Friday, October 31, 2008

he hopes
it's an
& not a
he &

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I have a dream

It seems an appropriate time, on the cusp of a momentous occasion, to post a few extracts from the greatest speech I have heard (albeit via TV), that given by Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered on 28 August 1963, at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington D.C.

But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so, we've come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.

We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.

And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."

I have a dream today!

The full text & video can be found here.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Notes before finally blacking out, Part 2

I, like many others around the world, have held for as long as I can remember a dualistic attitude towards the United States, splitting it, as it were, into a cultural aspect & a geopolitical aspect.

Culturally, I have admired & been influenced by much of the art, music, literature, dance, cinema & theatre that the U.S. has produced. Geopolitically, I regard it as a bully of the highest order—arrogant, self-serving & -centered, resorting to blackmail to force other world States to support its prevailing views, uninterested in the long-term consequences of its actions.

If we take the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima & Nagasaki as the beginning of the modern age, since then we have seen the U.S. refuse to recognize Ho Chi Minh as the legitimate nationalist ruler of an entire country, an act which basically sowed the seeds of the Vietnam War; refuse to recognize the legitimacy of Castro's Cuba; refuse to recognize the Ayatollah Khomeini as a legitimate leader of Iran; support Saddam Hussein in Iraq's subsequent war with Iran; support Israel but not recognize the right of the Palestinians to their own state; support the Mujahideen against the USSR in Afghanistan & so essentially create & train the Taliban; support the corrupt regime in Saudi Arabia solely to ensure oil supplies were guaranteed & through that act trigger the resistance that eventually became Al Qaida; depose Allende in Chile. They are just some examples. A much more extensive list, some of which, I admit, I would quibble with, can be found here.

These acts were done by both major political parties, so there is no case for allocating blame to one or the other. & for much of the time, there was sufficient strength in the U.S. to be able to support a reasonably stable world, to support the view that the U.S. was genuinely interested in maintaining what it called democracy & that it, itself, was also a democracy. But the vision has been corrupted of late by greed; these days, war is perceived as a legitimate business opportunity; it is no longer the nation as a whole that is being looked after, just the loudest lobbyists.

When the Administration is strong, it can hold those groups at bay or, at least, in balance. But when the Administration is weak, & those lobby groups have extreme influence, or when the President is a puppet with a Svengali pulling the strings, then implosion is the likely outcome.

Had Al Gore challenged the 2000 election results in all the Florida electoral districts, instead of just selecting a few to dispute, then we might be living in a different world, with a stronger U.S. But he didn't; & ever since, Bush has been pursuing his—I did what Daddy couldn't—& his cronies personal agendas; & the result is we are living in a world that is terrorized & terrifying. Even now, yesterday in fact, with economies in turmoil, Bush is still bleating that a free market, without regulations, is the way to go.

McCain strikes me as being more of the same, & as for his running mate.....& that brings me to the core of my concern: how can a significant portion of the population of the U.S. seriously believe that this pair are equipped to run the country, to halt the ever-gathering momentum of its slide into mediocrity?

I hate to say this, but, after the buffoonery & ineptitude of Bush, voting McCain/Palin in would confirm the ridiculousness of a once-great country. Plus plunge it into disaster. Obama offers the hope of change, & the potential to turn things around. It's going to be a tough ask, but I believe he has the ability & the goodwill of a goodly number of able people to be able to pull it off.

still in Iowa......

Spencer Selby
Mark 08

Saturday, October 25, 2008

This ain't no gold-plated trumpet that I'm playing—it's a frugalhorn!

My cheap expensive shot for the day at the wannabee veepee.

It's bad enough spending $150,000 on clothes that you're going to wear, but when they're bought not to be worn.......

"Mrs Palin said the clothes were not worth $US150,000 and were bought for the Republican National Convention. Most of the clothes have never left the campaign plane, she said.

"'That whole thing is just, bad,' she said. 'Oh, if people only knew how frugal we are.'"

I'm amazed

by how much an ezine holds.

Have just finished doing the collations for the print editions of issue ten of Otoliths. Ended up with 192 pages in the b&w Part One, 100 pages in the color-based Part Two. They should be available from Lulu within the fortnight.

