Thursday, October 27, 2016

A Rhetorical Inquiry Into The Moral Certitude Of Cause And Effect [#poem] [#ElevenEleven]

A Rhetorical Inquiry Into The Moral Certitude Of Cause 
And Effect
 Today we picked tulips and

stubbed our big toe and went

to war and lost a bunch a arms

and feet and shit and gunned

down a dozen fifty people

and got tired and took a nap

and had a family and raised

a mess a kids and picked

daffodils and scratched our

finger bad and then we went 
to war. We blew up some big

stuff and little stuff and people

tall and stupid crying babies

and a whole lot a us puked

and we were buried or they

put us on these lame cots and

we got better and met girls

and boys and had families and

glued pink fuzzy bunny ears

on our sister’s headband for

spring assembly and then we

killed a whole lot more people

cause we had to go to war cause

we picked lilies and sneezed and

after you pick lilies and sneeze

or something they send you to

war. Don’t you know anything?

by Sarah Sarai. First published in Eleven Eleven, Issue 5.
Don't know how I missed posting this poem here. From 2006?

Sunday, October 23, 2016

On Bob Dylan and the current plague of self-love: dudes, we all suffer

Father and son.

I'm keeping this short. There some was mention of being chosen for a Nobel on Dylan's website. My hunch is that a caretaker of the site did that, not Dylan. I further hunch that Dylan told the underling to remove the acknowledgement, however minimal it was. Okay, so there's that. The Academy's phone call to Bob has not been returned.

PEN asked an odd slew of writers the organization apparently respects for their opinion about Bob Dylan being awarded a Nobel. Most of the comments, even the favorable ones, were uninteresting. So to sum up the Nobel's sense of being snubbed and the idiotic outrage over Dylan as a literati, I have one teeny idea.

Just because you like me doesn't mean I have to like you. Just because the Nobel Committee likes Bob Dylan doesn't mean he has to like the Nobel Committee. As for those comments on the PEN site, on the prize, WHAT? Amy King (who was one of those asked to respond), Dylan didn't write "inspiring and motivational songs." His songs have inspired some, motivated others. There's a difference. This is one prize, one year. If anyone assigns it power, that someone is not me. Everyone, these days, is enchanted with their own suffering, so enchanted they can't see anyone else's. Everyone is so enchanted with their own success they can't acknowledge anyone else's.

In a recent car trip I listened to another writer talk about the suffering she has endured as result of being Persian. Her sufferings are legit. But when I mentioned the kind of institutional, four hundred year-plus "sufferings" of my nieces and nephews, who are black in America, she had nothing to say. She tried to match them. Everyone is competing. Few people are willing to recognize the enormous gifts they are given. I am so tired of the self-love and love of self in this country and certainly among writers in this country. It's become small and mean and territorial.  That's all I have to say. For now.

Monday, October 17, 2016

The Suburban Classes - a poem by Stevie Smith, the Great

The Suburban Classes
There is far too much of the suburban classes
Spiritually not geographically speaking. They’re asses.
Menacing the greatness of our beloved England, they lie
Propagating their kind in an eightroomed stye.
Now I have a plan which I will enfold
(There’s this to be said for them, they do as they’re told)
Then tell them their country’s in mortal peril
They believed it before and again will not cavil
Put it in caption form firm and slick
If they see it in print it is bound to stick:
‘Your King and your Country need you Dead’
You see the idea? Well, let it spread.
Have a suitable drug under string and label
Free for every Registered Reader’s table.
For the rest of the gang who are not patriotic
I’ve another appeal they’ll discover hypnotic:
Tell them it’s smart to be dead and won’t hurt
And they’ll gobble up drug as they gobble up dirt.

All rights and praise to Stevie Smith, 1901 to 1971. Artwork by Stevie Smith, too.

Friday, October 14, 2016

We won't be able to simply 'move on' from Frump - we'll have to re-educate our boys & girls - they've been listening

I just watched Michelle Obama's speech at a New Hampshire rally. My reaction? Damn, it's good to feel moral again, to hear decency praised, to know someone has their eye on our children.

As Frump has been uglifying America, I've worried about women's lives being under constant threat of verbal and physical assault. That's always a worry but my fears were situated front and center as Frump ranted and raved. What I appreciate about Michelle Obama's speech is its reminder -- women and girls - girls - are at risk. Michelle Obama reminds me is that girls and boys - boys - are at risk. They are watching us watching Frump as he brags about sexually assaulting women.

I grew up hearing pops of rage from my father and a strange hysteria from my mother. Some of the troubles and defects of my life reflect childhood fear. I'm not complaining. I'm just saying (as they just say).

But I never heard one generic insult hurled at women or men or girls or boys. I don't remember hearing one racial insult. My mother once expressed her worries about the Pope. She was raised by Swedish Lutherans who were die-hard Protestants, nationally trained during their late-1800 childhoods to fear Catholics. And as I write this I realize that my mother's bit of prejudice effected me and was something I had to work through. Mom expressed her prejudice once, maybe twice. That's it. And yet if affected me.

The only country or nationality I heard demeaned in my family household was Poland. "The Poles were worse than the Germans," my parents said, referring to Polish treatment of Jews during WW II. My Christian mother was more virulent on the topic than my father.

Those minor generalized assaults (I'm not talking about the general discord and rage in our household) had an impact on me. That being the case, WHAT is the impact of Donald Frump's horrid and incessant racism and sexism. He's not going to be President but we STILL have to undue his damage to the American psyche.

We won't be able to simply 'move on' when Hillary is in the White House. We will have to address the New Ugliness. Racism and sexism weren't Frump's creation but gave those ugly attitudes a platform, a microphone, a frenzied audience.

We are faced with a huge catch-up of American morality and American decency. The past few years have also highlighted our racism and our dangerous addiction to guns. And they have also made it seem - seem - acceptable to make ugly horrifying comments about women and girls. Boys have been listening. They need to be told Frump was wrong. Girls need to be told Frump is wrong. Start speaking out.