Saturday, September 20, 2014

Church of Broken Toasters

Thursday afternoon I got a phone call from my new ticket agent at DC United. Yesterday afternoon I got a phone call from United's Chief Revenue Officer Mike Schoenbrun. My ticket agent had told him about our phone call and Schoenbrun wondered what United had done to so alienate me and wondered what United could do to win me back. I gave him the it's not you, it's me speech, the I don't want to wear a uniform and go to church anymore speech. Loved one's know this is the core of my apostasy, but the ticket agent didn't buy it. The ticket agent said, Schoenbrun said, that you were angry over the season ticket packages, and I said yes, it angered me that ticket prices have been raised while the number of games has dropped, but really, it's not you, it's me. He talked about the generous new season ticket packages United has planned for next season. I believe him, by the way, I'm not snarking here. Or rather, I believe he believes what he was saying. I said, I also find it maddening that United will not publicly state that Supporters Clubs and LOUD SIDE! will not be banished to an endzone in any new stadium, but really, it's not you, it's me. He said that United is confident the new stadium will happen (and while I have stated forever that there will never be a new soccer stadium in DC I concede I am closer to being wrong than I've ever been) but until the stadium is a certainty United can make no public declarations on the seating of a stadium. I said, of course you could say that whenever there is a new stadium the Supporters Clubs and LOUD SIDE! will get a sideline, but really, it's not you, it's me. He praised the Supporters Clubs and season ticket holders profusely while admitting the possibility Supporters Clubs and LOUD SIDE! might be banished to an endzone in a new stadium. He invited me to forums and events, assuring me that my voice and all season ticket holder and Supporters Clubs member voices will be listened to, told me that we are the core of the business of United. I didn't say, if that's true, why doesn't United promise to make a sideline available at reasonable prices to Supporters Clubs and LOUD SIDE! because what would have been the point? Instead I said, I'm really not an event-goer, though I'm sure Supporters Clubs and LOUD SIDE! season ticket holders will make their voices heard, though really, it's not you, it's me. He said, I understand, anything else, and I reiterated that's it's me, not you, I don't want to wear a uniform and go to church anymore. He told me to call him directly if I have more concerns and questions. Once I would have been concerned that I don't want to wear a uniform and go to church anymore but now I'm not. And I do appreciate the reaching out - United won't go bankrupt when I don't renew my season ticket (and I'm not going to renew my season ticket) - it is to United's credit that a top team executive picked up the phone to call me. But though I have quibbles that would once have been indulged issues - the season ticket packages, the refusal to promise there will be a sideline LOUD SIDE! in a new stadium, the corrupt rinky-dinkness of MLS (I didn't mention this to either the ticket agent or Schoenbrun) - it's not them, it's me: I don't feel like putting on a uniform and going to church anymore.


Brian Komei Dempster

Church of broken toasters and singed fuses,
church of the dripping roof and chipped chimney stack,
of the flooded garage and its split door,

gas-hissing pipes and sibilant water heaters,
church of piss-poor light and shaky ladders
where I unchoke windows and dislodge chopsticks

from pipes, smooth curled up wallpaper and key the locks,
fix clocks sticking or ticking with different times,
church where wings of dead flies drift like petals

from cobwebs, ghosts sift through floorboards
and the homeless sleep in compost, steeping like tea bags
pungent from the leaves' damp weight.

Church where I am summoned by the door's clatter of brass
to the brown-toothed vagrant who spreads open
her overcoat; to the chattering man who communes
with pines and brooms the stairs; to the bent, old Japanese woman
who forgets her keys, waits for me to twist the lock free
so she can scrub floors with Murphy wood soap

and a toothbrush, wobble atop a ladder and polish the two-ton bell.
On this path I am my uncle setting cubes of cheese into jaws
of traps, and my grandmother stirring peas into a pan of fried rice,
and my grandfather padding the halls in slippers and gloves,
the cold globes of his breath a string of prayer beads
weaving me, a mixed-blood grandson, into them.

Friday, September 19, 2014

A Black Cat Comes Out to Greet Us as if to Say, Look at Me and Not Some Old Romanesque Church

I got a call from my new season ticket sales rep at DC United yesterday. She wanted to introduce herself, see if I was happy with my tickets, with the team, and asked had I thought about renewing my season tickets for next year yet. We had a staff meeting yesterday, there's a good guy from the Science Library who always asks me about DC United as a polite conversation topic when we see each other, he has a passing interest in United himself, he asked me if I was enjoying this season, the team's run of success this year after so much suck last year. I have this bad habit: when not-loved-one's but decent people ask me questions I am self-centered enough to delude myself they actually care about my answers, want to hear what I really think, will be grateful I respect them enough to not hide my thoughts behind polite diplomacy, want more than rote nothings. Stupid me. Both the sales rep and my colleague from the Science Library quickly regretted asking me the questions and neither had the slightest idea what I was on about when I babbled about uniforms, standing and chanting at mercenaries, no longer wanting to play at tribal loyalties that infest my late-capitalist indoctrination. Sort of like here of late. Fine metaphors abound.


Adam Zagajewski

1.  without baggage

    To travel without baggage, sleep in the train
    on a hard wooden bench,
    forget your native land,
    emerge from small stations
    when a gray sky rises
    and fishing boats head to sea.

2.  in belgium

    It was drizzling in Belgium
    and the river wound between hills.
    I thought, I'm so imperfect.
    The trees sat in the meadows
    like priests in green cassocks.
    October was hiding in the weeds.
    No, ma'am, I said,
    this is the nontalking compartment.