War & Peace, eat yr heart out!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Life is made
up of short
poems that
make sense
only as stand-
alone pieces.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Palin drones

"All the while, Palin's stoutest defenders are often the Joe Sixpacks in her crowds, who shrug off her critics, ridiculers and perceived adversaries in the news media. They say they appreciate Palin for, above all else, how 'real' and 'like us' she is."

The drones' main function is to be ready to fertilize a receptive queen.

Notes before finally blacking out. Part One.

I was born five weeks before Pearl Harbor. That means I have lived during the terms of twelve U.S. Presidents, from FDR onwards. I guess I'll make it to No.13.

It also means that I have seen the death of Empire as a concept, & its replacement by Superpower. The latter is not be confused with Superbowl, although the underlying principle of a pissing contest is common to both.

Truman was the first President I was conscious of, though only vaguely, & perhaps only through later imposition of perceived memory. I was definitely aware of Eisenhower.

I was aware of the Cold War. My sister's boyfriend went off to fight in Korea. I knew of the Berlin Airlift. The Russian Embassy was across the road from where we lived in Wellington; I saw the protests about the quelling of the Hungarian Uprising.

My perceptions of the U.S. were colored by comics, Hollywood, jazz, the crime novels of Chandler & Hammett, science fiction, rock, a composite milieu that, in the main, contrasted with the glaze of Norman Rockwell on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post, the spin-doctoring of the Luce publishing empire & its Time & Life figureheads.

Somwhere in all this, I read dos Passos' USA trilogy, Steinbeck. I still haven't worked out why my brother had them.

I was vaguely aware of Joe McCarthy & his witch-hunts. Spying was big, Communism the spawn of the AntiChrist. We'll get back to that a little later on.

Dienbienphu & Algeria brought down the French empire but they still continued nuclear testing in the Pacific, not so far away from little old New Zealand. The U.S. refused to support the Vietnamese nationalist leader who drove the French out, Ho Chi Minh, because he had communist tendencies. Look how that ended up.

The U.S. didn't learn. They refused to support the Cuban nationalist leader, Fidel Castro, because he had communist tendencies. They preferred the Mafia. Crime was something they understood.

The U.S. came to believe they owned most of the world, & what they didn't own would be overcome by Captalism, the U.S. answer to the other big C. Anybody who spoke out against them was punished.

China didn't exist. It's the political version of the ostrich principle—don't recognize them & maybe they'll go away. Look how that turned out.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

I'm / beginning to / see the light


Today the
postman brought
me a letter from
Leonardo da
Vinci. I had
to reflect on it
for quite some
time before
I was able to
draft a reply. I'll
be so glad when
he gets around
to getting an
email account.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Who the picture of McCain reminds me of

Hokey Pokey, Do the

For the benefit of those aurally-challenged people in the audience, John McCain signs the underlying message of his campaign—"I'm a dickhead."

From making light via Wood's Lot. &, just to show it's genuine, there's links at both sites to the YouTube video of these final few post-3rd but not yet off-camera debate seconds.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Maybe it's because McCain reminds Australians of ex-Prime Minister John Howard—the same old & tired arrogance, out-of-touchness, not to be trusted, vacuity, neither style nor substance, Bush puppetness, who not only lost the last election decisively but also lost his own electoral seat, something that I think only one Australian P.M. had ever managed to do before—but in a recent poll, asked who they would vote for if they could vote in the getting close now U.S. Presidential elections, 85% of those reponding said they would vote for Obama.

An arrogant seasonal hay(na)ku

& humility—
can't stand either.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

These days

I confront the computer with trepidation. Nothing comes easy, at best. At worst, nothing comes.
      or drifting
            or drifted away

Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Cultural Revolution

Shi Xinning
Duchamp Retrospective Exhibition (2000-2001)

Long after The
Long March,
Mao finds ready-
made refreshment
at the Fountain
of R. Mutt—how
I wish I had
come up with
this ficcione.

My thanks to the wonderful & always informative Vitro Nasu for bringing this to my attention.

