I discovered the chronic persistence of gout just as I came across the description in the booklet biography of my great, great grand father’s great, great grandfather, Robert “king” Carter Builder of Christ Church” and read about his gout under the heading of “Carter’s Ills and Remedies”. At the age of 37 he wrote a letter “protesting his worthiness to become a member of King’s Council in 1700, “pleading the great distance from his home at Corotoman to Williamsburg, along with the fact that he was already Speaker of the House” (of Burgesses). The cliché of royal victim of gout recently found its contemporary verification in an archeological dig that claimed to have unearthed Richard the III, the scoliosis legend of hump-backed king who assumed the throne in Shakespeare’s play by drowning his two bonny young nephews in barrels of mead, that fermented honey concoction so dear to the Angles, Saxons and Jutes. (Probably more of my relatives from the North Nether lands.) & They all had problems with the gout and inflamed veins filled with uric crystals, the end product of the metabolism of protein, the building block of muscle, the strength of the body which the scientists now maintain was normal in Richard the Third’s body until in his mid-30’s he became King and ate a royal diet that gave him the gout he had when a blow to the head ended his reign. The change in his diet was documented in his bones even in his skull with holes in it. My great-great grandfather died at 39 charging across the flank of Ft. MacGruder in front of Williamsburg in 1862 in defense of his “rights” (which included his property rights the 10-12 slaves he owned). Corotoman, Robert “King” Carter’s home plantation, the center of network of plantations, was worked by over 200 hundred slaves over 200 years on that one “quarter”.
Gout is a disease of waste removal gone wrong. The Nitrate crystals with oxygen radicals collect in the connective tissues of joints first especially in the toes and feet because gravity helps the accumulation that then inflame the joints that hold the body politic together. The Great Global Gout is, of course, All One Thing. The gout of the cover up in plain sight that wrote the memos to make torture legal, that allowed the creation of the total surveillance state and the Terror Tuesday killer drone assassinations of citizens is All One Thing with the new Vice President of Afghanistan who in the earliest days of that poor lands U.S. invasion 2001-02 had his warlord troops load hundreds of captives in cargo containers on the backs of trucks and seal them so tightly that when they begged for air orders were given to shoot bullet holes to allow breath to those not killed by the bullets before the survivors were driven up into the mountains to be shot into mass graves. The U.S. special operators working with these allies did nothing to stop the mass murder and first the Bush administration and then Obama-ites covered it up (in plain sight) since there was a full length movie where the mass murder was well documented (never seen in the U.S. but shown around the rest of the world). Similarly, in Iraq, where the U.S. (just as in Afghanistan) had to broker the creation of new government after another constitutional crisis necessitating political maneuvering following the formulation of a new regime after a series of elections with contested results and allegations of election fraud, well lo and behold a powerful and continued member of the new order which is supposed to take back the Sunni province of Iraq called Anbar is the head of the Shiite militia linked to sectarian torture centers and death squads originally set up by a former U.S. colonel now private contractor veteran of Vietnam and El Salvador death squads and torture platforms reporting directly to Donald Rumsfeld Sec. of Defense 2001-06. These militia are the only troops that have had any success against the “New Enemy”(actual sign behind newscaster Brian Williams as he announces Obama’s war on the Islamic State in their New Caliphate) which the U.S. has been bombing for weeks now. Wherever they take back new ground the Sunni’s who live there can choose between the tender mercies of the Shiite militia death squads and the “Sharia” law of our “New Enemy”. Lawlessness at home and lawlessness in the government the U.S. formed abroad. Torture memos at home torture in occupations abroad. All One Thing. All One Thing.
Tar sands oil extraction, the XL pipeline and petro chemicals in the bones and blood stream of downstream Canadian indigenes.The forty year drug war, the NAFTA-CAFTA free trade boondoggles and at least a century of U.S supported coups and juntas and overthrow of the few miraculously elected governments in Cent4al America and all those tens of thousands of young children riding the “Beast” hundreds of miles north trying to escape kidnappers, rapists, and drug gang torture and murder that now runs their once remote and isolated home lands. All One Thing. All one Thing. The drug money and the shadow bank that launders it. The All One Thing that bleeds from the toxic waste pools and that can be found in all our blood and sweat. All One Thing I.M.F. and World Bank and the Public Health System of Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea that could stop an Ebola epidemic from going endemic. All One Thing the 40 year one way ratchet of economic neo-liberalism and fossil fueled fundamentalism that is spreading chaos and permanent and perpetual war run by corporate caesars whose governance can never govern as it sets all against all to protect an ever narrower base supporting more wealth piled into fewer hands. This is the global gout releasing its toxic crystals, blood diamonds, petro cocktails, poisoned drinks, deadly breaths, inflamed social joints, toxic thoughts grown into ideological concrete nihilism, a global system of ecological suicide. All One Thing. All One thing. All One Thing.
Richard the III and “King” Carter could eat the diet of royalty and wealth. They had a right to whatever they wanted and they had the ability to fulfill their desires how and when they wanted. They got the gout with their imperial diets. As a poor working class artist who almost never got paid a penny for my best work I could never have afforded the “red claret” that my great, great, great, great, great, great, great grand tried to give up to mitigate his swollen toes and feet that left him unable to walk to the church his father built. Now almost at the age he was when he died I am able to hold my gout in abeyance by abstaining from meat and dairy and for me it’s easy because I’ve spent a life time living on a poor man’s tight budget buying the cheap alternative and putting off the too costly. As I go into elder years still on no medication the world around me throbs with ever greater inflammations , toxic material effusions of an ever growing list of petro-based chemicals which are just the physical manifestations of the poisoned power relations which are All One Thing, All One Thing. “King” Carter’s Global Slave Trade and Free market Fundamentalism, My Great, Great Grandfather’s Civil War and the Current Age War of Terror All One Thing, All One Thing. The Great Grandee Global Gout. Slavery and Capitalism. Neo-Liberalism and Ecocide. Radical Change and the Continued Survival of Civilization. All One Thing. All One Thing. The Great Global Grandee Gout. The eruption from so far underneath, the global flare-ups at the neo-liberal rubs, the insurgencies, civil wars, invasions and occupations, the militarized police and the prison industrial complexes, all the corporate monopolies where rises up, in response, the resistance, the movements, which is the movement, the aroused people, the affected people, black, immigrant, gay, feminist, other minded, transgender and lesbian, anti-fracking, anti-pipeline, anti-bankster, love, peace, justice, mercy first, understanding always, all for life, life, life people and All one Thing, All One Thing, All One Global
James Van Looy has been a fixture in Boston’s poetry venues since the 1970s. He is a member of Cosmic Spelunker Theater and has run poetry workshops for Boston area homeless people at Pine Street Inn and St. Francis House since 1992. His work appears weekly in Oddball Magazine.