Open Letter to Mammon

Mammon

A muddy touché! Ye villains
of Hong Kong and Dubai,
fork-tongued evangelists of
foreign currency!

We applaud the handing over
of our stolen goods –
May we offer you a free-of-charge
gondola ride over the holy land
a bird’s-eye view of your assets
your wives and daughters, your mothers
your pimps, your priests and pederasts
your arms traders and factory generals
your Legacy on its death march –
advancing with the Exodus
in the shadow of a thunderhead
towards the promise of absolution
in a wine dark sea

Desiccated by desert heat
the old, the weak, and the very young
and others beyond utility
shall remain eternally entombed
under a violent sun–

Still others, inhabitants of bygone ice
of the high steppes,
of the Dengue jungles,
of the sand spit nations,
by your leave they join the fate of those
dragging their feet from Bethlehem
with the taste of sea salt
on their blackened tongues

You, tiny man with the tiny screen,
spitting crimson betel juice
on the shoeshine boy
from the City of God,
on the shoeshine girl
from the City of Angels,
grinning, your bleachies glinting
as the laborers of your camps
vacate the bowels, so oozing with parasites,
of your Super Babylons
of your endless outskirts
of your suburban Irkallas
with their rent-a-Nergals
festering like a thousand boils
upon the continents

The widening gyre spins in
a kaleidoscope
of shampoo bottles

Throw a rock through
the liquor store window –
Go to Jail dot com

Yesterday, a reactor meltdown in Japan,
Tomorrow the monarch will perish
in the rain of highway shoulder poisons,
meanwhile microbeads assemble in
nearshore waters–
they are watching you like
a billion billion billion
primitive eyes in the waves

Forgetting, they abandon the stragglers
shaking breadcrumbs from their pockets
tossing silver coins for the trade rats

Some leave to wander the
emptied alleys and wind tunnels –
woodwinds of the Trades –
echoing in the lonely island temples
sinking back into the oceans
of their emergence

No one to know what the polecat ate
No one to hear the gasping
of the Vaquita and Silky Sifafka
of the Mekong Catfish
as they sink below the surface

But wait, Mammon, remember
your little chochita with
pinto bean skin?
She hides her poison darts
under her Shakira beach towel –
She is coming for you first, hombre

You and your black market organ traders
who sleep like infants and fear nothing
if not the loss of your Legacy –
you must know that It too will be buried
in the sub-sea archives

This text is classified
Your last wishes will be recorded
in the annals of the Lithosphere
lost in the subduction zones
guarded by tube worms –
great scholars of the deep

For #Camus on His 100th Birthday

camus
I.
Today, on Camus’ 100th Birthday
230 million birds in the cloud
tweeting across the continents
signaling the coming of spring
with Arab spring still blooming
in a desert blackout
above the rising tide of revolution,
the emptying of holy lands.
Yet, the only question remaining
is still the question of suicide.

II.
Back home the growers used this stuff
on the grass they grow in the redwoods.
Simply opening a single canister
of this illegal pesticide can kill you.

Today a Kansas school indefinitely
suspended a thirteen-year-old boy
for wearing a paisley purse.

Today, just north of my city
a young Latino boy
a child, your son or mine
gunned down by twitchy cops
on the streets of his city.
His city has no slides or swings;
his city is exposed by a violent sun
a city undone – our city.
Strange how this city I live in
becomes the city I’m from.

III.
Today, an Opportunity!
Visualizing a Time Challenge!
Live inside real-time –
the age of information
the emergent consciousness
of Remorseless Man.

IV.
How far back do Robots really go?
The singularity is so last year.
Hope was always the human error
they wished to avoid.

Time is an ugly, senseless horror
but they say Wal Mart brings work
like seeded clouds bring rain;
they say we should be grateful.

Robots help us fold laundry.
Today drones strike without warning.
Assembly line slaves don’t have time
to conquer the world.

Pharaohs were the original Steampunks.
They had those crazy machines,
you know, they stored their souls
in jam jars.

V.
We wax poetic in the dark –
put yourself in my shoes.
Do remember those days?
Playing in the attic of the old house
after the sun went down
behind the live oak,
how we scanned the lines
of nine vintage books
about the afterlife of queers?

VI.
Hey friends, the Senate is voting right now!
Make some history!
Tweet it, post it, like it, tag it.

Read the signs of nuclear winter
in the cosmic tea leaves.
Speak to us in microtonal visions
special binary appearances
in the syntax and semantics
of modern hieroglyphics.

VII.
Binaural Beats, or
Why you can’t sleep
and what to do about it.

The lightning strikes our faces,
a blow from the fists of drunken fathers,
shadowboxing in the glassy darkness.

VIII.
In the beginning there was silence,
a silence neither poetic nor hermetic
but irredeemably desolate.
In retrospect we fought
the stubborn torpor without
a single moment of relief
in that epoch wherein our
infinite strangeness was suspended
in dust and spare parts.

IX.
Today. Finally, rain.

I just want to sit here,
to watch and listen.
It’s been so long I almost forgot
how beautiful it can all be.

X.
The world is beautiful, and outside there is no salvation.

OWS Protesters and Marcuse’s Political Preface 1966

Canal Workers - photo by Sebastiao Salgado

Marcuse’s Political Preface (Eros and Civiliation) seems to have some relevance to where we find ourselves at this moment in American history.

“To the degree to which organized labor operates in defense of the status quo, and to the degree to which the share of labor in the material process of production declines,intellectual skills and capabilities become social and political factors. Today, the organized refusal to cooperate of the scientists, mathematicians, technicians, industrial psychologists and public opinion pollsters may well accomplish what a strike, even a large-scale strike, can no longer accomplish but once accomplished, namely, the beginning of the reversal, the preparation of the ground for political action. That the idea appears utterly unrealistic does not reduce the political responsibility involved in the position and function of the intellectual in contemporary industrial society. The intellectual refusal may find support in another catalyst, the instinctual refusal among the youth in protest. It is their lives which are at stake, and if not their lives, their mental health and their capacity to function as unmutilated humans. Their protest will continue because it is a biological necessity. “By nature,” the young are in the forefront of those who live and fight for Eros against Death, and against a civilization which strives to shorten the “detour to death” while controlling the means for lengthening the detour. But in the administered society, the biological necessity does not immediately issue in action; organization demands counter-organization. Today the fight for life, the fight for Eros, is the political fight.”

Here is the entire Political Preface.