September 29, 2006

bush government hides truth

Sean Scully, Niels, 2001

ask me now
-- by John Sinclair

for edward sanders

standing at the finish line
of the boston marathon
in the middle of april

when americans pay their taxes
under penalty of seizure
or imprisonment,

thinking about boston harbor
where the american patriots
dressed up like natives

& stormed the british ships
to throw overboard
the hated crates of tea—

on this patriots day
at the end of a long & difficult run
let us rededicate ourselves

to the freedom & justice
our ancestors intended
when they founded this nation

& fought here in boston
& throughout new england
for the freedom of our country

& the right
to govern ourselves
as best we can, for better

or for worse,
however imperfect
or misguided—oh

let these truths
be self-evident,
that we shall be free to worship

as we may see fit,
that there are many people
& they have many different gods,

that what may be fit for you
just might not work for me
but let us live in peace together

& let us share our riches
with those among us
who have none,

& let the future of our nation
be secured by the intelligence
& creativity,

by the compassion
& commitment of our citizens
to the future of humanity itself

& to all people everywhere
who toil with us
here on earth, to make a living

for ourselves & our families,
to enjoy the fruits
of our labors, & fully partake

in the pleasures of life,
& the pursuit of happiness,

in whatever forms
it may present to us
for our enrichment

while we exercise the freedoms
guaranteed by our constitution—
to be free from armed invaders

in the comfort of our homes,
free to say or believe in
anything we might want to,

free to meet & mingle
with our friends, whomsoever
they may be,

free to get as high
as we want to, & enjoy all the substances
our happiness may require,

free to dance & sing,
free to make love with
whomsoever we may please,

free to have children
or not have children
as we may see fit,

free to live outside ‘the dictates
of conventional society’
like true americans,

tolerant of the differences between us,

quick to accept,
slow to anger,
loath to harm or destroy—

so let the word go forth
from boston today: yes, let us re-
dedicate ourselves

to the freedom & justice
our ancestors intended
when they founded this great nation

Two Selections from Ed Sander's bio in verse of Allen Ginsberg:

The Record Plant Sessions

This led to some memorable recording sessions beginning on November 9, 1971 at the Record Plant in NYC

Dylan brought a pal from woodstock with him the singer/guitarist Happy Traum also in on the session were Jon Sholle, David Amram, Ginsberg, and a number of poets including Gregory Corso, the Russian bard Andrei Voznesensky, and others

The filmmaker Barbara Rubin was on hand
and I was there too
my book on the Manson group, the family, had just been published

I remember someone was playing on a milk crate with wires stretched across it like a psychedelic psaltery.

There was a second session on November 17 Allen improvised an early version of "CIA Dope Calypso"
with Dylan on guitar

There were other tunes, including "going to san diego,"
an anthem urging
everybody to go to san diego
and protest Richard Nixon
(after Kent State and the secret bombing of Cambodia) --san diego was at that time the site of the Republican Convention though later it was moved to Miami Beach

They also recorded Allen's "September on Jessore Road"
which he was just putting in final form
in these temporary moments
in the quick flow of the Seventies

Early 1982

At Jimi Hendrix Electric Ladyland studio
on 8th St. in the Village
the Clash were recording

Ginsberg spent a few days with them
helped them write three or four tunes
His suggestions they tested
on empty tracks
to gauge their floow

The bard loved the ambience of
successful rockers
and couldn't resist the urge to teach
bringing Gregory Corso's newest book for instance,
and the City Lights classic Clean Asshole Poems by
Petere Orlovsky.

The album was called Combat Rock
and the bard, not always so modest
did not ask for
publishing royalties on the
tunes he helped doctor.

* reminder The Foreign Press play Warehouse Nextdoor (7th and Mass., nw, wdc) Sunday @ 9:00.

September 28, 2006

I downshifted as I pulled into the driveway

Jessica Stockholder, Your Skin in this Weather Bourne Eye-Threads & Swollen Perfume

* Joe Allen asks where are the protests? excerpt:

"By every conceivable measure, the antiwar movement in the United States should be a vibrant, mass movement.

"Forty percent or less of the U.S. population gives the Bush administration a favorable job rating; other polls show that two-thirds of Americans think the Iraq war was a 'mistake;' and, most importantly, 80 percent of Iraqis want the U.S.-British occupation of their country to end.

"The increasing number of U.S. war dead and the inadequate treatment of injured and disabled veterans has infuriated many people in the U.S., while the exposure of torture and war crimes by U.S. military personnel has wiped away any 'moral superiority' the U.S. claimed over its former client Saddam Hussein.

"When one adds this list to the mounting social cost of paying for the war with increasing cuts in social welfare programs, one has to ask: why is our antiwar movement so passive?

"The reasons for this are many. The Democrats--the so-called 'opposition' party in the U.S.--have provided crucial support for the war and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. There's also the hold of liberalism--which from the time of FDR through Clinton has always supported an aggressive U.S. foreign policy--on the U.S. left. The low level of class struggle, despite the huge inequalities of U.S. society and workers' growing alienation from the political establishment, is another factor.

"Another crucial reason for the weakness of the antiwar movement is the political course chosen by United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ), the largest and most visible antiwar coalition in the U.S.
"What sense does it make for antiwar activists to support a party that worked to defeat one of tiny number of opponents of the Iraq War among its ranks?

"The antiwar movement in the United States needs to oppose the various phony 'exit strategies' put forward by the Democratic Party. Some are just election-year posturing to fool voters disgusted by Bush and Rumsfeld, while others--for example, Rep. John Murtha's "redeployment" plan--are schemes for continuing the war on Iraq from outside its borders, most likely by intensified bombing.

"The demand for the immediate withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq and Afghanistan is the only principled and practical position that the antiwar movement can take to end the misery brought to the region by the United States. Support for the Democratic Party is pulling antiwar organizations further from this principled position--and must be rejected."

-- related: Iraq war now costs approximately two billion per week.

* From a 2003 interview of robert stone. excerpt:

Interviewer: You aren't a believer in God, but you are certainly fascinated with the issues that religion(s) are concerned with.

Robert Stone: I am not a believer in God. I have been a believer in God. I am obsessed with the absence of God. I believe in that phrase from Pascal, that says—I can't remember where I used it—I think it's in Damascus Gate, where he reads somewhere in Pascal, 'Everything on Earth gives a sign of the divine presence. Everywhere we look there seems to be evidence of it. And it never yields itself to our discovery. And yet it seems to be everywhere.' Or as in the Kabalistic notions, it is as though God has separated himself forever and would have to be put together by gathering up all these items of light which is a virtually impossible task. That whatever that was, whether it was some kind of physical force, big burst, or blast we have seen the last of it, and yet it has conditioned the way we feel and what we want for all eternity. I think we go without it, we go with this longing and with this kind of half hallucination that we are seeing it out there. We want it to be there. There is almost a psychological space for it to be there, as Pascal was suggesting and yet as far as we can discover… I mean because I am finally a pragmatist when I come right down to it. I do admit that faith is not what you believe, it's not about believing in a body of doctrine. Faith is something else. Well, I don't have the body of doctrine. But I don't have the faith either. Which is an insistence that somehow that things are all right and as they should be. I don't have that.
Interviewer: Why did you become a writer?

Robert Stone: It was what I did best. I always wrote English best. I always got rewarded for what I had written. I plainly felt that this was one thing that I could do that—you know. Some guys had things that they could do that they did better than the other guys. This was what I did. And that was a way I could make my way through life one way or the other. I was in the Navy and I was a radio operator and got the chance to become what the Navy calls a journalist. And so I was a writer in one form or another ever since I was quite young. I worked in tabloids; I worked in writing advertising copy. Didn't much bother me to have to do that. I accepted it as…

* Billy Collins believes highlighters are tools of the devil.

