Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Death Struggle of the Oligarchs

Obama represents the last stand of what used to be the Republican party--the Rockefeller, old money wing--which, since the rise of Western new money, with the ideological support of neocons and cultivation of populist racism and religious social conservatives, have routed the old Republicans and driven them into the camp of the Democratic party where they constitute the heart of the DLC -- but having won the Republican party, they want nothing less than total political control. Obama both offers them a convenient scare-target to stir up racial fear, & infuriates them because he seemed to represent a strong counter offensive--NOT of liberal or progressive interests, but of the Old Money, Eastern oligarchy. This makes sense both of Obama's coddling of Wall Street, and Wall Street's support of him in this latest debt ceiling conflict.

NONE of this has anything to do with 'democracy,' no matter how loosely defined. It's a death struggle between the oligarchs--the people be damned. When austerity begins to cut even more deeply into what's left of the middle class & people begin to wake up to reality... there will be blood.  

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Conversation with A Poem Tree

I was untangling a ribbon that held a poem to the Poem Tree on Passyunk, feeling a little sad... when she asked me what I thought I was doing.

--Why, grooming you, Poem Tree! I said.

--But why, she said. & why are you wearing can tabs? And putting can tabs on me. Don't you know that I'm a tree & I dress myself in leaves?

--But you are dead, little Poem Tree, and your leaves are brown & brittle, though it's still summer, and you will never grow leaves again... and because it gives me pleasure, I said. Because it gives me pleasure

--Yes but, why? What is the Message? What does it MEAN?

--Isn't pleasure message enough?

--No, she said What else is it that you want, that makes you do this? Be honest! I'm not one of your kind--you can't lie to me. You can't hide what lies in your hidden heart. You know well enough how this makes you look.

--Like what? I said.

--Oh come on, you know perfectly well what I mean. You don't do this JUST for pleasure. Why do you want to look... I don't know, weird? (and this across the street from dozens of young multi-tatooed and pierced hipsters at Los Caballitos). So tell me now, what message do you think this gives to other people?

--I don't have any way of knowing that, do I? Until they stop & talk with me.

--But isn't there something you would WANT them to think? she said.Want them to know about you?

--Okay, I said... Okay... I give up! (thinking I'd make something up to make her happy) ...that they don't OWN me, how does that sound?

--Sounds good, she said. Go on.

-- & the bankers don't OWN me, & the people who tell others what to do & what NOT to do, THEY don't OWN me (& to tell the truth, I was beginning to feel better, saying this. Like something was there that had wanted out... ) & that NOBODY OWNS anyone ... or any Thing. That ALL the TOTALIZING systems--be they Capitalism or rigid Marxism or any religion whatsoever--are CHAINS of OWNING...

--Yes, she said. And what is it then that you want?

--I want to live like the things I find! I said ... Found Things lost, and Found but no longer OWNED. Growing old, you know... I feel like that myself...that I've been losing myself little by little, and I pick up can tabs & gifts people give me because what they see gives THEM pleasure, and little by little, diminished by age, as I grow smaller and weaker as by nature I must... that when I become nothing, and you & I have lost all our leaves & our limbs are naked & dry as bones... that there will be nothing lost... because I will be just another Found Thing... and Found Things cannot be lost...

& Poem Tree grew quiet, but for the soft rustling of the ribbons & poems dangling from her branches. & I thanked her, for helping me to better understand... as she always does. & she seemed happy too... cause she knows I love her. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Urban Garden

We are the gardeners of the world. From The Sanguine Root

Native wildflowers in the Sanguine Root vegetable garden, Viola street, East Parkside, Philadelphia. Photo: Sean Salomon,

Published Fiction

A story I wrote 13 years ago--long before I began making trash art myself. I was amazed when I went over to proofread, not having read it in years, how precient it was--projecting someting of myself I didn't know existed.    A kind of (not so) shaggy dog story on Long Story Short. Ezekiel Rising 

Peaceable Kingdom
Connotation Press

Transport a flash fiction tryptic

Godzilla's Eye
Laurel Review

Theology of Anorexia

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Statement for Poem to the End of My Days

This was required for a chapbook submission... they wanted something considerably longer, but for my own work, I'd rather the poetry explain itself.
Still... a useful exercise.
__Every poet worthy of the title writes but one poem in a lifetime. Not little framed verbal icons to inscribe in the margins of soon to be forgotten books, but a single tottering edifice of found things held precariously together with spit and sperm and shit and blood--inviting readers to enter, at the risk of contagion--an unholy order of life without rule or law, but that which it creates for itself… Found Things.
Each section or chapter in Poem to the  End of My Days is a single poem of multiple, thematically related chapters, or ‘rondos,’ a continuous muti-volume work. A rondos is a musical form of at least three iterations on a major theme in different keys, interspersed with subordinate themes and motifs—each ‘rondo’ of Poem to the End of my Days, itself a single poem in a larger one, consists of from nine to 29 Entries, each Entry on a single page.
As all time past is present the date of origin of any of the Entries is of no matter in determining the sequential order which is to say immaterial, & such significance as one may find by the assignment of any one occasion to a place on the calendar is paradoxically a-temporal as are all days of
commemorations of births & deaths --  the numbers assigned to these being entirely beside the point & without meaning outside the delusional waking dream we have come to accept as history.
I  use & reconfigure older poems & journal entries, though the great majority of the Entries are new. There is an underlying thread of biographical material going back to my earliest memories, interwoven with reflections on critical and aesthetic concerns, philosophical conceits, notes on historical events and items drawn from the daily news. The narrative structure alters from sequences of immediate experience, as in Found Things, to fragments of a memoir-in-progress. It’s my hope that I can maintain the drive and profluence of traditional narrative in a long poem, while avoiding the teleological assumptions and tendency to mythologize causal sequences that characterize them.

