Thursday, February 26, 2015

Lee Sharks

Stop Reading

Very few people know it, but the secret to great writing is: not reading. 

Once I was an ordinary boy child of indeterminate gender, like Pinocchio, but powerful poems transformed me, first, into Leto Atreides, God Emperor of Dune, and, second, into G. W. F. Hegel, author of Phenomenology of Spirit and Cranium Base Alpha for touchdown of Absolute Spirit on planet earth in Prussia. 

The way I achieved this was based on the simple principle of not reading. I started by avoiding all works of German Idealism, my own included, then proceeded each day to gradually taper my literacy, cutting out anything in the Continental tradition, works of poetry and philosophy, literary and historical works written more than 50 years ago, then any contemporary 'scholarship' or 'criticism,' anything with an empirical, analytical, or evaluative bent, works of genre fiction, pulp novels, the newspaper, comic books, instructions, and signs. 

I got stuck at this phase for quite some time, and it wasn't until I had a breakthrough based on the mystical experience of Nature that I was able to make progress. When I was walking in the woods, a squirrel fell on my head and it occurred to me that I was STILL thinking like a critic, infected with the disease of abstraction and self-examination: I needed to be like the squirrels, the trees, the organic poem that is Nature. 

From that point on I radically reconceived my task. The only way to eliminate the stubborn dregs of reading that persisted, boil-like, to plague me--the way to fulfill my destiny and become a fully actualized poetic genius and/or godhead and/or Voice of the Ages and/or independently wealthyauteur--was to tear the weed out by its roots, as it were. 

To eliminate reading, I must eliminate thinking. 

To that effect, I immediately instituted drastic changes in the routines of my daily life. I stopped bathing. I stopped wearing clothes. I refused to cook my food. I defecated at will. At long last, the Mystery of Poetry had revealed itself to me, unlocked in the primitive glory of my transformation. An unspeakable, trembling destiny took shape within me, and I, Leto Atreides the 47th, became God Emperor of Dune, also known as the Poet Lee Sharks. My powerful mind control poems now allowed me to regulate the flow of melange on Dune, and also to become a gigantic worm-man, and also toharness the power of friendship, kindness, laughter, and magic. 

And it all started with not reading.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Mark Sargent

LETTER FROM GREECE #27: To the barricades

I heard from my friend, Dr. Robert Brandes, who relentlessly travels Eastern Europe and the Balkans talking to and buying from organic farmers.  He lived for years in Greece, is a frequent visitor and an astute observer of the country.  He’s talking tough love.     

Kalimera Mark!

Thanks once more for your interesting view on Greek affairs unfolding…

Great that Syriza has won! Probably the best among several terrible choices…at least politics in Europe become more interesting by this result. Also, Syriza seems to have an interesting coalition partner ;-) ?

Allow me to give you my perspective on the events:
a)      General: last week I was in Serbia. This is a place in crisis. Greece is a RICH country. So, my opinion is: Greeks shut up and deal with your problems! Stop howling like old women and CHANGE! You know, I am a REAL Philhellene. But, traveling through the Balkans up and down every year, mostly in rural places, my eyes see a lot of poverty, and terrible things, affecting old and young people (+ animals!) suffering from states in decay, whose citizens do not have nearly the wealth and ease of many many, probably most Greeks.
b)      Syriza: I am shocked of the totally unclever and unexperienced way of Varoufakis and Tsipras in “negotiations” with the other Euro states…..If I would negotiate in this confronting style with my suppliers and customers (being a grain trader) – we would be out of business soon. And I fear Syriza will be, too, if they keep behaving so un-clever. Very very foolish. “Sounds” good not to go to Germany first, not to speak directly with Merkel, but visit the others first (Italy, France…- who are unimportant) – great! But this is really not the key to success…
c)       I fear that Greece can change only if the mentality of the people changes. This (if possible at all) will take 2 generations. So what I fear is: many Greeks have noticed that the old parties, which in former times provided the “gifts”, are finished now….and just hop into the boat sailing under the flag of Syriza. And Syriza will NOT brake with the habit of Greece – and will provide gifts to their followers….

So, I am delighted that Syriza has won – but I am highly skeptical if this will change the situation or if the un-clever leaders will only fuck up the financial situation even more.
In my eyes, Greece needs a cut regarding the depths – and then drop out of the Euro-zone, to have the advantage of a soft currency, again (they need it because the society will take 2 generations to change and be competitive with modern societies). This will increase local and national production of goods and tourism. And block imports.

