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Poetry Crush: Everyday is Valentine’s (Vol.I)

2 Feb

poetrycrush

cake

Scene from Picnic at Hanging Rock:  “To Saint Valentine!”
An honor to valentine with first-rate hearts-of-cake:  Shane McCrae, Hannah Gamble, Paige Taggart, Amy Lawless, Todd Colby, Joanna Penn Cooper, Douglas Piccinnini, Jared White, Melissa Broder, Rauan Klassnik, Rena Mosteirin, Lee Ann Roripaugh & J. Hope Stein (me, duh).
MOST OFTEN NEIGHBOR

Most often neighbor as you       most if neighbor means you only

Most often you most often spring pink      suns the trees the cherry now

Most often neighbor to the blue immediate blue sky

And none of the rain in the sky although rain

strips the pink light from the branches

As neighbors do although rain claims the branches into blossom

As neighbors do as you

have claimed me into life most often neighbor // The pink trees neighbor

to the blue sky not for      being pink / For being

from red…

View original post 1,759 more words

Poetry Crush Winter Writing Playlist, San Junipero & Time Machine: Part I

1 Feb
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San Junipero (season 3,ep4: Black Mirror)

“For the question had been discussed among us long before the Time Machine was made—thought but cheerlessly of the Advancement of Mankind, and saw in the growing pile of civilization only a fooling heaping that must inevitably fall back upon and destroy its makers in the end. If that is so, it remains for us to live as though it were not so. But to me the future is still black and blank—is a vast ignorance, lit at a few casual places by the memory of his story. And I have by me, for my comfort, two strange white flowers—shriveled now, and brown and flat and brittle—to witness that even when mind and strength had gone, gratitude and mutual tenderness still lived on in the heart of man.”
-last paragraph of The Time Machine, H.G. Wells

 

*****

Every morning we dance to something and on the morning of the inauguration, my 21-month old daughter and I danced to the 1980’s pop song Everybody Wants to Rule the World. On our walk to school, a car that parked itself on our street had something similar in mind,  blasting Michael Jackson’s 80’s pop hit Thriller (not songs from the album. The actual song Thriller). 

Both of these felt so right for the moment that it made me think there was more to 1980’s pop music than we may have all realized. As if the villains that globally haunted the  80’s rose up bigger and stronger like an 80’s horror film and can only be defeated by 80’s pop music – pretty much the plot of every great 80’s music video.

 

*****

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In the 80’s I built a time machine in my closet. A large cardboard box I could walk inside, covered with all the tinfoil in the house. and spotted like a cow with roundish amorphous swathes of colored paper. It took me places.

 

*****

When MTV first came on the air in 1981,  it refused to show videos by black artists, like Michael Jackson and Prince.

David Bowie who had a few videos in rotation directly asks a representative of MTV (Mark Goodman) in an interview in 1983 about this policy- TWO YEARS AFTER MTV HAS BEEN ON THE AIR:

“It occurred to me having watched MTV over the last few months that it’s a solid enterprise … It’s got a lot going for it. I’m just floored by the fact that there’s so few black artists featured on it. Why is that? … There seem to be a lot of black artists making very good videos that I’m surprised aren’t being used on MTV … “

This changed finally when Michael Jackson’s manager threatened MTV by saying he would pull all his artists (white artists) off the network unless they started to show Michael Jackson’s videos.

And then those videos went on to make MTV a lot of money.

This all makes me think of San Junipero (Black Mirror, Season 3, episode 4) – a virtual reality love story set in the 80’s. Hair, wardrobe, make-up, lighting & a wet-street ambiance all have the pinkish glow of an early MTV video — & all to the 80’s soundtrack (a couple of songs I use below).  San Junipero, allows its in-the-future, end-of-life characters to go back to a live a fantasy version of a 1980’s America, as an eternally youthful happily wed interracial lesbian couple.

*****

With the current state of fake news and the technology of virtual reality catching up with our desire to be lost, the internet as we see it now is just a peek into how gone we will get ourselves.

Anyway see you somewhere wholly lost in the holy hole-y pockets of time! (after a long pause, I am back to writing).

 

*****

 

 

 

*** Another playlist to check out: from Lin Manuel Miranda

Standing Rock & Langston Hughes

27 Nov

I was in the middle of posting this a few days ago and my daughter starting puking, but here it is late:

c746da77825cb133b27c7f770a19447b.jpgThanksgiving action item of the week: sign this petition at From ACLU website (& donate if you can!)  to end the militarized response to Standing Rock water protectors.

