Monday, October 12, 2009

mabel in the dining room

This is the waiting room for final deportation
They are provided desserts, snacks, wine.

She can’t help the smile from smiling when
he asks if she would like some dessert:
Only if you’ve got some maple walnut
hidden away for me somewhere she smiles. It’s as good
as it was 70 plus years ago that rush of
the eyes, the hunger, and sweetness. But everything’s
ruined now gone and changed I’ve gone pretty well downhill
since then she says and the instinct to flirt or at least its
memory, what a curse it is Yes it is!

The smile is white
just from a distance.
The voice is worse:
A turkey’s ponderous
gobble any time of day
no matter the lilt and tease that’s meant I
can’t not want to follow him well my eyes are
alright the problem’s right there now isn’t it the eyes --
he appears from the right in his brown apron
and zips across the room pad in
hand asking Isabelle Are you going to eat
something today And he can’t get away from me.
The eyes are all there, still fifteen damn years old she
complains to herself and the will and the – the instinct are
there I wear sunny clothes sporty things white
jeans fitted and trim; Keds and a yellow sweater.
Sure he noticed them. Who else wears them. Sure he’s
thinking She musta been something back in the day Damn I
can almost see her how she was then and then
my damn throat has to go and squawk a
That’s very kind of you
and blow the moment it’s always just moments she thinks
positioning herself all so delicate slowly now to draw the legs up one by one
into bed delicate moments. He’s alright she thinks and feeds herself
his young pieces hands and legs Sure I can and lips or well, no, or maybe not that
at the last minute she can’t kiss him.

The thought of all those wrinkles holds her back and who can really tell
about their own breath, right, but she still lets her hands
stroke his strong and smooth oh creamy back I can just picture how his you know
feels and suck whatever happens to dangle within reach she thinks
I sure don’t need it with all this ice cream but he might, he yeah, and laughs
or what passes for one these days, a small smile,
head on a pillow that’s always too high by
midnight. Oh my neck is it’s what’s the word it’s as
stiff as his you know what would be – or would it, tormenting
herself would it be with this brown paper bag of a body would he be
you know good or how Lyle was in ’68 with all the insurers on
his back and his guilt and just pet my hair pet politely
dangling dryly But how can I do such a
and how, well I wouldn’t you
know he’s that’s a not in
well not now
anyhow. These meds are something else.

One lunchtime Lorraine even told him You’ve got such
flirty eyes. He grinned. Who wouldn’t, right? But with Doug
sitting right there can you believe can you
believe she would sure he’s half deaf but come
on can you past a certain age no one minds dead honesty though of course
it’s no use by that point, why not can you believe though What if I
paid him to lie here just once naked, why not, he knows how to
put down the ice cream and spoon all in one
swoop, dick just say it already I can’t believe what is happening
to me to say it what if he were to touch me here and say it
here money plenty I’ve say it I can’t really be thinking I’m not Lorraine it’s the
eyes that won’t let him go they just won’t
go dim now no not on him. Not now. Not him.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

stories of the sea

The sea doesn’t have any stories whatsoever,
it’s got absolutely nothin’ to tell I mean it might be
might be a world as you say but it’s a silent
one Oh sea let me see you
be in you seen by you sea, my sea
It’s like this gigantic eye you know what
I mean it’s seen everything under the sun but it aint
talkin’ it just aint it aint it’s just blinking, winking
under the sunlight --
Silent stories are stories Joe, silent stories are still
stories, we can make this thing yes with a little
imagination What, are we gonna shoot a minnow
and a seagull and call it Nemo 2, a perverted
love story? Are we are we you think we can but

I was born to be on the sea on it not just
by it like some pitiful supplicant and anyhow
what would I ever need from her
The waves still scare me even though it’s a
few years ago and the weather’s good
I read after the tsunami I can’t even eat Thai food
now I’m serious it makes me think of that guy floatin’
by like he was on a lounge chair, not a word, not even
no expression just this sorta ‘oh well’ sorta look just like
shiee-yoop and he’s gone. I read something said if
you were in a boat you’d barely even notice it, a blip, but
that don’t put me at ease! It’s like knowin’ there’s a boa
constrictor wide as a hospital right under me but it’s just
brushin’ the surface a thousand miles long and you can
barely see it Didja see
didja see that a jellyfish
Jesus didja wow Christ do you really hafta shout didja
shout like that right when I’m talkin’ about the tsunami didja though?

