Wednesday, 22 December 2010

WikiLeaks shows how postmodern indifference has indeed functioned as an instrument of global capital

One thing that can be gleaned from the WikiLeaks phenomenon is that the capitulation to postmodern vagaries (a position it seems stubbornly taken and reasserted most curiously by my former mentor Steven Shaviro), itself can be shaken when new revelations -- truths in the sense of undeniable historical enunciations -- shake the glamorous blandness of the postmodern. Indeed we see that the postmodern status quo -- "who knows what the truth is, let's have fun with it all" -- is broken, as is business as usual. This is new: usually corporate media tries to ignore any non-sanctioned information, yet it cannot brush aside such newsworthy tidbits and succeeding chaos that turn the wheels of the corporate media itself. Facts that shake markets are both intricately bound up in the mechanisms of global capital and can no longer glibly uphold pretensions of being removed from real economic concerns (a growing gap between rich and poor accompanying globalizing economies, including the US) and environmental destruction through global warming, dam construction, and general pollution, etc.

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Typhoon Megi

has nowhere to go: a focused holding
over last year’s losses, not to laugh at, a pattern
clearing the Sea of Taiwan, heading ashore
as a cold front at Okinawa condenses
the turbulence: more rain off the Pacific in a day
than in Carson City in a decade,
and you say the door has closed
too hard, answers too slow to come.
When the train stopped for the flooding you were right
not to take roads leading home, now covered in boulders and mud,
buses trapped or fallen off the coastal highway caved away…
Angry tourists from abroad complain in standard dialects clear and harsh.
The hot spring hotel has no hot water and you call to recall my faults,
my unbearable neglect. I want to go to bed early
before the day’s fatigue takes us down.
My cell phone is down to the last red line
after 2 a.m. I am difficult to get to know, granted –
forsaken by givens like the gods,
overwhelming happiness leftovers from old battles and empires
still divvying their grids of species in the present
folding the world away for a rainy day, living for a rainy day.
It is a pleasure to be stuck in the rain,
but please – spare me, clouds of mercy, storms I can’t see.

My friend says there’s a hot spring around the corner.
We soak, talk about how it’s not working.
He shrugs. We all want to be good, to go along.
Doors close in long accordion patterns
following us in another us for losing ourselves
though already taken, over the years, lost loves:
the older the more there’s just remainders remaining:
couples never broken from innocence into the light:
abandoned movies given in to their own automatic motions, leaving
habitually: a world so large now it crosses its fingers in series of series
so serious, politicians are already pushing for a new highway
to open up the last backwoods, where I live
and you will never return, for a door, some keys passed between us,
and a storm. I will try again tomorrow to go home to Hualien,
to let go, open my heart more, be lost again and taken down.

Thursday, 26 August 2010

六月の川柳 Two senryu from my trip to Kyushu this June 六月の川柳

Japanese originals with English approximations.

komu eki o oshare yuusen ippo ippo ni
[So slow stepping through the crowded station--all the fashion queens]

mi ga mirare onaka o kitsuku nakayoku ki
[Given a looking over, I suck in my gut, hoping to make friends]

June 2010

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Global Positioning

The symphony gathers talk dying down.

The smell of bugs burning on dusty lamps
reaches the balcony.

Children speculate which came first:
peanuts or peanut butter.

To keep the water moving
cymbals opened to bassoons and cellos

and traffic stopped in a swoon…
and mommy released the brakes….

You wonder if you’re the only one
gone bananas with such gut precision.

Time to shake oneself up to a plate,
any place making your soul feel so big it swims out with the ball.


—after Chen Chien-wu 陳千武

For now the standing water stands down.
It’s all over, in no one’s honor.
United, the buzzing charming,
divided, viral advertising.

The angelic hum no longer lulls us
all landings have been sprayed
and under control.
We put our souls to the wheels of motor cameras
and promise broadcasts across the land
as standing water stands down.

Sunday, 25 July 2010


We used to raise antennae like mold
taking flight from an alabaster landscape
then lean softly with the wind
as if history had been blown up.
It used to take us hours to wind down,
making winding up as much a surprise.
The day never ended.
Now all we do is wind up.

Who’d dare touch the earth again,
not the stony essence running through it?
We’ve been hacked, on suspension,
no one ever looking, always watched.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

The experimental video was designed as a video installation in protest of the media build-up to the American invasion and occupation of Iraq. It was shown at a cafe in Tacoma, Washington, and needs reediting, but here it is as is.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Slip and Drivel

The letters sent up never arrive
though arms and legs wave about.
Please stop summarizing what you (think you) see
was only seen on TV.
Running in place builds up currency
and leaves leveled lots northeasterly,
possums flooding sprung diameters
burrowing and backing into factory relics,
tumbling under any rhododendron or stilted hedgerow
parceling the heartland.
The apples rolling on the floor are rocking on the floor
as the father recedes into his constitutive colors.
Unreal sister:
traveling salesmen sweep you off your feet.
If you like the idea, it's yours.
I prefer not having hanger-ons hanging.
I return to my unfolding mirrors opening into smoked florescence
all for my hair.
But it pulls away like the pinup in a crowded house
at the discretion of whoever does the dusting.
I ordered more photos from the firm holding our negatives
as if the digital age hadn't caved it all in escrow
to spores hammering into a very old age
recombinatory life making its way indefinitely.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010


