I consider myself a poet. Obviously there are some poetry publications, both online and in hard cover, who agree with me to some extent. I've had some of my poetry published and have even gotten small monetary stipends.
I've been writing poetry since 1964 and most of you have never heard of me. So, obviously, I spent my life working a so called "middle class" job within a middle class life story. I worked for a Fortune 500 multinational corporation for twenty-five years. After receiving bonus after bonus after bonus for exemplary work, I was "delayered" (Orwell was a genius) in 1997. This was three years before I could have officially retired and enjoyed the health benefits of an "official" retiree.
During my working years, I took a sabbatical from writing. In fact, I was treated so well, and deservedly so, by the corporation, that I lost touch with what was important in the world. Believe it or not, I was so disinterested in this "thing called NAFTA", that I didn't even know what it really was, let alone what it meant sociologically.
When I found I had some time on my hands, I began writing again. This may be more a critique of my writing than anything else, but, for me, when I found the right inspiration, writing poetry (and music) was like getting right back on the horse or bike after taking a spill. I didn't seem to notice the huge gap.
I was a disgruntled ex-employee, but, after I left the corporation, I became aware of a crime which it had committed. I tried to pass this on to the local newspapers both in Connecticut, where I was raised and born (not necessarily in that order) and in California, where I moved in 2001. I started this paragraph by saying I was a disgruntled ex-employee and that's exactly how the newspapers accepted my "gossip". Unfortunately for them and for citizens in a specific part of the nation, they missed out on breaking what would have been a huge story about a corporation, who, in cahoots with Connecticut's Department of Environmental Protection, covered up a crime of significant importance. Criminals-1, the rest of us-0.
As reporting that crime got me nowhere, I turned to the internet to find forums which focused on writing and, more specifically, poetry.
The first community I found was a wonderful place called the Arcanum Cafe. What I learned at AC augmented what I already knew about writing and poetry. The people were, and still are, talented and helpful.
Most of the forums dealt with different subject matter to which poems were posted. However, there were a couple of forums that didn't concentrate as much on poetry.
There was a Short Story forum in which people could obviously post their attempts at writing short stories.
There was also the inevitable Open Discussion forum. I became more involved in this forum as time went on. A lot of the posting to the Open Discussion forum was political and it helped me catch up on what I didn't pay much attention to for twenty-five years. I became outspoken and even touched off some fairly heated debates.
It was in the AC Open Discussion forum that I first used the word Corporacracy, a word that, at the time, I thought that I'd coined. I found later on that Ralph Nader and others had been using the word for many years. So much for ingenuity.
The web master of another poetry site called Studio Eight seemed to enjoy my Open Discussion rants enough to offer me my own forum. She named it Open Mike Soundoff. At this point, I'd rather have not been referred to as Mike. I like Michael much more these days. But Open Michael Soundoff just didn't make much sense.
Let me be clear. I didn't begin to see that The Former United States of America was basically being governed by huge multination corporations when I was "delayered" in 1997. That epiphany was not part of my being a disgruntled ex-employee. It became obvious to me over time.
One only need to ask, "Why would a president stand before the nation blaming Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden for the tragedy of September 11, 2001 and then, almost on a dime, turn around and say that the most import thing that this country had to do was to invade Iraq?"
One could also question how a man like Bill Clinton could run a presidential campaign all but promising to be the next FDR and then sign a bill like NAFTA (I'd learned what NAFTA was and what its consequences would be by this time).
I took a surf down memory lane last night and found the following which I had posted to my Open Mike forum in 2004: