to those seeing this blog for the first time. I’ve been blogging for years at Livejournal and recently migrated to this site. I like it…needless to say.
You’ll find six years worth of my poetry on this site. I use this as my chief publishing arm…although I still publish in journals, online e-zines, and in books and anthologies, I’m committed to getting work out there chiefly through the new media opportunities on the Web.
While you’re here, take a mosey through my Blogroll of interesting sites I’ve found here on WordPress. I’m particularly taken today with my old friend Andrew Watt’s site on education, and with “The Truth and Rocket Science” blog of interesting meditations on all sorts of cool topics. I’m always adding new ones, so chime in if you see something I should read…
If you want
things to change,
learn to call them by names
other than exploitation and oppression.
Get yourself far away
from the slogans on TV
and radio, from your books and your blogs.
Go to work
in a factory
making beige mayonnaise
in vats alongside brown people
who don’t care if they never touch the stuff again
because they know too much
about how it’s made, but they still
have picnics and if the kid wants mayo,
the kid gets mayo.
Sweat your ass off in a card room,
combing raw wool into cloud fiber rolls
awaiting spinning and warping into tough cloth.
Notice how every card room worker is a shirtless father
actually looking forward to pushing through 100-degree overtime heat
in the sweaty bowels of the ancient mill,
and how every spinner toiling upstairs from them
is a tired mother who may be stained in stink
and dust but who carefully applies makeup
before work and touches it up at every break.
Go live on a cubicle farm
and discover that the analysts and auditors
don’t all wish they were artists
while they’re mashing the keys of their computers
and that some of them even enjoy it, or at the very least
they enjoy what the effort brings them.
On the street there are some people
who chose that rootless life over
some other hell, and others who admittedly
would be anywhere else if they could
but believe this is all only temporary
until they find a foothold somewhere
that’ll get them back into the grind you deplore.
Many of them fought for the country
that put them out there, but they’ll still
fight you to the death
if you say a word against it.
No, you think, this isn’t right,
it’s not the way it’s supposed to be —
but it is. It’s not that the shackles don’t exist
and that they don’t hurt. But for so many
a job’s a job and a call to duty is all it takes
to extract a salute. Sometimes, a means to an end
is just that, and “the end justifies the means”
is for some not a horrid phrase to justify evil,
it’s just the way things are
and have always been
and are always likely to be.
Tell yourself whatever you want
about how it’s all a big scam
but don’t you dare call them “stupid”
when they’re the ones who have to figure out
a way to make it all work
while you brood over the big, big words.
In love this morning
with the sounds
of a child crying,
trying to calm it down,
and all this set amid
the steady gutter drips and asphalt hiss
of a daybreak summer rain…
a melody and a poem
to start my day,
and I’m not even out of bed.