Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Donald Trump news conference on Charlottesville

Donald Trump 8/15/17. Not "off-the-rails" at all. Nearly everything the man says makes absolute sense.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Sonnets for the Fall of '85

Sonnet for the Second

It was the lamb in me
that took me where I couldn't hold.
Wondered if ready to be sold or cut.
Lost for one who waited only
for the gate that was opening,
making me run through
where brothers are turned in,
idols made to drive you home.
Learning at first how to get rid
of things that couldn't be
brought down. The road where gates
are opened, bottles hid, floors
laid on and finally left.
It was for a second the lamb learned.

Sonnet for the One In Between

You would never leave
The gate would not close
on wanting no belief
Not would you stray
Convincing never works
Only ropes are torn
if you reveal the charmed
Chairs will never work
like before we made them love
Alleys are fun for riding
Gates must be closed
The departure was waited on
The door never closed because
no one will ever know how lies we told.

Sonnet for the Third

With the third I got what was overheard.
Taking from others was already learned,
the second I saw my hand steal away lucky
and the third could be reeled in like stars
wished on. Some nights make you see the
lights on dreams you wanted to leave. Easy
comes from wanting, plainly took the step.
Denying made no harm, it only made it run to
third. None read long enough then to ever
let the wanting easy wished on star to be reeled
in, ever. With the third to take the stars
the steps the long way. Learning to leave
with one still waiting, learning again to steal.
Learning the first brought the third.

Sonnet for the Fourth

Long dreaming and wishes might finally
lead to the edge where running into
a world you made can be no more
drinking for the needed, ages don't
count and eyes look a thousand years.
Never with hands did you lay, only
names were said when love needed to
be gone, one never knew the leap needed
or the hand used. It all was older than
my head, so then I reached where running
into worlds you made can be dry and hardly
ever held for much. The hard axe handles
were found, and hardly ever held for much.
What was needed held much more.

Sonnet for the Fifth

Never reaching over the fence
Already knowing what is wanting
There is where the drive must be
taken for the long way waited.
The fall left ready for the jump
to take you over. The look through
the shadow went through the board,
wholes were sought, and seeing made
me wait for the jump or the fall
that pulled me through the fence.
Not through the gate, the way they
said would make you dead.

---SSB at 28

Small Faces - Itchycoo Park

It's all too beautiful.

Monday, August 07, 2017

Patti Smith--Rock 'N' Roll Nigger (with Babelogue intro)

In 1980, 2 years after this song, Patti Smith left NYC to live the life of a housewife in a Detroit suburb for the next 15 years. She didn't make it back to NYC and her art until after her husband died. All this fantastic wordplay and angst and braggadocio meant nothing personally, though the world (the kids that listened at the time and were inspired) is ultimately better for it.

At 52, Three Types o' Nights

(1) 40% of the time, I come home from work (a semi-intellectually-satisfying and semi-good-paying job) and work further on my Joan Crawford website until about midnight or 1am.

Of the other 60% of the time:
(2) 40% is spent coming home and collapsing numbly on the couch and watching (usually) Bravo then, post-midnight, C-SPAN3 until I fall asleep.
(3) The other 20% is spent with a book, TV on in the background, until I fall asleep.

10 years ago, at 42 (2007), I was in New York City. And I was also spending about 40% of my nights working on Joan (the only thing that gave me a sense of security, continuity), the other 60% just lying around worrying about finding work, also with TV on in the background. I don't remember reading much.

10 years before that, at 32 (1997), I was going out drinking 4 or 5 nights a week at gay clubs. I'd thought that getting my Master's degree in '95 would open up a new world of high-paying, creative employment, but... no. The only place I could get hired post-MA was back at my old library job in Austin that I'd held before moving to San Francisco for the grad degree. 1995 to 2000 was an utter Wasteland.

10 years before that, at 22 (1987), I was half-in/half-out of college, still mourning the loss of my 1983 high-school love Ginny (though she hadn't died yet, had just left me); in love with poetry and my poetry classes; just secretly discovering being gay (and discovering old movies and Joan Crawford); not yet having met my first good friends or my first lover.

I'm glad I'm not in 1997 or 2007 any more. 1987 was full of potential: Lots of stuff happened in the 2 years following. Most ending up sad, however.

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Why Right-Wing Populism

I cancelled my New Yorker subscription months ago (regretfully, after 20 years of readership) in light of their ignorant, snobbish disdain for Donald Trump. But I still get the magazine's (free) feed on Facebook. Here's an article that just appeared, insinuating a similarity between the rise of both Trump and Hitler.


My response:

Why does so-called "right-wing populism" rise? When the elites in power are incompetent and deaf/dumb/blind to the actual problems facing the country. Post WWI, Germany was destitute, both monetarily and spiritually. And weak post-war leaders had given the country over to global overseeing. The country's citizens were searching for ANYTHING to make them feel more in control of their own destiny. In short: When a country's leaders are doing their jobs, then the citizenry doesn't seek extreme recourse. Trump is a mild stop-gap measure --- the United States has been on the wrong track for over 40 years, and most intelligent people understand that. Trump was the only option we had in 2016 to restore basic sanity to US policy on trade, border control, economics, NATO, foreign intervention, etc. Don't like his "tone"? Sorry that he's a little crude. But his policies are spot on. If it weren't for Trump, the US really might have gotten an actual Hitler 10 years from now.

Soul Asylum | Runaway Train (1993)

Sam Shepard: The Last American Man (1943 - 2017)

I dunno: What is "honest"? Devotion to your work if you've been blessed enough to have been chosen to be a medium, a channeller. Respectful of that honor yet often stubbornly, sloppily rebelling against it. Being true to your dual path --- the purity, otherworldliness of the work, yet also the adamant insistence on being human...the twain meeting in attempts at fidelity in worldly relationships.

I suppose that many can say, "Well, I tried," when it comes to the dichotomy between what you know you should do and what you do. I'm not talking about people like me and our low-level choices assuaged by a song or TV show or (rarely nowadays) a poem that makes us feel better. Sam Shepard was one of those who, I think, attempted to live based on his own compass (as did poet Ted Hughes, to his own devastating emotional results). It's a tough thing to do. With consequences.

Shepard was productive work-wise until the end, but he also ended his life as a rather decrepit alcoholic after leaving his over-25-yr relationship with Jessica Lange in 2009. Conventional Wisdom very particular to today would dictate that he should have "stayed home" and "cleaned up." True, if you want to go out that way. Most of us do. He, though, had the option of choosing otherwise. And chose to be true to his utterly complicated self.



With Patti Smith