Friday, June 24, 2016

The Cash Machine Still Says "Enter to Exit"

  • Work sucks, but the building ▲ is as photogenic as Olive.
  • I hadn't followed Brexit as it doesn't matter what I think. I wish I could bring the same level of surrendered damn to this country's elections. What I gather is that Leave's victory is warning sign of a Trump victory. Also, the bad news is my pension is wiped out and I'll die before I retire, the good news is we're all gonna die sooner than we expected.
  • Reminder.
  • Neither Great nor British.
  • Consequences.
  • DoomedExpect a lot of awful guff in the hours and days to come, as the professional explainers try to explain what just happened, with all their deep insight into the mind of some dissipating cartoon of a Brexiter. Already it's starting. Vague prognostications on Real, Ordinary Decent People squaring off against Out Of Touch Elites and Condescending Experts. Terrifyingly focused accusations that politicians didn't do enough to address that caricature's Perfectly Reasonable And Not Racist Concerns About Immigration. Both of which are true, in a way. But all these very not racist concerns about immigration and all this nebulous disdain for elites didn't come from nowhere. It's been shown, repeatedly, that migration is not actually putting people out of work or wearing down public services. Outright bigotry had its role, but people are Concerned because newspapers have been screaming at them for months and years that they have every right to be concerned and they shouldn't let anyone say they don't. Because the politicians who watched over decades of immiseration, happy to let anything halfway decent on this little island sink into fallow fields or be blotted out by shiningly inaccessible housing developments, were also happy to let the country's most precarious and unrepresented people take the blame. They let this happen. They might not have wanted it, but they let it happen.
  • The view from London Review of Books: Jeremy Corbyn will get blamed for not having broken a lance, in fact barely a cocktail stick, on Remain’s behalf. But his stance made good political sense, as well as being born of sincere lack of conviction. The EU is a technocratic capitalist club. Remain had no convincing story, in fact no story at all, about how it can benefit unskilled and semi-skilled workers and the long-term unemployed, or how the structural tensions between its central institutions and democracy could be resolved. From the Labour leadership’s standpoint it made and makes good sense to lie low while the Tories slugs the daylights out of each other. Liberal Remainers’ fancy that the EU is a benign despotism friendly to worker and refugee alike has proven remarkably resilient to the facts.

  • Serendipity be blessed, an Ubu song ▲ I might hear live tonight!
  • The Left and the EU.
  • The ideology of isolation.
  • Exit Row.
  • This too will pass.
  • Meanwhile, Sanders and Warren go full Hillary and Warren brought donuts!
  • Reyodel: the collapse, though inevitable and unstoppable, will be long and slow and gruesome. It's not my lifetime that's fucked, it's my daughter's. When she is my age it will be 2049. If there's a world, what world?
  • Elena Ferrante. I've been resistant by three stupid biases: (1) The covers imply light chick fiction; (2) The reviews have implied a combination of Bildungroman and buddy story; (3) they are in vogue. I trust Ed, though, so I'll give the first one a try.
  • RIP Ralph Stanley.


Dean Young

The mountain thinks it’s the same
without you but it’s wrong. Maybe
the same stars whisking themselves
further off, the darker the brighter,
same chamomile crushed underfoot
but the little, wiry dog we loved
has preceded us into paradise, not
that I expect to join her even though
my own crappy heart’s worse, running’s
out but I may be finally learning how
to sit in a chair. I still don’t know
what to call the good morning bird
although whatever word’d be no truer
than manzanita. I think namelessness
has a crush on me, on how clean
I keep my room, the usual stunned
ruckus of wake up. But it’s a different
moon, different woman on the hotel balcony
yet the same kinda scary, vacant stare,
caryatid foreseeing what? Before
turning back to the customary, immaculate
vacation squalor inside. The cash machine
still says “enter to exit” but there’s
more water in the creek than I’ve ever seen,
the brighter the darker, in that first dream
there was none.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Meanwhile the Repair Act Languishes

