Thursday, July 4, 2019

The City So White It Is Ready for Ink

  • Scanner broke at work so new poem not yet here (update: but now here)
  • (t....h e...y p..t p..m I w...e in t....t)
  • With an emphasis that I can't even if I wanted to today so it's easy to say this, but I am tempted to go to The Mall today to see what if anything foments at trumporgasm
  • The meaning of genocide and the political stakes of naming
  • Tanks for the memories
  • Tonkining
  • Trump is an idiot savant at playing the American id, I said yesterday to my kamalatarian colleague
  • Dying of whiteness
  • Indulge your jingo by torturing animals
  • There is no difference between this shitty jingoism and trumporgasm jingoism
  • A cracker could shoot twelve people on the mall tomorrow, I said to kamalatarian colleague yesterday, and if one person throws a milkshake on a cracker applauding the cracker doing the shooting the media will make the milkshake thrower the day's evilest human and direst existential threat to the Empire (update: if but New York Times columnists)


Ocean Vuong

South Vietnam, April 29, 1975: Armed Forces Radio played Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas” as a code to begin Operation Frequent Wind, the ultimate evacuation of American civilians and Vietnamese refugees by helicopter during the fall of Saigon.

            Milkflower petals on the street
                                                     like pieces of a girl’s dress.

May your days be merry and bright...

He fills a teacup with champagne, brings it to her lips.
            Open, he says.
                                        She opens.
                                                      Outside, a soldier spits out
            his cigarette as footsteps
                            fill the square like stones fallen from the sky. May all
                                         your Christmases be white as the traffic guard
            unstraps his holster.

                                        His hand running the hem
of  her white dress.
                            His black eyes.
            Her black hair.
                            A single candle.
                                        Their shadows: two wicks.

A military truck speeds through the intersection, the sound of children
                                        shrieking inside. A bicycle hurled
            through a store window. When the dust rises, a black dog
                            lies in the road, panting. Its hind legs
                                                                                   crushed into the shine
                                                       of a white Christmas.

On the nightstand, a sprig of magnolia expands like a secret heard
                                                                      for the first time.

The treetops glisten and children listen, the chief of police
                                facedown in a pool of Coca-Cola.
                                             A palm-sized photo of his father soaking
                beside his left ear.

The song moving through the city like a widow.
                A white ...    A white ...    I’m dreaming of a curtain of snow

                                                          falling from her shoulders.

Snow crackling against the window. Snow shredded

                                           with gunfire. Red sky.
                              Snow on the tanks rolling over the city walls.
A helicopter lifting the living just out of reach.

            The city so white it is ready for ink.

                                                     The radio saying run run run.
Milkflower petals on a black dog
                            like pieces of a girl’s dress.

May your days be merry and bright. She is saying
            something neither of them can hear. The hotel rocks
                        beneath them. The bed a field of ice

Don’t worry, he says, as the first bomb brightens
                             their faces, my brothers have won the war
                                                                       and tomorrow ...    
                                             The lights go out.

I’m dreaming. I’m dreaming ...    
                                                            to hear sleigh bells in the snow ...    

In the square below: a nun, on fire,
                                            runs silently toward her god — 

                           Open, he says.
                                                         She opens.


  1. speaking of fishing for free i had a friend - a good friend, in several ways a better man than i am, who would catch and release - he enjoyed the struggle, and then let the fish get on with their lives - sometimes i tell people what i think and other times i just think it - when i heard this was one of the latter times

    speaking of a white christmas, i watched the bbc news show GMT at 7 am on WHUT today - one of the stories was of an australian man, age 29, a grad student of korean literature and travel agency operator in pyongyang, incommunicado for over a week who had been released by the government there and was shown at an airport, on his way to japan to reunite with his family - his dad - shown speaking in the report - is a white man, but the young man has what seemed to me a eurasian appearance - not that there's anything wrong with that - people were very worried about him, but his fate is different from otto warmbier's - the australian's name is alek sigley

    i am planning a trip to the old country (nova scotia) and speaking of genocides and related issues of course i have a vague notion of the fate of previous inhabitants like the mikmaks and the acadians but i have only just learned about the travails of the black loyalists - slaves in the rebellious 13 colonies offered freedom by the british for resisting the revolution

    i plan to read some of 1 or both of

    Liberty or death : the surprising story of runaway slaves who sided with the British during the American Revolution

    Blair, Margaret Whitman.

    Rough crossings : Britain, the slaves, and the American Revolution

    Schama, Simon.

    and while i am at it i anticipate having a chance to read some of

    A great and noble scheme : the tragic story of the expulsion of the French Acadians from their American Homeland

    Faragher, John Mack

    and speaking of histories of ages past, unenlightened shadows cast - steve hillage's rendition of hurdy gurdy man has been a favorite of mine