Saturday, January 15, 2011


(Judy Grahn, January 1988, Oakland CA, photo by Robert Giard)

Every Saturday evening I post a Judy Grahn poem. Much of her best work is already up here (check Labels to the right for her name) but there is still a wealth more to share. If she'd been a straight white man, they'd have declared her poet laureate a long time ago -- but then she wouldn't be writing the stunning language that she does.

Ah, Love, you smell of petroleum
and overwork
with grease on your fingernails
paint in your hair
there is a pained look in your eye
from no appreciation
you speak to me of the lilacs
and appleblossoms we ought to have
the banquets we should be serving,
afterwards rubbing each other for hours
with tenderness and genuine
olive oil
someday. Meantime here is your cracked plate
with spaghetti. Wash your hands &
touch me, praise
my cooking. I shall praise your calluses.
we shall dance in the kitchen
of our imagination.

© Judy Grahn, from The Work Of A Common Woman


Thursday, January 13, 2011


(NGC 6164 is a beautiful symmetrical nebula formed by its central star)

Every Thursday, I post a very large photograph of some corner of space captured by the Hubble Space Telescope and available online from the picture album at HubbleSite, followed by poetry after the jump.

by Gary Johnson
Let us praise good workers (you know who you are)
Who come gladly to the job and do what you can
For as long as it takes to repair the car
Or clean the house – the woman or man
Who dives in and works steadily straight through,
Not lagging and letting others carry the freight,
Who joke around but do what you need to do,
Like the home caregiver who comes daily at eight
A.m. to wash and dress the man in the wheelchair
And bring him meals and put him to bed at night
For minimum wage and stroke his pale brown hair.
He needs you. "Are you all right?" "I'm, all right,"
He says. He needs you to give him these good days,
You good worker. God's own angels sing your praise.


Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Sarah Palin, like George W. Bush, is stupid in at least two classical definitions: Closed to the challenge of thinking for oneself, and unable to think flexibly. She is by her own admission not a reader. Her inability to speak with clarity or consideration is most on display when she is placed in a non-scripted situation, which she consequently avoids at all costs. She opens her mouth mostly to earn a fee, and she has (mostly) learned to allow others to tell her what to say.

She is quintessentially the dimwitted beauty queen who is sullen about being asked questions instead of the swimsuit competition sufficing, just as Bush was the rich frat boy claiming a cowboy heritage not his own because he saw cowboys as likewise inarticulate, small-minded, and not expected to observe social niceties (an outsider's patronizing view that too many urban Texans-by-migration gleefully embraced as well).

So when one of these mouthpiece symbols makes a horrific blunder in the course of a teleprompted speech -- as Bush did when he called his invasion of Iraq a "crusade" and Palin has now done invoking the vile Jew-hating phrase blood libel to express outrage at being questioned about the consequences of her targeting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords -- it is not as simple as another example of their stupidity on display. Nor can we explain it away solely as their existing in an elite theocratic bubble where such fundie hate phrases are bandied about in conversation, leaving dimwits such as Palin and Dubya to later use the language without comprehending what it means.

No, someone who is paid to design messages inserted those two words into Palin's carefully crafted video, which was (as always) intended to keep her in the money-making public eye without expecting actual work from her. It was not miss-speak. This is bolstered by Andrew Breitbart, that Goebbelesque liar, also using the same phrase in recent days.

What was its dogwhistle intent, then?

For fundies, it reinforces the simultaneous martyrdom they cling to -- the delusion that Christians are the only genuinely persecuted group in our culture, because we refuse to allow them to convert and control the rest of us in Jesus's name -- and the rationalization that Jews have it "coming to them" because they killed Christ. It is a coded reinforcement of anti-Semitism which is intrinsic to Christians who believe they have the right to kill as part of G*d's will.

In short, that gunsight leveled on Giffords was, actually, justified.

Study the rest of Palin's commentary. She asks when political debate was ever less heated, revealing she operates in the End-Timer maelstrom of constant fear and rage. She speaks of praying but not of finding resolution or growth from prayer, because her ilk believe they have already heard from G*d and will not ever require a course correction. And she whines about the apportioning of blame, but never mentions the word responsibility.

Because responsibility implies the possibility of error, something Christian soldiers never have to worry about.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Here's the weekly best of what I've gleaned from I Can Has Cheezburger efforts. There are some really creative folks out there.