September 27, 2006

In the Middle of the Bottle is
a Little of the Way You Talk

Lee Lozano, Lean, 1966.

Dear Reader
-- by Kim Addonizio

Tonight I am amazed by all the people making love
while I sit alone in my pajamas in a foreign country
with my dinner of cookies and vodka. And I am amazed
that my own country still exists, though I am not in it
to speak its language or break its drug laws. How astonishing

to realize that I am not the glass being shattered
on the street below, or the laughter that follows it;
I'm not even one of the congregation on my small TV,
getting the Lord's good news, though I can reach
the screen by leaning forward, and touch

the wavering line of each transfigured face. I tell you
I can't get over it sometimes, I still have trouble
believing that an egg deep inside my own body
went and turned into someone else, who right now
is on a tour boat on the river, having forgotten

how she used to hold on to my legs whenever I tried
to leave the room. Right now, somewhere I am not,
the history of the world is being decided,
and the terrible things I'd rather not think of
go on and on without stopping, while I separate

the two halves of another cookie and lick
the creem filling, and pour myself one more
and drink to you, dear reader, amazed
that you are somewhere in the world without me,
listening, trying to hold me in your hands.

Tempo Records
-- by David Hernandez

That record store huddled against the corner
of town held all the treasures a moody boy
ever wanted. Fifteen bucks in his pocket meant
a fifteen minute drive to Tempo, meant greeting
Sara behind the counter with Hey, and Sara

replying Hey, her hair dyed so black it turned
to blue felt by the window. Nowhere else
would he have found that Pavement EP,
those four songs he memorized like hymns.

Or the Grifters’ One Sock Missing, blasts
of static from Memphis, damaged melodies
the boy sang in his car, hummed in his room.
In the back, a black door closed and paint-
chipped, bright stickers slapped on haphazardly.

A black door and skinny Jay behind it,
rolling a joint. At the register the boy slid
the Spoon CD toward Sara, pulled out
the crumpled five and ten, two speakers

nailed to the walls of the store thumping
with the sound of Russell Simmons mugging
his drum kit. Sara’s eyes bloodshot
from who knows what and the boy’s
studying the crisscross of his shoelaces.

Sara wearing despair on her face like blush
and the boy wearing it like a jacket, shoulders
hunched from the weight of it. But the tunes
helped, guitars chainsawing the quiet helped.

And that was six winters ago. That boy
hung up that jacket. That record store emptied
for the Veterinary Clinic that took its place,
for the sick cats, the broken winged parrots,
all those howling dogs waiting for treatment.

-- by Adrienne Rich

Living in the earth-deposits of our history

Today a backhoe divulged out of a crumbling flank of earth
one bottle amber perfect a hundred-year-old
cure for fever or melancholy a tonic
for living on this earth in the winters of this climate.

Today I was reading about Marie Curie:
she must have known she suffered from radiation sickness
her body bombarded for years by the element
she had purified
It seems she denied to the end
the source of the cataracts on her eyes
the cracked and suppurating skin of her finger-ends
till she could no longer hold a test-tube or a pencil

She died a famous woman denying
her wounds
her wounds came from the same source as her power.

-- by John Tranter

Another fuckwit drops into the dustbin
of history, just as we're finishing our coffee.
Some of us are meant to burn out, is that
right? Like roman candles, across the night sky.

I want to go up like a tree, not a rocket.
I'd like to get drunk disgracefully
with a favorite neice, and grow old
among an amplitude of footnotes.

Pour me another Pernod, Famous Poet, and
tell me again about the doomstruck literati,
those dropouts immortalized in ink -- your
thirst, your secret greed, your mausoleum.

September 26, 2006

slept with your legs apart in the night

david smith, Waterfront Scene with Collaged Elements: Reclining Woman, Self-Portrait, 1932–35

* The Rude Pundit. excerpt:

"Yesterday's report that the still-classified National Intelligence Estimate, featuring the compiled investigations of all of America's intelligence-gathering operations, couldn't have been more clear: 'Islamic radicalism, rather than being in retreat, has metastasized and spread across the globe' and 'the Iraq war has made the overall terrorism problem worse.' That's according to anonymous government sources who have read the report. Now, unless this is some twisted Rovean disinformation (which, in this savage season, is always possible), it's pretty damned straightforward: the Bush administration's great and grand adventure in the Iraqi deserts and streets has made the world a more deadly place.

"Now we hear from the minister of evil himself, John Negroponte, that it's all in the context. Issuing a statement from his regal office in Hell, printed, surely, on the dried skin of Sunni torture victims, Negroponte hissed, 'The conclusions of the intelligence community are designed to be comprehensive and viewing them through the narrow prism of a fraction of judgments distorts the broad framework they create.' Get it? We're only seeing a tiny portion of what's in the mighty document. Affirms the White House, the articles are 'not representative of the complete document.'

"Of course, that begs the question: what the hell could be in the rest of the NIE that actually mitigates the finding that we're screwed harder than a twenty-buck-a-fuck hooker in an alley behind a Chicago bar after the Bears win? 'Cause, like, if all they got is that they killed Zarqawi and a couple of other "high-ranking" terrorists, that doesn't really make up for causing the jihadi movement to grow with all the rank speed of mold inside a flooded New Orleans home.

"One supposes the NIE could say that, well, shit, yeah, there's a massive expansion of Islamic fundamentalist nutzoids who wanna blow them some shit up, but, hey, in Afghanistan, the Taliban foot soldiers say that their women are letting them do anal on them more without narcing them out to the local authorities (Allah no likey the ass play). And if more ass-fucking is occurring, you know, we're well on our way to a more peaceful tomorrow. Either that or they've figured out that Jesus is gonna get pissed and finally intercede on America's behalf.

"See? It's goddamn sunshine and sweetness. Maybe we're thinking wrong about this. Maybe it ain't the content that Negroponte's talkin' about. Maybe if you saw the whole report, you'd see they made it all pretty, with hearts and smiley-faces dotting the i's, with rainbows and unicorns decorating the margins. Hell, you could write, 'We're all gonna fuckin' die tomorrow,' but if you print it up in purple on pink paper with a doily behind it and a Care Bear next to it, it's gonna make you feel so much better about your imminent demise.

"Can't they just be honest? Just for a few minutes? Can't they just say, 'Well, shit, you're right, so why don't we try to make this better?' No, instead, they'll say that Democrats are 'playing politics'" with classified information even as they take out their models of the Twin Towers, the ones with the plane parts pasted on the sides, and beat Democrats over the head with them."

* Major League Baseball's All-Star Cokeheads.

Outfield: Pedro Guerrero

"Ol' Pedey was a prolific slugger back in the '80's. He was also legally retarded (IQ of 70) and had more than a passing interest in coke. In 2000, Guerrero was acquitted of federal drug charges because his attorneys argued that he was so dumb it was impossible for him to understand the drug deal he was involved in with a friend. A few years later, Miami police would be called to the home of one O.J. Simpson after The Juice found his girlfriend going to town with Pedey and a bag of snow."

* "On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their hearts’ desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron." -- H.L. Mencken, Baltimore Sun, 1920

September 25, 2006

and the water looked like tarnished gold

dana ellyn, Dressed for Patriotism, Preoccupied by War, 2003

* Top ten conservative idiots. excerpt:

"And finally, this year marks the 10th anniversary of Fox News. To celebrate the occasion, Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney issued a proclamation last week 'declaring Sept. 19, 2006 Fox News Channel Day throughout the state,' according to TV Newser. Oh, you lucky... Massachusans? Massachussites? Never mind.

"So how is one supposed to celebrate Fox News Channel Day? Well, it's simple really.

"First, wake up at the crack of dawn and put on your Stars & Stripes sweatsuit. Eat a quick breakfast while watching Fox & Friends, then hop into your Hummer and head down to the local WalMart for a fresh supply of car flags. Spend the rest of the morning affixing said flags to your vehicle. Don't forget to 'pre-wear' the flags by rubbing them in a puddle of grease and ripping holes in them.

