Friday, February 22, 2008

Lucky Dube

I picked up the current car CD at the right from the library. I soon discovered that Lucky had been killed by carjackers in Johannesburg this last October. Africa's biggest reggae singer by far I think he could have been even more of a global phenomenon if not struck down in his prime.

There is a new Kerouac documentary about his novel Big Sur entitled One Fast Move or I'm Gone. I could not find a clip of the trailer that that was You Tubular but there is one of the website for the film.

Wilco will be in Des Moines on March 9th but before that NPR will be streaming a live show in Feb. 27th. Information here.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Poem of Disconnected Parts

At Robben Island the political prisoners studied.
They coined the motto Each one Teach one.

In Argentina the torturers demanded the prisoners
Address them always as “Profesor.”

Many of my friends are moved by guilt, but I
Am a creature of shame, I am ashamed to say.

Culture the lock, culture the key. Imagination
That calls boiled sheep heads “Smileys.”

The first year at Guantánamo, Abdul Rahim Dost
Incised his Pashto poems into styrofoam cups.

“The Sangomo says in our Zulu culture we do not
Worship our ancestors: we consult them.”

Becky is abandoned in 1902 and Rose dies giving
Birth in 1924 and Sylvia falls in 1951.

Still falling still dying still abandoned in 2005
Still nothing finished among the descendants.

I support the War, says the comic, it’s just the Troops
I’m against: can’t stand those Young People.

Proud of the fallen, proud of her son the bomber.
Ashamed of the government. Skeptical.

After the Klansman was found Not Guilty one juror
Said she just couldn’t vote to convict a pastor.

Who do you write for? I write for dead people:
For Emily Dickinson, for my grandfather.

“The Ancestors say the problem with your Knees
Began in your Feet. It could move up your Back.”

But later the Americans gave Dost not only paper
And pen but books. Hemingway, Dickens.

Old Aegyptius said Whoever has called this Assembly,
For whatever reason—it is a good in itself.

O thirsty shades who regard the offering, O stained earth.
There are many fake Sangomos. This one is real.

Coloured prisoners got different meals and could wear
Long pants and underwear, Blacks got only shorts.

No he says he cannot regret the three years in prison:
Otherwise he would not have written those poems.

I have a small-town mind. Like the Greeks and Trojans.
Shame. Pride. Importance of looking bad or good.

Did he see anything like the prisoner on a leash? Yes,
In Afghanistan. In Guantánamo he was isolated.

Our enemies “disassemble” says the President.
Not that anyone at all couldn’t mis-speak.

The profesores created nicknames for torture devices:
The Airplane. The Frog. Burping the Baby.

Not that those who behead the helpless in the name
Of God or tradition don’t also write poetry.

Guilts, metaphors, traditions. Hunger strikes.
Culture the penalty. Culture the escape.

What could your children boast about you? What
Will your father say, down among the shades?

The Sangomo told Marvin, “You are crushed by some
Weight. Only your own Ancestors can help you.”

Robert Pinsky

I managed to suvive my birthday celebration last Friday. It was made easier as we simply went home after a pleasant dinner with friends (friends were pleasant the wait staff not really) instead of attempting to close down The Dublin with the inevitable parade of shots.

Yesterday I started two mysteries by Ross Macdonald only to realize that I had already read them both. It took me about 40 pages into each of them before I remembered the plot and who done it. This was just after I had finished an unsatisying novel about Rome from a writer I generally admire. So I ended up reading a John D. MacDonald Travis McGee story in which I did not recall who killed whom and enjoyed it thoroughly

I am on quest for something good to read. I found the Pinksy on the new book shelf at library and thought it would be good to break things up before attempting another novel. The next one on the pile looks good and is about Tesla (the man not the band) so I have high hopes.

Friday, February 15, 2008

I meant to post this last Friday

Poem for My Twentieth Birthday

Passing the American graveyard, for my birthday
the crosses stuttering, white on tropical green,
the years’ quick focus of faces I do not remember . . .

The palm trees stalking like deliberate giants
for my birthday, and all the hot adolescent memories
seen through a screen of water . . .

For my birthday thrust into the adult and actual:
expected to perform the action, not to ponder
the reality beyond the fact,
the man standing upright in the dream.

Kenneth Koch, “Poem for My Twentieth Birthday” from Poetry 67 (November 1945)

I celebrated my 20th birthday in San Francisco. It was a good place to be in 1987. Clean and well lighted....not really. I was about nine months into my stay at the Defense Language Institute. We were one of the senior classes at this time. They started about ten classes a year. We were the seventh Korean class of 1986 hence our moniker : KP0786. I dont actually recall what I did that night. Probably spent it a homey little place that served us, The Black Fox on Geary St near 17th. Somewhere in between The Nag's Head and The 7/11. Much of our time was spent in that bar.

My 21st birthday I celebrated on a very cold hill in the northern part of South Korea. My team leader sent me down to a store at the bottom of the hill to buy some soju and Pepsi. It was a good birthday. I find it hard to believe twenty years have passed since then.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy St. Valentine's Day

The Kimono

When I returned from lovers' lane
My hair was white as snow.
Joy, incomprehension, pain
I'd seen like seasons come and go.
How I got home again
Frozen half dead, perhaps you know.

You hide a smile and quote a text:
Desires ungratified
Persist from one life to the next.
Hearths we strip ourselves beside
Long, long ago were x'd
On blueprints of "consuming pride."

Times out of mind, the bubble-gleam
To our charred level drew
April back. A sudden beam . . .
--Keep talking while I change into
The pattern of a stream
Bordered with rushes white on blue.

James Merrill

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The photo and info below all are from Wilco winter update email. Win a weekeing in Chicago with the band and the Blackhawks... Deadline is today as winner will be notified tomorrow. Short notice but it would be a killer trip. There are still tickets available for their March 9th show in Des Moines. See you there.
Details below. Enter here.
Two winners will receive the following cool stuff:
2 tickets to see Wilco at the Riviera Theater on Saturday, February 16
2 tickets to see the Chicago Blackhawks vs. the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday afternoon, February 17
2 nights at the Hard Rock Hotel Chicago (Feb 16 & 17)
1 package of Blackhawks and Wilco merchandise

Friday, February 08, 2008

"Brighten the Corners"

A couple things to lighten the season after dumptruck loads of snow piled up all around town. The first is a photo of a bouqet before the cats started to eat them. The second is a concert of Bob Mould that was on NPR here. His new album "District Line" is out now and he will be tour with a full band. Bring earplugs. Don't say I did not warn you. This morning I woke up and started watching the documentary "American Hardcore". (Not to be confused with the George C. Scott film, "Hardcore"). Anyway, it's a good way to start your day. Now if I can just find my Bad Brains cassettes...

"Love Will Tear Us Apart"

This is to continue my streak of YouTube postings. I think the documentary of Joy Division will be released in May in the UK. (Scruffy is right, I did seem to post most more when I was at work.)