A Christmas Without Gifts?

 

 

 

A Christmas without gifts?
Would it really be so bad?
Has anyone ever died
because they missed a TV ad?

Every goddamn year,
people fight over ‘smart TVs’
and camp out at a store
like trained chimpanzees.

Into the store you go.
You do exactly as you’re told.
On Monday, hit the keyboard,
and yet, another diamond sold.

What holiday is this?
Did you miss the memo too?
What happened to peace and love?
You’ve turned this earth into a zoo!

Fights broke out here!
There’s shooting over there!
You stomp each other every year
trying to buy some Tupperware!

So, you’ve got your shopping done.
For those gifts, yes you did brawl.
You found everything you need,
but was Jesus at the mall?

Now, sing your songs about his birth.
Oh, what joy it brings!
You hocked your ass to death
for all those stupid things!

Written by,
Shelby I. Courtland
©2017 Shelby I. Courtland

Today, I was asked if I had my Christmas shopping done. The question was posed by a stranger, someone who obviously did not know me. And I answered, “No one is getting a damn thing from me! They never do!” And I was quite surprised when the lady stated that she was of the same mindset and that she had ditched that shopping madness shit years ago. I told her, “Good for her!” There were others around and we had a lively conversation about this. Here in my neck of the woods, there weren’t many long lines snaking around stores waiting for them to open. Many people are as fed up with this spoon fed shop ’til you drop shit as I am and here I thought I was out in left field all by my lonesome in my views of what the ‘celebration’ is supposed to be about.

Long before Christmas even rolls around, even before Thanksgiving, we are bombarded with advertisements to spend, spend, spend money that we don’t even have but because deep discounts are touted, we are made to feel that if we don’t hock something at least, to buy that too good to miss TV deal that we are just slackers. There is never even time to sit down at a table to try and be thankful that we are alive on Thanksgiving Day because before that day and even during that day, we are told to go out and shop. We are told to buy a turkey with all the trimmings and then get right up, head out the door and make sure that we keep shareholders of corporations in the black while our financial situation is in the red.

There are many people who are living paycheck to paycheck and who can barely keep a roof over their head and with their paychecks not keeping up with inflation; the high cost of living, they are still expected to pull money out of their ass to buy gifts. What in the world could you possibly need since you go through this mess every single year? How many TVs and Keurig coffee makers, microwave ovens, vacuum cleaners, SUVs and the list is endless do you really need?

The next time you are out driving around, visit a landfill just to get some idea of what we use and then throw away. What will it take to get you to realize that those boxes, Styrofoam, plastic and associated items to keep that coffee maker secure inside that box are filling up landfills everywhere, not to mention, the toxins that come from those products are seeping into our groundwater and we are drinking them every single day. You don’t ever wonder at the price we pay for our headlong rush to get some great deals, but it will all soon come back to bite us on the ass. If you really cared for your children and your grandchildren, you would sit them down and explain to them why you are not getting them something that they’ll play with for a few minutes and then toss to the side. You would explain to them that their very lives depend on you not shopping for yet another doll, another video game, another toy and another and another.

At least I can be thankful that some people are finally waking up and realizing that they have been nothing more than mindless shopping drones who have been programmed to spend too much money to enable shareholders to happily deposit their dividend checks and to enable CEOs of corporations to buy yet another island paradise with that bonus check thanks to overzealous shopping habits because of commercials insisting that you spend yourself to death.

A Christmas without gifts? Would it really be so bad?

‘Trophy Wife’

 

How long will my looks hold up?
And when will he stop considering me, his ‘Trophy Wife’?
Today, I was told that I didn’t look a day over 35.
Tomorrow, I’m making an appointment to go back under the knife.

My personal trainer helps me keep fit.
I nibble on a piece of lettuce at every meal.
What I wouldn’t give to eat a bowl of ice cream,
and for just a slice of chocolate cake, I’d kill.

