Friday, September 24, 2010

Landscaping the Gated Community's Factory Farm

Keep a fire burnin' in your eye,
pay attention to the open sky,
you never know what will be
comin’ round.
---- Jackson Browne

'Fleissig' the Germans christen it.
At first hearing I
thought it the manic, agitated,
continuous, pointless, franticness of a fly.
Fly-sig -- lighting, darting, buzzing,
circling -- literally, industriousness.
As busy implies busy-ness, so both
industry and then industriousness.
The activity in question
a dedication to motion, activity
for the sake of nothing
but activity. The root notion is one
of spreading --- and this allies
etymologically with strewing, straw,
structure, construction, stratagem,
stratocracy, perestroika, bremsstrahlung, prostrate
and street --- the chief architect of contemporary

Again, with landscape we are nearly
at a dead
end. Find only the root 'lendh'
implying OPEN land, see connected only
island, home-land, hinterland,
lawn and the more obscure
auslander. Perhaps this suffices
to demonstrate the innate
contradiction of 'landscape' and 'industrial',
that the groaning,
commercial weighting of the land with titanic
furnaces, smokestacks, and thousand
acre walls, the boutique gift-wrap
retail shopping mall good
cop to the Love Canal bad
cop and his rusting skull
and crossbones steel drums --- that
the sprawl or razor-
wire and cyclone-
fence handcuffing ownership to the bureaus
of land-title, spread out only to close the
what-in-its-essence only is
when open; the open-ness of land.

I begin again.
Imagine a prison
and, following Hamlet,
a prison within
a prison. What then do you mean
by escape? Did you ever know
captivity before release
and had I chosen
my metaphor (or is it an allegory) differently,
perhaps a cave within
a cave, would this ensnare me
in a plagiarism of Plato, and then
what Shakespeare and his
play within
a play. I have heard it called a founding
myth that the founding fathers
gazed out on panoramas of virgin
land. The Romans were more honest
in tracing their empire
to an entire community
of Sabine rape. The Chumash
farmed Pacific shores with fire
long before the constitutional
liars invented their conspiracy of one-sided
equality. And so the dialog of vegetation
with the human
animal -- everything from the germination
of wildflowers to the age
of forests was a poem
of our-kind's construction for
generations untold --- but an industry with living,
breathing blueprints, with margins of
error and toleration -- breathing room,
negotiated without the distant
dictatorship of imperial
jurisprudence written
in irrevocable ink. How are we
to think of how we might
have thought without the Guttenberg
technology? The press gang of the printing
press has stolen our within without
our knowing. How close the words
library, liberty, and liberation? How,
shy of Oedipal blinding, free
ourselves of reading? (Not just the deed
but the ability?) Can you
see no prison here and who made
the decision? Were you
competent to decide? How
affix a signature to choose
either for or against
literacy? And once the ability
to write and read has stolen from the stolen
land into and about you how
undo, how even begin to un-
do the exponentiating corrosion of epidemic
industry, construction and production?
How regulate the consternating
avalanche of regulation, where
even the sky --- air rights, flight
plans, stationary orbits in outer space ---
are obliged to written

There are heights no wings can fathom. Beyond air
buoyancy ceases and so
even flying resembles freedom
only within
limits. There is always the reciprocal
of intention, by convention we open
the frontier only
to close it. Once
opened to closing
everything --- the planet's constriction,
conscription becomes itself
conception and we prevene
to stage even authenticity. The tide
suffers its reflection
from the breakwall of intended
escape, while the gargantuan lifeless
hulks move on to manufacture
imagination, construct
the information of their own
perpetuation where everything is
owned and bartered even freedom,
conceived as nothing
beyond question.

Friday, September 17, 2010


When the hospital called,
desperate to find you,
I guessed what it was,
and gave them your cell.
When the phone rang,
two minutes later,
I didn’t have to guess.
A trap door opened
into a place you had,
without knowing it,
been preparing for
all your life.

