Wednesday, April 25, 2018

I Do Not Use Force But I Am Force-Sensitive

  • My Future Hell.
  • So long, Joe's Noodle House, the 12th best Chinese restaurant in Rockville.
  • Velocity Girl.
  • Another Vollmann interview.
  • Rod Padgett interview.
  • Richard Powers' interview (of sorts) on The Overstory.
  • UPDATE! Oops. Sorry, I forget where I found it and haven't the damn to go look.
  • I picked Planet up from BWI Monday evening, in the only store I saw that sold books (I had time to kill) SHAZAM! Richard Powers' The Overstory
  • Surprise is all: I never thought of Powers obscure but never thought of him marketable as in a bookshelf's column width in BWI's one store (outside the security area) that sells books and only a hundred titles at that if that.
  • I'm not the only person who thinks The Overstory is awful.
  • Re: the bullet below so not to block the colon: so far so good, but tumbling off-center, me.
  • The Overstory set aside for now - I'm reading Enard's Compass, which comes with a soundtrack: I'd never heard of Charles Valentin Alkan, a contemporary of Chopin, who wrote this:


Daniel Borzutzky

I blame my father’s father and my mother blames my mother’s father and my father blames my father’s mother and my father’s mother blames my mother’s mother’s father but mostly I blame my father’s father and my mother’s mother and my mother and my father for procreating
What the fuck were they thinking

Some words stand for some things and other words stand for other things

Or all the words are empty or unavailable.

They wrap my body in a flag

They spit on me

They talk about my mother

They blame my mother for making me

They blame my mother for making me a pansy

They call my mother a whore

They call me the son of a whore

They call my father a son of a bitch

I have a memory of my grandfather on stilts in a backyard

I am six years old

I remember laughing with the children as we ran up to the man on stilts

It’s possible this is a cheap trick my mind is playing on me to make him much taller than everyone else

I remember a warm man    a full head of gray hair slicked back over thick square glasses

He knew the president

He had been friends with the president

He formed the party with the president

He started the revolution with the president

My mother met the president at a cocktail party

Too bourgeois?

My mother met the president at an ice cream social

It was a fundraiser for the revolution

They didn’t drink wine

They wished they could have drunk wine

They wanted the revolution to have wine but they were afraid that those who could not afford wine would not join the revolution

All the poor people who can’t afford wine will soon be able to afford wine     brother

The revolution will guarantee wine for everyone

Let me explain

The president was a nice man

The president offered my mother a job

He said    When you finish law school    join the revolution

He offered her a job with the revolution

My mother was not a Jedi but she knew how to use the force

You will give me a job when I finish law school     my mother said to the president

And the president repeated     I will give you a job when you finish law school

I do not use the force but I am force-sensitive

My mother said     you will give me a job when I finish law school

And the president said   yes I will give you a job    if they don’t shoot me first

He was fatalistic

He was kind

He was a quote-un-quote     philanderer

Some say he was a great politician

Others say he was a lousy politician

Others think he was ethically dubious because he had sex with young revolutionaries

But then they dropped a bomb on his ass

He killed himself before they shot him

They dropped a bomb on his house

They dropped a bomb on his house but he killed himself before his house went up in flames and now the people pay 25% interest to the capitalist administrators who make a beautiful commission from their privatized social security earnings

This is what Margaret Thatcher meant when she said    economics are the method     the object is to change the heart and soul

I can explain the politically neutral discourse of neoliberal policy

If they wouldn’t have dropped a bomb on some guy on the other side of the world then we wouldn’t live in a city with privatized sidewalks    parks    beaches    nurses     teachers    trees    weeds     squirrels ducks coyotes

I am trying to convince you not to sell my body on the global market

I am trying to convince you that it’s not my fault I was born into a family of communists

Have you seen the way they made my grandfather grovel

There’s a movie about this

It’s on Vimeo and YouTube and Netflix and Amazon Prime

It’s called   The Groveling Communists
It stars Gael García Bernal and Penélope Cruz and the prisoners are wretched and good looking
It’s about ten communist prisoners on a frigid island who crawl around freezing    dying of hypothermia    trying to teach each other foreign languages in order to keep their brains from rotting of atrophy

It’s about ten communist prisoners on a frigid island who crawl around in the mud and barracks going    grovel grovel grovel 

I can explain

My mom was like yo president it would be great if you could give me a JOB after I finish law school and the president was like yeah girl no problem I’ll give you a JOB if they don’t fucking kill me before you graduate

