Sometimes, Knowing Isn't Enough
So, a sprint into foolishness...
Having just finished George Saunders' wonderful new book (A Swim In a Pond In The Rain) on reading and writing, in which he repeatedly extols the importance of spending time with, and on, the re-write; and, being a long time admirer of Donald Hall's poignant late essays (Essays After Eighty & Carnival Of Losses) where he reveals that he sometimes changes a word between sixty and three hundred times, I am ignoring their advice: Letting something sail into the world because of the wind behind it, rather than a scrupulous and methodical check on whether it is a sea worthy vessel.
Late last night, as an unexpected snowfall entered its final melting, I sat reading Luke Mogelson's troubling and telling essay The Storm (Among the Insurrectionists) in this week's New Yorker. This followed:
In Him We Trust
God must be sleeping or have died
a while back, 'otherwise, ' she said
'he would have smite
those motherfuckers' whose twisted mouths
conspire to set fire to truth with their firsting
dragon breath, their tattooed hands hurling
history onto the pyre of stories
that cause indigestion or inconvenience
a roadblock on the pursuit to happiness
"Stop the steal, beat the seal, to death
we don’t like the colour of his pelt
and how the hell did he sign the ballot paper anyway
Af- af- af- af- af- af- after this
we are the flippers. Stop the clocks, the count
this is the end of the world as we know it"
Lady Justice has her blindfold ripped
from her face, her lips painted blue
so that she can sing a proud boy’s anthem
extinguished dreams have fallen from the mountain
and there he is, god, sliding gleefully down its side
having abandoned his angels to march with them
Groyper, they call, slapping his stooped back
and his big old white feet goose along with them
to whose house? "Our House!"
The fountain has poured
its black liquid for so long that words are forming
in its raging foam, parasite, parasitism gurgles and spills
over its stoney lip, staining their green and pleasant land
"Look what it’s done to our lawn, ma"
Somewhere on the floor of a deserted building
a shape with coyote fur, buffalo horns and the body of a man
his wounded animal wrath seethes through megaphone
“I will be he’rd. We will be he’rd.”
He turns his woolly head in thanks
to their heavenly father, slumped against a lectern
slack jawed, breath wheezing from gaping mouth
and a yellow plastic shard embedded in his cheek
“We need more firepower” he barks
© Simon Parker
1/27/2021 01:05:10 pm
That is powerful stuff...clearly fired up by the mob you have very vividly captured the events that happened on Capitol Hill with raw energy. No words, in my opinion, need to be reviewed or changed ! I haven't read the N Yorker article but I did watch on TV what went on that day. Right wing populism showing its nasty ignorant face to the world...
1/27/2021 08:58:37 pm
Amazing analogy the one about the wind and the sea!
1/28/2021 11:26:07 am
Its an angry but beautiful poem.
1/28/2021 11:59:02 am
My American mum would have loved this. Great piece of writing. The sealspeltdoom.
1/29/2021 10:57:11 am
An amazing piece of writing. Strong, powerful and emotional.
1/30/2021 06:59:21 pm
Powerful, angry, uncomfortable to read through the vivid images arising from it. Made me feel a bit sick but also hopeful that all this divisive energy won't prevail.
3/9/2021 08:27:30 pm
I missed this when you first penned it, so I am reading it now two months after you wrote it. I’m sure that is not what you intended. It is a poem of the moment, written in the whirlwind. Now that the whirlwind has uncurled, the poem stands there naked and ephemeral.
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Writing into the dark