I ws leaning toward Hillary, but I actually really like this poem Obama wrote when he was nineteen. Thanks to Catherine Daly for posting the link to it on the Poetics List:


Under water grottos, caverns

Filled with apes

That eat figs.

Stepping on the figs

That the apes

Eat, they crunch.

The apes howl, bare

Their fangs, dance,

Tumble in the

Rushing water,

Musty, wet pelts

Glistening in the blue.

You know, just a little more torque and this poem would rock. It even strikes me as slightly homoerotic.

I wonder, has Hillary ever tried her hand at writing poetry?


I have reserved the blog name, “Cyber-shtetl,” but I’m not sure yet for what purpose. Would any other secular Jewish poets like to have a group blog? I know, I know, as if there’s not already enough to pay attention to. Anyway.

To be artistically active among interested peers

To be artistically active among interested peers, some of whom would collaborate, agreeing to engage in preposterous and highly idiosyncratic processes of composition together — to be able to play so vigorously, deliberately, and concertedly, while we intuited and dreamed and reasoned argued and distorted among ourselves the terms and values for the choices and excitement we participated in — this experience realized a dream gestated in childhood, born in adolescence, and now found active in an everyday life no longer academic.

Steve Benson, in The Grand Piano Vol II, p. 30

Wrong Face

There’s something wrong with
my face (other than my drunken

Russian souvenir shop balalaika,
a ‘zippy zither’) – Remember

the time your chemistry caught fire?
And then there was something

about a tarantula having baby
rainbow suspenders worn by Mork

or an extra nose tattooed on your face
next to your real nose. Ha!… Monkey Face!

Bathed in any pumpkin seeds lately?
Frickin’ Komodo Dragons — like a particularly

bucolic avant-folk experiment.
Researchers have devised what they call

the “still face experiment” to see
what happens when interactions are

disrupted. The seagulls look at the
chicken-thing bobbing in the water.

The birds all look like seagulls or
cormorants in the artificial sky:

Blood Blood and Black Lace Blood
The Exorcist The Experiment The Eye Face

Whats new seagull face? WOOOOOOOAHHH
yah. Really? So what’s the truth

behind the seagull face? wings catchycolours
action seagull experiment flare practice …

Is it all a science experiment? A dream?
A supernatural pocket in the universe

with a tentacle face and in possession
of a lot of people’s souls?

Baby Jesus and I rode over to my new
rehearsal space, his features are composed of

people’s moms naked yeah I remember
the pop rocks tale, the Alka-Seltzer/seagull

experiment, and the bloody mary story.
Secondly, I have a sneaking suspicion

that the monkey face didn’t stay put.
I also have a monkey face (I am famous for it) —

so realistic if you get too close.
The star of all the wildlife films is me.

Really? So what’s the truth behind the
seagull face? My innocent look, baby duckling []

none [] hedgehog [] snail [] piranha []
seagull [] newt [] pigeon. The FACE experiment

was conducted on a moderately fertile
Night Of The Seagulls with strands falling

onto my face — I think this might be
an experiment with “alternative distribution

systems” of gentle lavender vomit.
Like a baby seagull, our robots rely

on a sense of normalcy. O Analogy Police,
I will not lick my human’s face.

I can swear to you that the seagulls were
vultures, expecting some statistical regularity

in their experiences. An object in the shape
of a face changes into a separate seagull face

the heat is coming off the sidewalk in waves
and you see that there’s something wrong

with my face—like it’s a jigsaw puzzle
not put together right. There’s something wrong

with my monitor. There’s something wrong
with my script, and I can’t figure out what!

There’s something wrong with my throat.
I can’t swallow properly and my voice

is hard and rough. There’s something wrong
with my ears. What if there’s something wrong

with my puzzle? How do I send you
the picture for the puzzle?

Questions that occurred to me on a first reading of The Grand Piano

Are collectivities interesting because, as they are networks, energy can move along their grids?

Does the book feel a little like a soap opera?

Aren’t all autobiographies soap operas?

Is it lubricious enough?

Aren’t they awfully “invested” in “writing well?” Ought we to be more so?

(“they”? “we”?)

Doesn’t everyone enact a fantasy of themselves?

Do the names roll out like a scroll of (a part of) my own youth, sort of?

Doesn’t Ted Pearson write a little like, I don’t know, John Ruskin?

Doesn’t Lyn’s section sound a little like a testimonial?

Did Tom really have an experience with a transsexual?

Isn’t everyone in love with Carla?

Why is Barry the only one to mention clothing? Isn’t his section the wittiest?

Is the situation at Berkeley Ron describes replicable? I mean in the near future?

Why did Juliana make a fuss? Wasn’t Ron’s mention of the black woman his father was having an affair with a narratively necessary descriptive marker? And wasn’t Kit’s mention of “an African-American Marxist intellectual and auto mechanic with a daughter named Erica” not particularly eroticized – except insofar as he’s someone’s lover (and aren’t most ((happy)) people?)? Is the fact that the daughter named Erica significant? Is she Erica Hunt? Isn’t that generationally impossible? Or maybe the mechanic was older? Does every detail in a narrative have to be relevant? Why are we made uncomfortable by possibly irrelevant details?

Why was it hard for Bob to posit love as a term in a discussion of writing? Why does he seem so anxious?

Don’t they seem to mention their children a lot? Is having children really so fulfilling or is it something the species/the state brainwashes us into believing so it can sustain itself? Is that too nihilistic of a thing to even say? Was it a mistake for me not to have children?

Have “we” (not “they”) overcome modernism? Does modernism require overcoming?

Why is this book so expensive? Isn’t it wrapped in brown paper? Is it sustainable? Doesn’t it fit nicely into a coat pocket?

Didn’t I go to the Grand Piano in 1977 after walking ten miles for the whales through Golden Gate Park (not for a poetry reading) when I was thirteen wearing kung fu shoes which were all the rage then and getting blisters with my friend Caitlin who later became estranged from me and died of complications related to a brain aneurysm she had had many years before?

Aren’t there still a lot of questions to ask?

Am I looking forward to the next installment? Hell yeah!

Sugoi, na

Jen Scappetone mentioned this tonight at the Bay Poetics Reading at the Zinc Bar:

a subversive homophonic translation of Kimi Ga Yo (the Japanese National Anthem) into English!How could I not have know about this?

Japanese protesting their national anthem are satirizing the song by secretly turning its lyrics into English words, according to a Japanese newspaper.

The Sankei Shimbun reported on Monday that the satirical song has been spread as a new sabotage weapon of protest among groups that object to hanging the national flag or singing the national anthem, the Kimigayo.

The English parody of the anthem, titled “Kiss Me,” takes the syllables of each word of the Japanese original and turns them into phonetically similar English words.

Due to the phonetic similarity, it is hard to detect whether a person is singing the original Kimigayo or the parody. Many teachers and students, who think the anthem arouses nationalism and militarism, sing the latter one at school entrance or graduation ceremonies, the newspaper said.

For example, the first verse of the national anthem “Kimigayo wa” becomes “Kiss me girl, your old one,” in reference to “comfort women” _ women who were forced into sexual slavery during World War II.

The original anthem wishes Japanese Emperor a thousand years’ of happy reign. But the satirized version implies that a girl who met a former comfort woman sympathizes with the woman and wants the truth revealed.

The lyrics are “Kiss me girl, your old one. Till you’re near, it is years till you’re near. Sounds of the dead will she know? She wants all told, now retained, for cold caves know the moon’s seeing the mad and dead.”

except, try as I might, I can’t get the lyrics to fit the melody. They must be truncating the words to fit the song?