17 August 2016

My Name is Bud, and I'm an Addict

I wrote this back in July, but didn't post it. Here you go.


Hi, my name is Bud, and I’m an addict.

On this date in 1998, I had my first hit of “Her.” Like some RomCom cliché, I saw her across a smoky back yard at an anniversary party. It was lust at first sight. And, when I got close enough to look in her eyes, I was in love.

We were so different – think Dharma and Greg – and yet meshed so well. She inspired so many words, and left me speechless. She filled my spirit even as she took away my breath. It was, I thought, what love was supposed to feel like.

Sadly, unlike in Hollywood, the boy didn’t get the girl. The boy got hurt over and over. He’d (in a manner of speaking) lose the girl, she’d go away for a while – sometimes years – and he would make strides toward healing. But again and again she’d return, and he’d fall under her spell once more. The boy is, admittedly, not very bright.

There were too many days when I didn’t care if I woke up in the morning. And, despite a fairly impressive collection of writing (quantity, if not quality) inspired by my first muse, I still wake up depressed that I have to drag myself through another day.

A few months ago, with the unwitting help of her latest boyfriend, I got clean. Of course, clean is a relative term. Like any addict, I know I’ll never be free of temptation. The danger of relapse lurks everywhere; in scores of songs and movies; in a thousand memories, and even in the words dripping from my own pen.

I’m better than I was, but I am still damaged. I am a junkie, and “Her” is my drug.

“I thought I knew what love was. What did I know? Those days are gone forever. I should just let ‘em go.”

17 June 2016

A Fly on the Wall at Trump Headquarters

By Bud Koenemund

  I would love to sit in on a ManChild Trump campaign strategy meeting. I’d be fascinated to learn if the word “no” is ever spoken. Is anyone brave enough to advise MCT this or that stance might not be wise, since he voiced the opposite position just weeks or months before? Does anyone attempt to deliver gentle reminders that the Internet exists, and anything said will be fact checked seconds after it leaves his mouth?

  Or, does his staff chase after MCT like Mr. Salt following Veruca around the chocolate factory; afraid he’ll throw a tantrum, or threaten to tell mommy; sulk, or hold his breath until he gets his way? Do they simply creep around the halls, and cower behind their desks, waiting (as a friend recently posited) for the big payday if MCT wins?

  I wonder if campaign headquarters resembles The Ministry of Truth in Nineteen Eighty-Four. Minion who could work out the truth if they dared to think, silently following orders; dutifully typing up the latest pronouncements of their infallible leader lest they be hauled off to Room 101 of MCT Tower and clamped in whatever torture device haunts their nightmares. “Last week we were at war with Eastasia, but this week we’re fighting to protect the LGBTQ community…well, OK.”

03 March 2016

I used to be a Republican.

By Bud Koenemund

(Written: September 2015)

Once upon a time, I was a Reagan Republican. I was a Conservative. I believed the Republican Party was truly trying to make the United States a better country. Included in that was increasing the freedom, and improving the lives and incomes, of every American.

But, I slowly came to realize this is not what they want. In the last 10 years, I’ve realized the GOP isn’t interested in “the people” – if they were, they’ve had any number of chances to show it. Instead, they’ve made it clear they don’t care about the majority of American citizens; they care only about the rich. They are only interested in securing more and larger tax cuts and subsidies for the wealthy and corporations. These entities receive tax breaks, tax cuts, loopholes, and exemptions worth millions – even billions – and then complain about the pennies falling off their counting tables to the poor – people seeking a living wage, adequate housing, affordable education.

Ronald Reagan promised trickle-down economics would help everyone. They say a rising tide lifts all boats, but, clearly, this is not the case. The rising tide – at least over my lifetime – has only flooded the pockets of the rich. And, this seems to be fine with the Republican Party.

Too many of the rich, the ones who actually could afford to pay higher taxes (or any taxes at all), use that money to hire lawyers/lobbyists to find ways around paying. Now, I’m not talking about raising taxes to some ridiculous level, nor wealth re-distribution. I think if you start a business, work hard and run it well, you deserve to make money. I’m talking about people with more money than they could spend in 10 lifetimes, who complain the poor are poor because they’re lazy. I’m talking about people who graduate college to a $200 million inheritance, and act like they built their world from nothing. And, seem to think everyone who isn’t like them is stupid, or lazy, or somehow less than they are.

Republicans are constantly fighting to pass legislation giving banks more and more power – and, not surprisingly, more money. And, still, the banks squeeze every dollar out those who can least afford it – the little guy; people who work a 40+ hour week, and still can’t support a family.