As long as the” fakelaki” in the health system is still the norm, as long as the “frontistiria” system in education continues (plus a long list of other sicknesses)– I see NO hope that the Greek society will change.
Because corruption and nepotism is “you and me” – i.e. every ordinary citizen.
If I should hear news of doctors being beaten to death for staying unactive in treating patients, because the doctors haven´t received their bribe as usual, I will become optimistic that Greece will change.
If I should hear that the wealthy people in Greece get heavily taxed and also are made to PAY these taxes, I will become optimistic, too.
But as long as this news does not reach me, I will love Greece - the way it is….and always has  been.   

I am intrigued to see how the story will go on!

Best greetings from Nuernberg!


Some explanation of terms.  ‘fakelaki’ means, literally, little envelope.  But when dealing with any government run agency, especially health care and building permits, it means bribe, something to hasten the desired outcome, and yes, cash shoved in a little envelope is the traditional method.  The ‘frontistiria’  system is, essentially, a second loosely organized private education system which most Greek students are funneled into.  Often, from sometime in late grade school, they are sent, after the regular school day, to private schools that specialize in foreign languages or hard science or history and the Greek language, etc.  Every field covered in the national examination for university entrance has frontistiria.  For this is what all this studying is about, gaining entrance into your chosen area of study or, as is often the case, the field of study that vaguely corresponds to your interests or that you believe you can gain entrance to.  These schools are not cheap and working class families scramble to afford them.  By the time the kids are in middle school they are spending several hours a day in these schools.  There is often no time for lunch, they just grab something they can eat on the way and return home at nine o’clock, sometimes later.  Essentially, the nation is supporting two school systems.  Why?  because no one trusts the public schools to prepare the students, and with good reason.  The public schools are a chaotic mess made even worse by the frontistiria.  As any public school teacher will attest, the students whose parents can afford to access the private system pay no attention in class (they’re getting it twice a day) thereby greatly diminishing chances of poor students learning anything.  This is in the countryside.  In Athens the affluent can bypass the public schools and send the little darlings to very expensive private schools where instruction is in a foreign language, usually English.  Whether Greece can afford a modern efficient school system that encourages creative thinking and innovation; okay, nevermind that, but can it prepare the students to enter the world with curiosity intact (not happening now) is up for question.  But it damn sure can’t afford two, regardless of quality.  

This lack of trust in the competency and integrity of the government permeates the society.  It is one among many reasons that all polls indicate a deep fear of the country leaving the Eurozone, because that would mean that the populace would have to depend entirely on the economic policies of the government.  And right now, though much of the country appears enthusiastic about SYRIZA’s stance towards the EU—a certain national pride that the nation is saying enough already, rather than the previous bend and spread approach—few have confidence in their ability to manage the dreaded Grexit, which would be fraught with peril.  Very good arguments can be made for Greece leaving the Eurozone but let’s face it, for the first two or three years, at least, it would only make matters far worse.  SYRIZA was elected proclaiming their desire to remain within the Eurozone.  And so, as my friend John Psarapoulos pointed out, for Greece to exit the Eurozone would require a new election.  Or perhaps a referendum?  I have no idea how that would play out, but it would be an awful hard sell for SYRIZA.  And if they ran a referendum and it was voted down, then new elections would be inevitable.                       

Allen Greenspan, that ole Ayn Rand disciple, said that he expected Greece to exit the Euro-zone by the end of the year.  The reason?  No one will want to loan Greece anymore money.  Fortunately, he has a very poor record as an economic prognosticator.    

And more, there’s really too much now to read. 

Bookmakers in the U.K. make it better than even money that Greece will leave the Eurozone.  Tsipras and Varoufakis have been talking to the big mukkamukkas of Europe the past days and will continue through Monday, but so far it doesn’t appear they are making much headway.  Those guys are hanging tough, making our lads sweat a bit, even though they wear no ties.  I assume and hope that a compromise will be worked out.  Greece will have to accept certain restrictions or programs in order to get a break, slight as it may be.  But maybe the powers that be have decided they can manage a Grexit and that the Eurozone would be better off without a Greece that refuses to bend?  It’s possible.  Many commentators have opined that a Grexit would be a disaster for the Eurozone, but we know those sorts of predictions are worthless.  Varoufakis certainly acts like he believes this or, at least, thinks he can threaten the EU with it.  But this might just be another example of Greek chauvinism, a hubris that doesn’t resonate in Brussels.

