monday, august 8

i: punditry

the ability of this civilization
to reproduce the components of its
material culture and the routines
of their operation on a grand scale
may have temporarily obscured
the ultimate locality and specificity
of real things,
but it has hardly erased them.

despite the well-traveled observations
of well-paid idiots
the world still
is not flat.

ii: attitude

the city is a complex machine
full of levers, springs, inclined planes
wedges, wheels, and screws
a landscape of directed motion and channeled energy
it runs ragged and loud
waste heat is everywhere,
a river of shit moves beneath
every street.

the city is an organism
composed at the cellular level of
gasoline engines and beating hearts.

the city is a cancer of the town,
the town is a mutant village,
the village held still
too long.

the city is only a mass of networks and junctions
only a convention for describing density
a mass of conventions
in motion and frustrated stasis
and has a fractal quality:
similarity at all levels,
endless variation.

iii: anyway

it is summer just east of the rockies
and we have rented half of a house
one low hill away from the two-lane road
to boulder

west of us there is a fence and on
the other side of that a lot of grass
and rocks and coyotes
also there are trees,
and mountain lions
if the previous tenants are to be believed

we have escaped denver, where it is obvious
that colorado is not california or new york
but just the same is starting
to choke on people and cars -
the mass psychoses of traffic jams
and subdivisions are entrenched and thriving:
internal combustion, here as elsewhere
acts something like a bad hallucinogen only more mundane

these houses full of commuter consumers
and their entertainment
are surrounded by little green perfect lawns kept
that way by poor mexicans and the white kids
who barely made it out of high school
(not to mention the overburdened western water supply
and a lot of 2-cycle engines)

while boxy vehicles sold on the twin premises that
square things are more useful
and minivans just aren't cool
squat in every driveway at $2.48 a gallon
(which is either too damn much or nowhere
near enough - i can't make up my mind)

it is like that special kind of nightmare
which is made up of endless repetition
driven not by fear but sheer boredom

honestly i don't know where the things i hate
leave off into the ones i love
you walk into any decent store, books or hardware
or groceries, and what is there that didn't come in
on rock-bottom wages and petroleum?

hell, i'm likely writing this on coal-fired power
or maybe hydroelectric from some big river-killing dam
and it's something close to slave labor
that built the whirring box i'm writing with
busy as it is blowing the world wide open,
the most democratic technological revolution
in history - brought to you in part by the
united states military-industrial complex
and the people's republic of china

you hardly need to work at
complacence in the face of this
it's too big to see up close
and if you slip on the way to
a better perspective
you risk becoming that humorless bastard
you encounter sooner or later at every
coffeeshop or hipster party
who doesn't condone wal-mart and won't
watch television, which are the
basic facts you know about him ten
minutes into any conversation

i'm afraid i've almost been that guy
a time or two
but mostly i've just wanted to throw a
keg-cup full of pabst blue ribbon
in his face and see if irony is
soluble in beer.