Erasure

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You can write an epistemology about anything in your life, or nothing, with or without a security guard or a stolen telephone or a little black book at a lost and found desk in a college dormitory or in the lobby of an elegant hotel or in a dirty but somewhat reasonable youth hostel in Europe, in Paris or further east in Prague or even Turkey, and you can pour it on with poetic language, with the blood and sweat of metaphor, of lives lost and found only to be lost and found again and again until a final loss, the last check-out, just past the lobby or upstairs in one of the beds (the eyes of the security guard however wet or dry and how they move or remain unmoved), and then you can rewrite it neatly and cross out all the words or even erase them—make them almost only just a little bit visibly lost—and then leave your epistle somewhere, perhaps where the words won’t be found.

Dust

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If they throw rocks, be
thankful they lack boulders.

Don’t just run away. And don’t fret
the rock-dust on your shoulder.

When somebody somewhere
gets away with unjust harm,

shake but don’t just shake
the rock-dust from your arm.

If a family doesn’t like you,
don’t worry. Just pipe down.

It’s on them. Shake the 
rock-dust from your frown.

In Washington, London, Gaza—
wherever they cast the vote—

emote, but take heed and know
when to not rock the dusty boat.

Whenever you go, wherever it is, 
whoever awaits where you meet,

Let the rocks fall as rocks may, then
shake off the dust from your feet.

The Falconer

afterThe Second Coming" by William Butler Yeats
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Turning and turning in the widening gyre,
the people remaining watched the war
to end all wars lead to a more
defining war; and since, the roads to war—
the roads that once converged—have diverged
across the hemispheres, little wars
made big; Cold, Falklands, Vietnam, Iraq.

If we could only say any of it were
anything new, that a golden city
truly awaited. The fairest, most
magnificent, wealth equally distributed
to all that were free to work or worship
or just exist sort of city—if and
only if. The boys in Guantanamo
and Abu Ghraib are finding their way,
spreading out, diverging with their message. 

It’s sort of whistling in the wind, but
the falcon cannot hear the falconer.

Nothing is Original

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Nothing is original. At the turn of another century toots from horns and the rat-a-tat-tat of a snare merged in New Orleans. Just brass and drum. The word jazz wasn’t even original.

Nothing is original. President Kennedy promised a man on the moon. Plastics and tin foil did the job, a million innovative copies glued together, ideas glued with human glue. A fulfilled promise is nothing new.

Communism is despotism tweaked, a godlike government coddling babies by force. Despotism is the block bully stealing bikes. Capitalism is the opium dealer just released from a Chinese prison. A band of toughs enforces his “diplomacy.”

Computers are televisions built from more human glue, typewriters and toys and radios and nowadays, weapons and air conditioners and satellites.

An air conditioner is a virgin with a fan and a block of ice.

Electricity is lightning in a box. Lighting is visible on other planets, seen through instruments that imitate our own eyes.

Beyond the lightning planets are more planets, and beyond them, more suns and lights and nothing is original.

The Americans

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On the fourth day of July of each year the Americans gather in the late morning on the edge of Brooklyn in a dilapidated amusement park.

The frankfurter ritual begins. Nitrate-packed cylindrical meat tubes on potato rolls no ketchup no mustard no relish no onion little taste dipped in cups of water to lessen the bread’s volume imbibed by the dozen by a dozen or so men and women alike not eating but filling their stomach containers with rubbish praying they aren’t the first to pop to lose focus to overflow until one of them a non-American or an American with an amusing alias is the only one left the only one still eating the final freak an exceptional excessive the Sun King of the Summer a 4th of July champion.

The rest are impressed. They celebrate independance.

Romanticism

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A storm of personal emotion, like a named hurricane spinning up the coast, divining what and where to destroy on the 4th of July, about to unleash its terror.

A storm of personal emotion, like the orthodontists convention trapped with little paper umbrellas at the hotel breakfast bar on a 4th of July about to unleash its terror.

A storm of personal emotion, like the weathermen on-call realizing they never secured their boats—whether or not they disappoint won’t change much on a 4th of July about to unleash its terror.

A storm of personal emotion, like those of us remaining on the 5th, never sure about what shouldn’t be taken for granted, never to recall the name Arthur on future 4ths of July.

(image: Francisco  de Goya y Lucientes, Saturn Devouring one of his Sons mural transferred to canvas,  (146 x 83 cm), Prado Museum, Madrid)

On Reading Poetry Aloud in A Very Loud World

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From my hill, the great aural mysteries are indiscernible. I can’t think myself hear.

Somewhere poetry is clearly read and truly, remarkably heard. Inside a vacuum in outer space, or in laboratories of great technological concern, like CERN. Under the border separating France and Switzerland, microscopic poetry particles supercollide. Poetic scientists discern for us reasons to forge ahead, the physics of non-physicality—revolutionary audible undertakings, high-tech poetic understandings.

I’ll wait for them.

From my hill, I look down on the freeway. It is very loud. I’m ready to be heard, waiting for my ears to pop. Ready for everything to explode.