Gout, day 3

As disabler & instructor, pain doubly instructs--Wisdom... if she still exists, cannot but cripple even as she teaches.

Cherish your wounds

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Summer Depression

A wave of summer depression... a thing very different than the late winter variety (It would never occur to me in winter to call it a 'wave') ...which brings to mind again the thought that it isn't something in me, but as much around & over & under -- surroundings taken in & leaking out of this sealed skin-bag I call "my" body... a diffusion of the configuration of Self -- a kind of entropy where concentrations of Selfness & Worldness interact like blue and yellow dye separated in a jar will merge into a uniform green solution, as though a drop in the level of energy (the physical reality of depression) were no longer sufficient to maintain the distinction; if then what I'm registering is a dissolution of self in the world, it makes as much sense to say, the 'world' is depressed, as to say that I am.

Interesting that we generally don't think of physical pain--however unpleasent--as itself a malady (though I realize there are conditions where it would seem to be just that) -- but consequence of something else, a symptom, a signal that it is important to respond to and understand. Depression is like a great weight, being wrapped in lead--it's the profound malaise that make one 'disfunctional' in a state of deep depression... very like the way pain makes us unable to pay attention to anything else. But if we search only 'within' for generative seeds of depression we manage only to sink further into the malaise--when what we need is to be able to return to the world. attending, then, to that of the world we have taken in would be a more reasonable way to find our way out.

‎... even though, finding our way out into a productive interaction with a sick world may not make us happier, and may waken a far deeper saddness--but one that doesn't paralyze.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Dan Green does the Alphebet


A lucid appreciation (in all the senses of that word) of Silliman's project-- a take refreshingly outside the skirmish zone of the poetry wars. 

Goodbye & Goodnight, Cy Twombly

Cy Twombly

Friday, July 8, 2011

Obama's Failure: Our New Wilson

I think it's not so much that Obama himself is a stealth Republican (though he is by consequences of his actions) as that he has a truly naive belief in politics as usual, in a democratic process by compromise. This is, after all, his greatest skill; if one takes nothing else into consideration, the passage of the health care bill would be an extraordinary achievement--but there is no democracy when perhaps fewer than 15% participate in the process, and an even smaller minority control those who do. This is not because so few vote, but because the majority don't have the money to buy those elected, or to pay their way into positions where they can become servants of the powerful few.

Obama's failure is that he doesn't seem to see this, or refuses to acknowledge it, or thinks that he can compromise the oligarchy into surrendering their winning hand--as though he were playing poker and after a player showed his 4 aces, he thought he could talk him into giving 3 of them to the other players at the table.

In this, the president he's coming more & more to resemble, isn't Lincoln, but Wilson: a brilliant, well-intentioned man utterly blinded by a conviction of his own good will.

It's ALL propaganda

I had to turn off NPR this morning... can't listen to it anymore, no more than the rest of the 'mainstream' news. Their assumption of "no ideology' means they can offer no resistance to assimilation into that of the ruling elite--they 'report' but leave one hanging in space inside the hologram with no way to gain the perspective necessary to form sound judgements. No up or down, no compass--a vertiginous spiraling swirl of information the effect of which is to vitiates the very possibility of understanding from any other perspective.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

4th of July, 2011

Went to the fireworks... first time in years. Had to be more than a million people, Parkway jammed from Museum to Love Park.. .& that jammed too. I was there more for the crowd, the holiday scene -- fireworks are nice, but lost the thrill they had in childhood. Went alone. Felt like an island of calm in a tsunami… waves of people breaking over me to no effect. Twice fights broke out nearby. Cops by the dozen waded in but fighters gone into the crowd.

From far back where I was--few paid much attention to the fireworks. Young people on the prowl, clinging to their friends, each alone in search of their own erotic fantasy fulfilled. Wrapped in their dreams, not fireworks nor much of anything outside them caught their notice, let alone their attention. Easy to wrap myself in my aura & be invisible. An old guy--straw hat & lots a gold bling--hand on my shoulder.. "We old school!" he says. Small man, high cheekbones & prominent jaw—could have played Sammy Davis Jr in his last days. He talked.. .& talked. shook hands. shook hands again. "Gimme a hug," he says, & we hugged -- a moment's intimacy with someone I'd likely never meet or speak with—but for my own assemblage. Don't tell me Spirit Stick don't have power! “Marcellus,” he says is his name. "I'm 67 year old," he says. "70, I say. "No shit!... well, nothin lasts & every minutes a gift." "Amen to that, I say" ... & he, too, disappeared into the crowd.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

To what are we accountable?
 An earlier post I've been thinking about...