26 September 2012

(+3). Well, that was interesting.


For the last 89 days, I've been working on a project. I'm still not convinced it's done, but most of the pieces are there. Many of my posts, as part of that project, have been kind of fragmentary or odd; they fit together in productive ways, but I'm not quite sure as to what. Still, the writing that I've done here has been productive for my work, and for my brain. Sometimes putting on a different face (to meet etc) is necessary.

I'm going to go back to some more familiar writing styles for a bit now, links, reactions, short essay-type things, the whole deal. Won't be posting quite as often, but the pieces will probably be more useful (and less troublesome, because we all know that anything that isn't immediately transparent and happy is bad and worrisome) for casual readers.

In conclusion, for now, a question:

Are we supposed to win?

And two followups:

What does winning look like?
Who are we?

22 September 2012

2. five by five

Like our conceptions -
not like a vision                           //                      (nine months studying
a connotation) -
Mister                        Harris cribbed                  

a sort of journal -
the audiences                               //                      are never surprised -
all eighty-five days
from the                      Genesis.

Revelation. Ten
consumed with drawings              //                      giant fluffy hearts -
seventy-eight per
cent happy                  clusters,

"I love you" stenciled.
Police have gathered                   //                       a great evidence -
concealed much of it.
Friends and               family,

all suggestible.
Proceed with caution.                  //                      Resist temptation.
Dylan's loner hearts
burning why               he seems

21 September 2012

3. a future of promise

n't belong
to any particular clique.
quiet, guarded, seemingly
once you broke through -

one person in, while four others -
authorities. counselors
in "complete shock."

ver' normal -
a sad look in his eyes a lot,
he talked normal, never strange.
Lane -

20 September 2012

4. Soli Deo Gloria

there was a police would say
police are saying

we saw pictures of helicopters
a low industrial park

put directly into armored vehicles
very little known

current nursing student
it's an ongoing investigation

not releasing

18 September 2012

6. hackettstown

yes sir and I'm nineteen years old, I drove to
High School, the High
um my friends car and running and wait and yeah tried to

uh what you mean - yeah I'm walking I'm,
I'm running, can you hear that, can you hear

ok but uh Kevin where at the High school are you exactly, can you
just stay still, I hear you walking around, if you stay still I can
have someone come right to you this way they can help you out -
Kevin you still with me - hello - Kevin - Kevin - Kevin you still with
me - Kevin - Kevin you still with me - Kevin you still there - Kevin you still
there - Kevin are you still there - Kevin hello - Kevin you with me
at all or no - Kevin you there - Kevin if you can't talk to me but
you can press a button on your phone go ahead and do so, again
Kevin if you can still hear me go ahead and press a button on your
phone if you can't or do not want to speak - Kevin you still there -
Kevin are you there - hello Kevin are you there - Kevin are you
there - Kevin are you there if you can not speak press a button
please - Kevin if you're still there if you cannot speak press a
button - Kevin are you there - Kevin are you there, if you cannot
speak press a button - Kevin can you hear me - Kevin if you can
hear me please try to respond, if you can't just press a button -
Kevin if you're still with me if you can't speak press a button -
Kevin are you there - Kevin are you there - Kevin if you're there try to
talk to me if you can't talk press a button - Kevin are you there -
Kevin if you're there talk to me if you can't press a button - Kevin
are you there - Kevin if you're there come back and talk to me, if
you can't press a button - Kevin are you there - if you cannot
speak press a button - Kevin are you there - Kevin if you're there
and cannot speak press a button - Kevin are you there . . .

17 September 2012

7. cjt

released     the chaos
unfolded        turning         himself

flashing      unidentified
i saw leaves falling from the trees

police       were released
near a fountain         in front of the tower

an excellent student
ran into the library

16 September 2012

8. instant replay


and the school is in a panic
i'm in the library
i've got students

under the tables kids
heads under the tables

i saw a student outside
i was in the hall

i was on hall duty

13 September 2012

11. this is a test of the emergency broadcast system (h/k diary)

fuck this city and its highways that roar obscenities through my headphones
and its miles of gray pavement that give me no place to walk
and its safe fucking inhabitants who can't hear noise without calling the cops
and its cops smirking behind plexiglass shields
and its anarchists with their love of black who wouldn't know a revolution if it punched them in the face and would run the other way the moment they saw a gun
and its silence begging to be pierced with .45 reports across the empty avenues
and the empty streets at three in the morning. Have you never walked around drunk looking for a fistfight? Of course you haven't. Your momma raised you to be a pacifist.

and its smug fucking faces, eyes begging to be blackened and lips that have never split or swollen
and its cyclists in their spandex and their self-righteousness hogging the fucking road and sidewalk and dinging their little bells to ask you to pass
and its liberals who think that everything will be okay if you just vote for the democrats
and its politicians who smile through their fat fucking beards and dogwhistle the shit out of the protesters who have nothing the fuck better to do with their lives than hold a sign.

Fuck you, assholes. You really think you're convincing anyone who isn't already on your side? You really think you're going to make a difference by chanting and sitting down? Link arms when they turn the dogs on you, assholes, I'll be standing off to one side with my weapons ready, waiting for you to ask for help.
But i'm not a fucking cop, and I'm not the DOJ, I'm not within the ordered society that you still trust for some godforsaken reason, so you never will.
You really think that the politicians and the media and the NGOs give a shit about you? Reelect your fucking Obama, that lesser of two evils motherfucker who talks about unification while he steps on the necks of anyone who isn't white middle class straight male moderate god damn I hate all you fucks.
fuck all of you.
Someday soon, I'll interrupt the sacred silence of your hallways. Your libraries will echo with explosions, your museums will crumble and take their god damn histories with them.

10 September 2012

14. disperse ye rebels (b river)

survivors do hate themselves
liquid language of my rage

the knuckles, the nails tremble
swinging him a scythe, hanging,

chattering, vodka, codeine,
whiskey, beer, wine, mda,

pcp, speed, mescaline,
the nerve, the anger, the need.

can't you take it? on your knees,
kid, can you take it? blank-faced

back to work in the morning.
we an't no different. never

  tell the funniest stories
  yeah i tell her but i lie

09 September 2012

15. peace, peace

When everything is at its worst, your mind just throws it all into the wastebasket and goes to Florida for a little while. There is a sudden electric what-the-hell glow as you stand there looking back over your shoulder at the bridge you just burnt down.

