April 27, 2007

Take in one symphony now, we've just begun to battle

photographer unknown, st. tropez, 1978

Home at 3am After DJing the Late Shift
-- by Christine Potter

All the lights are on. The kitchen's empty
as someone who's lost her train of thought
but is still speaking. I've been speaking for hours
on the radio, spinning music, which
is somewhat like work in a kitchen: hang
the station identification on the top of each hour
like a clean pot that fits neatly
in the rack overhead. On the drive home,

every traffic light was green and I was so tired
I almost forgot what that meant, how lucky it was,
all those wordless permissions to pass. I almost forgot
I was no longer speaking, but rolling through
what was left of the night. If someone were awake,
I thought, he might hear me, the smooth rush
of my tires one long exhalation.

Much of what we hear we don't mean to.
Like tonight, before I came in, dozens of bats
whirled through the cedars near our door.
A few, round-bellied, dove past lit windows,
but I heard many wings and an impossible density
of chirping as they followed their echoes
to the open, black sky. And looked up at the late stars,
unable to count all the songs.


Puma In Chapultepec Zoo
-- by Gregory Corso

Long smooth slow swift soft cat
What score, whose choreography did you dance to
when they pulled the final curtain down?

Can such ponderous grace remain
here, all alone, on this 9×10 stage?

Will they give you another chance
perhaps to dance the Sierras?

How sad you seem; looking at you
I think of Ulanova
locked in some small furnished room
in New York, on East 17th Street
in the Puerto Rican section.

Two of Three Wishes
-- by Carl Dennis

Suppose Oedipus never discovers his ignorance
And remains king to the end,
Proud as he walks the streets of Thebes
To think of himself as his city’s savior,
The fortunate husband of Queen Jocasta.
The blessed father of two dutiful daughters.
Would we call him happy, a man so unknowing?
If we did, we’d have to admit that happiness
Isn’t all we ask for. We want some truth as well,
Whatever that means. We want our notions,
However beautiful and coherent,
Linked to something beyond themselves.
First, I want to dream I am in your thoughts.
Then I want that dream to be a picture
Faithful in flesh and spirit to what is the case.
First I imagine your heart as a city like Thebes
With me as the park you prefer to visit
Then with my open eyes I want to see you
Resting again and again on one of the benches,
Gathering strength for the messenger
Who may be nearing the outskirts now
Wondering if you’ll know how to take the news.

Complaint and Petition
-- by Hayden Carruth, 1/28/03

Mr. President: On a clear cold
morning I address you from a remote
margin of your dominion in plain-
style Yankee quatrains because

I don’t know your exalted language
of power. I’m thankful for that. This
is a complaint and petition, sent
to you in the long-held right I claim

As a citizen. To recapitulate your
wrong-doings is unnecessary; the topic
is large and prominent and already
occupies the attention of historians

and political scholars, whose findings
will in the near future expose your
incontinent and maniacal ambition
for all to see. Let it suffice to

say that you have warped the law and
flouted the will and wisdom of the
people as no other has before you.
You have behaved precisely as a tin-pot

tyrant in any benighted, inglorious
corner of the earth. And now you are
deviously and corruptly manipulating
events in order to create war.

Let us speak plainly. You wish to
murder millions, as you yourself
have said, to appease your fury. We
oppose such an agenda—we, the people,

artists, artisans, builders, makers,
honest American men and women,
especially the poets, for whom I dare
to speak. We say, desist, resign,

hide yourself in your own shame,
lest otherwise the evil you have
loosed will destroy everything
and love will quit the world.

- back Tuesday

April 26, 2007

But for now we are young
Let us lay in the sun
And count every beautiful thing we can see

E. McKnight Kauffer, Woods, 1938

* George McGovern on Cheney etc. Make sure to read the whole thing. excerpt:

"Cheney charged that today's Democrats don't appreciate the terrorist danger when they move to end U.S. involvement in the Iraq war. The fact is that Bush and Cheney misled the public when they implied that Iraq was involved in the terrorist attacks of 9/11. Iraq had nothing to do with the attacks. That was the work of Osama bin Laden and his Al Qaeda team. Cheney and Bush blew the effort to trap Bin Laden in Afghanistan by their sluggish and inept response after the 9/11 attacks.

"They then foolishly sent U.S. forces into Iraq against the advice and experience of such knowledgeable men as former President George H.W. Bush, his secretary of State, James A. Baker III, and his national security advisor, Brent Scowcroft.

"Just as the Bush administration mistakenly asserted Iraq's involvement in the 9/11 attacks, it also falsely contended that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. When former Ambassador Joseph Wilson exploded the myth that Iraq attempted to obtain nuclear materials from Niger, Cheney's top aide and other Bush officials leaked to the media that Wilson's wife was a CIA agent (knowingly revealing the identity of a covert agent is illegal).

"In attacking my positions in 1972 as representative of 'that old party of the early 1970s,' Cheney seems oblivious to the realities of that time. Does he remember that the Democratic Party, with me in the lead, reformed the presidential nomination process to ensure that women, young people and minorities would be represented fairly? The so-called McGovern reform rules are still in effect and, indeed, have been largely copied by the Republicans.

"The Democrats' 1972 platform was also in the forefront in pushing for affordable healthcare, full employment with better wages, a stronger environmental and energy effort, support for education at every level and a foreign policy with less confrontation and belligerence and more cooperation and conciliation."
"It is my firm belief that the Cheney-Bush team has committed offenses that are worse than those that drove Nixon, Vice President Spiro Agnew and Atty. Gen. John Mitchell from office after 1972. Indeed, as their repeated violations of the Constitution and federal statutes, as well as their repudiation of international law, come under increased consideration, I expect to see Cheney and Bush forced to resign their offices before 2008 is over.

"Aside from a growing list of impeachable offenses, the vice president has demonstrated his ignorance of foreign policy by attacking House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for visiting Syria. Apparently he thinks it is wrong to visit important Middle East states that sometimes disagree with us. Isn't it generally agreed that Nixon's greatest achievement was talking to the Chinese Communist leaders, which opened the door to that nation? And wasn't President Reagan's greatest achievement talking with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev until the two men worked out an end to the Cold War? Does Cheney believe that it's better to go to war rather than talk with countries with which we have differences?

"We, of course, already know that when Cheney endorses a war, he exempts himself from participation. On second thought, maybe it's wise to keep Cheney off the battlefield — he might end up shooting his comrades rather than the enemy.

"On a more serious note, instead of listening to the foolishness of the neoconservative ideologues, the Cheney-Bush team might better heed the words of a real conservative, Edmund Burke: 'A conscientious man would be cautious how he dealt in blood.'"

* Two songs by the VU-inspired Cleveland band Mirrors, precursor to Rockets From the Tomb and Pere Ubu:

-- She Smiled Wild

-- Frustration

* Things found in Used Books:

In a copy of Pushkin's Eugene Onegin I purchased at the wonderful though now-defunct Vassar Book Sale, was the following correspondence between Bob Bernard and Mary Knell.

The note from Bob to Mary, written in pencil on the inner flap of the book, and dated July 12, 1971 reads:

"To Mary,

Our relationship began and ended with Pushkin. May his thought provide the foundation for a different and higher level of rebirth.

Bob ("The Babbling Idiot" or as Russell calls me "The Last Remaining Chaucerian Character") Bernard."

In an undated note, written in pen on 5x7 watermarked paper, Mary replied:


Here are the things you sent -- I fail to understand why you sent them -- as far as I'm concerned I can see no future in any kind of a relationship between us -- I have no desire whatsoever to see, talk, or receive any materials through the mail from you. Although I appreciate the trouble you went to in regards to the thorazine, I never wanted any drugs from you in the first place.

