Please note that the poems and essays on this site are copyright and may not be reproduced without the author's permission.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Andrei Codrescu: driving


 Dry Prong, Louisiana: photo by Charles McCartney, 30 October 2006

the lie is brief and sweet
the truth is forever and hard
in dry prong louisiana on march 7 2011

the lie can last a long time says laura
you mean like religion
that and other things like that

prisons hospitals churches
simultaneous afterthoughts

only trees seem to be trees
whose inmates didn't build them

(Old) Winn Parish jail, Winnfield, Louisiana: photo by Jimmy Emerson, 13 April 2008
Andrei Codrescu: driving, from So Recently Rent a World, 2012


andrei said...

Thanks you for posting this, Tom. Laura and I were on our way to order a headstone for Laura's mom who'd passed away not long before. She was nearby, in the cemetery at Ruston, Louisiana. The first prison we saw was at Winfield, where ex-governor Edwin Edwards was still doing time at the time. Andrei

Anonymous said...

that poem reminds me of this saying "lo terrible se aprende en seguida y lo hermoso nos cuesta la vida" the last part of the poem !

Nin Andrews said...

I do hope the lie is brief--I say that because I am just back from freezing my ass off, canvasing for Obama. So many lies in the air around here, and on the air and on my answering machine. Evidently the Koch brothers have poured money into Ohio--and that is the reason for the endless phone calls from the RNC . . . But I agree with Laura. So many lies last. And sadly, the last line remind of Lucille Clifton's remark that trees aren't as comforting to her as they might be to white folks.

Hazen said...

Lies short and sweet are perhaps the lead in, the come-on, the bait-and-switch for the lies longer-lasting, the ones that eat away at all that’s real. A situation of both/and—here in the poem and in the dicho Sandra is reminded of: ‘The terrible we learn right away, the beautiful takes us a lifetime.’ Though having it the other way round raises some questions too. Difícil en cualquier manera. Survival enters in. Beautiful or terrible, or beautiful and terrible, we pay for everything. Under the best of conditions, ‘The beautiful costs us our life.’

TC said...

Andrei, the Prince.

Driving in Louisiana... safer than Napoleon's retreat from Moscow, or not?

This specimen of enhanced intellectual acuity (that is to say, of the art of poetry) struck an odd chord in the geriatric trivia symphony.

Victimology makes for strange bedfellows.

Not that one was ever in bed with Jayne Mansfield (!!), but... that didn't keep this cheerful little ditty from putting one in mind of the poor woman's unfortunate sudden demise on that bayou back road in the fog.

She had just stopped to eat the $1.99 Chicken Special at the White Kitchen.

Nearly half a century down that road, and here comes Tuesday. The mosquito foggers out in force all across the bought airwaves. The heat in the White Kitchen, grown all but unbearable. Lucky to be alive, is it, then? Or merely a further compounding of the mala suerte of it all?

TC said...

And talking of those roads... and those prisons.

Villainy. Word associations, ten points.

Recalling the way Ronald Reagan (who was actually part-owner of the show) used to open the door of the GE fridge, every Sunday evening, for the better part of a decade, with the slogan:

"Progress Is Our Most Important Product".

A raw youth, one could not help but be impressed by that... though truth be told, not quite totally convinced.

The lack of conviction mushroomed over the years.

And talking of mushrooms... Didn't GE come up with the prototype replicated in the Fukushima reactors??

But progress must be like that.

Reagan, an interesting trivia category. Actually managed to get fired by GE for dissing the Tennessee Valley Authority as a malign instance of "big government". (Sound familiar?)

His next job? Governor of California.

States of the Union, a category. Progress, another.

And Louisiana execution chambers, yet another. So what'll it be?

The old model or the new?

Ed Baker said...

as we got the news it was that her red lip-stick
was smeared across the hood of that Buick as
she went through the front wind-shield ...

In 1967 I had a 1955 Buick Special... a damn tank !

Hazen said...

Culture Machine

the zona
the spectacle
the system
the stick

reactions only please
the nation of not-think
no time to
jab . . . . . jab

lies . . . lies
jab jab

battery sometimes included

vazambam (Vassilis Zambaras) said...


america charge

your batteries full

of no nonsense jabber

walkie talkies

TC said...

Coincidentally my yesterday was a jab-jab sort of affair, though the sticking-points were merely syringes.

And I have been blest by a particular immunity to the bought noise of the upcoming bought elections, due to the ongoing medical issues consequent to the sacrifice of my body to the automotive gods. They are dark gods, and where they come, the line of secondary predators (hyenas, jackals & c.) forms up to pick at the remains. All this is keeping me too busy to be much aware of the proceedings of the larger Horror which threatens to engulf us all. Well, maybe not all. Well, maybe we've already been engulfed. The dark gods nod and grin their idiotic grins, and send the bills.

Dalriada said...

"The heat in the White Kitchen"

is a great line

Dalriada said...

Elections .... electrocutions ... car wrecks -

a smile stitched onto my face to get through another day with some dignity

The Right and the Further Right . . .

The stink of blood from my own wounds nauseating

Dalriada said...

TC said...

Very good, Dal.

Beyond the withering heat of the White Kitchen and the keen silence of the road into Dry Prong, a loop on the map to lead us back to the resilient village of Lost.

Dalriada said...

Re smiling Tom .... some 40 years of dentistry and amalgam fillings have to be replaced before all the battlements crumble to dust

So long to all that mercury in my system for so long

At what cost my perfect smile?
Lucky that I came into a small inheritance

I tell myself it is for health reasons (necessity) rather than from vanity I do this ....



"only trees seem to be trees"

let's all keep our spirits uo !


pink cloud in pale blue sky above still
black ridge, white of moon next to roof
in foreground, wave sounding in channel

only if the can go on to be
the way, only in this

picture, also without frame,
on which is presented

silver of sunlight reflected in channel,
waning white moon in cloudless blue sky

TC said...


Thanks, we needed that.

Beautiful poem, extremely pertinent thought for the day(s).