Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Petroglyphs at Buffalo Eddy--Moonrise

the road from the world behind ends here
by the river
in the canyon
through the ryegrass
by the deer path

receding sun draws a curtain up the stone
still hot as fever on my hands
fingers trace the cupules and grooves
memory in my flesh in my bone

gray half-moon billows out
like a blanket in the wind
salmon ghosts thrum the whorls of the river
pebbles click down the mountain
down through the strata
down through the ryegrass
down to the water
the ancient bed

obsidian granite schist basalt
slabs shards shattered spine of the world
protrudes vertebral from the water
shaman shakes the double-headed staff
by the water
in the sunset
in the moonrise
by the ryegrass
in the canyon

oreamnos and white-tail leap from rock
hunters hurl atlatl darts
coyote howls a dark patina
great mother spearpoint pubis
opens arms breasts round as planets
her hips the twin horizons
moon over earth
in the evening
in the morning
by the ryegrass
on the deer path

desiccated bone glitters to dust
becomes sand becomes the river
becomes the soil at the meeting of waters
hearbeats ten millennia old
stretch across worlds
the pulse of a universe
a drum in the firelight
in the spirit-time
on the deer path
through the ryegrass
by the river

twins join hands pinwheel the stars
dance the dance of the water-rhythm
dance the dance of the salmon-thrash
dance the dance of the camas root
dance the dance of the hunters’ hunt
dance the dance of the old moon new
dance the dance of the seasons turning
dance the dance of the mother’s blood

in the spinning
in the embers flying skyward
days and nights flash by
like clapping hands
rocks split and tumble into talus
ryegrass grows then withers
like a woman’s hair

vortex in the water
down and down through earth
through flesh
in the canyon
on the deer path
through the ryegrass
by the half-moon
in the sunset
in the firelight
in the moonrise
by the river

Saturday, December 24, 2011

eMgram: Find a Christmas

in the bass-bell rhythm
of the radio box
in the swaddling clothes
of wanderers in homeless streets

in the red light window
through loudspeaker voice

stoplight blur
red green red green
primary colors
in the non-stop rain

together with the stars
sky-high windows
flare like comets
these astral evening hours

child is born
squalls through storm
gives form to december desire

in a cheap motel
in the neon night
clenched fist opens
eyes grow bright

Friday, December 16, 2011

Without a Hitch

As Christopher Hitchens' atoms mingle with the cosmos, I cannot come close to this offering from his friend Chris Buckley. Farewell.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Rx for Occupy

You have most of us largely on your side, at least as far as these points are concerned:

Corporate influence and money determines political outcomes. The system is corrupt. Massive inequity exists.

The next logical extension is this: how do you address these issues, and where do you go from here?

The current tactics you employ, those of the pure revolutionary, will not work--at least in the context of American society. Look to your progenitors that succeeded to some degree. The Civil Rights movement did not advance by arming themselves against the police or the government. They succeeded in the American consciousness in those images from the Edmund Pettus bridge, where firehoses and dogs were loosed on people who simply demanded their legitimate rights. Therefore, eschew offensive confrontation. Stop throwing bricks at the police. Most of us recognize the police as a necessary element of society. As you yourself observed at the onset of the encampment at Zuccotti Park, the police are part of the 99%. Let their overreaction redound to your benefit, as the students at UC Davis did, by bowing your heads and taking abuse. You will accrue sympathies. Be aware that your actions determine our perception. Learn some basic PR. Reject the rhetoric of your fringe would-be co-opters, like the SWP, who refer to police as "legalized killers."

Develop a legislative agenda. There are currently eleven drafts extant in Congress of a proposed 28th Amendment to nullify Citizen's United, which established corporations as people, and money as speech. These issues have built-in popular appeal, and champions to make them happen. Attach yourselves to these.

Draft a slate of candidates for office that reflect these values. The most nationally visible of these, currently, is a Republican--former Louisiana Governor and representative Buddy Roemer. Find your own.  Concentrate on local and state legislatures. Draft candidates for Congress. Participate. And oh, are you registered to vote? Expressing your rage without these channels is sound and fury, nothing else. It may make you feel better--for a while. Without a practical path, rage will either seep away or spin out of control. It is not sustainable.

