Feeds:
Posts
Comments

You used the word ‘problematic’
To describe something you didn’t like
On TV. You didn’t like
The idea
Couldn’t put
Your finger
On it

So you used a word
That sounds scientific
To English majors
But isn’t
Because every idea
And certainty
Is a piece of chum
Waiting to be eaten
By the shark

That is a deeper idea

And you can’t stop it
And you can’t help it
And “problematic”
Is your blanket
Your cage
Made of straw

But your big idea will be eaten
That’s what your big ideas
Were born for

‘Problematic’
Just like the straw
A word you can break
So easily
So fragile

It snaps

When I was young, I hated cowboy stories and all things Western. So it took me a while to get around to reading a fat fiction book on the subject, Lonesome Dove. When I got over my snobbery, I found a gloriously written, brutal work of myth-busting and harsh neorealism about the west and Texas. Here we find a lot of limited and brutish characters driven by pure existential need to pursue the dangerous folly of a cattle drive when they didn’t really have to and they all suffer horrific fates over it. There’s only a couple of women in town and everybody’s in love with the same one. It’s hard to tell the good guys from the bad guys. You start to get into the psychology of the characters and emphasize with them and then the author kills many of the best ones. I was emotionally drained by the end of it. No small feat for me, since I was more attached to the distant and cool scientific satires of Kurt Vonnegut and Thomas Pynchon at the time I finally read Larry McMurtry’s wonderful book.

If that weren’t enough, McMurtry also gave us the book The Last Picture Show,” which developed with his help into one of the best American movies of the 1970s and he co-wrote Brokeback Mountain. Like his best works, these poked holes in the myths we build about sexuality, masculinity, patriarchy and the past.

–*You’ll never guess how this kitten lost all his money.

–*Everyone but you is wearing their phones on the sides of their heads.

–*What Marie Osmond’s teeth look like today is insane!

–*This woman put what in where?

–*You didn’t love possums, so look what they did to your house.

–*See what happened when this man tried to take a bath in bitcoins.

–*This guy had a drill and you know exactly what happened to his hand.

–*This guy had a gun and you know exactly what happened to everyone around him.

–*This man used an anti-pirate slur. Look what the pirates did to him.

–*Ewwww! A pile of greasy pennies!

–*This actress stepped away at the height of her career and that’s why her name is completely baffling to you.

–*We kept asking this 93-year-old woman if sex is really over for her.

–*Could this headline launch a “stuff the doorknob in your mouth” challenge?

–*This man tried to own Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. It backfired.

–*Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez got into a car. It backfired.

–*This guy lives in a state with lots of gun owners. He hopes what he just heard was car backfire.

–*After this cleanse, your body will collapse into a heap of skin.

–*Travelectomy says your appendix will most likely explode in these cities.

–*I’m going to win the lottery, said this statistical illiterate.

–*You won’t get pregnant if I pull out on time said this statistical illiterate.

–*New York is a crime ridden sewer, say these statistical illiterates.

You fell asleep
Like milk being stirred into tea

You felt yourself being distributed
into slumber

You floated cold
With the lovelorn shipping heiress
Grasping at chocolate bars
And barbiturates

Sleep as heavy as the look
Of desperation
A tongue waited on words
That wouldn’t come.

Gravity turns your gazes
Into faces
The kisses didn’t know what they were
Until they had ended
Sleep is the gravity of the mind
Seizing on broken things

You can’t turn the heavy ship
To wake against the rudder
You form black water into black ice

Hold her hand
You won’t be in this dream for long
Can’t succor her with a kiss
Can no longer fly
Can’t help
But turn the boat on its side

A person wakes to crash
And for the dreamer’s sake
A person hopes to crash
When she hopes again to wake

Eight people are gone in Georgia, six of them Asian women. We should talk about the rise in Asian-American hate crimes. We should talk about how women have been forced to define their freedom to speak, to move, to even live according to the violent and uncontrolled sexual impulses of men. The horror of this mass murder is worse because of its complication: there’s a lot to unpack, and I don’t want to see any of the many problems here obscured by one of the others.

So we shouldn’t let it all overshadow the gun talk we still need to be having. It always feels pointless to try to explain the link between murder weapons and toxic masculinity to people. But a gun gives a psychologically wounded man a feeling of agency. “I’d just like to try to see somebody break into my house.” How many people have you known who’ve said that? Guess what: It’s wrong. Why? It’s not the statement of a prudent person who wants to defend himself. It’s the statement of somebody practicing homicidal ideation. It’s someone saying that “I have the power to shoot someone in the back from across the street, and instead of stepping back and thinking about the awful responsibility of that fact, I am dreaming of how I might bring that vision about.” This kind of person is not thinking of rules of engagement. This person is not thinking of how the duty to retreat might make a situation better. This person has tied his esteem and existential pride to facing down a risky outcome in which he hopes to win but seldom does in reality.

We shouldn’t be surprised when people suddenly do bring their sordid vision of personal power about. I grew up in a house with many guns. I was taught how to fire them and how to safely use them by someone who thought he was responsible. He was. Until he wasn’t. When he was angry or afraid, he pulled out his guns and in at least two situations created unnecessary danger for those around him. I knew as a kid (without having the words for it yet) that it was ridiculous to call a gun a defense weapon. How in actual situations it was highly unlikely I was going to be even have time to point it at someone with intent to kill if necessary. It’s very seldom going to happen in the fast-moving arenas where violence happens, always with speed far beyond the fantasies of our reflexes. Being able to kill somebody by shooting them in the back from 100 yards is the essential talent of a firearm, and it does not make you a defender to own one. There is nothing inherently defensive about being able to heave a projectile through space faster than anybody can react.

Does having a gun make a lot of people feel safe? Sure. Does it really make them safe? Not according to physics or statistics. (We can save the two flawed or fraudulent studies arguing for the regularity of successful gun defenses. Those studies are ridiculous on their face and have been debunked repeatedly.) If you think of a gun as a defense weapon–even though it has no shield and no way to disperse incoming projectiles–it’s not because you’ve ever really thought about the physics of the idea but because the social conditioning rampant among toxic American fathers has led you to suspend your common sense.

So our gun laws in many states are designed with the pitiably incomplete idea that a violent people will use violence to dampen their own violent tendencies. It’s actually what I like to call a “Vote for the Worst” scheme: Our laws don’t reward or protect responsible gun owners (as advocates insist they do). Instead, weak gun laws ironically protect the least responsible, the ones with the most likelihood of acting out of passion or anger. We give speed to cretins. We pray for reflexes among victims. And we end up giving killers like the shooter in Georgia a fair shot at rearranging the world according to his fantasy of perfection. It requires our blood to work.

The coronavirus sent everybody home, sent everybody into a panic, sent everybody out to buy guns. More guns will equal more violence. There is nothing preventative about a murder weapon. That’s the world that’s been inflicted on us, those with families whom we love, the world all of us must have venture out in–leaving one spiritual coma and entering another.

“No Robot Three-Way”
By Salon de la Guerre

I don’t want robot cluster love
It would make me feel blue
If she looked like you

And I saw that robot undressed in the hall
You bought a Real Doll
Something six feet tall

Is this how you think we can communicate now?
Cause you don’t want to hear
How I cry in my beer?

I don’t want your robot arrangement
Trio trio
I don’t want to take your girlfriend
To Rio Rio

You said we should be trying other things
But I’m just another beau
You aim to outgrow

And why you gotta toy with me with a toy?
Cause you’re gonna replace me
with another boy!

Latex skin and a couple of holes
I feel lonelier with you
than I do alone

I don’t want your robot arrangement
Trio trio
I don’t want to take your girlfriend
To Rio Rio

Green sea was all around us
Don’t want no ménage
I’m going to put that Real Doll, baby
Back in the garage

No personal three-way ad’s going to replace
The first time that we kissed
And you held my face

So stuff your wild and sexy robot dream
May your fantasies be cream
And your life be what it seems

But I do not want with that kinky stuff
It’s good enough that you said
That I’m not enough.

(From the forthcoming album Digital Moon by Salon de la Guerre. Written, performed and produced by Eric Randolph Rasmussen. Copyright 2021.)

Love Is Memory

Love is memory

Love is a series of past acts
You saw go by in
A parade or a pageant
Or a passion play

Love wasn’t carrying
The cross for her

It was the dream of carrying
In a past whose truth
Was evaporated
Upon waking

Hugs never last for more than
A few seconds

But the memory of the hug
Or the kiss done in passion
Or anger
Lasts a year
A century

They wove it into a tapestry
At the cloisters

That thing you wove
Was love

Because love is memory

—*Why Loving Your Parents Means You Probably Have a Chemical Imbalance

—*Why There’s Nothing To Smile About So Stop Smiling

—*Stop Right There With That Futile Plan

—*Everything You’re Doing With That Tomato Is Wrong

—*Why People Who Recognize Daylight Saving Turn Themselves Into Slaves

—*Why When You Give Somebody A Tip You Might As Well Be Putting a Cigar Out In Their Eyeball

—*How Delighting In the Sight of a Balloon Makes You Inured To Human Suffering

—*Don’t Write A Screenplay! Are You Out Of Your Mind?

—*We All Just Need to Stop Talking About the Moon

—*When Did Our Obsession With Billionaires Replace Our Obsession About Not Starving?

—*Well, Somebody’s Got To Mix This Concrete

—*You Have To Stop Vacuuming The Floor This Way Right Now

Salon de la Guerre’s next album is around the corner. It’s No. 26, and for absolutely no reason whatsoever other than that I felt like it, the album is punk. It’s called “Digital Moon,” and I hope to have it on the streaming services within a couple of months.

Here is a sample:

“Digital Moon”
By Salon de la Guerre
Written, performed and produced
By Eric Randolph Rasmussen

You know it’s just a digital moon
That we compute over a programmed sea
But I wish I could program you
So you would still be in love with me

It’s only an imaginary car
But still you like to take a drive in it
You have to invent another world
Cause this one isn’t one that fits

Spend a paper dollar
A made up currency
And nothing works in this god damn world
When there’s no facts to believe

It’s a digital nation
And our nation we make is paper too
And if you don’t believe in it
There’s no need for it to believe in you

It’s a digital girlfriend
But love is something you can believe
Because if there’s nothing real in this world
Then there’s no place real for you to leave

Spend a paper dollar
A made up currency
And nothing works in this god damn world
When there’s no facts to believe.

Copyright 2021.