Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Fragments Join in Me with Their Own Music, or: Born One-Hundred Years Ago Today


Muriel Rukeyser

When I wrote of the women in their dances and
          wildness, it was a mask,
on their mountain, gold-hunting, singing, in orgy,
it was a mask; when I wrote of the god,
fragmented, exiled from himself, his life, the love gone
          down with song,
it was myself, split open, unable to speak, in exile from

There is no mountain, there is no god, there is memory
of my torn life, myself split open in sleep, the rescued
beside me among the doctors, and a word of rescue
from the great eyes.

No more masks! No more mythologies!

Now, for the first time, the god lifts his hand,
the fragments join in me with their own music.

I took an Intro to Poetry course at Montgomery College when I was 20 or so when I was first learning I dig poetry (and trying to impress two women). The professor, who insisted we call her Tessa (so I don't remember her last name), prescribed beats and radicals, among them Rukeyser for her feminist and social protest themes. I liked her poetry then and for a few years after, but somewhere, by some erroneous aesthetic reasoning, I came to think overt political declarations in poems boring and, frankly, embarrassing no matter how well crafted the poem, so I stopped reading Rukeyser except when I'd come upon a poem in a magazine or somewhere. What a fucking dope. To be honest, my poetry, when I look up from the page to see what I've written, is often too full of overt political declarations, it's what I'm best at rhythmically, propulsively, embarrassingly, I'm so much better at that than I am the object><subject><subject><object-ology of poetry I somehow came to believe was superior, poetry's aim and goal. In any case, two years or so ago someone returned to the library Rukeyser's collected and I've been reading it since. It's a second chance at education.

  • Three last Karkowski pieces (until next time).
  • Team Omidyar. Sorry, trying to go clusterfuck-free, but.... I suppose that's as silly as excluding it from poetry.
  • Extinction or whole world totalitarian events.
  • Commies for Christ, or: Agamben, for those of you who do.
  • Maggie's weekly links.
  • { feuilleton }'s weekly links.
  • Jobs he's had in life in chronological order.
  • I forgot my place and sent two separate tweets to two separate Overlords and was justly ignored by both. My humble apologies.
  • Benny and Eddie: what could possibly go wrong?
  • Geoffrey Hill says poetry should be shocking and surprising.
  • The privacy of typewriters.


Muriel Rukeyser


For that you never acknowledged me, I acknowledge
the spring’s yellow detail, the every drop of rain,
the anonymous unacknowledged men and women.
The shine as it glitters in our child’s wild eyes,
one o’clock at night.       This river, this city,
the years of the shadow on the delicate skin
of my hand, moving in time.
Disinherited, annulled, finally disacknowledged
and all of my own asking.        I keep that wild dimension
of life and making and the spasm
upon my mouth as I say this word of acknowledge
to you forever.        Ewig.        Two o’clock at night.


While this my day and my people are a country not yet born
it has become an earth I can
acknowledge.       I must.        I know what the
disacknowledgment does.        Then I do take you,
but far under consciousness, knowing
that under under flows a river wanting
the other :  to go open-handed in Asia,
to cleanse the tributaries and the air, to make for making,
to stop selling death and its trash, pour plastic down men’s throats,
to let this child find, to let men and women find,
knowing the seeds in us all.        They do say Find.
I cannot acknowledge it entire.        But I will.
A beginning, this moment, perhaps, and you.


Death flowing down past me, past me, death
marvelous, filthy, gold,
in my spine in my sex upon my broken mouth
and the whole beautiful mouth of the child;
shedding power over me
if I acknowledge him.
Leading me
in my own body
at last in the dance.



  1. Will we make it June before the blog posts/comments on big soccer start asking why Benny won't play EJ? See Davies, Salahi, Boscovic

  2. regarding ian welsh's view in favor of spreading humankind to other celestial bodies, his discussion overlaps to some extent with the issues considered at

    a commenter at tricycle quotes

    “Like vanishing dew,
    a passing apparition
    or the sudden flash
    of lightning -- already gone --
    thus should one regard one's self.”
    ― Ikkyu