"At noon, have lunch (falafel with a side of freedom fries) while listening to The Radio Factor.

"In the afternoon, hold a fun Weapons Of Mass Destruction Hunt in your back yard. Your kids will play the part of U.N. Weapons Inspectors. Tell them that you've hidden "WMDs" full of candy in the back yard and send them out to track them down. Go inside and have a beer.

"After about an hour, your kids will probably come back and report that they've looked everywhere and can't find anything. Inform them that you're certain the 'WMDs' are there, and if they don't keep looking then the terrorists will have won all that delicious candy.

"After another hour or so of fruitless searching, your kids will be deeply distressed and probably crying. Tell them that you've always known the U.N. were wimps. If crying children bother you, a couple of OxyContin pills will take the edge off.

"The traditional evening meal on Fox News Channel Day is a huge turkey dinner prepared by your wife who has been slaving thanklessly in the kitchen all day, which is exactly where she should be. After dinner, make sure you don't offer to do the dishes, because that's her job. If she complains, 'Hannitize' her.

"If you don't have a woman handy to cook and clean for you, just get a plastic turkey with all the plastic trimmings and pretend it's real. If you want to feel more manly while admiring your plastic turkey, wear a jacket with 'Commander in Chief' written on the breast pocket.

"After dinner, head out into the neighborhood for a game of Trick or Threat. Put on a Bill O'Reilly mask, knock on your neighbors' doors, and when they appear ask, 'Trick or Threat?' If they reply, 'threat,' tell them that the Democrats are going to let Iran drop bombs full of bird flu down their chimneys. If they say 'trick,' punch them in the face.

"Alternatively, have a firework party in your back yard. While the fireworks are going off, tell your kids that this is what it'll be like when you send them off to join the military. Then laugh out loud and tell them you're just kidding. When the fireworks are over, burn an effigy of Alan Colmes on a bonfire made out Al Franken books.

"Finally, to end your perfect Fox News Channel Day, go to a bar and get shitfaced. Pick a fight with someone a lot smaller than you are and give them the gift of freedom by kicking their ass, before passing out in a pool of your own vomit and waking up the next morning in the local drunk tank. When your wife comes to pick you up, blame it all on Bill Clinton."

* FUPA. [via]

* Slideshow of Lucian Freud at work.

* "A good bad poem is a graceful monument to the obvious. It records in memorable form—for verse is a mnemonic device, among other things—some emotion which very nearly every human being can share." --George Orwell

September 22, 2006

I don't give two fucks about your review

catherine opie, untitled (ice house), 2001

The Trouble with Our State
-- by Father Daniel Berrigan

The trouble with our state
was not civil disobedience
which in any case was hesitant and rare

Civil disobedience was rare as kidney stone
No, rarer; it was disappearing like immigrants' disease

You've heard of a war on cancer?
There is no war like the plague of media
There is no war like routine
There is no war like 3 square meals
There is no war like a prevailing wind

It blows softly; whispers
don't rock the boat!
The sails obey, the ship of state rolls on
The trouble with out state
-- we learned it only afterward
when the dead resembled the living who resembled the dead
and civil virtue shone like paint on tin
and tin citizens and tin soldiers marched to the common whip

-- Our trouble
the trouble with our state
with our state of soul
our state of seige--

A Person Who Eats Meat
-- by Leonard Cohen

A person who eats meat
wants to get his teeth into something
A person who does not eat meat
wants to get his teeth into something else
If these thoughts interest you even for a moment
you are lost

The Drawer's Condition On November 28, 1961
-- by Leonard Cohen

Is there anything emptier
than the drawer where
you used to store your opium?
How like a black-eyed susan
blinded into ordinary daisy
is my pretty kitchen drawer!
How like an eggless basket!
How like a pool sans tortoise!
Ny hand has explored
my drawer like a rat
in an experiment of mazes.
Reader, I may safely say
there's not an emptier drawer
in all of Christendom!

For Madeline Gleason
-- by Ruth Weiss

"do your poems haunt you"
oh Maddie
is not the poem of our life
a haunt
drawing us
releasing & drawing us?
A stronger line each time
drawing us the artist
drawn & quartered
into seasons, elements...

September 21, 2006

deep in the back of my mind's an unrealized sound

sarah pickering, landmine, 2005

Clusterfuck Nation. excerpt:

"To find any news on the cable news networks these days is getting as hard as finding a pay telephone in an airport. This weekend I went to MSNBC three separate times to see if anything was going on in the world, only to find Matt Lauer interviewing Deborah LeFavre, the blonde babe Florida schoolteacher who got down-and-funky with a 14-year-old student. ('He wanted it; I gave it to him.') I guess the network execs could not resist running the segment nearly around the clock. If they could show porn instead, perhaps they would be even happier. Elsewhere around the cable menu, CNN-Headline has passed the baton to geeks like Glen Beck and Nancy Grace, who offer the equivalent of biting the heads off chickens, CNBC ran a seemingly endless loop of cops-in-cars-chasing-lowlife around (pick it) Florida, Las Vegas, or Phoenix, while over at regular-CNN Larry King was discoursing with Sean Penn on world politics (in lieu of someone who actually works in government or foreign policy).

"This is an interesting case of the diminishing returns of technology, the stealth disease that is corroding our economy and our culture. The concept is not as abstruse as it seems. It is related to Gresham's law of economics, which states that 'bad money drives out good.' If you have a society on a gold standard of circulating money, and you introduce silver as an acceptable medium of exchange, Gresham said, the gold will all disappear from circulation due to hoarding, until only silver is left in circulation. Likewise, there is a tendency with the layering of technologies to diminish the real value of whatever these technologies are applied to in our culture, like broadcast news -- the more cable channels, the worse we are informed."
"But here's one thing I wonder: what if the number one user of oil products in the US had laid in huge inventories of the stuff earlier in the year and has lately withdrawn from bidding in the futures and spot markets? I am speaking of the US Military. It would make sense, against the background of Iran rattling its nuclear capabilities, and the Israel / Hezbollah affair, that the US armed forces filled their tank farms to the max this summer and are now stepping back from bidding on any additional oil for the time being. This could be easily "managed" by the people who run this massive organization -- namely, the President, the Secretary of Defense, and the rest of the civilian authorities based in the executive branch of the government. They don't have to consult with congress on their oil purchases.

"I apologize for veering into conspiracy territory on this -- and I don't have a shred of evidence that this is happening. It's just a thought, a caprice, a 'wild hair,' a theory. Surely there is some enterprising graduate student or trust fund nerd on the peak oil web sites who might investigate this dark notion. Has the US military gone on an oil-buying vacation as we head toward the elections?"

* Have a mountain of old New Yorker's you need to read? Drunken Volcano makes your life easier, by distilling New Yorker stories into Haiku.

* Bukowski, walking, living through this.

* Mark Jenkins answers his own question: What albums have shaped the pop music that just about everyone has heard?. excerpt:

-- Black Sabbath, Black Sabbath (1970). It could be said that these doom-slingers simply took Led Zep's Satanism more seriously—and more slowly. But their early work is massively influential, and not just on all those death-metal clowns who mistook EC horror comics for theology (and who occasionally burn down a church or something)—although those guys are why this disc is on this list. It's also the seed of lots of interestingly abstracted art-metal being made these days from D.C. to Tokyo. This is one of the two albums on this list that's also on the Guardian's.

-- Green River, Come on Down (1985). The band that spawned grunge, not that grunge was anything more than metal in a Misfits T-shirt. But any group that could yield Mother Love Bone, Mudhoney, and Pearl Jam deserves to be on this list.

