Arik Bjorn Endorses Sean Carrigan for U.S. Congress to Defeat “Status Quo” Joe Wilson

With great enthusiasm, I ENDORSE SEAN CARRIGAN as the 2018 Democratic Party candidate for South Carolina District 2 in the race against “Status Quo” Joe Wilson. Read below to find out why!   …     Voters, Friends & Neighbors:   I cannot thank you enough for your support—be it your vote, your financial contributions, your volunteer efforts—during our 2016 campaign for South Carolina’s Second Congressional District. As you know, I signed up to run for U.S. Congress just one day before the filing deadline. Why? Because no one else was willing to stand up for our community of 700,000—no one else was willing to stand up to “Status Quo” Joe Wilson.   They said I had no business running for federal office—that I couldn’t even get Joe Wilson to debate me once. They were right—I debated him twice. I cleaned his clock both times, and our campaign won the hearts of well over 100,000 Voters. We responded to your individual and community needs, not the needs of special interest groups. We took a bold stand for women’s rights, improved infrastructure, healthcare for all, and increased educational and…

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TEDx Talk: “To Be Revolutionary, or not To Be Revolutionary”

  On April 2, 2017, I presented a TEDx Talk at TEDxHammondSchool on the subject of political revolution, entitled “To Be Revolutionary, or not To Be Revolutionary.”   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mMlFJlOWvUA   Below is the prepared draft of my presentation:   … Slide 1 | image by John A. Carlos II   Hi, my name is Arik Bjorn. That’s Arik with an “A” and a “K.” And “Bjorn,” which means “bear” in several Scandinavian tongues. Very revolutionary-sounding, right?   Slide 2   I was the 2016 Democratic Party and Green Party congressional candidate in South Carolina’s 2nd Congressional District. More on that in a bit.   First, though: BJORN is not a particularly common name in these here Southern parts. Good Lord, what is that “J” doing next to that “B”?  Total consonant inappropriateness!   Let’s say “BJORN” together: Bjorn. Bjorn. Bjorn.   My apologies. BJORN is now “imprinted” upon your mind. If I had an actual product to sell you—like hair gel or a robotic vacuum—you’d be hooked. Instead, I’m here to convince you…

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4 Poems: shots / Ceto / sleeve / sev’n

shots   Death drops onto the stool next to me nods (can you doff a hood?)   psychopomp arm reaches into the well grabs a Heineken pops the cap with curved scythe sighs & takes a slug   “Long day?”   Thanatos nods   “I get it.”   Mr. Reaper wants to tell me how I don’t – how no mortal can know the burden of carting off C/overscore souls each twist of the Mother to a wobbly ferry raft – just the trouble of coming up with enough coins – I can almost touch the smooth sorrow in his sockets   “bartender, shots for me and my friend – neat”   the keep fists two shot glasses onto the Dutch elm bar leaves the bottle we use jiggers blue label precision sinners   “look, Pesta-Hel, I know you think no one understands. But let me tell you a tale.”   3 a.m. driving home cat in the road flat feline crushed left of middle pancake flat crawling forepaws reaching like a three-toed sloth to drag itself out of bone-crushed misery   it begs for death just inches over the curb O, the infinite lap   Death cocks an as-if brow runs a phalanx along the…

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What is Reverence for Life?

  Swimming with my eight-year-old daughter requires patience.  Actually, she’s pretty much a mermaid and can swim circles around anything just shy of a dolphin.  But when the sun starts turning your skin oh-so-crispy bacon and your fingertips begin to resemble wrinkly raisins, she’s ready to devote another hour-plus in the pool, not to butterfly strokes, but to rescuing ants and bees and other creepy-crawlies that have fallen hapless victim to the water.   My daughter is amphibian in her devotion to preserving life.  The other night, in the dry confines of our living room, she lectured me following my “coldblooded murder” of a centipede that I caught trespassing across our carpet.  Her earnest chiding caused me to consider my thoughtless act of centi-cide.  Later that evening, my daughter asleep, I redeemed myself.  Another many-legged arthropod reared its forcipules; this time I captured it with a napkin and released it into the untamed wilderness beyond my porch door.   These days, I can hardly get away with swatting a mosquito in my daughter’s presence.  Yet I have no one other than myself to blame.  I’m the one who taught…

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Ashes to Ashes: An Elegy for Cigarettes

    I loved every fag I ever had. Each one was my best friend—a friendship that began with a flame and lasted a five-minute lifetime.   For 15 years, cigarettes afforded me routine timeouts from all things great and small. Smoking was a social bubble that insulated me from reality. A thinking thermosphere. The best damned cross-country copilot. Also, a platinum membership card into the subculture of superlative cool.   But all the fags are gone. And now I’m just a humdrum hominid who goes about his day without a burning stick between his lips.   I quit smoking one year ago this month. While I suppose I could use this moment to celebrate my chosen path toward improved health, instead I find myself lamenting the absence of tobacco from my life. We had so many wonderful times together.   There were the daybreak ferry trips across the Bosphorus during Ramadan, where my insouciant smoking drove the nicotine-fasting men of Istanbul insane.   Also, the cartons that fueled my peripatetic exploration of Paris—especially the wee-hours-of-the-morning Camels that carried me from Pigalle to the Seine after I…

