Posts from the ‘poetry’ Category

The Killers of Children

For those who read “The Right to Bear Airliners” , and just had to get something similar  or anyone else who cares to see this, written in the 1990s and inspired by apologists for the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands, here is:

The Killers of Children

To stop the killers of children
We will hunt them down
Wherever they are
Destroy their safe houses
And kill them.
We will stop
At nothing. Demolish
The outrage. Stop nothing.
No they shall not hide
Amongst the frail, or behind
The young. No, not prevent us,
They, god-cloaked assassins!
Killers of children!

Limbaugh nabbed by Epic Poet!

Noetic Justice

When Dante Alighieri arrived in the  21st century, he found in Washington one institution, and one fortuitous circumstance, that gladdened his exile’s heart. The institution was the Supreme Court; the circumstance was named Rush Limbaugh.

Dante had become, as ages had passed, saddened by something he had in fact helped popularize: the practice of consigning to Hell persons who were still nominally alive. He also noted that 700 more years had not improved the fruits by which the self-professed pious could be known.

But Dante did not wish to cease passing judgment on the living: He had simply learned a modicum of compassion, and needed a mechanism to temper his judgments. That mechanism was Rush Limbaugh.

Our poet had observed the contemporary practice of tagging everything from transportation to software with the word “express”. Just what he needed, for a world with always-on computers and an always-on news cycle. Thus Rush Limbo was added to the 2009 edition of the Divina Commedia, revised.

What could a master of moral epic do, for example, when conservatives both nerdy (Newt Gingrich) and not (Limbaugh) branded a Supreme Court nominee a “racist”? Or when a journalist (whose writings had dignified a U. S. President ‘s speeches) accused a sitting Supreme Court Justice of  “simplistic pro-choice rant”? And that the objects of both of these slanders were women? Even Dante had to blush.

Dante put Socrates here; the neighborhood has since deteriorated

Dante put Socrates here; the neighborhood has since deteriorated

It is said that God needs merely to think something, for that thought to become reality. Authors claim the more modest capacity to turn their thoughts into books. As much as some citizens could wish to whisk Limbaugh, Michael Gerson, or most of the Republican Senate leadership off to an insane asylum, this is not feasible. (Indeed, liberals had closed many of those institutions in the name of compassion. The ranks of the homeless then swelled with an influx of former psychiatric inmates.)

But neither venomous pundits nor legislators risk homelessness, nor lack of medical care or other material comforts. With poetic justice, however, Dante Alighieri now hustles these malefactors onto the Limbo Express, which takes them almost instantly to the land of the undead, the Rush Limbo, where they can do no further harm.

A Mordent Christmas to You


A Mordent Christmas, 2002

That was the year the warfugue was huge
and I felt like Scrooge. Bach to the Future!
Peace, peace, peace, whispered the preludes.
the children, the buddhas, the lowly trinity
inhabiting lonely infinity – and only two newspapers
listened. To be direct: What did you expect?
It was a turn of notes and current events
no one dared predict. The President would prevent,
pre-empt, interdict – godnose why and what next.

They’re dreaming of a whiteboy Christmas,
Bingle bells, jingo bells, gracenotes wasted
on an Open Fire. Terrorists wasted… tourists wasted…
Tra la la… Deck Saddam… blows of folly…
Tra la… Sleighbells glisten, Blackhawks hasten…
We wish you a mordant Christmas
and that you listen
with a happy new ear.


another stubbed manifestoe

Hendryjk

He worked at the invisible
and then the visible;
it seemed indivisible
and divisible. It was
not. Either.

He worked and he played
benighted and dazed
in sunshine and shadow.
Hendryjk Shmentdrik.
Bobo arrastado.

Right On, Tolstoy

War and Peace

War and peas.
Rice and bones.
Sleigh bells jingling doomsday tones.

Tell me more, before
they break down the door.
Oh, shit; you snore.

How can it be that breakfast was served?
The light at the end
of an endless tunnel is curved.

Don’t die. Clean your glasses
on someone else’s tie. Truth.
Like a wall on a fly.

The blood, the beans, the sirens,
the rain. How can this be? Again,
again: soft brilliance, soft pain.

Early Christmas to you. Reflect on the zoo.
Love thy far neighbor
what evermore you do.

Dead Afghan Kids (Collateral Damage)

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The Washington Post, Oct. 9, 2008: Military Justifies Raid That Killed  Afghan Civilians.

Yes, I know it’s a cruel world. I also know that the “warrior ethic” lets you think and even weep, as long as that does not distract you from the Mission. The mission of the USA since 9-11 has been wrong, wrong, wrong. In the name of anti-terrorism we have conducted an orgy of military revenge and armored geopolitics. Bush was wrong, Cheney/Rumsfeld worse than wrong. McCain was and is wrong.

They are OUR children

They are OUR children

And Obama is wrong on this. He is campaigning for a bigger and more effective fighting force in Afghanistan, so we can do more than just kill civilians in air raids. He talks about killing Osama Bin Laden as if that  were one of the worst failures of the Bush administration. Yes, we must protect Americans, and help nations rebuild. But through the Defense budget?

