Tuesday, October 30, 2012

She Added that Tired Magic about How Atoms of Julius Cheezer and Napoleon and Beethoven Did Their Fleet Anachronistic Dance in Every Inhalation of Ours

All's fine in Napistan. Yes, I've waited a year to snap this photo and a chance to use that pun. Napoleon our feral cat decided to become Napoleon our fifth indoor cat and spent the night inside, made buddies with Stanley. Napoleon is the Kind older brother Stanley, runt of his litter, always wanted. We lucked out - never lost power, basement didn't flood. Hey, Thudner has a proposal for you! You vote for Jill Stein in your safe blue state, he votes for Obama against the motherfuckers who vote for Romney in Ohio. I'm in, but I was going to vote for Stein anyway.


Albert Goldbarth

“He was mortared to death.”
A pity, how we misspeak and mishear.

—Or “martyred”? Not that/coin-flip/either
makes a difference to the increasingly cooler

downtick of a corpse’s cells. “We heard the crazy mating joy
of the loon across the water.” Yes, but what

do we know, amateurs that we are? Loon, shmoon.
It might have been dying, announcing

its pain in those trilling pennants. It might
have been the girl who was lost in these woods last week

and never found by the volunteer searchers,
it might have been her ghost

with an admonishment. The truth is,
even among ourselves we often can’t distinguish pain

from pleasure, not in our beds, our hearts, the tone
of a poem on the final exam (a coin-toss). A pity, because

we know the urgency of some utterance;
and the intended goodwill of our listening; and

the marvelous basic mechanics of speech,
of lung: 300 million alveoli that, “if spread out flat,”

as my eighth-grade science teacher preened, “would come to
750 square feet, the entire floor space of an average house,”

and she added that tired magic about how atoms
of Julius Caesar and Napoleon and Beethoven did

their fleet anachronistic dance in every inhalation
of ours, although at thirteen I preferred to think

that the atoms of Cleopatra’s body—my Cleopatra,
inflating her see-through empresswear

with husky breaths—commingled with my blood, and also
realized in my own dim way it wasn’t only Einstein,

Shakespeare, Madame Curie populating my oxygen,
but also the smelly and scabby old man

from across the street who’d died last year
when the late-shift ward nurse heard (as she said in her testimony)
“med injection” instead of (as the outgoing
ward nurse told her) “bed inspection”—altogether

an unfortunate example of my theme . . . although
exempla abound, misapprehension

also dancing inside us at the atomic level.
Someone thought the gate was locked, she always locked

the gate in the late afternoon when the haze set down
and the sun for a moment seemed to carmelize the lake top,

so the gate was locked; except that it wasn’t,
and seven days into it nobody’s found the girl

or a scraggle of hair or a single ribbon. I tell you
we’re amateurs, we’re sometimes bungling amateurs,

of the minutiae of our own lives. When I heard the sounds
that gurgled from my chest as my wife was leaving

into the dense, conspiratorial Austin, Texas night,
I couldn’t have said if it was defeat

or relief. She couldn’t have said which one
she’d have been happiest to cause. We only knew

that I’d been wrong at times, and she’d been wrong at times,
and that our total errors, if spread out flat,

become the house we live in. They’re another system
inside us, along with the cardiac and the pulmonary,

they’re moving us toward the horizon line. And when
enough errors accumulate there, that’s what

we call the future. Even now, as you read this,
someone in that unknowable distance

is breathing you in.



  1. He doesn't have to cut Social Security and Medicare -- he wants to. And he's always wanted to.


    And he wouldn't try this shit in his first term UNLESS he was sure he could kick the Democratic base in the face, and see them respond by not only voting for his reelection, but policing up all the poopy heads who have the nerve to say, "WTF? This is just a shit sandwich!"

  2. Sure. Vote Jill Stein. Feed the narcissism.

  3. Wisconsin isn't a safe blue state.

    I'll take the Greens seriously when they start caring about local races. Vanity runs for President are helping less than voting for Democrats.

  4. Just so I'm clear: anyone running for POTUS outside of one of the two major parties is motivated solely by vanity because impossible to win and that voting for that candidate is motivated solely by narcissism because wasted vote, yes? I'm happy for you that your candidate is virtuous and pure and your motives are noble and selfless.

