Nefertari Williams: Tall Tales

black and white photo of two your beautiful lovers embracing
Obsessions. Photo: Tony Ward, Copyright 2023

Text by Nefertari Williams, Copyright 2023

.

Tall Tales

WOMEN YOU NEED TO STOP GETTING YOURSELVES PREGNANT 

1. Things got hot and heavy at the end of a date and you wanted to stop and he kept going. Thats your problem. 

2. You are now pregnant and the morning sickness is causing you to miss work so you have no money – dont you bother that good man. 

3. You dont have insurance to see a doctor because you cant work because you are too sick from low iron and constant vomiting – that man should not have to worry about your problems 

4. You need bigger clothes for your growing belly and more food because of the growing baby – you should have thought about that when you grew a uterus

5. The baby needs a crib, clothes, diapers and formula. Strap a vomit bag around your neck and get a second job – dont you dare bother that man about your problems 

6. The delivery will cost thousands of dollars and you need a bigger place to live – you should have thought of that when you were born a woman. Oh well 

7.) Baby is born and you need to go back to work but cant afford child care. Mike Pence says that you need to be more patient and good things will come if you are patient so just keep hope alive.

Men (husbands and spouses) some of you are being quiet about the freedom of choice” debate. 

When I had my heart attack it was unknown what was wrong with me. I was nine months pregnant. My baby was alive but the doctor pumped me full of blood thinners as soon as they realized what was wrong. At that point, a Caesarian section was not an option without killing me however without the medication I would not have survived. 

My doctor made the choice. 

If this happened today, in some states, I would not be alive right now. Politicians would have made the choice. 

Because my MEDICAL professional was able to make the choice my child and I are both alive. 

Please dont let politicians decide whats best for my body. Please leave it to the medical professionals. One day it might be someone you love.

.

Editor’s Note: These pictures are from Tony Ward’s first book Obsessions, published by Editions Stemmle, Zurich Switzerland in 1998. An exhibition of photography by Tony Ward of the Obsessions pictures from the years 1993 – 1998 will be on display at Prism Arts Philadelphia from October 6th – October 27, 2023. For more information, link herehttps://www.prismartsphiladelphia.com/events/obsessions-by-tony-ward

Alcohol Consumption: Knowing When Enough is Enough

photograph in a bar from a drunk persons perspective
Photo: Tony Ward, Copyright 2023

Alcohol Consumption: Knowing When Enough is Enough

.

Edited by Tony Ward

.

Excessive alcohol consumption has been a pervasive problem in society for centuries, leading to numerous adverse health, social, and economic consequences. While moderate alcohol consumption can be part of social gatherings and cultural practices, going beyond the limits can have serious repercussions on individuals and communities. Understanding the dangers of excessive alcohol consumption is essential to promote responsible drinking and prevent the devastating effects it can have on lives.

Excessive alcohol consumption takes a severe toll on physical and mental health. Chronic alcohol abuse can lead to liver damage, cirrhosis, pancreatitis, and an increased risk of various cancers. The heart, brain, and nervous system can also suffer from long-term alcohol abuse, leading to cardiovascular diseases, cognitive impairments, and even permanent brain damage. Moreover, excessive drinking weakens the immune system, making individuals more susceptible to infections.

One of the most significant dangers of excessive alcohol consumption is the potential to develop addiction and dependency. Alcohol is a highly addictive substance, and individuals who consume large amounts regularly may find it challenging to control their drinking behavior. Over time, they become physically and psychologically dependent on alcohol, making it extremely difficult to quit without professional help.

Excessive alcohol consumption not only affects individuals but also has far-reaching social and economic consequences. Alcohol-related accidents, such as drunk driving, lead to injuries, fatalities, and property damage. The burden on healthcare systems increases due to alcohol-related illnesses and injuries. Additionally, alcohol abuse can contribute to unemployment, reduced productivity, and strained interpersonal relationships, placing a significant strain on communities and economies.

Alcohol impairs cognitive functions and judgment, leading to poor decision-making and risky behaviors. Individuals under the influence of alcohol are more likely to engage in dangerous activities, such as unprotected sex, drug abuse, and violence. This can lead to unintended pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections, and legal consequences, further exacerbating the negative impact of excessive drinking.

Excessive alcohol consumption can exacerbate existing mental health issues or contribute to the development of new ones. Alcohol is a depressant and can lead to increased feelings of anxiety and depression. Self-medicating with alcohol can worsen the symptoms of underlying mental health conditions, creating a harmful cycle that can be difficult to break.

