Monday, July 8, 2013

Please Refrain from Talking During the Movie

No, not really, but taking a few days off from the noise. I'm working on something which is about the clusterfuck by not being about the clusterfuck and working on something else about the clusterfuck which is about the clusterfuck, how the value of Snowden's revelations isn't in the extent of the spying but in the reactions of people to the event of Snowden and the gut-punches of that never-ending, always craptacular, debate over less-shittiness, but the post's nowhere near ready and the yodel is old and I think I just posted enough so expect no more. Craptacularity. The regularity of craptacularity. The ubiquitous taint of craptacularity. The either/or claw of craptacularity. I'm as crippled as anyone. Anyway, I was working on both last night at the cost of not finding you reads today, sorry. Tomorrow is one of two days a year a post is not tagged My Complicity and I got a date tomorrow night, so nothing but songs and dance and poems the next few days. Fennesz cascade coming - thanks for requests, requests solicited - but not today, in which I didn't take the day off at all.


Robert Polito

When I can’t make you understand I repeat myself
I repeat

If you don’t stop asking me all these questions how
Will I understand anything

Please refrain from talking during the movie

I need a life that isn’t just about needing
To escape my life

Please God please may Carrie please fall for me

I want to show off my hidden camera
I’m an informer but I have my limits

You hurt him once before now what
If she’s there I don’t know if I can go

Please refrain from talking during the movie

Leave a message if you can’t reach me
To exit press enter and don’t forget your receipt

When I think I read new things I want
A life where I read and think new things

Please refrain from talking during the movie

I want to know nothing

Please God please may Carrie please fall for me

I repeat myself when I can’t
Make you understand I repeat


Albert Goldbarth

During Napoleon iii’s coup d’état one of  his officers, Count de Saint-Arnaud, on being informed that a mob was approaching the Imperial Guard, coughed and exclaimed, with his hand across his throat, “Ma sacrée toux! (my damned cough).” But his lieutenant, understanding him to say “Massacrez tous! (massacre them all),” gave the order to fire, killing thousands—needlessly.
                   —Guy Murchie

“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. Spending time to craft a post? One would figure that your proximity to Old Nick's House of Knickknacks & Hot Air Ballooning would prompt you to blurt shit out all haphazard like.

    1. No kidding. There is so much delicious unpacking of all facets Snowdenpalooza, each one opening up a dozen more, I caught myself at eleven last night with ten paragraphs and - verily - fuck that. Easier to post a gif pig, three songs, two poems.

  2. the goldbarth poem underlines one of the points i made this a.m. in response to Jim H.'s comment on yesterday's post - that the MICFiC, like you and me and everyone we know, isn't always well-informed about what's happening and what's going to happen next

    the murchie epigraph is from seven mysteries of life - a few pages later we find

    “If a boy views a horse race through a knot in a fence, for example, he may see a white horse about to overtake a front-running brown horse in the stretch and conclude that the white horse will win. But his father standing beside him and looking over the fence may take in a much wider view that includes a very fast black horse overtaking both the others so rapidly that he can safely predict the black horse must win. If the father tells the son he can foresee a black victory and it proves true, it could seem to the boy that his father has prophetic vision into the future. Yet in fact the only advantage the father had was his larger view of space which gave him more information with which to make a more accurate extrapolation of the same future already extrapolated by the boy.”

    and speaking of parables, chris hedges suggests "we are all aboard the pequod"

    and speaking of the pequod:

  3. goldbarth's poem mentions einstein

    lisa simeone's blog (mentioned last friday) links to the albert einstein institution

    the albert einstein institution has published (and you can download for free)

    A Guide to Strategic Planning for Action to End a Dictatorship or Other Oppression

    by Gene Sharp, with the assistance of Jamila Raqib

    First Edition, November 2009

    This strategic planning guide is intended to assist people who wish themselves to plan a grand strategy, or super plan, to achieve their liberation from oppression and to build a more free and democratic system. This document is not only relevant to people facing internal dictatorships. It is also meant to be useful to people facing any kind of oppression.

    This short document cannot include adequate in-depth presentations of all the knowledge and ideas needed for strategic planning of a nonviolent struggle for liberation. Therefore, interspersed in this text are references to selected published readings covering those important topics. Careful study of these selected readings, available for download below, in the sequence recommended is essential. They contain much of the understandings, knowledge, and insights that may be useful in the preparation of strategies of liberation.