We're two different kinds of people Bob -- so rather than launch into a tirade (which would be painful for both) concerning your self-importance, etc. I would rather leave things as they are.

I want nothing from you and I can't imagine what you could possibly want from me.

Mary Knell"

What have you found in used books?
[repost from 2003]

April 25, 2007

As the music swells somehow stronger from adversity
Our hero finds his inner peace

Brian Jones reading Teenbeat, photographer and date unknown

-- by Eileen Myles

All the doors in my home are open.
There's a pulse outside I want to hear.

The phone's unplugged.
The pastiche of you on me would be unforgivable now.

If there's a god squirming around
she sees me & is me.
I wish the birds were souls, invisible.
I wish they were what I think they are; pure sound.

Snow Globe
by Kim Addonizio

It’s winter in the tiny motel.
The man and woman lie down
naked and freezing. A blizzard

streaming on the television,
gloss of ice on the windows,
the bourbon a bottle of fire.

After love she licks
his cold sweat, trying to seal
herself into him.

Smoke from their cigarettes
rising, disappearing as they sink
into sleep. If I shake them

awake now they’ll tumble
from the white bed,
ashes swirling and searing

their skin. Already
my hands, numb from holding them,
begin their painful prickling.

Already I’m remembering
his breath on my face, hot
as an animal’s, his insistent tongue.

Better to let them
lie there, then. To let the chill
of the deep drifts bury them.

Made In Holland
-- by James Tate

Pigtails fiddles with my riverbed,
she shoots some plutonium up my harpsicord.
I am here in Holland up a nut tree.
I walk the shopping mall in my pajamas.
My cologne seems to intoxicate everyone.
Deluded cattle walk out of the barbershop
saying things like "Nice pajamas," and
"Didn't I see you at the golf club last week?"
"Alms," I say, "Alms for The Sacred Rifles.
Alms for The Pampered Daughters of the Dragonfly."
Papa's up a nut tree in Holland, Pigtails
reposes over the fretwork of his dominion.
I am tethered to some daft subterfuge.
A doorbell rings, but there is no door.
Chuckle. A buzz, a bundle arrives:
someone in clogs is bringing it toward me.
It is my fever they want. I reach for the mop
and fall, fall quaintly against fluffy sashes,
and I fall on Pigtails, prod her
bereaved haven, skim the blemish of her starch.
And that is why I am in Holland.
That must be why, tulip.

-- by Christina Pugh

And then your own page,
loaned in prefatory light:
the print dissolves
into corners, letters
loosened at the borders—

and you read as the aviator
reads, tracing the sleeve
of the Chesapeake,
wandering a blaze
over Broadway at night:

you the prime mover,
who’d dipped in the foam
circling your ankles
and washed, and wrote
it all as if on water:

miles above a dust basin
deep in the continent’s
plexus, you felt
a bitter stream scar,
trickle on the land.

--- the template was changed in order to get archives (and comments) back. At some point I plan to return the blog to original format.

April 24, 2007

How do say good night to
An answering machine?

Benjamin Jones, Isolating, 2003, Mixed media

* Office of Special Council has Karl Rove in its sights. excerpt:

"The Office of Special Counsel is preparing to jump into one of the most sensitive and potentially explosive issues in Washington, launching a broad investigation into key elements of the White House political operations that for more than six years have been headed by chief strategist Karl Rove.

"The new investigation, which will examine the firing of at least one U.S. attorney, missing White House e-mails, and White House efforts to keep presidential appointees attuned to Republican political priorities, could create a substantial new problem for the Bush White House.

"First, the inquiry comes from inside the administration, not from Democrats in Congress. Second, unlike the splintered inquiries being pressed on Capitol Hill, it is expected to be a unified investigation covering many facets of the political operation in which Rove played a leading part.

"'We will take the evidence where it leads us,' Scott J. Bloch, head of the Office of Special Counsel and a presidential appointee, said in an interview Monday. 'We will not leave any stone unturned.'"
"The decision by Bloch's office is the latest evidence that Rove's once-vaunted operations inside the government, which helped the GOP hold the White House and Congress for six years, now threaten to mire the administration in investigations.

"The question of improper political influence over government decision-making is at the heart of the controversy over the firing of U.S. attorneys and the ongoing congressional investigation of the special e-mail system installed in the White House and other government offices by the Republican National Committee.

"All administrations are political, but this White House has systematically brought electoral concerns to Cabinet agencies in a way unseen previously.

"For example, Rove and his top aides met each year with presidential appointees throughout the government, using PowerPoint presentations to review polling data and describe high-priority congressional and other campaigns around the country."

* Bukowski video: dinosauria, we.

* From a Paris Review interview of Hunter S. Thompson:

Interviewer: Almost without exception writers we’ve interviewed over the years admit they cannot write under the influence of booze or drugs—or at the least what they’ve done has to be rewritten in the cool of the day. What’s your comment about this?

HST: They lie. Or maybe you’ve been interviewing a very narrow spectrum of writers. It’s like saying, 'Almost without exception women we’ve interviewed over the years swear that they never indulge in sodomy'—without saying that you did all your interviews in a nunnery. Did you interview Coleridge? Did you interview Poe? Or Scott Fitzgerald? Or Mark Twain? Or Fred Exley? Did Faulkner tell you that what he was drinking all the time was really iced tea, not whiskey? Please. Who the fuck do you think wrote the Book of Revelation? A bunch of stone-sober clerics?

April 23, 2007

Lets all drink to the death of a clown

Don Van Vliet, Dirty Champagne, 1995

* Top ten conservative idiots. excerpt:

"1. Alberto Gonzales

"In case you missed Alberto Gonzales's electrifying testimony before the House Judicary Committee last week, he's been getting some rave reviews. Here are the highlights:

"'A pathetic performance! -- The Capital Times'

"'Mr. Gonzales came across as a dull-witted apparatchik incapable of running one of the most important departments in the executive branch! -- The New York Times'

"The overwhelming impression Mr. Gonzales left was that of an out-of-touch executive who had little idea why these prosecutors were fired in his name! -- The Dallas Morning News'

"'Gonzales said more than 70 times that he could not recall the details of the prosecutors' firing! -- The Houston Chronicle'

"'Attorney General Alberto Gonzales looked like an ineffective, and at times clueless, leader! -- The Seattle Times'

"'Really deplorable! -- Sen. John Cornyn, (R-TX)'

"'Why is your story changing! -- Sen. Chuck Grassley, (R-IA)'

"'I believe the best way to put this behind us is your resignation! -- Sen. Tom Coburn, (R-OK)'

"But let's be fair. It wasn't all bad.

"'He has done a fantastic job in the Department of Justice! -- The White House'"

* The Austin Chronicle talks with Bill Callahan about his upcoming album, Woke on a Whaleheart. excerpt:

"Written over two months of 16-hour workdays and recorded locally last November at Bruce Robison's Premium Recording Service in a little more than a week, the songs flow seamlessly, no longer lonesome, spare recordings but an orchestral blend of country, blues, gospel, and a nice dose of Seventies soft rock. There's a center to each song, which unravels a tapestry of golden oldies.

"Enter Neil Michael Hagerty. A veteran of D.C. noiseniks Pussy Galore and Stones-worshippers Royal Trux and current frontman of the more experimental Drag City quintet the Howling Hex, he and Callahan are longtime friends, and his part in Whaleheart is integral: Along with shedding his moniker, Callahan also shared creative control.

