left copped out coopted by right1
let our children play out the folly of our plight
mindful eyes shut to keep out the light
shall we just play peekaboo with night?
The difference between poetry and rhetoric
is being ready to kill
instead of your children.
Audre Lorde, Power
1. “Right coopted Left copped out” – Coined by my friend Faraz Hussain while discussing how adept the mainstream is in appropriating all progressive talk and defanging it of radical potential.
when the urchin boy
girl go out to sea I
ask them of that old song the one
their parents’parents’parents’ knew by heart the one about
water & salt –
when the urchin boy
girl go out to sea I
ask them of that old song the
one about fire & salt & fire & naught and how loud
how loud it was –
People ask about the Cold Mountain way:
plain roads don’t get through to Cold Mountain.
Middle of the summer, and the ice still hasn’t melted.
Sunrise, and the mist would blind a hidden dragon.
So, how could a man like me get here?
My heart is not the same as yours, dear sir . . .
If your heart were like mine,
you’d be here already.
– Han Shan, “Cold Mountain Poems” (translated by Jerome Seaton)
Will I discover song under this
rock? Only the
moss will tell – Will I
know the meaning of root this
the rock-song will tell –
Found the songs first
in little pieces
under a stone. Took all my strength
to gently roll the stone
and prod them out
but behind the yellow piss-pine
crouched the trickster, waiting
to put a mountain there.
– Wendy Rose
As I was interspersing writing poems while reading Wendy Rose’s, I wrote this one and the next poem I read of hers was the one above: serendipitous bit of poetic intermingling.
When rain falls with conviction
I ask the woman,
“would you like to buy the sky?”
“No need as dying is near impossible.”
makes sense as death is a triangle
two sides in want of the third –
When there is no rain or when
when conviction fails, the
woman is silent, sky is up
For sale & death has no neighbor knocking
on its door asking, “is there a
song we can borrow for the night?”
Within each one of us there is some piece of humanness that knows we are not being served by the machine which orchestrates crisis after crisis and is grinding all our futures into dust…In what way do I contribute to the subjugation of any part of those who I define as my people? Insight must illuminate the particulars of our lives: who labors to make the bread we waste, or the energy it takes to make nuclear poisons which will not biodegrade for one thousand years; or who goes blind assembling the microtransistors in our inexpensive calculators?
– Audre Lorde, “Learning from the 60s”.
there is nothing tragic in the
the logic of being moss
perhaps the mouth goes dry
maybe your vocabulary
the green is no longer just a color
your mouth is no longer dry and you spout words as if
your dictionary is on fire –
what is tragic is the logic of
the nongreen wage, the math of
the unfed mouth – what goes
dry is the unsaid word,
the less than word, the feet that
knew no ground no wall but wail
this unfed mouth is word now
that soots your green with rage –
These historic changes – that peaked in the 19th century with the creation of the full-time housewife – redefined women’s position in society and in relation to men. The sexual division of labor that emerged from it not only fixed women to reproductive work, but increased their dependence on men, enabling the state and employers to use the male wage as a means to command women’s labor. In this way, the separation of commodity production from the reproduction of labor-power also made possible the development of a specifically capitalist use of the wage and of the markets as means for the accumulation of unpaid labor.
– Silvia Federici, “Caliban and the Witch”
harmony as the opposite of order
it is verb, (I harmonied
the planet dry)
it is past participant, (the
binged on remembrances)
‘harmony, harmony’ makes no sense at all
‘order, order’ makes past a perfect fool
it is not a noun but a pretense of dawn which is a noun
it is not speech but an imperfection that makes
the world utter wholenesses
which is speech
(try it, ‘harmony, harmony’; makes no sense at all.)
“The tradesman is alarmed only
when he smells the spill of the till – his
currency is currency, which he oils daily with
order & stain – in the evenings he
relaxes in the company of dead scrolls -”
– from “The Principles of Order & its Many Sadnesses”
ascribed to sheikh usoolan-fuzool, circa 53rd year of our forgetfulness
took to my roots
they claimed parsimony
a misspelt patrimony
a submission to the ordering of the other –
“An abhorrent sentimentality is
to ardor as angst is to the coffin’s
thievery” – attributed to the late
(ir)reverend bhakti seth
mir fakhr-e-doodhsiyahi, the
last soothnaysayer of Gujrat.
to eke harmony
order has to be hacked off
the ode must die
to speak tree
growthspurt will give way
the words of thisdom
the wound communes begins
to knead the agreements of