Excessive alcohol consumption often strains relationships with family, friends, and partners. It can lead to conflicts, loss of trust, and emotional distance. Moreover, children growing up in households with alcohol abuse are more likely to experience neglect, abuse, and psychological trauma, affecting their development and well-being.

Knowing when enough is enough regarding alcohol consumption is vital to protecting our physical and mental health, preserving social connections, and maintaining a functional society. The dangers of excessive alcohol consumption are evident in the toll it takes on individuals, families, and communities. Raising awareness about the potential consequences of excessive drinking, offering support to those struggling with alcohol abuse, and promoting responsible drinking habits are essential steps in mitigating the impact of alcohol on our lives.

Ultimately, each individual bears the responsibility of knowing their limits and seeking help if they find themselves crossing dangerous thresholds. By acknowledging the dangers and making informed decisions, we can create a healthier and safer environment for everyone. Let us strive for a society where moderation, self-awareness, and support prevail, allowing us to enjoy life without succumbing to the perils of excessive alcohol consumption.

Studio News: A Masterclass in Portraiture by Neal Slavin

Large group photograph of fencers in ballroom photographed by the famous photographer, Neal Slavin
DC Fencers. Photo: Neal Slavin, Copyright 2023

A MASTER CLASS IN PORTRAITURE BY NEAL SLAVIN

.

REGISTER TODAY: info@nealslavin.com

DATES:
TWO SPECIAL WORKSHOPS: Saturday, July 29 / Sunday, July 30, 2023 & Saturday, Aug 5th / Sunday, August 6th, 2023.

Requirements: camera & gear, a statement telling us something about yourself and your photography (may include a small sampling of your work) which should be sent to info@nealslavin.com before the workshop begins.

LOCATION: Neal Slavin Studio  62 Greene St. NYC.

DETAILS:  Workshop is limited to 8 students
10 AM – 5 PM / Morning coffee at 9:30 am / lunch included
Fee: $595.00 per student

TO REGISTER:  All participants must pay full amount via check or Pay Pal before start of workshop.

INSTRUCTOR:

Neal Slavin is a world – respected photographer and film director. His work includes a professional career of over 40 years, during which he has photographed a myriad of subjects including celebrities, notable dignitaries and is best known for his group portraits.

His teaching credits include classes and workshops at Les Recontres d’Arles in Provence, The Cooper Union, CUNY, SVA, the Ansel Adams Workshop in Yosemite, visiting artist at the Art Institute of Chicago and the International Center of Photography (ICP). His work is collected in both public and private institutions.

CLASS DESCRIPTION:

All artistic endeavors including photography come from the same place – in the belly!  Which one the artist uses to express him/herself is entirely the artist’s choice. What isn’t by choice is the influence the other arts contribute to the success of the artist’s chosen field, in our case photography. Through listening to music, drawing from the figure and listening to oral poetry we are able to create photographs that are honest and expressive. We will learn how to let those other disciplines help us in our creations. We come to understand that the rhythm we hear in a piece of music is the same rhythm made visible in a photograph. The lines in a drawing can be found in the shapes in a photograph. Sound crazy? Come aboard for a sensorial 2 days of experiencing the relationship between your photographs and the world of the arts!

.

To access additional articles about Neal Slavin, link herehttps://tonyward.com/ted-kawalerski-the-saudade-of-neal-slavin/

 

A.H. Scott: Sunrise

Sunrise photo of Philadelphia skyline
Photo: Hassan Smith, Copyright 2022

Poetry by A.H. Scott, Copyright 2022

.

Sunrise

.

I saw the sunrise in your eyes
As I pulled a crumpled, wintergreen sheet around my form the next morning
Your smile was all I needed to rejuvenate me that night before
Yet, what we shared was so much more
Last night was one of many wows
The moment you came to my apartment door
Red roses in a bouquet you handed me, as we kissed
I never knew such a moment of joy
You were the surprise that I never expected would come true
The dress of lime green fell from my skin because of you
White undergarments were unhooked and roll off my body
As you watched me, while sitting in a Chippendale chair
Suave and sexy was my man of European flair
He had brown eyes and salt and pepper hair
Sunrise smile that always made every moment I spent with him even brighter
He stood and approached my naked body by the bed
Those hands of yours were skillful and my lips upon him were bliss
Warm and moist I was to his touch
As I ran my fingers along his love-line, that smile broadened
When the bed became our playground
Each of us reverted to playing games
Hands and arms interlocked in a rumba of racy rendezvous
As both of our bodies heaved in anticipation
Then the moment of cresting came for us together
We fell asleep in each other’s arms
You left my flesh tingling from your charismatic charm
Make no doubt it
You have the brilliant disguise
Man of honey hue you are my sunrise
.

About The Author: A.H. Scott is a poet based in New York City and frequent contributor to Tony Ward Studio. To read additional articles by Ms. Scott, go here:https://tonywardstudio.com/blog/circus-magamus/
A.H. Scott’s book: Bad Guys Finish Fast & Good Guys Finish Last is available on Amazon!

 

As The Worm Turns: Of Nots, Knots & Nuts

Portrait Illustration of Steve Bannon by Thomcat23
Steve Bannon. Artwork by Thomcat23

Text by A.H. Scott, Copyright 2021

.

As The Worm Turns: Of Nots, Knots & Nuts

.

If you think of the United States of America as being a tree, then the seedlings which are rooted within the soil that has borne the harvest of today should be seen not only as parts of a whole, but a continuous, societal eco-system.

To see racism as a few bad apples here and there is excising the seedlings that made the tree of America grow to what it is today. It can make some feel cradled and cocooned in the myth of not being a part of a roaring mob of marchers with a hate-filled rant spewing from their lips. Yet, if down to the roots of the system of inequality those same people are beneficiaries of the past, then they are also the fruit borne of the American tree. Apple see, apple do.

Some branches of the tree of America have constantly been ignored upon the shading of reflective rays of perpetual reverence and affirmation. Branches upon the other side of the tree have been carefully tended and watered with promise of possibility, based solely on how planters of preference have decided things to be. 

Those who control the narrative of history hold a death grip on preventing it from becoming a dissolving relic to the tide of truth. 

Surely, but steadily, the branches set upon in a diffused shade of flourishing have gained visibility of the sun’s rays of gathering acknowledgement for their own harvest in this moment. 

School days have changed through the years, as the three axioms of Readin’, Writin’, and Arithmetic have expanded to a fourth – Reality. 

Seeds of the tree of America have been tilled with the systematic intermingling of racism’s roots in laws and policies of inequality, since before the birth of this nation. 

But, then there will be people who will do the ‘howl of offense’ in saying they’re not racist because of whatever explanation they can toss out in defense of not wanting their child to be exposed to critical race theory. 

This is where some of the NOTS come in:  

Not any stolen election. Not voter fraud, Not CRT [1] taught to little children. Not just the opposing of affirmation, but the recognition of what takes that space or spotlight.

I think I’ll repeat that – Children are NOT being taught CRITICAL RACE THEORY in schools.

And then, there is another type of knot, which some twist themselves like pretzels into for the sake to mask a false rage over. In such a tizzy some are, as the thought of their little Johnny or Janie being exposed to the big, bad hammer of history will make them melt like snowflakes. 

Working themselves into KNOTS, some people have gone on a blinding tear to make sure their tiny tots won’t be damaged by having to hear about something more in depth than just the Founding Fathers walking on water and that the enslaved population were just happy as they could be in picking cotton and indigenous persons were glad to have their population decimated and driven from their own land. 

Now, taking the NOTS and KNOTS and mixing it all together and what do ya’ come up with – NUTS, of course. Specifically, right-wing nuts.

Right-wing activists have played the card of outrage and being set upon by schools forcing a theory which is NOT even being taught to children. Then again, that outrage card is really a mighty fine fundraising effort to pad coffers of institutions, affiliated sorts, tricksters and various confidence persons in the eco-sphere of the right. 

This is the game of the right-wing, which comes as nothing new. Only the target subject has changed from “Stop The Steal” to “No CRT In Schools”. 

Even if a person on the street is asked what Critical Race Theory is; the majority will respond with they don’t like it and not that they can explain what it actually is. 

People who are opposed to CRT seem obsessed with size; not there of in proportion of stature being the largest, but in being deflated, diminished and shrunken. While on the other hand those who are in support of CRT have just the opposite view of having expansion of idea and thought. In the realm of knowledge, a human being prospers in being exposed to that which may challenge their ideas and own self serving orthodoxy. 

It seems as if we are in a moment of choosing which prism the history of this country can be seen:  

Future vs. Fear – To take a step forward on a highway of new ideas, instead of being unable to veer off from a narrowed road of dulled, repetition. 

Present vs. Past – Knowing that there are more Technicolor chapters of history that need to be known, instead of a monochrome mimicking of yesterday. 

Maximum vs. Minimal – Exploring the truth beyond our own comfort zone, instead of being locked into the box of what was taught to us in dusty tomes of days’ past.