(you just described modern psychiatry)

Death is divestment, death is communion. It may be wonderful to mix with the landscape, but to do so is the end of the tender ego.

(you merely broke my life)

“The world must be all fucked up,” he said then, “when men travel first class and literature goes as freight."

(you had no mercy as you poisoned yourself)

Do not be afraid of your enemies; the worst they can do is kill you. Do not be afraid of your friends; the worst they can do is betray you. Be afraid of the indifferent; they do not kill or betray, but because of their silent consent betrayal and murder exist on earth.

(and yes you said yes you will yes)

08 September 2012

16. sun dance

Two overhead lights, 40-watt, in recessed and covered settings in the ceiling.

A flag hanging over the window: blue background, white crescent moon, the word "liberty" in bold white letters. Only the crescent is visible through the crosshatched glass.

In a niche set into the wall beside the door, a collection of neatly organized camping equipment: a sleeping bag and pad; a large mag-light, black, metal, resting vertically; a large tarp, folded into a neat rectangle, with carabiners through the metal-ringed holes in its sides.

On a wooden dowel five feet above the floor, set horizontally within another niche, a series of clothes hangers, containing: one corduroy jacket, brown, 40 long; one blazer, gray, 40 long; three dress shirts, gray, blue, black, slim cut, 16.5/35; one pair dark gray dress slacks, 31/34; two pairs bdu trousers, olive drab and black, regular-long; one raincoat, black, large; one cycling jersey, blue with black side panels, large; two hooded sweatshirts, gray and black, xl; two neckties, red and black; one leather belt, brown, with buckle; one cloth belt, black, with d-ring fastener; two denier nylon holsters, both black, one shoulder, one thigh. 

Below the hanging garments within the niche, an array of undergarments and less-formal clothes, neatly folded and organized.

To the left of the door, a black-stained wooden desk. On the desk's top, laid out next to each other: four allen wrenches; two screwdrivers, Phillips-head, one large, one small; a small hacksaw with serrated blade and black plastic handle; a small cardboard box with an Amazon.com shipping label, within which are stacked (in order of decreasing size) sheets of notebook paper, one novel, bills, letters from family; a bottle of water; two pairs of glasses, in plastic cases; a small laptop computer, black, closed, plugged in, with the cord neatly coiled behind it.

Above the desk, hanging from a nail: ID badges from various academic conferences; two "finisher" patches from bicycle races (one green, one black).

Across from the door: a bed, size full, with mattress and box spring, on a wooden frame.

On the bed: a thin green blanket; cotton sheets and pillowcase, slightly stained; two Hi-Point .45-caliber semi-automatic handguns, disassembled; eight nine-round magazines - four loaded with Winchester White Box 230 grain full metal jacket, four loaded with Winchester White Box 230 grain jacketed hollow point; one Romanian AK-47 assault rifle, disassembled; eight twenty-five-round magazines, each loaded with Fiocchi 123 grain full metal jacket.

Next to the bed: a small night-stand, wood, painted flat black. On the night-stand's top: one alarm clock, digital; Dhalgren, paperback, with creased spine and coffee stains; a plain, white ceramic mug half-full of water; a plain, white ceramic mug half-full of coffee; a six-inch length of 42-gauge copper wire; a ball-point pen, black ink, clear plastic.

06 September 2012

18. shall we gather (a river)

shadow moving over me
fascinating, horrible
running ahead

lie stolen from a book
like lavender
memory of sour sweat and snuff.

i do not know what lavender smells like
how wonderful
to close my eyes

wrecks, shotguns, dusty ropes,
screaming, falling out of windows,
things inside them.

fascination with violence
the bigger veins near the elbow

hunger and heat and dying
sleeping but not sleeping
i almost never

05 September 2012

19. a time swarms swift-footed (k sonnet)

the keenest experimenters find twenty images
better than one, especially if contradictory

the comet, or meteoric streams
a complex of minute mechanical energies

unharmed, in defiance of law
the ultimate object of science

a new universe of force
complexity extended immense horizons

more like explosion than gravitation
physical force and mental complexity

an explosion of vertiginous violence
the deepest alarm and horror

  the inadequacy of old implements of thought
  common salt in indefinite solution

03 September 2012

21. yea, though it walks (j sonnet)

a tribe of the quiet land
once had a rite of passage

the aspirant was buried alive
where no light could find him

where no ear could hear his sobs
this was the final rite

after a span of days
he was numbered among the wise

darkness is a knife that peels away
what you think you know about yourself

the shades of your pretenses
the tones of your illusions

  darkness hides everything
  except who you really are

02 September 2012

22. a collector (i sonnet)

whose theme would be a myth
a progressive fall into blackness

blindness, but at the same time into sight
a story whose actants are the personal pronouns

those "persons" that are the you of the reader
the he of the Japanese doctor

the I or we of the blind man
who is the subject of the enunciation

and, finally
an empty person, marked by its absence

the absence of everything, that, grammatically,
is signified by the impersonal

  there was a sparrow pecking in varied rhythms
  i listened to his message in Morse code

31 August 2012

24. color sutures

At the time of the equinoctial tides, certain ciliate creatures retreat too far across the sand, flee too far inland. When the sea calms down, they are unable to reach it again: they die in exile, trying to return to the increasingly distant water, to travel in reverse the path that an irresistible impulse, inscribed in them since birth, forced them to follow by imbuing them with its energy.

Those animals - or the genetic knowledge that runs through them, their harmony with the gravitational forces that control the tides - pay for their excess with their lives. Hypertelic creatures: they have pressed beyond their goals, as if from the very beginning, and to a disproportionate degree, encoded in their nature they had a lethal impulse for supplement, simulacrum and pageantry - since the same futile display can be found in the mimetic ornamentation developed by various species of butterflies.


In the Japanese film Kwaidan a web of mantras is written on the skin of a monk in order to save him from the nightly summons of evil spirits. But in their haste, the calligraphers, who work their way up from the feet as they cover his coveted body inch by inch, forget an ear. The demons stand over him and pull on that ear until they rip off the piece of unwritten skin.

