Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Coming Home After Midnight to My Deserted Block

Normally I'd gleefully rush to post a new Lambchop song, Lambchop in the inner circle of rotating bands and musicians in My Sillyass Deserted Island Game (which Jim serendipitously mentioned on twitter yesterday the same day I discovered a new Lambchop song), but the new Lambchop song released yesterday, meh!, that's now 0 for 2 of new songs from the as yet unreleased new Lambchop album (pre-ordered already at Bandcamp), this happened recently in fiction (the new Vollmann novel just sucks) and poetry (the new Ruefle doesn't suck but doesn't sing), strange days, the fuck is wrong with me, but it hasn't happened with my cats, have last night's Naploaf, this guy more indoor each passing day


  • The Gonzo Constitutionalism of the American RightOver the last several years, liberals and Democrats have characterized the power (and the threat) of the GOP in a particular way: Trump and the Republicans are seen as lawless enemies of the Constitution who rely on a combination of rabid rhetoric and mobilized masses to wreak havoc upon established institutions. It’s true that Trump’s tweets are toxic; the thrum of his rallies is ominous; the violence and possibility of more violence are unnerving. But that’s not, in the main, where Trump’s power, or the Republican Party’s, lies. The unsettling fact of the current regime is that it depends, ultimately, not upon these bogeymen of democracy—not on demagoguery, populism, or the masses—but upon the constitutional mainstays we learned about in high-school civics. The most potent source of the GOP’s power is neither fascism nor authoritarianism; it is gonzo constitutionalism.
  • Capitalism versus democracy
  • The Road to Revolution
  • Helmetball is and will forever be the best metaphor for USCollege football is all the ugliest facets of U.S. society: unapologetic racism, violence, raw exploitation, and endless harm all so that powerful people and institutions can make a buck. It’s no wonder that Trump literally shouted out his complicity in restarting the Big Ten season during the Presidential Debate. 


Mary Karr

I read somewhere
that if pedestrians didn’t break traffic laws to cross
Times Square whenever and by whatever means possible,
the whole city
would stop, it would stop.
Cars would back up to Rhode Island,
an epic gridlock not even a cat
could thread through. It’s not law but the sprawl
of our separate wills that keeps us all flowing. Today I loved
the unprecedented gall
of the piano movers, shoving a roped-up baby grand
up Ninth Avenue before a thunderstorm.
They were a grim and hefty pair, cynical
as any day laborers. They knew what was coming,
the instrument white lacquered, the sky bulging black
as a bad water balloon and in one pinprick instant
it burst. A downpour like a fire hose.
For a few heartbeats, the whole city stalled,
paused, a heart thump, then it all went staccato.
And it was my pleasure to witness a not
insignificant miracle: in one instant every black
umbrella in Hell’s Kitchen opened on cue, everyone
still moving. It was a scene from an unwritten opera,
the sails of some vast armada.
And four old ladies interrupted their own slow progress
to accompany the piano movers.
each holding what might have once been
lace parasols over the grunting men. I passed next
the crowd of pastel ballerinas huddled
under the corner awning,
in line for an open call — stork-limbed, ankles
zigzagged with ribbon, a few passing a lit cigarette
around. The city feeds on beauty, starves
for it, breeds it. Coming home after midnight,
to my deserted block with its famously high
subway-rat count, I heard a tenor exhale pure
longing down the brick canyons, the steaming moon
opened its mouth to drink from on high ...


  1. Interesting. As a Southern Baptist growing up (and subsequent seminarian), I witnessed first hand the fundamentalist's takeover of the SBC through its appeal to "Biblical inerrancy", that every word of the Bible was true. They used it as a cudgel to undermine and ultimately capture more liberal or moderate institutions (such as my school and, more importantly, the controls of the finances). They badgered and deemed anyone who opposed their political machinations as "heretics" and insufficiently Christian. Likewise, I witnessed first hand the early days of the Federalist Society in law school. I thought their 'originalism' was a joke—in fact, it's as easily dismissed intellectually as fundamentalism. But when Scalia managed to use originalism to read "well-regulated militias" out of the Second Amendment, I realized that their political agenda was taking root—however disingenuously. The Baptists ultimately split with the founding of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, a moderate group more inclined toward the Roger Williams Baptist ideal of moral but non-political engagement as opposed to the current SBC which is overtly political. The question is: will this Federalist constitutional originalism achieve a takeover of the political institutions of the country (e.g., the Supreme Court? we're nearly there) and cause good people (not radicals) to want to leave or break away? In my observation, we're not there yet.


  2. "Lost Americans": A national ballad of history and tragedy

    We came across the ocean
    fighting through the stormy waves
    We carved out our dominion
    And planted it with graves
    We built a mighty nation
    on the backs and blood of slaves
    And sang our praise unto the Lord
    for the blessings that He gave

    In a covered wagon
    rolling cross the endless plain
    the earth was dark with carcasses
    of the buffalo we’d slain
    We sent our soldiers out
    to make the Indians feel the pain
    And swore our souls were white as snow
    without a crimson stain

    We’re the lost Americans
    The lost Americans
    We came into a land that knew us not
    We made the world again
    With God and law and sin
    While others paid for everything we’ve got

    Every now and then
    A champion would arise
    to speak of truth and justice
    And tear the veil from people’s eyes
    But every single time
    they got a bullet in the head
    And lots of pious praise
    when they were safely dead

    Now we take the names
    of our conquered native foes
    we give em to our weapons
    as around the world we go
    Blasting anybody
    who might get in the way
    of the pure and holy goodness
    of God’s own USA

    We’re the lost Americans
    The lost Americans
    We came into a land that knew us not
    We made the world again
    With God and law and sin
    While others paid for everything we’ve got

    Words and music © 2020 by Chris Floyd