Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Poem: Midas Sun

Here's an unusual poem that was published long ago, in my early days, in a journal called Words of Wisdom (now defunct).

It might be about the loneliness of god.

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Midas Sun

the sun is tired of being so bright
no one can see its face,
of turning sticks into emeralds
and wasting coins on the sea.
for once, it wants to catch the moon,
to touch with invisible fingers
and have someone touch back.
it wants more roses in its image,
less crimson, and hopes that someday
a priestess will decode
the glistens it strews across Neptune.

it wants darkness to behave
more like a hug than a rabbit,
for eyes to expand instead of flee.
it’s been wrapped too often in fog,
only briefly in prisms.
it craves profligate rain,
the sort that squanders arias
on sated ground.

the sun knows
it’s the opposite of Midas;
like that cursed king,
it creates too perfectly.
it is gold that gives life with touch;
gold unable to communicate;
that must watch its children wander off,
oblivious to the source of their stride.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Mammon, Not Jesus, Rules

More evidence that our leaders (and, it would follow, those who elect them) are: (a) programmed into ignorance and/or (b) selfish dogs:

Will any of the deniers say “O.K., I guess I was wrong,” and support climate action [in the Senate]? No. And the planet will continue to cook. ... It wasn’t the science, the scientists, or the economics that killed action on climate change. What was it? The answer is, the usual suspects: greed and cowardice.

Paul Krugman, "Who Coooked The Planet," New York Times, 7-25-2010

http://community.nytimes.com/comments/www.nytimes.com/2010/07/26/opinion/26krugman.html

Oh, by the way, Krugman won the Nobel Prize in Economics

OWL

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Homeless Story of J, Part 10

This is a work of fiction. The author does not necessarily endorse it.


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X


It is hard for anyone to feel special. And to believe I have done something important by becoming homeless, in a fit of outrage, is almost ludicrous.

Yes, it was my choice. How could I challenge the Configuration when caught up in its daily rush of work-bound formicae?

Only werewolves can live the lie and break out to party on Saturday night. And I found the werewolf very disconcerting. A slave of conformity one moment, liberated in dithyrambs the next, was it not a terrible compromise?

Does compromise render you an escapee or an inmate? If an angel came down out of some hidden paradise, would she damn such a motive?

A pertinent question.

The dual existence of the werewolf gnawed on me, Its intolerable cowardice. Its milquetoasty guile. The destructive ways of humankind sicken me, and why should I not express my verdict straight out? Is such just ferocity not better than quivering time away under an anemic smile?

I have freedom now. The benefits and curses of a ghost. I watch the formicae, and can claim with some justice that I am not one of them. My worry now is that my open rebellion against the Configuration has turned me into some kind of fiend.

Nietzsche said, “Battle not with monsters lest ye become a monster.”

Philip K. Dick bluntly tells us that “to fight the Empire is to be infected by its derangement.”

I know I am infected. It was inevitable. Perhaps my greatest bit of evidence comes from the words of Sister Aloysius: “In the pursuit of wrongdoing, one steps away from god.”

I have stepped very far away. I compromise as much as the formicae. Whatever it takes to eat.

Doubt chiggers me. The free meal and warm bed of the defeated is always within easy reach: all it would take is some petty crime.

The arresting officer might even be a woman. Then for a few precious moments I would enjoy a female touch.

Yes.

To awaken with the chill of dew coating your skin is horrible, like being dressed in the tears of the dead.

I have been infected by the derangement of the Empire. I fight a monster, and am turning into one. The Configuration is still inside.

I have become its grotesque counterpoint. Or, more simply, just another victim.

J

Thursday, July 22, 2010

An Infamous Post Revisited

Here's my infamous Lubec Realty entry, which annoys the local developers and land brokers. I am going to re-post it now and again, so that it keeps coming up fresh on a Google search. There are so many posts on real estate in Lubec that anything more than a few weeks old gets buried and lost.

Happy Reading!

OWL

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Lubec Real Estate for You? Nah.

So, you want to move to Lubec, Maine? Or maybe just own property here? The first thing you should know is that, yes, Lubec is different than most cities or even small towns. There are no traffic lights and very few street lights. The nearest movie theater is an hour away in Calais. Sometimes a bear wanders through, and there’s a good bit of majestic coastal and sylvan beauty for all to respect and share.

The second thing you should know is that if a lot of people move here, it will destroy the town’s charm, cripple its peacefulness, and further intrude on the wildlife. If you decide to build a new monster home or even worse, condominiums, apartments, a hotel or other bulky excrescence, you are contributing to the urban pillage of another quiet little place that still harbors some deference for songbirds and spruce trees.

