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.


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