Wednesday, July 9, 2014

But Poet, Sucker, Fool, It's Your Job to Find Meaning in All This Because You Are Delusional Enough to Believe That, Yes, Poetry Is a Sickness, but Somehow If You Can Just Scrape Together Enough Beauty and Truth to Recall, Yes, That Broadway Car Crash Was Fucked Up, but the Way the Rain Fell to Wash Away the Blood Not Ten Minutes After the Ambulance Left Was Gorgeous

  • I really really really like Fucked Up. Especially when the news in the world pisses me off. They are in the Second Circle of MSADI5G.
  • I know I said there wouldn't be links today but (a) many of the few people who come here and who know Earthgirl and me and were at our wedding 26 years ago today have all seen today's anniversary post and (b) the links need go out today before their expiration dates hit and (c) the news of the world pisses me off and (d) once I made the connection between the band and poem I was incapable of waiting for tomorrow and (e) tomorrow's post plans now just include a homemade video and haikus of Deep Space Nine episodes and (f) I'm a fucking attention slut and (g) sometimes I need to scream so I can move on to the next scream.
  • Chomsky's provisional fascism.
  • All we are saying is give hell a chance.
  • The MUCH greater evilThe idea that neocons have been in the ‘wilderness’ during the Obie years seems rather strange to me, though of course Hillary is and always has been much more deeply committed to the neocon program than the pathetic outgunned nonentity who currently lives in the White House, desperately trying to split all the differences he can find. Even stranger, then, is the idea that an alliance between neocons and Hillary might be something to express in the future tense or subjunctive mood. The Clintons — and Hillary in particular — have always been committed, aggressive interventionists and sedulous water-carriers for Israel. From a neocon point of view, what’s not to like?
  • Israel does not want peaceThere is nothing I have ever written that I would be happier to be proved wrong about. But the evidence is piling up. In fact, it can be said that Israel has never wanted peace – a just peace, that is, one based on a just compromise for both sides. It’s true that the routine greeting in Hebrew is Shalom (peace) – shalom when one leaves and shalom when one arrives. And, at the drop of a hat, almost every Israeli will say he wants peace, of course he does. But he’s not referring to the kind of peace that will bring about the justice without which there is no peace and there will be no peace. Israelis want peace, not justice, certainly not anything based on universal values. Thus, “Peace, peace, when there is no peace.” Not only is there no peace: In recent years, Israel has moved away from even the aspiration to make peace. It has despaired utterly of it. Peace has disappeared from the Israeli agenda, its place taken by the collective anxieties that are systematically implanted, and by personal, private matters that now take precedence over all else.
  • Today in motherfucking cops.

  • Here, happier links: 
  • Price Reductions.
  • Food links.
  • Through the Looking-Glass: Well, it won’t be the Bite for which this World Cup is remembered after all. Something more shocking did happen. The form book turned out to be a useless guide (Brazil were undefeated in twelve games before last night). Home advantage counted for nothing in the end. Goldman Sachs got it wrong. Stephen Hawking got it wrong. I got it wrong. Everyone got it wrong. Sure, there will be people saying that this Brazilian team was there for the taking, that someone was bound to expose its manifold weaknesses. But no one predicted that result. It simply doesn’t happen that big teams concede seven goals at home against major rivals. It doesn’t happen in the Premier League or in La Liga or in Serie A. It’s inconceivable that Chelsea or Barcelona or Juventus would ship seven at home to anyone, no matter how weakened their team or how unlucky the performance. It doesn’t happen in the Champions League or in the European Championships. It’s certainly never happened at the World Cup. Before last night’s match some bookmakers had Germany as the slight favourites to win, but the margin of their victory is perhaps the biggest upset in the history of the sport.
  • I'm glad that Germany stomped for the sole reason that had Brazil lost close and heartbreakingly they would have whined Neymar unto eternity. 
  • The US are now World Cup regulars and it's time to expect betterSomething else about these finals has me feeling old. Commentators here burbled incessantly about the growing ratings, the traveling support and the viewing parties like they were the new new thing. The latest generation of viewers and journalists shows up every four years, and for them, everything must be new because they're seeing it for the first time. The incremental, evolutionary and massive growth of football in America since 1990 is there for all to see. But they don't, and I'm tired of repeating myself. One ESPN commentator said of getting out the group: "It's a heck of a landmark day for US soccer." No, not really.
  • Heroes and VilliansIf I was an American conservative who valued art and literature (there are still a few such benighted individuals around), I would find Adam Bellow's recent screed, "Let Your Right Brain Run Free," deeply embarrassing. While he claims he is not calling for outright propaganda in his plea for assistance in creating a "counterculture" that will arise through the efflorescence of a new "conservative fiction" (he wants money to publish it, of course), it hardly seems a contribution to literature to advocate for writers who "craft dramatic situations and pick heroes and villains that serve more subtly to advance their point of view." Advancing a point of view, whether it be from the right or the left, is not an act of creating culture but of doing politics by other means, although Bellow is not overly scrupulous to disavow that his ultimate goal is transparently political.


