“What counts in war is not … the noise of our burst, nor the smoke we make. We know that it is the hits that count. We will hit.”

The tensile strength of steel, the power of the heart muscles, the electronegativity of oxygen, the density of an engine block, the tightness of the bolt that locks the arm to the axle.

The assembly of our anatomy, impermeable at every point where it is not carefully tapered. The long and numerous pathways of chemical synthesis, learned through the pain of four billion years of mistakes.

The internal logic of every contradiction does not wait, does not mind, does not care. Not a bit of friction is handwaved out of existence, not a speck of momentum is ever ignored.

Not one atom in the universe will forgive your tiredness, your desire for rest from this precision. Not a thing is not always exactly, pristinely what it is.

We must learn tirelessly, learn as the self-playing instrument that is every living organism has learned, must pay and pay with pain and death.

As we strive to make ourselves into a mechanism to remove either the blood or the guns from every reactionary in the world, our love must move us to a ruthless vigilance.

When they come to kill you, if your rifle is not clean, if your magazines are not loaded, or you don’t know how to shoot, or you don’t know how to keep calm and aim and fire, or your comrades aren’t well rested, or aren’t trained themselves, or you haven’t drilled until it is second nature, or you have not designated a sentry, or if the sentry is distracted,

then you will die and your comrades will die, and the political economy you have learned, and the mass ties you have made, and your skill in leadership, and your knowledge of the enemy’s strategies will be destroyed, gone in a moment—like a dream—

and the proletariat of your country will once again lose its central nervous system, and the guns and the training and the coordination will be all the reactionaries’ for another few decades.

Or if you have dealt unflinchingly with the truth, exactly as it is, then we will move on, one step further toward the inexorable, exacting harmony struggling to be born here and everywhere on earth.

seen those daytime fires.png
a vision of myself turning to mysticism in despair
turning to theology in despair, a metaphysics so heavy and symmetrical
     it seems to have flesh
one’s consciousness turned upon one’s consciousness turned upon
     one’s consciousness turned upon one’s consciousness

to see stars in the daytime
the truth that haunts behind all facts that summons and scorches
     all attempts to discern it
the golden fire, the pattern of patterns, the point of the blade

i do want to live in a world where my mind finds beauty and pattern.
and i do not find renunciation of seeing beautiful patterns as a good in itself,
but i do see the contradiction always inside of it.

to risk becoming dull to facts, unsensitive to the complex, dirty,
     gritty nuances of the world.
to give up one’s existence in this world as it really is before one has even died.

to extrapolate what i get from a comrade’s theory
rest replenishes one’s fighting capacity meter back closer to full; comfortability reduces one’s overall fighting capacity–it shrinks the meter
most things in this world that provide rest also provide comfortability.

Here are two poems from Spring 2011 that I don’t think I ever posted.

On the Properties of Night

(The sun is a führer
who scrapes gelatinous shards of word and animal into a column several feet high
and on threat of death demands it stand up and endure citizenship—
but I don’t want to talk about that.)

In every mutter and cloud, in brooks in the coldness of January,
is night. And in every oleaginous dollop of oil (like fish gills) on wet cement,
every opaque tinted window obscuring dealer or diplomat, in hunger, in power,
but not in contentedness, is night.

Believe me when I say that even in the glare and swelter of July is night,
that it is always night in prison and on the internet,
that even a white dove dark against the sky is night
and that a porch is designed to contain night at all hours of the day.

I do not know whether night is in amber waves of grain,
or in a well-mopped art gallery, or in a particle accelerator.
I cannot say whether blue jeans hold night in or out,
but probably all clothing is night.

Basil

Just like the oak’s yellow rain
stealing my tears and my windpipe
with its yellow grit, with its autogeny,
a ghost of great illness in perfect weather,

the basil growing in my yard
reminded me how it would taste when I tasted it
and that I had not tasted it,
and that for whom I thought of and whom I didn’t
a shattering was coming by highway at night.

I wrote a disorganized sort of poemlike thing because of the autumn air. it is not as edited as it could be, but i liked it well enough.

I was probably 15 or 16 the first high school football game I went to,
in my rural u.s. town.
69 degrees Fahrenheit, 81% humidity, 10 mph wind.
The cold air as it settled thickly–

I did enjoy the games, but even more, I enjoyed the marching band,
how can you describe the sound of five people drumming in unison?
how can you describe the horns coming in at just the right time?
how can you describe synchronized, stylized diagonal, careful criss-cross stepping?
how can you describe the way people I knew, my friends, somehow made this much greater, more rhythm-holy thing happen?

–settled thickly on my friends when I saw them just afterward,
sweating, steaming, proving their vividity against the autumn air.
I was probably 15 or 16 when I first fell in love.

A little love for the people of your country can make you a fascist,
a lot of love for the people of your country can make you a proletarian internationalist.

