Sunday, February 27, 2011

Poem: Genetics

This poem was recently published in Viral Cat. To see my other two poems, and to check out this great lit zine, go here:

Read Viral Cat


I'm honored that "Genetics" occurs alongside a very cool and engaging artwork called "Rabbits" by 222 art crew. I would ask to buy "Rabbits," if I had any decent amount of money. Go to Viral Cat and check it out!

In any case, thank you for reading.

OWL

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Genetics

we started as eggs
and eat eggs, and put our
signature on how
they are made. nothing
gets born that didn’t
offer up its future.
we are germinal
and the terminus.
e. coli our crown.
we polish enzymes,
re-splice their slant.
deoxyribo-
nucleic spin.
we are Organism.
our decrees
spiral through codes,
hunting brain cells
with hungry scopes,
until we find you.

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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Acceptance: Red River Review

Red River Review

I was very pleased to hear from Editor Michelle Hartman that two of my poems had been accepted, and will appear separately in consecutive issues, May and August.

Hartman joined the staff of Red River Review just over a year ago, teaming with veteran Publisher/Editor Bob McCranie. The journal has thrived under the infusion of her boundless energy and now has a robust schedule, presenting a rich diversity of poets, some of them well-know bastions of excellence, like Taylor Graham and Steve Kleptar, and some of them nascent yet memorable.

The renaissance of Red River Review is a joyous historical event in the poetry world. This seasoned journal is as impressive as ever, and now is the time to submit well-crafted pieces. If you’re lucky, you can join in the renewed flourishing of this great zine.

My take is that RRR has a slight preference for the dark side of poetry. I could be wrong about this; but my suggestion is that you send them poems with a tincture of pain instead of, say, zippy-doo-dah smiles.

The two poems of mine recently accepted are quite anti-pretty. They are:

“TOD” (this refers to Time of Death), which will appear in the May 2011 issue.

“Evil Queen” will appear in the August 2011 issue.

Submit to RRR and don’t forget to tell Michelle Hartman what a great job she is doing!


OWL

Trivia Note: I had a poem called “Conglomerate Rock” published in the November 2006 issue of Red River Review, guest edited by Alan Gann. I would supply the link, but the archives don’t work on a link-based system. To see the poem, you’d have to go to the site, enter the archives, and click on #12 in November 2006. Needless to say, I don’t expect any of my fearless readers to go to such measures to read about a common stone.

Monday, February 21, 2011

My Op-Ed Published

On Feb 6, a political piece of mine was published in the Bangor Daily News.

The original title of this piece was,"Can We Unite Against Wall Street Greed?" But the editor dulled it down.

It generated 18 comments and 14 Twitters. You can read it with all the comments here:

OWL's Op-Ed

Or you can simply read it below.

I appreciate your time and attention!

OWL

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Movie Gets To Heart Of Recession

As Democrats and Republicans throttle each other over the smallest perceived slight, I wish everyone in the donnybrook could simultaneously watch the movie “Inside Job,” which exposes the gross corruption and greed on Wall Street that led to the Great Recession and is still very much in power.

If we all watched this movie, I think that at least for a moment we’d be united in a single cause: eliminating the infection of immorality that wrecked our economy and inflicted nothing but riches and lack of remorse on the nation’s greatest bankers and financial kingpins.

They even had the gall to sell investors on risks they knew were “crap” and bet against those investors. They sold subprime mortgages to people they knew wouldn’t understand the terms, and who would be likely to default . These were decent people who could have been given a prime mortgage, but that didn’t serve the masters of profit.

These money masters tanked the entire economy, were bailed out, and have an even greater concentration of power now.

Obama is complicit, but so are W Bush, Clinton, H W Bush and Reagan. Before the 1980’s an investment broker could make about $40,000 a year. After deregulation, that same broker could make millions. Deregulated banks take risks and get more reckless, leveraging themselves to the hilt, which means taking out up to thirty loans on the same bit of capital.

The game of profit quickly snowballed into a house of illusion and deceit. The wreckage is immense and occurred in three waves: the death of the Savings & Loans in the late 1980’s; the internet IPO crash of 2000, and the Great Recession of 2008. The losers in all cases were the American people, who have been working harder, including both parents toiling away, and taking out loans, just to keep up.

This has been going on for decades. The middle class is slipping away while the fabric of our society has disintegrated into a mountain of poverty and on top of that castles of extreme riches. The top 1% own 23% of the wealth, which is the worst divide in any industrial nation. It hasn’t been seen in this country since before the Great Depression.

