Bovina: Avant-Garde Fireworks

by Kirby Olson (July 2019)

Le Chaos de Rocailles, Suzanne Rogers,


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Wilted Laurels (or, a Sad Ballade to our Poets Inglorious)


     The fireworks began at 9:40 pm. They only lasted 13 minutes. The party began with a group singalong as the hippies and artists haltingly tried to find the words to the Star Spangled Banner as paper lanterns drifted across the sky:


The New Yorker, he was almost certainly a Democrat.

     It was more than just a light show. It was a question mark about American violence and the paradoxical way in which it had secured American peace. Violence founded our nation in ambiguous freedoms that included the right to blow things up, to own a gun, to stand your ground. My wife was a Finnish woman and they had a far less ambiguous relationship to patriotism. Having fought fifty wars against the Russians they were a small but tough people who had never caved into Russian or Swedish imperialism. In the Winter War and the Continuation War it cost them a quarter of their population and a third of their land. They did not have an angry counterculture. Finland is one thing: a fist in which every part was pulled together and ready to strike. America on the other hand is a scattered nation that had nothing to unite us but spectacles citing long-ago invasions, and two separate factions at each other’s throats.


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