My father’s father was a revolutionary

But they excommunicated him from the party

Or he excommunicated himself from the party

It’s complicated

He was besties with the president   played ball with the president when they were in high school    went out drinking with the president when they were in college     wrote revolutionary treatises with the president over bottles of wine and cigarettes

But then they had an argument

It’s complicated

Like really geopolitically complicated

Sort of

The party loved nation A in a faraway land but my grandfather did not like nation A because nation A wanted to kill the people of nation B and the party (though they did not believe in violence) were not fans of the people of nation B and they supported the people of nation A in their {impossible} quest to wipe nation B off the planet

The president liked nation A     my grandfather liked nation B

They fell out over this

My grandfather was written out of the revolution and started walking around on stilts to impress his nephews and grandchildren

He practiced peace but had little interest in peace

He practiced free love but had little interest in free love

He practiced law but had little interest in law

He practiced poetry but had little interest in poetry


I am radically resignifying traumatic memory in a diasporic space in order to create opportunities for new bonds to be articulated beyond the traumas of dictatorship


I fetishize the past I did not live

I fetishize the future I cannot control

I fetishize the practical impossibilities of the present

The frozen lilacs    the burning earth    the human beings scorched and traded for oil

I cannot explain those things

But I can explain other things

The rain is beating on the windows and it really sounds quite pretty

No one will wait for me when I turn into ash and dust

When I am lonely and have no one to talk to I will remember the murmuring leaves

1 comment:

  1. 1)i do not keep up with the world of literature - i do not watch access literature and poetry tonight and american poet on tv, and so i was ignorant about borzutsky - as will rogers said, we are all ignorant, only on different subjects

    1a)our friends at wikipedia quote the national book foundation: "The son of Chilean immigrants, Borzutzky's work often addresses immigration, worker exploitation, political corruption, and economic disparity."

    1b)i am facebook friends with a chilean immigrant - like borzutsky, his surname is not spanish in origin

    1c)once we were engaging in jocular banter and i pointed out that he is a latino with a gringa wife, whereas i am a gringo with a latina wife - "like inverted counterpoint", he noted - "exactly!", i agreed, and someone else smiled

    1d)he might like enjoy this poem, especially this passage - and it crosses my mind to send it to him

    I am radically resignifying traumatic memory in a diasporic space in order to create opportunities for new bonds to be articulated beyond the traumas of dictatorship


    1e)he would appreciate the code switching, i think

    1f)he teaches music theory and conducts, but once said that he thought he had enjoyed music as much, or more, before learning so much about it

    1g)i tried to find the movie mentioned in boruzutsky's poem but without success - maybe it is only an imaginary movie, as the tv news shows mentioned in my point 1, supra, are only imaginary

    1h)i suppose my facebook friend might help me identify nation A and nation B - i am pretty sure they are real nations - although i also suppose it would not make any significant difference if i knew the names of these nations - borzutsky intentionally obscures the specifics, which are not the point

    2)and speaking of nations and their hostilities - yesterday i watched most of a tv film on hitler's youth - newsreel footage of rallies and battles was made more palatable for the 21st century viewer by colorization

    i saw it on the cable but you can see it here - national geographic is now a branch of the murdoch media empire, by the way - and rupert himself was at the state dinner at the white house last night with his current wife, the mother of a minority of mick jagger's children -

    2a)and now i am reminded of something that amused me once reading the credits on a british film - the contrast in spelling of

    Colour by Technicolor

    3)yesterday i also watched another movie with a lot of originally black and white newsreel footage in it - this was left black and white, mostly, although interesting things were done with rotoscoped colored scenes, too - unlike the hitler's youth movie, i saw it on netflix - like the hitler's youth movie, it included retrospective interviews with people who had lived through episodes of mass murder - unlike the hitler's youth movie, it was mass murder on a much smaller scale, and closer to us in time and space - 96 minutes on the campus of the unversity of texas - i found it informative and inspiring, and would watch it again sometime

    3)and now this is a bigger leap, prompted by reading about 'the minutemen' - a film about them - which i have not seen - is titled we jam econo - if you follow their example, you might not undertake the trouble and expense of switching your blogging platform

    4)and returning to the theme of blame, which begins borutzsky's poem and also appears in your own remarks, i came across the following yesterday - an animated folk tale from india

    it is the story of an indian farmer, a snake, and his son – bad things happen but the moral is that it is no one's fault -“truly we are helpless against destiny”

    4a)by pointing at something, i do not necessarily mean "i agree with this and you should too"