Everything that is not textual is castratable.

(I fainted in the theater.)

30 August 2012

25. how to confess

recall your sins
with full knowledge and full consent
against the Church's commandments
  when was my last good Confession?
  did i seriously doubt my faith
    or put myself in danger of losing my faith through readings?
  did i read immoral books or magazines?

O my God
  i am heartily sorry for having offended you
  i detest all my sins
  i dread the loss of heaven and the pains of hell

Bless me, father, for i have sinned
  you may respond
    you know that I love you
  you may continue
    my last good confession was...
      how many weeks
      months or years

Say the sins that you remember
  feel uneasy or ashamed
  ask the priest to assist you
    he will help you make a good confession
  mention in general any past sin for which you are sorry
    against charity, purity, etc

The priest will assign you some penance
Be willing to do the penance as soon as possible

28 August 2012

27. join the club

very bad problems
structured around a tabloid narrative

photographic evidence of
an unraveling
an epiphanic moment

the myth ultimately dictates
every debt must be paid
the same gyre cuts your lungs in half
into everything

26 August 2012

29. the our father

seek the truth

to call war state violence
is to foment terrorism

question the news
press the mute button

to call Bush fundamentalist
is to foment terrorism

study Blair's hand-gestures
shout "Down with Castlereagh"

to think "the universal human"
is to foment terrorism

junk language surround us
junk food comfort us

pray for us

CBU-72 cluster
pray for us

to be free from fear
is to foment terrorism

to feel free within

25 August 2012

30. curls

around the still body, waits 
for something biting and pure to emerge, draws
closer to the wooden railing, buzzes 
a fly (the wings circling kaleidoscope), Dutches 
to the ear (listening), swells
the pupil (what perfect light), cloaks 
the eye, uncloaks 
the eye (14 frames), follows 
the mirror (the glass reflecting Truth), slides 
past the chokes (the gray cloud stinging).

23 August 2012

32. i could save you

inserts recoil spring guide into recoil spring
inserts barrel into bottom of slide
attaches recoil spring and recoil spring guide to barrel-slide combination
attaches top assembly to frame
stands with completion in the right hand
leans forward
picks up magazine
inserts magazine
pushes until click
pulls slide back
ejects magazine into the left hand
ejects round from chamber
leans forward
places item onto blanket
picks up ejected round
replaces ejected round in magazine
sets magazine on bed
tautens blanket

22 August 2012

33. jubilant and the vulture (h sonnet)

the image presaged no celebration:
tribal bracelets and diamond-stud earring,
war-weary eyes
and tales from the front lines.
His red pickup truck;
a green garden hose.

A morality tale about a person
undone by the curse of fame.

sleeping pills
rat poison

Afterwards, he sat under a tree,
lit a cigarette, talked to God, and cried

clutching at autobiography, self-analysis, explanation, excuse.

21 August 2012

34. (to speak is to lie) do you know the

Zen story

of the mother who had just
lost her only son

everybody should be
a machine
                 (Pop Art is)

a pretty boring idea
must fall on what's there

perhaps height is not the right yardstick

two for sale next door
a bargain but they're just shells

i had the damnedest time with Silence

19 August 2012

36. that is moses and the prophets

After three days they found him
sitting among the teachers,
listening to them
and asking them questions. 

The consumer model implies, for instance, that university "services"--among them, courses--should be shaped to satisfy student tastes, and that students can use or waste these services as they see fit. When students think of themselves as consumers, they study only when it is convenient (like shopping), expect satisfaction with little effort, want knowledge served up in "easily digestible, bite-sized chunks," and assume that academic success, including graduation, is guaranteed. After all, failure--or consumer dissatisfaction--is "ruled out upon payment of one's tuition.”

When taken to its logical conclusion, as many students do, the consumer model implies that students buy grades by paying for them through learning. Students who subscribe to this notion try to be consumers by paying--that is learning--as little as possible. A few carry it even further, and believe that whenever they learn something they have actually lost in the exchange.

Needless to say, instructors who try to teach students more than the students have bargained for are going to run into trouble. Andrei Toom, an adjunct math instructor from Russia, reports his dismal experiences trying to teach anti-intellectual undergraduates consumed by the consumer mindset. "As soon as I started to explain to them something which was a little bit beyond the standard course, they asked suspiciously: 'Will this be on the test?' If I said, 'no,' they did not listen any more and showed clearly that I was doing something inappropriate.” When asked by students why he gave math problems unlike those in the textbook, Toom responded: "Because I want you to know elementary mathematics." Immediately an imposing train of students "stood up and tramped out.” A colleague of Toom's was also criticized for asking his students to learn more than students in another section. Students viewed this not as better teaching but as an iniquity.

The only safe course, under these circumstances, is to fall short of the syllabus, "but never go beyond.” No instructor ever need fear students or administrators showing up at the office demanding harder courses, more demanding workloads, and stricter grading. The system makes this impossible.

So, the message to instructors is, "the less you teach the less trouble you will have from students and administrators.” Both groups are perfectly willing to accept trivial courses, inflated grades, and mediocre standards because these corruptions help guarantee what both constituencies want--satisfied customers.

18 August 2012

37. resurrecting joab

"We will not allow her to fall from grace. Instead, we will be the sinners."
— From Afro Samurai: Resurrection

A character defined both by their obsessive loyalty toward a target character and by their vastly divergent (and comparatively "cynical") moral code.

The Poisonous Friend is usually attached to a pacifist protagonist or an idealistic villain. They tend to consider their "master" a person to be worshipped or protected at all costs — even ones that the master would not knowingly permit.

For example, if the master is a Fettered pacifist completely against killing his enemies, the Poisonous Friend might pay lip-service to this trait while the master is nearby... and then turn around and butcher the enemy behind the master's back. If caught, they'll claim they just "did what had to be done". Few masters catch on.

Sometimes the master's influence gets through to the Poisonous Friend, with results such as Badass Decay. In other cases, the Poisonous Friend continues to pose a danger both to the master's other friends (through jealousy) and to the enemy. The Love Interest is in particular danger of the Poisonous Friend if they suspect them of making the master "vulnerable".

