The End of Empire

Dismantle oppression. Deepen democracy. Destroy tyranny.

Posts tagged poetry

Aug 3

If you look closely you’ll notice
That the pattern on this soft cloth shirt
Is made of workin men’s sweat
And prayin folk’s tears.”


Mos Def

"A Soldier’s Dream"

(Mos Def speaking)
I’m not gon sing a song or nothing.

Um, what that term they call it post traumatic stress syndrome? That thing that 
uh, soldiers will get. I think a lot of people get that. It’s like when you 
experience somethin and uh, it affects you for a long time afterwards. I guess 
everything works that way. Certain things have more impact than others. 
Sometimes it visits you in your dreams or when you’re quiet or just at peace or 
trying to be at peace. A lot of soldiers get it. A lot of common people get 
it. A lot of the time common people are soldiers, that’s just the way it works 
out.

This is a soldier’s dream

The other night I was tumbling towards an uneasy sleep
When I had discovered myself 
Atop the sweet sticky firmament of my dreams.
Daybreak came and discovered me
With my fantasies pasted to my face.

I cant look at you right now.
"Show me your eyes," she says.
"Later," he says. "Now, now." "NO!"

Shame is a prison you know.
Yeah, well discretion is a fortress
You’re starin and lookin too closely.
There’s so much about me that I hide
That careful eyes will recognize.
If you look closely you’ll notice
That the pattern on this soft cloth shirt
Is made of workin men’s sweat
And prayin folk’s tears.
If you look closer you’ll notice
That this pattern resembles
Tenement row houses, project high rises,
Cell block tiers,
Discontinued stretches of elevated train tracks,
Slave ship gullies, acres of tombstones.
If you look closer, you’ll notice
That this fabric has been carefully blended
With an advanced new age polymer (oh man, that’s nice)
To make the fabric lightweight
Weatherproof, and durable.
All this to give some sort of posture and dignity
To a broken body that is a host for scars.
I am the new landmark. I am the museum of injury.
Soldiers visit me and admire me quietly,
Whispering amongst themselves. You’re no soldier.
Your soft bright eyes never have to
Survey the battlefield,
Much less its collected relics of which, I am one.
So, my flesh bullet-ridden remains hidden
Underneath these soft fabrics
Which I carefully select
That stand in for how I used to feel,
For how I remember feeling, 
For how I dream about feeling,
For how I feel about you.
And now your curious fingers want to search
Beyond this tender armor.
I cant look at you right now

(This is my rifle there are many like it but this one is mine) 2x

Your eyes are too careful,
Collecting it all arranging it all;
Surgically, robotically, exactly.
I can’t look at you right now
But that doesn’t matter because
You can look at me and the longer that
I don’t return your gaze,
The harder that your gaze
Starts to run across my back
Like a nervous policeman’s hands:
Brisk, intent, anxious for discovery.
If discretion is a fortress
Then you’re threatening to destroy it
By simply standing at the gates
And refusing to leave.
I can’t look at you right now,
But you can look at me. Do you see me?


Jul 24

And did those feet in ancient time.
Walk upon Englands mountains green:
And was the holy Lamb of God,
On Englands pleasant pastures seen!

And did the Countenance Divine,
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here,
Among these dark Satanic Mills?

Bring me my Bow of burning gold;
Bring me my Arrows of desire:
Bring me my Spear: O clouds unfold!
Bring me my Chariot of fire!

I will not cease from Mental Fight,
Nor shall my Sword sleep in my hand:
Till we have built Jerusalem,
In Englands green & pleasant Land

Beneath the poem Blake inscribed an excerpt from the Bible: “Would to God that all the Lord’s people were Prophets” Numbers XI.Ch 29


-William Blake

Lord knows, those dark mills have housed the devil in our world for hundreds of years.  

