A HYBRID NOTEBOOK OF POETICS AND PORNOGRAPHIES

Pornography Disclaimer

This is a an imaginary diary of facts, confessions, or messages. This is a notebook of working but broken ideas, lines, images, notes on books I'm reading, writers I admire, and brief fantasies of language. Here unfiltered  all mannerings pseudo-private, publicized, ur-. Here I am art and unrevealed: poetic, political and pop. These are my moonlit rough beginnings and should not be taken literally, directly, truthfully, reliably, and none of it is legally binding. These lies are all choreographed, but only haphazardly. Beware.

7.10.08

OBAMANOS

FORM 
IS 
THE 
BURDEN

This is a spraypaint graffiti tag on the building at the corner of Brooks and Pacific, about two streets south of where I live. White lettering, caps, on walls painted dirty avocado. Feeling it today in my limbs, not my poems. The last two nights have been hypnotic, the fat half moon falling leaf-white then smoldering dark bronze. Tremorous flame, around midnight it crashes, hot torn orange peel snuffed into the ash of a black sea. A loud cold blackness. It's so rare to be so perfectly alone. You can almost taste your own satellite. To the north, the Santa Monica Pier, the new digitalized lighting on the ferris wheel computer blue, stutters and rolls. Outward, standing between two darknesses, say between two shores in a late Rothko. Not sad. Severe, enthralling. Speechless abyss, and on the edge of it a feeling. Where else does the blood tend, if not toward some crude lettering. I was here. I was here. I was here. 

I'm voting for Obama. 

I was watching the debates, worried by the McCainimal. I don't understand how a campaign virtually parallel with this administration--whose approval rating is at %16--can appropriate phrases for change. Their misguided passion over environmental issues seems to me indicative of their whole philosophy, that proposes something logical, even inarguable, and then insists that something destructive is the only way to achieve it. As in, Yes, we should be an energy independent nation--but as our awareness of global warning is at its peak, the last thing we should be doing is drilling for oil in our nation's nature preserves! Our politicians might learn something from taking a little walk alone in a darkness so big they are orphaned. They might learn something by reading McCarthy's The Road. When the son asks his father if they will ever have to eat another person, even if they're starving, he says, never. The boy understands. They are starving, but they're trying to save something in themselves. That something is what I think McCain loses sight of. He's so hungry for the win I think he's lost any ability to stop, to listen, to find a center, out from which any substantive help can be found. He's lost that silence in the middle that can nourish him. He's insatiable, spitting and salivating, wolfmad. He's in that ring of Dante's hell that is most American, the ring of hunger and no satisfaction, thirst and thirst and thirst. It's pure capitalism. Shallow, flooded, wasteful. The wet scraps of our romanhood falling by the cannibalistic wayside. 

The boy in McCarthy's novel understands with an archetypal naivete, a primitive ethics,  why they won't ever eat another person: "because we're carrying the fire." McCain's fire is literal, ravenous, and destructive. Obama's fire is metaphorical, spiritual. I like that he's slow to answer, that he's contemplative. That he weighs what's at stake in the long run. There's something handsome about a deep patience. Maybe I'm a romantic. I am. I need to be to care--I need a reason to pay higher taxes, I need an idea to believe in, I need to feel that I am part, that I participate, that I matter, that my money and my life contribute to something beyond what I can see and do on a daily basis. America, where are you? I'm dying to believe in you. McCain's a madman. Obama . . . a mystery. A myth. I want it.

And then today,--clearly biased, but still worrisome--this:



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Poetry Disclaimer

My work has been awarded the Katherine C. Turner Prize from the Academy of American Poets, a Swarthout Award, and has twice been nominated and shortlisted for the Pushcart Prize. My first book, A Book Called Rats, was selected for the Blue Lynx Prize for Poetry (Eastern Washington University Press 2007). I'm curating editor for the online journal of poetry: PISTOLA and my poems and reviews most recently appear in Massachusetts Review, Beloit, Ploughshares and RAIN TAXI. I currently teach writing and literature at Santa Monica College in southern California.