Thursday, April 22, 2010

The History of Futurism

This is a standardized test
in the history of futurism
the vortex of vorticism
the Rubik's cube of cubism
the Boccionian continuity of unique forms in space
traces of a nude descending a staircase,
some Duchamps disingenue disarmed
by the porcelain art found
in a urinal. This is the story of the glacial pace
of educational reform, a summer snowstorm
above the clearcut
treeline, making an a-bee-cee-dee-line
in the number 2 graphite of the promised land.

How did P.T. Barnum do it?
How did he turn the schools into
the domain of trained seals
and dancing elephants, a chartreuse
box kite of groupthink
plutogoguery? How did he induce
this permanent state of slovenly
dishabille, simultaneously banal,
and surreal, free to think or feel
nothing beyond a curriculum
a light-second wide
and deep as a carpenter ant.
Where some Turkey born on Mt. Ararat
effervesces fulsomely about the infanta
flooding the world with Velasquez
and the rest of the conquerors, so there's no time
left for Juan de Pareja, or Sojourner
Truth, so there's no room
to consider inconvenient genocides.

Sometime. Sometime.
Sometime before you die there will be
a chance for you to boycott,
this gunshot, shotgun shackled demockracy,
boycott the snoring scar of feather-tar
platitude, boycott the Avagadro's number
of lies you were made
to memorize, before being apportioned
some small opportunity
to criticize.

Even surprise, after all may await
the first sign of winter
plumage, even surprise may not cease
from breastfeeding until it's well
into its teens, and the rote necessity demeans
creativity, the rote necessity teems with the deplorable
snoring passivity of Boer wars, and more wars,
and star wars, what's-in-the-store-wars
crocheting espionage with cactus needles
skirting the de-facto evil
of doing what you gotta do
saying what you gotta say
being what you gotta be
to get through.

By contrast
money is a McNeil River grizzly bear
with a mouthful of fishtailing,
not-much-longer-to-be-living salmon,
money has the Woodrow Wilson luxury
of playing Jesus Christ in some World War I
hall of mirrors Versailles.
Money has the option of buying the biggest
gun, reaping what it Clemenceau's.
Sometimes, sometimes, sometimes
you're the grizzly, but most of the time
you're the wiggle-tailed fish
no matter, no matter, no matter how much
you wish things were
otherwise, the all-too-well funded facts
abet your indecision and downward mobility
abet your studied imbecility
abet your drill pressed well oiled school ruled
facility of keeping the bunions of defeat
up against your own jugular.

You would have to quiz Einstein about the possibility
of living without Schwarzwalder kirschtorte, without
bittersweet chocolate, cherries, and whipped-cream schlagg,
about living without the fourth dimension
and what Picasso enclosed in those guitars and rose
colored gypsies, how he enclosed Gypsy
Rose Gaza Strippers, why he drank
espresso from fourth dimensional kiosks.
Ask not, ask not, ask not
what your Picasso can do for you, ask
not the smell of Venetian canals in summer.
We are just piazza pigeons cooled
by the fountain-mist of genius, we are
the fiddle-headed smoke curls
of recently snuffed votive candles. Suffocated
anacondas issued life jackets
of barbed wire. Oh Picasso,
I need Dramamine. Oh Einstein,
I need you to mention the Geneva conventions in
Guantanamo Bay. Need you to mention this
in the land where dissent is heard
only if it is ordained and brought to you
after a word from our Sponsor,
who art on Wall Street. Hallowed be thy
chain store curriculum, thy chain gang
brainwashing curriculum come
in the name of educational reform.
Give us this day our daily Oedipus
and his tragic flaw. Oedipus and his
tragic flaw, the man
who lives above the law,
the man who lives above the law
the man who lives above the law
is a motherfucking murderer.

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