There’s an obvious problem with the European Central Bank, and that is the wide disparity of needs within the euro zone, not to mention the differences in economic approach.  The US Federal Reserve began QE (qualitative easing) in Sept of 2012, two and a half years ago while the ECB has been diddling around with half measures during the same time until now.  Although the States has more than its share of market enthusiasts, its policies have not been as near draconian as the scorched-earth austerity programs the Germans have favored.  Perhaps if John McClain had been elected in 2008 the U.S. economy might look like the E.U.?  Though really, there’s not that much difference in basic economic theory between the major parties, just like foreign policy.  Both parties in the States believe in market solutions, which means that everything is turned into shopping.  Health care is about shopping, education is about shopping or, if you will, choices:whether it’s taco chips, why not 150 varieties, or dental care or curriculum in the high school.  And both parties consider a certain amount of debt float reasonable for market adjustments.  Think not?  Just look at debt during the past Republican administrations, Bushes and Reagan.  They were very willing to take on all sorts of debt.  Mostly because they reduced revenue through tax cuts while raising spending.  Duh?  That’s not what the small government Republicans want you to believe, but that’s what they do when they have presidential power. 

Nevertheless, Obama’s pledge to lower taxes for the middle class and raise them for the rich, and I mean really rich (a couple earning over a half a million a year—note, every time Obama talks about raising taxes on the rich the threshold for this taxation climbs ever higher), illustrates the paucity of clear thinking going on in the States or rather, how the political/economic argument has been profoundly skewed by the right, financed by powerful special interests.  It’s not about taxes, it’s about wages, it’s about how much of the wealth of the nation that people creating that wealth are going to get.  The American middle class isn’t over taxed compared to the rest of the West, but they aren’t getting their share of what they produce, of the American economy.  Lowering taxes doesn’t give you more of that, it just allows you to keep a bit more of your inequitable pathetic amount.  It doesn’t challenge the whole setup.  But democratic late capitalism doesn’t have many tools at its disposal to nudge the economy besides QE and taxation.  Large public works?  Good god, you must be kidding.  So, taxes have to go up for folks earning more than say, 60 large, and dramatically higher for those in six figures.  And then you got to put that money to work.  What the hell, do American citizens really believe that the U.S. economy isn’t producing enough wealth for good healthcare, education and the like for everyone? 


Dwight Garner in the NY Times can’t decide about the poet Jorie Graham and ends his review with this: “Ms. Graham was born in New York City, was raised in Rome and studied philosophy at the Sorbonne. Her occasional interest in marginal lives can’t dispel the sense these poems have of being written in rooms with very high ceilings.”

On the other hand, Cathleen Schine in the New York Review is orgasmic over Atticus Lish.  The first paragraph: “Preparation for the Next Life, by Atticus Lish, is an astounding first novel about a world so large there is, sometimes, nowhere to go; a world so small the people in it, sometimes, get lost.  The book has the boundless, epic exhilaration you expect to find only in a writer as mighty as, say, Walt Whitman.  It is a love story, a war story, a tale of New York City in which familiar streets become exotic, mysterious, portentous, foul, magnificent.  Some of it reads like poetry.  All of it moves with a breathless momentum.”   Damn, someone better change her nappy. 


In two days I’m off for Thessaloniki for weeks of pre-production on our new film, “The Wall.”  It’s a black comedy on the financial crisis, what else?  As Lorrie Moore has a character say in “A Gate at the Stairs”: “The end of comedy is the beginning of everything else.”

A New York Times editorial asks, “What would Jesus do about measles?”  Bloody hell, there’s no alternative, we’re stuck here on this planet, aren’t we?


Let’s cut to the bone.  Here in Greece we’re not mocking others’ religious beliefs or executing people for apostasy or bombing third world villages with billion dollar weapons for vague strategic reasons in an endless phantom war, no, Greece is asking: Wait a minute, why are bankers running this world?  Is the continual transfer of the wealth of societies into the hands of an elite few the inevitable paradigm of Late Capitalism?  Some would say yes, but Greece has to say no.  If the pushback begins here, so be it.  If the crunch comes and Greece is forced from the Eurozone into the chaos of a new currency, then in that crucible Greece will need to forge an unprecedented solidarity or perish as an independent nation, surviving only as a holiday colony for Northern Europe.  When that time comes there will be one place for those who believe this fraudulent process must be resisted.  To paraphrase that ole demagogue John Kennedy in his speech at the Berlin Wall: Some people say that the market is the answer, that austerity is the wave of the future.  I say, Αφήστε τους να έρθουν στην Ελλάδα[i],  let them come to Greece.  For those who value life over money, community over finance, man over mammon, let them announce that thusly: Είμαι Έλληνας[ii]I am Greek. 