If only he would stop eyeing those younger girls,
and love me for all that I’ve given to him;
two sons and a daughter and my devotion,
but those younger girls, what I wouldn’t give to be them.

Tonight, I must make another great impression.
His boss is coming over to seal a deal
and he has laid out for me to wear,
a little black dress and shoes with a stiletto heel.

Sometimes, I think he’d prefer it if I broke my neck,
as I teeter across the carpet serving up hors d’oeuvres.
I bet his secretary is all set to take my place
if my boyish figure begins to form curves.

I wonder if the other ‘Trophy Wives’ are like me,
always doubting their ability to hold on to their man
and if they too, long for the forbidden slice of chocolate cake,
or have they no problem keeping up this pretense of love as long as they can?

Written by,
Shelby I. Courtland
©2017 Shelby I. Courtland

Hollywood Sexual Assault Hotline: Call 1-800-Law-Yers!

 

 

We here at the Hollywood Sexual Assault Hotline feel your pain
and even though, we stand to gain
know that we will do all we can
for a Hollywood sexual assault ban.
So, please call us if you’ve been groped
and if you had sex when you were doped.
Don’t let the bastards get away with this.
He had no right to steal that kiss
or masturbate right in front of you
as if that was your casting cue.
Just because you played the slut
in a movie that the director cut
is not a reason to misconstrue
your morals, your principles and what you value.
Call our hotline and you will see
that we got your back, but for a fee.
But if you wait to file your claim,
he could say, “You were to blame!”
Men like that get down and dirty.
They’ll say that you were just too flirty.
And that if Donald Trump can ‘grab you by the pussy’,
then you’re just another brazen hussy!

Written by,
Shelby I. Courtland
©2017 Shelby I. Courtland

Now, it may seem as though I am making fun of these recent allegations of misconduct of a sexual nature by many big name men in the world of feature films and even in the political field, but I am not. It is just that I am not surprised in the least. Men in powerful positions are going to abuse that power; that is a given and it should be a well known fact. And if people have not reported this because they felt as though they would not be believed, why did they not record these incidences because from what I have read, they occurred multiple times and recording devices have been around for hundreds of years and are small enough to not even be detected and this I know because I have been using recording devices for years too numerous to count. The things that I have recorded would curl your toes. So, I don’t want to hear that you would not have been believed. If you use a little common sense, some things can be caught so that others don’t have to endure what you endured. Am I beating up on the victims? Not really, but at the same time, there are steps that they could have taken to not let things go this far. Why would I enter a hotel room with a man who has been ‘coming on’ to me or saying inappropriate things to me? I wouldn’t. But some of these women who are now accusing men of sexual misconduct did just that. Of course, many have stated that they were young. Ok. If you were that young, then where were your parents? It’s like saying, “It’s not my fault that I was groped while wearing a skimpy bikini in a Miss America contest.” When you put yourself out there, wearing next to nothing, throwing yourself at a man to get a part in a movie, he is going to take advantage of that fact. You mean, you didn’t know this? Of course you did. Now, accept some of the responsibility for this happening to you. It has been stated that these women knew of other women who had experienced the same thing they had experienced since lists were compiled of other women who had gone through a sexual assault of some kind and yet, you all just kept silent until now. What was it that prompted these accusations now? Why is everyone coming forward now? What is behind it?

I am not suggesting that these women ‘asked for it’, I am, however, suggesting that this could have been nipped in the bud sooner if proactive steps had been taken. Women are not stupid. We know what men want and yet we still take our clothes off in front of them on sets of movies and beauty pageants and expect them to remain aloof. We expect them to behave themselves when we know they won’t. I’ve never met a man yet that held back on letting me know where we stood and neither have you. Don’t act surprised when men do just what they’ve been doing since the first man and woman walked this earth. Now, call your lawyer!

Fear Is Not A Halloween Mask!

 

Fear is not a Halloween mask,
 nor is it a walk through a graveyard.
Fear is waking up behind a dumpster
knowing that you can never let down your guard.