"'I've known Neil since '92 when we did our first nationwide tour together,' explains Callahan by e-mail. 'And I did the Tramps, Traitors and Little Devils album with him a while back. He arranged that, and I liked the job he did. Our bands play shows together now and then, and he usually listens and has interesting things to say after my set. So, I asked him to produce. He said he's never seen an audience listen to and react to the story of the words as much as my audience, so his idea was to make musical arrangements that did not add too much narrative distraction. Which is not to say the arrangements are sparse. There's a lot going on in the music, but it all slots into itself neatly.'

"Hagerty's touch yields some of the album's best moments, and the Seventies vibe creeping into many of the songs is a welcome, if not coincidental, addition. 'All the recording equipment we used was manufactured in the Seventies,' Callahan explains. 'Most of the people who played on the record were manufactured in the Seventies, too.'

"The gathering of the album's players proved serendipitous.

"'I was over at the house of Thor Harris [of Shearwater] and mentioned that I had booked studio time for a new album,' Callahan writes. 'He said he would play drums. I asked him if he knew a great bassist. He suggested Steve Bernal. Steve was asked if he knew any fiddle players. He suggested Elizabeth Warren, and so on.'

"Rounded out by guitarist Pete Denton, pianist Howard Draper, and the excellent Deani Pugh-Flemmings of the Olivet Baptist Church on backup vocals, the sound is older and wiser. As he remarks in one song, 'Sycamore got to grow down to grow up,' and Whaleheart points to growth – both in song and spirit. Starting with opener 'From the Rivers to the Ocean' ('The city was a fist. I lived on its wrist. And I took myself a good long look around') through to the gospel country jaunt of 'The Wheel' ('To make my home lord, in a stable spoke lord, inside a turning wheel bound for good') and the lazy 'Sycamore' ('All you want to do is be the fire part of fire'), there's betterment here, as well as a reverence for old hands.

"'There are certain nods to the history of American music on this LP – Chuck Berry, Les Paul, Bo Diddley,' Callahan reveals. 'But they're all done more in tribute than in copping a style.'

* The history of The Fall in 1:45.

* Check it out: Members of The Caribbean DJ on local dc radio station. Archives of previous shows by the famous dc Ians: Mackaye and Svenonius, among others, at the link.

* "Poetry is an orphan of silence. The words never quite equal the experience behind them." -- Charles Simic

April 20, 2007

Please don't let on that you knew me when

Judy Chicago, The creation, 1985

I Have Two Bars of Soap
-- by Leonard Cohen

I have two bars of soap,
the fragrance of almond,
one for you and one for me.
Draw the bath,
we will wash each other.

I have no money,
I murdered the pharmacist.

And here's a jar of oil,
just like in the Bible.
Lie in my arms,
I'll make your flesh glisten.

I have no money,
I murdered the perfumer.

Look through the window
at the shops and people.
Tell me what you desire,
you'll have it by the hour.

I have no money.
I have no money.

Coffee Corner
-- by Ron Padgett

The large bowls of coffee at breakfast in France,
the heavy porcelain cups in old American diners,
the disposable brown plastic cups in motel lobbies,

the feeling that you ought to drink the entire cup,
the slight resentment you feel at feeling this way,
the wondering why you do it then,

the gratitude for someone’s making the coffee,
the decision not to have a third free refill,
the surprise of a really bad cup of coffee,

the way it used to cost a nickel, then seven cents, then ten,
and now anywhere from sixty cents to three seventy-five,
sometimes a little more for decaffeinated,

the brown print of it drying on the cup’s lip,
the small amount left in the bottom,
the rest of it sloshing inside you,

sending its stimulation through tubes
in your body, hello, let’s go, we’re late, do
you have the keys, oh god I can’t find my wallet

Bargain Hunt
-- by Ron Padgett

for Tessie

Suppose you found a bargain so incredible
you stood there stunned for a moment
unable to believe that this thing could be
for sale at such a low price: that is what happens
when you are born, and as the years go by
the price goes up and up until, near the end
of your life, it is so high that you lie there
stunned forever.

April 18, 2007

We were fucking corndawgs
We'd go drink and pogo

Brice Marden, Return I, 1964–65

* Measuring Prohibitions, by Radley Balko. excerpt:

"Over at The Corner, Jonah Goldberg responds to my column on lowering the drinking age by making a drug war comparison. He's right. If the drinking age were lowered to 18, more 18-21 year-olds would likely drink (on the other hand, 80% of underage drinking would be eliminated!).

"And the comparison to the drug war is accurate, too. If all drugs were legalized tomorrow, there would almost certainly be an increase in use. And he's right that the law does effectively curb some behavior. There's a broader philosophical point regarding whether or not using the law to curb private behavior is a moral and appropriate use of government coercion, but let's put that aside for a moment. The inevitable rise in use that would follow legalization is a point proponents of drug prohibition often fault drug war critics for not acknowledging, though I really don't know of any critics who don't willingly concede the point.

"The more appropriate response to 'more users' argument is 'so what?' A slight rise in the number of recreational drug users is only a problem if you believe that there's something inherently immoral and destructive about smoking a joint or snorting a line of coke--any worse, say, than downing a shot of whiskey or a taking drag off a tobacco pipe. The subset of people who refrain from drug use today out of respect for the law, but who might experiment with drugs should they one day be legal, probably isn't one we need to worry about becoming addicted in mass numbers, or committing crimes to support their habit (which probably wouldn't happen anyway if drugs were legal--how many alcoholics mug, burgle, or kill for gin money?). Unless you buy the 'gateway' theory of marijuana, or the 'instant addiction' theory about cocaine, both of which have zero scientific validity, I'm just not sure having slightly more overall users will have much of a negative impact on society at large.
"To look at those two figures and conclude that the drug war is moving in the right direction seems to me to indicate a near-religious devotion to preventing recreational drug use, at any cost. Prohibition advocates are again measuring success not on how well the drug war is preventing real, tangible harm, but simply on how effectively they're preventing people from getting high.

"And of course overdoses are only one aspect of the harm done by the drug war. There is also the appalling rate of incarceration in America, the evisceration of the Bill of Rights, the erosion of the rule of law, the government infringement on the doctor-patient relationship, the contempt for property rights, the arrest of promising developments in the treatment of pain --the list goes on.

"Nevertheless, so long as there are fewer joints in teen backpacks, the drug warriors are content to say we're 'winning.'

"Goldberg isn't a Bennetista-type drug warrior. His post was really just my jumping-off point, here. But getting back to his point, I'm not sure having a few more recreational drug users would be all that harmful, any more than having a few more drinkers would. And it certainly wouldn't be harmful enough to outweigh the considerably larger reduction in harm that would result from ending drug prohibition."

* Bad News Hughes backstage at a Flaming Lips show. Pretty hilarious.

* Interview of Jhumpa Lahiri on The Namesake. excerpt:

Question: Did you feel as rebellious as your character Gogol does early in your novel?

Lahiri: Neither Gogol nor I was terribly rebellious, really. I suppose I, like Gogol, had my moments. But even ordinary things felt like a rebellion from my upbringing - what I ate, what I listened to, whom I befriended, what I read. Things my American friends' parents wouldn't think to remark upon were always remarked upon by mine.
Question: Now that you've written both stories and a novel, which do you prefer? What was the transition like?

Lahiri: I feel attracted to both forms. Moving from the purity and intensity of the short story to the broader canvas of a novel felt liberating and, at times, overwhelming. Writing a novel is certainly more demanding than writing a story, and the stakes are higher. Every time I questioned something about the novel it potentially affected hundreds of pages of writing, not just ten or twenty. The revision process was far more rigorous and daunting. It was much more of a commitment in every way. And I was juggling much more than I ever have in a story, more characters, more scenes, more points of view. At the same time, there's something more forgiving about a novel. It's roomier, messier, more tolerant than a short story. The action isn't under a microscope in quite the same way. Short stories, now matter how complex, always have a ruthless, distilled quality. They require more control than novels. I hope I can continue to write both.