10 February 2015

[i] ah-FEE-stay tous na ER-houn steen eh-LA-da
[ii] EE-may EL-ee-nas

Volodymyr Bilyk

Is able to play

is able to play
Only by looking at

is monk-monkey
with the key on his neck
to his 
Miss-Tary Tapu Tar Err

I don't subsist  
on obvious, 
- chill, 

- probably 
barring sense.


Moldy doss - 
Fanny kip - 
- drivel-pull

Displaying AAA3.jpg

Zettmok Kamalatta

Mieczyslaw Kasprzyk

The tears of Gods
And gnashing teeth,
The sorrowful wails
Of crashing hopes,
Shreds of plastic
Caught on the wire. 
The regime of time
Ignores the prayers
Of a gasping
Madonna dead.

Lanny Quarles

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Lewis Gesner

another excerpt from Oceanic 

so likely defined late arrivals in resin be fragments come concrete hyper evaluated hued conditions in the night of the fish bin when they bit you while you tried explaining the lines that scribble to me calcite floor mops abandonment to embellishment and embolism and a skidderish occupation of a key crater based on available easy to resonate catapult strings, wound with onion fetish got a nice bevel on it anyway phrasing deep beyond the mote in your lap
wired the protrusion to the row of anticipations lodging happy declarations on the sandy mounds of pioneers the labeled backs of bottles and the hedge that houses testimony after level four the cells return un chaffed stakes a pole and bends around in urchins summer across the link to spring aggress spined seat three unctions purified by speech transistors, the cortical white slates to contemplate these vaudevillian screens and escalated drawn out slapping wave moons insulting who is the one completely repeatedly that drops the pencil in the milk accomplished love of dreams you were half right by the window invasive discipline of squelching and too past following artificial and flowing out of the mouth on the trident symbol gas be-choken stability of lateral transfer to a beat composed by impulse transpire out of living where is it may day darling itch of stone collateral in accordance with the sweat sickle please in the interim waiting for a proper basket use a corpse liner at least the third highest rate hobbling requires more tissue glued in a muddle of rejected selection a tailored voice pristine as extract an ancient wall of personal judgment conflicting an urge to worship the look that salts bake drams forgetting how the arch supports the shank in recommendations to the appearance, contributors at lunch expect investment to be wasted
zipper over clip, snap in ratio to buckle, pin to button so disclosed sensing over stenciling
other fascinations with attempted removal of worms from holes and has a receipt for the poisoned pots wonderfully anticipated enthusiastic grind with a wheel and sand buff with circulating spring water for your divination need in the crisis rudiment expression in a closed fist wet around a nodule of earth’s skin deposit stolen equation time brave vacuum chosen from nine arm sets eaves reach out meditation well prepared liquid intervention the child said sea salt and fossil breast crimps the perforated test guide more than required, which is a mere indication consider the smear of a patch unconcerned for more dogmatic statements of demand nuthouse roundabout when the hubcaps rolled into the untended shrubs ugliness and with their small brain cases in the first place stopping doesn’t mean you’re done, determine other staples by a puncture allow that music forces forward, a sculpture uses space as if not time think of molecules that are rickety still the pilgrim staggers over the edge with bad legs and declares a finish, his cadaver dissolving in a drum more than necessary reading plot of a washed out rider or ammonium sequester as close together as an encephalogram’s vertical margin without being declared a double suicide the crackling of BBQ insulation a junkyard fire out of hand a coil of smoke over ice water dissection as the chemicals are removed from the film, the stoic matter pans but it will become cooler yesterday empirical coughing a bad report various the select of holsters where the boot inserts shavings from a leopard rapid itching count down sympathetic belief over what they call a bail wart strategy and a complicated herring on the watch of assault managers in the dark but will it fit a different body nervous calculation tapered on the without disassociation order ephemera fresh covering predominant in the glossary of labor terms, and obscene idiom, and tales of phantom limbs intricate as the reach of capillaries under the snow the system finally turn off using three forms of custom switches the cough designed beyond dislodging comes on to engage the haze dissuade of pies and livestock clutch in a wound garden, ratio retainer for binding about the grafted stem suction frequently a half day off before or aft rough hewn mutton taken with a chisel it took ten years in retrospect for the development of the color associated whistles set (from the bones) and pigment calendar (from the condemned hotel) and dreamed the sideline of embedded maxims all or nothing from the battered Cyclops asleep again this nap a coma in a tray of cinders nothing very grizzled, ballet treatment transfers between hospitals the old fat sacks growing longer their gills were thick and worn down to thumbs in eminent thrust closer to the conditions of the first test grounds with pseudonyms has lain the saucer out, has a cloth to symbolize the stitching of the family tree, and a distant counter, with a diagonal for one angle, so the eye can’t rest, but tumbles forward from the  model of the odd number sizzle sounds, was food, was arrogance, was ratiocination in a year energizing the run through of the high setting boundaries, perched on top a third floor with illegal build, began as roosts but soon evolved from thatches and from chicken wire when they poured cement and gold-ball latex on a narrow dormer nest and stood back in there construction are until a finish, when the heavy shouldered constable returned and had them tear it down with nothing but conducting batons typical resonance of bloat and canal still, spent decades looking for the tender underbelly some of legend now and counting steps grated through the muscle and the straw hat first, to purify the home, and smoldered in the era of the blender constant churn opposite to the body fatigue you described the emphasis being a mass shifting weight against the gate of endurance ghostly figures of clay and old gentleman’s spice rack expirations over the counter and prescription cheese after building up a pinch before any more were born of the beast causing the front door to bang in the wind ominously is the Everest of the clamming trade among the local stooges
chatter, karaoke, water from a hose over dry earth had that dust sound, overcast yet, broom using a professional calming agent experiment to the gill, also evolved but of course unable to return or reverse in a preposition relation, the most popular settings, the switches with a few graded dials allowing minimal interpretive control slander in the process of the build your case guide portions fall from sharing petals grass of the grave mounds over seasons of collecting seed envy the poor stupidness rushing into sameness of family history and moldy curtains a bit for disconnect of the cord they forgot was buried there, (hit it digging in the harbor) sounds fitful crash of toys, materialism stuck in your belief in cycles, and hopeless fates mindless in the observance of markers and the time temp containment permanent but fragile urns and rooms you rent in corners and cubits I predict past blemish the expert wanders, pits, lairs at the time the quick feed skimped behind the drawstring without detection if not otherwise bears no fruit except for micro-plums and tin signs perceives small tremors on the tuned barrels and of course the copper cauldrons the orator designed to edge him over wisp evacuating forgiveness from the final batch no one lays convinced conflicting obligations

