Literarisches Events (in and around Lawrence KS)

  • PATRICIA LOCKWOOD. Lawrence. Thursday, September 11, 7:00 p.m., Spooner Hall, KU Campus.
  • PATRICIA LOCKWOOD. Lawrence. Friday, September 19, 7:00 p.m. Lawrence Public Library. Sponsored by Raven Bookstore.
  • DENNIS ETZEL, JR. & RACHEL CROSS. Lawrence. Thursday, September 25, 7:00 p.m., Raven Bookstore, 6 E. 7th St.
  • TONY TRIGILIO. Lawrence. Thursday, Oct. 2, 4:00 p.m., English Room, Kansas Union, KU Campus. FREE.
  • CALEB PUCKETT & JUSTIN RUNGE. Lawrence. Thursday, October 16, 7:00 p.m., Raven Bookstore, 6 E. 7th St.
  • BEN LERNER. Kansas City, MO. Thursday, October 23, 7:00 p.m., Epperson Auditorium, Vanderslice Hall on the KCAI campus, 4415 Warwick Blvd.
  • KRISTIN LOCKRIDGE & ROBERT DAY. Lawrence. Thursday, December 4, 7:00 p.m., Raven Bookstore, 6 E. 7th St.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Lest We Regret . . .

Memorial Day got me to thinking. I recently spent the night across the street from the 4000th American service member killed in the Iraq War (remember him?)*. He was a kid from Mission, Texas, in the lower Rio Grande Valley, one of the poorest areas of the US. He is buried in the large and finely-manicured Lower Rio Grande Valley Veteran’s Cemetery. This is a new cemetery, until recently one of the last remaining tracks of thorn-scrub and live-oak forest along the Rio Grande. But now the sprinklers spit constantly over the graves of the fallen (or soon-to-be fallen).

It seems to me that The Grave of the 4000th Fatality should replace The Tomb of the Unknown. This newer burial captures it all. The US won’t - or can’t - provide jobs or housing for poor people, so it sends them off to be killed in foreign wars (cynics would add “for oil”). The US won’t preserve endangered ecosystems, but it will plow them under so that the poor dead people will have a place to be buried - a place which will then be turfed and watered until the Rio Grande runs out (the river that became the US-Mexico border after a big war back in 1848 - the place where a big wall is being built this month to keep out all the brown people on the other side).

Add a “0” to the number of fatalities and you’ll get something close to the number of horribly maimed service members (remember them?). Add a “0” to that, and you’ll be closer to the number of dead Iraqi people.

I heard a story about a gravedigger at a military cemetery. He found relief from PTSD by digging graves for his fallen comrades. If you were to speak to the family of the latest entered service member, what would you say? He responded: I’d tell them, Don’t worry, I’ll take care of him now.

* More accurately, one of fatalities numbers 3,997 - 4,000 - 4 soldiers were exploded at the same time.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Back from Jungles of South Texas

South Texas is still there, but drier than ever. And they're about to build a wall through it. Not only will this make "America" look a lot like Berlin, but it will also greatly add to the incomes of coyotes and drogeros (and cut off some of the best wildlife habitat in the USA - without giving it back to Mexico).

All of which left me wishing for a bunny photo from the west coast of Canada, which is what this is.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

And Now, For a Brief Interlude

What with grading and all, I'm going to take the next week off from this blog. I mean, it's just too stressful. So between May 6 and 17, I will cease to exist. Over and out for now.

Monday, May 5, 2008

The Aesthetics of Abjection

When Ms. Hathaway spies “Perfesser” Bodine hitting his head with a board, he says, with genuine dismay, “We artists have to suffer for our art, and I haven’t done my sufferin today!” He would not look at the milk scum but, during the performance, ate (or drank) it and thereby produced involuntary dis-gust on the part of the onlookers: not de gustibus but ex gustibus; not economics but economimesis. Having never brushed his teeth, he complained that Society scorned “its” poets, allowing their teeth to fall out. You don’t know what it’s like to be down and out in Paris and London and New York and San Francisco if you haven’t, like St. Francis or the Buddha, voluntarily set aside suburban parents in Omaha or nouveau riche in Beverly Hills to eat ramens among roaches, when young (the “you,” not the roaches). Yo, so how can you call yourself a 'sthete? For this reason, even while dribbling subjectivity across the page, Jethro nailed his palms, yelling, “Ecce Corpus! Et tu corpus? Eat your coprus. Hey! Over here! I fall upon the nails of life, I BLEED, already!” Thereupon he ripped up his diploma into equal and equivalent democratic bits to paste together a collage that was “down” with “The People,” to “stick it” to “The Man,” whom, one suspects, was Fr. Drysdale, sub specie aeternitatis. Or he became a fry-cook or a street-car conductor. But anyway, people, the least you can do is to LOOK, even if you don’t buy nothin.