Abandon your purity. Your version of democracy, an admirably pristine one that may have made sense in tribal enclaves, village squares, or town halls, is impractical and irrelevant on a national or global scale. By clinging to it, you consign yourself to obscurity. Work with what exists, and do not concern yourself with what should be. Focus on movement towards a goal, not wholesale implementation of an unrealistic one. The revolution you seek simply will not happen, not here. Deal with it. If you persist in your present course, the greatest goal you could attain would be chaos, the fall of an entire system with nothing concrete to replace it--which could lead to your greatest fear, authoritarianism.

Build bridges with constituencies that are already organized. Your natural allies exist in labor, civil rights organizations, and advocates for the dispossessed. They have been in place for many years, and will open access to a much broader movement. Yours is an insular and isolated movement, perhaps popular in principle, but not yet truly populist. Again, abandon your purity and join the real world.

Use your tools and considerable organizational abilities in hypermedia to facilitate and advertise coalitions. Another natural breeding ground exists on college campuses. Students shutting down a campus to protest tuition hikes is far more effective than closing a freeway and pissing off your potential allies in the middle class.

And please recognize this lesson from history: the melee in Chicago in August of 1968 and the "Days of Rage" in October of  '69 granted two terms to Richard Milhous Nixon. Your actions entail responsibility for their consequences.

Don't screw this up.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Obama's Slogan for 2012

If I were Axelrod, I would put this on the signs and stickers: FAIRNESS. It worked with HOPE, and it's the best shot now. Please reference the Kansas speech in the previous post. Go ahead, get some coffee. Discuss.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Occupy: Long Range Forecast

An unusual weather occurence, here in Rain City: an inversion has settled in, trapping a layer of cold beneath a stalled high-pressure system. The result is unseasonably frigid temperatures, a welcome lack of rain, and a continuous haze of fog and hydrocarbons. Glorious toxic sunsets. Most local mammals are hibernating.

Occupy in my city is no exception. It has stored up some reservoir of  energy from its brief time in the sun. It is somewhat somnolent, drowsing and diminished. But in warm dens, its respiration continues, the heart still beats.

Understand, please, that I come to this not through any distinct ideological sympathies. It has been my pointed attempt from the beginning to remain an observer, to look at Occupy as a phenomenon, not as something I agree or disagree with, and not something I have identified with an ideological label in order to oppose or support it.

I monitor their websites, and I have talked to local campers a number of times. They will freely dispute with the good ole Seattle SWP, whose history goes back to the IWW, and the infamous Everett Massacre of 1916. They steadfastly refuse to align with them or with unions, or with Democrats. They have no discernible organizers. They operate through a sort of group consciousness committed to a few basic ideas and principles. If this is some defined ideology, I fail to see what taxonomic identification can be attached to it. The "Battle in Seattle," which I observed from several city blocks away, was anarchy, a riot. It was a crowd of disparate identity that became a mob. Occupy is not a mob, at least not yet.

On top of all that, they are very smart and very versed in the organic network we know as Hypermedia. Drawing direct analogies between this movement and the Arab Spring, or indeed a global unrest we have recently seen both in Britain and in Russia, to name just a few, is simplistic. At least one commonality, however, is the power of our now ubiquitous brain tools, which have led to a different type of organizing, one that those of us locked in our elderly bubbles are not as practiced in utilizing.

The Long Range Forecast: In Rain City, we know how to hunker for five months. But we also know that spring lies ahead. And with spring, the local mammals begin to stir. They come outside, throng the streets, and buy more sunglasses than any other city in this country.

I'm fairly certain that this seasonal expansion will be even more intense in warmer climes. There are tremendous implications for this through next summer and into the autumn, which is, I believe, the season that contains an election. I have some speculations about the tactical morphing that may occur, but that will wait for another time.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

eMgram: From the Edge of the Road

A meditation on motion, perspective, and the illusion of stasis.

concrete splits the countryside
across glacial moraine
divides declivity from acclivity
exposes old sandstone strata

each curve seems smooth
a genteel gray gravity
a cautious centrifugal pull

seen from space
the road describes
the jagged fractal pattern
of a serriform leaf
genus aceraceae

blades of sawtooth grass
sprout from sand and soil
alluvial sediment from a riverbed
twelve thousand years old

roots reclaim the calcite clay
and gravel of the road at a pace
that only seems like stasis

forty yards from the edge of oil
the femur of a brown marmot
fossilizes to limestone nodules

an imagined camera
placed in that relative reality
would capture my passing
as a blurred blue retinal afterimage

the dilated fixed pupil
the cancerous cornea
sends spores to the wind
again and again

on the event horizon that extends
from the edge of the road
carbon atoms conspire
in the novae of neurons