Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Three Poems Against Tucker Carlson & White Supremacy



REPLACEMENT: THE TUCKER CARLSON VARIATIONS

I
Tucker Carlson sold his heart
During a boring meeting in New York
Distant are the days when
He would watch goldfinches
In the 1970s La Jolla sun
Before he became “Tucker Carlson” on TV

II

He seeks a replacement
For his heart
But for now only has
The chittering laugh
Of a creature reeling yellow-eyed
Beneath a bad moon


III

Or Tucker's heart was lost slowly
Fading away reducing
Something vicious said for a dime
Something cruel ok'd in his mind
Always another ladder to scale
Or cracked bell to chime

IV

Tucker Carlson stays
One step ahead of something
He doesn't know quite what
Nothing a glib quip
A droll look cannot solve
He thinks

V

Or Tucker Carlson's heart
Suddenly vanished poof!
This can't be real he thought
Hearts don't
Just disappear
He thought






A GUY IN HIS LIVING ROOM WATCHES
TUCKER CARLSON ON TV


Here they come
Women and children marching
Down the dusty road
Fleeing one oblivion
For another
Riding on the tops of trains
Or inside boxcars
Camped out at a border
Waiting
Dislodged from history
Like tree branches broken off
And found on
The river’s edge
No climate-failed crops
No AK-47 Made In USA
No ballot box mishap
Or ambitious general Trained in Georgia
Or coke sniffed in Manhattan
"I'm the king of the world"
None of the Marine invasions Stacked up in the 20th C.
Like a teetering tower of grenades
Is why this is happening
We are agents of history
We forge the new reality
Though the consequences Are not ours
After each of our gestures
Of Odyssean will
Of commerce
The line of history is cut
We are beyond
The dynamic of return
This we deliver to them
For them to endure and grow stronger
It is like a gift in that way
To be more like us
We will turn them away when they arrive
Thirsty and worn by the elements
Each historical moment
Appears in the field of time
As a firefly appears in the night
Glowing and disappearing
Unbound and gone





TUCKER CARLSON IS TEARING DOWN
MY FATHER'S MIND


Tucker Carlson is tearing down
My father's mind
Hannity hammers holes in his heart
Laura Ingram lays laurels of ignorance
All around him
Dread fools they are who say one thing
While they dig pits to bury the bones
Of the old Americans
They lead into the forests
Of charred trees and stupidity
People like my father
Who barely made it
Out of the 1940s
Sleeping six kids to a room
Skipping rent if it had to be
Roxbury Boston was too hot in the forties
He made it into his eighties
Now crazy men and women
Yell at him
In the Milwaukee setting sun
Saying they can make it right
They don't even know
What happened




Sunday, May 15, 2022

Tucker Carlson Is Tearing Down My Father's Mind



Tucker Carlson is tearing down
My father's mind
Hannity hammers holes in his heart
Laura Ingram lays laurels of ignorance
All around him
Dread fools they are who say one thing
While they dig pits to bury the bones
Of the old Americans
They lead into the forests
Of charred trees and stupidity
People like my father
Who barely made it
Out of the 1940s
Sleeping six kids to a room
Skipping rent if it had to be
Roxbury Boston was too hot in the forties
He made it into his eighties
Now crazy men and women
Yell at him
In the Milwaukee setting sun
Saying they can make it right
They don't even know
What happened









Thursday, May 12, 2022

Fascism, More Than Anything, Is...



Fascism, more than anything, is a form of miserabilism. No ease, no joy, no kindness. All is eternal vigilance & suspicion... because the devil is lurking. No release - only a pinched, bitter wariness. Swirling hatreds: a foul stew of disappointment & acrid longing. Night without end


Wednesday, May 4, 2022

A Portrait of the Artist in Bank Statements

Fifty years of bank statements
annotated
a portrait of the artist
each debit credit overdraft
a decision about
time freedom creativity
the dream of community
longing for wild nature
the mad grieving
of its disappearance
each debit credit overdraft
a tale of love rage recovery
of the obliterated self
big numbers never reached
that's ok he thinks


(raccoon by Virginia Warwick)








Sunday, April 3, 2022

Days in Moscow, 2022




Am I a fool, a churl? Do they see me as a sulk or a coward? They question me. I stop them at a distance of 20 feet: Germs abound. They sit at the end of a giant table and look ridiculous. I make them wait hours for my arrival. They understand what this means... I am aging, waning. No, I mustn't say that. In judo, I flip men far younger than me down onto the hard mat. I weave through phalanxes of men on the hockey ice and drop goals into the net. Untouchable. I have grown old. Distance. I require distance. And silence. Days passed in suites of rooms. I am seen only by the fading northern sunlight and the housekeeper, properly vetted. I speak to people through screens. But they are not as smart as me and they embarrass themselves before me. Loneliness? At times. People can be useful. I want the best for myself, which is the best for my country. Does that sound believable? Ha ha. I am the man in time who walks beside the river, in the shadow of palaces, thinking. I understand greatness. I understand sacrifice and terror. Perhaps there is no greatness without sacrifice and terror. I bring forth terror, but the sacrifice is not mine to make. Sacrifice is not made by great men, but by those he conquers. And those he commands.

Saturday, March 19, 2022

Days of '22

He sits at an ornate banquet table, but there are no guests. No one drinking wine. No one to tell an off-color joke. There's just the man wearing a suit. He once had the tragicomic face of a beautiful clown from a Jim Jarmusch film - the sunken eyes, the slightly pouted lips, the blank expression that says, "Fired from another job, I'm walking home. I should be sad, but I remember a song by Brecht and Weill and I notice a bird on the telephone wire taking in the sun." There are no guests at the table, but there are attendees. Two officials sit far at the other end. The man thinks: "We can't even hear each other. Should I yell or just mumble in my monotone? They don't really care what I say. They look white as sheets, in any case. I need more coffee. I could have been on stage -- falling down, getting up, slapping the dust off of my pants. Saying mysterious lines by Chekhov. I have the eyes for it. Or had. They were once so lively, like Lopakhin's, 'I know exactly the potential of the people around here. They have the potential to lie. They have the potential to deceive. They have the potential to charm. They’ll change nothing. Sometimes, when I can’t sleep, I lie awake thinking, My God! You've given us so much. Huge forests, infinite fields, and endless horizons, and we, living here, ought really to be giants.' "





Friday, March 11, 2022

"Ray Donovan" and the Patriarchy



Ray Donovan won't be one of my favorite shows. I'm going to try to stop watching it after one season. It is bleak and brutal. It is, however, an effective portrayal of how the patriarchy manages to induce grinding misery even in men, the beneficiaries of the sexist order. The patriarchy oppresses women by limiting - even seeking to eliminate entirely - their agency and power, imposing on women the most constrained and reduced identity possible - that of a unpaid domestic servant with no rights and the opportunity to be perceived as either a Madonna or a (sexist epithet). The gender caste system permits men power and agency, but demands of them that they limit their emotional spectrum to aggression, dominance, the absence of vulnerability and very limited intimacy with family and friends. In many cases, as in the Donovan family, not even sadness is permitted. No grief allowed. The men learn they must bury their pain with drugs and alcohol, with fighting and often with the oppression of women - per the design of the wretched system.