-- Billy Joel, Piano Man (1973). James Taylor with 88 keys instead of six strings? Yeah, basically, but Joel was a major force in pushing rock back toward the mainstream pop styles (and sentiments) that it rejected in the '60s. As such, he helped set the course that led to American Idol.

-- U2, War (1983). This oppressively well-meaning band may not be the same variety of scourge as, say, its devil-worshipping antithesis, Black Sabbath. But damned if every overweening post-'80s band that fails to emulate the Sabs doesn't sound like these blustering Celtic missionaries.

-- Van Halen, Van Halen (1978). Nothing new here, really, but this punk-era metal was sleeker than the bloozy early-'70s stuff, and presaged metal's '80s revival, from Metallica to all those hardcore bands whose lead guitarists got bored with just playing chords.

September 20, 2006

I dropped by to pick up a reason

Jim Lambie, Dawn Chorus, 2006

Last-Minute Message for a Time Capsule
-- By Philip Appleman

I have to tell you this, whoever you are:
that on one summer morning here, the ocean
pounded in on tumbledown breakers,
a south wind, bustling along the shore,
whipped the froth into little rainbows,
and a reckless gull swept down the beach
as if to fly were everything it needed.
I thought of your hovering saucers,
looking for clues, and I wanted to write this down,
so it wouldn't be lost forever --
that once upon a time we had
meadows here, and astonishing things,
swans and frogs and luna moths
and blue skies that could stagger your heart.
We could have had them still,
and welcomed you to earth, but
we also had the righteous ones
who worshipped the True Faith, and Holy War.
When you go home to your shining galaxy,
say that what you learned
from this dead and barren place is
to beware the righteous ones.

-- by Glen W. Cooper

Life is elsewhere wrote
Rimbaud, so she waits
for it to arrive like
it's a train rumbling
towards her from far
away, all the time coming
closer and closer, never
stopping to consider
that maybe the young
Frenchman had it all wrong
and that life was not
elsewhere but right here -
you just have to search
for it among the blood and
tears and broken bones
of your days.

The Suitor
-- by Jane Kenyon

We lie back to back. Curtains
lift and fall,
like the chest of someone sleeping.
Wind moves the leaves of the box elder;
they show their light undersides,
turning all at once
like a school of fish.
Suddenly I understand that I am happy.
For months this feeling
has been coming closer, stopping
for short visits, like a timid suitor.

Porch Swing in September
-- by Ted Kooser

The porch swing hangs fixed in a morning sun
that bleaches its gray slats, its flowered cushion
whose flowers have faded, like those of summer,
and a small brown spider has hung out her web
on a line between porch post and chain
so that no one may swing without breaking it.
She is saying it’s time that the swinging were done with,
time that the creaking and pinging and popping
that sang through the ceiling were past,
time now for the soft vibrations of moths,
the wasp tapping each board for an entrance,
the cool dewdrops to brush from her work
every morning, one world at a time.

September 19, 2006

The type of memories
that turn your bones to glass

Gerhard Richter, Flugzeug II (Airplane II), 1966

* Colin Powell on his opposition to the Bush detainee plan. excerpt:

"Former secretary of state Colin L. Powell said yesterday that he decided to publicly oppose the Bush administration's proposed rules for the treatment of terrorism suspects in part because the plan would add to growing doubts about whether the United States adheres to its own moral code.

"'If you just look at how we are perceived in the world and the kind of criticism we have taken over Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib and renditions,' Powell said in an interview, 'whether we believe it or not, people are now starting to question whether we're following our own high standards.'

"Powell, elaborating on a position first expressed last week in a letter to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), also argued that the administration's plan to 'clarify' U.S. obligations under the Geneva Conventions would set a precedent for other nations that would endanger U.S. troops.

"'Suppose North Korea or somebody else wants to redefine or 'clarify' Geneva Conventions provisions prohibiting 'outrages against personal dignity' and 'humiliating and degrading treatment' of prisoners, he said.

"Powell's opposition marks a rare public breach with the administration he left 20 months ago. As secretary of state, he repeatedly clashed privately with Vice President Cheney and others who had more hard-line foreign policy views. But since leaving office he has declined nearly all opportunities to publicly criticize even those policies he opposed internally."

"Powell has said he regrets that the Iraq invasion was launched on the basis of false intelligence about Saddam Hussein's weapons programs and Hussein's relationship with al-Qaeda, information that he vouched for in an address before a hostile United Nations. He has also said that he believes the administration should have sent more troops to invade Iraq and provided a better postwar plan."

--- Related: MUST SEE TV, by Keith Olbermann. If you haven't seen it, please take to time to do so, its very much worth your minutes.

* From Harper's Index, September 2006:

-- Average salary package last year among all full-time employees of Goldman Sachs, including support staff: $521,000

-- Salary of the White House's new Director for Lessons Learned: $106,641

-- Amount Alaska Zoo paid last year to build a treadmill for its 8,000-pound elephant: $150,000

-- Number of times the elephant has used the treadmill so far: 0

-- Percentage of tea drunk in America that is served iced: 85

-- Percentage of volunteers in a four year psychedelic-mushroom study who said they experienced 'strong or extreme fear': 31

-- Percentage who described the experience as 'among the five most meaningful' in their lives: 67

* Seattle Craigslist experiement. Two Seattle folks posted a 'casual encounters' ad on the Seattle area Craigslist to see what kind of responses they could get, and then made public the responses, as well as the pictures of the people who chose to respond. NSFW hilarity ensues.

* "Every great work of art has two faces, one toward its own time and one toward the future, toward eternity." -- Lester Bangs

September 18, 2006

I get a buzz from being cold and wet
The pleasure seems to balance out the pain

Diane Arbus, Albino sword swallower at a carnival, Md. 1970

* Top ten conservative idiots. excerpt:

"1. GOP Hypocrites

"Last week Our Great Leader interrupted prime-time programming on the fifth anniversary of 9/11 in order to send an important message to America. The message: I have no frickin' clue what I'm doing.

"Bush told the nation that 'America did not ask for this war, and every American wishes it were over.' Damn straight America did not ask for this war. The Bush administration wanted it and they did everything in their power to make sure they got it: they lied their butts off about weapons of mass destruction, they lied about Saddam Hussein's connections to al Qaeda, they lied about the ease with which the war would be won, and they lied about the cost.

"Oh, but wait - which war is he talking about again? The war in Iraq or the war on terror? Are they the same thing? Or not? It's really hard to tell when Bush keeps jumbling them together like soggy clothes in a spindryer.

"'Winning this war will require the determined efforts of a unified country,' said President Numbnuts, 'So we must put aside our differences and work together to meet the test that history has given us.'

"Put aside our differences... so how's that going? Well, Democrats had barely had a chance to open their mouths before House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-Naturally) heeded Bush's call for unity by announcing that, 'I listen to my Democrat friends, and I wonder if they're more interested in protecting terrorists than in protecting the American people.'

"Wow! Now that's what I call putting aside your differences. Hey John, why don't you take that 'unity' and cram it up your ass?

"Next up was Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Obviously) who said that any criticism of George W. Bush or his Iraq policies 'gives comfort to the enemy.' And 'If you embolden the enemy, you are hurting our cause.' So I guess when the Republicans talk about 'unity' it really means either we all unite behind Dubya's utter failure of a presidency, or the terrorists win. Sometimes I think it must be nice to live in the GOP's black-and-white fantasyland. So cozy and safe.

"Finally, it was left to Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Fecal Matter) to put the icing on the cake. 'If you listen to the Democratic leader,' he said, 'our lesson is: Let's put domestic politics ahead of the security of this country. That's the message.'

"Makes sense. I guess if the Democrats hadn't been wasting everybody's time with gay marriage, flag burning, Terri Schiavo, and the war on Christmas, the Republican-controlled Congress could have carried out the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission by now."

* David Neiwert on the useful enemy. excerpt:

"It's becoming increasingly clear, I think, why Osama bin Laden is still at large: Because George W. Bush needs him to be.

