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Thursday, 27 June 2013

Harris Schiff: My Prayer (Revisited)


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http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/2/23/Hong_Kong_Skyline_Restitch_-_Dec_2007.jpg/1280px-Hong_Kong_Skyline_Restitch_-_Dec_2007.jpg

Hong Kong Skyline, panoramic view: photo by David Iliff, 2007
 

for Jesse Edmund Schiff


. . . that the rushing.byway
...................the lowly
...................................highway
.............................................would be still
Stilled
...................by..a
...................nearly inaudible
hiss
...................
whiz of
............................electromagnetic
......................................................vehicles
..................................visionary
......................................................concepts
courageously
...................embodied
bringing us
..................................into the present
gifting us
...................more dawns
..................................such dawns
as dawns before
............................foresaw
imagined
............................were
...................are


 


Harris Schiff: My Prayer (Revisited), from One More Beat, 2011



File:Europe night.png

Europe at night (human-made lights only): image by C. Mayhew and R. Simmon (NASA), from data by C. Elvidge (NOAA), 2008


Lightning and lava flow over Eyjafjallajokull: photo by Olivier Vandeginste, Sunday 18 April 2010

File:Terre-lumieres de nuit.jpg

Earthlights at night: image by C. Mayhew and R. Simmon (NASA), from data by NOAA, 2000



Lightning and lava flows over Eyjafjallajokull: photo by Olivier Vandeginste, Sunday 18 April 2010


Alex Lopez plays baseball with his sister Sugey while smoke generated by the Las Conchas fire covers the sky in Espanola, New Mexico. As crews fight to keep the wildfire from reaching the country's premier nuclear-weapons laboratory and the surrounding community, scientists are busy sampling the air for chemicals and radiological materials: photo by Jae C. Hong/Associated Press, 29 June 2011

7 comments:

Hazen said...

After reading Harris Schiff’s fine prayer/poem, then poring over the pictures, Dr. Ripstop thought to himself: “We lead impossible lives.”

(This comment has been checked for mis-fingered typos, inadvertent punctuation errors, and implied threats to national security. There are, however, no guarantees.)

Unknown said...

Dear Tom,

Thanks for this incredibly brilliant (literally and figuratively) revisitation of my revisted prayer poem which takes it into new larger zones I (it) perhaps dimly understood and intended, looking down from 17th floor over late night/early morning riverside drive in new york where for a moment there was no traffic. The last picture you include expands the work to tears, perhaps small joy, in the sweetness of kids playing baseball beneath an also, perhaps, lovely if rather ominous radioactive cloud

Harris

Wooden Boy said...

Quite a thing to posit hope in this broken promise of a world.

Riverside Drive empty; I remember the good, bright day when Eyjafjallajökull blew and you could look up into the sky and there were no planes at all.

TC said...

I admire Harris's idealism. He is a poet and man of principle. The utopian future world his poem envisages I take to be the kind of world in which he would hope his son would be able to live. For many years (1995-2008) Harris was the webmaster of $lavery: Cyberzine of the Arts, an online web journal he founded and curated. So he knows whereof he evangelizes.

The Wired Universe -- the biggest brightest apple on the humanoid tree since the original False Paradise? A culture constructed on the weak foundations of advertising was always going to be ready and willing to bite. Hook line and sinker!

Like me, world! Friend me now! It all makes great AdSense! Hear this hit tune now on PennSound!

But like, man, just make sure it's not too piercing!

A week ago there was an interesting short piece on the Guardian by Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple Computer, and the man largely responsible for initiating the entry of computers into what were once thought of as -- somewhat naïvely, it now appears -- "private" homes and work spaces.

'The Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has backed NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and admitted he feels "a little bit guilty" that new technologies had introduced new ways for governments to monitor people.

'"I felt about Edward Snowden the same way I felt about Daniel Ellsberg, who changed my life, who taught me a lot," he said.

'Speaking to Piers Morgan on CNN he said he was not the kind of person to "just take sides in the world – 'I'm always against anything government, any three letter agency,' or 'I'm for them'."

'But he added: "Read the facts: it's government of, by and for the people. We own the government; we are the ones who pay for it and then we discover something that our money is being used for – that just can't be, that level of crime."

'When Morgan suggested the government would not be able to keep such a close eye on citizens without the work of innovators like him, Wozniak acknowledged: "I actually feel a little guilty about that – but not totally. We created the computers to free the people up, give them instant communication anywhere in the world; any thought you had, you could share freely. That it was going to overcome a lot of the government restrictions.

'"We didn't realise that in the digital world there were a lot of ways to use the digital technology to control us, to snoop on us, to make things possible that weren't. In the old days of mailing letters, you licked it, and when you got an envelope that was still sealed, nobody had seen it; you had private communication. Now they say, because it's email, it cannot be private; anyone can listen."

'Asked about US surveillance programmes in an earlier interview with a Spanish technology news site, FayerWayer, Wozniak said: "All these things about the constitution, that made us so good as people – they are kind of nothing.

'"They are all dissolved with the Patriot Act. There are all these laws that just say 'we can secretly call anything terrorism and do anything we want, without the rights of courts to get in and say you are doing wrong things'. There's not even a free open court any more. Read the constitution. I don't know how this stuff happened. It's so clear what the constitution says."

'He said he had been brought up to believe that "communist Russia was so bad because they followed their people, they snooped on them, they arrested them, they put them in secret prisons, they disappeared them – these kinds of things were part of Russia. We are getting more and more like that."

TC said...

By the by, this part of Wozniak's statement rings true for many who have been alive for a while:

'"I felt about Edward Snowden the same way I felt about Daniel Ellsberg, who changed my life, who taught me a lot".

Daniel Ellsberg has been commenting these past weeks on the actions of Edward Snowden. He has said that he believes said that Snowden "made the right choice".

We recall that Ellsberg was a committed patriot. An insider. He did what he did, back then, not for personal gain but out of principle.

There are eerie similarities between the things Ellsberg said, back then and the things Edward Snowden said, a few weeks ago, to blogger Glenn Greenwald of the Guardian. E.g.:
"I'm willing to sacrifice all of that [i.e., professional life, personal relationships, convenience, safety & c.] because I can't in good conscience allow the US government to destroy privacy, internet freedom and basic liberties for people around the world with this massive surveillance machine they're secretly building."

At the time of the first Iraq Campaign (Desert Storm) I did a long magazine interview with Dan Ellsberg.

From Dan I learnt a bit about the personal perils of whistleblowing.

Glenn Greenwald has said lately that he had never understood why the Watergate goons had broken into the offices of Ellsberg's psychoanalyst. Now, he says, he understands -- now that he finds his own personal past is being dug into by mysterious "researchers" seeking possible compromising information.

There are lessons to be gained from history.

Nin Andrews said...

Yes, more like that.

I feel creepier by the day about our govt. Not helping that Obama is behind fracking, which the EPA refuses to research or say anything about until 2016 . . .

I feel as if we are all bought, sold, deceived . . .

But it is nice to see optimism all the same. And this lovely post.

TC said...

Nin, ditto on both counts -- the feeling cheated & deceived by those who own & run the game, the being lifted despite all by the longshot dark horse optimism of the poet.