& a bit more information.....
"The first of Xinning's Mao paintings, "Duchamp Retrospective Exhibition" (2000-2001), immediately became a classic. It was a triumph of free artistic creation, a vehement challenge to the reduction of art to the propagandist socialist realism that had been practiced for decades, even after Mao's death. In Shi's works Mao is required to be and do what he denied his people; he becomes a dedicated protagonist of political events in the capitalist West, and lounges in a bourgeois manner next to high-society beauties on sofas or in villa gardens."
Excerpt from a text by Ulrike Münter, "Burned into the Collective Memory: Mao Zedong - The presence of the past in the paintings of Shi Xinning".

Though I did write this a couple of years ago

The Mao ficcione

Mao Zedong as he
is now known
started the Long March
with 100,000 followers
& three movies. When
they reached Shanxi
there were only
8000 people &
one movie left. Loss of
faith, starvation, accidents
& the continual harrassment
by Jiang Jie Shi’s
Guomindang army
accounted for the attrition. The
two movies — The Battleship
& Les Enfants du
— were lost when
a landslide carried
the mule that was carrying them
away. Stagecoach was the
only one to survive; but,
fortunately, the pedal-powered
generator that provided
the electricity also
made it through un-
scathed. It is said
that by the end of the
March all the survivors
knew every word of the script
by heart. There is a poem
of Mao’s that starts:
“The long shadow
of John Ford
guards the entrances
to the Shanxi Caves.” That
Zhou Enlai who
drove the generator
is equally revered is
evidenced by the number
of bicycles in China today.

One of the 400 or so poems selected by Thomas Fink for my Pelican Dreaming: Poems 1959-2008.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

a definition

palin drone

a speech that makes no sense read either forwards or backwards
word whose
parts are possibly

in the wrong

Monday, October 06, 2008

the / rise & / rise of p.o.d.

Actually, not everything. But color books—phew!

Have received an email from "the founder & ceo of lulu" saying that the printing cost of Lulu's books is being changed. It's minimally going to affect b&w, but the cost per page of color books is being increased by a third.

Back to the abacus!

(I suppose I could sign this "the funder & chief cook & bottlewasher of otoliths.")

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Today the
postman brought
me a blow up
Sarah Palin
doll. Oops,
I'd better add
a hyphen be-
fore the postman
brings me Home-
land Security.

A reminder

that submissions for issue eleven of Otoliths close just before the end of this month.

The full guidelines can be found here.

Friday, October 03, 2008

The False Mirror

Given a list
of words. Asked
to repeat them
back. A test
for veridical
memory. Eye,
reflection, looking-
& cheval-glass,
sky. Alice. All
synonyms of. Or.
Associated with.
Not included. Her
initial answer. The
thought made
visible. Mirror.

who / Sarah Palin / reminds me of

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Poems / I'd like / to cover #2

      —by Robert Desnos
I have dreamt so much of you
that you lose your reality.
Is there still time to touch that living body
     & to kiss on its mouth the birth
     of the voice that is so dear to me?
I have dreamt so much of you
that my arms, grown accustomed to crossing
     each other on my chest as I embrace
     your shadow, might perhaps be unable
     to hold & enfold your body;
&, confronted with the actual presence
     of that which haunts me & has
     ruled me for days, for years,
I would, without doubt, become a shadow.
O sentimental scales in which we balance.
I have dreamt so much of you that it must
     be past the time for me to wake.
     Though standing / I am asleep, my body
     open to all appearances of life & love; &
     you, the only one who matters to me today —
     I am less likely to touch your face & lips
than the first lips & face that come along.
I have dreamt so much of you
walked so much, talked, slept with your ghost
     that there only remains to me perhaps, for
     all that, to be ghost amongst the
     ghosts & shadow a hundred times more
     than the shadow which walks & will
     walk gaily on the sundial of your life.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

is / middle America / near Middle Earth?

“Advisers said that.....opponents patronised Mrs Palin at their peril. 'She continues to be a huge asset who speaks directly to the middle American voter that the media so often ignore.'"
Will I be eaten by orcs if I continue to patronise her?