Thursday, August 19, 2004

i love this wireless technology business, cuz i can (like right now) sit outside the dominican restaurant next to my house (Los Primos for thos of you who know) and do this; while listening to the old men talk shit, only some of which i get cuz there are about three different versions of a spanish dialect happening around me. right now, a woman in her thirties is arguig with her grandfather, cuz she needs to get to work and he's sitting here talking shit with the other men. it's hysTERical!!

i'm also waiting for the gas company to show up. it's one of those "we'll be there between 8AM and 1PM type deals" so i'll probably be here till 12:57; but i can't complain. i have way to much caffeine in me, so i'm getting things done at a crazy pace.

most recently, the discussion has been about the ways in which some writers' work is characterized in a particular way that doesn't allow for the full understanding of everything they've meant. i was talking with mike cirelli yesterday and on-line with fish today (who says he is examing the idea of 'struggle' in writing without the fire-spitting rhetoric). this takes me back to the work of audre lorde and june jordan, both of whom have been in their lives alternately lauded or derided amongst their peers for being 'political' poets. at the end of the day though, what being a 'political' poet means (especially within the context of the brilliance of both their work) is that one's work must be 'humanist'. their craft cannot be argued with and one of the reasons it works and hits home so exactly so often is that the work recognizes the macro and the micro of each angle it examines. when jordan writes about Princes Diana's death " least she was going /somewhere fast/ about love", it is not a 'love' poem. it is an understanding of the very fundamental nature of the passion for which she died underscoring all the things we might be taught to think about royalty. it is a critique (an indictment even) of whatever we might be killing ourselves for in comparison; whatever we might be allowing ourselves to drive us to the grave (pardon the pun - i couldn't help it) even as we look on in sympathy or condemnation.

similarly, lorde's work about her sister "...i presume her trustless/as a stone" (i might have misquoted that), invokes the blackness that binds them, the capitalist/racist world that tears them apart and the wholly personal pain of it all, in a way that helps us understand, that if we can solve for this complex equation, we make ourselves more aware of our world, and we make ourselves better human beings.

that neither of them became poet laureate before their deaths is a huge tragedy - not a surprise - just a tragedy. one of our responsibilities as artists is to ensure that artists around us are accorded the full scope of our attention and critique, so that in their lives (and ultimately in their deaths) their work is understood for its full context. if we can accomplish that, we hep those artists to help us be more aware of our world and make all of us better human beings. think what a waste it would be if espada or baraka or gaines or adrienne rich are dismissed into history as simply "political". we will have short-changed ourselves and limited our world.

okay, so now i'm done ranting. the jehovah witness pamphlet folks are hawking their stuff in spanish now, so it's way to surreal to talk about poetry while i could be watching this. there'll probably have to be more posts before the gas company gets here...


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