Headstrong

Ever more imperative to question our priorities. Example: instead of aiding a nation whose atomic radiation continues (and will continue) to harm present and future generations, we the people condone bullying, preferring to engage in relentless warfare.  Too few martyrs. Until the terms of use are revised, everyday language perpetuates a disconnect: not the president, the government, the economy—but our president, our government, our economy.

Hannah Arendt: “Although tyranny, because it needs no consent, may successfully rule over foreign peoples, it can stay in power only if it destroys first of all the national institutions of its own people.” (The Origins of Totalitarianism)

Increasingly myopic, we the people cling to ease and profit. The great retreat into featureless suburbs. Our corporations lead the charge: a regressive force, counter-evolutionary. We the people no longer inhabit the savannah, where threat and danger are immediate, local.

Wendell Berry: “We are living in the most destructive and, hence, the most stupid period of the history of our species. The list of its undeniable abominations is long and hardly bearable. And these abominations are not balanced or compensated or atoned for by the list, endlessly reiterated, of our scientific achievements.” (“A Poem of Difficult Hope”)

But let us be entertained.

Richard Howard: “For poetry is already a problematic if not a despised art in modern times. Despised because popular. More people are writing what they believe to be poetry, what is even called poetry by their readers, their publishers, their detractors, than ever before in our history—many more are writing poetry than are reading poetry, as you so often have heard. This situation is not a paradox, it is a necessary consequence of our cultural structure. Our academies offer their M.F.A.’s in unprecedented numbers, for we write, these days, not what we want to keep but what we wish to dispose of.” (“Things Forgot: The Education of the Poet”)

Onward.

Dazzling Killmen: “Inside the foundation / Of dread and repeat / And importance / We operate.” (“In the Face of Collapse”)

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