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In Memory of Clay January (November 29, 1948 - February 6, 2013)

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Clay January, 1948-2013
Clay January, 1948-2013
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Clay January, 1948-2013 by Michael Bonanno

I dare say that most of you have never heard of Clay January.   In fact, I would even feel safe saying that none of you have ever heard of Clay January.  

Briefly, Clay January was a musician and an activist as well as a friend.   As the title implies, he's no longer with us.

Clay didn't seem to have a self confidence problem.   I'm willing to bet that his eye was always on the prize, always on moving forward.   He wrote in his column and commented in mine as if his goal was to see a better world before he died.   I believe that "normal" stuff seemed to him like a waste of time.   There was always more important stuff to do to "save the world".

Sure, he loved music and he may have been an accomplished actor if he chose to put all of his eggs in any basket.   However, and I can identify with this because I, also, don't know what to do next to make this a better world, he tried everything he could think of.   I don't presume to have the smallest fraction of character that Clay obviously possessed, but I understand the task of trying to work as hard as possible at everything that would make everything better for everyone.   When we, or, at least, when I do that, it can come across to others as if I'm spinning my wheels.

I've been diagnosed with lots of stuff, but I think the doc who diagnosed me with ADD or, more accurately, AADD (the word "adult" has to ironically make it into the diagnosis for some reason) had it correct.   There was a book written and subsequent movie made entitled "I'm Dancing as Fast as I Can". Ever read it/see it?   The movie was made in the 70s and, when I saw it, I could relate to it.   I didn't know why then, but I do now.

I think Clay was like I am only several degrees more intense and many degrees more successful.   However, I think Clay went through the "I'm dancing as fast as I can" stage many times. It's good and it's bad.

It's good because at least we're dancing.   Some folks are willing to watch greedy TV producers fill their commercially paid time training cameras on non-actors, people that they don't have to pay or who they pay very little.   They call it "reality TV".   It's not reality TV.   It's peeping Thomism and America's collective brain is becoming numb watching it.   Also, Americans are being kept busy watching "reality TV", so they're not noticing the man who doesn't even feel he needs to hide behind a curtain anymore.   No one's watching him anyway as he rapes our land and people, keeping the gold that has been realized from what he's violently ripped from the earth and, just as violently, forced impoverished people to mold for him.   He knows that, when Americans aren't looking in on what they think are the personal lives of their fellow citizens, they'll take a plastic card and dig a hole with it by "buying" (nothing's bought anymore, it's just borrowed) what the impoverished molders have molded .

It's bad because, as I mentioned, the sleeping masses have left so much for us to do to fix everything for them that we don't know where to turn next.

"I'll write a poem because I can embellish using metaphor, personification and a myriad of other poetic devices to say the same thing I said in my column.   However, coloring it with poetry will tug at the heartstrings of the people who read it and, then, they'll turn away from their corporate hypnosis.

"I'll write a song. I can say what I said in my column, use the colorful language of poetry and catch their attention with soothing or jarring music."

No.   Americans like to watch self-centered and self-mutilating women walk on a stage which is called a runway and then fight like children in the back rooms.   They want to watch amateurs singing and cry in the back rooms when they don't win.   They want to watch people dancing and then insult their competition in the back rooms.   They want to watch so called chefs cook and then complain that some other chef stole their recipe.   I don't know what's melting faster, the polar ice caps or the collective American brain.

If I know this, then Clay knew it in spades.   I would always defer intelligent discourse to Clay.   These are things he wrote about and, I dare say, things he spoke about.   He smiled easily but I just know he hurt for the rest of us because he knew that we were committing collective suicide.   He tried to stop us, but we, as hard working, "deserving" of whatever the f*ck we want Americans will not cease stopping the tide of evolution.   In fact, I know that the percentage of Americans who don't even "believe" in evolution is very, very large, as if evolution is a faith based entity.

You know I'm even angered by Clay's death as well and I've just realized that.   I've written far too many times about how my father abused me. Well, my father is 86 years old.   He's alive and a shining light like Clay has left us to fend for ourselves.   Only the good die young or, at least, before the evil die.

Maybe at times Clay seemed to be so frustratingly confusing.   He really wasn't all that frustrating, though.   He wasn't really all that confusing.   I'm going to presume here and I could be wrong, but I think Clay believed that we're all given a life and we own that life.   Since it's ours, we can do whatever the hell we want with it.   We look at people like Clay and, with the evil that is American society tugging on our shirt sleeves, we say, "Oh, no, the fork goes on the left and the spoon on the right.   People aren't supposed to act, look, speak or, just generally, be like that."   And people like Clay say, "I'll put the fork wherever the f*ck I want to put it and, although I don't mean to hurt you by saying this, I don't give a damn where you think I should put it."   I dare say he may even have suggested some places where we could put it.

I'm probably not finished.   I never seem to be finished and it'll take what it took to finish Clay to finish me.   But, to spare you, I'll now stop.

To friendship,

"Facts are stupid things." - Ronald Reagan

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Michael Bonanno is an associate editor for OpEdNews.

He is also a published poet, essayist and musician who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Bonanno is a political progressive, not a Democratic Party apologist. He believes it's (more...)

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