It will be a selfish act on your part, a stitch in an ugly pattern of human encroachment and colonization of the planet Earth.

If you buy a cabin that is one of the cookie-cutter huts plopped onto pristine land, you help to make a developer rich and pauperize the virtue of a village of struggling individualists. You become a floatie in a tide of 1950’s Levit-style capitalism.

If you bring your New-York neurosis of stress, braggadocio and material vanity, you are blighting a place of simple living, and disgracing a humility before marshlands and bays. There are enough petty thanes, spreading about like a contagion, in this country already. Don’t bring your swagger, gold-obsession and whiny ego here.

Don’t bring your mindset of competition and construction and noise and fuss and hassle and bustle and abrasive pride. Don’t bring your halogen security lights and your paranoia and your controlling attitudes, as if you ruled the deer and the moose and the owls just because you bought a surveyor’s rectangle with that all-important illusion, the dollar.

The Earth existed for billions of years without your dream home and predictable fantasy. The World is magnificent without a thick pimpling of roofs. Don’t come to Lubec like a zit on a lovely face. Don’t be part of the acne of fast growth that mars the USA. This-land-is-your-land of McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, and Kentucky Fried Chicken.

If you visit, come with modesty and even contrition. Buy a pre-existing home with a venerable heritage. There are plenty of them.

Don’t be another typical example of me me me me me me me me me me--

and to hell with my neighbors the coyote, the grouse, and the porcupine.


OWL

Monday, July 19, 2010

Poem: The Gods Reflect On Creation

Here's my cosmogony in a nutshell. It was originally published in Temenos:

http://temenos.cmich.edu/poetry_fall_2008.htm


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The Gods Reflect On Creation

we gibbered and gabbled
in the null onyx,
afraid that heat might seethe.
one of us quacked too loud
and light erupted, birthing awe
alongside violence and waste.

after eons of reptiles
prayer wafted up. it was far better
than mindless solar pageantry.
our new toadies prattled
more efficiently than we,
collapsing truth
into a few apt equations.

soon they had a stash
of nuclear kicks,
enough to freckle plains
with poisonous craters.
it wasn’t enough for them
to gnaw the crust. life itself
made them salivate, the urge
to splice it into freaks,
to distill tints and recombine piths—

like evolution but more wanton,
even slutty; an orgy to harvest ambrosia,
so they could be immortal like us,
sit on pinnacles and shout in release—

to be as great
as the thrill that started it all,
that seminal yoctosecond
among the timeless idiocy
of our babbling.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

My KPFK Poets Cafe Interviews Get Their Own Page!

A joyous moment has occurred in my poetry journey, one of the most exciting ever. My two interviews on Poet’s Café, a radio show of KPFK Los Angeles, have been given their own niche on the web. Anyone can visit them anytime, click a button and hear them. Not only that, the personalized page contains an artist statement, a bio, a list of selected publications, links to my chapbook Gordian Butterflies and a review of it, and a photo. In effect, I have been given a marvelous showcase for my work and my motivations:

http://www.timothy-green.org/blog/chris-crittenden/


This has come about through a collaboration between Tim Green, the editor of Rattle, an internationally know magazine, and some of the wonderful people behind Poet’s Café, Marlena Bond, the producer, and Lois P. Jones, who frequently hosts the show.

This collaboration, I think, initiates an important relationship between two of the most important venues in Los Angeles. The dance of Rattle (indirectly, I admit, through Tim Green) and Poets Café signals the beginning of a vanguard movement that could transform into something breathtaking for this metropolis.

I believe it is Lois P. Jones who edits the special bio-interview pages and posts them on Tim Green’s site. If so, it is another gift among many that she is providing to the world of poetry. I can honestly say that being interviewed by her at KPFK was transformative to my self-confidence. I have been intensively immersed in my craft ever since, striving to fully deserve those wonderful moments in the spotlight.

Interviewer Jones is also the publisher/editor of Word Walker Press (wordwalkerpress.com). and an editor at Kyoto Journal. She is also co-host of the Moonday Poetry Reading series, founded by Alice Pero (http://home.earthlink.net/~pero/moonday.html ). Based on my experience, she has an uncanny empathy that intuitively and creatively grasps the essence of a poet’s work, which makes her a stellar radio show host indeed!