Though sometimes introduced as anti-heroes or turncoats from the other side, they cease to be those things because they place their fundamental loyalty upon the shoulders of their "master". Basically they become a good guy's secretly-evil minion, or a bad guy's much-badder sidekick.

This character is often used when writers don't want to stain the "innocent" master's hands but still need a way to deal with those pesky defeated enemies. Even friends who have been explicitly told to behave or otherwise decided to hold back can still function in this regard if they have done something bad or really bad enough to intimidate the villains. If a particularly noble and idealistic hero has a particularly cruel and ruthless poisonous friend, the villain may hesitate to take advantage of that hero's idealism and kill him out of fear of what his buddy's response could be.

16 August 2012

39. united against

damaging to                 somebody's saying it

how long have we been saying
you know             somebody going to

in the military going to
these are not military guys  

scathing. scathing. enough is enough

hold him for trial         may justice be brung
one under the law and in the courts

stop our brave        lose lips
see the gravity instead of fun

not guaranteed

15 August 2012

40. i dare not meet in dreams

Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow
                                       For Thine is the Kingdom

Between the conception
And the creation
Between the emotion
And the response
Falls the Shadow
                                       Life is very long

Between the desire
And the spasm
Between the potency
And the existence
Between the essence
And the descent
Falls the Shadow
                                      For Thine is the Kingdom

For Thine is
Life is
For Thine is the

13 August 2012

12 August 2012

43. rots in bookshelves

uploading is a simulation of death
what has survived is immortality
the idea
the atomization of the self

there are several stories
some of which are aesthetically potent
shared bodily sacrifice
incapable of conceiving history

the name creates and sustains boundaries
towns like scabs
on the land's broken skin
peroxide tendrils' gaudy fire

return to a place that no longer exists
we are stuck in place
the city fluctuates around us
smelling alkaline from the pitch

11 August 2012

44. regret

My first                   and my first
This was basically just a test, or practice, and
I'm a big fan of overkill.

all the onion skinning
      would have had color,
i was too damn lazy

people should rate your flash
according to how good it is.
funny how things turn out.

Random violence, a suicidal
mass-murderer, blame the media after.
must be the 21st Century.

God bless America.

10 August 2012

45. like memnon (g sonnet)

nothing is wrong but darling
something's hesitating
so far so like your dreams tonight
nothing will help us
for one day sons of sound
and sons of sound
i can't stand your lips
your scalding face and a second blow

the cross fades
the heroine dies

08 August 2012

47. 57 down on your old strophes

if anybody          if anybody cares
this is     showing the video is

this is     not him

these videos     they distort him
he was meek     he was quiet

this is
    cut the pictures out
        do not let your children see it
            take them out of the room

his agenda         unedited
    he wasn't

I promise you they watched 'Natural Born Killers'
I know
I examine
                       these people
I've examined

You cannot saturate the American public with this kind of message

they        they
This is perversion.

We have to send a message.

you hate     you're paranoid
you're depressed         you're sad

a weak link

We have to stop giving

06 August 2012

49. of the great white

phosphorescent cacophony of crows
circling the roadside
something dead spits idle notions

life curdles richly through an upper jaw
good fortune to leave one tooth hanging
honor in beak-tied shreds

i am not an object lesson for your eight-year-old
empty grin that never lost a vote

bones hear the Word
let me secret you a whisper
look between these two clawhammer branches just so and

05 August 2012

50. cross road blues

The car is on fire
and there's no driver at the wheel
and the sewers are all muddied 
with a thousand lonely suicides
and a dark wind blows. 

The government is corrupt
and we're on so many drugs
with the radio on and the curtains drawn. 

We're trapped in the belly 
of this horrible machine
and the machine is bleeding to death. 

The sun has fallen down
and the billboards are all leering
and the flags are all dead 
at the top of their poles. 

It went like this: 

The buildings tumbled in on themselves.
Mothers clutching babies 
picked through the rubble
and pulled out their hair. 

The skyline was beautiful on fire,
all twisted metal stretching upwards,
everything washed in a thin orange haze.

I said, 
kiss me, you're beautiful -
these are truly the last days.

You grabbed my hand 
and we fell into it
like a daydream 
or a fever.

We woke up one morning 
and fell a little further down.
For sure it's the valley of death.

I open up my wallet
and it's full of blood.

04 August 2012

51. /d/ ends with c stutter (f sonnet)

culling enough from it to construct moments of order
with fenster shot, the blacks are going to be all over Jackson

you, constancy and exegesis, were found very loose
some even without ulcers - who've said practically

in Europe were leprosaria, deserted all over
there aren't any mental hospitals in Bellona anymore

this place isn't going to be here tomorrow
that's all right

pulled the hands down from the clock
the burning city squatted on weak, inverted images of its fires

the luminous light shapes that flanked me and threw pastel shadows
wrote some more, only they came and burned them all up

  this is a pretty vicious looking thing
  I have come to

03 August 2012

52. tribe

go to mongolia some day
start in south at great wall
tramp north across gobi desert

stop beside turquoise waters of lake telmen
chant mantra and sing sutra for soul of long-lost
meditate on duality of all things

taking off again
spend rest of short life in great daa kure

first things first

01 August 2012

54. last wandering

the time fixed for his insane enterprise
men sentenced to death sleep very soundly

the terrible sensation of sudden solitude
how his action must have appeared to him

if it's not uncivil to ask
habitual serenity and friendliness

with a certain solemnity
having said all that was prescribed by politeness

n'en parlons plus parce que cela me fait mal
ceased speaking with strange suddenness

30 July 2012

56. do not look forward

you cannot outrun this fire
it hatches in your lungs
you breathe eggshells and gunpowder
a dustcloud from your mouth

your words char the air
your skin is porous
you bleed like paper

the city burns
the mountains burn
the sea burns
cold and gray as an embrace

29 July 2012

57. do not look back (e sonnet)

the city will not save you
the city will give you nothing

except the taste of salt
coating your tongue

filling your mouth
stopping your words

except the vision of fire
through your eyelids

hot and bright and red
as a harbinger moon

there is fire and salt
at the center of everything

  falling from the ground
  or growing from the sky

28 July 2012

58. the poetry that thinks

the attempt to articulate the structure of a certain "place" seems to resist a single, originary unfolding or happening es sich ereignet, es weltet, es gibt a notion of projection understood in transcendence by the existence that underlies subjectivity not a matter of correctness at all