Fear is not ghosts and ghouls in fiction books,
nor is it a jack-o’-lantern’s evil grin.
Fear is having a pain in your side
and a nasty rash on your skin.

Fear is not a witch riding on a broom,
nor is it a cauldron boiling hot.
Fear is looking into an empty cupboard
and thinking of all things you haven’t got.

Fear is not a vampire biting on a neck,
nor is it a movie about a Nightmare On Elm Street.
Fear is the life you live of desperation,
hopelessness, misery and defeat.

No, we don’t need Halloween
to bring out the fear in our lives.
All we need do is live another day
to know real fear and why it thrives.

Written by,
Shelby I. Courtland
©2017 Shelby I. Courtland

As this is Halloween, we tend to think of the usual things that are supposed to instill fear in us; from evil masks to scary, haunted houses while people are dealing with real fears; fears for their children’s health and wellbeing, the fear of wondering if they will have their retail job after the coming holidays are over, fear that there will not be enough food for their families and fear that they will not be able to keep a roof over their head. There is so much to fear even as we are bombarded with advertisements on the whores of Hollywood and what unique costume they will be sporting and how they will celebrate lavishly at some party somewhere while millions of people are damn near destitute, hopeless and wondering where their next meal will come from.

We have all contributed to what we see today. We have stood silently by and watched this all unfold, but since we still have Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and whatnot, we don’t really have to look up from our iPhones and take a good look around at what is going on. It is a sad shame that we call ourselves social creatures just because we peruse ‘social media’ every single day as we become more and more removed from each other than ever before. So, don your costumes, go to your Halloween parties and post the pics on Facebook. Tweet along with our stupid and ignorant president about what a great time you had and tomorrow when the costume is lying on the floor, when you’ve received 200 ‘likes’ on your costume via Facebook, please tell us how much better off your circumstances are and that of your neighbor.

A Child Was Born!

 

A child was born, dark as night,
and sent out into the world.
Everywhere he turned,
such insults, people hurled.

He took this all in stride,
grew up and became a man.
Took one look at his skin,
it was darker than a tan.

On a mountaintop, he stood,
looking out on a sea of hate.
He decided that once and for all,
he’d be the master of his own fate.

He had been followed for many a day,
even when he’d stopped to rest.
He thought he’d never feel secure,
knew that to him, this was a test.

God, they said, loved him
and he believed it for awhile.
He carried with him, a Bible.
 It was evidence at his trial.

You see this man, he finally snapped
on a hot, sunny day in June.
One insult was one too many,
a white man called him, a baboon.

He took his Bible in his hand
and he beat that white man good.
His blood did fill the pages,
it soaked right through his hood.

The Klan, they’d met their match.
Hate finally beat out love.
And the moral of this story?
A man will push back when he’s shoved.

Written by,
Shelby I. Courtland
©2017 Shelby I. Courtland

Now remember, you read it here first. Black people are seriously starting to get fed up with white folks’ bullshit and there is going to come a day of reckoning. So, please continue to treat us like shit and you’ll find yourselves wondering what the hell! Keep your hatred coming and soon we will forget about all of those fake-assed fairy tales your ancestors got us listening to about the Buybull, Jebus Christ and some more religious shit. We are going to stop with the preachyfying and get with the program that we are going to ‘stand our ground’ and ain’t nobody’s day gonna be sunny when that happens. It ain’t here yet, but by all the sinners in church, itsa coming.

Death!

Death, is not a sweet kiss,
nor is it a deep, gentle sigh.
Death, is a struggle for life,
but we lose… and so we die.

Written by,
Shelby I. Courtland
©2017 Shelby I. Courtland

I cannot recall how many times I have heard, “He was in his death throes.” And they have been defined as “sudden violent movements that people sometimes make when they are dying.”

The will to live is so strong, but death will have the ‘final’ say.

We Celebrate Memorial Day!