John Guzlowski

Are you dead dead or walking dead?

Do you still brush your teeth 

and chew your fingernails 

or are your teeth in the dust 

with the rats and the holy?

Will you respond to questions 

from the people you loved and left?

If I send a hail mary to you 

will you smile and offer up

a miracle of love?

God's own fruition?

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Donna Kuhn

your warped pizza likes light women
i am greedy
i growl when
i dance
shut up if it's possible
i don't have time
it's wild around here
he needs he needs he needs
do i have a door? the bird
shed your greed says the
pizza liar
i don't have a lot of pillows
375 things
maybe u are walking in a boat
birds won't kill u
birds are gliding
lena glistens and she's dancing
i watch tv at the bird library
i have given away my blue
i am telling the milk that i hope
that it's blue boat
i hope it's a slippery matter
it is my kind of chocolate rice milk
baby toys are slippery
the queen is blue
the birds won't like to give away the queen
a boat is like a flight
the queen doesn't unpack and say this is my job
the holy sandwich man sat in the shed
in 1.6 seconds did u transform into the
queen steamboat tour tumor?
but i am this blue and we are this tiger
the landlord sarcastically destroys
everything everywhere
laundry wreck, u feel like u miss me
i have given away my blue boat and birds don't have time
shut up if it's a blue boat bird library
u feel like u have given away my
kind of pillows?
birds won't like it if u miss me
the landlord says birds won't have a lot of chocolate rice milk
in my kind of pillows
maybe u miss me and i am the thing
and birds won't have to give away a lot of pillows
375 things the bird shed in 1.6 seconds
i dance
i shut up if it's possible
maybe u are like this too
my blue boat is blue
birds won't have time if it's possible
i don't have time if it's possible
maybe u would like to give away my blue boat
it's a slippery matter
i dance and shut up if it's blue
375 things say the queen is my blue boat
i am telling everyone