A Forum for Vigorous Debate, Cornerstone of Democracy

[For the journal (guidelines, focus, etc.), go to www.theamericandissident.org ].
Encouraged censorship and self-censorship seem to have become popular in America today. Those who censor others, not just self, tend to favor the term "moderate," as opposed to "censor" and "moderation" to "censorship." But that doesn't change what they do. They still act as Little Caesars or Big Brother protectors of the thin-skinned. Democracy, however, demands a tough populace, not so easily offended. On this blog, and to buck the trend of censorship, banning, and ostracizing, comments are NEVER "moderated." Rarely (almost NEVER) do the targets of these blog entries respond in an effort to defend themselves with cogent counter-argumentation. This blog is testimony to how little academics, poets, critics, newspaper editors, cartoonists, political hacks, cultural council apparatchiks, librarians et al appreciate VIGOROUS DEBATE, cornerstone of democracy. Clearly, far too many of them could likely prosper just fine in places like communist China and Cuba or Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Russia.

More P. Maudit cartoons (and essays) at Global Free Press: http://www.globalfreepress.org

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Killing Two Birds with One Stone

A Mini Review on a Mini Book, etc.
Once again, a new book of poems by Charles Bukowski has been published, The Continual Condition, copy write Linda Bukowski, the author’s widow. I’d been reading Bukowski since the early 80s and have read just about everything he’s written. What I particularly liked about him were his refreshing occasional caustic descriptions on the poetry milieu and poets of his day.

This volume is only 127 pages. Normally, Buk books are three times that. And this book doesn’t stipulate, as preceding books have done, the work to be previously unpublished, noting instead that “several” of the poems were previously published. In any case, who can tell the difference between the several thousand poems written on the racetrack or whoring or boozing and those presented in this volume? Indeed, the work is certainly not new. How could it be, considering the author died in 1994 and has been coming out with a book per year (or almost) ever since? The typical mix of poems is present: whoring, booze, racetrack, one or several on poets and writers, and one or several on the author’s later years as a well-to-do suburbanite. Overall, it is a disappointing volume with few, if any, memorable lines and not one great poem in the batch.

One has to wonder what the widow does with all the money from royalties. If she really wanted to promote her dead husband, the best thing she could have done was stop publishing more of his unpublished poems, the ones John Martin rejected when Buk was alive and participating in the creation of his Black Sparrow books. Evidently, however, her real purpose must be more money, despite what Bukies think (see http://bukowski.net/forum/showthread.php?t=472). What else could it be… diminishing and further diluting the author with poems that shouldn’t have been published because highly repetitive? After all, isn’t one great poem about the racetrack better than 100 mediocre ones?

This book left me wondering, while laying on the floor in the alcove readying to get up to begin the day, whether the poems were really Bukowski’s or were the work of a small team of HarperCollins wordsmithies, experts in the author’s style and subject. No matter. On the positive side, several poems did inspire me to write several poems. Buk’s style entered me—for a moment via poetosmosis. Below, thus, is the second bird.

A Correspondent Wrote Bitterly
and like the/ dead/ I/ didn’t/ reply.
—Bukowski, “A correspondent wrote bitterly”

A correspondent wrote bitterly:
“the pettiness and the
and the
that pervades
your stories
and quasi-debates
is what bothers me.”

And it bothered him
so much
that pettiness and
his correspondence.

And like the

Poem for a Rank-Out Artiste
(try to talk to them/ and you become one of/ them.)
—Bukowski, “heavy dogs in cement shoes”

A fellow wrote me, pissed off—really pissed off—
that I’d described the sister of the director
of the local book festival, which only invited
Chamber-of-Commerce-friendly writers and poets,

as “a chubby woman with red marks on her face
(wart removal or skin cancer?).”

Yet it was only a simple descriptive line of reality,
written in the middle of the essay I’d posted.
But he claimed I was making fun of the woman’s
appearance, for which he exploded in epithets:
“your poetry has all the grace and dance of a
defunct air-conditioning unit” and
“the wit and liveliness of a retired chamber pot.”

Could the “wart comment” alone have elicited
such antipathy for me and my writing?
Well, just days before he’d sent a poem,
which I edited patiently, but then suggested
he send it elsewhere.

Then the onslaught assailed: “ya dork,” he called me,
“lost cause,” “MisterFlawwwwless,” and even

Twas the old academic two step, barely disguised—
the thin, vacuous rhetoric rolled out as artillery
always in an effort to divert attention from the crux,
and how successful it could be!

“How can I dismiss your arguments
when I don't even know what they are?”*
*The words are M.P. Powers’.


M.P. Powers said...

I simply love how you warp the facts (and my character) by randomly plucking and preening my quotes and placing them in whateverthehell order/context you think will do you justice. It's all very Sloneian of you; all indicative of your HIGH REGARD FOR TRUTH.


Now get back down in the basement. The neighbors are coming over soon.

G. Tod Slone said...

Such weak and dubious arguments, as in distorting and taking out of context, are actually quite commonly used by those lacking substantial counter-arguments. The facts remain in correct order: my rejecting of your poem, the wart comment, and your inflating of its pertinence to the point where you yourself couldn't even remember what the hell the reasons for my protest were in the first place. All you could see was the wart comment, which I suspect somehow represented the poem rejection because there is no other way to explain it. Clearly, something riled you prior to the comment, for it didn't even concern you, but rather a woman you didn't even know. Ah, you prove yourself entirely incapable of commenting without ad-hominesque immature quips. Thanks for commenting anyhow.

M.P. Powers said...

I sent you two poems, Slone. You told me to send one of them elsewhere, and the other one you said you liked. Your anger theory... "pissed-off - really pissed-off" and "exploded into epithets" is as absurd as it is comical for all its falseness. You know that too, I'm sure, but you obviously NEED me to be angry, which I'm not and never was. That's ad hominem, amigo... trying to debase the other person's character to obscure the facts of the argument.