The fat cat financial kingpins who recklessly led us into this mess are psychologically driven to accumulate more for themselves and live a fast-paced life that often involves cocaine and prostitution. They are so influential, cycling on a revolving door into the highest levels of government, that it doesn’t matter who we have for a governor in Maine. We could have an angel for a governor and we’d still be hostage to Wall Street and its self-serving priorities.

This immense and pervasive glue of greed has paralyzed the Federal apparatus. Republicans are right that the government is a mess. And Democrats are right that the problem is corporate avarice. Truth is, when it comes to money, the government and the banks are in the same bed.

We bicker with each other over things like welfare as this country continues to slide from its perch of greatness. We can deny this all we want but we all know that China is ascendant, and we know that reckless borrowing, which many of us fell victim too, has dealt our society a horrible blow, and that we are partly responsible. Both Republicans and Democrats alike.

The ultra-rich want us to keep bickering and not address the demons at the top. Both the Tea Party and the liberals are against the continued monstrosity of corruption. We can all unite in this.

Or we can continue to face each other with growing hatred, resulting in a perpetual stalemate while Mammon laughs.

Once you revisit the facts (as Inside Job does so well) it is almost impossible to deny that those at the financial helm made calamitous and unethical decisions, which resulted in CEO’s walking away with many millions, and left the entire country of the United States in a condition of shambles.

We can all see this, if we stop arguing among ourselves, and work together to get rid of the underlying evil. I know it is unlikely to happen easily, but as Inside Job informs, those who ravaged our security, peace and economy are still at the top.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Going To Hell

The Washington Post informed us yesterday that Bahrain, a US ally, was firing live ammunition at pro-democracy protesters, and today the New York Times headline is “US offered Rosy View Before Bahrain Crackdown.” Speaking about Ms. Clinton’s remarks two months ago in Bahrain, the article says:

Her rosy assessment, which seems incongruous in light of the army’s bloody crackdown on protesters, illustrates how the United States government has overlooked recent complaints about human rights abuses in a kingdom that is an economic and military hub in the Persian Gulf.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/19/world/middleeast/19diplomacy.html


In Egypt, Bahrain and elsewhere in the Middle East, the US has supported vicious dictators for decades. And guess what? We’ve supported bloody dictators in Latin American too, and Asia, and virtually every other region of the globe.

Read some Noam Chomsky. Or just go to killinghope.org

Maybe I am being selfish in repeating how disgusted I am with my country for supporting scores of Darth Vaders while proclaiming to champion democracy and freedom. Maybe I want the gods to look down and see that I objected, that I screamed the internet version of a scream--

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


--in utter condemnation of my country’s moral depravity.

If we are going to be judged by the gods someday, I don’t see how the smug satisfied members of our cruel US Empire can avoid going to hell.


OWL

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Acceptance: Yes, Poetry!

Yes, Poetry!

Yes, Poetry! is a young zine, yet fully alert and alluring. It is run out of NYC, showcasing some incredible voices that stand out in the global babble of the internet. It is an extra special gift to aspiring poets in the New York region and such writers are frequently featured.

Editor Joanna Valente began this brave venture not too long ago (the first issue was March 2010), pouring serious energy and intelligence into the site, and it has been flourishing ever since. She has exceptional endurance and a ferocious passion for the literary arts. I’ve written about her and YP before:

Owl on YP

She has been joined by Stephanie Valente, who has assumed the formidable title of Associate Editor. Between the two of them, they are continuing to produce new issues at an astounding clip. YP is one of the most vibrant and immediate journals I know of, producing a new issue every month.

I strongly suggest submitting urgent pieces, edited from your essence(and please read an issue of YP first!). Although the Editors Valente publish relatively fast, they are attracting major talent just as swiftly.

I’m honored that they took my poem, “Assimilation,” one of my most telling social commentaries.

As I’ve said before, editors are the lifeblood of the poetry world, and deserve all the respect we writers can muster--and yet the most dedicated editors of all, like those at YP, are as rare and special as ambrosia.

Be kind and grateful.


OWL

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Release: Viral Cat February 2011 Issue

Viral Cat February 2011


Viral Cat is a madly intense art and poetry zine. The art clutches your underworld and the poetry sears it with sharp taints.

The two alternate in a shoulder-slamming toboggan ride through the reality-cracking, nerve-sparking gauntlet that is Viral Cat.

This is a must-read journal. This is a mental mezzanine somewhere between Surface and Underhaze where two mental kingdoms--one of vigorous earth, one of brawling ocean--collide.

