Archive | October, 2010

Lady Dragon.

10 Oct

This is the second of the articles on the American midterms. As usual, please head thither for links to the articles on which my analysis is based- I do believe in credit, but setting up two sets of hyperlinks is my idea of too much work. Unless I have directly quoted from the article, or otherwise think you cannot live without reading it, I have omitted the reference in this version of the essay.

I’m still glad I supported Obama over Hillary Clinton. If Hillary had won the election, every single day would be a festival of misogyny. We would hear constantly about her voice, her laugh, her wrinkles, her marriage and what a heartless, evil bitch she is for doing something – whatever! – men have done since the Stone Age. Each week would bring its quotient of pieces by fancy women writers explaining why they were right not to have liked her in the first place. Liberal pundits would blame her for discouraging the armies of hope and change, for bringing back the same-old same-old cronies and advisers, for letting healthcare reform get bogged down in inside deals, for failing to get out of Iraq and Afghanistan – which would be attributed to her being a woman and needing to show toughness – for cozying up to Wall Street, deferring to the Republicans and ignoring the cries of the people. In other words, for doing pretty much what Obama is doing. This way I get to think, Whew, at least you can’t blame this on a woman.

Whatever Happened to Candidate Obama? Katha Pollitt.

One day in 2008, we all woke up to the news that the long-suffering Hilary Clinton was capable of such gymnastics as public weeping. I am not now, and I certainly was not then, a news junkie. All the flap about Obama had passed me by entirely: wasn’t he the guy who declared his desire for the presidency on a talk show? I had assumed that Clinton was a shoo-in for the Democratic nomination, that she would probably win, and the world would trundle on heedless. Washington is united when it comes to ‘security’ wonks: Blackwater, for instance, was defended by a firm run by Clinton strategist Mark Penn. In the corner of the globe that most of us inhabit, that simple truth is often all that matters.

Yet here she was, whimpering, and the election was close to a year away. India’s Indira and Germany’s Angela, it appeared, didn’t translate into America’s Hillary.

That was the day I swallowed my pride and sought education from sundry politics nerds: the mystifying distinction between primaries and caucuses, conventions and their delegations; and how, exactly, did colleges get to elect the president of a country? Most began with an admirably concise answer to the first question: they’re both dogfights for the nomination. Unfortunately, I was then at the height of my elections-are-gimmicks-and-circuses phase (which I am yet to fully recover from); and there was the predictable flame-out before the conversation could turn to other foundations of American Civics 101. The profusion of talking heads obsessed with Ms. Clinton did, however, get me interested in the interplay between feminism and electoral politics: what, really, is the price worth paying for a woman in power?

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blues lovin’ fools.

9 Oct

Today was, for all kinds of reasons and many years ago, an important day in this life. I don’t have very many of those, and my way of dealing with momentousness is to find writing that will remind me of the day (so here we go again).


Out of the chaos of my doubt
And the chaos of my art
I turn to you inevitably
As the needle to the pole
Turn-as the cold brain to the soul
Turns in its uncertainty:
So I turn and long for you;
So I long for you, and turn
To the love that through my chaos
Burned a truth,
And lit my path.

— Peake

The poem is for someone without whom this blog would never have been conceived, let alone executed; he handles all the melancholy writer blues I invent in spades with remarkable aplomb (and then cleans up after me). Living with me is never easy, and heaven help anyone who does so voluntarily.

The songs are for laughs.

Parting Salvo.

8 Oct

As people I love and grew up with hit the merry mid ’20s, all one can be expected to do is to furnish them with poems in their revelry. This is the last hurrah for 2010 (well, as far as I remember; my memory is terrible at birthday-documentation.) This one is for someone whom, if I were cooler and less awkward around slang, I would call Sistah!

Things the world already knows about her: she’s a peake-geek with a romance (and tentacle porn) fixation. Things it doesn’t (plenty) were presumably left mysterious with sound reason, and we shall not dwell upon them.


I cannot give the reasons

I cannot give the reasons,
I can only sing the tunes:
the sadness of the seasons
the madness of the moons.

Pan, Mervyn Peake.

I cannot be didatic
or lucid, but I can
be quite obscure and practic-
ally marzipan

In gorgery and gushness,
and all that’s squishified.
My voice has all the lushness
of what I can’t abide.

And yet it has a beauty
most proud and terrible.
Denied to those whose duty
is to be cerebral.

Among the antlered mountains
I make my viscous way
and watch the sepia fountains
Throw up their lime-green spray.

Mervyn Peake.

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Verses to Apologize.

2 Oct

I am, it must be confessed, an enormous birthday spaz. I miss them in spades, and at length. These are not small transpositions- not by, say, a day, or even a week. I have been known to be off for months, calling people in June to wish them for February. I am liable to skip years entirely; and my more patient friends call to kindly remind me to wish them. It is this haphazard jerk within that all my birthday-posts were intended to restrain, for if something is part of my writing calendar I can’t possibly forget, right?

It was a sound plan. Well reasoned, and so far, well executed. Then my writing calendar terrified me so much I began to avoid it. Tomorrow, I told myself everyday, I will look and see what deadlines I have. Blip! Blip! went the radar, while the navigator napped. This post is thus almost a week late, so back I go to being a jerk. Happy birthday, bluefloppyhat. Without you this blog would have no art, and it thanks the universe with me that you are alive. I forgot because I am an ass, but I do love you so.

This be the Verse

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.

But they were fucked up in their turn
By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another’s throats.

Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don’t have any kids yourself.

—- Larkin

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