These tribal communities and the allied activists should not be treated like enemies in war.

Investigate possible federal law breaches and constitutional violations of the rights of nonviolent protesters by law enforcement around the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota.

Pending the outcome of investigations, immediately suspend law enforcement use of any federally resourced military weapons and equipment.

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Let America Be America Again
Langston Hughes

Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed—
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.

(There’s never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this “homeland of the free.”)

Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery’s scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek—
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one’s own greed!

I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all.
I am the people, humble, hungry, mean—
Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today—O, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.

Yet I’m the one who dreamt our basic dream
In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
That even yet its mighty daring sings
In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
That’s made America the land it has become.
O, I’m the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home—
For I’m the one who left dark Ireland’s shore,
And Poland’s plain, and England’s grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa’s strand I came
To build a “homeland of the free.”

The free?

Who said the free? Not me?
Surely not me? The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?
For all the dreams we’ve dreamed
And all the songs we’ve sung
And all the hopes we’ve held
And all the flags we’ve hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay—
Except the dream that’s almost dead today.

O, let America be America again—
The land that never has been yet—
And yet must be—the land where every man is free.
The land that’s mine—the poor man’s, Indian’s, Negro’s, ME—
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.

Sure, call me any ugly name you choose—
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people’s lives,
We must take back our land again,
America!

O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath—
America will be!

Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain—
All, all the stretch of these great green states—
And make America again!

<3 Cast of Hamilton <3

19 Nov

 

” We sir, we are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us …

Orwell and an apology

15 Nov

I want to apologize for my part in the results of the election:

I’ve been watching Trump very closely since the Primary. I knew in my heart he was going to win. I tried to vocalize it to people in my life at times but gave into the idea that I was being too negative. I knew he was backed by Breitbart in finance, audience and strategy. I knew Bannon would end up in a Trump White House. I thought everyone was aware of this, but now I’m not so sure. I knew the power of his disinformation campaign … I’ve been reading nothing but Orwell for 2 years. I knew the power and size of his online mob of followers and the way they viscously attacked threatened and tried to silence anyone who disagreed with him. I knew the way Trump was intimidating comedians and media who talked out against him through lawsuits and activation of his mob and that it was working.  I knew historically, when the lives of white people don’t turn out the way they expect/had been promised/felt entitled to, it leads to scapegoating and the rest of the country will be made to suffer and I have friends who have already been attacked.

“The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them.” – Orwell

Before this election I called myself a writer, a poet sometimes. But no, it doesn’t feel as though I have the right. I was working on a not- so-great piece privately about a dictator that I never shared with anyone, hoping the reality of Trump’s election was only inside my sometimes unruly imagination.  When I did try to speak up, language failed me. I failed it. As though all the language had already been used up and all the words had been said so many times in so many instances that the words didn’t mean anything. When I tried to open my mouth it was as if someone was deleting my words as I tried to say them or write them.  or as Orwell describes it:  “like a cuttlefish squirting out ink.”

“Don’t you see the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thought-crime literally impossible because there will be no words in which to express it. Every concept that can ever be needed will expressed by exactly one word, with its meaning forgotten.” Orwell, 1984

I apologize for not being more vocal. I wasn’t loud on facebook. because i’m not loud and I didn’t think anyone would listen. I didn’t know how to speak to or write to my 3rd party and non-voting friends (let alone someone who would vote for Trump)  in a way that is measured and convincing. I wanted to respect people’s rights to experience the vote in their own way, but I think that’s wrong now.

Many groups will need our help over the next few years. Too many. But here is just one action item for this week: To get Steve Bannon out of the White House. (Even if he’s not in the White House officially he will be in Trump’s ear always. Trump owes his victory to Bannon. But to get him officially out of the White House seems like a single actionable direction for protests, marches, calls, letters, etc of the week)

Here’s some actionable info being circulated today: (thanks to Facebook friends for circulating.)

LET’S STOP THE APPOINTMENT of white supremacist Steve Bannon as chief strategist of the White House. Presidents-elect have had to back down on appointments before, for comparatively minor reasons. Let’s not assume this is a done deal.

