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Saturday, 15 September 2012

Truth Game


Children playing by road near school house, Kansas [?]
: photo by John Vachon, c. 1942 (Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress)

The words having given up on them,
not the words but the meanings

hiding behind the trees
at the side of the road,

the people said
"We can't find the words"

The people sounded like lost children then
"The words have given up on us"

"We can't explain"
The words having been hiding away all those years

in the hide and seek truth game
not wanting to be found


Egyptian soldiers stand guard in front of the U.S. embassy in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, 12 September 2012: photo by Nasser Nasser/AP 


A protestor throws rocks at riot police in Cairo, Egypt on Thursday, 13 Sepember 2012, as violence continues in Cairo for a third day and anger spreads across the Muslim world against an anti-Islam film: photo by Amanda Mustard/ZUMA24


A policeman stands in front of a police car set on fire by protesters in front of the U.S. embassy in Cairo, Egypt, during clashes between protesters and police early Thursday, 13 September 2012, as part of widespread anger across the Muslim world about a film ridiculing Islam's Prophet Muhammad: photo by Ahmed Gomaa/AP


Police, unseen, use water cannons to disperse protesters near the U.S. Embassy during a demonstration about a film ridiculing Islam's Prophet Muhammad, in Sanaa, Yemen, Thursday, 13 September 2012: photo by Hani Mohammed/AP


A burnt car in front of U.S. consulate, after an attack that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens on the night of Tuesday, in Benghazi, Libya, Thursday, 13 September 2012: photo by Mohammad Hannon/AP


An Egyptian protester throws back a tear gas canister toward riot police, unseen, behind cement blocks that are used to close the street leading to tho the U. S. embassy during clashes in Cairo, Egypt, Friday, 14 September 2012: photo by Nasser Nasser/AP


A boy holds a toy gun during a protest about a film ridiculing Islam's Prophet Muhammad in the Palestinian refugee camp of Ain el-Hilweh near Sidon, Lebanon, Friday, 14 September 2012: photo by Mohammed Zaatari/AP

Protesters run for cover during a demonstration in front of the US embassy in Tunis. At least five protesters were wounded when Tunisian police opened fire on Friday to quell an assault on the embassy compound: photo by Zaubeir Soissi/Reuters

A protester helped an injured man near Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt.

A protester helped an injured man near Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt on 14 September 2012: photo by Amr Abdallah Dalsh/Reuters




"words having been hiding away all those years"


light coming into fog against invisible
top of ridge, silhouette of pine branch
in foreground, sound of wave in channel

forgetting still, then what
forgotten would occur

“representing,” paired with,
in relation to beside

whiteness of sun in clouds above ridge,
shadowed green pine on tip of sandspit

Hazen said...

So much these days passes not only through Bolaño’s filter of words, but also through a constantly breaking wave of images, a tsunami of pictures both moving and still, that are all too real and convincing. Words have become inadequate rather than ‘conveniently equal to our fear.’ Words grow inadequate to express what we feel—and we’re not sure what we feel. The mind is ever-boggled. No respite. Too many WTF moments. The organism defaults to the reptile brain when survival is uncertain. Not that we’re all paralyzed by fear, or have let ourselves get completely sucked into a quicksand of despond and free-floating anxiety; we see too much—are shown so much—that we can’t get our heads around what we’re feeling. It’s not just the wretchedness of the data, the info, it’s that we’re subjects of a constant water boarding of data. El mal adentro, in Bolaño’s estimation, becomes, unintelligible.

Susan Kay Anderson said...

Mention the M-word here capital M
some-how some-where
topsy-turvy anger wakes
from deep oily sleep

explode not the right word.

Try rounding up
make him grow pumpkins
big ones
impossible equations
by force
when it doesn't figure

easily shape shifters
just one or two past
dry, preserved, ancient
tipping point
nobody has named
to the nth power.

Send some mummies
to do the dirty work.
Use their stealth
their desperation

Hazen said...

Here things make a little more sense
here words don’t give up
here we play the game
of words seeking meaning.

There I am in John Vachon’s photo
behind that tree
playing in those woods,
reading the world.

Thanks Tom, for your poem and for a place to play the truth game.

Susan Kay Anderson said...

