Posts tagged ‘Wilifrid Owen’

Crimea and I

My  “commentary”  on today’s news:  Crimean war and rumours.

 

 

 

Krim i Moi

             2 March, 2014

 

 

I’m scared. Again.

Not as usual, but again.

 

I want to write “September 1, 1939,”

but really don’t even want to think that.

I’d like to hold a candle to Auden,

but not sit in some dive reflecting

on a newish, dishonest jackbooted cybersnooping

Hellfire droning millennium.

 

Do Putin’s crewcut minions wear jackboots? Overcoats?

(Gogol’s usually there when you need him.)

Does it matter that I’m Jewish

and haven’t made a minyan since before

our Iraq war.

 

I sit in a dive my own dining room.

On the table, by tart coincidence:

Inferno…1939-1945 (My dad was there,

barely got singed, unlike mom’s family —  ashes.)

The Collapse of Complex Societies (Do we have time

to fall apart, for global anaphylactic carbon, or will it be

we dinosaurs, monster asteroid, Sakharov cocktail?)

and This Is Your Brain on Music ( O tempora! O B-flat sonata,

Oh neuroscience and Mercedes Sosa.)

 

Munich Potsdam Yalta (There it is: Stalin-Churchill-

Roosevelt in their Black Sea overcoats, Sochi

Olympics just ended another resort. The human race

courting of last resort but for us and our exceptional

President “endangered species” means the middle class.

How quaint. How fatal. An angle

to make the lovely First Lady obtuse.)

 

Budapest, 1956.

 

Forgive me e.e. Cummings and Allen Ginsberg.

I presume to sit in a dive with you and Auden

crying in my beer for Wilfred Owen.

 

Forgive me, my fellow- humans,

one way or another

refried-beans-to-be.

 

Forgive us our trespasses

as we have forgotten how to forgive

those who have institutionalized

their fear, avarice and violence.

Give us this day our vision within

the translucent scrim of lies.

 

For if we can forgive the unforgivable,

we may also forgive ourselves

for the fathomless wound we have made

and allowed fashionable in our name.

Amen. God freaking damn.

World without end

or otherwise.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

.

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

.

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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