August 30, 2013

die she must

Sylvain Louis-Seize, Futile

Plomb Cerveau
-- Chas Hansen

The half-life of lead is forever


The Belgians got the lead out of their paints in 1898

We got rid of ours in 1978.

‘Ethyl’ gas, so named to fool.

The sine of rising crimes in the United States

Mirrors our plague of lead.

No reparations, no relief

Only more prisons, and, cops

And narc scum pumping it

Into those already damaged by earlier exposure,

Like there is never too much of a bad thing.

At least Joseph Goebbels had the decency

To murder his wife and six kids.

Not so Hill and Knowlton who

Have plumbed the depths of doubt.

Scientists had careers smashed for the sin

Of showing accurate data or as some call it,

Telling the truth. Whereas, this leading industry showed us what can be

accomplished when we are force fed an ancient bane.

Depraved indifference the very definition of murder and it made true

Heroes of Nixon’s EPA and General Motors

For fuck sakes!

Look over your shoulder, you should be so proud.

When your creations begin to go NKVD on your ass,

One bullet, two brains.

Bit of a mess but real thrift

With your luck less reason brings

Excess profit.

You lead where others fear to tread

Thank you for introducing everyone

to the wonder of a lead planet. 1

1 “Lead Poisoning: The Ignored Scandal". Helen Epstein. New York Review of Books. March 21, 2013.

Moskowitz and Rasner. Lead Wars, and the Fate of America’s Children. Berkeley: University of California Press/Milbank Memorial Fund, (2013.)

“America’s Real Criminal Element: Lead.”
Ken Drum. Mother Jones. Jan./February, 2013.

August 25, 2013

his mind's the only thing he's blown apart

Laura Owens, Untitled, 2004

On The Road
-- Klipschutz

Ariel Sharon and Hosni Mubarak,
two monsters who forgot to quit breathing,
are still both hooked up to machines,
missing all the action, unmissed,
unwanted, neither dead nor alive.

“What a revoltin’ development!”
to quote Daffy Duck and William Bendix,
after the mess they created,
guilty and innocent blood mixed like paint,
peace talks without a prayer.

What a couple of comedians!
Hosni slaughtered them in Cairo,
Arik killed in Sabra and Shatila.
And then there’s their sons. . .
They ought to take their feeb act on the road.

Epitaph On A Tyrant
-- W.H. Auden

Perfection, of a kind, was what he was after,
And the poetry he invented was easy to understand;
He knew human folly like the back of his hand,
And was greatly interested in armies and fleets;
When he laughed, respectable senators burst with laughter,
And when he cried the little children died in the streets.

The Pope's Penis
-- Sharon Olds

It hangs deep in his robes, a delicate
clapper at the center of a bell.
It moves when he moves, a ghostly fish in a
halo of silver sweaweed, the hair
swaying in the dark and the heat -- and at night
while his eyes sleep, it stands up
in praise of God.

August 20, 2013

Look under
The cure was in no pill

William Daniels, Untitled, 2013,

* From Harper's September 2013:

-- Percentage of all luxury-goods consumer in 1995 who were Chinese: 2

-- Who are today: 25

-- Estimated number of high school students prosecuted each year for truancy by the state of Texas: 118,000

-- by the other 49 states combined: 52,000

-- Percentage change since 1996 in the number of U.S. children living in poverty: +12

-- In the number receiving cash aid from the U.S. government: -60

* Audiobooks before Audiobooks. excerpt:

Long before anyone had ever heard of audiobooks, Caedmon Records made a name for itself recording authors reading aloud from their work. Many Americans first heard the voices of their favorite writers through the Caedmon Literary Series, launched in the 1950s.

In 1952, Barbara Holdridge and Marianne Roney went to hear Dylan Thomas read his poetry at New York’s 92nd Street Y. The 22-year-old college graduates left a note asking the Welsh poet to consider a business proposition: $500 to record his poetry. Thomas recited “Do not go gentle into that good night,” “In the white giant’s thigh,” “Fern Hill,” and other poems before running out of verse to fill the record. Instead, he offered to read the story “A Child’s Christmas in Wales.” Thomas was an inspired choice with which to launch a label devoted to the spoken word. The album went on to sell nearly half a million copies over the next decade. Many of us still find it difficult to read Thomas’s poems without hearing in our heads the Caedmon voice.

Caedmon Records went on to establish a reputation as the premier publisher of spoken word recordings. Its roster features many of the 20th-century’s most revered names in poetry including W.H. Auden, T.S. Eliot, Robert Frost, Marianne Moore, Gertrude Stein, and Wallace Stevens. Prose writers such as William Faulkner and Eudora Welty likewise read excerpts from their fiction. Despite a preference for authors reading their own work, Caedmon also employed a talented group of actors such as Richard Burton, John Gielgud, and Vanessa Redgrave to read aloud other people’s work.