The creatures in Viral Cat have an insane genetics. They lesson your perception like a lysergic whip. If you don’t believe me, see the artwork “Rabbits” by root 222 arts crew, which occurs alongside my poem “Genetics”:

OWL's Genetics and root 222's Rabbits

And then slide down to “Meal” by Teresa Shartel and “Horses” (root 222 arts crew) to complete the scramble of visual onomatopoeia.

Look back through my blog at any of my other poetry Releases: you will see that none of them are this manic and unstable. Viral Cat hit me with a magnificent overload of anti-norm venom that makes Van Gogh look tame.

It is indeed infectious. This journal lives its policy. If you are not burbling “goo goo” after a few pages then thought police have slammed shut your inner doors, protecting a fragile fa├žade of sterilized truths.

This is one of the best new zines in Etheropolis, and though the editors prefer their privacy, I did get a name on my acceptance email, and I googled that name and the name is associated with a discipline that deconstructs society down to its fundamental filaments of misdirection and error.

Viral Cat re-images the collective script. I dare you--DARE-- to take the blue pill and go down the rabbit hole, into the realm of root 222 art crew’s “Rabbits.”

After the “Rabbits” come the “Horses” and then a dozen other neo-shamanic images of darksweet ecstasy. The stanzas swirl into a torrent. Soon you awake to find yourself releasing from the umbilicals of The Matrix, cradled in the shiny silver spindles of a giant liberating spider.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Why isn't the US condemning Mubarak?????

What is wrong with the United States? Why are we supporting this iron tyrant in Egypt, even as the people rise up in a bold and valiant attempt to gain democracy and free speech?

I remember being taught in grammar school and high school how wonderful our country was, such a champion of rights. I was taught we are a special people who place liberty as our highest value--

and yet what I see now is that we support a vicious devil of a human being, a cruel and absolutely horrid soul. I don't see how virtuous leaders in a virtuous country could support such a spawn of evil. And yet our leaders support him.

What would Jesus say as we kiss the hand of a bloodthirsty caesar? If Jesus came today, the United States would side against him and with the oppressors.

Even as the people of Egypt rage in the streets, trying to win a revolution from this monster Mubarak--in much the way we have framed our own escape from the tyranny of colonial Britain--our leaders do nothing. Our President and his Cabinet stand equivocal at best.

What is wrong with us? We have become a thoroughly debauched empire, more interested in assets than liberty. Our decayed heart is naked on display for the whole world to see. If we truly championed liberty, as I was taught as a child, we would side with the people of Egypt, who are crying out for escape from a torturous police state.

I am ashamed of my country for its hypocrisy, which is blatant and obscene.

We can no longer pretend with any level of success to put the ideal of freedom above the ignoble concerns of our power politics. Our leaders have no right to use the word "freedom" as if they loved it above all else.

It's a lie.

We have become a country that bargains in full complicity with demons.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Poem: Garapito Loop

Of all the poems I’ve written, this is one of my favorites. It is based on a solo night hike above Los Angeles.

“Garapito Loop” was originally published in Wilderness House Literary Review by one of my very favorite editors: Irene Koronas. She’s brilliant and original. Enough said.


OWL

PS: yes, there is a certain word that is mis-spelled in this poem. It works the way it is, conjures a certain character.

-------------------------------


Garapito Loop

a bright net hugs the land
as far as you can see.
only imaginable
are the busy creatures
it has swallowed.
in this grip of the electric,
somewhere,
dwells everyone:
a neighbor you
undress daily with thoughts;
a gas clerk whose smile once
mattered; chocolate
on the faces of boys
in a park.

from your perch of stones
like stegosaur humps,
you might as well be a satellite,
or the squint
of an orbital mystic.
much has passed
on this dying sandstone:
natives in labor,
cascades of them,
birthing a commotion of tribes
while condors swing
over antelopes
and pug-faced bears.

it’s as if you had snoozed
while chanting, and woke
to find the Earth lost--
hidden under burns every night,
a valley of steady fire,
and prisoners in the flames.



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Sunday, February 6, 2011

As we have found the roots of intolerance--whether racist, sexist, or homophobic--in the traumatic rupture of intimate relationships that marks the initiation into patriarchy, so the splits between mind and body, thought and emotion, self and relationships signal a dissociation that keeps us from knowing what we would otherwise know.