"It's not a pretty thought. But it's the only one that makes sense."

* "I have not written day after day because I desire the world to be covered with Greek statues and masterpieces. The man who has such a desire does exist in me. But I have written so much because I cannot keep from being drawn towards everyday life, towards those, whoever they may be, who are humiliated. They need to hope and, if all keep silent, they will be forever deprived of hope and we with them." --Camus

September 15, 2006

Friends come by and spend some hours

Cecily Brown, Maid's Day Off, 2005

Ruined Histories
-- by August Kleinzahler

You so love these photographs, too well perhaps,
and rush to frame the moment, press the shutter,
and get along with this dollhouse saga
you had rehearsed before it ever came to be.
Ah, Little Girl Destiny, it's sprung a leak
and the margins are bleeding themselves away.
You and I and the vase and stars won't stay still.
Wild, wild, wild--kudzu's choked the topiary.

Looks like your history is about to turn
random and brutal, much as an inch of soil or duchy.
Not at all that curious hybrid you had in mind:
Jane Austen, high-tech and a measure of Mom.

You're lost, desolate as Savannah after Sherman.
The lavender sachet, marbled storybooks,
the ring Grandma left you, poor Damien's love letters . . .
It's just your eyes, ass, me and a broken Nikon.

Holes and Stars
-- by Emma Lew

I just got my memory back.
Few loons and I would live
in a corner at the airport,
not for the sequence
but the agony we had to be in,
running off with the money
and faking our own deaths.
Will technology make me remote?
1 don't know where I am,
I never know what's going to happen.

Everything is quiet,
stunned yet animated,
evolving yet wilting.
If I want to read a newspaper,
I reach out for it with my hand.
Funny how you've taken my theory
and decided to call it your own.
They will be making snow tonight;
it will be beautiful and we can afford it.
Come quickly,
by yourself,
bring the negatives.

As Planned
-- by Frank O'Hara

After the first glass of vodka
you can accept just about anything
of life even your own mysteriousness
you think it is nice that a box
of matches is purple and brown and is called
La Petite and comes from Sweeden
for they are words you know and that
is all you know words not their feelings
of what they mean and you write because
you know them not because you understand them
because you don't you are stupid and lazy
and will never be great but you do
what you know because what else is there?

Joseph Cornell
-- by Frank O'Hara

Into a sweeping meticulously-
detailed disaster the violet
light pours. It's not a sky,
it's a room. And in the open
field a glass of absinthe is
fluttering its song of India.
Prarie winds circle mosques.

You are always a little too
young to understand. He is
bored with his sense of the
past, the artist. Out of the
prescient rock in his heart
he has spread a land without
flowers of near distances.

September 14, 2006

Bring a song and a smile for the banjo

Brion Gysin, I Give You/You Give Me, 1965, Ink on paper
Made during an LSD trip with John Giorno, May 28, 1965

* Dave Lindorff. excerpt:

"The New York Times, in lead article on Monday headlined (on the jump) 'Bush Mourns 9-11 at Ground Zero,' reported that a 'visibly moved' president laid a wreath Sunday at the memorial in the hole that is what's left of the World Trade Center, saying, 'Laura and I approach tomorrow with a heavy heart.'

"I'm sorry, but there's no way this disaster of a president, this serial trasher of the Constitution, this slaughterer of 100,000 innocent Iraqis, this waster of nearly 30,000 American lives (the dead and the maimed victims in uniform of his pointless invasion of Iraq), was mourning anything. My guess is that he thanks god every day of his sorry administration for the events of 9-11, which rescued his presidency from history's toilet.

"Remember, on September 10, 2001, George Bush was being widely written off as a failed president. His poll numbers were falling faster than Enron stock, he was becoming a national joke for the number of days he spent vacationing, and his political strategist, Karl Rove, was in a tizzy trying to figure out an angle to salvage things.
"Fortunately, this fake 'war on terror' that the president has wrapped himself up in, is starting to wear thin with the American public, as is his increasingly strained effort to link the fiasco in Iraq with that other fake war.

"That may explain the sincere look of serious reflection on the normally twisted cynical face of Vice President Dick Cheney during a moment of silence at a Monday ceremony at the Pentagon. The Vice President, who like Bush surely hasn't been genuinely mourning 9-11, may well have been brooding over the train wreck that this administration is becoming, in large part because of Cheney's own mad obsession with military adventurism and presidential power grabbing.

"Both he and Bush may even have been praying on Monday that the next anniversary of the 9-11 attacks doesn't see them both in the dock being impeached for their crimes."

* Patti Smith Rock's great survivor:

What does Smith think of today's soft-porn chic, embodied by the likes of Paris Hilton? 'It's not even femininity. We're being sold an image of how to exploit one's self to get attention. It's about redesigning the surface. I've been horrified by all these articles about Botox and plastic surgery as if it's a normal thing.'

"A friend recently showed her how digital retouching can take 20lbs off someone. 'This isn't some joke or unfortunate thing that happened to a newscaster in America. This happens continually. Young girls are getting anorexic because they don't look like people in magazines who often don't even look like that.'"
One senses that her life and music are full of ghosts. 'I keep my communication lines with the people I have lost.' But her political engagement is total. She opposed the war in Iraq and has just written a new song, 'Qana,' protesting against Israel's bombardment of south Lebanon.

"'We have gone backwards in terms of the anti-war movement, in terms of understanding there are no righteous wars. We've got to take note of how we are destroying our environment. Nature is the real woman scorned. We're going to see things that we've never dreamed of. America is still shaking in its boots because more than 2,000 people were killed in the World Trade Center. Well, this is a terrible thing, but over 40,000 Iraqi citizens have been killed since September 11 and 100,000 died in the tsunami.'

* "Music gazes at its listener with empty eyes, and the more deeply one immerses oneself in it, the more incomprehensible its ultimate purpose becomes, until one learns that the answer, if such is possible, does not lie in contemplation, but in interpretation. In other words, the only person who can solve the riddle of music is the one who plays it correctly, as something whole." -- Theodor Adorno, The Relationship of Philosophy and Music

September 13, 2006

the wind brought her scent overseas

Finished Housing, Lakewood, California, 1950 by
William A. Garnett, who died this week at age 89. rip.

Three poems by Jack Gilbert:

Seen From Above

In the end, Hannibal walked out of his city
saying the Romans wanted only him. Why should
his soldiers make love to their swords?
He walked out alone, a small figure in
the great field, his elephant dead at
the bottom of the Alps' crevasses. So might we
go to our Roman death in triumph. Our love
is of marble and large tawny roses,
in the endless harvests of our defeat.
We have slept with death all our lives.
It will grind out its graceless victory,
but we can limp in triumph over the cold
intervening sand.

Maybe Very Happy

After she died he was seized
by a great curiosity about what
it was like for her. Not that he
doubted how much she loved him.
But he knew there must have been
some things she had not liked.
So he went to her closest friend
and asked what she complained of.
"its all right," he had to keep
saying, "I really won't mind."
Until the friend finally gave in.
"She said sometimes you made a noise
drinking your tea if it was very hot."

Doing Poetry

Poem, you sonofabitch, it's bad enough
that I embarrass myself working so hard
to get it right even a little,
and that little grudging and awkward.
But it's afterwards I resent, when
the sweet sure should hold me like
a trout in the bright summer stream.
There should be at least briefly
access to your glamour and tenderness.
But there's always this same old
dissatisfactions instead.