Question: Have you reevaluated any of your writing about men and/or marriage now that you are both a wife and mother?

Lahiri: Not really. The scenes about Ashima in labor and giving birth were written long before I became pregnant. I asked my friends and my mother and my mother's friends a lot of questions, and I based Ashima's experiences on the answers I got. Being married doesn't make writing about men any easier, just as my being a woman doesn't make writing about women any easier. It's always a challenge. That said, the experiences of marriage and motherhood have changed me profoundly, have grounded me in a way I've never been before. Motherhood, in particular, makes me look at life in an entirely different way. There's nothing to prepare you for it, nothing to compare it to. And I imagine that my future work will reflect or otherwise be informed by that change.

Question: You quote Dostoyevsky as saying, 'We all came out of Gogol's overcoat.' Has Nikolai Gogol had any influence on you as a writer?

Lahiri: I'm not sure influence is the right word. I don't turn to Gogol as consistently as I do to certain other writers when I'm struggling with character or language. His writing is more overtly comic, more antic and absurd than mine tends to be. But I admire his work enormously and reread a lot of it as I was working on the novel, in addition to reading biographical material. 'The Overcoat' is such a superb story. It really does haunt me the way it haunts the character of Ashoke in the novel. I like to think that every writer I admire influences me in some way, by teaching me something about writing. Of course, without the inspiration of Nikolai Gogol, without his name and without his writing, my novel would never have been conceived. In that respect, this book came out of Gogol's overcoat, quite literally.

* And of course, happy bicycle day to all.
got a lot of books to read
so you crack them, you crack them

François Picabia, Very Rare Picture on Earth, 1915
Oil and metallic paint on board, silver and gold leaf on wood

In Time of War
-- by klipschutz

In time of war, this war,
many things remain the same.
They do, that’s all. Admit it.
We know we are at war,
we are told and told and told,
know it too because we see it
on the screens that fill our lives.
Poets rally round the keys
with coded anguish
or overt calls to arms
or to lay them down,
one walleye alighting
briefly on the future,
and once there, on the anthology
that will retrospect the war.
Thoughts of the anthology
are comforting, because
the war will be over.
One of the poets will
write the introduction,
deploying an arsenal of verbs
in mostly past and a little future tense,
active, passive, transitive, intransitive,
the works. He or she will really
go to town with was.
Fictioneers rally too,
with short stories with
ingenious or bruising connections
to The Day Everything Changed.
Changed: we are at war.
Told we are at war.
Witnesses, too, we are,
in a way, or at least are
allowed to believe, because
we see it (the war)
on all the many screens
that fill our lives.
Though most songs
remain the same, here,
at home. The news
from far away is something
else, ghastly, grim, like
murders in a ghetto
where ‘life is cheap’
only multiplied by
many bodies, body parts.
Even as I revise, I can’t help
but wonder if maybe this
will appear in the anthology.

The Hand
-- Mary Ruefle

The teacher asks a question.
You know the answer, you suspect
you are the only one in the classroom
who knows the answer, because the person
in question is yourself, and on that
you are the greatest living authority,
but you don’t raise your hand.
You raise the top of your desk
and take out an apple.
You look out the window.
You don’t raise your hand and there is
some essential beauty in your fingers,
which aren’t even drumming, but lie
flat and peaceful.
The teacher repeats the question.
Outside the window, on an overhanging branch,
a robin is ruffling its feathers
and spring is in the air.

At the Un-National Monument Along the Canadian Border
-- William Stafford

This is the field where the battle did not happen,
where the unknown soldier did not die.
This is the field where grass joined hands,
where no monument stands,
and the only heroic thing is the sky.

Birds fly here without any sound,
unfolding their wings across the open.
No people killed — or were killed — on this ground
hallowed by neglect and an air so tame
that people celebrate it by forgetting its name.

* Malkmus playing West S at the at The Crystal Ballroom in Portland, Oregon.

April 17, 2007

And then, one day in April, I wasn't even there,
For there were many things I didn't know

Channa Horwitz, Pink to Burgundy Circle Variance No. 5, 2007

* From Harper's May 2007:

-- Number of lawsuits filed against Rudy Giuliani between 1994 and 2001 by the New York Civil Liberties Union: 34

-- Percentage of Americans in February who said they would be unlikely to vote for a candidate who has been divorced twice: 26

-- Percentage who said they would be unlikely to vote for a 72-year-old: 58

-- Percentage who said they would be unlikely to vote for an African American or a smoker, respectively: 6, 21

-- Total donations that Barack Obama has received from tobacco companies since 2000: 0

-- Amount that Alan Greenspan reportedly recieved for the February 26 speech in which he warned of a recession: $150,000

-- Total value that U.S. stock markets lost the next day, partly as a result of his warning: $632,000,000,000

* What Gonzales does and doesn't remember. excerpt:

"In October of last year, President Bush had a conversation with Gonzales about U.S. attorneys. According to the White House's public statements, the conversation was a broad one, about voter fraud in three districts. Gonzales has said publicly that he doesn't remember such a conversation taking place.

"But that's not what Kyle Sampson told congressional investigators this past weekend. According to Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Sampson said that in early March of this year, Gonzales told him about a conversation he'd had in October with Bush that was specifically about U.S. Attorney for New Mexico David Iglesias. Remember that the White House was getting heavy pressure from Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM) and other New Mexico Republicans to can Iglesias.

"So in early March, Gonzales told Sampson privately about this conversation (this was, by the way, before the White House had publicly disclosed that there had been any conversations between Bush and Gonzales about U.S. attorneys). But on March 26, Gonzales told NBC and the world that he didn't remember having any such conversation.

"But the Justice Department has an explanation! Spokesman Brian Roehrkasse said that Gonzales really didn't remember having such a conversation, and that when he'd told Sampson about it in early March, it was 'based on what others had told him, not his own memory.'

"That doesn't quite solve it, though.

"First, if Schumer's relation of Sampson's testimony is accurate, it seems clear that Sampson had not been under the impression that Gonzales himself didn't remember the conversation when they spoke about it in early March.

"But second, who were the 'others' who told Gonzales this? The White House has a different version of the conversation -- that it was broader, about three districts (New Mexico, Milwaukee, Philadelphia) where voter fraud wasn't being aggressively pursued. Sampson's version, which has the conversation focusing on Iglesias, implicates Bush much more directly in his removal. So who did Gonzales get this version from? Does he remember that?"

* Bruce Springsteen joined a street musician on the street of Cophenhagen (about 20 years ago) and played The River.

* "I never saw Serge [Gainsbourg] in anything but a dressing gown, and none of the children ever saw him naked. He thought being naked was the most vulgar thing in the world." -- Jane Birkin

April 16, 2007

the devil screws with the best laid plans

Unknown, people filling out tax forms in the Internal Revenue office, 1920

* Top ten conservative idiots. "excerpt:

"3. The Bush Administration

"Why does George W. Bush need a War Czar anyway? Things are going so well over there.

For example, the White House has spent the past few weeks accusing Democrats of neglecting the troops, saying things like, 'failure to fund our troops will mean that some of our military families could wait longer for their loved ones to return from the front lines. Others could see their loved ones headed back to war sooner than anticipated. This is unacceptable.'

"So unacceptable, in fact, that last week the Associated Press reported that 'the Army is adding three months to the standard yearlong tour for all active-duty soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.'