Ed Bok Lee

You write not what you want,
but what flaws flower from rust

You want to write about the universe,
how the stars are really tiny palpitating ancestor hearts
watching over us

and instead what you get on the page
is that car crash on Fourth and Broadway—
the wails of the girlfriend or widow,
her long lamentation so sensuous
in terrible harmony with sirens in the distance

Poetry is a sickness

You want to write about Adoration,
the glistening sweat on your honey's chest
in which you've tasted the sun's caress,
and instead what you get
is a poem about the first of four times
your mother and father split up

Want to write about the perfection of God
and end up with just another story
of a uniquely lonely childhood

If I had a dime for every happy poem I wrote
I'd be dead

Want to write about the war, oppression, injustice,
and look here, see, what got left behind
when all the sand and dust cleared
is the puke-green carpet in the Harbor Lights Salvation Army treatment center
A skinny Native girl no older than seventeen
braids the reddish hair
of her little four- or five-year-old Down's Syndrome daughter

Outside, no blinking stars
No holy kiss's approach
Only a vague antiseptic odor and Christian crest on the wall staring back at you

I didn't say all this to that dude who sent me his poems
from prison

You want everyone to feel empowered
Want them to believe there is beauty locked in amber
inside each of us, and you chip away at that shit
one word at a time
You stampede with verbs, nouns, and scalpel adjectives
Middle-finger your literalist boss
Blow grocery cash on library fines
Sprain your left knee loading pallets all day for Labor Ready
You live in an attic for nine years
You go bankrupt
You smoke too much

Drink too much
Alienate family and friends
Say yes, poetry is a sickness, but fuck it
Do it long enough, and I promise like an anti-superhero
your secret power will become loss

Loss like only old people must know
when the last red maple on the block goes

and the drizzle turns to snow

Maybe the best poem is always the one you shouldn't have written

The ghazal that bled your index finger
Or caused your sister to reject your calls for a year
The sonnet that made the woman you loved fear
That slam poem you're still paying for
The triolet that smiled to violate you
through both ears

But Poet, Sucker, Fool
It's your job
to find meaning in all this because
you are delusional enough to believe
that, yes, poetry is a sickness,
but somehow if you can just scrape together enough beauty and truth

to recall, yes, that Broadway car crash was fucked up,
but the way the rain fell to wash away the blood
not ten minutes after the ambulance left
was gorgeous

Or how maybe your mother and father would sometimes scream,
but also wrapped never-before-seen tropical
fruit for one another every Xmas Eve

How in the morning before opting out I watched
that tiny Native girl fumbling
to braid her own and her now-
snoring mother's long black hair
                   in a single cornrow—

If I can just always squiggle
down like this:
                                even half as much
as what I'd otherwise need
to forget

maybe these scales
really will one day tip
to find each flaw that made us



  1. some people think that soccer is a matter of life and death, but it's much more important than that -- it has been asserted

  2. from the other side .. , i just came back in to wish you both a happy day of your being together at length i assume of the living room dance below , but .. rain / pours linking now .. ./ i was doing a reworking of mike scott's paris /arthur rimbaud , a different telling and dance alone ,the no drugs,no delusions version , when i first looked in on your living room.., after the few days rain here , /then.. the the.. popped up in ..with jools holland joining them on the piano , made me think of his f' song needed , and then of.. squeeze.. , i feel better now .. tub , cats ,i hang in the wandering slow streets with them to brea k away ,of the better of what summer can be .. .

  3. In fact, it can be said that Israel has never wanted peace
    Perhaps they are using Tacitus' definition.

  4. If I had a dime for every happy poem I wrote I'd be dead