September 12, 2006

Where do the dreams of babies go

walker evans, main street, saratoga springs, new york, 1931

* Clusterfuck Nation. excerpt:

"It was interesting to see the price of oil on the futures market plummet down into the mid $60 range last week. I take two conclusions from that. One is that the psychological stress of peak oil has increased the emotional dimension of the trade to a dangerous degree, i.e. driven the traders crazy. The intense wish to solve the energy problem has momentarily overcome the reality of it not being solved. The second is that the US economy may be in greater trouble than the news media realizes, especially the economic 'engines' of 'home' building, real estate sales, and the associated mortgage rackets, with their spin-offs in the financial markets. There may be a hell of a lot fewer 18-wheelers shlepping chipboard and sheetrock around the nation this fall, fewer family trips to the WalMart, fewer Di-tech Mortgage customers dredged out of the sub-prime muck, and fewer bundles of interest-only ARMS passed through to the hedge funds.

"Thus we would have a profile of exactly what oil geologist Colin Campbell and other peak oil opinion leaders have predicted: roller-coaster-style economic activity pegged to up-ratcheting oil prices, with increasingly deep economic troughs and ever higher oil price peaks. In short, massive economic instability.

"Meanwhile, in the deep background of all this looms Jihad. We will have to be resolute in the face of Jihad and much more adaptable at home. So far, on the home front we have done nothing but defend and rationalize a stupid mode of existence -- suburbia -- and an insane economy based on building more of it -- the housing bubble. We have no leadership in politics, business, science, news media, or education informing the public that we have to make other arrangements for daily life -- not ten years from now, but right away.

"Five years after 9/11/2001, the 'progressives' want to wish away Jihad and the 'conservatives' want to wish away the need to change daily life in America. Real political leadership, if it emerges at all, will have to come from some place off the normal political scale."

* Ess Eff correspondent Ruylopez reviews the San Fran show:

Off To The Land of $3 Club Soda Unbridled

"Handing my Silver Jews ticket to the woman at the door of San Francisco club Mezzanine felt like walking to the cage in a casino with a pocket full of chips. Living in San Francisco, I had hoped that there would be a West Coast leg for The Silver Jews. I gambled and won.

"At that point, I knew I would enjoy the show no matter what because I had waited so long for it. But, I saw plenty of immediate obstacles to the perfection I was hoping for but not believing in. Among these obstacles were the Matrix-like security guards, roaming the crowd with ridiculous secret service earpieces, eager to break someone’s head and ruin their night.

"The club atmosphere further seemed bad luck when Berman’s vocals could hardly be heard. After Dallas and Black and Brown Blues banged away, I resigned myself to appreciating the show for its mere existence, rather than its musical qualities. Thankfully, Berman and the audience were not going to be so resigned. He cried out 'More Me!' and the audience shouted abuse at the soundboard. Unlike the dead of Louisville, it improved.

"The band itself seemed to have experienced some misfortune between Portland and San Francisco. At the beginning of the set, they announced that every piece of gear was brand new, purportedly from Guitar Center. At one point, DCB queried the audience for an appropriate synonym to replace massive technical difficulties. The end result certainly justified the lineup of two guitars in addition to Berman, as he spent a good portion of the evening squatting near a monitor, attempting to get the right tuning on what appeared to the amateur eye as a new Telecaster.

"On the third song, Smith and Jones Forever, his voice suddenly broke through the instrumentation, and took its rightful place front and center. For the first time, I gripped my fist as neurotransmitters raced, and wanted to yell out at the top of my lungs, 'California Overboard!' I restrained myself, but had a big grin that hardly left the rest of the night.

"After the vocal mix was fixed, at least where I was at, each song began building towards a reverie of Silver Jews music that 10 or more years of repeat playing had prepared many in the room for. All elements came together when the chords to Trains Across The Sea begin to ring out (as others have noted). The lights became noticeable, in a good way, as they enhanced the best moments of each song. The riffs were slightly different than the albums, but retained the mood of the songs perfectly (most noticeably in Pretty Eyes).

"The encore came with two songs from the new album. Punks in the Beerlight is already a classic anthem to the initiated, and it seemed everyone knew the lyrics and knew the song was coming. Finally, in a move certain to pique the interests of Amoeba’s record buyers, DCB dedicated There is a Place to the defunct SF band Bomb. There was no better way to close the show than with a forward looking song that seems to promise no premature end to the brilliance of The Silver Jews.

Black and Brown Blues
Smith and Jones Forever
How Can I Love You If You Won’t Lie Down
Horseleg Swastikas
Random Rules
Animal Shapes
Time Will Break the World
I’m Getting Back into Getting Back Into You
Trains Across the Sea
Sometimes a Pony Gets Depressed
Slow Education
Inside The Golden Days Of Missing You
Pretty Eyes
Sleeping is the Only Love
New Orleans
Punks in the Beerlight
There is a Place

* "Writing is a form of personal freedom. It frees us from the mass identity we see in the making all around us. In the end, writers will write not to be outlaw heroes of some underculture but mainly to save themselves, to survive as individuals." --Don Delillo

September 11, 2006

when they turn on the chair
something's added to the air

Jim Franklin, Under Aires, 1972, Acrylic

* Malkmus joins the Joos for Smith & Jones (quality of video and audio not so great). Other MP3s (West S, Blue Arrangements), and a picture.

* Top ten conservative idiots. excerpt:

"4. ABC

"If you're reading this on Monday, then ABC is halfway through their five-hour 'Path to 9/11' crockudrama, despite numerous protests to drop the movie due to its fictionalization of the events leading up to September 11, 2001. Condemnation for 'The Path to 9/11' has been almost universal, from Bill Clinton and members of his administration, to newspaper editorials and reviews, to consultants, to members of the 9/11 Commission, to quite a few conservatives. Even Harvey Keitel thinks it's rubbish, and he's the star.

"ABC's response? Go screw yourselves.

"But let's back up a little. The controversy over 'The Path to 9/11' began when ABC mysteriously provided advance screeners to right-wing bloggers and commentators only. Rush Limbaugh got one, but Bill Clinton did not. And when Bill Clinton asked for a copy, he still didn't get one.

"When word leaked that the movie contained fictionalized scenes designed to make the Clinton administration look like buffoons while puffing up the Bush administration, the shit hit the fan. It's one thing to crank out a drama in order to cash in on 9/11 - hell, I wouldn't expect anything less from our tasteful media conglomerates - but it's quite another to essentially create a phony, five-hour-long, $40 million campaign commercial for the Republican party just months before an election.

"Things got worse when it was revealed that the writer of the movie, Cyrus Nowrasteh, is a conservative activist who has spoken on panels with titles like 'Rebels With a Cause: How Conservatives Can Lead Hollywood's Next Paradigm Shift,' has called Michael Moore 'a socialist weasel,' and recently gave an interview to David Horowitz's Front Page Magazine where he said that 'The 9/11 report details the Clinton's administration's response - or lack of response - to Al Qaeda and how this emboldened Bin Laden to keep attacking American interests.' (He also said that 'Syriana' is 'a recruiting film for suicide bombers.')

"Those who are interested in learning more about Clinton's "lack of response" to terrorism can read up on the subject here.

"Next, it was revealed that the director of the 'The Path to 9/11,' David L. Cunningham, is part of an evangelical Christian organization called 'The Film Institute,' whose goal is to place activists within the movie industry, 'not to give them jobs, but so that they can begin to impact and transform Hollywood from the inside out.'

"One can only imagine how quickly ABC would have pulled this movie if bloggers had discovered that it was written, produced and directed by liberal activists with an agenda. But apparently if the right-wing wants to create a flawed and fictional account of the events leading up to 9/11, then ABC will go to the mat for them.

"Faced with a firestorm of criticism, ABC tried to cover its ass by claiming that portions of 'The Path to 9/11' would be re-edited and rewritten, that disclaimers would be shown throughout the movie, and that they would stop advertising it as 'Based on the 9/11 Commission Report' and give a fuller description: 'The movie is not a documentary. For dramatic and narrative purposes, the movie contains fictionalized scenes, composite and representative characters and dialogue, as well as time compression.' They did all this while quietly assuring right-wing bloggers that people who had seen the original screeners would barely notice the edits.