* "Sometimes the little times you don’t think are anything while they’re happening turn out to be what marks a whole period of your life." -- Andy Warhol

August 13, 2013

I was breathing like Id been swimming
perhaps the slope of twilight made it so
death has a piano but its keys are broken
i feel the way i did ten minutes ago

Maggi Brown, Void of Course, 1999

* Excellent long piece on Yankee great Thurman Munson. excerpt:

And wham, Thurman Munson becomes that player. He wins the Rookie of the Year award in 1970. He takes the starting job from Jake Gibbs as if the guy's handing it to him and plays catcher for the next decade, the whole of the seventies. He's named the Yankees' first captain since Lou Gehrig forty years earlier and shows up at a press conference in a hunting vest. He wins the Most Valuable Player award in 1976, and he still wears bad clothes: big, pointy-collared shirts and dizzying plaid sport coats.

Not even disco explains his wardrobe. He helps lead the Yankees from a season in which the team ends up twenty-one games out of first place to the 1976 World Series, where they fall in four straight to the Cincinnati Reds despite the fact that Thurman Munson bats over .500. Then he helps take the Yankees back to the Series in 1977 and 1978—two thrilling, heaven-hurled, city-rocking, ticker-tape-inducing wins!

And shoot if those seventies teams weren't a circus. The Bronx Zoo. Manager Billy Martin dogging superstar Reggie Jackson, superstar Reggie Jackson dogging pit bull Thurman Munson, pit bull Thurman Munson dogging everyone, and then George—you know, Steinbrenner—the ringmaster and demiurge, the agitator and Bismarckian force who wants to win as badly as Thurman Munson. Birds of a feather. And alongside, a hardnosed gaggle of characters—Catfish Hunter, Graig Nettles, Ron Guidry, Lou Piniella, Sparky Lyle, Mickey Rivers, Goose Gossage, Bucky Dent, Willie Randolph—who are fourteen and a half games behind the Boston Red Sox in late July 1978 and come screaming back to beat them in a one-game playoff to win the division, then trounce the Royals to win the pennant and thump the Dodgers to win the World Series. One of the greatest comebacks of all time.

And since this is New York, the press has an opinion or two. They call Thurman Munson grouchy, brutish, stupid, petty, greedy, oversensitive. It becomes a soap opera: Thurman Munson pours a plate of spaghetti on one reporter's head and nearly kicks another's ass. But the fans—all they see is this walrus-looking guy who plays like he's a possessed walrus. During a game against Oakland, when he commits an error that scores Don Baylor and then he subsequently strikes out at the plate, they heap all kinds of abuse on him, and, heading back to the dugout, he just ups and gives them the finger. Hoists the finger to everyone at Yankee Stadium. That's not family entertainment! The next day when he comes to bat, when his name is announced and Thurman Munson steels himself for a rain of boos, the same fans begin to applaud, then give him a tremendous ovation.

* Fun City 69, a Super 8 reel shot in NYC in spring/summer 1969.

* "My best advice to anyone who wants to raise a happy, mentally healthy child is: Keep him or her as far away from a church as you can." -- Frank Zappa

August 7, 2013

Love is the oldest camera

Sharon Shapiro, It's not the heat, it's the humidity, 1999

-- Klipschutz

“the sports page makes the news”

A-Rod, A-Rod, A-Rod, say it isn’t isn’t so.
Cross your fingers if you have to, but Say it!
Do it with your game face on, A-Bro!

I wouldn’t know you from A-Dam
or Bam-Bam or C-Span
but I love you for your flaws,
in that fecklessly American way.
Didn’t you date the Mother of God?
Maybe she can help!

Why do people hate you
just because you’re a prick?
Whatever they throw, it won’t stick!
Unless you already admitted everything.

I wish I could help, and say so knowing
that I can’t, and don’t know the score,
except that you’re not J-Lo or K-Fed,
or A. Alvarez, or even A.A. Milne.
But I don’t mean to be unsympathetic.

To tell the truth, maybe I do.
I’ll work on that, though maybe a man with a bat
circling the bases and tipping his hat
is the only thing in the world that’s really true.

It might help to pay it forward,
and buy my book, A-God,
to give me some skin in the game!
For eighteen bones (nothing to you),
I could mount a Save The-Rod campaign.

Like the guy they buried alive said: Think outside the box.
(And when you crack my book, wear your lucky socks!)

I apologize for not having The Facts,
there’s simply too much to keep up with,
between updating my to-do list,
picking a side in Egypt,
changing my name to K-Lip,
my rematch with The ABC of Reading,
and telling the Dickman brothers apart and all.

Devotion, The Story of My Ear
-- beth woodcome

The floor is cold. Hardwood with small
noises shuttering along each plank.

When I walk I walk blindfolded.
There’s only so much I can stand at once.

I don’t live in the same world anyone else does.
I can feel you in the house. Your breath

at night is my alarm. Something that can
pull me head first, from room to room.

If I can find you living, I’ll sleep.
If I can find you, I’ll stop.