November 27, 2012

I signed a petition asking Gatorade to take flame retardant chemicals out of their products. Do you ever ask yourself just how crazy we have become? Later I heard a radio report detailing a new outbreak of violence in central Africa–once again, whole villages in the DRC evacuating without shelter, fleeing the fighting. In the face of such suffering, how obscene is the materialist frenzy here, on and following the weekend of “Thanksgiving.”

For a breath of sanity, try Yousef Munayyer’s recent op-ed in the NY Times, America’s Failed Palestinian Policy. I feel a sense of palpable relief when I read this sort of smart, down to earth analysis of what’s going wrong, which is the necessary first step towads real forward progress on a two state solution for Israel and Palestine.

The history of the US is so deeply rifted with moral contradiction. Do you think that’s why we so often avoid delving into the complexity of the contemporary body politic?

A wompus author emailed me that he lost the copy of my new chapbook I’d given him. It fell out of his pocket when he was dancing. I can’t think of a better way to lose a book. When we read together last month in New Orleans I brought along some copies of a little zine, Durable Goods, in which a poem of mine was published. I left copies on a couple tables in Kajun’s bar. I like thinking of people opening those little folded papers and puzzling over the poems inside. I like thinking of someone picking up my chapbook off the floor and wondering.

Our roof was leaking. We had to have work done on a chimney and we have the roofer coming back next, to fight back entropy up there. Houses are like bodies, stuff is always falling apart, requiring maintenance. We’re having some broken stuff in a bathroom fixed too. I wonder what will be next. I saw a couple of doctors this past week for regular maintenance too. It’s tiresome but it must be done. I was a lot more cavalier about bodily maintenance before my foray into cancer-land. I’m not going to hand you a saccharine platter of cancer-changed-my-life bon bons. I could have done without it. But like any significant obstacle in the road it did offer me the chance to seriously reconsider some foundational choices in my life, and that part I appreciate.

I’m in the middle of discussions with a large organization about a small presentation of music at a literary event. Maybe I’ll name names later. For reasons that are obscure to me, this idea of people singing at a literary event is controversial. There is fear of upsetting people. Every time I try to gently explore the reasoning, I’m back in Crazy Town. Art is art. A surprising number of writers are also musicians, filmmakers, painters, dancers. I can name so many of them personally, it must be very common. Art is art, no matter what the channel. It’s human anxiety and ego which demands the divvying up of the world so that everything can be placed in its assigned cubicle. And of course, it’s commerce–let nothing interfere with commerce!

I wrote some blog stuff from San Francisco a couple weeks ago. I haven’t posted it yet, but here’s what I said about one encounter, with an organization with which I had previously decided I was not going to do business: be careful of getting to know people. It’s easy to fall in love.

Maybe folks who want everything neatly separated into categories, properly labeled and sectioned off, are afraid of walking around in love with the world. If you really look around you, really taste the world, feel its touch, it is impossible not to fall in love, and have your heart broken, and fall in love again, again, again.

Thankful for all of you,