27 July 2012

59. song of myself (d sonnet)

little fanfare     had remained
in history        complications inflicted
flying flags       at half-staff
a bronze plaque      an inscription
two tourists          from the top
notes indicate

confirmed reaction          understandable

precisely and completely           pedantic
documentation question          demonic difference
right and wrong            prior indoctrination
immediate prospect      parents

separated           in shambles
all-American    all-American

25 July 2012

61. an aberration

become the prism, issue vital print -
self-consciously reactive, nous retardons
aesthetic continuity. Principles

quite separately supply the ideal critical
mediation: determinately and valuably
conscious of the past in the present.

the larger scheme failed, spectacularly.
more modest aims, still with us today.
deeply traditionalist, regionalist piety

assimilated to traditionalist, agrarian values

24 July 2012

62. lightness in his ears / & underneath

There was a war between good and evil.
We decided to call the body good.

That made death evil.
It turned the soul
against death completely.

Like a foot soldier wanting
to serve a great warrior, the soul
wanted to side with the body.

It turned against the dark,
against the forms of death
it recognized.

Where does the voice come from
that says suppose the war
is evil, that says

suppose the body did this to us,
made us afraid of love -

22 July 2012

64. all poets and heroes (c sonnet)

The lie eternal. Lies as such. Ugly,
utilitarian things: lingual shields,

frenzied fury, danger. What we treasure -
reputations, friendships, careers - so much

scrap. Silent reminders. Hunched, contorted,
exhausted paradox. Idealistic, crazy,

grief and rage. A scythe, crime lords and cops.
Harsh laws. A city, a festering army, swept

away. A willingness to sacrifice everything.
A murderer. A young idealist. Guns.

Killing. Firepower. Fight. Brawl. A knife.
A strong semblance of reality. Truth.

  The destruction of innocent lives. Starkly dissonant.
  Believed good. Instructive. Flawed. Dangerous.

21 July 2012

65. a letter

In deep disappointment I have wept over the laxity of the Church. But be assured that my tears have been tears of love. There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love. Yes, I love the Church; I love her sacred walls. How could I do otherwise?

Yes, I see the Church as the body of Christ. But, oh! How we have blemished and scarred that body through social neglect and fear of being nonconformists.

There was a time when the Church was very powerful. It was during that period when the early Christians rejoiced when they were deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed. In those days the Church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society.

Wherever the early Christians entered a town the power structure got disturbed and immediately sought to convict them for being "disturbers of the peace" and "outside agitators." But they went on with the conviction that they were a "colony of heaven" and had to obey God rather than man. They were small in number but big in commitment. They were too God-intoxicated to be "astronomically intimidated."

Things are different now. The contemporary Church is so often a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. It is so often the archsupporter of the status quo. Far from being disturbed by the presence of the Church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the Church's silent and often vocal sanction of things as they are..

But the judgment of God is upon the Church as never before If the Church of today does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early Church, it will lose its authentic ring, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the twentieth century. I am meeting young people every day whose disappointment with the Church has risen to outright disgust.

20 July 2012

66. aux armes, citoyens; marchons, marchons

He was found by the Bureau of Statistics to be
One against whom there was no official complaint,
And all the reports on his conduct agree
That, in the modern sense of an old-fashioned word, he was a saint,
For in everything he did he served the Greater Community.
Except for the War till the day he retired
He worked in a factory and never got fired,
But satisfied his employers, Fudge Motors Inc.
Yet he wasn't a scab or odd in his views,
For his Union reports that he paid his dues,
(Our report on his Union shows it was sound)
And our Social Psychology workers found
That he was popular with his mates and liked a drink.
The Press are convinced that he bought a paper every day
And that his reactions to advertisements were normal in every way.
Policies taken out in his name prove that he was fully insured,
And his Health-card shows he was once in hospital but left it cured.
Both Producers Research and High-Grade Living declare
He was fully sensible to the advantages of the Installment Plan
And had everything necessary to the Modern Man,
A phonograph, a radio, a car and a frigidaire.
Our researchers into Public Opinion are content
That he held the proper opinions for the time of year;
When there was peace, he was for peace; when there was war, he went.
He was married and added five children to the population,
Which our Eugenist says was the right number for a parent of his generation.
And our teachers report that he never interfered with their education.
Was he free? Was he happy? The question is absurd:
Had anything been wrong, we should certainly have heard.

19 July 2012

67. the port city

the horror

shocking, irrational and fantastic
so strangely familiar

the kind of violence in real life
mass carnage and senseless overkill
the violence in the movies or in wartime

Monday morning "Oldboy" revenge thriller
possible influence tormenters Other

"The Killer" "A Better Tomorrow" John Woo
Chow Yun-Fat sunglasses affected real life
Bruce Lee Toshiro Mifune Tatsuya Nakadai
Clint Eastwood "The Killer" "Die Hard"

nbk "Bonnie and Clyde" "Clockwork Orange"
"The Wild Bunch" Others

we have mete the Other and He Is
free speech and non-censorship
Externalization is easy no evidence nbk

so joyously mercenary hallucinate
happy audiences powerless attractive

reveal a cosmetic crusade

18 July 2012

68. /d/ begins with b stutter

My speech changes when I talk to different people

a fact of landscape, not of personality.
it is more memorable unfixed
a map of violences anticipated

all humanity here astounds
the real and necessary information these epithets generate
Run, motherfucker!

the nesting instinct is not the same as the homing one
in this city, I don't know where I am
I don't know where I can go

a chronicle of incidents with a potential for wholeness
they did not have when they occurred
I believe one of the reasons Mr. Calkins came here

was to put some of his friends at a more comfortable distance

16 July 2012

70. en reflection from eschatology

You should have been here.
I know.
Why weren't you?
I don't know.

He slept through the third day
on his left side, lungs shaking
against the plaster wall.

Isaac goes to sleep
with his eyes open.
A lover closes them in the morning.

15 July 2012

71. dn affliction ef eschatology

We dream of bloodless
children grown in laboratories,
transparent skin and big, clear eyes
that have never seen the sun.