The “truth” of this is small, but in appealing to our fear and unreflective, belligerent patriotism, Obama’s words have enormous consequence: How can we “change” the post 9-11 disaster of America’s role in the world when 1) we continue to deny that we do damage and increase emnity and 2) we appeal to the emotions that reinforce this denial ?

American imperial swagger (and coups and warfighting) did not of course begin in response to 9-11, or even in the Cold War. But hope lies in acknowledging that and working to establish America as a superpower for good — exactly what both McCain and Obama asserted in their last debate that we already are.

Radicals conclude from this that there’s not enough difference between the parties to make enough difference for the country or the world. I do not. Obama in ’08 — yes, but don’t expect to stop working for “change”.

“But I, being poor, have only my dreams” (click ‘Bienvenidos’ at right for the Yeats poem and more). My “dream” is that Presidents et al. would  know in their hearts FOR ALL CHILDREN the same love and pain that their mothers feel. . Never happen, you say?  Not literally, I say, but in a different sense, one of the few worlds worth working for. If you can take poetry in this context, you will understand why I am publishing here one of the poems I wrote in the months after 9-11:

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In the Beauty of the Lilies

. Thou shalt love thy Afghani neighbor’s children as thyself

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Already seen it.
From Glory to Hallelujah
from Fier Kashes to Four Agreements,
from ragas and Bach and Bob Dylan
to the coming of the joyous queers,
and their sad going.

My country calla su boca
sweet land of la vida loca,
sing life, sing death, read all
about it: collateral damage.
Deposit it on deep bunkers,
riverbanks and loan banks –
as if old men dreamed in darkness
and their dreams became spectacular cinema
and cinema became the fate of nations.
Now we brave gringos saw it
in the coming of the Boeings.

As when a baby, dreaming of the earthquake she has never known,
wakes to crawl unharmed from thunderous rubble,
so a tiny mercy is scratched with blasted girders
into our sunlight now
. bleached sunlight of common mourning
. plainlight of gathering,
. patchlight of human work.

And this precious child, her mouth filled with dust, has no one to meet her
but the astonished stranger who now must be her mother, father, sister, brother.

. David Almaleck Wolinsky

Two Poems from the Hedge Fund

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I wrote these  poems last winter. Amazingly, no one used them  to prevent the crisis of credit and confidence among banks and others.

I,  for better or worse, still remain fully invested in poetry/music. I wouldn’t be surprised if David Petraeus, who has a pretty wide-ranging mind, has already read Brian Turner’s  2005 collection,  Here, Bullet.  It’s probably the best report from wartime Irag that we have — but only in the sense that the human race (as opposed to, say,  poets or English teachers) still doesn’t heed the ghost of Wilfrid Owen.

The talented Petraeus  — for better and worse — has a job to do. To do it well, he must even use the long view in service of the short- or medium-term view. Despite the PR, I don’t think he’s a surge type.

My job?  Well make what you may of this. Perhaps thinking of the shorter one as a quasi-synopsis of the longer (first) poem will help….

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Death: The Return

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Was he ever gone? you ask.

No blame. Who can complain
if worldly characters consume
The Post rather than Prokofiev  or Poe?
Sergei Who? Tu Fu? Anna Akhmatova? We know
of Rwanda, Cambodia, Buchenwaldia,
Stalin and all the rest of the dirty laundry
beneath the suits of tasteless leaders.
Compare us not, they bark, to puny commuters
lost in that Post or worse American idylls.

Worldly. Death
is not as Darfur away as we thought.
Kennst du das land?
It is hiding in your genes, off
the Arctic shelf, and in all the other
usual suspect places. No news there.

You are discerning,
yet you are disappearing
as one by one farmers die,
journalists die, schoolgirls die,
soldiers not one by one, babies,
spiritualists, realists and corporate crooks.
Nor will the irascible Bob Dylan
be with you when the deal goes down.
All the satellite sports channels
will go down simultaneously,
and later all the rest, one at a time.
The remote will lose control.

Things are that bad.
The positioned among us
will hop a plane to Vegas, the crafty
become entrepeneurs of crisis.
Anasazi ghosts will not comment on this.
What will I do?
I cannot say, nor even what I:
My tongue is crusty and when
the aliens come, it will be lunch meat.
I wanted to ask John Coltrane, John Constantine,
and Cavafy, but they too were lunchmeat.

I waited; the bell tolled; John Donne rose up
and yelled songs unfit for a family newspaper.
Death strolled through the renovated town homes
and ghost towns smiling like a realtor, whistling
a tune that Mozart ripped out of his Requiem.

*

*

The Burning of the Moon

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It was near the end
of the year 2007
of the common era.
(Ay, madam….)

The Tower of Babel had been prologue.
The Industrial Revolution, precondition.

The new common era had begun
with World War One,

reaching a climax
with Polish smokestacks
and mushrooms clouding Japan.
The world did not stop turning.

We are moving on
in common direction,

and still
you be asking
Why is the night red?
Why is the moon burning?

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