December 23, 2011

Explanations are metaphors


Explanations are metaphors
we understand through approximation
experience short-circuits understanding
and we re-establish perspective through analogy
if one thing, or experience, is not like
another, what then is it like?
it is like itself but this explains nothing
we might say it is a question of
language, of wanting to explain
of wanting to understand
it is a question of desire
when you want
you want to know what and why
why and what happens next
requiring explanations
with no explanations there is nothing
therefore metaphors are the
engines of our heart
or the opposite
an empty heart can only be filled
therefore metaphors are the rusty armor
that paralyze experience
I’ve never used the word heart
in a poem before
and I’m realizing now
it is no coincidence it appears
among concerns of explanation
and metaphor
the technical heart pumps blood
but our own blood
is not what we crave


December 20, 2011

It feels like being a loser


It feels like being a loser
everything, especially writing this poem
everything the same as nothing
(if you want something you can’t have,
and want it all the time, it’s equally
dissatisfying as wanting it never)
this feeling of being a loser
buys into a set of social values I am
completely against
but I feel it, the feelings we feel
reject and feel again
and accept, reject and feel again
with everything I am asked
to do, I ask myself: do I have a choice?
in what way do I have a choice?
I see the winners, the bullies
the assholes, and reject them
wondering if they are happier
and see myself, reject myself too
the world, what is the
world apart from this world
we have created
it is many, many things
it is everything and we
so rarely see it
it is everything, at least
for a few more hours
this feeling of being a loser
of everything, much like
the many things
already lost


December 19, 2011

Performing, tradition and politics


To feel like a trained performing monkey
is normal enough in my profession
if one can say that it's normal to feel

when bad ideas become traditions
we call it modernity
in this time when traditions barely last

if art is a mirror to society, of politics
than it is no wonder all this art sucks
there is the painful sucking and the pleasurable kind

why not both? the constant search for a
third way, as every third is folded back into
the second or first, into one trivial substance

too tired to fight, the exhaustion keeps fighting without us
a discussion needs neither a beginning nor end
an aphorism requires little more than brevity


December 18, 2011

Obsessing over the ramifications of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act. (A moment in history.)


In the bright light of day, the United States becomes a lawful fascist state.

Finally American citizens can legally be treated in the same spirit that America treats everyone else, in the spirit of American foreign policy, as if they were part of the world they are destroying.

Evil rich people caught in moments of fake compassion.

When something exists it must be used. (Because nuclear weapons exist, sooner or later they must be used, to justify their existence.)

Obsessing over the ramifications. Feeling a paranoia that verges on perfection. McCarthyism times three trillion. So many lives ruined on a million of the flimsiest pretexts. Not tomorrow. Soon enough.

I wrote paranoid poems before and came to the conclusion there was no point. I wanted to write for the future, in that spirit: as if there was a future to write for. I wanted to say to the future: We saw it all happening. We knew it was terrible. We knew our culture was criminal. We felt powerless.

I want to ask the future how it feels but this might be the single stupidest thing I’ve ever written. Wanting solutions from the future is little more than a sign of despair. There is only now and we must find whatever small solutions we can within the present.

Wondering if – today, tomorrow, some time in the next twenty years – it’s possible for me to write something that will cause me to be arrested, whisked away, taken somewhere secret for an indefinite period, tortured. I know it is and at the same time know it isn’t. Wondering if anything might happen because I’m writing this now. Wondering about consequences.

It probably won’t be me. I'm too ineffective. It will be someone else. Again and again. Closer and closer. How much longer will it take before we feel it with every breath?

There have been so many turning points, each one turning towards the worst, spinning. We are dizzy from them.

I still like listening to music.


December 12, 2011

Early Notes (Perverse Curating)


The meta-questions play free bird.

I'm a failure here myself.

Bestseller on the topic of spectacular sexual failure.

Guitar solos of spectacular width and brevity.

The meta-questions play startled stallion.


December 11, 2011

Debt is the perversion of a promise.


Debt is the perversion of a promise, a promise that has been perverted through mathematics and violence. I’m not saying mathematics is bad, but the combination of mathematics and violence is extremely bad. A debt is a promise to give a certain sum of money, in a certain amount of time, under certain conditions. It is a contract that is ultimately enforceable through the threat of force. The problem is that through a genuinely perverse historical alchemy, we’ve come to see such acts of violence as the very essence of morality.

- David Graeber

[The rest of the interview can be found here.]


December 4, 2011

Fundamental to our understanding of making art is the fact one is frequently misunderstood.


Fundamental to our understanding of making art is the fact one is frequently misunderstood. /// But how misunderstood should one allow oneself to be? /// Comedy should not be mistaken for bitterness, yet mostly that is the well from which it springs. /// If one is understood too much it might also feel like a misunderstanding. /// Like an x-ray that sees us as we really are (by seeing straight through us.) /// Critical analysis can be like that x-ray, what it sees is not precisely what is there, both more and less. /// X-ray as a kind of misunderstanding, looking too specifically as a way of mis-seeing. /// But these are not the misunderstandings I meant. /// Anything can be said to concern anything. /// It is not assumed that the artist accurately knows what he or she means. /// There is always the desire to find the meaning behind the intention. /// The advertiser knows the exact intention of his or her work, but the artist does not. /// Yet the artist has an excess of intention. /// Within the very nature of this excess there is a gap, and it is this gap that interpretation seeks to fill. /// It is like a person where you wonder if you really get them, if there is in fact more to get, what they are holding back. /// They are a person but you are an x-ray. /// As if wandering through an airport, the person must submit. /// The artist is holding something back, cannot give you everything, but you will uncover the secret. /// The secret is that the artist cannot possibly know everything his or her work is doing in the world. /// (Or failing to do.) /// People are constantly telling me how great I am. /// Meanwhile, I am dying of loneliness.


December 3, 2011

Evil is just bad choices vehemently pursued


Evil is just bad choices
vehemently pursued
like a course in doing the right thing
where they teach you: think of the wrong thing
than do the opposite
but forget to teach you to do the opposite
there are pains you can escape
and pains that will pursue you
crimes that change your life
and crimes that go unnoticed
when will the wrongs be set right?
right after the next wrong goes terribly wrong
I can be generous, but I can also
be small-minded and petty
does this make me like everyone else?