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Monday, October 20, 2003

Once again I find myself entirely agreeing with Ron Silliman:

the way to challenge & defeat "militarized language & propaganda" is not through poetry, but through same political action a steelworker or waitress might take. The idea that poetry is in this sense a different practice strikes me as a genre-based mode of megalomania. If poets are serious about taking on the forces of darkness, the avenues for action are plentiful.

But I'd push it farther. Poets may have once been part of the engine of the state, but even then we were just entertainers, keeping the court amused like jesters or feeding the court's pride like painters and sculptors, and entertainers is all we are now. Of course we can choose whom we entertain, and the more ambitious of us try to mix some instruction into the delight we try to give, but who of us has done the hard work to actually develop the knowledge and wisdom behind that instruction?

And is delight such a small thing?

Walking Out

Inside, the screen displays my buggy code
and, in another window, all my errors--
a catalog as certain, and as wrong,
as any list of sins that ever showed
how this choice leads to that mistake, how terrors
of consequence, as natural as song,
are more frequent, since the Second Law's a toad
squatting across the path where we're the bearers
of this thing after that for far too long.

Out here around the parking lot, the sky
is not so sure. I watch a beetle fly
headlong into the just-bloomed Queen Anne's lace,
which might be food, and nibble, just in case.


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