Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Acceptance: Gloom Cupboard

The chief poetry editor at Gloom Cupboard is Luis Albert Rivas and I am sitting here in anguish thinking he is a great man. I say this because of the way he sees and talks: where he has been with his mind, how he steps forward with terrible wisdom, and where he makes me go. This is from his intro to #138:

For some reason I’m in Chicago. For some reason thousands of people are occupying both public and private spaces in my country that’s not my country – that has been steadily and speedily destroying the Earth – flirting with the potential of an all-out uprising. Poetry, much like Bertolt Brecht’s take on art holds true:

“Art is not a mirror to hold up to society, but a hammer with which to shape it.”

I dig that. So as you read the poems, keep that in mind. Question everything. Break things. Fuck shit up.

There it is! Do you see what is filling my eyes with tears of necessity?

In #137, he commemorates the anniversary of 9/11 this way:

Here in the United States of America there is a lot of news coverage on the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, which is necessary journalism, for sure. But, unfortunately, it has overshadowed another Sept. 11 event, which most of you might not have been aware of, or–worst still–forgotten about. Thirty-eight years ago on Sept. 11, 1973, there was a bloody U.S./CIA-backed Coup in Chile against President Salvador Allende and his democratically elected socialist government. The attack was carried out by General Augusto Pinochet in compliance and with the full collaboration of the CIA and other covert U.S. agencies.

This is exactly essential. The problem in the Empire is that we are picky about which massacres we acknowledge. There is something damningly wrong about feeling only those hell-worthy crimes suffered and not those inflicted. Yes, we have inflicted numerous massacres of our own! We paint with weapons and lies in colors incarnadine.

Did you know? Maybe, as Rivas says, you never heard about the US government’s practice of overthrowing democratically elected leaders and replacing them with dictators who use death squads?

(Surely, though, you are aware at some level, that we ushered millions of Native Americans to their doom to found our Nation of Manifest Destiny?)

Or maybe, as Rivas says, you and I have committed the most awful failure of all: forgetting.

He continues in #137 to discuss the horror of Pinochet’s regime, including the unspeakable chance that Pablo Neruda was poisoned. This hurt me greatly. Rivas took a knife to my complacence:

After Pinochet took over Chile, he began rounding up and killing dissidents, Allende-loyalists, students, intellectuals, communists, socialists, writers, singers, musicians and poets, most notably Pablo Neruda (although it has been accepted that Neruda died of cancer on a hospital bed, a recent investigation has been launched into allegations that Neruda was deliberately poisoned by Pinochet’s forces).

Did you know that a US/CIA backed coup led to the arrest of Pablo Neruda, maybe (please gods no!) poisoned him?

(Honestly, the future will remember the US Empire as short lived and incredibly wicked, hedonistic, and self-righteous. Can we turn around the Decline?)

It has been so long since I heard an editor speak out with Neruda-worthy oration and condemnation and investigation and aberration. Rivas makes the rest of us seem like telltale sheep. Rivas is living in the painful energetic beautiful moment of taboo justice. He does not visit, he dwells.

It may be that he and I diverge in ideological ways. I am not a “card-carrying Communist” as he seems to claim for himself. In fact I would like Scandanavian-style mixed economies to spread throughout the world.

Free health care, childcare, and college education, plus paid vacations for all, and much more, from “cradle to grave.” This is a hearty socialism, combined with creative markets that prevent Greed from taking over. I think Neruda would approve. I hope so.

Our country, our Empire, banned Pablo Neruda, my poetic hero, from visiting. It installed monstrous tyrants who killed thousands and thousands of citizens with death squads, who used torture of the most hideous kind, all with our blessing.

In Indonesia, five hundred thousand people were killed after a US-backed coup (1965 in support of Sukarno).

Rivas is speaking with a philosophical razor. He isn’t afraid to use words like “fuck,” which I am afraid to use. Rivas is my hero. Introvert that I am, I haven’t heard anyone speak so well so forcefully so frankly in such a long time.

Everything we learned from the Great Depression, which was brought on by huge businesses dominating in unregulated markets, the free market capitalists would now destroy. They would dismantle Social Security and Medicare and the entire government-run safety net. (read Noami Klein, The Shock Doctrine).

Listen to Rivas. Read the poetry he publishes. There are two other editors listed along with him in the commentaries, Amber Bromer and Henry Ajumeze, and they are my heroes too.

It has been so long, it seems, that I have heard someone speak intelligently, passionately, wisely from Neruda's place of daring. Someone who brazenly, and yet with poise and sorcery of voice, challenges the money-led takeover of countries and souls.

What is "money" anyway? Some abstraction that bids us strangle love.

Please listen. We need to change. We need to occupy our minds with resistance and poems of healing and, yes, at this juncture in the fate of the world, ferocity.

Rivas quotes Brecht:

“Art is not a mirror to hold up to society, but a hammer with which to shape it.”

Listen! Do it! Speak from the aching lava under your trembling ribs.

As Rivas says, Fuck the world!



1 comment:

  1. why call 9/11 9/11 is something that puzzles me
    in most of the rest of the world
    the date that day was 11/9 and not 9/11
    9/11 was the date Dylan Thomas died in New York
    although at the Chelsea
    they would say that Dylan died on 11/9
    and not 9/11 as it would be said in Wales

    logic tells me that you begin with the smallest and work towards the biggest
    so first you have the time then the day then the month then the year

    or am I wrong
    am I nuts
    out of my mind
    those completely sane and oriented 9/11ers