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Showing posts from June 18, 2023

thinking something else

  Like many people – hell, I’m going for the vulgar generalization and saying like ever-y-body – I am always thinking of something else . I don’t think it is a bad guess that when Descartes wrote “cogito ergo sum”, he was thinking of something else – where am I going with this? Is the woman across the canal going to be in the fruitmarket again? I wonder if I should have some chicken broth? Hmm, bet those foutus Jesuits are going to piss in their gowns over this part, but ha ha – I’m out-Augustine-ing you, mes freres! Things like that. A good deal of thinking, in my experience, is thinking of something else. I go down the street and instead of thinking about the street and its multiple ghosts and encounters, I am thinking about, say, writing about thinking of something else. Yet the cogito’s thinking is supposedly a straight shot, from subject to object. The “else” that gets in there doesn’t figure much in philosopher talk. Yet my head is as filled with “else” as a pinball machine i

poem for Stevie Smith

Isn't it dishonesty this felt disproportion between the gaps in my head and the words in my mouth? What I do around here What I do Is lie in bed Dressed in Grandma's clothes. In the movie The old samurai Dusty at the entrance to the village Unsheathes an eloquent sword With a rusty gesture. I can identify. To take strategies from the fox Arbitrager’s carnivore To fill my hunger Clucking like an old hen With oafish bit players Instead of dangerous prey... Oh chateaux – oh bandes dessinées! Maybe I should exit stage left. It's the dishonor I can’t stand. Not the woodman’s necessity sharpened axe.

For Daniel Ellsberg

The background story to the Pentagon Papers started out with a payment of 6,742 dollars. That is how much the U.S. government, in its majesty, decided to shell out to the family of Thai Khak Chuyen, who was a Vietnamese “translator and informant” who worked with the Green Berets in Laos. That the Green Berets were in Laos was, itself, a rather iffy proposition – who authorized that? And who authorized the torture and murder of “Mr. Chuyen”? The first question is answered, in various stories about this incident, with the phrase: “covert mission.” In the semi-democracy of the United States in its Cold War phase, “covert missions” could emerge, with no traditional legal warrant, at the whim of the executive branch, and be carried out with the compliance of a Congress that took on the role of the blindfolded observer, the Daddy warbucks who passed the bills doling out money to intelligence agencies who worked for the “Defence Department”. In the end, as the Nixon regime battled to pull o