"As you can see, by giving Our Great Leader a war spending bill which includes benchmarks for the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq, the Democrats have forced our troops to stay in Iraq longer! Or something.

"Meanwhile, Bush's manly surge is really taking off. April has been one of the deadliest so far for coalition forces - as I write this, 55 troops have been killed in the first 13 days of the month. According to icasualties.org, that's 4.23 deaths per day, the third highest monthly average of the entire war (not including the initial invasion).

"And of course, last week a suicide bomber blew himself up in the Iraqi parliament building, killing three Iraqi lawmakers and forcing U.S. officials to admit that "the bombing of the Iraqi parliament shows that not even the heavily fortified Green Zone is safe any more, despite the security crackdown launched earlier this year in the Iraqi capital," according to the Guardian.

"But it's not all bad news. The Associated Press reported last week that 'Tens of thousands of Shiites -- a sea of women in black abayas and men waving Iraqi flags -- marched from Kufa to Najaf on Monday, demanding U.S. forces leave their country on the fourth anniversary of fall of Baghdad. Streets in the capital were silent and empty under a hastily imposed 24-hour driving ban. Demonstrators ripped apart American flags and tromped across a Stars and Stripes rug flung on the road between the two holy cities for the huge march.'

"According to Editor & Publisher:

"'White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe told reporters this only underscores how much "progress" the U.S. is making in that country.'

"So let me get this straight... the protests in Iraq are a sign of progress because under Saddam Hussein Iraqis weren't free to hate Americans?

"That can't be right. I think what Gordon Johndroe means is that the protests are a sign of progress because Iraqis are now free to come out in their tens of thousands to demand that we leave.

"And because we respect freedom so much, we're going to ignore them and continue to occupy their country."

* Salvador Dali explains Alka-Seltzer.

* Are mobile phones wiping out the bees? excerpt:

"It seems like the plot of a particularly far-fetched horror film. But some scientists suggest that our love of the mobile phone could cause massive food shortages, as the world's harvests fail.

"They are putting forward the theory that radiation given off by mobile phones and other hi-tech gadgets is a possible answer to one of the more bizarre mysteries ever to happen in the natural world - the abrupt disappearance of the bees that pollinate crops. Late last week, some bee-keepers claimed that the phenomenon - which started in the US, then spread to continental Europe - was beginning to hit Britain as well.

"The theory is that radiation from mobile phones interferes with bees' navigation systems, preventing the famously homeloving species from finding their way back to their hives. Improbable as it may seem, there is now evidence to back this up.

"Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) occurs when a hive's inhabitants suddenly disappear, leaving only queens, eggs and a few immature workers, like so many apian Mary Celestes. The vanished bees are never found, but thought to die singly far from home. The parasites, wildlife and other bees that normally raid the honey and pollen left behind when a colony dies, refuse to go anywhere near the abandoned hives.

"The alarm was first sounded last autumn, but has now hit half of all American states. The West Coast is thought to have lost 60 per cent of its commercial bee population, with 70 per cent missing on the East Coast."

* Great madmen of the 20th century.

April 13, 2007

I wish they didn't put mirrors behind the bar

Rob Stolzer, Four Heads, 2001, oil on canvas on panel

The Juke-Box Spoke and the Juke-Box Said:
-- by Kenneth Fearing

A few of them, sometimes, choose record number 9,
Or sometimes number 12,
And once in a while someone likes selection 5
But the voice they really crave, all of them, everywhere and al-
ways, from the hour the doors open until the hour they

Repeated and repeated like a beating human heart,
Echoing in the walls, the ceiling, shaking the tables, the chairs
the floor --


Whispered and chuckling, as though it arose from the botton
of the earth,
Or sometimes exploding like thunder in the room,
Not quite a curse and not exactly a prayer,
Eternally the same, but different, different, different every time --


Saying the simple thing they cannot say themselves,
Again and again, voicing the secret that they must reveal, and
can never tell enough,
Yet it never quite gets told --

Sometimes number 9, or 12,
Or 5 --


The Face in The Bar Room Mirror
-- by Kenneth Fearing

Fifteen gentlemen in fifteen overcoats and fifteen hats holding
fifteen glasses in fifteen hand,
Staring and staring at fifteen faces reflected in the mirror
behind the polished bar,
Tonight, as last night,
And the night before that, and the night after that, after night,
after night --

What are they dreaming of,
Why do they come here and when will it happen, that thing for
which they return and return,
To stand and wait, and wait, and wait, and wait --

What fifteen resolves are growing clear and hard, between
cryptic remarks, in those fifteen living silences,
What crystal stairs do they climb or decend into fifteen unseen
heavens or hells,
What fifteen replies do they give the single question, does any-
thing on earth ever change, or stay?

Before the shot rings out, the mirror shatters, the floor gapes
open and the heavens fall,
And they go at last on their fifteen separate,
purposeful ways --

Fifteen magicians,
Masters of escape from hand cuff and rope, straitjacket,
padlock, dungeon and chain,
Now planning escapes still more dazzling,
And fifteen times more terrible than these.

To A Politician
-- by Bernadette Mayer

Your penis is homeless
You are covered with as many warts as the lies you've told
You pat maggots on their backs
Your syphilitic mouth sucks the slugs from the irradiated cocks
of your cohorts
This gives a bad name to syphilis, if I mention it in relation
to you
Your asshole farts from overeating of civilian casualties
The toxic fingernails of your leprous hands
Flip through the reports of your medievally botulistic bubonic
Your brain is full of lice, tickling it with greed for
pesticide-ish powder
Cockroaches fill your pancreas with their eggs
But this is an insult to cockroaches
Your lungs fill with the blood of the dead
Poisonous snakes of freedom crawl into your every orifice,
but to no avail
Spiders come out of your nose
Your heart is being pinched by Lyme-diseased tics,
stung by killer bees,
bitten by the rattlesnakes of prevarication
First thing every morning your gangrenous arms embrace the rabid
turds of your generals
Your penis is the size of the junkie's needle
Your nostrils resemble the assholes of cops
It seem to us you convert your farts into speeches
Your disease-ridden mouth is full of the incurable sores of your lies
Your petrified eyes eat the bulimic vomit of your violent words
All words, all humans, insulted, disgusted, by your depraved existence.

April 12, 2007

so it goes

Kurt Vonnegut, 1922-2007, RIP

Excerpt from a 1987 interview:

Vonnegut: I suppose that every writer is a gadfly; the crude term that every writer would like to do is mind-fucking. It's to get into somebody else's head. In a Bible-belt area like here it would be a felony to mind-fuck somebody. I heard Norman Mailer talk the other night. He was talking about the fact that most people don't have much time to think about life. They don't think about it because their jobs set such stern requirements and all that. So you have this specialized class of persons who thinks about life itself and thinks strategically while nobody else has time to do it.

Interviewer: If a message came over the loudspeaker that a nuclear warhead was but twelve seconds away from obliterating us, what are your last words:

Vonnegut: It's a swan song. It ought to be a very special thing. My favorite is a Cook County [Illinois] electric chair story. They go tthe guy strapped in and everything, but before they put the hood on him they asked him if he had anything to say. He said "Yes. This will certainly teach me a lesson." The ideal is to say the last thing God himself ever expected to hear.

* New York Times. excerpt:

"Four years ago this week, as American troops made their first, triumphant entrance into Baghdad, joyous Iraqis pulled down a giant statue of Saddam Hussein. It was powerful symbolism — a murderous dictator toppled, Baghdadis taking to the streets without fear, American soldiers hailed as liberators.

