Saturday, December 29, 2007

No Intro, Just Read The Damned Thing


Fresh violence brought the death toll since Bhutto's assassination in a gun and bomb attack on Thursday to 40 . . . “

-- Zeeshan Haider/Reuters

The images drift before my eyes, silent
On the TV above the bar
Slowing, not stopping, my lunch of corned beef and beer.
Such a familiar sight, for the area,
Yet so unexpected:
The casket borne aloft
Like a chest containing an ancient relic,
So that every hand, each fingertip
Might have the chance for even a fleeting touch.
Yet this cargo is tossed on its ocean of human hands
As a crate slipped overboard
On a rough and perilous sea.
Does this honor the dead?

She is dead, she is dead,
My bartender agrees with me. Only
A matter of time, really, we conclude
Sadly enough. What does it mean?
What does it mean? We both wonder.
And yet our concurrences bring us no closer
To understanding. So it goes, so it goes,
In our great Democracy, so it goes.
What good does it do the State
For muscle to bear against muscle, limb
Against limb, if the net result is to tear muscles,
To dislocate joints, to rip
Limbs from their sockets.
Why bear strength against strength, if the only guaranteed outcome
Is chaos?
What did she live for? What did she die for?
Never mind; enter her name
In the book of her dead.

So it goes, so it goes; she is dead.
It has gone from rumor to report to fact,
From conspiracy to accusation.
This is what passes for democracy
In the land of the blind.
The voice of the people is a boom and a blast
And a continual shriek
Of injustice against injustice against injustice.
What good or harm she might have meant
Irrelevant now in the stream of blood
That measures time
As the days tumble from morning to night
Across the desert
And into the hills
And off into the bleak expanses
Of eternity.

Why did she live? Why did she die?
Never mind.
Mark her down in the book of the dead.


Friday, December 28, 2007

Look For Me In That New Category At This Year's Bloggies

I have got to be the world's worst blogger.

(And, honestly, I have never paid any attention to the Bloggies, so I don't even know if that would be a new category.)

I say this not because I don't update as often as I might, or because I am less than forthcoming, or even as a matter of popularity (I never, but never check my stats), but as a matter of pure practicality. I am a rotten blogger. I'm just not cut out for this whole blogging thing, really.

What comes next is probably going to sound egotistical as hell, and I want to assure you, all of you, I don't mean it that way at all.

I have never been a journal keeper, for two basic reasons: the first attempts I made at journal keeping were ill-conceived parts of bad lesson plans by well meaning teachers, which came off, to me, as punative. And since I just didn't feel like writing down all my problems in a nice, neat catalogue rather than dealing with them moment to moment (as was my preference), I often made the entries all up at the last minute. I often went so far as to use different color inks and such like to make good the dodge, for which I felt like a cheat and a mook. (Cheat because I was cheating, mook because I knew, really, that I wasn't fooling anybody.) One of the teachers said "Oh, well why didn't you just tell me you didn't want to do it?" (She'd have assigned alternate work.) One said it was mandatory the we keep current journal entries, chastised me in front of the class, and gave me an A on the journal component of the course at the end of the year.

The other thing was that there was that whole writing-is-therapy movement in the 70's, part of which I accepted, part of which bugged the crap out of me. Writing is theraputic for you? Helps you solve your problems, does it? Fine. Do I have to read it? Why me!? I'd really rather not.

That DOES NOT GO FOR nor does it REFLECT ANY OF THE BLOGGERS I READ. Just so we're clear on that. I wouldn't be reading (much less commenting) if I didn't care or wasn't interested. That means to reflect the mass-market self-help trade of the 70's. Which at times seemed to actively discourage creativity and encourage self-indulgence. Which to me defeated the whole purpose of writing. Perhaps that's all I ought to say about that.

But also, I think, I am not made for airing my grievances on the internet. In the first place, I don't really have alot of them, and secondly, what there are the Wife hears about first. So I think my entries come off as bland or impersonal. I get the sense that, where other bloggers seem to have thier own, well-established online persona, I come off more like a series of billboards along the information highway.

This is not to say I am going to stop doing it. No, not at all. It's mainly by way of frustration. We left the cameras at the Wife's folks' place Christmas day, and since I have not been able to post any pictures of food, so I have been reflecting on my blogging abilities in general. So here's an old picture of my 12 string acoustic guitars, each with his/her own personal nylon mesh strap.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Mook of the Week

So I been had.
The bottle purports to be McSorely's Ale, "Brewed in the tradition of Olde New York." It showed up in the local megamart recently, six bucks a six, so I gave it a shot.
"McSorely's!" I thought, "I know McSorely's!" McSorely's is the oldest ale-house in Manhattan. And yes, I've been there. (Once. I soooooooooo did not belong there. I am not oblivious enough to be a tourist there, and not snobby enough to be a New Yorker there. Then again, this was back in the 80's, so things are probably better there now. Hafta go find out one of these days.)
The McSorely's ale I bought? Made in Wilkes-Barre, PA. So it's a fake. Of course, I suspect that Wilkes-Barre (pronounced Wilkes-BERRY, for whatever goddamned reason) itself is also largely fake.
(The sandwich in the foreground is the Don't-Make-Me-Hurt-You PB&J, which is essentially a PB&J with twice as much PB&J as the bread can reasonably be expected to support structurally. The chips are Pringle's Select Sechuan BBQ Rice Crisps. For the record, the fake McSorely's fakety fake ale is a pretty good craft-style ale, which is to say you can do better, and you could easily do far worse. Still, I feel like a mook.)
And since I don't want to be posting yet another post almost abstractly concerned with food, here is the absolute latest, a poem about mortality.

The wisdom of the universe rolled up in a ball
And spun out at random into rush-hour traffic
Smiles on parchment faces and eyes grown deep as tea saucers
Limbs that angle out, joints sprung from years of service
To and from shops and birthday parties
And Christmases made of tissues
As thin and frisible
As the draperies covering bones grown brittle
With calcium and the wisdom of a lifetime
Spent out in the universe:
Old ladies scare the hell out of me.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

On A Lighter Note

As a musician friend of mine used to say, MERRY CHRISTMAS, DAMMIT!

Labels: , ,