Jones is so good at seeing into the soul of a poet’s work, and so humble when she goes about it, and so eloquent and musical in her insights, that it is easy to wallow self-indulgently in the gift of her company. This, however, is a huge mistake and injustice, because she is a fantastic poet in her own right. She’s been published in many journals, including the American Poetry Journal, Rose & Thorn, Mannequin Envy and Arsenic Lobster, whose editor nominated her poems for Best of the Net.

Among other accolades, Jones recently had one of her poems specially selected by the staff of Magma. She also won a coveted IBPC award: http://www.webdelsol.com/IBPC/winningpoems.html

All this is just the tip of the iceberg of excellence when it comes to Lois P. Jones. She is someone to watch, and if true fame does come to her, it couldn’t happen to anyone more deserving, not only as a writer but as a gentle sage who listens and reflects on the ideas of others. She is the antithesis of braggadocio and the epitome of the germinative and soulful conversationalist.

Jones has an unaffected charisma and natural elegance that make history gather around her. A celebratory magnetism. I do indeed believe she deserves to become renown not only in California but anywhere that sensuous poetry a la Lorca is cherished. She is a leader who lets others shine, a quite rare and much-needed muse.

I wish I could say more about Jones, but my time is draining away. I want to emphasize my THANK YOU to Marlena Bond, who makes it all happen. I wish I knew her better. She avoids the stage but grants it to others so magnanimously and so well.

Listen to her show, and support Poets Café at KPFK. You must!!!


http://www.kpfk.org/programs/103-poetscafe.html



OWL

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Homeless J, 9

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This is the narrative of a fictional homeless person named J. Any resemblance to real persons is coincidental. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the author.

The newspaper article is real:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/11/AR2010071103523.html?sub=AR

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Homeless Story of J, Part 9



A trusty ally is the dumpster. My hard drive and internet. While the formicae connect to the world through their computers, I achieve the same by immersing in real tactile trash, none of this ethereal “recycle bin” stuff.

And what do I find this morning, underscored by an eyeliner of coffee grinds? An article in the Washington Post: “Historic Spill Fails to Produce Gains For US Environmentalists”--

Which is just to say that the Gulf of Mexico is bleeding oil like the belly of an harpooned Gargantua, leaking to pollute the seaboard of half a continent, and not enough people in the great gas-guzzling Empire give a damn. Can you say denial? Can you say addiction?

The citizens of the United States, you see, are the most pampered consumers in the Age of Capitalism, and for decades have been conditioned to purchase products made by wage-labor slaves in countries that destroy their environments to get raw materials to serve the Empire. The good citizens expect to buy what they crave cheaply, and especially that includes gasoline. They are known around the globe as privileged octane pigs. It has been this way for at least half a century, and to them the black gold is a given. Theirs to swill and the devil take the consequences.

And yet the US is the shortest lived of all Empires. It lasted from the end of WWII to the middle of the Presidency of George W. Bush. By the year 2006, GW had wrecked the last of the Empire’s equity and clout, involving the country in two unwinnable and ridiculously cruel and inept wars. At the same time, he lavishly kissed the corrupt asses of the rich and plundered the holdings of the people to stoke corporate coffers.

We have an Empire that lasted perhaps sixty years. Compare that to Rome, Spain, Britain and the Dutch. The result? A dismal and pitiable attempt at greatness. The lesson is that greed is even more dangerous in the Nuclear Age than it was before. With advanced technology, greed can devastate the world--debauch the good, melt polar ice caps, extinct baboons and rhinos, pillage the last of caribou lands, create drone killers, design infectious diseases, and numb the human mind until it is stupid and blind and addicted as the US consumer who sees no problem with mainlining oil while a vast oceanic disaster continues to hemorrhage.

Sad and foolish people. You are as yoked to gluttony as the sweatshop slaves are yoked to hunger.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Brink Mag T-Shirt!





The folks at Brink Magazine (brinklit.com) sent me this wonderfully cool t-shirt as a contributor gift. I've never been offered anything like this before, and I'm psyched about it.

Brink Magazine is part of Brink Media, which supports not only literature but the arts in general. If you've looking for a place to donate, give them some serious consideration.

If you make a donation, maybe you too can get this fine t-shirt, and sport it about town.


OWL

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Humans are the insects of mammals.