  • Hillaryite Friend said, Hillary.... and I said, no, please. HC said, Democrats sit-in over guns... and I said, please? No? We talked about college road trips - HC's daughter is a rising junior in high school, they are starting to look at colleges - and cats. The road trips Earthgirl and Planet and I took to New England and New York and Pennsylvania and Ohio to visit campuses were some of my favorite vacations. I can always talk about cats. Was nice talking to a friend and not speaking in Hillaryiteese.
  • Olive ▲ is the most photogenic cat I've ever photoed.
  • The struggle is creative.
  • Silence: a Fertile Soil.
  • The M Word.
  • A summer among the dead poets.
  • Josephine Miles.
  • Between the sky and the sky.
  • On Szymborska's Map!
  • Stream the new Flexibles, Richard Youngs' new band.
  • Fifteen essential Noise albums.
  • Ivor Cutler at 90.
  • I was going to post more Pere Ubu today (and tomorrow) in anticipation of tomorrow night's concert at Rock and Roll Hotel and again offer to buy you a ticket, but fuck that.
  • Looked last night at some mixed tapes I made back early 80s - I don't have a cassette player to play them even if the tape wasn't now too brittle to play, and:


John Ashbery
it was
just a typical mid-sized town
in the middle of nowhere
          —James Tate, “Burn Down the Town, No Survivors”
Customize the event, picking at soul scabs,
turning your face optimistically toward the window.
There must be a long biography coming out soon,
leggings to be worn, and so it is that earth
gets turned over, and we all go back into our little houses
for a while, and the land is generous.
                                                                      At least,
that’s the way it would have turned out, if God
or I had any say in the matter. As it fell out,
our leaders met in the azalea patch
in an election year. Outsiders were welcomed in
with wine and cookies, and we all settled down
to the business of the day. Repealing the Stamp Act
was big on everybody’s agenda, stamps being
eternally optimistic, as though indebted to someone.
That’s my definition, anyway. Or do we have to be,
or does it matter? Meanwhile the Repair Act languishes.

Welcome to the family tree. I am sick and tired
at my earliest convenience. This was supposed to make it easier,
remember? Hopefully his owner wires back and,
thick as the dust on our reports, finds it totally
unacceptable, yet not entirely unknown, queering
the pitch for kids that used to hang around.
Mr. Pom from Camp Cute swept by,
but he could foretell the cloying sound of water
in water, haruspicate, start a restaurant. The broken land
was free to be contaminated, again.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Nearly 80% of the Denizens of the Deep Can Produce Their Own Light but Up Here, We Make Our Own Darkness

  • Slug, stoop, last night.
  • Mr Alarum has a new band.
  • The most important question of the day.
  • Three acts of Kind sent my way yesterday, thanks very much.
  • Hadn't planned to post today, but all ▲ require it.
  • While I shouldn't take my Dark out on Hillaryite Colleagues even if baited by Hillaryite Colleagues, better I take it out there (and on that TV show) than on Loved Ones (I haven't because I love you) or you (I haven't because I like you) or at work (because I'm two years minimum from quitting).
  • Outside the Ministry of Love.
  • Inevitably, Zizek and Trump. Have you seen them in the same room at the same time?
  • Robert Reich is silly. He knows it.
  • David Dayen is silly. He knows it.
  • On Life and Fate. One of the books I'm considering for Maine. It's been ten years since last reread.
  • Mothers of synthesizer invention.
  • Reminder: Pere Ubu, Rock and Roll Hotel, H St NE, DC, this Friday. Let me buy you a ticket.