"And for some reason they seem to have left out the fact that one of the sources they used for the movie, John Miller, is a Bush administration official. (He also happened to review the movie for National Review Online, and guess what? He liked it.)

"So there you have it. While ABC feeds Americans a line of bullshit about disclaimers and re-writes, they're flogging the movie overseas as the 'Official True Story" and "The story of exactly what happened.'

"Can we please now - finally - take the myth of the "liberal media" out into the woods and shoot it?"

* From an interview of Jenny Holzer. Holzer currently has a project at project at 7 World Trade Center. excerpt:

"We have his whole book in there, Here Is New York. That’s the cool thing about the electronics, the cool and hazardous thing: we can include a vast amount of material, but you could become lost in the Corbusier and the White. . . .

"I inhabit a small sphere. I am always thinking about rape, murder, and torture, although I’ve gradually come to believe that’s not the whole world. I was influenced by being around Larry and Klara, who don’t routinely seem to think about murder, torture, and treachery. When I first was working on the piece, I only could focus on September 11. Then I realized that there will be an official memorial for that, and so that perhaps my work should represent life in New York before, during, and after 9/11. I remembered my own pleasure in leaving Ohio and coming to New York, for example, and I’m not alone in liking that sort of a happy exit and arrival. And you’re right that the proximity of the artwork to the pit colors the text selections."

September 8, 2006

I got pulled by the pull of the tide

for the birds, by dronepop

Three poems by Anne Sexton:

The Firebombers

We are America.
We are the coffin fillers.
We are the grocers of death.
We pack them in crates like cauliflowers.

The bomb opens like a shoebox.
And the child?
The child is certainly not yawning.
And the woman?
The woman is bathing her heart.
It has been torn out of her
and as a last act
she is rinsing it off in the river.
This is the death market.

where are your credentials?


Be careful of words,
even the miraculous ones.
For the miraculous we do our best,
sometimes they swarm like insects
and leave not a sting but a kiss.
They can be as good as fingers.
They can be as trusty as the rock
you stick your bottom on.
But they can be both daisies and bruises.

Yet I am in love with words.
They are doves falling out of the ceiling.
They are six holy oranges sitting in my lap.
They are the trees, the legs of summer,
and the sun, its passionate face.

Yet often they fail me.
I have so much I want to say,
so many stories, images, proverbs, etc.
But the words aren't good enough,
the wrong ones kiss me.
Sometimes I fly like an eagle
but with the wings of a wren.

But I try to take care
and be gentle to them.
Words and eggs must be handled with care.
Once broken they are impossible
things to repair.

The Play

I am the only actor.
It is difficult for one woman
to act out a whole play.
The play is my life,
my solo act.
My running after the hands
and never catching up.
(The hands are out of sight -
that is, offstage.)
All I am doing onstage is running,
running to keep up,
but never making it.

Suddenly I stop running.
(This moves the plot along a bit.)
I give speeches, hundreds,
all prayers, all soliloquies.
I say absurd things like:
egss must not quarrel with stones
or, keep your broken arm inside your sleeve
or, I am standing upright
but my shadow is crooked.
And such and such.
Many boos. Many boos.

Despite that I go on to the last lines:
To be without God is to be a snake
who wants to swallow an elephant.
The curtain falls.
The audience rushes out.
It was a bad performance.
That's because I'm the only actor
and there are few humans whose lives
will make an interesting play.
Don't you agree?

September 7, 2006

Got a man of the people says keep hope alive

Sylvain Louis-Seize, Futile

* The Washington Post on 'The Path to 9-11,' which is scheduled to air on ABC next week. excerpt:

"Top officials of the Clinton administration have launched a preemptive strike against an ABC-TV 'docudrama,' slated to air Sunday and Monday, that they say includes made-up scenes depicting them as undermining attempts to kill Osama bin Laden.

"Former secretary of state Madeleine K. Albright called one scene involving her 'false and defamatory.' Former national security adviser Samuel R. 'Sandy' Berger said the film 'flagrantly misrepresents my personal actions.' And former White House aide Bruce R. Lindsey, who now heads the William J. Clinton Foundation, said: 'It is unconscionable to mislead the American public about one of the most horrendous tragedies our country has ever known.'

"ABC's entertainment division said the six-hour movie, 'The Path to 9/11,' will say in a disclaimer that it is a 'dramatization . . . not a documentary' and contains 'fictionalized scenes.' But the disclaimer also says the movie is based on the Sept. 11 commission's report, although that report contradicts several key scenes.

"Berger said in an interview that ABC is 'certainly trying to create the impression that this is realistic, but it's a fabrication.'"
"Clinton allies have complained that advance copies were sent to a number of conservative commentators, including Rush Limbaugh, but not to liberals. Limbaugh, saying that the screenwriter, Cyrus Nowrasteh, is a friend of his, told his radio audience that the film 'indicts the Clinton administration, Madeleine Albright, Sandy Berger. It is just devastating to the Clinton administration. It talks about how we had chances to capture bin Laden in specific detail.'

"ABC said copies of the film were sent to media organizations and commentators without regard to ideology, and that Democrats and Republicans were invited to a screening in Washington. At the screening, Richard Ben-Veniste, a Democratic member of the Sept. 11 commission, assailed the film as inaccurate."
"The assault on "The Path to 9/11" assumed the trappings of a campaign yesterday. Four senior House Democrats -- John Conyers Jr., Jane Harman, John D. Dingell and Louise M. Slaughter -- have written Iger to demand that the inaccuracies be corrected. Spurred by the Center for American Progress, which is headed by Clinton chief of staff John D. Podesta, 25,000 people have sent letters of protest to ABC."

-- related: Screenwriter says some of the scenes in 9/11 film were made up; indicates its no big deal. excerpt:

"In an interview yesterday with KRLA-AM in Los Angeles, Cyrus Nowrasteh, the mini-series’ screenwriter and one of its producers, said that moment had been improvised.

"'Sandy Berger did not slam down the phone,' Mr. Nowrasteh said. 'That is not in the report. That was not scripted. But you know when you’re making a movie, a lot of things happen on set that are unscripted. Accidents occur, spontaneous reactions of actors performing a role take place. It’s the job of the filmmaker to say, ‘You know, maybe we can use that.’

"The producers and writers of the movie have said the script was based not only on the commission report but also on two books — 'The Cell,' by the former ABC newsman John Miller and Michael Stone, and 'The Relentless Pursuit,' by Samuel M. Katz — as well as personal interviews. They also say the script was vetted by lawyers, terrorism experts and former Gov. Thomas H. Kean of New Jersey, the commission’s chairman, who is credited as a senior consultant to the mini-series."

* The "Million Little Pieces" settlement.

"James Frey and Random House have agreed on a settlement with disgruntled readers who sued them for fraud over 'A Million Little Pieces,' the best-selling non-fiction memoir that turned out to be, well, something less than a non-fiction memoir. Here’s the story from the New York Times.

"Neither Frey nor Random House will admit any wrongdoing, but readers who bought the book on or before Jan. 26 — the date on which they acknowledged making up a bunch of stuff — will be eligible for a full refund.

"In June, after readers across the country sued Frey and the publisher, the cases were consolidated in federal court in Manhattan. The pact reportedly caps Frey and Random House’s payouts at $2.35 million — which includes refunds, legal fees, and a donation to an unnamed charity.

"According to the Times story, it won’t be easy to claim a refund. Here are the three requirements, according to sources familiar with the negotiations:

-- Readers who bought a copy of the book on or before Jan. 26 must submit proof of purchase (e.g., a dated receipt).

-- Hardcover buyers ($23.95) must submit page 163 (chosen at random); Paperback buyers ($14.95) must send in the front cover of the book; Audio book purchasers ($34.95) buyers will have to send in a piece of the packaging; E-book purchasers ($9.95) must send in some proof of purchase.

