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Waving, not drowning (edit)


dedalus
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The winter winds

like absentee landlords

whine and moan outrageously, wide and greedy,

with no thought of conseqquence.

And it was along this country road

in seventeen seventy something

they shot my cousin dead

because he was a colonel in the Austrian Army

astride a magnificent horse

and neither of these things

was then permissible.

 

I was happy for a while in America

with their nonsensical news bulletins,

their invasions of faraway non-white-skinned countries,

their peculiar monthly school shootings,

until the whole thing went sour

 

and I couldnユt wait

to get out of the fuckin place.

 

There is no isolated island of coral and sand

with its single waving palm tree

that can escape the onslaught of Mormons

and their “Brother, can we talk?”

In Japan they all line up to shit

at MacDonalds in theit white shirts and narrow ties

because they abhor the local hole in the floor.

 

I’m so glad I live in Japan:

it’s off on the edge of the planet

on the borderline of the real and unreal,

understandable, of course, to the Japanese,

but never, really, to us.

It grows on you.

You get to like it.

 

(edited by David Callin of Poetry Graves.)

 

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

Original version:

 

The winter winds

like absentee landlords

whine and moan outrageously, wide and greedy,

with no thought of conseqquence.

And it was along this country road

in seventeen seventy something

they shot my cousin dead

because he was a colonel in the Austrian Army

astride a magnificent horse

and neither of these things

was then permissible.

 

Gaza, the West Bank,

shades of Kurdistan,

parts of Belfast. Smile sweetly,

protect your women and children,

inflame your young men,

keep guns and bombs in the cellars.

 

The means of war have changed

but the reasons remain the same.

 

I was happy for a while in America

with their nonsensical news bulletins,

their invasions of faraway non-white-skinned countries,

their peculiar monthly school shootings,

until the whole thing went sour

 

and I couldn’t wait

to get out of the fuckin place.

 

That was a long time ago

and my thoughts have since cooled nd settled,

but the gap between the 18th C. America of the Founders

and the present-day Tea Party

is so cataclymsic that you feel

embarressed for the idiot fucks

and wonder what went wrong.

 

Only 7% of Americans have passports

(more now, since needed for Canada and Mexico)

and that keeps most of them at home,

although you meet them everywhere,

and I mean everywhere.

 

 

There is no isolated island of coral and sand

with its single waving palm tree

that can escape the onslaught of Mormons

and their “Brother, can we talk?”

In Japan they all line up to shit

at MacDonalds in theit white shirts and narrow ties

because they abhor the local hole in the floor.

 

You feel sorry for them,

despising the arrogance of what they are doing.

The others are basically OK

and totally different from their cousins at home

so you get a sort-of-weird

“Expat American”.

 

I’m so glad I live in Japan:

it’s off on the edge of the planet

on the borderline of the real and unreal,

understandable, of course, to the Japanese,

but never, really, to us.

It grows on you.

You get to like it.

 

My literary grand-uncle

once told me

how to end a poem.

First, you bring all your themes together

(I think we’ll set that one aside)

and then you thank the roaring crowd

(you two or three people, thank you!)

and then you wind things down and

simply stop.

Drown your sorrows in drink, by all means, but the real sorrows can swim

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I like the 'simply stop' part. ;)

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Maybe I should begin with that?

Drown your sorrows in drink, by all means, but the real sorrows can swim

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Just poking fun. A few reads made me think using an anachronistic proxy to express modern culture differences is rather brilliant. I may try one with Cromwell.

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Yes, yes indeed - You should have tried being born here;-) Love the last stanza. The rest has a certain truthiness, I admire. Ultimately (for me) it lacks the emotional richness of so much of your work -- which from a Baudrillard perspective of simulation is perfectly appropriate summary- and now I have gone from like to love;-)

 

Ah the subtleties of perspective! (in some ways, Japan is the bastard child of the US, allowed to live the freudian gestalt we were to puritanically practical to live ourselves;-)

thegateless.org Come on over and check out my poetry substack y'all;-) Or if your bored, head to the Zazzle store: https://www.zazzle.com/store/gateless. If you buy anything I lose a bet, so consider that before you violate the digital rules.

 

Gate(less.png

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The edit works well for me. Your Mormon reference made me smile and stirred a memory of what a friend once said discussing life's priorities: "I'll swear the first thing you'll see on coming out of a bomb shelter will be a f****ng jogger!" :biggrin:

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