Dream as I was waking... layers of paper, torn at the edges, each layer smaller than the last, from white to black with an opening torn in the center open to the base... one line from a couplet of Blake's Auguries of Innocence as I woke:"When we see not Thro the Eye." I saw this fairly large, maybe 30x36'. This morning I made a small study of it. Wrote the line at the bottom. I think I want to do a series on Blake ...
Friday, November 30, 2012
Posted by Jacob Russell at 11/30/2012 03:51:00 PM
Sunday, November 25, 2012
Every sickness an awakening
where reading was taken for black
snails crossing the Adirondacks
flights over Hawk Mountain
your last lover perched on a rock in the rain
It is remembering the incapacity of remembering
the stone thrown over still waters
the heart skipping a beat
caught in a wave at the end of the
break when you realized every line
was infinite. every nerve
an encounter with death
every particle of dust
Posted by Jacob Russell at 11/25/2012 06:24:00 PM
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Some thoughts on the Ken Knabb piece linked below--which is the best damn thing I've read on the current horrors in Gaza... even though (or maybe because) it was written 55 years ago. I think we make a mistake naming the State that has made itself the instrument of colonization, as though the former were the actant and the later a kind of verb--what the actant does, when the process (capitalism, colonization... ) is itself as much actant as process. It's not as though the former creates and realizes the latter, so much as the other way around. These are the conditions that have become our masters, and to break from their control it's not sufficient to name the primary instruments that are the means of of their mastery. We don't need to create or posit an enemy, to demonize this group or that State, to recognize the horror of what they do, the injustice of the consequences is enough. If we are locked into a mental state where we must have victims and executioners, and assume that distinguishing the one from the other amounts to understanding the conditionis that create the injustice, we will never be free. To be--in Camus' phrase, neither victims nor executioners, we cannot invest our whole identity with either--our only hope lies is forging solidarity with that which is neither. This is the root of the failure of cycles of vengeance and retribution. This is not a MORAL failure, but a failure of vision, a failure of creative imagination... of making real a world--forging actual relationships that know no borders, that disavow the distinctions which perpetuate the conditions of injustice and violence, seeking out those, individuals and collectives, with whom we can lay the foundations of a new reality.
The Ken Knabb piece linked here i
To be--in Camus' phrase, neither victims nor executioners, we cannot invest our whole identity with either--our only hope lies is forging solidarity with that which is neither. This is the root of the failure of cycles of vengeance and retribution. This is not a moral failure, but a failure of vision, a failure of creative imagination... of making real a world--forging actual relationships that know no borders, that disavow the distinctions which perpetuate the conditions of injustice and violence, seeking out those, individuals and collectives, with whom we can lay the foundations of a new reality.
Posted by Jacob Russell at 11/21/2012 09:32:00 PM
When I was 7 it was still called Armistice Day. People wore poppies. Veterans of the Great War were, on average, in their 50's... younger than Vietnam vets now. Of all the useless bloody wars, this still stands out for the scale of its carnage and sheer lunacy. A war for market shares and arms makers and the perfection of patriotic agitprop & nothing else. Nothing. A massive blood letting with absolutely no reason or justification. To top it, there had to be a really real bad guy for the next round... Hitler obliged, and the Grand Illusion spread its pestilence of violence... but as always after plagues & wars, we humans fucked like crazy to replace the dead--perfecting our already magnificent capacity for self-delusion, lurching yet a little closer to the deepest dream of all--our collective death wish. It was at least appropriate that the poppies be red...
Posted by Jacob Russell at 11/21/2012 12:59:00 PM
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
I'm more and more inclined to think we're programmed to self-destruct, to commit collective suicide. Maybe we're picking up signals from all the other life forms on this planet--realizing how much better they'd be without us... we're on a mission, a collective death-drive. Almost did it once.. but then, backed off... maybe it was too obvious... i mean, the Cuban Missile Crisis. So now we have... global warming, where we can blame it on 'Nature" (whatever the fuck that is).. .and meanwhile, exhibit our symptoms ... like Israel in Gaza. "Warning signs" ... that no one wants to read, and if anyone does... no one has the number of the suicide hot line...
