Wednesday, July 27, 2011

It's Public. It's Free.

I'm giving a reading this Friday in Chicago at 8PM:

The Printers' Ball
Luddington Building
1104 S. Wabash

Saturday, July 23, 2011

A. P. Herbert Poem

At the Theatre: To the Lady Behind Me

Dear Madam, you have seen this play;
I never saw it till today.
You know the details of the plot,
But let me tell you, I do not.
The author seeks to keep from me
The murderer's identity,
And you are not a friend of his
If you keep shouting who it is.
The actors in their funny way
Have several funny things to say,
But they do not amuse me more
If you have said them just before;
The merit of the drama lies,
I understand, in some surprise;
But the surprise must now be small
Since you have just foretold it all.
The lady you have brought with you
Is I infer, a half-wit too,
But I can understand the piece
Without assistance from your niece.
In short, foul woman, it would suit
Me just as well if you were mute;
In fact to make my meaning plain,
I trust you will not speak again.
And---may I add one human touch?---
Don't breathe upon my neck so much.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Knocking the Taxonomic Spirit

this form of sportscaster speech:

"your william shakespeares, your joan of arcs, your secretariats"

drives me insane.

the person who uses this construction 
is trying to take an extraordinary person,
primarily famed for their utter singularity,
and speak as if there were bunches of them.


("a william shakespeare, a joan of arc, a secretariat")

as if they represented a general category teeming with stand-ins.


Authoritarian Personality Traits
Social DominatorsFollowers
typically menmen and women
dominating*submissive to authority*
opposes equality*aggressive on behalf of authority*
desirous of personal power*respectful of those with power
manipulativetrust untrustworthy authorities
exploitiveuncritical toward chosen authority
takes advantage of “suckers,”
tells other what they want to hear
moderate to little education
fear-mongeringprone to panic easily
specializes in creating false images to sell selfinconsistent and contradictory
may or may not be religioushighly religious
knowingly cheats to winhighly self-righteous but little self-awareness
intimidating and bullyingbullying
vengefulseverely punitive
pitilessintolerant, narrow-minded
highly prejudiced against race, women, and homosexualsprejudiced against women, homosexuals, and anyone of a different religion
nationalisticdemands loyalty and returns it
militantstrict disciplinarian, , dogmatic
faintly hedonisticzealous

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Christopher Cross Song

Wislawa Szymborska Poem

In Praise of Feeling Bad About Yourself

The buzzard never says it is to blame.
The panther wouldn't know what scruples mean.
When the piranha strikes, it feels no shame.
If snakes had hands, they'd claim their hands were clean.

A jackal doesn't understand remorse.
Lions and lice don't waver in their course.
Why should they, when they know they're right?

Though the hearts of killer whales may weigh a ton,
In every other way they're light.

On this third planet from the sun
among the signs of bestiality
a clear conscience is Number One.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Tomas Transtromer Poem

The Couple

They turn the light off, and its white globe glows
an instant and then dissolves, like a tablet
in a glass of darkness. Then a rising.
The hotel walls shoot up into heaven's darkness.

Their movements have grown softer, and they sleep,
but their most secret thoughts begin to meet
like two colors that meet and run together
on the wet paper in a schoolboy's painting.

It is dark and silent. The city however has come nearer
tonight. With its windows turned off. Houses have come.
They stand packed and waiting very near,
a mob of people with blank faces.


Simon Schubert: Creased Paper

Der Reigen

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Club Me

"...with the advent of social media, which frankly invites us to “unabashedly brag” about ourselves and to take pride in even the most mundane of our accomplishments (“I just became mayor of Whole Foods on Foursquare!”) and broadcast them, many of us now take that sort of self-branding behavior for granted and engage in it not with trepidation but with glee. By mobilizing all the qualities of the self as factors of meaning production, Facebook fuses Lipovetsky’s “fashion person” and Peters’s “personal brand,” inextricably intertwining marketing with selfhood, so that having a self becomes an inherently commercial operation. Somehow, while we were optimizing our Facebook profiles and Twitter feeds, building up our LinkedIn contacts and building out Farmville empires, the total-corporate state may have arrived without our really having noticed it."

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Two Poems

Thanksgiving dinner's sad and thankless
Christmas dinner's dark and blue
When you stop and try to see it
From the turkey's point of view.

Sunday dinner isn't sunny
Easter feasts are just bad luck
When you see it from the viewpoint
Of a chicken or a duck.

Oh, how I once loved tuna salad
Pork and lobster, lamb chops too
'Til I stopped and looked at dinner
from the dinner's point of view.

-Shel Silverstein

Shake and shake the ketchup bottle
None'll come, and then a lot'll

-Richard Armour