Friday, August 1, 2014


I think it's clear that UR has gone on de facto hiatus, so it seems best to adhere to my own philosophy and make it official.  I've also posted a couple more poems below.

I apologize for the absence of a comment section.  I am enormously appreciative of all the content that commenters here have contributed over the years.  (I am enormously apologetic for my total failure to contribute appropriate moderation.) Unfortunately, it is really useless to maintain open public comments after the slightest attention in mass-market media.

I would recommend other writers to read, but it seems presumptuous, patronizing and rude.  Whom should you read?  Alas, I fear you've already made that decision.  I'll follow Alexander, and simply say: read the best.

(I do want to give a special shout out to Deogolwulf, for his literary scalping of Slavoj Žižek. Not that a zombie really needs his scalp, but at least you get to keep it.)

(Better yet, give the living a rest and read the dead.  For instance, it's the broad general consensus of modern professional historians that James Buchanan was USG's worst President evah.  Well... haters gonna hate.  But why not give our own dear reality the benefit of the doubt, set that consensus as a prior - and then read Mr. Buchanan's own book? Which he actually, believe it or not, wrote himself?  Like, you know, a real person

I know.  I know.  You, also a real person, are too busy to read James Buchanan.  But not too busy to hate him.  Well, haters, etc.  And for non-haters, if your dear little prior needs any more of a workout, which frankly would surprise me, work it again with Lincoln The Man.  Personally I feel Lincoln is really the first of the modern Presidents, because I have a strong suspicion that just about every brilliant utterance we attribute to Lincoln, is actually the work of his brilliant young secretaries Nicolay and Hay.  Another unprovable conspiracy theory, I know, I know.

By curious coincidence, our leaders today, while of course great statesmen of historic proportions, are major writers in their copious spare time.  Really any of their masterpieces - I saw a whole box at Costco the other day - will do for a chaser.  But why not - Dreams From My Father?  If you do complete this grueling assignment, yet still find yourself taking the "real world" seriously, please write to UR for our warranty coverage.)

Anyway.  UR will reemerge, of course.  But not here, and not soon - and probably not even in this form.  I'll also try to do something non-lame with the archives.  Thanks for reading!

The Anarchy

The center cannot hold!  Mere anarchy,
"Cutting asunder of straps and ties,"
Smells like a pile of black jet fuel;
It roars like tanks in a bombed city;
It looks like porn.  Take one clip
I saw the other day - from ANNA,
The awesome Abkhaz National News Agency:
A POV cam on a Syrian tank, patrolling
An art director's Call of Duty scene
In gorgeous full HD.  Our tank fires.
Big dust cloud.  Bricks bounce on bricks.
We roll back and shoot again.  We drive
Somewhere else and do more firing.  This
Is anarchy: boring.  Till a rebel pops up
With an RPG and takes us out.  Boom!
But it violates every law of drama if
Death is the end of the clip.  Would ANNA
Be ANNA, without the perfect edit: cut
Straight to that rebel's own headcam?
Allah Akbar!  Allah Akbar!  Allah Akbar!
There is one God.  Mohammed is his prophet.
Mere anarchy is the future of journalism.
Where the hell it flows who knows, but
Carlyle's Niagara swings now to full flood.
"What enormous Pythons, born of mud..."
Thing is, kids, I was born in seventy-three.
You've seen GIFs of it.  I lived there.
You cannot teach me out of Old America -
Or those small scraps that then remained,
Now lost as Hoover, as vanished as Nixon;
And you stink at editing physical objects.
Here's a car insurance ad from Life, '66.
A national epidemic of auto theft!  Citizens,
Take prudent precautions!  First and foremost,
Stop leaving your keys in the car!  Anarchy
Is funny.  Why wouldn't it be?  But tell me,
Motherfucker: what bites has it bitten from you?
You and your friends?  You, friends and family?
Where at the least have you feared it and fled?
Anarchy, it turns out, is fuckin' hungry.
A regular polar bear, and in fact I saw
In the Times today a color dispatch
From Longyearbyen, Norway's northmost hole,
Where people are insane or something and
Leave their keys in their cars.  But wait!
Anarchy is not there.  Except that it is,
Dressed as a bear.  No vagrant or scoundrel,
"Distressed needlewoman," maniac or orc,
In Longyearbyen may dwell.  Not for your good,
Of course.  For his.  Bears would eat him.
Bears will eat anyone, of course, but at least
Bears will never steal your car.  And you,
"Who are not interested in war, but war -"
You too are on the map: bears to the north
And tanks to the east.  And as it turns out,
Anything can be a bomb.  And to the south -
To the south!  Anarchy, a white wave, waits
Big and patient as death.  Already its drops
Are wetting your shoes and watering your lawn.
What makes you special?  Your latitude?
But sir, the anarchy is barely started.
This film's in its first fifteen minutes.
And you love it.  You're having a blast.
You're the pride and pinnacle of history.
"For we are a people drowned in hypocrisy;
Saturated with it to the bone."  Anarchy
Is your vampire girlfriend, pneumatic
And robotic; she eats you; you feed her.
There's nothing new but there's always news.
"Democracy is not a form of government;
Democracy is an absence of government."
Anarchy's gyre burns without changing,
Grilling meat and crapping entropy - what?
Oh, that's right.  It's you again, you,
With the tractor production statistics.
In your bizarre career as armchair king,
You learned well to discount your eyes
And trust whatever went written in numbers,
While p-values aped the haruspic stars
And professors played the court magician.
"With four points I can fit an elephant;
Give me five and he'll wiggle his trunk."
And what of it!  The tractors are real.
The whole recovery is real!  The curve,
As a whole, wriggles really upward...
Of course there are shining reversals.
A year, a decade, five or even ten.
Even Rome had Indian summers galore.
Even in Cato's day the plot was clear.
Anarchy is nothing if not a dramatist.
And a bear: she fed well this summer,
She is fat today; let her hibernate;
We'll see her other aspect in the spring.
So our kingless empire spins immortal,
Plated in old brown fur-clotted blood,
Stinking just a little more each year.
Still you will do anything but serve!

Cath Lab (2012)

The bust of Hippocrates.
The Cath Lab,
Terrifyingly sterile.  "You
Can't come this way!  There are
Transplants here!"  You, not
A transplant, propped up,
Reading a book, just a battery
In your chest.  Not a solution:
We'll be back.  The kids,
Four and two.  At 31
Your father went for a run.
At 30 they saw nothing in you.
At 41 you go for a run, and have
To sit down.  That same day,
By pure puerile accident -
"Mommy's heart broke."  I almost
Collapse myself.  "You mean, Mommy's
Father's heart broke."  "Oh yes."
A month to see the specialist, who
Opens the door and takes a deep breath.
She loves me, she loves me not!  And
Two more coins, palmed another month;
Two serpents, recombined... ten
Floors down, Hippocrates
Is scrawled in mystic signs
By youths with perfect hearts.