Posted by Jacob Russell at 11/20/2012 12:32:00 AM
Monday, November 19, 2012
History affords us nothing toward understanding the bloodletting in Gaza, or the larger conflict of which it’s a part.
And yet, we understand nothing about any of this without understanding history.
The first part is true because the antithetical interests, wishes, needs of the parties involved, the real suffering, deaths, lives, the terrible losses, the fears & ambitions real & imagined are of the here and now, creating the here & now of the future, immediate & remote, because if there’s any ‘history’ existing now—that’s the one, the one that belongs to the future.
The second part is true because the only way to get to the present is to get free of history—or rather, of the tangled, mutilated, psychotic pseudo-histories that pass as explanations, rationalizations, justifications—because, lets get this straight—history is not capable of explaining anything but…. history: what has already happened, done, achieved, been explained already a thousand times before. History can do only that: explain & re-explain itself, but it will not, cannot, explain us to ourselves, cannot explain who & what we are--& least of all, what we want. What we really desire. For that, we tell stories.
Stories we give the name of ‘history,’ call ‘history.’ But are not, history. they are stories—stories of how the Zionists colonized Palestine (named for a Roman colony), & drove the residents by FORCE from their homeland; stories of how the Jews of Europe, despairing of there ever being an end to the pogroms, persecution, humiliations inflicted on them by Christian Europe, came up with the idea that a dream of a place of their own might be real if only they would find the courage to FORCE it into reality; stories of how that dream became a nightmare of bloodletting & terror & dislocation & generation upon generation of refugee camps; stories of Jews who had lived for millennia across North Africa (since Spain kicked them out in 1492 as Columbus set sail on his mission to colonize the Americas), across what archaeologists felicitously called ‘The Fertile Crescent,’ (fertile creation of Empires conquests exiles and colonization), & were in turn driven from their homes, seeking refuge in Israel (becoming the most militantly anti-Arab class in their new homeland); stories of how the international anti-communist, capitalist class, with blessing and billions from the U.S, would use and exploit all of this to turn what had at least begun as a small socialist state into an American land based aircraft carrier in the Middle East & one of the most economically un-equal of all the developed nations—and that, not even counting the Arab & non-Jewish residents.
The stories go on. Sound & fury…
Nothing but fog & tear gas to cover the human reality, the mothers wailing for their children, the olive trees… my god, the olive trees! The living soul of the land itself—outliving generations, sustaining generations—bulldozing the olive orchards, building obscene walls, the buses exploding on busy streets, the real needs, wishes, aspirations of living people…
… of all those stories, that a careful understanding of history—history that cannot explain or justify or rationalize—but only struggle to point out what ‘is’.. .the helpless infant truth we would, if only we could, believe in… of all those stories, the one common element…
The FORCE that belies, that lies, that turns all it touches into ‘things’, the tool that turns the user into the very thing they most hate & fear.
FORCE—which weaves for us, stories in the shape of the wish that lies within us, the wish for Death… for collective suicide.
… and who, who will rise up to tell us … to begin to tell us… stories for Life? And who will have the power to overcome…
Posted by Jacob Russell at 11/19/2012 08:23:00 PM
Thursday, November 8, 2012
There's money... (think Trump... and much of what went into the Republican campaign)... and there's serious money. An imperfect parallel, maybe-- with "old money" and "nouveau rich" Like, you don't enter the 'Upper upper' with money alone" ... or didn't in the old days. Something, I think, has changed. There are so many (though only relatively speaking)... with big bucks, and not a fucking clue. And there are those who have both--money, & real-world smarts, who don't confuse the one for the other. If the Smart money had wanted Romney, he would have won, but there was a divide early on... that this clown...was a clown-- who only looked smart by comparison with the Uber Clown competition in the primaries. Obama they can live with. It was worth a one-time shot to let the clowns pull all the stops on the populist racist religious nuthatch shit... but WTF... they cut 23,000 voters in Florida .. .and still lost? Ok... wrong tactics. But we still own the world. And what we don't own now, Obama will get us a little closer.. not as close as we would have liked... but close enough. Soon... soon, it will all be ours.