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Dear Uncle Sonny…

    Dear Uncle Sonny,   You remain missed beyond words. Here are some, anyway.   Your life ended on the other side of the world. You had just arrived to the battlefield. You were 19 when the “enemy’s” bullet struck your brain. Not only was your life stolen, but an entire family history was derailed. My mother lost her best friend; she deeply grieves your absence still. And sometimes I wonder just what my childhood might have looked like with a faithful uncle by our side—perhaps someone who would have staved off the monster who predated our lives.   You were of course too young and naïve to know why you had been shipped off to Vietnam as Military Industrial Complex fodder. But I want you to know that someone—a great hero—fought hard for that not to happen. Oddly enough, I was the person who archived his personal papers upon his death. Sometimes I think I see a purpose in that assignment.   So let me introduce you to Paul Kattenburg. Were it not for Daniel Ellsberg and The Pentagon Papers, Paul Kattenburg’s heroism may never have come to light. As a teenager in his native Belgium, Kattenburg fled the…

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Indiana (a short story)

    (“Indiana” is one of the stories in the author’s debut work of fiction, Birds of a Feather: Short Stories & Miscellany, available in paperback and as an ebook on Amazon, Goodreads and Smashwords.)         After an interminable nap, God opened his eyes. “Ah.”   …   George Crockfeldt had never heard the voice of God. He was a simple factory laborer. For the past 33 years, he had worked in a light bulb manufacturing plant just outside Terre Haute, Indiana. He was within reach of a comfortable pension plus a monthly Social Security check that would pay the rent and keep him in his model train hobby for the remainder of his years.   George watched thousands of newly formed standard glass bulbs pass him every day. His job was to spot-check glass for sharp edges and other noticeable defects. At the end of every shift, George felt confident that, due to his keen eye, the nation would see a little clearer.   Halfway through his Friday swing shift, God spoke to George Crockfeldt. George was confident God was speaking to him due to the fact that light bulbs generally do not illuminate…

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Oatmeal

    (“Oatmeal” is one of the essays in the author’s debut work of fiction, Birds of a Feather: Short Stories & Miscellany, available in paperback and as an ebook on Amazon, Goodreads and Smashwords.)     . “Then the Woman laughed and set the Cat a bowl of the warm white milk and said, ‘O Cat, you are as clever as a man…’” Rudyard Kipling, Just So Stories     “They arrive at the airport in no time.” Richard Scarry, A Day at the Airport     In ancient Egypt, cats were deemed sacred animals, worthy of mummification. Before you take that to mean all of Pharaoh’s subjects worshiped cats, understand that anyone who has ever attempted to bathe a beloved housecat or even just trim its claws, at one time or another wanted to toss said animal’s internal organs into a canopic jar.   Cosmic Ma’at and all that jazz. Miaow.   I’m a cat lover. The desire to separate a feline from its entrails isn’t personal—just a balancing of the scales, and maybe a smidgen revenge for never being allowed to use the bathroom without the carpet outside the door being scratched to…

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Why Bad Things Happen to Good Parrots

    (“Why Bad Things Happen to Good Parrots” is the title essay in the author’s book, Why Bad Things Happen to Good Parrots: A Sermon Under the Mount, available in paperback and as an ebook on Amazon, Goodreads and Smashwords.)       “Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?” The Gospel of Matthew    I   Two little spindles that could have been mistaken for dried begonia sprigs. Except they were stuck to the upper corner of our Econoline windshield. And they were twitching.   This was my introduction to the Problem of Evil at the age of five. The Problem of Evil is also known as Theodicy—a Greek word that means something along the lines of “God on trial.”   Here’s a simple way to frame Theodicy: How could a Universe created by a Being of Ultimate Goodness support, in the words of the philosopher Leibniz, “l’origine du mal” (the origin of Evil)?   Many lump Suffering into the equation as well. For even if Beelzebub engineered grandma’s shingles,…

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I Confess…

I confess…   Or as we say down here in South Carolina: I do declare…   I have never been to an “official” Wheaton College Homecoming. This might be because I’m not one much for “hot drinks” that don’t include nips of Jameson.   Also, I’m not really one to hang out these days with Evangelicals who refuse to recognize the accomplishments—much less the existence—of my many proud LGBTQ OneWheaton pals.   I gather that my little ditty is not going to be read aloud from the steps of the Billy Graham Center by Cindra Stackhouse Taetzsch, Director of Alumni and Parent Relations and Executive Director of the Wheaton College Alumni Association.   That’s too bad. She has such a lovely smile in her photograph. I would have loved to watch her read my words aloud to the gathered throng of “recognized” Wheaton alums.   But I digress. My friend, Costa Tsiatsos, asked me if I would consider addressing you with a witty message. However, he neglected to inform me where my message would be read from.   Goodness! Did I just end a sentence with a preposition?   Behold, my fellow…

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