The problem I had with your "(skin cancer? wart remover?)" comment was this: you used her REAL NAME, and felt the need to trash her appearance, even though she was nothing but polite. You knew damn well it wasn't wart remover, but you just had to slip it in there. My guess is you wanted her brother to read it just to let him know G. TOD SLONE'S ON THE CASE. HE WILL STOP AT NOTHING IN HIS FIGHT FOR JUSTICE. AND IF HE'S GOTTA TELL THE WORLD YOUR SISTER'S FACE IS FULL OF WARTS, SO BE IT!

G. Tod Slone said...

A simple description of a salient characteristic is not "trashing" someone's appearance. You've got a problem with the marks left by wart or skin cancer removal, I do not. And how the hell do you know what I saw? How can you possibly state: "You knew damn well it wasn't wart remover, but you just had to slip it in there." The things you state are ignorant because made from ignorance, that is, lack of first-hand knowledge. You were not there. Period. You do not know what her face looked like or why it drew my attention more than any other part of her. In fact, it is all irrelevant to the initial protest.

I've already run through this several times with you, but you CANNOT comprehend it, you REFUSE to comprehend it because you have to DEMONIZE me.

My purpose was not to trash the woman's appearance at all. That is not the kind of thing I do. My writing does not make fun of people's physical appearances and anomalies.

I named her name because naming names is a form of quality control. She was the sister of the chief organizer, who approached me. Why shouldn't I have named her? Evidently, she was involved with the festival. I didn't approach her.

You can have the last word, because I don't want to waste any more time with you. It's nowheresville. When will you get off your ass, stand up alone, and decry injustice, instead of decrying my standing up alone and doing so? NEVER!

G. Tod Slone said...

Well, MP, I was going to let you have the last word until a friend sent me a poem you have posted on Underground Voices. See below! Seems a bit effete in its disparaging of all small-engine mechanics. How hypocritical can one get, considering the little wart comment I used to describe one woman and how you blew it out of proportion! At least now I know why you didn't like my sneakers and hair. Ha! Apparently, you don't like the haircuts worn by all small engine mechanics either. Can you even focus in on arguments, or do you just focus in on the superficial of appearances? You hate working class people, is that it? Wow. Man, you really have got some heavy immaturity issues.

Small-Engine Mechanics

All the ones I’ve ever chanced upon
were smug of countenance,
with bad haircuts and shabby goatees,
and they’d don these soiled jumpsuits,
and would somehow fester up
in the grease pits of America
armed with wrenches and air-ratchets
gleaned from hulking toolboxes,
and there was always an oil-smudged photograph
of some Playboy centerfold glaring after them
from the lids of their toolboxes,
and there was always classic rock blaring
from their catch-penny radios,
and they’d boast of being blessed
with innate mechanical abilities,
and the ability to work on anything
with their hands, but working
was always low on their list of priorities;
they liked much more showering strangers
with tales of just how they’d been wronged
by some ex-wife in Pocatello,
or how an ex-boss hid cameras in the parts room
and used the videos as blackmail,
or how some guy named Hound Dog ran off
with their tin snips and hasn’t been heard
from since; they only would mention the hows
though it seemed, never the whys, the wherefores
or the reasons for their wrongful persecutions.
Because those require self-scrutiny, and swapping
their sounding boards for silence.
And that requires the willingness to listen,
and to change, which for them was beyond consideration.
And so it was, and so it always will be
for all of the small-engine mechanics I have known,
their work-benches forever flooded
with weedeaters and everything else broken,
their fingers forever lubricated
by the sums of grease symbolizing them,
their tales merely blobs slathered
with petty harangues and braggadocio,
which couldn’t be poked or prodded
or altered in shape in any way,
they’d just sally forth unabated,
like oil slicks gargling through the sea,
sliming everything in the way,
including the remote chance
of a Playboy centerfold
jumping out of their toolboxes
to save them from

G. Tod Slone said...

What are you afraid of? Why don't you permit people to comment on your blog entries? You're allowed to comment here? What kind of childishness is that? What are you afraid of?

M.P. Powers said...

Why to you KEEP bringing up your fleece? If it's that much of a problem, cut the damn thing. I never even mentioned it. The poem you quoted of mine is an old iffyatbest one. Anything pre-2008 is old for me because I've only been writing poetry for about four years, and my style has done three or four roundabouts along the way. That said, my feelings are still the same re: small-engine mechanics. I have worked with dozens of them, and they were all pretty much as I described... not to mention crackheads, pocketpicks, miscreants, etc. Not the type of folk you'd wanna spend an eight-hour day with, but I did, and I dealt with the terrible grating of their subpersonalities for many years. Hence, I know them. Still, I don't find anything wrong with anything I said. It was a poem (see: fictional), their appearances were brushed over lightly, and I didn't give someone's nice, polite SISTER a complex by trashing her face and using her REAL NAME. Do you still not see the difference? Are you that g.d. DENSE? Do I have to keep explaining the facts of this argument? Do you have to resort to non-stop ad hominem? --> "heavy immaturity issues," "pissed-off, really pissed-off..." "loon..." "wacko..." "he exploded.."

ah, the old academic two-step... but hardly something one would expect out of the editor of The AD.

"I say fire the creep" ~ Various

G. Tod Slone said...

"someone's nice, polite SISTER"
How the hell do you know she was nice and polite?
How transparently corrupt your worming out of that comparison!

Anonymous said...

Tod, thanks for posting the poem written by M.P. Powers. Its filled with contempt for those workers. The content shows as much about the author as it does about the scorned workers.

I should stop in here more often. What is Mather doing these days?