October 27, 2008

Hiakus for Diane Benson's Campaign Advertisements

Diane Benson is running for Alaska's "at-large" congressional ottoman (the street term for a state with two senators but only one congressman.) Her values are your values, the lives written large in Imaginary America.

Soup├žon of danger,
Riding helmetless towards love,
Red state turns green.

From the Wikipedia:
Benson began performance work in 1980 and has worked with most major Alaskan theatre companies in such productions as Crimes of the Heart, Wonderland, and Keet Shagoon. She taught stage-craft to inmates in Alaska prisons; led at-risk kids in summer theatre and video programs with Out North Contemporary Art House, created the first contemporary Alaska Native theatre in the state of Alaska in 1985; The Alaska Native Dance & Story Theatre; toured nationally with Naa Kahidi Theatre; directed in Canada for the Nakai Theatre Ensemble, was project coordinator for the Silamiut Greenlandic Theatre Project, several time Artist-in-Residence in rural Alaska, and wrote a number of plays including Sister Warrior and When My Spirit Raised Its Hands.

The Ben Franklins tempt,
Alaska's sylvan lobbyists,
Ignored & forgot.

Diane Benson's son Latseen (pictured in the truck at the top) was severely wounded in Iraq in 2005.

Stroke the display case,
A lonesome tundra guitar,
In service of God.

The Anchorage Daily News's top three headlines on the front page on December 12, 2000, read "High Court Ruling Awaited" (regarding the Florida recount in Bush vs. Gore), followed by "Top School Post Goes to Comeau," and, finally, centered lower on the page, in equally large font, "Student Attacks Professor's Poem." The subtitle read, "'Indian Girls' described as racist, insulting." Two primary photos on the front page garnered attention, the larger being that of Elvis impersonators shoveling snow for a hockey game promotion. The other photo was the beleaguered look of a challenged local university professor postured amongst her books. Somehow, what seemed like a rather normal school semester and typical enough poetry class ended with a tidal wave of divisive controversy and inflamed a community already teetering from volatile race relations. I was central to the controversy. I was the student. We Tlingits have a story about the Cannibal Giant who at one time preyed on the people when they were weakened. The Cannibal Giant was once a woman but through evil became a monster. Even when she was seemingly destroyed by fire, the flame transformed her carnivorous essence from cannibal to mosquito, and thus she continues to plague the people to this day. Some say it is a metaphor...

-From Project Muse, about The American Indian Quarterly

Man or Mosquito,
We all crave the cur's dinner,
But restrained by trust.

Change may take more time than we would like, but it will come. You are someone who believes in humanity. You are someone who knows that it takes caring about our neighbor next door to improve the state of the world. We know that all those who came before us; that loosened their own shackles of poverty, of prejudice, of injustice, made it possible for someone like me to even run for office. We loosened those chains a little more, and maybe the next time someone like us will win. We can change the world, but first, we must be the change we wish to see in the world. I thank you for being that change.

-Diane Benson, from http://bensonforcongress.com/

Wisdom of all types,
Bespectacled Northern girls
Chase tomorrow's dogs.

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