My hero, Marianne Shaneen, on getting arrested while getting her civil disobedience on at the die-in protest in mid-town Manhattan last week.


We're at the point where you get much more insightful analysis of world events from The Onion than you get from The New York Times or The Economist.

My favorite recent Onion headline is: New Bomb Capable of Creating 15,00 New Terrorists In a Single Blast.


My normal state of mind after getting home from work, eating dinner, reading the NY Times and watching the TV news is a simmering despair, with anger, and intense pulsations and rivulets of depression. Tonight I implemented a no-TV or NY Times rule. Instead I listened to the original Sun Ra CD Nuclear War (very beautiful and relaxed) and then put on WBAI for the rest of the night. There was a live broadcast from Riverside Church with many activists and poets speaking. Amy Goodman gave an excellent talk. Michael Moore came on and said he wanted to finish the speech he started the other night (at the Oscars). He said the Bush regime was now pursuing a policy of "compassionate terrorism." This got a lot of laughs.

To others not feeling so hot about the human race, I recommend a similarly large dosage of Sun Ra and WBAI.
I highly recommend the new Yo Lo Tengo EP Nuclear War. Mostly drums and vocals. One version has a children's chorus. It's a Sun Ra cover:

Nuclear war yea, yea, yea, they're talking about nuclear war / it's a Motherfuck-er, don't you know / if they push that button, your ass gotta go / and whatcha gonna do without your ass?"

Despair, hope and absurdity come together in a way that's easy to relate to these days.


Anti-War March, New York City:

Mike Scharf and I wondering what it would be like if the blades locked on the helicopters hovering above the crowd: plummeting.

The guy crossing us as we approached 42nd St. saying "think about September 11th." I say "you’re misinformed!"

Lee Ann Brown breast feeding her child as she marched against war.

The swinging Dixieland clarinet player.

The 95 year-old woman in a motorized wheelchair protesting with the crowd.

The group of nuns next to the group of gay teenagers.

The rippling waves of cheers moving over Broadway.

Chanting at the NBC truck: "Tell it like it is! Tell it like it is!"

The roving percussionists.

The poets of different "camps" and ages, together.

The woman on the balcony at Broadway and 27th blowing a conch shell. Her four-year old daughter coming out on to the balcony defiantly, demanding the shell, and then playing it even louder than her mother -- to the vivid cheering of the marchers.

Literally dancing in the street.


The weird tape loop emanating from the police van at the end of the march at Washington Square Park: "The march is now over. Please leave the area, and let the other marchers finish, as you have done." Exactly the don’t -pay -attention -to -the man -behind -the -curtain –tone of voice.

The calm, bored, irritated look on the faces of the police.

"Hussein, Bin Laden, Pinochet, all created by the CIA!"

The lack of ANY story about the march in the print version of the New York Times.

Guaranteed access for The New York Times "newspaper." Great footage.

New York Times is wholly owned and operated by the US state department.

I associate the word "embedded" with deer ticks.

Nada Gordon writing down the slogans of the marchers.

Marianne Shaneen filming, filming.

At Union Square, the emotion of the thing finally hitting me. Suddenly a good slogan occurs to me "Invest in Haliburton now! You’ll make a Killing!"

Very disoriented shoppers at Herold Square.

Is being a protester now like a being a poet. You do this thing that makes so much sense to you, that you are so committed to, and that seems so valuable, and you and everyone with you, is totally and effortlessly ignored.

New tactics?

The guy in the bunny suit.

Arriving at Washington Square Park at 4:30. Not wanting to leave.

Futility or a river of sanity? Or both?

Seeing poets more at protests than at readings.


Ann Waldman. Ron Pagett, Ammiel Alcalay convince Donald Rumsfeld to stop the war and step down.

Simon Pettet, Mike Scharf, Toni Simon convince Paul Wolfowitz to stop the war and step down.

Nick Piombino, Mitch Highfill, Sue Landers convince Dick Cheney to stop the war and step down.

Allison Cobb, Katie Degentesh, Nada Gordon convince George Bush to stop the war and step down.

Marianne Shaneen, Sherry Brennen, Cecilia Vicuna convince Richard Perle to stop the war and step down.

Brenda Iijima, Jeff Derksen, Lee Ann Brown convince Colin Powell to stop the war and step down.

Carol Mirakove, Jen Coleman, Gary Sullivan convince Condoleeza Rice to stop the war and step down.

Brian Stefans, Karen Weiser, Joe Safdie convince Tommy Franks to stop the war and step down.