Dean Young

You shouldn’t have a heart attack
in your 20s. 47 is the perfect time
for a heart attack. Feeding stray shadows
only attracts more shadows. Starve a fever,
shatter a glass house. People often mistake
thirst for hunger so first take a big slurp.
A motorboat is wasted on me even though
all summer the pool was, I didn’t
get in it once. Not in it, not in it
twice. A dollhouse certainly isn’t wasted
on a mouse both in terms of habitation
and rhyme. Always leave yourself time
to get lost. 50 cattle are enough
for a decent dowry but sometimes a larger
gesture is called for like shouting
across the Grand Canyon. Get used to
nothing answering back. Always remember
the great effects of the Tang poets,
the meagerness of their wine, meagerness
of writing supplies. Go ahead, drown
in the moon’s puddle. Contusions
are to be expected and a long wait
in ICU under the muted TVs advertising
miracle knives and spot removers.
How wonderful to be made entirely
of hammered steel! No one knows why
Lee chose to divert his troops to Gettysburg
but all agree it was the turning point
of the Civil War. Your turining point
may be lying crying on the floor.
Get up! The perfect age for being buried
alive in sand is 8 but jumping up 33, alluding
to the resurrection, a powerful motif
in Western art but then go look at the soup cans
and crumpled fenders in the modern wing:
what a relief. Nearly 80% of the denizens
of the deep can produce their own light
but up here, we make our own darkness.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

You Find Your Stake Yanked and Some Rough Bunch to Thank

A Hillaryite Colleague (one of two and distinct from my Hillaryite Friend) wanted to be sure I knew that Sanders' Secret Service detail is costing taxpayers $38K per day, what a motherfucking egotist. I've explained before to this Hillaryite Colleague that a person can simultaneously not be pro-Sanders and still be rabidly anti-Clinton. I said, how do you think that piece in the Post got published when it was published? Do you think the journalist thought, Hey, Sanders' Secret Service detail, the motherfucking egotist is scamming me, the American taxpayer, and journalist went and sold the angle to his editor and shazam, front page clickbait? A story that had for its punchline a lifelong Clinton henchman saying something like, Yeah, those amenities that come with running for President, sometimes it's hard for motherfucking egotists to give them up. A story which is certified bullshit? HC said, are you saying Clinton ordered the story, wrote the story? I said, I'm saying the Clinton Syndicate's fucking petty and assholishly ruthless in offing perceived enemies from the left - please, don't Warren me - is meat-grinder famous, and this story is nothing if not fucking petty and assholishly ruthless, it has their bloody fingerprints all over it. They hope you know. They want you to know. Hillaryites know - and approve, look at the tweets! And more than that, Clinton's bosses want you to know. HC said, the fuck? I do wonder, I said, why Clinton picked today to order Trump to fire Lewandowski. HC said, fucking Bernie Bros.

  • Lalo Schifrin, composer of Mannix theme, born 84 years ago today. Bernie Kopell ▲ , creator of Siegfried, my digital avatar forever, born 83 years ago today. He was also Jerry in That Girl.
  • Standard line about me, 1965, I'm six, TV toggled from B/W to color, the good created, the damage done.
  • Belief and family.
  • We buried the disgraceful truth. On continual war.
  • Mob shaming.
  • On social sadism.

  • In praise of hateWe, those of us broadly on the progressive side of this argument, shouldn't be so quick to disown all that. It is as impossible to conceive of justice without punishment as it is perverse sexuality (most sexuality) without that idea lurking somewhere. Justice requires sanction. And the idea of a pristine, bloodless ritual of punishment, safeguarded by a division of functions, is a modern illusion. Its result is ironically that we punish more, with less satisfaction: we always feel short-changed. To disavow our aggressive impulses, our desire to punish, our rage, is to engage in a dubious operation of externalisation. There are at least two ways in which we can externalise 'evil' in this sense. We can, as Fanon suggested, project our aggression onto a racial Other, finding in them all that is bestial and barbaric in our own behaviour and desires. That is Farage and the faraginous hordes behind him. Or, we can project it onto those who we believe to be the racist hordes (whether they are or not doesn't necessarily affect the degree of projection).
  • This is your illusion of freedom.
  • Massive fart-in.
  • No one knows what will happen.
  • The thing about bombing Syria.
  • On translations and prizes.
  • Two obituaries.
  • Six of us now for Pere Ubu this Friday at Rock & Roll Hotel on H! Join us! Songs today off playlist from their show two days ago in Louisville. Let me know if I can buy you a ticket.


