstreet inhabitants,
trying to put a meal together, pay the rent,
are the actual hunger games combatants.
Crouched in fear, as the latest purge draws
near, the child, mother, sister, brother,
father, uncle, aunt, grandparent, waits
for the next cuts in Medicaid, unemployment
compensation, whatever else can be withheld
or eliminated from the less fortunate of the
nation: food stamps, educational grants,
raising the minimum wage to something a
family could live on for a change, as well as
that distain for the hard times that come
to those living in a slum – crime, fires,
random dangers, sweltering summers, deadly
winters, denial, destruction, as if poverty was
a justified punishment.
No name, no face, no voice, no choice –
no heroes in this hunger game.
OK, now and then an Orwell, London, Spinoza,
Van Gogh, Gauguin, innumerable other
luminaries ahead of, or out of sink with, their
time, who are famous now but were, and
sometimes stayed, starving nobodies. Like
Nietzsche who lived in a cheap room and died
in an asylum without a nickel or a friend.
(One could go on and on about these genius sad
sacks who, through no fault of their own and no
dearth of effort or talent, couldn’t feed their families
or pay the rent).
Like Pissarro, my art teacher’s favorite painter,
who would have died impoverished and unknown
if he hadn’t become, by chance, a key witness in
the famous Dreyfus treason trial and painted,
in his 19th century French witness protection
program, Paris street scenes from the second
story window of his government supplied cheap
hotel room (actually more like a prison cell
because they would not let him leave it until
the trial was over) – a viewpoint that had
(oddly) never been done before and instantly
caught on, and made him, in his last years, a
small and totally unexpected fortune –
everyone had to have one – just people who
suffer misery and pain and shame, and oddly
from many, blame.
Today the summer sun sparkles across the
land, oceans, rivers, lakes and ponds.
A soft breeze blows. White clouds float.
Tree leaves rustle. Life is beautiful in the
other America – like the dazzling shapes
and colors in a picture book: the majestic
purple mountains, the amber waves of grain
Those who live here are the winners of the
hunger games. They never had to play them.
Bad luck has never visited them.
Then there are those who forget or are
egocentric enough to actually think that they
pulled themselves up by their bootstraps, or
have bought into the Hollywood-style illusion
of heroics. Especially if they can, in this
Romantic view of things, use it to puff out
their own little chests.