It just so happened
the nearest exit was
the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
As you scrambled to
regain your breath
from the decision
to intubate
your father,
I couldn’t help imagining
the floodlit glass pyramid
where you startled
at your own inability
to shiver.

Once again, I was reminded of my regret
that electrons
cannot give hugs.

Now, as you cancel
the land-line that has protected
you your entire life ---
fifty years at the same number,
these words
are my hug.

Friday, September 10, 2010


When compelled, speak of death in the voice of beginnings ended and never ending, endings both begun and unbegun, but explain only what you know and know totally. Unqualified. Completely.

Leave in it no room to be doubted, no questions as troubling as space, no deceptions or half-deceptions half so puzzling as time. Pitch it in no key requiring tense. Dis-place it from moment, from history. Bereave it, and leave it bereft, from any contingency, from all that might not have been, from all that is or was, of might. Render only the soundings whose knots you've fully fathomed.

Extol such truths as will outlive it; dwell there only in what is not and never can be, degraded. Of the pure word beyond hope and passion, of the pure thought, beyond word or deed, of the pure feeling, beyond thought, without need, speak of these in the glimmervoice of ocean skin, the gossip of waves, the murmur of rote, frenzy of froth in the lull. Stammer in the hoven tremble of gullwings, the urgent surges of well-heaves authorizing heaven.

After this, will you still have need of tears? Will the sand befriend your tears like an army of desert skeletons dressed in jewels, a throng of vultures for choir? And where will you find the jeweler of these bones?

Should your voice devour the sun, or capsize a thundercloud, if your lips provoke an asteroid, and your lungs unseat the moon, make answer from the windburned hemorrhage of sunset, kisses blown to the ivory stars, armor spun from mirrored rain.

Divulge all the zeroes in infinity and the infinity of every zero, divulge it in speech of encrypted simplicity, in the paradox of a truth unexpressably expressed, unmissably missed, unjustifiably justifiable, that both does as it doesn't, exist.

For no moment pretend this will repair the crazed blossoms of grievance, pacify the glower of ill-used daisies, rebut the winter's cremations; no words will ever ransom bread from the oven, or clay from the kiln. It is not given to us to sedate the sob in its hurricane, nor to furlough the sweat on its guillotine, nor to decoy for the fragile eternity of one single light-second the incinerator's glowing greed.

No purpose beyond tingeing the whispering lens-glass with hints of meaningful color. To sheath the hopeless fracture in the cushioning plumage of river-snow.

For the sea affords no coronations, accounts no single drop king. Each moves as well as the next, in every and its own direction, knowing that it is the breakwall that is broken, as the moving instant opens on unbordered horizons, where shine spears the void, refuting nothing, with compassion, in each eternal act, of choice.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Downsize Blues

You know I worked my whole damn lifetime.
Since I was ten plus two.
Worked like that was all there was,
now what I'm supposed to do?
Cuz I been downsized.
I got them downsize blues.
Although I'm upwardly mobile,
I got them downsize blues.

On the job before sunrise,
home after Letterman's through,
worked every weekend and holiday,
until I got the news,
that I been downsized.
I got them downsize blues.
Now if profits are shooting up,
why I got downsize blues?

CEO says lean and mean,
next thing he's leanin' on you,
means to take your job away,
expects that you'll approve,
or you'll be downsized,
you'll get them downsize blues.
Now its a corporate phenomenon,
you'll get them downsize blues.

Billions in stock options,
golden parachutes,
tellin' me that more is less,
but more is for the few,
that's why I'm downsized,
I got them downsized blues,
now if profits are rocketing,
why I got downsized blues?

There's something I keep wonderin',
it's got me pretty confused,
if all this work has disappeared,
what work is left to do,
after you're downsized,
you got those downsize blues.
You know somebody's gettin' rich,
but you got downsize blues.
You may have upscale ambitions,
but you got them downsize blues.