Other days, he thinks everyone
already does, that invisible
errors have written themselves
through every too-thin capillary wall.

Once, he picked me up
and held me at arm's length.
There is no mirror in his room.

14 July 2012

72. cn interdiction of eschatology

I dreamt that you were here.
The sunlight penetrated my window
too easily. I miss
the crows-feet above your cheekbones.

The second day, he shot up
for the first time in three years,
because what was it going to do,
kill him?

Isaac's jaw and chest are hollow.
His shoulders curl like waves,
or the fragile, sharp,
clear necks of glass swans.

13 July 2012

73. bn interrogation if eschatology

It can pass through mother's
blood, like blue eyes,
or intelligence, or wide hips.

Some days, he thinks that,
given time, everyone will carry
this story in their blood, and no one
will tell or hear it.

His voices drip like a window.
His pulse crests in blue-veined eyelids.
He blinks that he is drowning.

12 July 2012

74. an introduction to eschatology

You should be here.
I know.
Why aren't you?
I don't know.

Caleb spent the first day
crying and yelling profanities
at the envelope.
It didn't respond.

Isaac inherited Rock Hudson's eyes.
White coats and blue hands
open his switchblade ribs.
A thing like a wilting rose
graces his arm. I do not
kiss him.

11 July 2012

75. first (b returning)

                        when he first,
when he         first            ?”

Glenn          . “Everybody
                         seal     the edge

    the desk                   
                                                the president elect,
he                                              the seal of the presidency

                  the seal of the president elect of the United States.”

                             that before              his followers
    his face       our flag –                               with Ronald Reagan.

                 Ronald Reagan’s face       the flag                     running?
    Of course not, because                    America.

the workers.                   the people.                   the ideas.
A good leader                                     .
                         the ideas.                  the 9/12 project

                             these grassroots
the values        the principles.
                   the values        the principles.
      the personalities.                 the election,
                               this guy

the values and principles. The values and principles

08 July 2012

78. by the inch

A giant billboard of Santa Claus
  the food stands at Gurney Drive:
   pink man in a red fur coat in the emerald tropics.

The shopping malls behind the city.
  Aisles packed solid.
    Night traffic by the entrance of the McDonald's

at the near edge of the Esplanade.
  Three full-grown men, life-size costumes,
     a hamburger, a soft drink, a box of fries.

Passersby. Children.

Inside angry fluorescent lights
  scenes of immaculate debauchery.

Whole families
  greasy hamburger patties, air-filled pockets,
    french fries. The smell. You.

What was the body like before life came free
with the purchase of a medium-size soft drink
fries and a Big Mac

What was the Happy Meal like before the body
came free

07 July 2012

79. whilst i alone (a sonnet)

neither the flame shall singe your fingers
nor the smoke cloud your lungs

nor the flame burn your lips
nor the smoke blacken your breath

nor the flame melt your skin
nor the smoke rot your body

nor the flame consume the world
nor the smoke wave its banner to the dead

nor singe nor burn nor melt nor consume
nor cloud nor blacken nor rot nor wave

The only sign, this: the yellow tips of two of your fingers,
the mark of habit, of compulsion, of identity, of Cain.

  Here is your point of departure, here your journey's end.
  Here is your portable home, and here the continuous you.

05 July 2012

81. counterhegemony (a detournement)

    The cigarette appeared to have been hand-rolled, and when the boy lit it, with a matte black Zippo lighter, it smelled a little like burning electrical parts.
    The boy inhaled deeply, then held his breath. He let the smoke trickle out from his mouth, pulled it back into his nostrils. Shadow suspected that he had practiced that in front of a mirror for a while before doing it in public. "If you've lied to me," said the boy, as if from a long way away, "I'll fucking kill you. You know that."
    "So you said."
    The boy took another long drag on his cigarette. "You say you're staying at the Motel America?" He tapped on the driver's window, behind him. The glass window lowered. "Yeh. Motel America, up by the interstate. We need to drop off our guest."
    The driver nodded, and the glass rose up again.
    The glinting fiber-optic lights inside the limo continued to change, cycling through their set of dim colors. It seemed to Shadow that the boy's eyes were glinting too, the green of an antique computer monitor.
    "You tell Wednesday this, man. You tell him he's history. He's forgotten. He's old. Tell him that we are the future and we don't give a fuck about him or anyone like him. He has been consigned to the Dumpster of history while people like me ride our limos down the superhighway of tomorrow."
    "I'll tell him," said Shadow. He was beginning to feel lightheaded. He hoped that he was not going to be sick.
    "Tell him that we have fucking reprogrammed reality. Tell him that language is a virus and that religion is an operating system and that prayers are just so much fucking spam. Tell him that or I'll fucking kill you," said the young man mildly, from the smoke.
    "Got it," said Shadow. "You can let me out here. I can walk the rest of the way."
    The young man nodded. "Good talking to you," he said. The smoke had mellowed him. "You should know that if we do fucking kill you then we'll just delete you. You got that? One click and you're overwritten with random ones and zeros. Undelete is not an option." He tapped on the window behind him. "He's getting off here," he said. Then he turned back to Shadow, pointed to his cigarette. "Synthetic toad skins," he said. "You know they can synthesize bufotenin now?"
    The car stopped, and the door was opened. Shadow climbed out awkwardly. His bonds were cut. Shadow turned around. The inside of the car had become one writhing cloud of smoke in which two lights glinted, now copper-colored, like the beautiful eyes of a toad. "It's all about the dominant fucking paradigm, Shadow. Nothing else is important. And hey, sorry to hear about your old lady."