From the man E.P. Thomson, famous British historian and socialist, called the Witness Against the Beast


I’ve always felt chills whenever I hear this song. I’m a hopeless romantic, idealistic, and an overall mushy-softy lefty… 

I will not cease from Mental Fight, nor shall my Sword sleep in my hand, Till we have built the promised land, on this green & pleasant earth


Jun 14

Chinese anecdotes REMIX #1

只要功夫深, 铁杵磨成针
 ”As long as you labor diligently, you can grind an iron rod into a needle”

This legend is about Li Bai (李白), a great poet in Tang Dynasty. Li Bai was naughty and disliked study when he was a child. One day he saw an old woman grinding an iron rod on a big stone when he was playing by a river. Driven by curiosity, Li Bai came up and asked,
"What are you doing, granny?"
"Grinding an iron rod," said the old women without stopping grinding.
"Then what for?" he asked again.
"To make a sewing needle," was the answer.
"What?!" little Li Bai was puzzled, "you want to grind so big a rod into a needle? It will take many years."
"This doesn’t matter. As long as I persevere in doing so, there is nothing you cannot achieve in the world. Certainly I can make a needle from the rod." Deeply moved by what the old woman said, Li Bai took effort to study since then and finally became one of the greatest poets in China.

The old woman suddenly gasped and clutched her chest, then slumped over, stone dead. Li Bai was stood stunned, horrified by the vivid reality, and incredible irony, of what he was experiencing. Bodhidharma pops up out of nowhere and says, “Exactly. Keep doing that.” Li Bai became puzzled and retorted, “What do you mean? I thought I’d learned how to accomplish something great?” Bodhidharma picked up the iron rod and delivered Li Bai a swift blow to the cranium. Li Bai’s eyes opened wide with disbelief. Bodhidharma said, “Exactly. Now you’ve got it.”

达摩 knows how to really grind…

直指人心,见性成佛

"Looking directly at mind, see true nature and wake up"


Jun 2

A few lines from a Chinese poem expresses an emotional longing behind my socialist impulses

安得廣廈千萬間,大庇天下寒士俱歡顏,風雨不動安如山。
嗚呼!何時眼前突兀見此屋?吾廬獨破受凍死亦足!

- 杜甫『茅屋為秋風所破歌』

Oh, for a great mansion of ten thousand rooms

Where all the poor on earth could find welcome shelter
Steady through every storm, secure as a mountain!
Ah, were such a building to spring up before me,
I would freeze to death in my wrecked hut well content.

– Tu Fu, My Thatched Hut is Wrecked by the Autumn Wind.



Mar 26

America

Allen Ginsberg

America I’ve given you all and now I’m nothing. 
America two dollars and twenty-seven cents January 17, 1956. 
I can’t stand my own mind. 
America when will we end the human war? 
Go fuck yourself with your atom bomb 
I don’t feel good don’t bother me. 
I won’t write my poem till I’m in my right mind. 
America when will you be angelic? 
When will you take off your clothes? 
When will you look at yourself through the grave? 
When will you be worthy of your million Trotskyites? 
America why are your libraries full of tears? 
America when will you send your eggs to India? 
I’m sick of your insane demands. 
When can I go into the supermarket and buy what I need with my good looks? 
America after all it is you and I who are perfect not the next world. 
Your machinery is too much for me. 
You made me want to be a saint. 
There must be some other way to settle this argument. 
Burroughs is in Tangiers I don’t think he’ll come back it’s sinister. 
Are you being sinister or is this some form of practical joke? 
I’m trying to come to the point. 
I refuse to give up my obsession. 
America stop pushing I know what I’m doing. 
America the plum blossoms are falling. 
I haven’t read the newspapers for months, everyday somebody goes on trial for 
murder. 
America I feel sentimental about the Wobblies
America I used to be a communist when I was a kid and I’m not sorry. 
I smoke marijuana every chance I get. 
I sit in my house for days on end and stare at the roses in the closet. 
When I go to Chinatown I get drunk and never get laid. 
My mind is made up there’s going to be trouble. 
You should have seen me reading Marx. 
My psychoanalyst thinks I’m perfectly right. 
I won’t say the Lord’s Prayer. 
I have mystical visions and cosmic vibrations. 
America I still haven’t told you what you did to Uncle Max after he came over 
from Russia.

I’m addressing you. 
Are you going to let our emotional life be run by Time Magazine? 
I’m obsessed by Time Magazine. 
I read it every week. 
Its cover stares at me every time I slink past the corner candystore. 
I read it in the basement of the Berkeley Public Library. 
It’s always telling me about responsibility. Businessmen are serious. Movie 
producers are serious. Everybody’s serious but me. 
It occurs to me that I am America. 
I am talking to myself again.

Asia is rising against me. 
I haven’t got a chinaman’s chance. 
I’d better consider my national resources. 
My national resources consist of two joints of marijuana millions of genitals 
an unpublishable private literature that goes 1400 miles and hour and 
twentyfivethousand mental institutions. 
I say nothing about my prisons nor the millions of underpriviliged who live in 
my flowerpots under the light of five hundred suns. 
I have abolished the whorehouses of France, Tangiers is the next to go. 
My ambition is to be President despite the fact that I’m a Catholic.