"After four years of occupation, untold numbers killed by death squads and suicide bombers, and searing experiences like Abu Ghraib, few Iraqis still look on American soldiers as liberators. Instead, thousands marked this week’s anniversary by burning American flags and marching through the streets of Najaf chanting, 'Death to America.'

"Once again, tens of thousands of American troops are pouring into Baghdad. Yesterday the Pentagon announced that battle-weary Army units in Iraq would have to stay on for an additional three months past their scheduled return dates.

"Mr. Bush is desperately gambling that by stretching the Army to the absolute limits of its deployable strength, he may be able to impose some relative calm in the capital. And he seems to imagine that should that gamble succeed, the Shiite-dominated government of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki will, without any serious pressure from Washington, take the steps toward sharing political power and economic resources it has tenaciously resisted since the day it took office a year ago."
"Two months into the Baghdad security drive, the gains Mr. Bush is banking on have not materialized. More American soldiers continue to arrive, and their commanders are talking about extending the troop buildup through the fall or into early next year. After four years, the political trend is even more discouraging.

"There is no possible triumph in Iraq and very little hope left."

* LA Weekly on David Axelrod. excerpt:

"David Axelrod suffers a fate shared by many great American creative minds: The Los Angeles producer-arranger-composer, who oversaw a long string of albums by Lou Rawls and Cannonball Adderley for Capitol Records, is celebrated in Europe, but has been all but forgotten here at home. (The U.K. label Mo’Wax coaxed him back into the studio for a self-titled CD in 2001.) These days, Axelrod’s American audience is mostly made up of the hip-hop cognoscenti who zealously sample from his wildly unorthodox, psychedelicized solo albums from the late ’60s — specifically, the cult-prized, William Blake–inspired releases Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience. This, at least, ensures this odd bird a steady flow of royalty checks.

"'Odd' may be something of an understatement: Axelrod’s aesthetic is opulently eccentric, expressed through lushly orchestrated, severely cerebral arrangements. And while Axelrod speaks with the same musical vocabulary as Burt Bacharach and Ennio Morricone, his art is dreamt in deeper atmospheric shades and, significantly, pays far greater attention to the rhythm section (hence its ongoing appeal to Dr. Dre–hipped hop-head recyclers)."
"This 13-track, 93-minute performance scrapes the sky and digs deep into the composer’s personal realm of offbeat yet profoundly communicative elements. As displayed through these selections, primarily from the Innocence and Experience albums, Axelrod’s kinship with visionary Blake — an artist who not only created his own, other world, but seemed to actually inhabit it — is no mere pretense or indulgence. A gaunt, black-clad firebrand with a crown of untamed, dead-white hair, Axelrod comes off as — in the very best sense of the term — a real weirdo. (He halts for an intermission 'because I need a cigarette and I think the bass player does too — he’s been looking at me.') And the music never fails that description, either: Purely instrumental, except for a version of 'Holy Are You' (respectfully delivered by the Verve lead singer Richard Ashcroft), each of the numbers featured are uniformly engrossing, a mesmerizing course of sound that waxes from elegant austerity to incendiary evocation. Illuminating it all are mood-altering, gut-bucket drum and bass solos and earthy, intense sax breaks — all cradled within Axelrod’s characteristic orchestral frameworks. Vividly etched, painstakingly crafted and definitely — gloriously — not of this Earth."

* "If it has more than three chords, it's jazz." -- Lou Reed

April 11, 2007

culture craves corruption
sunlight likes to scream

Dana Ellyn, Happy Anniversary George

The Guitarist Tunes Up
-- by Frances Darwin Cornford

With what attentive courtesy he bent
Over his instrument;
Not as a lordly conquerer who could
Command both wire and wood,
But as a man with a loved woman might,
Inquiring with delight
What slight essential things she had to say
Before they started, he and she, to play.

Pistol Packing Poets
-- by Charles Potts

Yesterday I renewed
Without hesitation
My permit to carry a concealed weapon.

It’s gotten more explicit.
It now reads:
Permit to carry a concealed pistol.

I paid $42 to exercise my right,
$10 extra because
The previous permit had expired.

You never know when some overwrought poet
Will feel like getting shot,
As the Rabbi Simon once reminded me:
Verlaine shot Rimbaud.

If I had a dollar
For every time some crazy poet
Walked into a reading or otherwise
Waved a pistol in my face,
I’d have 4 dollars.

Bag Of Mice
-- by Nick Flynn

I dreamt your suicide note
was scrawled in pencil on a brown paperbag,
& in the bag were six baby mice. The bag
opened into darkness,
from the top down. The mice,
huddled at the bottom, scurried the bag
across a shorn field. I stood over it
& as the burning reached each carbon letter
of what you'd written
your voice released into the night
like a song, & the mice
grew wilder.

-- by Frank Stanford

a woman came to take my picture
she told me the time of day in a letter
I wanted to be dressed
fit to kill
and ready when she took it
I wanted to be lying on the edge of a pond
smoking a long pipe
and an unsaddled horse would be grazing
beside me I wanted a gaze no one could forget
without a word of warning
I heard the whirring come to an end
bumble bees sucking a rose
this woman should have told me
these pictures wouldn't be still
I'd of ridden the white horse

April 10, 2007

God's portrait in the clouds
I am bloodthirsty no more

Emily Noelle Lambert, Strange Dust, 2006

* Arianna Huffington on The war on drugs' war on minorities. excerpt:

"There is a subject being forgotten in the 2008 Democratic race for the White House.

"While all the major candidates are vying for the black and Latino vote, they are completely ignoring one of the most pressing issues affecting those constituencies: the failed "war on drugs" — a war that has morphed into a war on people of color.

C"onsider this: According to a 2006 report by the American Civil Liberties Union, African Americans make up an estimated 15% of drug users, but they account for 37% of those arrested on drug charges, 59% of those convicted and 74% of all drug offenders sentenced to prison. Or consider this: The U.S. has 260,000 people in state prisons on nonviolent drug charges; 183,200 (more than 70%) of them are black or Latino.

"Such facts have been bandied about for years. But our politicians have consistently failed to take action on what has become yet another third rail of American politics, a subject to be avoided at all costs by elected officials who fear being incinerated on contact for being soft on crime.

"Perhaps you hoped this would change during a spirited Democratic presidential primary? Unfortunately, a quick search of the top Democratic hopefuls' websites reveals that not one of them — not Hillary Clinton, not Barack Obama, not John Edwards, not Joe Biden, not Chris Dodd, not Bill Richardson — even mentions the drug war, let alone offers any solutions."
"I remember in 1999 asking Dan Bartlett, then the campaign spokesman for candidate George W. Bush, about Bush's position on the outrageous disparity between the sentences meted out for possession of crack cocaine and those given for possession of powder cocaine — a disparity that has helped fill U.S. prisons with black low-level drug users (80% of sentenced crack defendants are black). Federal sentencing guidelines dictate that judges impose the same five-year prison sentence for possession of five grams of crack or 500 grams of powder cocaine.

"'The different sentencing for crack cocaine and powder cocaine is something that there's no doubt needs to be addressed,' Bartlett told me. But in the more than six years since Bush and Bartlett moved into the White House, the problem has gone unaddressed. No doubt about it.

"Maybe the president will suddenly wake up and decide to take on the issue five days before he leaves office. That's what Bill Clinton did, writing a 2001 New York Times Op-Ed article in which he trumpeted the need to 'immediately reduce the disparity between crack and powder cocaine sentences' — conveniently ignoring the fact that he had the power to solve it for eight years and did nothing."
"The injustice is so egregious that a conservative senator, Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), is now leading the charge in Congress to ease crack sentences. 'I believe that as a matter of law enforcement and good public policy, crack cocaine sentences are too heavy and can't be justified,' he said. 'People don't want us to be soft on crime, but I think we ought to make the law more rational.'