04 July 2012

82. shadowplay

    Here he came, tumble-dum, tumble-dum, crooked as lightning, but slow as the earth rolling over, all restless in her sleep. He limped, do you see? Though just a child then, he came through the great long war fighting at his father's side, and were struck a great blow near the end of it by the Sky Man, so that ever after, when it healed, one pin he had longer than the other. Was even captured, then, by Stone Man and his brothers, and they took away from him summat which they shouldn't have, but still he would not tell them where his father's secret house was hid.
    Later on, when his father and his mother was both taken away from him, and all his cousins and brothers and sisters were sent away to the sky lands, still he lived on in the world's lands because none of the three great brothers feared him. They mocked him, calling him Crooked, and that was his name always after.
    Still, here he came through the world, tumble-dum, tumble-dum, one leg the shorter, and everywhere he went was mocked by those that had won, the brothers and their kin, although they were glad enough to have the things he made, the clever things he made.
    So clever he was that when he lost his left hand in the forge fire he made another from ivory, more nimble even than the one he'd been born with, and when he touched pizen with his right hand and it withered away, he made himself a new one from bronze, strong as any hand could ever be. Still they mocked him, called him not just Crooked but also No-Man because of what they themselves had taken from him, but, aye, they did covet the things he could make. For Sky Man, he made a great iron hammer, heavier and grander than even his war hammer of old, and it could smash a mountain flat or knock a hole in the great gates of Stone Man's house, as it did once when the two brothers quarreled. He also made the great shield of the moon for her what had took his father's place, and for Night her necklace of stars, Water Man's spear what could split a mighty whalefish like a knife splits an apple, and a spear for Stone Man, too, and many other wonderful things, swords and cups and mirrors what had the Old Strength in them, the might of the earliest days.
    But he did not always know the very greatest secrets, and in fact when first he was become the servant of the brothers whom had vanquished his people, though he was clever beyond saying, still he had much to learn. And this is how he learned some of it.
    So here he came on this day, tumble-dum, tumble-dum, one leg shorter, walking like a ship in a rolling sea, wandering far from the city of the brothers because it plagued him and pained him to have to speak always respectfully to his family's conquerors. As he walked down the road through a narrow, shadowed valley, the which was fenced with high mountains on either side, he came upon a little old woman sitting in the middle of the path, an ancient widow woman such as could be seen in any village of the people, dry and gnarled as a stick. He paused, did Crooked, and then he says to her, "Move, please, old woman. I would pass." But the old woman did not move and did not reply, neither.
    "Move," he says again, without so much courtesy this time. "I am strong and angry inside myself like a great storm, but I would rather not do you harm." Still she did not speak, nor even look at him.
    "Old woman," he says, and his voice was now loud enough to make the valley rumble, so that stones broke loose from walls and rolled down to the bottom, breaking trees as a person would break broomstraws, "I tell you for the last time. Move! I wish to pass."
    At last she looked up at him and says, "I am old and weary and the day is hot. If you will bring me water to slake my thirst, I will move out of your way, great lord."
    Crooked was not pleased, but he wasn't mannerless, and the woman was in truth very, very old, so he went to the stream beside the road and filled his hands and brought it back to her. When she had drunk it down, she shook her head.
    "It does not touch my thirst. I must have more."
    Crooked took a great boulder and with his hand of bronze he hollowed it into a mighty cup. When he had filled it in the stream he brought it back to her, and it was so heavy, when he set it down it made the ground jump. Still, the old woman lifted it with one hand and drained it, then shook her head. "More," she says. "My mouth is still as dry as the fields of dust before the Stone Man's palace."
    Marveling, but angry, too, at how his journey had been halted and bollixed, Crooked went to the stream and tore up its bed, pointing it so that all the water flowed toward the old woman. But she only opened her mouth and swallowed it all down, so that within a short time the stream itself ran dry, and all the trees of the valley went dry and lifeless.
    "More," she says. "Are you so useless that you cannot even help an old woman to slake her thirst?"
    "I do not know how you do those tricks," he says, and he was so angry that his banished uncle's fire was a-dancing in his eyes, turning them bright as suns, pushing back the very shadows that covered the valley, "but I will not be courteous any more. Already I must carry the load of shame from my family's defeat, must I also be thwarted by an old peasant woman? Get out of my way or I will pick you up and hurl you out of the road."
    "I go nowhere until I have finished what I am doing," the crone says.
    Crooked sprang forward and grabbed the old woman with his hand of ivory, but as hard as he pulled he could not lift her. Then he grabbed her with his other hand as well, the mighty hand of bronze which its strength was beyond strength, but still he could not move her. He threw both his arms around her and heaved until he thought his heart would burst in his chest but he could not move her one inch.
    Down he threw himself in the road beside her and said, "Old woman, you have defeated me where a hundred strong men could not. I give myself into your power, to be killed, enslaved, or ransomed as you see fit."
    At this the old woman threw back her head and laughed. "Still you do not know me!" she says. "Still you do not recognize your own great-grandmother!"
    He looked at her in amazement. "What does this mean?"
    "Just as I said. I am Emptiness, and your father was one of my grandchildren. You could pour all the oceans of the world into me and still not fill me, because Emptiness cannot be filled. You could bring every creature of the world and still not lift me, because Emptiness cannot be moved. Why did you not go around me?"
    Crooked got to his knees but bowed low, touching his forehead to the ground in the sign of the Dying Flower. "Honored Grandmother, you sit in the middle of a narrow road. There was no way to go around you and I did not wish to turn back."
    "There is always a way to go around, if you only pass through my sovereign lands," she told him. "Come, child, and I will teach you how to travel in the lands of Emptiness, which stand beside everything and are in every place, as close as a thought, as invisible as a prayer."
    And so she did. When Crooked was finished he again bowed his head low to his great-grandmother and promised her a mighty gift someday in return, then he went on his way, thinking of his new knowledge, and of revenge on those whom had wronged him.

03 July 2012

83. goodbye to all that

will have to take word
that the week at the 
spring was a lodestone

       A week of talking listening and learning
began the annual sessions called

                                                  joined roomful

of in the dark

as took week to look closely at

        When lost the power of speech

couldn't do that any longer

join me in dissecting
great film
               acted as the facilitator

It was form torture for to sit silent

couldn't type in dark
couldn't scribble fast enough to keep up

and gestures meant

                                           wasn't there.

02 July 2012

84. covenant (a returning)

                            to pieces

                            spilling about
the poor 'social environment here.'

                            the 'morale amongst teachers.'

            '. . . not one does anything to stop the bleeding,' she rotting

            'adam thinks it's cool to get into trouble now,' she saying

            'we could test him,' saying the v.p. 'with some kids on medica-
tion the whole school feels safer.'