Earhart, Earhart’s who I’m channeling
she gave herself to it and was elevated to queen; she dared
survey it alone, from above, darkling plain, metal-shelled seagull if
you will. No, no, I’m not gonna see
the movie are you kidding me, a little kissy kissy and a
little lesbian action no, no thank you,
that’s not even close to who she was, is, people were blips
on her radar-eye, she dared the empty sky and sea more horribly caught than
the narrowest prison she knew exactly what that ecstasy
was and would do to her, with her she said she said.
Joe listen, look at this, two bikes over there parked in the
sand leaning into the sun but where oh where are
the owners, huh huh you feel a story there? That’s a story?
Two bikes? I got two butt cheeks on a toilet seat
Is that a story he asked and the wind kept
on oh yeah stealthy as hell as anything while they talked
it’s a saboteur

sarekat islam merah

apparently indonesian marxists infiltrated sarekat islam, a muslim nationalist organization, in the early 20s. for a short time they formed a 'red sarekat islam,' which is hard to imagine now, after the afghan jihad against the soviets. but in those days, i guess anything oppositional to colonialists seemed in harmony.

marxism and catholicism mixed in 'liberation theology' in latin america later in the century. but the church hierarchy was never in opposition in any way to political/social elites in latin america.

December 8, 1941

my dad told me the other day that the day after Pearl Harbor a classmate at school told him the japanese have an extra toe on each foot.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

tom englehardt on sovereignty

Packard reports Holbrooke's disappointment over the amount of aid Congress is ponying up for Pakistan ($7.5 billion) and, to add to his set of frustrations, there's this: "Because of Pakistan's sensitivity about its sovereignty, he had been unable to persuade its military to allow American helicopters to bring aid to the refugees," who had been driven from the Swat Valley by the Taliban and a Pakistani military offensive.

Let's think about that for a moment, especially since it's a commonplace of American reporting from the region and so reflects official thinking on the subject. Karen DeYoung and Pamela Constable, for instance, write in a Washington Post piece: "Pakistanis, who are extremely sensitive about national sovereignty, oppose allowing foreign troops on their soil and have protested U.S. missile attacks launched from unmanned aircraft against suspected Taliban and al-Qaeda targets inside Pakistan." In fact, let's reverse the situation.

Imagine that, after the next Katrina, Pakistani military helicopters based on a Pakistani aircraft carrier in the Gulf of Mexico are preparing to deliver supplies to New Orleans. Of course, you also have to imagine, minimally, that the Pakistanis are in the process of building a three-quarters of a billion dollar fortress of an embassy in Washington D.C. (to be guarded by armed Pakistani private contractors), that Pakistani drones are regularly cruising the Sierra Nevada mountains, launching missiles at residences in small towns below, that the Pakistanis are offering billions of dollars in desperately needed aid to a hamstrung American government and military in return for not complaining too much about whatever they might want to do in the United States, that top Pakistani military and civilian officials are constantly shuttling through Washington demanding "cooperation," and finally that Pakistani reporters covering all this regularly point to an "extreme American sensitivity about national sovereignty," as illustrated by a bizarre unwillingness to accept Pakistani aid delivered in Pakistani military helicopters. Then again, you know those Americans: combustible as spoiled kids.

Such reversals are, of course, inconceivable and so, nearly impossible to imagine. Today, were a Pakistani military helicopter to approach the U.S. coast with anything on board and refuse to turn back, it would undoubtedly be shot down. So much for American touchiness.