And it was there I first learned to move among the crowds, stirring conversations,
testing out poses, physical and conversational,
swimming through the masses in the stands and by the concession booth,
gathering opinions, building the party.

in a different, more jaggedly academic city,
I would go dancing at 18, looking for someone or something,
someone proving their vividity in the heat of their skin, the
enthusiasm of their flowing poses against the coldness of the brisk-chilly pop dance music,
against the autumn and winter-hinted air.

I wanted to see god again, or whoever it was who arrived at halftime each game,
I wanted to hug someone, steaming and cold at once.

In the dim lights of the dance hall, I went looking for you.
for now we see only darkly, as through a veil,
the features outlined but indistinct.

I am still in love with your synchronization,
My heart still gets chilly-hot-excited tense when I see you.

I am still building the party,
I am still stirring through the masses,
still blessed to witness humanity in its genius.
I am still in love.
for now we see but dimly,
but one day we shall see face to face.

I wrote this in 2011 while I was trying to quit cigarettes and wanted to post it, because I think it’s really captures well a certain feeling. I think I know now the answer to the question about what the nonaddict does.

Song of Cursing Written before a Carillon Tower in Mid-July

A thunderstorm hot in hot clouds,
the wet gray of no relief, matte on the sky.

“Oh no.”—the world contrary to plans.
[ed: almost like, “o no”—noticing negation itself, invoking it.]

Mutilation is hell, but a little at a time
is fine.

And what I want is the ruination of utter change,
the dice falling like burning stones
on every atom.

The river running under my skin
asking for good wounds clean hits,
sharp cuts. A shot, a hit, a smoke,

the heat on all my body, my every cell a wideeyed
martyr eternally being run through with a spear.

What does the nonaddict do with all their hard-won freedom?*
What is love if you cannot speak and cannot hear?

* That scene in IJ where the guy distracts himself exactly zero to avoid any possible addiction and turns into dust on a chair (or something like that).

What is a world that can’t withstand a dragon’s breath?
The (Century) Tower from the 4th floor [ed: of Library West].

The Tower: return to atoms.

The sum of your parts is greater
than the whole.

See, your defensiveness and your hesitation, your neuroses, none are you. So what’s a sword of rust punching through your breastplate?

I, too, am nothing,
but you will have to
kill me to prove it.

The only things our society readily gives people to express themselves with are products.

Literature, music, poetry, and art are no less products in this way. Upper-middle-class people are no less curators of themselves out of consumables.

In the Capitol there is a wild diversity in food and clothing, but the souls are all pale and lukewarm.

In resistance there are very few flavors, very hard to discern, very deep-down. But between resistance and consumption you can taste the difference like you can between protein and sugar.

I am staggered by the sorrow that is already here.

Have you been to /r/climate lately? I am overwhelmed by the sorrow that is to come.

But what is there left but to resist? I will help build communism at the south pole if I have to. Better than this woeful indignity, where my people resort to gorging on plastic because the only unadulterated spirit to be found is in rebelling against the strongest military ever to exist.

The way they tell the story–the way they have tried to make sure the story goes–there is so little daylight between the death the imperialists and the fascists promise us and the true life that rebellion brings.

And as Malcolm said, the price of freedom was never anything but death.

But with that said–I don’t know how to say it–the people are indomitable, they are a pressurized gas bursting through the walls of history. In the tiniest beam of light that pours through, the people will flood through and crack their system, and break their military apart on the rocks of time.

If most of the earth becomes unlivable, so be it. Let the sun of communism shine at the south pole, under enormous glass domes if it has to.

i know that Babylon is not a scientific concept. i haven’t had a thought or need for the idea in a long time, but i saw Babylon again tonight. the petty bourgeoisie in a dance hall, in a buffet of beautiful, starving people, trapped between very hard walls of ideology and steadied by soft addiction, in a poisonous space, lighter than air, a place where the same catchy songs play every night, year after year.

the high weeping note that pervades Elliott Smith’s “Angeles,” skyscrapers in the distance wrapped in filthy-bright, washed-out light.

* * *

i know it’s easy for communists to hate the middle class, and i find myself as readily despising them as my comrades do, but how can i not also always know with some part of me that they are human beings too, suffering under the weight of their own egos, egos they don’t even really own anymore? these are my people–this is my family–broken by their addictions, destroyed by their love, mosquitoes grown full of blood, bodies fifty, one hundred times too heavy to lift.

* * *

if you want to know what radicalized me, i wish that i could say the biggest factor was my compassion, but i am not that good. the biggest factor was that i grew up breathing poison, poison on the TV and the radio, poison in school, poison in the books i’d try to escape into, poison in the people i’d meet, the scars of poison covering my family, poison in every piece of art i looked at, poison in every form of relief i sought, poison in my own marrow, poison deep down in my own soul, soaked in over the decades.

the only thing that ever gave me unadulterated life was what i inherited from people who resisted, from the people who held their breath and fought back. those were the only people i ever saw who had kicked substantial amounts of poison out of their own souls, people like Assata Shakur and Malcolm X. the only thing on earth that gives me real life is resistance and revolution, is people preparing to kill this system that is not only killing us all but, really, not even letting us live.