1) If you live in the US, CALL (don’t email) your Senators and Representatives and tell them this is unacceptable. Trump doesn’t need Senate confirmation, but it will make a difference if senators feel forced to speak out. http://www.senate.gov/senators/contact/ See script below.

2) Paul Ryan is feigning ignorance again. Call his office at (202) 225-3031 and let him know that this is not ok. Same with Majority Leader McConnell, (202) 224-2541

3) Call out the media when they report the Bannon appointment as a straight news story or refer to him as a “Breitbart executive” or a “provocateur.” Insist that they call him what he is: a white supremacist, anti-Semite, and misogynist. Don’t let them normalize.

4) Where there are already protests happening, make Bannon a focus, with signs, chants, etc. Speak out on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms.

5) Reach out to any groups you know that might join this effort, from religious groups to community organizations.

6) Contact other people of influence–College presidents, high-profile coaches and anyone else who has a public megaphone — and ask them to speak out against Bannon’s appointment.

7) Sign and share this petition from the Southern Poverty Law Center: https://www.splcenter.org/stephen-bannon-has-no-business-wh…

CALL SCRIPT:

If you want to get the point across, do what it takes to make yourself sound reasonable. Consider acting complimentary to the staffer and their boss.

YOU: “Hi! My name is _____ and I am a constituent of Senator ______. I’m calling to see if and WHEN he/she will be condemning the appointment of Steve Bannon to the White House. Bannon is an open white nationalist and an antisemite and this appointment has crossed the line.”

THEM: I don’t know the Senator’s thoughts on this, but I will certainly let him know you asked.

YOU: “I know the Senator doesn’t share this man’s extreme beliefs, so I expect him/her to speak out publicly.”

THEM: I will let the Senator know.

YOU: “I would like a call back. Please take down my information.”

THEM: Ok [takes your number.]

YOU: “I want to sincerely thank you for your hard work on this. I will be calling you back in ___ days to find out what the Senator has done about this.”

Sigur Ros

30 Sep

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i had my earphones on when the baby was born … this is what I was listening to … pure poetry ….

 

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You xylo fi
You so lo
You so
You xylo fi
You so lo
You so

You xy fi no
You so lo
You so
You so lo
You so
(You so)

You xylo fi
You so lo
You so
You xylo fi
You so lo
You so

You xy fi no
You so lo
You so
You xylo
You so

(You so)

George Orwell

13 Jul

this essay from my bff george orwell has been on my mind for a few months. one guy i like talking about other doods i like & making me reconsider them, myself & you.

 

from: Inside the Whale Part I

by George Orwell, 1940

 

… When Tropic of Cancer was published the Italians were marching into Abyssinia and Hitler’s concentration camps were already bulging. The intellectual foci of the world were Rome, Moscow, and Berlin. It did not seem to be a moment at which a novel of outstanding value was likely to be written about American dead-beats cadging drinks in the Latin Quarter. Of course a novelist is not obliged to write directly about contemporary history, but a novelist who simply disregards the major public events of the moment is generally either a footler or a plain idiot. From a mere account of the subject matter of Tropic of Cancer most people would probably assume it to be no more than a bit of naughty-naughty left over from the twenties. Actually, nearly everyone who read it saw at once that it was nothing of the kind, but a very remarkable book. How or why remarkable? That question is never easy to answer.

 

… The truly remarkable thing about Ulysses, for instance, is the commonplaceness of its material. Of course there is much more in Ulysses than this, because Joyce is a kind of poet and also an elephantine pedant, but his real achievement has been to get the familiar on to paper. He dared — for it is a matter of daring just as much as of technique — to expose the imbecilities of the inner mind, and in doing so he discovered an America which was under everybody’s nose. Here is a whole world of stuff which you supposed to be of its nature incommunicable, and somebody has managed to communicate it. The effect is to break down, at any rate momentarily, the solitude in which the human being lives. When you read certain passages in Ulysses you feel that Joyce’s mind and your mind are one, that he knows all about you though he has never heard your name, that there some world outside time and space in which you and he are together. And though he does not resemble Joyce in other ways, there is a touch of this quality in Henry Miller. Not everywhere, because his work is very uneven, and sometimes, especially in Black Spring, tends to slide away into more verbiage or into the squashy universe of the surresalists. But read him for five pages, ten pages, and you feel the peculiar relief that comes not so much from understanding as from being understood… It is as though you could hear a voice speaking to you, a friendly American voice, with no humbug in it, no moral purpose, merely an implicit assumption that we are all alike. For the moment you have got away from the lies and simplifications, the stylized, marionette-like quality of ordinary fiction, even quite good fiction, and are dealing with the recognizable experiences of human beings