Kay Ryan

There is a
distance where
magnets pull,
we feel, having
held them   
back. Likewise
there is a
distance where
words attract.
Set one out
like a bait goat   
and wait and   
seven others
will approach.
But watch out:
roving packs can
pull your word
away. You   
find your stake   
yanked and some   
rough bunch
to thank.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Peculiar That *Swan* Should Mean a *Sound*?

  • How is it far, if you think of it?
  • The continued rise of the populist Right: You may say you oppose fascism, but you are creating the conditions necessary for it. This is true of Cameron, Blair, Thatcher, both Clintons, both Bush’s, Reagan and every politician who supports or supported neo-liberal policies. You may say you oppose fascism, but you are creating the conditions necessary for it. This is true of Cameron, Blair, Thatcher, both Clintons, both Bush’s, Reagan and every politician who supports or supported neo-liberal policies. You are enablers for fascism. The post-war economy was created to make sure that something like fascism could not happen again, and you dismantled it..... There will be war.  There will be revolution.  There will fountains of blood in the streets.  There will be refugee crises that make the current one look like a piss in the wind compared to a hurricane.  All of this is because neoliberals ruled for 40 years and their policies are reaping exactly the results predicted by those who opposed them.
  • Britain (and US) as crazed loner
  • Peter Gabriel has a new song out, a tribute to Muhammed Ali. My first response: Fuck that, how motherfucking shameless. The song isn't very good - Gabriel ran out of ideas halfway through making So - but my kneejerk reaction (that the song was a cynical attempt to jumpstart a dead career) is typical of my daily failures to be Kind despite my daily resolutions to be Kind. When I say be Kind, motherfuckers, I'm talking to me.
  • Maggie's weekly links.
  • { feuilleton }'s weekly links.
  • Do ▲ yo.
  • Hit Music.
  • Swans, this version of Swans, last tour, last album, bought the album last night, bought tickets for July 28, 930, DC (Planet and Air joining me - at Planet's request, not mine!). Join us.
  • This is true: nothing brings me peace more than Swans at full volume. 


Robert Creeley

inside my head

Inside my head a common room,   
a common place, a common tune,
a common wealth, a common doom

inside my head. I close my eyes.   
The horses run. Vast are the skies,
and blue my passing thoughts’ surprise

inside my head. What is this space   
here found to be, what is this place
if only me? Inside my head, whose face?

the tools

First there, it proves to be still here.   
Distant as seen, it comes then to be near.   
I found it here and there unclear.

What if my hand had only been   
extension of an outside reaching in
to work with common means to change me then?

All things are matter, yet these seem   
caught in the impatience of a dream,   
locked in the awkwardness they mean.

the swan

Peculiar that swan should mean a sound?
I’d thought of gods and power, and wounds.
But here in the curious quiet this one has settled down.

All day the barking dogs were kept at bay.   
Better than dogs, a single swan, they say,   
will keep all such malignant force away

and so preserve a calm, make pond a swelling lake—
sound through the silent grove a shattering spate   
of resonances, jarring the mind awake.

the rose

Into one’s self come in again,
here as if ever now to once again begin
with beauty’s old, old problem never-ending—

Go, lovely rose ... So was that story told
in some extraordinary place then, once upon a time so old   
it seems an echo now as it again unfolds.

I point to me to look out at the world.
I see the white, white petals of this rose unfold.   
I know such beauty in the world grows cold.

the skull

“Come closer. Now there is nothing left   
either inside or out to gainsay death,”   
the skull that keeps its secrets saith.

The ways one went, the forms that were   
empty as wind and yet they stirred
the heart to its passion, all is passed over.

Lighten the load. Close the eyes.   
Let the mind loosen, the body die,   
the bird fly off to the opening sky.

the star

Such space it comes again to be,   
a room of such vast possibility,   
a depth so great, a way so free.

Life and its person, thinking to find
a company wherewith to keep the time   
a peaceful passage, a constant rhyme,

stumble perforce, must lose their way,   
know that they go too far to stay   
stars in the sky, children at play.