Do they call out his name
all in the name
the game they are playing
before jumping off the cliff
into the ditch
to escape at the last

as the soldiers come near
with other technologies

in the war
against ordinary
men, women, children

in their quest
to reach some sort
of border
that did not
does not
in this dimension
or time-space
as the hippies say.

When I was fifteen
we lived across the vale
from a castle. Our house
was my aunt and uncle's place.
Everything had its own spot
own personality. If you made
a misstep
a hedgehog could be crushed
by accident. The desert
also like this. Simile
metaphor what have you?

Susan Kay Anderson said...

I don't find the words
rely on substitutes
until they say
what I need them to say.

I will stand here and lie
if my life depends on it
many times before.

Susan Kay Anderson said...

"playing in those woods,
reading the world"
(Hazen Robert Walker)
hug a tree
cheek scratchy
against the bark
to what it says
in the language
of reach each

Susan Kay Anderson said...

In the Truth Game
there is also the Dare
if you take it
you could die

in the leaves
the drying grasses
where the buffalo once

sunflowers marked the way
villages with lots growing
at the edges of the vast
American Savannah

how now brown cow?
Which way went the winged

Susan Kay Anderson said...

I think they have some extra words
at the L=A=N=G=
I won't spell it out
for you again.
You could check out
from the library
two week intervals
are allowed. The first card
after that
if you lose it
the r
drops out

Susan Kay Anderson said...

Susan Kay Anderson said...

Wooden Boy said...

"The words have given up on us" "We can't explain"

Children know they're in the game, even when wholly lost in the performance. Nevertheless, there comes the moment when play freezes; they feel the calling to account and look to each other fearfully.

Having to have the joke spelt out, God help us; here's no worse business. The language games audited, turned dead measurable...

No wonder the words are in flight

Elmo St. Rose said...

stimulus generalization a concept
from psychiatry.
some people are very easily and
beyond all reason, aroused,
by a small or perhaps even an unrelated

ACravan said...

I've been up most of the night thinking about these recent events and then thought to look here. I can also vouch for the fact that the mind is ever boggled; no respite. Yesterday we enjoyed a fine day in Manhattan trying to do something elevating. I'm glad we did, but it still felt hollow at the core all the time and I'm trying to get to the center of it without much success. With the sole exception of the things I've read here, nothing else I've read has been of much use. Curtis

TC said...

The expression of anger among a people is merely one of the possible expressions of a people. Sorrow, mourning, sadness, longing, courage, hope might also find expression in a truthful language. It doesn't mean a thing until everybody feels it together.

Marcel Khalifa performs Rita and the Rifle by Mahmoud Darwish

TC said...

In case anybody's interested...

Here is the text of Darwish's great poem.

I thought to put up that link earlier, but then thought, no -- if I do that, nobody will bother to click on the equally great Marcel Khalifa link.

But nobody clicked on the Marcel Khalifa link anyway.

There are stars in the universe that will have died long before their light ever reaches us, here in our cave, where the flickering shadows on the wall spell out whatever we want them to spell out this week.

Susan Kay Anderson said...

I clicked
heard the moon
sing. Sad.
Painful push
through the long night.

To the crowd
for the crowd.

So much change
single phrase
rolls over stones
pushes them away

the throat
speaks true
with the help
of wood.

Wooden Boy said...

I stand reproved, TC. The Khalifa/Darwish links are beautiful and illuminating. It's terrible how the rifle demarcate the field of speech, sometimes cutting through and mutilating.
Darwish lets a real hope, if bittersweet, show. It's hard to hold the taste of honey on the lips in such a situation. The memory, then.

Wooden Boy said...

I have to believe that Darwish's light and the light here amidst the virtual dark of idiot chatter will last longer than the miserly dayglo moments we're prescribed.

Anonymous said...

"not wanting to be found"...yes!

TC said...

I was greatly moved by the way, when, after five minutes or so, the lyric of the song begins, and everyone in the large open-air amphitheatre, swaying along with the music, joins Marcel K in voicing these words they all know so well (unimaginable that a young Western audience would show similar respect for the poetry of their culture -- or that such poetry would in any case deserve or command such respect) -- and all of this with dignity and gravity, no screaming, no orange headed metal spider punks flaming out of their minds.