This is how our cheap food is paid for. And yet we can look at our early spring California produce without a feeling of complicity.
Originally posted on synthetic zero:
Y los muchachos cling
to the cantina’s jukebox heart, sing:
we never go nowhere we never see nothing
but work: these fingers bleed every daylong day,
aching from la joda of the harvest–
y la muerte, esa puta que les chifla
from the bus station balcony, from I-10,
from Imperial Ave. truck lot behind the power station,
from waterbreak delirium, from short-hoe
genuflections down pistolbarrel fields–
and the canals, green,
pumping life into those chiles, los tomates, once
a year some poor pendejo can’t take the grease-
heat drudge, the life of a burro, the lonesome nights
of sweat and harsh sheets and drinks
tattered lips pulling tequila
till el vato’s so alucinado he thinks
he can run free, thinks
the trucks with spotlights are motherships, thinks
he sees Villa shooting cars off I-25, hears Tlaloc, god
of storms, calling: water to water,
rain to rain, mud to mud—feed me…
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I am not sure where these two little thoughts came from, but they were written in my notebook by me.
You can never go boldly into the land the land of gods: you must slide in unnoticed or fall in by accident.
Pink heart, candy cigarettes: Devine!
It is as if there were a piece of fine lace, sandwiched between two sheets of paper. The lace separates one reality or universe from another. When pressed together the two sheets only touch where there are holes in the lace and only in the very middle of these spaces. Mostly they are separate, but in these tiny random spots they universes share common space. A few molecules of paper or dust particles. In these places, if you pay attention you can find a bit of another reality poking through.
I was living in a castle. I decided to take a woman (no one I know waking) on a gator hunt. I showed her a map of the land that surrounded the castle and to the north was the Gator Swamp with a picture of a gigantic alligator taking a bite out of a rough wooden sign that read “Beware!” As we walked out of the castle into a busy parking lot with many cars and people milling about I lost track of my companion. Every woman in the parking lot looked like her in a different way. I approached many women who had no idea who I was. One of the people attending me, an assistant or vassal, said, ” She doesn’t have to stay here, but if she comes around again, we will not take her back.”
I was truly grief stricken as I searched the parking lot, looking into each woman’s face hopefully only to be demoralized and have to apologize for interrupting whatever they were doing in that parking lot. I, finally, realized that I had no idea who she was and that any of these women could be her pretending not to be her.
“Perhaps the most succinct characterization of the epoch which began with the First World War is the well-known phrase attributed to Gramsci: “The old world is dying away, and the new world struggles to come forth: now is the time of monsters.” Were Fascism and Stalinism not the twin monsters of the twentieth century, the one emerging out of the old world’s desperate attempts to survive, the other out of a misbegotten endeavor to build a new one? And what about the monsters we are engendering now, propelled by techno-gnostic dreams of a biogenetically controlled society? All the consequences should be drawn from this paradox: perhaps there is no direct passage to the New, at least not in the way we imagined it, and monsters necessarily emerge in any attempt to force that passage.”
– Slavoj Žižek
Nobody Knows Poetry Better Than You
Don’t let anyone tell you what to write or not to write, or how to write it, unless it is what you need to make your writing more what you want it to be. Poetry is good flawed and raw as well as polished and cooked. Let your angels and demons play and write down the conversation. The more you edit the more you remove it from the energy that gave it life. There is a balance between accessibility and integrity. You want people to relate to your writing, but you don’t want to skin it, stuff it, and mount it to get there. Shared language should be a living process and life has messy aspects that help us connect with each other. Even the most sophisticated people have messy lives where they are overwhelmed by ordinary processes. Poetry is often the only place where people let their fundamental humanity show. This should be a bit rough, if you smooth all the edges their is nothing for others to grab onto as they try to hold it close. You may gain admiration for a smoothly turned and burnished piece of writing, but it may end up being a inert insulated object, sterilized, rather than living food of inspiration that expands in combination as it interacts with the life of other human beings in ways you will never know.
I have been in this place, not to long ago, though not in such a literate state. This quote allowed me showed me a way to laugh at myself. When I laugh at myself, I am able to let some go of those pretensions that keep me bound to one path, when many paths are available. In my darker moments, I relate to this, but upon reading it, I laugh and the darkness clears a little. I can see other ways to be me.
Enrique Vila-Matas: Quote of the Day!
Originally posted on alien ecologies:
A while ago, when I was shaving, I looked in the mirror and did not recognize myself. The radical loneliness of these last few days is turning me into someone else. Nevertheless, I am enjoying the anomaly, the deviation, the monstrosity of myself as an isolated individual. I derive a certain pleasure from being unfriendly, from swindling life, from adopting the posture of literature’s radical non-hero (which is to say from playing at being like the cast of these footnotes), from observing life and seeing that the poor thing lacks a life of its own.
I looked in the mirror and did not recognize myself. Then I fell to thinking about what Baudelaire used to say, that the real hero is he who keeps himself amused. I looked in the mirror again and detected a certain resemblance to Watt, Samuel Beckett’s reclusive character. Like Watt, I could be described in…
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Tilda Swinton can read anything for me anytime she wants to. I would even listen to 50 Shades of Gray or Ayn Rand, if she would only breathe her magic into them. How does a woman enter poetry and live it with her voice? Like This.
“They tried to bury us. They didn’t know we were seeds.” – Mexican Proverb
“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.” – Samuel Beckett
“Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place.” – The Red Queen from “Through the Looking Glass” by Lewis Carrol
“Let’s not pretend that things will change if we keep doing the same things. A crisis can be a real blessing to any person, to any nation. For all crises bring progress. Creativity is born from anguish. Just like the day is born form the dark night. It’s in crisis that inventive is born, as well as discoveries, and big strategies. He who overcomes crisis, overcomes himself, without getting overcome.
He who blames his failure to a crisis neglects his own talent, and is more respectful to problems than to solutions. Incompetence is the true crisis. The greatest inconvenience of people and nations is the laziness with which they attempt to find the solutions to their problems. There’s no challenge without a crisis. Without challenges, life becomes a routine, a slow agony. There’s no merits without crisis. It’s in the crisis where we can show the very best in us. Without a crisis, any wind becomes a tender touch.
To speak about a crisis is to promote it. Not to speak about it is to exalt conformism. Let us work hard instead. Let us stop, once and for all, the menacing crisis that represents the tragedy of not being willing to overcome it.”
– Albert Einstein (1879-1955)