"There's a talking point Hillary and Obama should adopt. It's both the right thing and the smart thing. Because of disenfranchisement statutes, large numbers of black men who were convicted of drug crimes are ineligible to vote, even those who have fully paid their debt to society."

* Ten famous literary bars.

* Portrait in the Clouds, by Wooden Wand. Catchy, with a scruffy solo to carry it out.

* "All television ever did was shrink the demand for ordinary movies. The demand for extraordinary movies increased. If any one thing is wrong with the movie industry today, it is the unrelenting effort to astonish." -- Clive James

April 6, 2007

I want to bury my name in you

ALL ROADS. . .But This One is the initial release from Luddite Kingdom Press (Dust Congress house poet klipschutz conceived the volume). As editor, he "picked three worthies far-flung and diverse—of whose talent he is jealous—then, in a nod to Dick Cheney, recommended himself." The limited edition book itself is beautiful. A handcrafted book -- "116 pages printed on French Paper from Michigan!" -- runs a bit more than a mass produced one, but as someone said, it’s "a piece of art, with art inside." Order yours today!

A poem from each poet in the book:

A Seasonal
-- by Jon Cone

Snow wraps the world in swaddling.
I am newly born, putting my nose to the wind,
checking the meaning of all I receive.

Twenty-one huffs later.

My back aches. My knees tremble.
Shovel in hand, I sweat into my woolen hat.
I am building a pyramid at the end of the driveway.

Pines swoon above the frozen pond.

It is the brilliance of snow
that it gracefully converts
to a religion intent on reaching
the paradise of ice.

This is our place, our palace.
This hill,
Beneath these snow-filled boots.

Bob Explains Statistics to Me
-- by Claudia Grinnell

There is really no easier way to say this, I brush
my teeth twice daily, sometimes more if needs
warrant. I thus have a 95 percent chance
of not getting a cavity. And the other five percent
I ask. That’s the price you have to pay for knowing
not truth, but something better—possibility.
I don’t like possibility. There’s always one
that will lose engine power at 30,000 feet, or one
that sends a tsunami my way, or one that collapses
the 30 story building while I ride the elevator
(possibly running with frayed cables) to the 15th
floor, the one where my ovaries are x-rayed, or
the one where nothing, absolutely nothing could
possibly happen because this is the floor of truth.
I get off on this floor, and a surgeon rushes
to amputate both of my legs. Truthfully, there was
no blood and nearly no pain. He explains to me
that a woman in Ecuador now has a 65 percent chance
of conceiving a baby the next time she sleeps
with the man who calls himself Jesus. What do
my legs have to do with anything, I scream.
We all have to make sacrifices for truth to work
out, he helpfully explains. Mostly, though,
it’s the money and how we like the taste of thighs.

The Goo Life
-- by klipschutz

We are living it: all
Our fun & sorrow
Sticking to whatever comes along.
Gravy, we are, Magic, we are. Gum.
Chances blow us but don’t swallow.
Many moons from now, Running Shoe,
When we have all followed
Elvis from the building
& stick to nothing but
Our own elusive selves,
Humankind will still be pounding
Fists on tables
Over what it is and it is not.

-- by Albert Sgambati

Oklahoma was a hole in the ground. It was like someone who hasn’t learned to love. A puppy squeezed to death. Kansas was a basement where I searched for her again and again. A tongue kiss on the hard ground. Texas, a river. In between I called my mother. “How are you, son?” she asked. “Fine, mama,” I said, while her neck stretched smooth across the Southwest. I sailed by the stars and climbed the stairs barefoot in her dreams. I was quiet and crazy and strong. But in the end I loved her. Like I said I was someone who had never been taught how to love. When I spoke with my mother, she asked, “How are you making out, son?” “Fine, mama,” I said, and kept moving.

--- back Tuesday

April 5, 2007

I’m losing, losing touch with my mind

Andreas Gursky, EM Arena II, 2000

* Japan porn swap leaks U.S. Military data:

"Top-secret data on an advanced US military system was leaked because Japanese officers were swapping porn files at work, a newspaper said Thursday.

"Japan is questioning a naval officer on charges he obtained confidential data on the US-developed Aegis combat system, the defence ministry said Wednesday.

"But the Yomiuri Shimbun said the data was leaked when the petty officer second class had copied pornographic images -- accompanied by the sensitive files -- from a colleague's computer and circulated them to a third officer.

"Police suspect senior officials might have been involved in the porn swapping as the 33-year-old officer being questioned would not have had access to the classified data, the newspaper said.

"The petty officer said he did not know that the pornographic images were accompanied by sensitive information, the Japanese daily said, quoting Kanagawa prefectural police.

"A police spokesman declined comment, saying the investigation was ongoing.

"The Aegis system has a cutting-edge radar and can launch missiles at more than 10 targets at one time. The Japanese naval force has five Aegis-equipped vessels.

"The data found on the officer's computer included formulas for the Aegis interceptor system and data on its radar's capacity to track several targets at once, the Yomiuri said.

"Other news reports said the issue came to light after the officer's Chinese wife was arrested in late January for a visa violation, alarming the US military.

"The petty officer, whose name has not been disclosed, is a crew member of a destroyer based in Yokosuka at the mouth of Tokyo Bay."

* The Cheater's Guide to Baseball blog catches Angel's pitcher Francisco Rodriguez doctoring the ball.

* Montell Williams on legalization of marijuana for medical use. excerpt:

"The new study, conducted by Dr. Donald Abrams, looked at neuropathic pain in HIV/AIDS patients. About one-third of people with HIV eventually suffer this kind of pain, and there are no FDA-approved treatments. For some it gets so bad that they can't walk.

"This was what is known as a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, the 'gold standard' of medical research. And marijuana worked. The very first marijuana cigarette reduced the pain by an average of 72 percent, without serious side effects.

"What makes this even more impressive is that U.S. researchers studying marijuana are required to use marijuana supplied by the federal government, marijuana that is famous for its poor quality and weakness. So there is every reason to believe that studies such as this one underestimate the potential relief that high-quality marijuana could provide.

"In my case, medical marijuana has allowed me to live a productive, fruitful life despite having multiple sclerosis. Many thousands of others all over this country - less well-known than me but whose stories are just as real - have experienced the same thing.

"Here's what's shocking: The U.S. government knows marijuana works as a medicine. Our government actually provides medical marijuana each month to five patients in a program that started about 25 years ago but was closed to new patients in 1992. One of the patients in that program, Florida stockbroker Irvin Rosenfeld, was a guest on my show two years ago. If federal officials come to town to tell you there's no evidence marijuana is a safe, effective medicine, know this: They're lying, and they know it.

"Still, 39 states subject patients with illnesses like MS, cancer or HIV/AIDS to arrest and jail for using medical marijuana, even if their doctor has recommended it. It's long past time for that to change.

"Illinois state Sen. John Cullerton, D-Chicago, has introduced a bill - SB 650 - to protect patients like me from arrest and jail for using medical marijuana when it's recommended by a physician. Similar laws are working well in 11 states right now.

"The General Assembly should pass the medical marijuana bill without delay. Sick people shouldn't be treated as criminals."