We celebrate Memorial Day in honor of blood spilled.
And we stand silently by and watch those coffins, filled
with the bodies of dead soldiers who once knew joy
but then lined up as though they were a tin soldier toy.

We take this day to solemnly give thanks and praise
to those who willingly reduced on this earth, their numbered days.
What a wonder it is to be alive and to show our gratitude
while those who served this country lie in glorious solitude.

As we head to the store to buy flags made in Vietnam
to bestow upon the grave of the sacrificial lamb,
we honor the memory of every unknown soldier
by giving him a neighbor to lie beside him, shoulder to shoulder.

Why should we cease to inscribe names on yet another wall,
since it is so easy to produce another soldier to heed war’s call?
No, we must never truly show our gratitude for our war weary dead,
and to those whose body lives while their mind died instead.

So, eat your hotdogs and your apple pie and wave your flag
while another soldier is soon to be placed in a body bag.

Written by,
Shelby I. Courtland
©2017 Shelby I. Courtland

And here we go again! Taking a day to honor our war dead while still at war and so what have we learned? Not a goddamn thing! Monday, Trump’s depraved ass will solemnly place a wreath at the tomb of ‘The Unknown’ soldier; ‘The Unknowns’. And just which soldier did he know? What soldier did Obama or Bush know, either Bush, for that matter? Trump, after having just recently dropped the Mother Of All Bombs on Afghanistan and declared that more soldiers are necessary to fight some bogeymen that the U.S. trained and/or caused to be unleashed on the Middle East by way of the CIA will ‘borrow’ some dignity from somewhere just long enough to get through the hypocritical ceremony of the placing of the wreath. And then, it’s off to golfing and ordering some Big Macs.

Oh, how we really mean it when we “Thank a service man/woman for their service to this country” while we continue to add to their numbers because hardly any of us know a soldier who got him/herself killed in the line of ‘duty’ because it has always been some poor schmuck who was too dumb to understand that he’s still poor after having signed his life away and for what? Not a goddamn thing! Food stamps, a gun, a backpack and a flag to drape over his coffin. Yeah! Now, go eat your hot dog! Celebrate!

“Poverty Is A State Of Mind!” Said Housing And Urban Development Chief, Ben Carson

Poverty is a state of mind
because what does it really matter
to Trump’s new housing chief
who is really the Mad Hatter?

You can’t fool yourself into believing
that your hunger pangs aren’t real.
You just keep telling yourself over and over
that on your empty plate is a meal.

The thing about mind over matter
is that it really doesn’t work.
When you lose your job and home,
Ben Carson is gonna smirk.

You see, it’s really funny to him,
he who has no brains at all
that your mind can’t make you rich
like that brain dead Neanderthal.

But what really takes the cake
is that this fool is the head of HUD.
He’s responsible for housing the poor,
I guess in houses made of mud.

This supposedly brilliant brain surgeon
says that “poverty is a state of mind.”
How in the hell did he operate on brains
when he is so obviously blind?

Written by,
Shelby I. Courtland
©2017 Shelby I. Courtland

“I think poverty to a large extent is also a state of mind,” said HUD Secretary Ben Carson.

For the love of !!!!! Let me get this straight. If I lose my ‘good’ paying $7.25 an hour minimum wage job at Micky Ds because of automation and I told my landlord that I’m really not of a mind to be poverty stricken and homeless and so could he please accept my ‘great state of mind’ as payment for rent due, who in unholy hell thinks that my ass would not be sitting out on the streets in no time flat??!!!

If I lost my ‘great’ paying job at GM due to robotics taking the job and I could no longer afford the mortgage on my house, how about I go to the bank and tell them that I’m not of a mind to be poor and homeless and so could I just ‘bank’ on that mindset to get me to be able to stay in my home? What the hell is the banker going to say to that? “Get the hell out of my office with that bullshit and start packing!” That’s what the banker is going to say.