Critical Race Theory or CRT is an academic framework [2] created by legal scholars in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Now, I wonder why in 2021 it has suddenly taken up so much of the oxygen in media coverage. For me, this issue is not an issue at all, because it does not pertain to elementary, middle or high school students being taught this theory. Secondarily, one must ask the question of the timing of this hubbub. I mean if there is something to get a parents’ nose out of joint in the realm of what is happening in America right here and now; I figure a somewhat waning of focus on an event of a coup/insurrection in January of this year could be the reason to get everyone’s attention shifted to something else at full throttle. 

But, hey only a cynic would think that is the real reason for the uptick in turning on the warning light to flash red against CRT being the most important issue facing the country. Well, I guess you can call me a cynic! 

It would be quite foolish of anyone to think that the uproar against CRT is spontaneous. Oh no, this is just an avatar which issues involving progress in these United States is being used under an umbrella at this smattering of present day America. 

To the extreme of going beyond not just banishing a conversation of critical race theory and banning books, is in some peoples’ minds of taking things one step further on the fascistic avenue of burning [3] books; as was remarked by a duo of Spotsylvania, Virginia school board members. Thoughts of Bradbury’s and Atwood’s tales of dystopia filled my mind in thinking something so extreme could not happen here. But, a video [4] shows it all in living color. 

Sounds like another place and another time. Yet, it is America 2021. History can be distorted, as are facts and outrage. 

Foundation of these principles of propagating history in a singular framework of distortion has been something a pair of pernicious purveyors of political poison have dabbled with for many a decade in the public eye. 

Stephen Kevin Bannon and Roger Joseph Stone Jr., otherwise known as Steve and Roger; have a long history of dubious actions and ties in the conservative eco-system.

Both being political operatives in the center of the right-wing circus ring and on its’ outer circle in varied moments of their careers in the conservative eco-sphere has given them the reputations they’ve so justly acquired.

First, Mr. Bannon; whose career has gone from being White House Chief Strategist for the Trump Administration to a person charged with contempt of Congress. But, in between the highest heights to the lowest lows is where good ol’ Steve truly laid his tracks of infamy. 

Bannon’s own words have mainstreamed the level of prejudice which has in some ways conditioned the right-wing politics, not just in the United States, but on a global stage: 

“Let them call you racist, let them call you xenophobes, let them call you nativists. Wear it like a badge of honor. Because every day, we get stronger and they get weaker. History is on our side and will bring us victory.” – Steve Bannon [5]

Mr. Phony Populist Steve Bannon fashions himself as the everyman riding the wave of a global movement. 

Build That Wall! Fill My Wallet!  

So, one might think Mr. Bannon was arrested in a hovel under a bridge, adorned in a tattered, burlap sack. But, of course he was not. His locale of getting nipped by the authorities was aboard a luxury yacht off the waters of the East Coast, which just happened to be owned by a Chinese billionaire. Well, well, Mr. Phony Populist who supposedly stands for patriotism and all things American is being finely pampered in a floating palace when he’s taken down in handcuffs by the FBI. Yet, Steve doesn’t travel cheap, for private jets [6] and yachts are just a part of how he rolls. 

Bannon wasn’t building the wall out of bricks at the U.S.-Mexico border in some crowd-sourcing campaign, but only dollar bills to pile up to the millions in his own pedi-cash box for himself. Phony Populism exposed for all to see once more. 

And, with a wink of the eye as this sloppy fella’ walked out of Federal Court during this imbroglio, he has that smug air about him. Yet, some may wonder why is a man charged [7] with mail fraud and money laundering would be so assured that the golden road of freedom would remain his? It’s an easy answer when this person is given the ultimate free pass of a Presidential pardon [8] from Donald J. Trump.

Yippee! Steve Bannon is off the hook for those charges of August 2020. Lucky man he is for having such a good buddy at the helm of the United States government. But, then again, time turns for the worm. 

Always pushing things over the edge in vileness, Bannon’s own words had consequences in being permanently suspended on Twitter for making a maniacal [9] musing aimed towards Dr. Anthony Fauci and FBI Director Christopher Wray. 

Humility is not Mr. Bannon’s wheelhouse, for hubris is the fragrance he wears. And, as the January 6th Committee Investigating the United States Capital Attack has proven in October 2021, the scent of defying a congressional subpoena can get ya’ slapped with contempt charges and the funk of your arrogance is gonna’ nail ya’ backside. 

Nuts gonna’ be nuts! As the right-wing nuts in the United States Congress claw and crawl all over each other to ingratiate themselves on behalf of getting a young man who killed two people in Wisconsin minted as a congressional intern for themselves, they are locked in a bizarre version of “Survivor: Kooky Wing-Nuts Island”.  