America how can I write a holy litany in your silly mood? 
I will continue like Henry Ford my strophes are as individual as his 
automobiles more so they’re all different sexes 
America I will sell you strophes $2500 apiece $500 down on your old strophe 
America free Tom Mooney 
America save the Spanish Loyalists 
America Sacco & Vanzetti must not die 
America I am the Scottsboro boys. 
America when I was seven momma took me to Communist Cell meetings they 
sold us garbanzos a handful per ticket a ticket costs a nickel and the 
speeches were free everybody was angelic and sentimental about the 
workers it was all so sincere you have no idea what a good thing the party 
was in 1835 Scott Nearing was a grand old man a real mensch Mother 
Bloor made me cry I once saw Israel Amter plain. Everybody must have 
been a spy. 
America you don’re really want to go to war. 
America it’s them bad Russians. 
Them Russians them Russians and them Chinamen. And them Russians. 
The Russia wants to eat us alive. The Russia’s power mad. She wants to take 
our cars from out our garages. 
Her wants to grab Chicago. Her needs a Red Reader’s Digest. her wants our 
auto plants in Siberia. Him big bureaucracy running our fillingstations. 
That no good. Ugh. Him makes Indians learn read. Him need big black niggers. 
Hah. Her make us all work sixteen hours a day. Help. 
America this is quite serious. 
America this is the impression I get from looking in the television set. 
America is this correct? 
I’d better get right down to the job. 
It’s true I don’t want to join the Army or turn lathes in precision parts 
factories, I’m nearsighted and psychopathic anyway. 
America I’m putting my queer shoulder to the wheel.


Nov 5
“Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a heaven for?” Robert Browning
Major English Poet of the Victorian age, noted for his mastery of dramatic monologue and psychological portraiture. 1812-1889 

Oct 26
Noam Chomsky says “fuck you.”"Yeah, I said YOU…""Police-state, organized hate, policy-caused crime rate, Water Gate, Hormuz Strait, fight for oil in Kuwait”"Atomic bomb, napalm, proxy war in Vietnam, Uncle Tom, Uncle Saddam, unjust war on Islam”"Laissez faire, market share, massive corporate welfare,Polluted air, Tony Blair, crack-down on Tiananmen Square”"Hypocrisy, bureaucracy, white man aristocracy,Autocracy, theocracy, trampling on democracy”"Fuck you, oppression, privilege, and lies…"Noam Chomsky says “fuck you.” 

Noam Chomsky says “fuck you.”

"Yeah, I said YOU…"

"Police-state, organized hate, policy-caused crime rate,
Water Gate, Hormuz Strait, fight for oil in Kuwait”

"Atomic bomb, napalm, proxy war in Vietnam,
Uncle Tom, Uncle Saddam, unjust war on Islam”

"Laissez faire, market share, massive corporate welfare,
Polluted air, Tony Blair, crack-down on Tiananmen Square”

"Hypocrisy, bureaucracy, white man aristocracy,
Autocracy, theocracy, trampling on democracy”

"Fuck you, oppression, privilege, and lies…"

Noam Chomsky says “fuck you.” 


Oct 10
The most oppressed rise first, crying out. Then those who see and understand their pain. They realize the same pain reflected in themselves, inflicted on them by the world we have inherited. When these people stand together, a great wave of empathy and humanity surges forward, washing away callousness and ignorance, making way for the growth of compassion, increasing their numbers and breaking down barriers to change…
Hold the suffering of our brothers and sisters in our hearts. Let it grow into compassion. Let it change our world…wearethe99percent:

I have worked since i was 10 years old. I never went to college, i have zero loan debt, i worked twice as hard and made great money, recived many performance increases and titles, had private health care, a home, cars, 401k, personal long term disability,life,accidental death & dissmenberment, savings, money market accounts, and investments. A single mom of three living the dream. my then (14) year old daughter was diagnosed with cancer, the 600$ a month private insurance company refused to pay, the private health care facility refused to treat her without payment, i drained my savings, my 401l (what was left of it),and everything else i could, the insurance company refused to let me cancel and kept taking monthly premiums even though they refused to pay for anything. (cancer costs $45,000 a day)Recently, i was diagnosed with a chronic illness and cannot work, my carrer of 28 years is over. My PRIVATE dissability insurance Company denied my claim,i lost my home, my vehicles, all my private insurance, my private health care, all my belongings, and my children were forced to live seperately with family and friends as every household is full and we couldnt stay together. My daughters cancer is out of remminssion & she is back in treatment,she works two jobs at $7.40hr while going through chemo and radiation to pay for it.(18yrs old) my health is deteriorating, and my living arrangement has been terminated due to inability to pay. I AM NOW HOMELESS,SICK,DESTITUE,AND FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE…UNABLE TO WORK. I watched my parents entire retirement savings be wiped out,their wall street investments bottom out, their home depreciate in value by 200k, and their life savings of 40 years gone. My brother took a 50% pay decrease to keep his job, another brother lost his 100k a year job due to downsizing and outsourcing,my sister lost her 80k a year job due to labor cuts, all of them are in danger of loosing their homes and have upsidedown mortgages. their savings..401k’s, stock investments, are all depleated. We are a hard working,blue collar,tax paying,successfull proud American family that paid their bills, planned for our futures and our childrens futures. thank you Skank of America, General Ho-tors,Logitech, AT&T,Shittybank,Found On Road Dead (FORD),K-Fart,FIRST CHOICE not to pay claims,Prudential,Thats All I Get?(AIG), thank you for taking over 2.5 million dollars of my family’s hard earned lifelong savings and then allowing us to pay our 30% income taxes for the past 10 years to bail you out! We have nothing left to loose and nothing but time on our hands, and if for no other reason than to make you uncomfortable…WE OCCUPY WALLSTREET!    WE ARE THE 99%

The most oppressed rise first, crying out. Then those who see and understand their pain. They realize the same pain reflected in themselves, inflicted on them by the world we have inherited. When these people stand together, a great wave of empathy and humanity surges forward, washing away callousness and ignorance, making way for the growth of compassion, increasing their numbers and breaking down barriers to change…

Hold the suffering of our brothers and sisters in our hearts. Let it grow into compassion. Let it change our world…

wearethe99percent
:

I have worked since i was 10 years old. I never went to college, i have zero loan debt, i worked twice as hard and made great money, recived many performance increases and titles, had private health care, a home, cars, 401k, personal long term disability,life,accidental death & dissmenberment, savings, money market accounts, and investments. A single mom of three living the dream. my then (14) year old daughter was diagnosed with cancer, the 600$ a month private insurance company refused to pay, the private health care facility refused to treat her without payment, i drained my savings, my 401l (what was left of it),and everything else i could, the insurance company refused to let me cancel and kept taking monthly premiums even though they refused to pay for anything. (cancer costs $45,000 a day)Recently, i was diagnosed with a chronic illness and cannot work, my carrer of 28 years is over. My PRIVATE dissability insurance Company denied my claim,i lost my home, my vehicles, all my private insurance, my private health care, all my belongings, and my children were forced to live seperately with family and friends as every household is full and we couldnt stay together. My daughters cancer is out of remminssion & she is back in treatment,she works two jobs at $7.40hr while going through chemo and radiation to pay for it.(18yrs old) my health is deteriorating, and my living arrangement has been terminated due to inability to pay. I AM NOW HOMELESS,SICK,DESTITUE,AND FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE…UNABLE TO WORK. I watched my parents entire retirement savings be wiped out,their wall street investments bottom out, their home depreciate in value by 200k, and their life savings of 40 years gone. My brother took a 50% pay decrease to keep his job, another brother lost his 100k a year job due to downsizing and outsourcing,my sister lost her 80k a year job due to labor cuts, all of them are in danger of loosing their homes and have upsidedown mortgages. their savings..401k’s, stock investments, are all depleated. We are a hard working,blue collar,tax paying,successfull proud American family that paid their bills, planned for our futures and our childrens futures. thank you Skank of America, General Ho-tors,Logitech, AT&T,Shittybank,Found On Road Dead (FORD),K-Fart,FIRST CHOICE not to pay claims,Prudential,Thats All I Get?(AIG), thank you for taking over 2.5 million dollars of my family’s hard earned lifelong savings and then allowing us to pay our 30% income taxes for the past 10 years to bail you out! We have nothing left to loose and nothing but time on our hands, and if for no other reason than to make you uncomfortable…WE OCCUPY WALLSTREET!    WE ARE THE 99%