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!
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  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  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  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  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 
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  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  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  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  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 
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  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  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)
Much to the surprise of many, recreational marijuana became legal in Virginia on July 1. I never thought I’d see something so progressive in stodgy old Virginia.
There are limits, of course. You can have up to an ounce for personal use or grow up to four plants. Possession of more than an ounce up to a pound will get you a $ 25 fine.
If you want all the details you can read the story in the Galax Gazette, an excellent regional newspaper here in southwest Virginia. (www.galaxgazette.com).
The reason this resonates so strongly with me goes back to the summer of 1969.
I was living in Richmond, Virginia, in a nice, three-bedroom, apartment on Grace Street. I shared the apartment with four other people. One weekend we had a friend from Washington, D.C., visiting with us.
Saturday morning, the Richmond narcotics police raided the apartment. They did not knock or identify themselves. I was standing in the kitchen at the back of the apartment when a man strode down the hall and pointed a gun in my face. I had no idea who the hell he was. I was twenty-two at the time, never been in any trouble. This was the first time in my life that I’d looked down the barrel of a gun pointed at my face. It scared me so badly that I almost passed out.
As it turned out, the police searched the place and found nothing. But, in the pocket of the man visiting from D.C. was one ‘joint’, one marijuana cigarette.
We were all arrested and charged with possession of marijuana, a felony at that time, facing possible thirty year sentences!
Now, let me repeat, only one person possessed marijuana, and he didn’t even live there! But, that was how police treated ‘hippies’ in the ’60s.
We all hired lawyers, but were denied bail and spent three months in the old Richmond City Jail.
In court it came out that the search warrant was for a different address. Our lawyers tried to get the case thrown out on those grounds, but the judge refused.
We went to trial, and in a great show of ‘judicial mercy’ were only sentenced to three years each. That’s a cumulative fifteen years for one silly joint.
Thankfully, our lawyers pleaded with the judge and got the sentences suspended. But we were forbidden to associate with each other even though we were best friends. So we were split up, and I went back to Roanoke, where I’m from, and went to work for a local TV station and theater.
My dear friend Mark couldn’t take the stress and killed himself, a promising young life ended for nothing.
The first time I was to meet with my probation officer I showed up and was taken to his office.
He read my file, and said, “Possession of marijuana, eh?”
When I said, “Yes,” he got up from behind his desk, locked his office door, sat back behind his desk, and pulled a joint from a drawer. We shared it. I never had any trouble with my probation officer!
So, after my three years of probation was over, I petitioned the governor to expunge my conviction and restore my rights. He and my father were friends, and my petition was quickly granted. I could vote, own guns, whatever I wanted to do. I took my voting rights seriously, and voted in every election from 1972 until 2007. Then I was convicted on the current absurd charges and lost my rights all over again.
But, back to marijuana. When I was arrested for possession back in ’69, I didn’t have any. But I’d been smoking it since 1965 when I went off to college at Virginia Tech and found it abundant on campus and cheap. I smoked it pretty regularly through the sixties, seventies and early eighties, and then just tapered off.
When my late girlfriend convinced me to try some of hers in 2003, I hadn’t had any in years. The stuff she got from a student at Radford University was by far more potent than anything we had in the ’60s and ’70s! I couldn’t handle it. One hit and I was ‘One Toke Over the Line,’ as Brewer and Shipley sang.
The law legalizing marijuana in Virginia has penalties for giving any to young people under the age of twenty-one, but that’s unrealistic. Once it’s legal, young people and kids are going to get it, just as they already get alcohol.
Now, even though marijuana possession becomes legal on July 1 of this year, selling any amount is still illegal, and the state’s legal dispensaries won’t open until 2024! So you can legally have it, but there’s no legal way to get it!
Also, when marijuana becomes legal on July 1, everyone in jail or prison for possession will be released, right? Wrong! There’s no provision in the law to resentence people serving time for possession of a legal substance!
The legal theory is that they broke the law as it existed at the time, so they won’t be released. The Governor wanted to include a provision in the law that would have automatically resentenced those people, but opposition in our legislature told him if he insisted on including that provision, the bill would die. So he took what he could get.
That’s Virginia politics!
About The Author: Bob Shell is a professional photographer, author, former editor in chief of Shutterbug Magazine and veteran contributor to this blog. He is currently serving a 35 year sentence for involuntary manslaughter for the death of Marion Franklin, one of his former models. He is serving the 13th year of his sentence at Pocahontas State Correctional Facility, Virginia. To read additional articles by Bob Shell, click here: https://tonywardstudio.com/blog/behind-bars/
Editor’s Note: If you like Bob Shell’s blog posts, you’re sure to like his new book, COSMIC DANCE by Bob Shell (ISBN: 9781799224747, $ 12.95 book, $ 5.99 eBook) available now on Amazon.com . The book, his 26th, is a collection of essays written over the last twelve years in prison, none published anywhere before. It is subtitled, “A biologist’s reflections on space, time, reality, evolution, and the nature of consciousness,” which describes it pretty well. You can read a sample section and reviews on Amazon.com. Here’s the link: