Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Constantly flirting with perversity
and irrelevance, hilarity
and mayhem (and whatever
other furies, fates and/or muses

that may or may not come forth)
whenever he performs

his wickity-wack schtick
before the giant
disembodied bobble-heads
of the court,

the poet,
like the contortionist or alchemist
(though really more like
the civil war re-enactor

or HAM radio enthusiast)

must attempt to lasso the spotlight of world opinion
away from his fiercest rivals;
Top-40 radio and Cable TV
(with a golden, truth-revealing lariat
of his own weaving)

and all the while trying to kick ass
and look good at the same time,
maintaining a confidant smile
and not breaking a sweat or breaking
for a smoke or to take a piss or nothing.

For he is supposed to be

the super-duper-surrealist who must (of course)
do battle (via his art) with his arch-nemesis;
the man behind the man behind the curtain;

the Usurper-Realist;

he who hath conscripted
and distorted
fair Truth and Beauty
and pimped them out
to the lowest
and meanest of common denominators
(for whatever nefarious experiments
and other lurid purposes).

So, good people of highest, lowest

and most middlest America,

let us take a moment of silence tonight

to drink one for ambulence drivers
and elevator repairmen,
for neurosurgeons and airline pilots,
night watchmen and day laborers,
high school science teachers and hostage negotiators
and all the Jack O Lanterns, Wandering Jews
and Flying Dutchmen, out there, far from home
and lost in night, keepin it real and fightin the good fight
(or, just tryin to keep a low profile),

but, also one for our anti-hero, here,

this little mighty mouse of a character daring
to triple-dog-dare The Great Dragon Of The Airwaves
(a.k.a. The Giant Spider Of The Inter-Webs)

to come down from its top-floor office suite

and step into the ring.

-Jason Ryberg, 2006



I am not a native of this place.(Yosimasu G.)
nor yet a stranger.
With the rst of you
I hunt for shade
my boots half off
to let the air through.
My head is on my shoulders
& is real.
I plant cucumbers
twice a year
& count the bounty.
Often I read
the papers
I am clean & pure.
I carry buckets
from the pond
more than my arms can bear.
Under a full moon
fish appear
like flies in amber.
The words of foreigners
invade my thoughts.
The hungry hordes
surround me
wailing through their beards.
My fingers tingle
feigning speech.
I havea a feeling
that my tongue
speaks words
because my throat
keeps burning.

by Jerome Rothenberg

Thursday, July 22, 2010



The western land,
nervous under the beginning change.
The Western States,
nervous as horses before a thunder storm.
The great owners,
nervous, sensing a change, knowing nothing of the nature of the change.
The great owners,
striking at the immediate thing, the widening government, the growing labor unity;
striking at new taxes, at plans;
not knowing these things are results, not causes.
Results, not causes;
results, not causes.

The causes lie deep and simply--
the causes are
a hunger in a stomach,
multiplied a million times;
a hunger in a single soul, hunger for joy and some security,
multiplied a million times;
muscles and mind aching to grow, to work, to create,
multiplied a million times.

The last clear definite function of man--
muscles aching to work,
minds aching to create beyond the single need--
this is man.

To build a wall,
to build a house,
a dam,
and in the wall and house and dam
to put something of Manself,
and to Manself take back something
of the wall,
the house,
the dam;
to take hard muscles from the lifting,
to take the clear lines and form from conceiving.
For man, unlike any other thing organic or inorganic in the universe,
grows beyond his work,
walks up the stairs of his concepts,
emerges ahead of his accomplishments.

This you may say of man--
when theories
change and crash,
when schools, philosophies,
when narrow dark alleys of thought,
grow and disintegrate,
man reaches, stumbles forward,
mistakenly sometimes.
Having stepped forward,
he may slip back,
but only half a step,
never the full step back.

This you may say
and know it
and know it.
This you may know
when the bombs plummet out of the black planes on the market place,
when prisoners are stuck like pigs,
when the crushed bodies drain filthily in the dust.

You may know it in this way.
If the step were not being taken,
if the stumbling-forward ache were not alive,
the bombs would not fall,
the throats would not be cut.

Fear the time when the bombs stop falling
while the bombers live--
for every bomb is proof
that the spirit has not died.
And fear the time when the strikes stop
while the great owners live--
for every little beaten strike is proof
that the step is being taken.

And this you can know--
fear the time when Manself will not suffer and die for a concept,
for this one quality is the foundation of Manself,
and this one quality is man,
distinctive in the universe.

-John Steinbeck