    A practical and honest question, zrm - how would a third party evolve, in the current American political environment, from grassroots up or the top down? I'm genuinely curious what you think. My gut feeling is that neither party would permit formation of a viable third party from below, that it would take a POTUS level kaboom - even an unsuccessful POTUS level kaboom - to create that party.

    Here's my hope for the Greens (or any third party for that matter): get to 15% in the polls before the debates so they are included (though I'm sure if one was at 16% the rules would be changed to 20%) in the presidential debates.

    1. The problem with political arguments with friends ..

      No, not "just so I'm clear" which is just a passive-aggressive way of making an untrue, self-serving, straw man argument.

  5. The answer is bottom-up. Any embellishment of that answer would be unkind, at least any embellishment I can conceive of right now. That may well be a me problem.

    And Zombie didn't say "anyone." He said "Jill Stein." It's sort of unkind to corrupt the question by deliberately misunderstanding it.

    Debates don't mean shit, unless you're a media company.

    And you already knew I thought this, but of course there's no such thing as North Bethesda.

  6. Furthermore, and only because I'm a dick: I think only a certain pizza company spells it "Caeser." And I think they actually spell it "Cheezer."

    1. Fuck blooger and copy/pasting, making me type. Fixed.

  7. Fair enough re: zrm mentioning Jill Stein, though I've seen and heard and heard of like accusations leveled at Gary Johnson and Virgil Goode (especially Goode by Romneyites in Virginia), though of course not as often as their supporters don't hang out in the places I see most often.

    Narcisstically speaking solipsistically and selfishishly only for me, my main yodel is that I reject the argument that one need either accept the rules of the American binary and play within the American binary of Dem/GOP tribalism or STFU (which has *not* been directly expressed by anyone to me at this blog I hasten to say). It probably is impossible to change the binary at all (which will be beat into me eventually, probably inevitably), but it's certainly impossible to change it from within.

    1. Reject as you please. Reject all forms of reality that you wish. But denying the basic political form in this nation won't get you anywhere.

      We have a two-party system. (Yes, the USSR had a one-party system; we do them one better.) Whine all you want about tribalism or STFU but until you acknowledge the reality of the US political system you can't impact it.

      And it clearly isn't impossible to change it from within as the Tea Baggers have done so within the past decade. Bemoaning the impossibility of change is a terrific way of allowing oneself to bay at the moon and shake ones fist at the sky. Doesn't make it true though.

  8. 5 percent is meaningful.

    I reject the argument, "shut up and lick right-wing corporatist warmonger boot, because he's a Democrat, that's why!"

    The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.

  9. Well played on the titling.

    For myself, I'd take Stein more seriously than Johnson or especially Goode. Others' mileage will certainly vary.

    Glad you hastened to add. Because I didn't.

    For an excellent graphical summary history of the multiparty dynamics of American politics, see yesterday's xkcd. It may be difficult to willfully change the binary dynamic; that doesn't mean it won't change in response to externals--in fact, it's almost inevitable that it will.

    5 percent can certainly be meaningful. Debates still ain't, though I'd concede that, as a matter of perception, being perceived as meaningful enough to debate is probably better than not being perceived as meaningful enough to debate. Props to Oscar Wilde, huh?

    I wouldn't concede that debates would be more meaningful with more participants, though. Minds are set, with the exception of some folk who could probably be more productive than troubling themselves with the turdwich/douchetard dilemma--which remains far more applicable to, for instance, Stein/Obama than to Obama/Romney. Suck it up and pick your poison, vote alternate, or don't vote. All valid, despite anyone's personal distaste for a given choice of the three/four.

  10. Hastening to add, for my own part, that multiparty dynamics devolve to binary dynamics, because power.

  11. One more notion, since I've done this horrid new 'prove you aren't a robot' enough times to feel stabby, do you actually want Jill Stein to be the leader of the nation and Cindy Sheehan to take over in the event of her demise? Because if you don't I submit that by voting Green you are buying into the exact same system that you rage against. If you want to be a real rebel, why not vote for somebody you would actually like have as President?

  12. Do you actually want someone as President who responds to unfavorable news like "the press is reporting you are killing innocent people with your drone strikes" by redefining those people as "militants"?