Will Matt Gaetz’ be getting a new wing-man or will young Mr. Rittenhouse become the pet project of the right-wing calliope of unwell ideas and castaway conservatism? Well, I guess time will tell.

Alongside the aforementioned Steve Bannon, there slithers the spiffily attired Roger Stone. 

For Steve Bannon and Roger Stone, it seems all their public antics are just making a mockery out of policy and politics just to get their own rocks off. To me it is infuriating. Everything is all in the game for them, as the citizenry are just reduced to red and blue pieces on a chessboard. But, that probably is the method to their over-hyped, media madness.

“Politics with me isn’t theater. It’s performance art. Sometimes, for its own sake.” – Roger Stone [10]

When weaving a fascination of persona, a cult needs cultivation. Repeat the lie with the vigor of a street hawker. Rinse the lie through the filter of right-wing bias. Repeat the lie over and over again. Cult descends into a well programmed trance. 

Cultivation of a cult does not take shape in a quick snap of a finger. Oh no, the power of association is a variation of connections that are drawn out over a period of time. With Roger Stone, it is events in Salem, Oregon in 2018 and Washington, DC in January 2021. 

Never shy or retiring, Mr. Stone has always been quite proud of himself. In some ways, you could say razzle-dazzle Roger’s a man that basks in his own pride. Or, maybe he can just be called a proud boy. Speaking of which, that right-wing group known as the Proud Boys [11] has been in the sphere of Stone since 2019, when he sought them out as some sort of protective element for himself. 

So the next time when the party that barks about law and order and loving the blue; just remember along with the rest of them, that Roger Stone and Steve Bannon ain’t to proud to stand by and stand back when it comes to flouting and breaking criminal codes; from mail fraud, tax anomalies, and varied forms of contempt with a toss of the cherry of insurrection [12] on top of it.

This is who they unapologetically are, without varnish of heady titles or descriptive flair.

Crapsters, tricksters, liars, and thieves are small time in the big scheme of things. Yet, a coup manufactured from layers of lies to propel the withering of democracy on the vine could allow the flourishing tree of America to be cast in darkness from this moment on. 

Now, how’s about them apples? Makes a person think about how close to the edge the government of the United States was to going over to the abyss of authoritarianism.

But, those who raise their hackles at the mistruths of what critical race theory is and is not have a singular focus on something that isn’t even a concern for children to be exposed to. Yet, those same people don’t feel a sense of urgency at the slow march of fascism that could even shake their status in this country.

Mr. Bannon and Mr. Stone preen around as if they are the cat’s meow or the apple’s worm. 

People will see what they want out of each of these men. I guess it all depends upon which branch of the tree of America you are perched upon. 

As for me, the apple’s rot is what I see.  

“AS THE WORM TURNS: OF NOTS, KNOTS & NUTS”

A.H. Scott – 2021

“As The Worm Turns: Of Nots, Knots & Nuts” – Footnotes: 

 

1.“Critical Race Theory Isn’t A Curriculum” (EdWeek)

2. “Where Critical Race Theory is Under Attack” (EdWeek) 

3. “Virginia School Board Members Call For Books to Be Burned” (Business Insider) 

4. “Spotsylvania School Board Members” (YouTube)

5. “Steve Bannon Told a French Far-Right Party to Wear the Racist Label as a Badge of Honor” (Business Insider)

6. “Steve Bannon’s Use of Private Jet Linked to Chinese Businessman Could Violate Campaign Finance Law” (ProPublica)

7. “Steve Bannon’s Trial Set for May in Border Wall Conspiracy case” (Washington Post)

8. “Trump Pardons Former Chief Strategist Steve Bannon” (Wall Street Journal)

9. “Steve Bannon Permanent Twitter Suspension” (CNN)

10. “Roger Stone: Political Animal” (Washington Examiner) 

11. “Right-Wing Provocateur Roger Stone Asked Proud Boys ForProtection at Dorchester Conference Last Weekend” (Willamette Week)

 

12. Longtime Trump Advisers Connected To Groups Behind Rally That Led to Capitol Attack (ABC News)https://abcnews.go.com/US/longtime-trump-advisers-connected-groups-rally-led-capitol/story?id=75261028

.

About The Author: A.H. Scott is a poet based in New York City and frequent contributor to Tony Ward Studio. To read additional articles by Ms. Scott, go here: https://tonywardstudio.com/blog/ginger_wind/

.