"They will also have to submit a sworn statement that they would not have bought the book if they knew that certain facts had been altered."

* Check out the DC band Kittyhawk.

September 6, 2006

to all the people underground

William Christenberry, Processing, Memphis, Tennesse, 1966

Gimmie Shelter
-- by Bill Knott

The thread or the theme
That holds this tune
Together is the same
One that rips it open--

The initial guitar
Continues splitting
The whole thing apart--
It is the lightning

Which Jagger complains
Of and which he seeks
Shelter from the rains
Of when it breaks--

We ourselves will shut
Our deepest sills against
His common cries but
There is no defense

To keep out that other
One behind him twinned
His starker brother
Whose keening strings skein

Hymns from one more
Murderous composer
Whose cause is war
Who tears down our door--

Shelter/the home
Is made of language--
But music sunders the poem--
Its rift is like a tongue

Trying to compile all
Words into one word--
One Babel whose walls
Fall beneath its standard--

What the fuck did that flag
Say--the opposite
Of peace/of the page
Is what I must write.

Working Stiff Cylinder
-- by Denise Duhamel

I went to the main office to get the official code.
A secretary said to get the code I needed a company I.D.

I went to the personnel office to get a company I.D.
A secretary said to get an I.D. I needed to fill out Form F.

I went to pick up Form F in the basement.
A secretary said, 'To get Form F, you need Form P signed by the boss.'

I went to the boss’s office on the top floor.
The boss said that I’d have to have Form P notarized before she could sign it.

I went to the notary in the company’s lobby.
He said, 'I can’t notarize Form P until you get all the Xerox copies.'

The Xerox machine was broken, so I called the 800 number.
A technician refused to come, because I didn’t know the official code.

Saturday Night
-- by Mark Yakich

Based on a Hal Hartley movie, yes. Based on an Amish love of Parker Posey, yes. Based on a crime scene photo, no. Based on a real crime, maybe. Based on two rats which I found fornicating in the crawl space while I went looking for the escaped stray cat and which I was planning on beating to death with a baseball bat, no. Based on the fact that unspeakable actions are our epics: it's still too early to tell. The rate of incarceration is phenomenal; the domination of sentences likewise. In the movies nobody cries like Sean Penn.

September 5, 2006

the absured courts the vulgar

Emory Douglas, published on the back page of the Black Panther, February 2, 1969

In the late '60s, Emory Douglas—minister of culture in the Black Panther Party and graphic designer of the Black Panther newspaper—began to print drawings of pigs with the badge numbers of certain corrupt cops. He later dressed the swine in full uniforms and stood them up on their back hooves. Douglas claims that these images spawned the "pig" epithet, which eventually led to the police force's attempt to reappropriate the name as a self-congratulatory acronym: PIG (Pride, Integrity, Guts).

* Top ten conservative idiots. excerpt:

10. Robert Starcevich

"And finally, I'm sure most people are by now familiar with the work of the Freeway Blogger. For several years he has been placing large signs adjacent to highways and byways nationwide, displaying political messages such as 'The war is a lie' and 'Quagmire accomplished.' The Freeway Blogger provides a How-To for other aspiring freeway bloggers, takes care to stress safety when placing signs, and discusses the legality of his actions on his website. He suggests that you 'call your local department of transportation to find out more.'

"One thing that the Freeway Blogger does not do is permanently damage any structures. His signs are easily removable and cannot be considered vandalism. Unfortunately this part of the equation has apparently been lost on Robert Starcevich of Askov, MN.

"72-year-old Starcevich was recently arrested and charged with felony criminal damage after allegedly painting 'crude grafitti' all over highway bridges and roads in Pine County, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. The messages are almost as clever as the Freeway Blogger's. For example, there's 'GEORGE W.' That's a good one. Then there's 'SUPPORT R TROOPS' with the S's painted backwards. And my personal favorite, 'ABORT DUMA-CRAPS.'

"Repairs are estimated to cost $10,000. If convicted, Starcevich faces 'up to five years in prison, a $10,000 fine, or both.' And when the Star-Tribune called him to ask about his activities, he explained that 'Liberals are the anals of America.' I'm not kidding."

* Buzzsawblog has Bobby Bare's first video available for viewing. [The Kris Kristofferson song linked from the main page is worth a listen as well.]

* "Say what you will about the Ten Commandments, you will always come back to the pleasant fact that there are only ten of them." -- H.L. Mencken

* "I was raised an atheist. Every Sunday, we went nowhere. We prayed for nothing. And all our prayers were answered." -- Heidi Joyce

September 1, 2006

the water looks like jewelry
when it's coming out the spout

Ernst Fuchs, 1955. This photograph of a painted figure wearing a felt headdress was one of the artist’s early attempts at approximating a peyote experience.

Cosmopolitan Greetings
-- by Allen Ginsberg

Stand up against governments, against God.
Stay irresponsible.
Say only what we know & imagine.
Absolutes are Coercion.
Change is absolute.
Ordinary mind includes eternal perceptions.
Observe what’s vivid.
Notice what you notice.
Catch yourself thinking.
Vividness is self-selecting.
If we don’t show anyone, we’re free to write anything.
Remember the future.
Freedom costs little in the U.S.
Asvise only myself.
Don’t drink yourself to death.
Two molecules clanking us against each other require an observer to become
scientific data.
The measuring instrument determines the appearance of the phenomenal
world (after Einstein).
The universe is subjective..
Walt Whitman celebrated Person.
We are observer, measuring instrument, eye, subject, Person.
Universe is Person.
Inside skull is vast as outside skull.
What’s in between thoughts?
Mind is outer space.
What do we say to ourselves in bed at night, making no sound?
“First thought, best thought.”
Mind is shapely, Art is shapely.
Maximum information, minimum number of syllables.
Syntax condensed, sound is solid.
Intense fragments of spoken idiom, best.
Move with rhythm, roll with vowels.
Consonants around vowels make sense.
Savour vowels, appreciate consonants.
Subject is known by what she sees.
Others can measure their vision by what we see.
Candour ends paranoia.

Those Two
-- by Allen Ginsberg

That tree said
I don't like that white car under me,
it smells gasoline

That other tree next to it said
O you're always complaining
you're a neurotic
you can see by the way you're bent over.

July 6, 1981, 8 p.m.

Feb. 29, 1958
-- by Allen Ginsberg

Last nite I dreamed of T.S. Eliot
welcoming me to the land of dream
Sofas couches fog in England
Tea in his digs Chelsea rainbows
curtains on his windows, fog seeping in
the chimney but a nice warm house
and an incredibly sweet hooknosed
Eliot he loved me, put me up,
gave me a couch to sleep on,
conversed kindly, took me serious
asked my opinion on Mayakovsky
I read him Corso Creeley Kerouac
advised Burroughs Olson Huncke
the bearded lady in the Zoo, the
intelligent puma in Mexico City
6 chorus boys from Zanzibar
who chanted in wornout polygot
Swahili, and the rippling rythyms
of Ma Rainey and Vachel Lindsay.
On the Isle of the Queen
we had a long evening's conversation
Then he tucked me in my long
red underwear under a silken
blanket by the fire on the sofa
gave me English Hottie
and went off sadly to his bed,
Saying ah Ginsberg I am glad
to have met a fine young man like you.
At last, I woke ashamed of myself.
Is he that good and kind? Am I that great?
What's my motive dreaming his
manna? What English Department
would that impress? What failure
to be perfect prophet's made up here?
I dream of my kindness to T.S. Eliot
wanting to be a historical poet
and share in his finance of Imagery-
overambitious dream of eccentric boy.
God forbid my evil dreams come true.
Last nite I dreamed of Allen Ginsberg.
T.S. Eliot would've been ashamed of me.