7/24/20: Samurai Moments #poetry #AlexandriaOcasioCortez #yahoos #TedYoho #language #joyinbattle

7/24/20: Samurai Moments #poetry #AlexandriaOcasioCortez #yahoos #TedYoho #language #joyinbattle

A Samurai never strikes an opponent in anger

I read that somewhere

A writer kills his subjects with arrows dipped in love

I read that somewhere

Akira Kurosawa made the classic movie The Seven Samurai

Hollywood westernized the story

and called it The Magnificent Seven

The Magnificent Seven was released in 1960

I was five years old in 1960

I don’t have many memories from when I was five

but I remember Elmer Bernstein’s theme music from The Magnificent Seven

Life as a joyful fight?

No anger

no bitterness

but striking out against evil

taking risks

and having fun

with your friends

It’s not just Hollywood

it’s Hollywood based on something deeper

an art film

that regarded real culture

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

reminds me of my happiest thoughts


and actions

AOC reminds me of my writing at its best

she reminds me of the pure me

the free me

fierce, loving, happy and true


speaking truth

not to power

speaking truth from a position of equality

defending herself

attacking ego

Jiu jitsu moves

of self protection

and defusing bombs of injustice and aggression

The Magnificent Seven displays the sureness of the samurai without showing the necessary recovery from woundedness

the natural pre-requisite

to joy and aplomb

AOC refers to the wound …

OK, so Hollywood only gives the cream and ignores the churning

but moments are sweet too

Samurai Moments

Joy and truth and action and community

as the Pandemic rages

and the structural injustice of American society is laid bare for all to see

As the body bags are zipped up

and the hospitals choke

and the streets are roiled with the violence of authoritarians and criminals

The Magnificent Seven also rides

Not the whole movie

but one of its themes

a theme that can’t be ignored or forgotten

as fear, bitterness and anger threatens to blot out the sun

AOC wasn’t hurt because Representative Yahoo called her “a fucking bitch”

She has heard worse

She tended bar in New York City not very long ago

She wasn’t hurt at all

Representative Yahoo is a foolish dying beast

AOC drew her six-shooter

and with precise aim

attacked Yahoo’s hypocritical belief

that he was a “good man”

because he had a wife and daughter

AOC pointed out that Yahoo’s words were not against her

but all women

perhaps especially Yahoo’s wife and daughter

She mocked how Yahoo had to be on top

and how this urge was sending people into homelessness and into the morgues

She didn’t hate Yahoo

She hated the evil that possessed him

Her speech was masterful writing

a true Samurai moment

and my perception of that moment

was a Samurai moment for me

She made me so happy as she tore Yahoo a new asshole

in such an artful way

It is for Yahoo’s good too

not just mine

not just women’s

AOC would have let it go if it was just about her

But it was her chance to write a poem

and this is mine …

Post script …

something is evolving in what is proper to say, and what is not

it was so great that AOC said “fucking bitch” on the floor of the House of Representatives

In this context

defusing another bomb

the words are harmless

they meant something different when they came out of a frustrated drunk at AOC’s bar

then when they came out of Yahoo’s mouth

The drunk was just crying in pain

bemoaning his own impotence

Yahoo was committing sexual assault

attempting verbal rape

frustrated yes by the weakness of his party at the moment

but trying to win

seeing the world turning toward AOC

and futilely trying to bend the earth’s axis

Samurai moments see so much more than words

A gunfight is more than the bullets

and the conflicts are all different

they are ultimately the people involved

Samurai read the people

and gracefully move with the reality before them …

Words …

I know AOC’s antagonist’s name is Representative Ted Yoho

I am describing  him when I call him Yahoo

The term “yahoo” has come to mean “a crude, brutish or obscenely coarse person” according to the Collins English dictionary. The word was coined as the name of a race of characters in Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels.

Forgive the pedantry here — I am using it to make one last point.

Mark Twain created what is pretty universally regarded as one of the great characters of American literature when he fashioned “Nigger Jim” in Huckleberry Finn.

Twain was aware of the oppression in the word “nigger”. He created a noble character and gave him that name. “Nigger Jim” went down the river of the American Experience with Huckleberry Finn in complete equality and incomparable value. Twain was saying that black people were not only part of America, but that they made invaluable contributions to making what is best in America. Blackness is in the heart and soul of America.

Every once in awhile you see a school district or library or someone else try to censor Huckleberry Finn because it uses the word “nigger”. That is a mistake in need of the joy and grace and three dimensional sensory mechanisms of a samurai moment. The censorship is a poorly aimed bullet. The attention is to defeat racism, but the effect is to wound intelligence and nuance and art.

“Fucking bitch” wasn’t the problem. Being a yahoo was. AOC got that, and in so doing had a samurai moment and won a gunfight for all of her related causes.

Copyright 2020 Richard Thomas










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