* "Power does not corrupt men. Fools, however, if they get into a position of power, corrupt power." -- George Bernard Shaw

April 4, 2007

Promise me
You will always be
Too awake to be famous
Too wired to be safe

Matt Seasow, Stay

The People of the Other Village
-- by Thomas Lux

hate the people of this village
and would nail our hats
to our heads for refusing in their presence to remove them
or staple our hands to our foreheads
for refusing to salute them
if we did not hurt them first: mail them packages of rats,
mix their flour at night with broken glass.
We do this, they do that.
They peel the larynx from one of our brothers’ throats.
We devein one of their sisters.
The quicksand pits they built were good.
Our amputation teams were better.
We trained some birds to steal their wheat.
They sent to us exploding ambassadors of peace.
They do this, we do that.
We canceled our sheep imports.
They no longer bought our blankets.
We mocked their greatest poet
and when that had no effect
we parodied the way they dance
which did cause pain, so they, in turn, said our God
was leprous, hairless.
We do this, they do that.
Ten thousand (10,000) years, ten thousand
(10,000) brutal, beautiful years.

Watching Television
-- by Robert Bly

Sounds are heard too high for ears,
From the body cells there is an answering bay;
Soon the inner streets fill with a chorus of barks.

We see the landing craft coming in,
The black car sliding to a stop,
The Puritan killer loosening his guns.

Wild dogs tear off noses and eyes
And run off with them down the street—
The body tears off its own arms and throws them into the air.

The detective draws fifty-five million people into his revolver,
Who sleep restlessly as in an air raid in London;
Their backs become curved in the sloping dark.

The filaments of the soul slowly separate;
The spirit breaks, a puff of dust floats up;
Like a house in Nebraska that suddenly explodes.

At the Rate of Two Pompoms a Day
-- by Tina Celona

At the rate of two pompoms a day
You recorded your impressions of death.
I was easier with myself and when I drank wine I was easier still.
The silence on Sunday was deafening, as was the seepage
In the closet under the stairs.
Traveling burned off my cleverness.
The contents of my brain were insipid and tasteless.
I washed off the broom with detergent, then set it back in the closet.
It was hard to write about asparagus in pea season;
Death glared like an inconstant toad.
My friend stepped off the plane and into my life.
Her distraction was beautiful.
"Why don't you wear that hat with the shades?"
To this she responded with a long, shallow moan.
"You wear your nonsense like a pompom."

April 3, 2007

the sun highlights the lack in each

Martin Munkacsi, Fun During Coffee Break, 1932

* From a 1973 Playboy interview of Kurt Vonnegut:

Interviewer: What was it like to be at the last moonshot?

Vonnegut: It was a thunderingly beautiful experience -- voluptuous, sexual, dangerous, and expensive as hell. Martha Raye was there. Don Rickles was there. Death was there.

Interviewer: Somebody died?

Vonnegut: Life magazine died. They were down there with cameras that looked like siege howitzers. We hung around with them. We were down there on credentials from Harper's. When they go home with their pictures, they found out Life had died. How's that for a symbol? Our planet became Lifeless while our astronauts were on their way to the moon. We went down because a Swedish journalist at a cocktail party in New York told us he cried at every launch. Also, my brother told me 'When you see one go up, you almost think it's worth it.'

Interviewer: You said it was sexual?

Vonnegut: It's a tremendous space fuck, and there's some kind of conspiracy to suppress that fact. That's why all the stories about launches are so low key. They never give a hint of what kind of a visceral experience it is to watch a launch. How would the taxpayers feel if they found out they were buying orgasms for a few thousand freaks within a mile of the launch pad? And it's an extremeley satisfactory orgasm. I mean, you are shaking and you do take leave of your senses. And there's something about the sound that comes shuddering across the water. I understand there are certain frequencies with which you can make a person involuntarily shit with sound. So it does get in your guts.

* Tom Hayden. excerpt:

"The time has come to understand the new de facto US policy in Iraq: to support, fund, arm and train a sectarian Shi'a-Kurdish state, one engaged in ethnic cleansing, mass detention and murder of Sunni Arabs.

"If this description seems harsh, it is only because our minds are crowded with false or outdated paradigms. First was the dream of Baghdad as an exemplary democratic domino. Then the idea of a unitary neo-liberal state with proportional representation and revenue-sharing among Shi'a, Kurds and Sunnis. All along, the US has described itself as a neutral arbiter among warring factions, a promoter of the rule of law and human rights in the Iraqi jungle.

"Even as former US ambassador Khalilzad left Baghdad, he was struggling to clinch deals over oil revenue-sharing, reversal of de-Baathification laws, and inclusion of Sunni interests in constitutional reform and local governance. The Shi'a, muttering that Khalilzad was a Sunni apologist, seemed uninterested in anything but window-dressing reforms.

"Whether by accident or design, the reality since 2006 is that the Shi'a, with Kurdish approval, are carrying out a sectarian war against the Sunni population with American dollars and trainers.

"Critics, commentators and Congressional members concerned about Iraq must shed past illusions to focus on this new reality.
"The Congress should investigate just what kind of regime American troops are being ordered to defend with American dollars. If cutting off tax funding for the overall war is too much for our lawmakers at present, how can they justify the funding of secret prisons, official militias, and the ethnic cleansing of a US-sponsored dirty war? When did that become the authorized mission of our forces in Iraq?

"There is a reason the Administration keeps its purposes hidden. A February Washington Post/ABC poll showed that 70% of Americans blamed the Iraqi government, more than the US, for 'failing to control the violence.' Two-thirds favored cutting off aid to Baghdad if the regime there fails to achieve national unity and civil order. Those numbers spell doom for the US occupation. And without support for a Shi'a-Kurdish sectarian regime, the war could end."

* "Getting even is one great reason for writing." -- William Gass, 1977

April 2, 2007

a latenight obsession
covered in questions

Llyn Foulkes, Washingtonland, 2006

Part of the just-closed Mr. President exhibit at SUNY Albany. The exhibit featured works from 1972 to the present by over thirty artists who have created non-traditional portraits of United States presidents.

* Top ten conservative idiots. excerpt:

"4. George W. Bush

"Speaking of the welfare of our troops, George W. Bush showed up at Walter Reed Army Hospital last week for a quick photo-op. Phew! Just in the nick of time.

"Just six short weeks after we learned that wounded American soldiers are being housed in moldy, rodent infested quarters at Walter Reed's Building 18, Our Great Leader decided to grace the troops with his presence.

"'It is not right to have someone volunteer to wear the uniform and not get the best possible care, he said.' I apologize for what they went through and we're going to fix the problem.'

"Yeah, sure you are. You're a real good problem-fixer, aintcha?

"'We're helping to rebuild Iraq, where the dictator built palaces for himself, instead of hospitals and schools.' -- Bush on Iraq, 2003

"'We are defeating terrorists. Najaf, Samarra, Mosul, (and) Basra are all live examples that a lot of progress has been made.... And this is all because of the determination of the Iraqi people, the light that they are seeing at the end.' -- Bush on Iraq, 2004

"'We're clearing out areas controlled by the terrorists and Saddam loyalists, leaving Iraqi forces to hold territory taken from the enemy, and following up with targeted reconstruction to help Iraqis rebuild their lives.' -- Bush on Iraq, 2005

"'The Bush administration has scaled back its ambitions to rebuild Iraq from the devastation wrought by war and dictatorship and does not intend to seek new funds for reconstruction, it emerged yesterday.' -- The Guardian, 2006

"And lest we forget...

"'...it's hard for some to see it now -- that out of this chaos is going to come a fantastic Gulf Coast, like it was before.' -- Bush in Alabama, 2005"

* Spinner's 20 worst lyrics in rock and roll.

* Beautiful cars crashed by rich idiots.

* "A writer should write with his eyes and a painter should paint with his ears." -- Gertrude Stein