Carol Gilligan and David Richards, The Deepening Darkness



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Thursday, February 3, 2011

Acceptance: Ottawa Arts Review

Update: See my review of Ottawa Arts Review, here:

Owl's Ottawa Thoughts


I’m very pleased to have my poem “Hurt Faun” accepted in the official English-language Arts Journal of the University of Ottawa. This is primarily a print journal, but the staff are gradually uploading back issues into a pdf format. You can view the Fall 2007 issue here, if you desire:

Ottawa Arts Review

Getting an acceptance from hard-working student editors at a major university is a such a wonderful and rare gift. It renews my courage as I struggle for hours every day, glued to the computer in the quest after precious phrases.

“What is it all for?” you might ask.

“What is anything for?” I might reply. Isn’t there something to it, this courage to reach into the soul and find what it wants to say, how it connects to the universe through threads of thought and emotion?

When a person speaks from their depths, who is speaking? Not the ego. The universe made us and it is the universe that sings forth when we are honest and full of wonder.

OWL

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The United States and Its Darth Vaders

The uprising in Egypt is a telling moment. US foreign policy has been laid bare in an ugly light: we have supplied billions of dollars in gun money to a sick dictator, Hosni Mubarak, for some 30 years.

Let that sink in. No one in America would have given our disgusting minion in his Cairo palace the least thought, except that the brave Egyptian people erupted in an unforgettable moment of ethical outcry, one that shook us out of our callous torpor of conformity.

And now American citizens are blinking at the truth, if only for one dumbfounded moment: our country, which claims to support human rights, dignity and liberty, has been preventing human rights, dignity and liberty to millions upon millions of people.

How can this possibly be justified here in "The Land of the Free"?

The simple response that spouts out of the typical mouth is, “We had to do it to prevent worse.” But the devil is in the details. Or in this case, the lack of them. If you’re going to support someone who is the equivalent of Darth Vader, it isn’t enough to spew a convenient sound byte.

If there is a God judging you, a simple “the end justifies the means” will not save your ass from hell.

Suppose you could explain away US support for Mubarak, which is an ethical nightmare no matter how you slice it. What about all the other dictators we’ve supported?

"What other dictators?" the denier might say, blinking like a cow over a trough of Coors.

Well ...

Everyone is taking about our failure in Iran. Here’s what we did. In the early 1950’s the CIA helped overthrow the democratically elected leader of Iran and successfully worked to install a US puppet leader, the Shah. The Shah, our buddy, tortured and oppressed the Iranians with his vicious secret police SAVAK.

The Iranian people rose up in the 70’s against our monstrous Shah, and hence the Ayatollah Khomeini came to power. Not surprisingly, he was virulently anti-American. We reaped what we sowed. Surprise!

One of my favorite examples (said with pure sarcasm) is Saddam Hussein. Americans love to hate this brutal dictator. Here’s the problem: before we hated him, our government loved him. We showered him with gazillions in military assistance--even while he used chemical weapons on his own citizens.

Let me repeat that. Hussein gassed the Kurds with chemical weapons on a massive scale, and did we condemn him? No. We said, “That’s okay, here have some more military money.”

How many dictators has the US supported? Too many to count, at least easily.

The best place to start is to peruse the book Killing Hope, or just go to the website:

http://killinghope.org/

There are 56 major US interventions listed, covering 1945-1992. When I say “major interventions” I mean thinks like the CIA-staged coup in Indonesia to get rid of Sukarno (1965), in which 500,000 people died.

That’s half a million. Good ol’ USA!

I just have to mention Osama bin laden. We gave him massive amounts of money too when we was working to overthrow the Soviet reign in Afghanistan.

Ain't we sharp.

So .... Our preaching about human rights is heavily mitigated by our support of various Darth Vaders, and abandoning them only if it suits our interests, or we’re forced to abandon them, which is what is happening in Egypt now.

Suppose your child wants to be a high-powered official in the US Empire. What would you say to her?

If you’re going to be honest, it would have to be something like this:

"So you want to be President? Well, do you remember all that talk about the evil of Satan from Sunday school? If you’re President, you have to give millions of dollars to evil people who torture and oppress their citizens. You have to make sure the American people don’t hear too much about it, or they might get upset. You have to do a lot of lying, by saying that you are a champion of goodness, when in fact much of what you do is support very evil people. The reason you do this is for things like oil, minerals and profit for rich people who control businesses that dominate the world.

"If you want to be President, you have to seen as a noble angel and yet work hand in hand with Mammon and Satan to bring huge amounts of misery to countless numbers of poor people everywhere. The only thing that makes this okay is one important bit of knowledge that is sometimes, if not always, a lie: if you didn’t do these evil things, even more evil would result.

Do you still want to be President?"