* * *

i don’t give one twentieth of a fuck what a skeptic thinks, the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in China is the high point in human history. learning about that period of time gives me all the life i need. i promise you, if you are sick of this poison, come and struggle with me, come and study Mao with me, come and let’s serve the people, come and let’s break through the clouds and make some sunlight.

I wrote this on September 24/25.

Tonight even though and maybe especially because I had a cold,
I went out. It was my last Thursday in Gainesville.

I brought my hips and my painted eyes around the Top and the Atlantic.

I think I thought tonight, and maybe have always thought,
that I could drink certain people into the world,
Ghosts of people, of social scenes,
people who moved away so long ago, people who are
simply aged out of existence.

I think after the first time I went to the Atlantic at 18,
I got permanently lost wandering around in the dark hair and the black eyeliner
of some amazing face that belonged to someone who was never real,
but which belonged to a sass, an act, a strut I fell in love with.

I thought for a while that I wanted to date and kiss such a face, such a look,
and then I came to think that maybe I merely wanted to wear and strut in such a face,
and while maybe both remain true,
there is something unfulfillable now, and I am lost up a cul-de-sac,
permanently hungry, wandering in the darkness of a perfectly darkened pair of eyes;

I am bitten up with loveliness, eaten slowly by longing,
I will never approach such beauty. If I was once thin enough for it, I was too
awkward of mind. Now that I have learned something about how to sashay, my body betrays me,
I am no longer emo-thin. My hips may be sexy in a skirt but they will never have
the quick, shadowy sharpness I once wished for them.

I will never cut anyone’s attention in half with one one-hundredth of a glance.
My lips will never be cold, unattainable peaks, nor touch any.

There were nights when the Atlantic would spill out at 2am into the winter air,
and everyone was sweaty and lustful and suddenly very cold.
I wished just once to be in black leggings and black eyeliner with dark hair,
to be pointed, and in that moment to catch the eye of the same,
someone cutting the air apart with their dark eyes.

Poetry is how you speak
universally. Poetry
will never say who you are longing for.
Poetry will never rat on you.
Poems will only shine for you,
ring like a bell for you,
they will make your whole being sound all-one, as though cast in a copper mold.
Even though you are a tree, fibrous but broken at every point,
poems will make a bell of you.
They will draw attention toward
your carefully painted eyes.
Poems will lead people from the beautiful agitation of your painted eyes
to your lips.

When I talk to you
When I think of talking to you who caught the corner of my eye

I am both talking to myself and talking to someone so qualitatively different from myself that they may as well be from a different universe.
I am talking to someone who is moved by the very same heat I am moved by.
But I am talking to someone who has built an engine and joints to be moved by it so utterly different from the ones I am moved by.
Someone who spent a hundred thousand years working on a different project.
I see the design; I cannot empathize with the pains that were taken in it.

I could tell you I want you to see me in the corner of your eye and
that would be that and we would both diagnose each other on the spot and
with an oversaturated smile know each other
but it would be too late and we would both have to throw up.

And what would happen after that? There is nothing about that in the Disney pattern
I have attacked my body for years trying to recreate.
In the numbness even now all over my body, I am trying to fit into a mold I saw two-dimensional characters enacting.
Ignoring my nausea, I am trying to be thin enough to fit into the fictional space I have been told about, have been sold on.

I am just as guilty as those whose carefully designed dream lovers omit me,
omit my prominent and sharp fractal curves and outgushings and edges.
So who can blame any of us, anorexic in one hundred dimensions psychological and physiological?

I want to scream out loud but I know with all my heart that the specific pain I want to express with it
would be extraordinarily easily missed.

When I say “kill me back to life”
I mean that to suffer in all the aspects of myself I have made numb
and then know feeling in them
would be preferable to a lifetime of numbness in those aspects.

Shall I say a thousand times that we cannot survive unless we replace our profit-driven economy with a planned economy? I guess I will and I must. And if I am being foolish and classist in the way I try to say that message, I want you to help me change, help me deliver it to literally every human alive–it is your life, your world at stake, too.

Who am I kidding? I an educated white mostly man have a world of respect to burn before anyone thinks I’m deep down foolish. Why should I think anyone else would want to burn as much as I have and do?

It doesn’t take away from the loneliness, and that is really and a thousand times all I am saying, again and again. And for anyone who is lonely from the station that their dignity and life demands of them, whether or not you can come closer and share your similar pain with me, I know it, and I respect you, and when we are in the midst of loving we are the same love, and I love you, and I would love you still more if I saw the loving that you are at work in the way it always is in the heart of you.