Galaras Sphinxwyld, "Mausoleum Opus"

Friday, July 9, 2010

Acceptance: Carcinogenic Poetry

http://carcinogenicpoetry.blogspot.com/


"The Truth is to Lies Like Cancer"

That is the motto at Carcinogenic Poetry, where the poems aren't pulling punches. Their quality is excellent, the equivalent of brass knuckles to the walls of shallowness that hide the deeper side of the mind, which longs to break out and swoon. Editor Michael Aaron Casares is discerning (taking only a small percentage of poems submitted, according to Duotrope) and unrelenting in his headlong quest to find well-wrought statements that attack deceit.

I'm honored that my work appears right next to his poem "Bastard Practices," a serious piece of artistry that slams oil pigs.

Thanks to him for running an honest, mean-edged journal that confronts layers upon layers of social crud.

We can't all be as talented as Casares, but we could be as courageous, if we dared.

OWL

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Homeless J, 8

This is a work of fiction. The views expressed are not necessarily condoned.


We still have freedom of speech in America (my apologies to Latinos and Canadians who aren’t included in this self-absorbed appellation). Even though the economy has buckled under the rampages of greed; even though oil gushes into our Gulf, ruining coasts from Florida to Louisiana; even though we’re weapon-heavy and sinking from the weight of two idiotic wars over oil (Iraq) and minerals (Afghanistan), we still have this precious concept at our disposal: free speech.

What the Masters have learned, though, is that when the masses are properly trained, free speech is nothing but a pacifier. Make people worry more about money than ideals and you can control them while your fake white armor shines.

Who in America (USA) cares about free speech more than getting a job? I bet at least 80% of the people would give up their right to free speech in return for a good steady paycheck, even if it involved cutting off the heads of sea turtles and serving them to BP executives on soup plates.

That’s how disgusting and selfish Americans have become. Nothing but materialistic. They embrace their sterile Christian God with the tenuous arms of hypocrisy.

Gimmee Gimmee Gimmee. That’s what they use their free speech to say. Their frail egos hang on employment, whether they can sign a contract with the corporate Mammon. The miracle of human life, given to very few sperm and ova, is something they not only squander but crave to squander.

Don't they know that busyness is the enemy of hard work? That the important job is to transcend pettiness and embrace the cosmos?

I’m glad I’m not one of them. And that I have time to sit and listen to chickadees. What a fine music God has given us in their effortless arias.

And yet God's lovely Earth disappears before my helpless eyes, gnawed down by the ravages of gimmee gimmeee gimmeee.

Monday, July 5, 2010

My Poem Featured at Bolts of Silk

My poem “Taken” is currently featured at Bolts of Silk:

boltsofsilk.blogspot.com

or

http://boltsofsilk.blogspot.com/2010/07/taken-by-chris-crittenden.html

I encourage everyone to support this journal. The editor, Juliet M. Wilson, cares tremendously about the beauty of the Earth. She celebrates the wilderness, wherever it breaks out, passionately. She is very much a bard and druidess, who speaks in wonderful poetic ways, giving much of her time to us through her journal, her poetry, and her blogs.

Here is her homepage:

http://sites.google.com/site/julietmwilson/

I recommend purchasing her new book of finely crafted poems, Unthinkable Skies.

I’ve been published 14 times by Bolts of Silk, and I’d love to submit a hundred more times, or a thousand.

Bolts of Silk is a watering hole for those who care deeply about protecting the Earth from the ravages of industrialization and rabid cookie-cutter development. Stop on by and dip your soul in the magical aura.

OWL

Friday, July 2, 2010

Poem: Monk With Gasoline

Below is a poem about war, originally published in Barnwood Magazine. To see some of my other Barnwood poems, go here:

http://web.mac.com/tomkoontz/Site_30/Crittenden.html

I'm so sick of war and all the dunderheads everywhere who support and advance war. Humanity is an idiot savant with a great knack for technology, immature animal desires, and a dismally low moral IQ.


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Monk With Gasoline

heaviness hounds his steps,
an uncertain massacre of thoughts
inherited from the slain.
it would be hard to be less certain,
more disconsolate. to have worries more
like strings on puppets
in unheard plays on spectral stages.

he is wind without a crag to howl off,
or rain that can’t find mud to hug.
once there were idylls
of tryst and peach flower,
but who’s going there now?
as if such things could dwell
in a crossroads of land mines,
tar and rut stenciling hate.

all that’s green
has been herbicide-cooked and napalm-spiced.
nothing left
but a greyblack underbelly of sins.
he’s going there now, to the throne,
ready to sit cross-legged
within a chrysanthemum of craters.
soldiers, their sad jail cell of guns,
will glow like fresh dawn
as fire blooms up his spine.