The mechanisms are in place.
We order coffee to go and return to command centers by-the-minute
bank on the price range with smiles from another era.
The corruption is structural and the flower girl selling flowers is passed over.
Boys take out the garbage unable to see the ascendancy laying claim to them.
Tips for good service keep the arms market out of anyone’s hands
the game safely in automatic profits grandfathered in for home theatres
mobilized abroad where no one listens.
It's hard work inventing alien slime worthy of walling out,
uncircumcised enemies in hooded full-length suits.
The happiness seems almost ghoulish now,
one nation under Windows, emptied emptiness
unto others, backed up by loud, firm affirmations in low tones.

Monday, 8 March 2010

In Vietnam, Thinking of Iraq

Is it enough to list specifics and lose ourselves
in the godlike complexity of broken microchips
as we screen our broadcasts walking along nature washing up?
It's one thing to throw up a slogan
and drag a population across a border, an ocean,
it's another to oust the invader—always in bad taste,
the proverbial imperialist oinker.

The details sprayed on the bricks are not sweet recollections
but convictions, a moral economy not bombable,
and to be paid off
or be reborn a fly or damaged squirrel or at best a deer to be hit by a Winnebago.

The functioning of parts is still bound to the beholder
in remote control. The spirits of the dead still fly just as far
and will seek out the controllers of drones and smart bombs.
The chain of command will not sleep well.
If wrong, we are doomed.

(Ho Chi Minh City, February 2010)

From One End

I tell my friends, what you expect to find
at the end of a dead end road turning to dirt
along a crumbling beachhead?
Crushed glass of tossed beer-brown bottles.
Scraps of plastic and Styrofoam from fast-food beverages.
Thin plastic vendor bags of bones licked clean, tied in a knot—
heaped on upside-down steel barrels.
Dogs sniffing around can’t find them.
When a concrete hotel shell built itself off the beach
the interior vanished in insurance flames.
The retaining wall hollows out, the road is next,
lined with bald, bandanaed Norwegians loitering on Hoggs
with beer cans in hand and open carburetors
carrying them away. Most of the retirement colony is sedate,
lots of strolling husbands and wives and trailing maids or lovers.
Sometimes the lover rides with the husband on one scooter
and the wife takes chase on another, putting along to avoid collision.
I saw a pretty young American with a chubby gigolo in tow.
The rule of thumb: the escorts walk behind
(like servants, or wives in some cultures),
while those in love go hand in hand into old age.

(February 2010, Cha Am, Thailand)

Sunday, 24 January 2010


Where did he go, the one willing to work our way
down the strip of cheap eats?
The other ones go for fads
with boys riding in top-down canopies
to Krispy Kreemes, where the theater stood
with cathedral chandeliers
and we saw 2001 as a family
at its opening and later grown
men smearing mud on their mugs,
crawling around in paranoid chiaroscuro
as if they lost their way in the legs of a Caravaggio painting
where a page boy is screaming for help
while the big-wigs have fallen.
Luckily angels have dispatched, light cracks open the corridors
enough to make our way to the water cooler
in the mall security of ready vending machines
and our linoleum sounds ricocheting
the penetration of fluorescence.

(Tacoma 2006; Taipei 2010)

Sunday, 17 January 2010

In Spanaway I Walk a Country Road

I walk with my neighbor who limps in inclement weather.
I limp beside him as if the world were a limping world
so we may not even notice his body breaking down.
Time is washing up again.
The first-growth taken away before even he can remember,
clearings left open to run-off, erosion
cut all the way into the foothills
where the Nisqually pours forth
through the shoulders of Rainier.
Weyerhaeuser left a moonscape of stumps
never replanted, "an honest mistake" overgrown
with buckling Himalayan blackberries
looping high and arching long
to wetlands to soak their dominion of fists
rooted in moist sunlight, vines releasing gnats and flies
worming from tart berries in their forest of thorns.
We talk of the road that leads all the way to the Mountain,
the road neighbors jogged on every afternoon
until passing cars picked them off—
swerved to fast in passing clipped one,
a mother twists backwards to hush kids takes one,
drunken golfers lose it … an ac-ci-dent. Very,
very sorry, they say in a whisper hard to record.

I walk with my neighbor who limps in inclement weather.
He's been around a San Francisco block and outlived it to tell,
says he believes in it, at least
has a hat to hang on, as they say on TV
what only family knew of neighbors:
cross-dressing boy goes on to fashion stardom,
horse-riding girls in love and lost in the mountains,
letters to an army buddy who couldn't let go—
discovered in the afterlife—
the wife left to sort his things, sharing
with us, dying within a year
to track him down for questioning.