August 27, 2008

the cellar door
is an open throat

Lari Pittman, Untitled #4 (In the Patio), 2005

Them Again
-- by Klipschutz

(with apologies to Van Morrison)

That was kind of crummy, the way they got us hooked on bottled water, with an able assist from their handmaidens in the press – oh and our vanity, misdirection, trusting natures, stupidity. Eight glasses a day, bare minimum, do not drink from the tap, those rusty pipes, spirochetes, spirogyra, cryptosporidia, the iron, zinc.

"Buy - drink - piss - toss, buy - drink - piss - toss, you can handle that, can’t you?" We were begging for it, true, to be lied to, forking small bills over, one nonrefundable plastic proto-phallic symbol at a time.

Someone can write a book about it, peeling like an onion layers of opportunism and greed, pinning tails to donkeys/elephants. By now, though, it is a fait accompli, a footnote to a footnote in the history of money. Weak-ass recycling laws are in effect – hard fought, big deal, patchwork – but the bottles by the million will be with us, decomposing, practically forever, in human years.

And how it has degraded the environment, all in the name of health and fitness, cleanliness and purity, this monument to habit-creating psychosocial engineering and herding sheep through checkout lines, up to the counter, is a kind of crummy footnote to a footnote, unforgivable.

Business Life
--by Donald Illich

My haircut is a brand new business.
Outside the barbershop window
onlookers hope to catch
the black strands of Samson
retiring into business life.
No more collapsing columns
of poetry, attracting women
and lions who come with
scissors and fangs to eat me.
No more boss' bad looks
or rotting sonnets in the slush
piles. My cubicle hates hippies.
We drink plastic from plastic cups.

American Image
-- by Sebastian Matthews

I want to be Walker Evans
or Robert Frank setting up shots

in the street—renegades
in Brooks Brothers suits

with Leicas draped on their chests
snapping shots of the downtrodden,

of churches, bits of billboard, bored
debutantes at posh parties

you'd have to fast-talk your way into;
or aboard an ocean liner, itching

to disembark; down in the boiler room
waiting for the foreman to look away

so you can frame his profile
with an arabesque of pipes

and release valves. I'd want to be out
on assignment taking far fewer rolls

than I'm being paid for, down
south alongside sharecroppers

and the sunburnt poor—trying to steal
moments, not souls, to find the past

inside the present, catch the already
falling out of fashion.


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