                           ha and ha

                    doors               closing

                    his eyes                         over his notes

                          the clock on the wall
                    striking late

'forget tonight,' he saying

'it's the other 83 days i want.

it's your priorities God wants.

what are your priorities?

             certainly not your family
             look at the breakdown of your family.

             certainly not your community
             look at the breakdown of your community.

             certainly not your spiritual life

             church is only full but one day a year

             the others?

20 June 2012

Romney ad "misquotes" Obama

...by which I mean "lies," of course, but I'm just using the language that ABC did in their article on the blatant falsification of history in which Romney participated.

Yes, the article's from November, but I just read about it today. The internet is a weird place.

From the article!
The Romney video uses footage from Obama’s trip to New Hampshire in 2008. In the ad, text rolls over the screen reading, “On October 16, 2008, Barack Obama visited New Hampshire. He promised he would fix the economy. He failed.”

As video footage shows vacated business and foreclosed homes, Obama can be heard saying, “If we keep talking about the economy, we’re going to lose.”

But the ad does not make clear that in the speech Obama was actually quoting an aide to his Republican opponent at the time,  Sen. John McCain.

The Romney campaign did not deny that it took the president’s words out of context and even provided Obama’s full quote in a press release accompanying the ad: “Senator McCain’s campaign actually said, and I quote, if we keep talking about the economy, we’re going to lose.”
Yeah. So you've taken a quote that was from a McCain aide, gotten a recording of Obama saying it, and put it in Obama's mouth. Good freaking job.

Family values, my ass.

09 June 2012

Loki in my Pocket like Grains of Sand

We're plotting to steal time itself from you.... We're going to spike it to the floor as it slips by. And just as you come over to see why it's so still, we'll pull it out from under you--and send you spinning off around the galaxy's edge. We're planning to pluck all the best stars out of the sky and stuff them in our pockets... so that when we meet you once again and thrust our hands deep inside to hide our embarrassment, our fingertips will smart on them, as if they were desert grains, caught down in the seams, and we'll smile at you on your way to a glory that, for all our stellar thefts, we shall never be able to duplicate.

  - Samuel Delany, Stars in my Pocket like Grains of Sand

08 June 2012

#ShellFail was intentional?

So, as it turns out, the video from the Shell Oil party that I linked to yesterday wasn't actually the kind of guerrilla video that I thought it was - it was a video made by The Yes Men, whose previous "hijinks" have been among my favorite culture-jamming operations of the last several years.

Making-of and explanation (I really should have recognized Dorli in the original video!) -

07 June 2012

28 Days Later: Wisconsin Recall Edition

Just something that I ran across today that I felt was worth sharing.

From the city of Milwaukee's Voting Information Guide:

Any person registering to vote within the 20 days preceding an election (or after the close of registration) must provide an acceptable proof of residence document as listed below.


You may register and vote at your voting site on any Election Day. To determine your voting site, click http://itmdapps.ci.mil.wi.us/electedreps/electrep.jsp and enter your voter registration address.

Any person registering to vote and voting on Election Day must have lived at their current address for at least 28 days before the election with no present intent to move and must provide an acceptable proof of residence document from the list below.
So that set me to thinking. When was the University of Wisconsin's graduation?

Answer: May 18, 19, and 20. Which is to say, less than 28 days ago.

Which is to say, if you're one of the (heavily left-leaning) many thousands of people who graduated from the University of Wisconsin and then moved (like, out of a dorm, back with your parents, anything), you weren't allowed to register to vote on election day.

Gotta say: that kind of sucks. Unsurprising, but it still sucks.

Shell launch party goes wrong

Via RawStory, a Shell Oil party at the Space Needle (hey, that's my neck of the woods!) just went amazingly, horribly, hilariously wrong.

Basically, they're about to set up two new drilling platforms in the Arctic. As part of their celebration, they set up a little bitty model oil rig to dispense drinks.

It's a metaphor. Or it turned into one when they, first, couldn't get it to work, and then couldn't get it to stop squirting drinks everywhere.

The clip is also brilliant because of the way Shell handled the incident - trying to take the phone of the guy who was filming it, then throwing him out. Video!

06 June 2012

Four proposed collective nouns

A barrie of pansexuals.

(also considered: an agenda, a cuddle, a joy)

an affliction of casual UFC fans

(also considered: a testosterone, a tribal armband tattoo, a situation)

a no, really, go ahead, it's fine, of Seattleites

(also considered: a passivity, a spandex, a latte)

a pretension of collective nouns

(also considered: a meta, a mobius, a blogger)

...and three things that need collective nouns but don't yet have them settled, for which I'd welcome ideas:

- recovering religious kids
- English graduate students, or, heck, graduate students in general
- hardcore Whedonites

Bradbury lives on (line)

The One Who Waits
I live in a well. I live like smoke in a well. Like vapor in a stone throat. Overhead I see the cold star of night and morning, and I see the sun. And sometimes I sing old songs of this world when it was young. How can I tell you what I am when even I don't know? I cannot.
It fell to the floor, an exquisite thing, a small thing that
could upset balances and knock down a line of small
dominoes and then big dominoes and then gigantic dominoes,
all down the years across Time.  Eckels'~ mind whirled.  It
_couldn't_ change things.  Killing one butterfly couldn't be _that_
important!  Could it?
The Veldt
The nursery was  silent. It was  empty  as a jungle  glade at  hot high
noon. The  walls  were blank  and two dimensional.  Now, as George and Lydia
Hadley stood in  the center of the room, the walls  began to purr and recede
into  crystalline  distance,  it  seemed, and  presently  an  African  veldt
appeared, in three  dimensions, on  all  sides, in color  reproduced to  the
final pebble and bit of straw.
 All Summer in a Day 
It had been raining for seven years; thousand upon thousands of days compounded and filled from one end to the other with rain, with the drum and gush of water, with the sweet crystal fall of showers and the concussion of storms so heavy they were tidal waves come over the islands.  A thousand forests had been crushed under the rain and grown up a thousand times to be crushed again.
 Fahrenheit 451

Montag felt the slow stir of words, the slow simmer. And when it came to his turn, what could he say, what could he offer on a day like this, to make the trip a little easier? To everything there is a season. Yes. A time to break down, and a time to build up. Yes. A time to keep silence and a time to speak. Yes, all that. But what else. What else? Something, something...