3.  a hawk circles above the highway

    It will be disappointed if it swoops down
    on sheet iron, on gas,
    on a tape of tawdry music,
    on our narrow hearts.

4.  mont blanc

    It shines from afar, white and cautious,
    like a lantern for shadows.

5.  segesta

    On the meadow a vast temple—
    a wild animal
    open to the sky.

6.  summer

    Summer was gigantic, triumphant—
    and our little car looked lost
    on the road going to Verdun.

7.  the station in bytom

    In the underground tunnel
    cigarette butts grow,
    not daisies.
    It stinks of loneliness.

8.  retired people on a field trip

    They're learning to walk
    on land.

9.  gulls

    Eternity doesn't travel,
    eternity waits.
    In a fishing port
    only the gulls are chatty.

10.  the theater in taormina

    From the theater in Taormina you spot
    the snow on Etna's peak
    and the gleaming sea.
    Which is the better actor?

11.  a black cat

    A black cat comes out to greet us
    as if to say, look at me
    and not some old Romanesque church.
    I'm alive.

12.  a romanesque church

    At the bottom of the valley
    a Romanesque church at rest:
    there's wine in this cask.

13.  light

    Light on the walls of old houses,
    Passerby, open your eyes.

14.  at dawn

    The world's materiality at dawn—
    and the soul's frailty.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Try to Praise the Mutilated World

1. Annexed another 1500 acres of West Bank land

2. Seized $56 million of PA tax revenue
3. Not lifted the illegal blockade (as required by the ceasefire)

4. Broken the ceasefire by firing at fishermen on four separate occasions
5. Detained six fishermen
6. Killed a 22-year-old, Issa al Qatari, a week before his wedding

7. Killed 16-year-old Mohammed Sinokrot with a rubber bullet to the head

8. Tortured a prisoner to the point of hospitalisation

9. Refused 13 members of the European Parliament entry into Gaza
10. Detained at least 127 people across the West Bank, including a seven-year-old boy in Hebron and two children, aged seven and eight, taken from the courtyard of their house in Silwad – and tear-gassed their mother

11. Continued to hold 33 members of the Palestinian Legislative Council in prison

12. Continued to hold 500 prisoners in administrative detention without charge or trial

13. Destroyed Bedouin homes in Khan al Ahmar, near Jerusalem, leaving 14 people homeless, and unveiled a plan to forcibly move thousands of Bedouin away from Jerusalem into two purpose-built townships

14. Destroyed a dairy factory in Hebron whose profits supported an orphanage

15. Destroyed a family home in Silwan, making five children homeless

16. Destroyed a house in Jerusalem where aid supplies en route to Gaza were being stored
17. Destroyed a well near Hebron

18. Set fire to an olive grove near Hebron

19. Raided a health centre and a nursery school in Nablus, causing extensive damage

20. Destroyed a swathe of farmland in Rafah by driving tanks over it

21. Ordered the dismantling of a small monument in Jerusalem to Mohamed Abu Khdeir, murdered in July by an Israeli lynch mob
22. Continued building a vast tunnel network under Jerusalem

23. Stormed the al Aqsa mosque compound with a group of far right settlers
24. Assisted hundreds of settlers in storming Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus

25. Prevented students from entering al Quds University, firing stun grenades and rubber bullets at those who tried to go in

26. Earned unknown millions on reconstruction materials for Gaza, where 100,000 people need their destroyed homes rebuilt. The total bill is estimated at $7.8 billion

  • As far as I know the residents of Augusta have yet to set a vote on leaving Maryland.
  • Yes, I tweeted that I could build a post around removing Demuth's #5 as background not mostly because William Carlos Williams' birthday was yesterday but because I am #6 and few would get the allusion and if they did they wouldn't find it as funny as me. I didn't add in tweet that fine metaphors abound.
  • We go to the gallery (h/t) via (h/t).
  • no, i do not accept your frigging u2 album...

  • Yes, K, everyone has made the "I'm 26th again, fuck you McArthur Foundation" joke. 
  • L says I should keep going but faster, dammit.
  • Thank you, L, thank you K. There may, there's an email flurry, there's the slightest almost infinitesimal chance, a Whatever Fucking Night It Can Be Arranged Pints in November. Please please please please please.
  • Those were my favorite posts to write, these bullets will be the last one since I love you both.
  • Please please please please please, may it happen, I can't imagine ever writing about it again after this post. L, K, see?
  • If we get together again twice a year for the next ten years, this is it here.
  • But yes. I'm trying. Thank you. Fuck it. Got it.
  • Have I ever mentioned how much I love Fucked Up?


Adam Zagajewski

Try to praise the mutilated world.
Remember June's long days,
and wild strawberries, drops of rosé wine.
The nettles that methodically overgrow
the abandoned homesteads of exiles.
You must praise the mutilated world.
You watched the stylish yachts and ships;
one of them had a long trip ahead of it,
while salty oblivion awaited others.
You've seen the refugees going nowhere,
you've heard the executioners sing joyfully.
You should praise the mutilated world.
Remember the moments when we were together
in a white room and the curtain fluttered.
Return in thought to the concert where music flared.
You gathered acorns in the park in autumn
and leaves eddied over the earth's scars.
Praise the mutilated world
and the gray feather a thrush lost,
and the gentle light that strays and vanishes
and returns.