What the hell is wrong with us when we can hear this type of tripe and there not be an uproar? It is already bad enough that I’ve had to hear of Donald Trump’s budget proposal that guts food stamps, Medicaid and he’s even going after the disabled which should surprise no one seeing as how he made fun of the disabled on the campaign trail. But as usual, the apathetic and complacent Americans just sit back and wait until the shit hits the fan for their ass in particular in order to get to wailing and moaning. And we had the nerve just a few months ago to post some shit about, “When first they came for the Muslims, but I wasn’t a Muslim and blah, blah, blah…” And now, they’ve come for the food insecure, the sick and disabled and what are we doing about it? The usual. Not a goddamn thing, the apathetic and complacent shits we are! GEEZUS Goddamn Christ, I fucking give!!!

Oh and before I forget, Ben Carson also stated that people who have to make use of HUD public housing and Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers should “not live comfortably!” Believe me, they are doing anything but. And I have the pictures to prove it!

This was the result of a serious roof leak. I toured this apartment complex and 6 roofs caved in and management did not evacuate the people in the affected apartments because who the fuck cares about those people? These people did not have a ceiling left. But I suppose in the eyes of Ben Carson, this HUD Section 8 apartment was still too comfortable.

The leak in this apartment was so bad, the carpets had to be removed and the tenants had placed buckets down to capture the water. But of course, this is ‘comfortable living’, according to HUD Secretary Ben Carson

 

This is what was left of the sink and the kitchen. The pipe. Real ‘comfortable’ isn’t it? I’d want to live here! I’m sure Ben Carson would.

Great ceiling lighting. Not much ‘mood’ lighting. But who needs to be ‘comfortable’?

Here, we have ants coming from a panel in the hallway. ‘Comfortable’ living for ants anyway.

This ceiling leak is in a bathroom. You can ‘comfortably’ take your shower or bath knowing that the upstairs tenant’s filthy bath water could cascade down on you at any time. This feature will never appear in ‘Better Homes And Gardens’. For sure!

 

Does your bathtub come with a ladder? This one does. Will this bathroom get featured in ‘Better Homes And Gardens’? Never fucking mind. We ALL know the answer to that one! Fuck Ben Carson!

So, there you have it folks, ‘comfortable living’ as established by HUD Secretary, Ben Carson. He’s ALL heart, don’t cha know! Each picture here was taken in a HUD approved housing complex of some sort. Each had passed inspection and was deemed safe, sanitary and decent. This is what is considered living extremely well to the point of being ‘too goddamn comfortable’ by Ben ‘asshole’ Carson’ Fuck that house negro!

Sirens Are Our Lullabies!

Shots ring out every night
in this city gushing blood.
And in daylight, it’s the same,
awash in a crimson flood.

Sirens are our lullabies;
a crime scene, our parade.
We stand and stare at the dead,
then into a grave, they are laid.

None of it makes any sense,
Black men killing their own kind.
And I just make excuses
as though to reality, I am blind.

I blamed it all on poverty;
a lack of jobs and single moms.
And I threw in for good measure
that so many are bearing arms.

I thought I had all the answers.
Open a store or two in the hood
that catered to the poor,
but that won’t do us any good.

What is needed, I don’t know.
I throw my hands up in the air.
Our murder rate is off the charts.
And it would seem that we don’t care.

Another day, another murder.
And sometimes, more than one.
We’re just mowing each other down,
and hell, there ain’t nowhere to run.

More babies without fathers,
more mothers without their sons
because we have lost our minds,
 when to solve our problems, we use guns.

Written by,
Shelby I. Courtland
©2017 Shelby I. Courtland

‘Did you hear that?’: Amid Baltimore’s surge in killings, a faint cry in a locked car

BALTIMORE — No one saw the baby.

She sat in a gold-hued car with tinted black windows as her 26-year-old father lay on the ground outside, dying.

All eyes were on him, another fallen body in a city increasingly defined by them.

