Ron Ridenour

About Ron Ridenour
Short stories




Salt to David

For every grain of salt we have
They have a boulder
For every Goliath they have
We have a stone

(Mayday 2020)



Human is inhumane
Greed is human
Humanism is inhumane
Exploitation is human
Oppression is human
Repression is human
Torture is human
Murder is human
War is human
Love of humanity is inhuman

There are no more cracks in the wall
Leonard Cohen is dead
Hope is off the wall

(April 2019)

Who are these oligarchs?

Who are they, really, these billionaire oligarchs?
Quenchless thirst for money—a $ for a heart, a peanut for a brain, no soul surrounds self. It is they who rule from their golden cocoons shielded as they are from their workers and slaves whom they have intoxicated with corrupting nonsensical consumer/entertainment “culture”. More, more, we will have more of nothing they bleat.

(January 2018)


Playing my Sax

I didn’t know what time it was
But I was falling in love with love
Stardust by candlelight
Oh passion flower misty Melinda
The sweetest girl I’ve ever known
Awful lonely without you
Summertime comes with the shadow of your smile

[Thanks to sax players Klaus Doldinger, Cannonball Adderley, Johnny Hodges, Lester Young, Joe Henderson, Stan Getz, Hans Koller, Al Cohn-Zoot Sims Quintet, Charlie Parker, Dexter Gordon. Taken from Jazzclub CD, “Saxophone Ballads”. June 24, 2009.]


Coca Cola gushes down his gullet. Sparkling sweet and sharp. An unseen force unceasingly pours the syrupy fluid through his lips. The murky gas flows through his pores. The cola swells his chest blocking air passage. He stops breathing. Vomit he must but can’t. Panic seizes him. He desperately wants to cry out but no sound emerges.

ENTER a gigantic Coca Cola billboards mid in Vietnam’s war-invaded land. Napalm and “Mother” bombs cascade upon the earth just behind the centerpiece. B-52 bombers open their “cash” doors unloading cylinders of flaming murder.

Nausea overtakes him. He vomits over the bottle in the billboard. He pukes and pukes, covering the Coca Cola bottle with bits of blood, which form a phrase over the bottle:

ENTER into Chile’s Santiago National Stadium, autumn 1973. Victor Jara is imprisoned with thousands of people following the International Telephone-Telegraph/Central Intelligence Agency-created coup d´état against the democratic elected government of Salvador Allende. Jara stands before security officials. A guard thrusts a guitar into the popular folksinger’s hands and commands him to sing.

“Usted no es nada, ni chicha ni limonada…Tomas tu dignidad,” sings TRUTH. (You are nothing, neither fish nor fowl….Seize your dignity.)

The “ni chicha ni limonada” raises a machete and slashes down, and down, severing TRUTH’s hands from his arms and the guitar strings. Blood streams upon the brown earth and the black-shirted “no es nada”.

THRUTH’s voice pulsates the still stadium.

”Trapped between these four walls
we are just a number
a number which cannot grow
its’ longing for death gradually increasing
but suddenly my conscience wakes up
and I see this tide of murder has no heartbeat
only the pulse of machines
and the military smiling sweetly

Let Mexico, Cuba, and the world
cry out against this atrocity.
We are ten thousand hands which produce nothing.
How many of us in the whole country?*

The folk singer’s hands lay soaked in blood on the earth before him.
“Stand up!
Look at your hands.
Take your brothers’ hands
so that you can grow.
We’ll grow together
united by blood.
The future can begin today.
Deliver us from the master who keeps us in misery.
Thy kingdom of justice and equality come.
Clean the barrel of my gun like fire.
Thy will de done at last on earth.
Give us your strength
and courage
to struggle.”

The tortured torturer lunges his blood-stained machete into the mouth of TRUTH and slices off his tongue. The Star-Spangled Banner plays over a loudspeaker as a COCA COLA billboard is raised by blood-thirsty uniformed soldiers with US-made M-16 sub-machine guns strapped over their shoulders.

(Based on a night-mare when I lived at Svanholm Collective Farm, Denmark, November 11, 1999.)


Avenues of Royal Palms sway in the breeze
splendrously erect they straigten
proud and tall
undulating trunk and pendulous fronds
dancing like the Guantanamera belle
immortalized in her song:
“Yo soy un hombre sincero de donde crece la palma”.
(“I am a sincere man from where the palm grows”).
Royal palm faithfully rooted in fertile soil like its native sons
resolute as the implacable crew of the freighter Hermann (1)
unflinching before hostile thunder
whilst their noble Royal Palm
shields the sovereignty in the national coat of arms.
Changó god of fire, lightning and thunder
dines on chickens and pigs fattened on the palmiche berries (2)
cures illness with palm roots
has his women sweep dirt with its florescence
wraps cigars with its yagua bark (3)
builds house sidings and roofs with its palmitos and fronds (4).
Majestic Royal Palm
rendezvous for the ebony warrior
his svelte copper Ochún
elegant trio they:
Changó awesome fire-eater, ardent lover
Ochún goddess of rivers, deity of sensual love
Royal Palm gallery for godly escapades
umbrella rod before hostile rains and lightning
protector of farm lands
shelter for aborigini, mambi, campesino (5)
refuge for the tocororo
wearing Cuba´s sovereign colors, this obstinate national bird
who chooses to die rather than be caged.

Ron Ridenour
December 1991

1. A Cuban merchant ship attacked in international waters with machine gun fire and streams of high-pressured water on January 30-31, 1990, by the US Coast Guard Chiconteague. This poem is dedicated to its crew who sailed onward to their Mexican harbour destiny with bullet holes in their hull and other damage.
2. Palmiche is the Spanish word for Royal Palm berries.
3. Palmitos is Spanish word for palm straw.
4.Yagua is the Cuban-Spanish word for Royal Palm bark.
5. Mambi was the resistance name for those Cubans who fought Spanish colonialism and later the US´s neo-imperialism. Campesino is the Spanish word for small farmers.


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