Wednesday, April 22, 2009

That's The Fourteenth Time I've Never Heard That Before

short hair, skinny,
he smokes a rollie
by a white van
on the corner

looks at me, passing,
calls me jesus,
and everyone
around him laughs

his eyes are glassy
like the surface
of a lake
before it snows.

my hair is long
my beard is thick
your waxy cropped
head makes me sick.

Friday, April 17, 2009


Liberal commentators are expressing disappointment today about Barack Obama's announcement that he won't prosecute CIA operatives for torturing terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay and in other dens of American (and probably British) justice around the world. It is as if, for them, he's compromised himself fatally, becoming--as we all expected--a more articulate version of the Beast that came before him.

Well, that may or may not be so, just as Bush and Co. may or may not have been the Beast we assume them to have been. But as quick as I am to leap on Obama for failing to match deeds to the fine words (and how fine they were) that got him elected, I struggle to see how he could prosecute CIA operatives without prosecuting the lawyers and high-ranking government officials who approved the torture methods being used. That delightful man Dick Cheyney is on record as saying that water boarding is an acceptable method of interrogation in the extraordinary circumstances America faces as it struggles to defeat radical Islam.

"I was only acting on orders," of course, is not an adequate defence. But in Nazi Germany (not that I am drawing parallels between that and America post-9/11: even during the worst excesses of the Bush administration it was restrained by fundamental moral values, even if it showed an extraordinary capacity to rationalise their laying aside for the greater good), the soldier who attempted that defence saw every member of the Nazi high command tried, and the majority hanged.

Unless Obama is prepared to try Cheyney and Bush for war crimes, which he would never do, it would be utter hypocrisy to put those who followed the orders they gave on trial--even if we do have to question the nature of an agency whose fealty to international law is so slight that one call from an illegally elected president will see that law broken so grostesquely by its operatives.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

splake and "The Winter Diary"

I received with today's bundle of bills and fliers from the local pizza houses my copy of t.kilgore splake's "The Winter Diary", which might best be described as his poetical autobiography. I've read it in draft but now here's the finished product, out in book form. It looks good. I wish the print could have been a little bigger but I guess that would have meant more pages and increased the cost of print and sale. And not everyone has the eyesight of a half-blind hamster like me (lol, as texters say).

I will do a proper review of the book when I've read it through again, but congratulations to splake for directing his considerable energies to the completion of the book; I know it's been a long time coming.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

2009 Is Really Nothing Like The 80s

People keep pointing out the similarities between what's happening now, and the recession of the 80s.

They're right in one sense. It does look the same: all those abandoned shops, people crowded outside of Job Centres.

But in any substantial way it's completely different. Back then people were politicised, if they didn't have their snouts in Thatcher's trough.Every second person in the dole queue knew who had put them there and was intellectually engaged in how to change things. I know. I was in the dole queues with them. And the lucky ones who had jobs but weren't seduced by Thatcher's call to the baser side of their nature looked on with repugnance.

And the bands supported the people in the dole queues and in all the other places that the Hand of Greed was smashing culture and tradition. They showed leadership. They talked politics to NME hacks. Some even toured political shows to galvanise the anti-Thatcher vote.

There were vegetarian whole food shops run by anarchist students in every town. The Communists took caravans of people out to tie white doves on the fences at American air force bases.

Now the people on the street talk racism. Hate foreigners. Crowd in black trackies and stupid white baseball caps like Primark versions of the thugs in "Clockwork Orange" and swear and spit at anyone who looks different. Wish jail on the few who have the courage and intelligence to know what's really going on and want to protest against it.

Now football is the only thing the average kid gives a fuck about. Which is fine: I like football too. But unless my memory is failing me it seems like there used to be so much more.

The 80s were awful. The triumph of everything monstrous in human nature, and, I might add, the progenitor of the collapse we're living through now. But everybody who hadn't been bought off knew that and refused to take the side of the racist homophobic book-burning swine who ran the country.

These days it seems like almost everybody takes their side.

I am sure it won't be too long before the Government takes away our right to engage in political protest.

And when they do it the majority of people whose freedom is being destroyed won't even notice its passing.They'll be too busy reading TV gossip in gutter press Tory newspapers and thinking that the world's going to hell.

On that, if very little else, I can agree with them.