In portions of Baltimore, the strobe of police cars is as much a part of the landscape as boarded-up homes. But the pace of the killings this year has been stunning as the city struggles to recover from rioting in 2015. As of Friday, 124 people had been slain, including five on a recent day, making Baltimore’s homicide rate one of the highest in the country. It is more than triple Washington’s rate and higher than the homicide rates in New Orleans and Chicago, two places that have become national symbols of gun violence.

I came to this city, not with expectations of having everlasting fun, but with the hope that there was something I could do to help in a city that claimed my heart over a decade ago. And now, I am beyond frustrated. If I told you all that has happened to me since I’ve been here, you’d all wonder why I have not thrown myself into the nearest psych ward and wrapped my own ass in a wrap-around jacket. I have been carjacked, almost robbed at gun point on a city bus, my cousin was shot two months after arriving here and I am terrified to leave my own neighborhood. I am already preparing to leave this city. I have not seen anything like this. I guess when I was here before, I was young and fearless, but now that I am older and damn near completely incapacitated thanks to injuries, I look at things differently and I am absolutely horrified at what I see. This city is off the chain. I ask myself all the time, “What was I thinking?” And if you read the article, a statement by a former Baltimore planning director tells it all.

“People don’t realize it’s worse than Chicago,” said Otis Rolley, former Baltimore planning director and a onetime mayoral candidate. His 23-year-old nephew, Andrew Zachary, a former Marine, was the 15th person killed in the city this year. “This man was trained by the U.S. government and had the skills and ability to survive in a combat situation overseas but was unable to navigate the streets of Baltimore. And that is a scary, scary thing.”

There is no need to suit up and head to Iraq or Afghanistan to see some combat action, just come to Baltimore. You’ll get more ‘action’ than you bargained for, believe me! Baltimore is a warzone! Helicopters fly overhead, non-stop. Sirens are non-stop. It is not even safe to take public transit. It is not safe to drive. It is not safe to walk down the street. It is not safe to peep out your window. For the love of !!!!!

It’s Been Four Years

You were mother’s favorite from the day you were born
and then from her arms, thanks to crack, you were torn.
I was jealous of you since I thought you had it all.
You were so smart and so beautiful; a Cinderella at the ball.

In your band uniform and with your saxophone ready
you marched out on that field amidst loud cheers and confetti.
Voted ‘gold brick’ girl, your sense of humor stole the show.
You were brilliant at everything until to crack, you couldn’t say, “No!”

It shortened your beautiful life and destroyed who you were.
After you became addicted, the rest of your life was just a blur.
You stole and you lied and we did not know what to do.
Your family threw their hands up, we all gave up on you.

Four years you’ve been gone and how the time did fly.
And I never got the chance to say to you, “Goodbye!”
I hear the mournful wail of a saxophone playing.
It would be from you if I could bring you back by praying!

Written by,
Shelby I. Courtland
©2017 Shelby I. Courtland

I cannot believe that it’s been another year since my sister’s death on May 6, 2013. For those of you who are new to this blog, my sister died from a crack overdose.
She was the most talented and beautiful person I’ve ever known. I sit here, writing this, with tears streaming down my face because my sister had it all except for the ability to give up the crack pipe. I have never known anyone who had her smarts. There was nothing she could not do except get off crack. And I just don’t understand nor can I seem to accept how someone who was as brilliant as she was is dead from crack. Her brain was a computer. I’ve said this before and I say it again, there was no mathematical equation or computation that she couldn’t do as fast as a computer. She never had to open a book; she just knew the answers and even her college roommate was jealous of her because my sister never opened a book and yet aced every exam. Walked out of the classroom a few minutes after entering it with her exam completed. She excelled at music, cooking, math, history, English, art; everything! But crack was her Achilles heel. Beside her, my other sister and myself are kindergarten rejects and I wish I was kidding. She never married, had no children, was the youngest and yet, she is dead!

My sister, I mourn you still!!