The sun pouring down on the stream of humans in the street…


Your tax dollars are now being used to bulldoze idealistic 23 years-old
girls from Olympia to death.

I guess people will get used to this way of answering idealism.

Maybe the reason fish are speaking in New York state is that people want
the end of the world to happen? Does it make them feel important when
they're there to see it, and to help it along?

By the "end of the world" I mean, of course, the mass killing of
civilians by the United States. It's important to conceive of war crimes
as being "inevitable" just because some maniac millionaires will
personally profit from it. It's actually the begining of the world, not
the end -- what world?

I guess it's not hard to get used to bulldozing girls. Get used to
unprovoked invasions of foreign countries. Get used to detainees who
never get trials. You get used to it.

The largest and most unified and peaceful anti-war protests in the
history of the earth have produced this reaction in our leaders: Fuck
you. I'm going to kill whoever I like. You're damn lucky you live in a
country where it’s hard to just kill you for speaking your mind, because
that’s what we’d like to do to you.

Sitting in the coffee shop on Ave. A before going to work this morning.
People dressed sharply for their work day.

Carpet bombing of civilians.

Maybe there's some intrigue or gossip at work.

Destruction of water systems, food distribution, and communications.

Maybe people aren’t working or are working part time or have artistic
goals they are trying to achieve.

Backing the bulldozer up over the body of the 23 year old girl after
running her over once.

On the stereo they played a nice Indie-rock ballad I didn't recognize. I
had an everything bagel toasted with cream cheese and a large coffee.

"The mother of all bombs."

Rachel Corrie was working on wells for drinking water.

Maybe the talking fish in New Square was really protesting the war.
Maybe he knew about the well water -- maybe he understood that working
on water systems was a good use of one's energy and resources -- unlike
the production of depleted uranium weapons.

Fish know the importance of water after all.

The guy injured himself trying to kill this fish.

I wonder who ate the fish.


El Toro

Valencia and 17th. It looks, sounds and smells exactly as it did in 1994. San Francisco has this dynamic in general -- one leaves for six or seven years, and returns with the sensation that the city had frozen for the entire time, despite the shifts in human presentiment, which are were one’s sense of place really comes from.

San Francisco seems to exist only when you are within its boundaries, which contributes to its reputation for embodying the dangers of stagnation given via the twin powers of comfort and splendor. But this is also part of the city’s power. Spicer had a doctrine that poems should not leave the protective confines of the city, a kind of magic circle.

The burritos fall under the spell of this same limitation, you are not going to find them in New York or Chicago or Boston any more than you would find Six Poems for Poetry Chicago in Poetry Chicago.

Entering El Toro, one is presented first with the man chopping on the cutting board, a cleaver in each hand, a percussionist. I prefer sticks and mallets to be lighter, because the muscle motion involved is then capable of more mercurial shifts, heavier sticks are good for volume and groves with a lesser density of pulsation. The tempo here is medium-fast. The sense of practically of dividing the meat is pushed to the background, and the feeling of performance and rhythmic purposefulness is upfront.

Improvisational musics seem to be dividing between revivalism, extreme techno-reductionism, and extended hybridization. Is poetry falling into similar patterns? Are these tendecies themselves already combining? Here we have purposefulness aloft on wood, metal and flesh.

Certainly this could be conceived as falling within the tradition of Milford Graves, Spirit, Gunter Muller. Less so hail or rain. Is it the outboard motor to the hissing of the grill, as Glenn Spearman once said of the relation of William Winant and Donald Robinson to Glenn’s collectivity boat. Aren't our little groups and mags and reading series collectivity boats? Why does it not feel this way?

I pick especial. The searing of the content, the exchange of carbohydrates and proteins for life. The strata of selection, so unlike the draining energy one feels when confronted with a wall of cereal boxes, as though the possibilities of ingredient combinations here were designed for actual problems and situations of life, levels of hunger, needs – it is all so attainable.

I love content. The totally unique savoriness in the overall mixture of the ingredients. They way the differences hold together, remain themselves, mix in the most delicious ways.


Remembered lines from Heriberto Yepez's NY reading:

Writing is always authoritarian and the authorities of language always use silence. That's why we look at the audience when we read.

Choose your ideal dictatorship.

Human poetry I would define as the strange situation where half the page is missing.

Most writing is Spam.

The relationship between the USA and the rest of the world is exactly like the relation between author and reader.

Every time writing ends a reader is born.