I was once young, and I thought I knew everything. That’s the way life is. You don’t know what you don’t know until much later. Sometimes, years later. But, I ask you, Gentle Reader, please don’t blindly believe the rhetoric spewed by The Republican Party; or Fox News; or Rush Limbaugh; or your teachers, or even your parents. And, for damned sure, don’t believe me, a stranger on the Internet.

Search for yourself. Look into how much the income of the top one percent has increased over the last 20 years. Look at how much the income of the bottom 50 percent has increased. Google how much money General Electric earned last year. Then search for how much they paid in taxes. Search for the amount we give US corporations in subsidies and/or tax breaks. Then search for how much money and how many jobs some of those corporations move overseas. Search for the percentage of Walmart workers receiving some form of public assistance.

After that, consider what the leaders of the Party think about women. Not what they say about women, but what they actually do. What do their actions reveal? Do they think women should be allowed to make decisions about their own health care? The answer is an obvious and overwhelming no. As we speak – OK, as I type, and you read – Republicans are trying to defund Planned Parenthood. In less than a week, Republicans want to shut down the government over this funding. Even though the last shut down (also Republican led) cost – by one estimate – $25 billion, 140,000 jobs, and caused a downgrade in the credit rating of the United States. Their “do it my way or I’ll take my ball and go home” attitude hurt the country. Oh, and last year, they cut funding for women’s health services.

Increasingly, many Republicans try to pass legislation, or deny equal rights, based on their religious beliefs, apparently forgetting that while the First Amendment guarantees freedom of religion, it also affords freedom from religion. They cannot seem to accept that The Bible is not the Constitution. For an example, look at the decades long fight to “allow” same-sex marriage? How many of the Republican Presidential candidates do not support same-sex marriage based on their own religious objections? They publicly support discrimination against an entire group (the LGBTQ community) of American citizens.

When President Obama was elected, Republican leaders in Congress decided they would obstruct everything he wanted to try. (Look it up, there’s a memo they sent out notifying members of this.) They have opposed every program intended to help those less fortunate than themselves – which, by the way, represents an overwhelming percentage of American citizens. They did this without presenting ideas of their own – though the President declared himself willing to listen to all sides, regardless of political party.

They opposed – still oppose, and continue trying to kill and/or defund – the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare), which provides basic, minimal health insurance to millions, while even the newest members of Congress enjoy the best health insurance and care in the world.

The Republican Party evinces a marked lack of empathy, as if they cannot understand that everyone in the United States is not just like them. That others may go through things they’ll never have to experience. That because they are guaranteed a pension – after just one term in Congress – everyone else will also have a comfortable retirement.

I’m not – and don’t pretend to be – the smartest guy in the world. I’m probably not even the smartest guy in the office I’m seated in. But, I can try to understand what other people are going through. I can sympathize, and hope I never have to deal with situations that can ruin a person, or a family, socially, medically, and economically. And, at the same time, I can vote for candidates and parties that try to do a little more to help people – people who don’t have the word millionaire after their name.

It wasn’t one thing – one issue – that turned me from the Republican Party, but a realization – an awakening – to the Party’s true motivation. Why I would consider voting for the Liberal party? Because things in this country need to change, and the Republican Party has made it clear they see no need for this. I cannot, in good conscience, support what the Republican Party has become.

12 February 2016

Blessed New Life

A poem to celebrate the late birth of Rebecca Lynn Koenemund:
Lady of Union, Princess of Wilshire, and Empress of Pomona.
By Bud Koenemund: Uncle, Godfather, and Lord Protector of Her Majesty’s northern possessions.

(Written: 2006)

A dawn of golden dreams spills over us,
blinding our thankful eyes with tears of joy
as Nature’s majestic sunrise,
the blessed renewal of life’s promise,
melts the winter snow leaving a new spring.
A child to tempt the voices of Angels
to sing sweet songs of hallelujah
peeks out as we, being but mortal,
stain our cheeks for lack of words
to give worthy praise for this Grace.

Reverent prayers, answered with a precious gift,
now become humble pleas for the strength
of heart to prove worthy of this perfect child.
Each seeking only to provide a lifetime of peace
and protection from the sting of worldly woe,
to love unconditionally, to cheer the smallest victory,
and soothe after the most devastating of defeats,
to teach, and quench the thirst for enlightenment,
and to celebrate the brilliant splashes of paint
that create a masterpiece from a blank canvas.

This pure soul, innocent and celestial,
brought forth in love, enters and prepares to play
the many unknown parts meant for a life.
Pink fingers, the instruments whose talent
God will reveal in his time, reach out
to grasp at nothing, and everything.
And newly opened eyes search to discover
a world both fascinating and frightening,
full of wonder, and then, reluctantly, close
to float within the first beautiful dreams of life.