Posted by Jacob Russell at 11/08/2012 10:35:00 PM
Tuesday, November 6, 2012
I've read Dorthea Lasky's BLACK LIFE. I heard her read from it. I read it again. And again. Every poem... it's the most awesome tribute to Sylvia Plath.. I mean, it should just fucking raise Sylvia from the dead... pull her head from that terrible oven, and I can see her saying... what the fuck? Why did I do that? Not that thiese poems are like Sylvia's poems. ... no. No, I don't mean that. I mean like... it's like... don't DO IT SYLVIA! THIS is what you gave us! See! Do you see what you gave us? What you made possible? And she would have no choice. She would read BLACK LIFE, and she would have to concede. "Yes. My life is fucked up..." she would say, " but Dottie... you convinced me... it was worth living. It was worth living. Thank you. Thank you Dottie... if I could do it, I would pull my head out of that oven. For you... and for my children of course... OMG, how could I have....
Posted by Jacob Russell at 11/06/2012 12:25:00 AM
Monday, November 5, 2012
While I can’t imagine that Christie hadn’t given some thought to 2016 when he endorsed Obama—running against an incumbent of the same party would be daunting, no matter how disastrous Romney’s presidency. He did manage to look more presidential than Romney, whatever was on his mind. But I see what may be a glimpse of something more significant, the more so, when you add Bloomberg to the mix. I think if big money really wanted Mitt, really believed in him, he would win… by hook or crook. For the last 4 years the smart money has been stirring the populist pot, counting on ignorance, the near impossibility of the general public getting enough serious information to counter the propaganda and bread & circuses, but the Xian fundies and troglodyte racists, and what they expect from their candidates, doesn’t represent the interests of corporate money anymore than it does their own. Obama is really a much better mesh. What I’m getting at—is I think Big Money has pulled the plug on Mitt. That’s what the rats abandoning ship really means. Give him enough for the Republicans to keep the party viable (Christie setting a new model—offering the appearance of something we’ve come to see as “presidential,” a leader for “all the people.” No matter what a lie that is.) Use the next four years to tamp down the populist lynch mobs they’ve been courting—dangerous for all concerned--and working more traditional modes to continue consolidating power, privatization, the draining of wealth from those who create it. This election, one way or another, has exhausted the crude nakedly predatory and racist efforts… and signals what will at least look like something more sophisticated… and for that, more dangerous for all but the very few.
Posted by Jacob Russell at 11/05/2012 09:06:00 PM
Thursday, November 1, 2012
My take on the Bloomberg, Christie endorsements. The real power, the big money, has been either actively courting and financing the Tea Bagger Xian Taliban populist movement—for their votes. They have no interest in sharing actual power with any real populist they can’t control. Coal and oil are big money. Lies, counter-propaganda, buying scientists willing to whore themselves, whatever it takes to delay the inevitable and keep the money teat flowing. Global warming (which they euphemize as ‘climate change,’ cause it’s easier to explain away the human contribution), has suddenly blown up in their faces. Time to pull the plug on at least this part of their pseudo-populist propaganda machine. They knew along. They’re not themselves ignorant.
Bloomberg and Obama? Think about it. Is this really something to cheer about? Yes, as far as it goes in addressing the reality of climate change. This is arguably the most important issue we face… I say, “issue” … what I mean is, ‘crisis’, global life-threatening crisis.
But Bloomberg? Obama?
Bloomberg—that dedicated enemy of dissent, of constitutionally protected free speech… and Obama… dedicated to the prosecution of whistle blowers, deportation, drone war murderer, defender of an endless war on ‘terror,’ denial of due process and indefinite detention… and most telling—willing servant of Bloomberg’s own financial elite?
Is this something we are to applaud? That we see a glimpse of reality through the screen… yes, for that. But look at that reality closely. We’ve learned to revile Bloomberg for his war on peaceful dissent, for his private army of uniformed thugs. And now? Now we see all the more clearly the false dived between Democratic and Republican parties… when reality forces their hands… they shake hands and stand together. And it’s not for us. It never was, and never will be.
Posted by Jacob Russell at 11/01/2012 06:30:00 PM