… The prose is astonishing, and in parts of Black Spring is even better. Unfortunately I cannot quote; unprintable words occur almost everywhere. But get hold of Tropic of Cancer, get hold of Black Spring and read especially the first hundred pages. They give you an idea of what can still be done, even at this late date, with English prose. In them, English is treated as a spoken language, but spoken without fear, i.e. without fear of rhetoric or of the unusual or poetical word. The adjective has come back, after its ten years’ exile. It is a flowing, swelling prose, a prose with rhythms in it, something quite different from the flat cautious statements and snack-bar dialects that are now in fashion.

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… What Miller has in common with Joyce is a willingness to mention the inane, squalid facts of everyday life. Putting aside differences of technique, the funeral scene in Ulysses, for instance, would fit into Tropic of Cancer; the whole chapter is a sort of confession, an exposé of the frightful inner callousness of the human being. But there the resemblance ends. As a novel, Tropic of Cancer is far inferior to Ulysses. Joyce is an artist, in a sense in which Miller is not and probably would not wish to be, and in any case he is attempting much more. He is exploring different states of consciousness, dream, reverie (the ‘bronze-by-gold’ chapter), drunkenness, etc., and dovetailing them all into a huge complex pattern, almost like a Victorian ‘plot’. Miller is simply a hard-boiled person talking about life, an ordinary American businessman with intellectual courage and a gift for words.

… As for the comparison with Voyage au bout de la unit… Both books, use unprintable words, both are in some sense autobiographical, but that is all. Voyage au beut de la nuit is a book-with-a-purpose, and its purpose is to protest against the horror and meaninglessness of modern life — actually, indeed, of life. It is a cry of unbearable disgust, a voice from the cesspool. Tropic of Cancer is almost exactly the opposite … So far from protesting, he is accepting. And the very word “acceptance” calls up his real affinity, another American, Walt Whitman.

… Millers outlook is deeply akin to that of Whitman, and neaarly everyone who has read him has remarked on this. Tropic of Cancer ends with an especially Whitmanesque passage, in which, after the lecheries, the swindles, the fights, the drinking bouts, and the imbecilities, he simply sits down and watches the Seine flowing past, in a sort of mystical acceptance of thing-as-it-is. Only, what is he accepting? In the first place, not America, but the ancient bone-heap of Europe, where every grain of soil has passed through innumerable human bodies. Secondly, not an epoch of expansion and liberty, but an epoch of fear, tyranny, and regimentation. To say ‘I accept’ in an age like our own is to say that you accept concentration camps, rubber truncheons. Hitler, Stalin, bombs, aeroplanes, tinned food, machine guns, putsches, purges, slogans, Bedaux belts, gas masks, submarines, spies, provocateurs, press censorship, secret prisons, aspirins, Hollywood films, and political murders.

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… But in general the attitude is ‘Let’s swallow it whole’. And hence the seeming preoccupation with indecency and with the dirty-handkerchief side of life. It is only seeming, for the truth is that ordinary everyday life consists far more largely of horrors than writers of fiction usually care to admit. Whitman himself ‘accepted’ a great deal that his contemporaries found unmentionable. For he is not only writing of the prairie, he also wanders through the city and notes the shattered skull of the suicide, the ‘grey sick faces of onanists’, etc.,etc. But unquestionably our own age, at any rate in Western Europe, is less healthy and less hopeful than the age in which Whitman was writing. Unlike Whitman, we live in a shrinking world. The “democratic vistas” have ended in barbed wire. There is less feeling of creation and growth, less and less emphasis on the cradle, endlessly rocking, more and more emphasis on the teapot, endlessly stewing. To accept civilization as it is practically means accepting decay. It has ceased to be a strenuous attitude and become a passive attitude — even “decadent”, if that word means anything.

But precisely because, in one sense, he is passive to experience. Miller is able to get nearer to the ordinary man than is possible to more purposive writers. For the ordinary man is also passive. Within a narrow circle (home life, and perhaps the trade union or local politics) he feels himself master of his fate, but against major events he is as helpless as against the elements. So far from endeavouring to influence the future, he simply lies down and lets things happen to him.

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