SubEthaEditNewsPoem 2004-04-24

by Rob Wittig and the Unknown

Bush's Decision on Possible Attack on Falluja Seems Near

I walk down the street, and a bus passes. As it passes, the bus is near me.

I'm not a bad man. I used to ride the bus, quite often. Quite often at Yale I would take public transportation. I used to sing songs on busses when I was younger. My guys get all twitchy near buses. I'm not a bad man. I don't appreciate that Michael Moore, not at all. I'm not a bad man.

There's good men and then there are bad men. There's freedom but freedom isn't free. There are words like fortitude and stoicism (that's a Greek word), and steadfast. Not everybody knows what it is to be free. Everybody wants to be free, even people who don't know or understand that.

Seven hundred dead people is a lot of dead people but you need to keep things in perspective. There's a war on, and we need--what d'you call it?--vision and perspective.

That's why I invented the internet.

At Yale once, I got assaulted by the Skull Club. They gave me a wedgie and left me in a dumpster. I was kicking cans walking home swearing I'd get even. And I did. Because him and me, we had a contest. A popularity contest. And the winner would get to be president. And I won. And somehow, being President of the United States hasn't brought me the satisfaction I thought it might.

I was even, truth be told, a little upset that the 9-11 Commission didn't rake me over the coals. Because what was I, the President of the United States, doing when our nation's skies and skyscrapers were attacked? When the moment came to scramble air defense up and down the eastern seaboard, to ground air traffic, to declare a state of emergency, what was I, the chief executive doing?

Well, I'll tell you.

I called the Air Force and asked for an F-14. The Air Force said no. This was one minute after the first plane collided with the World Trade Center. So I stole Jeb Bush's twin engine Cessna from Fort Lauderdale and powered up into the skies over America to see what I could see. Tipper, already airborne, had commandeered a B-2 stealth plane. I didn't see her, she was flying so stealthily, we almost collided. Help, I thought, our nation's prose narrative is being infiltrated by another writer. Cells of authors living between the lines, waiting for the moment to revise. At any moment they might appear from nowhere and stick a period in your path stopping you. From finishing your sentence.

And I was golfing. And I'm not a good golfer, but I'm not a bad golfer either. You think it's easy being the most powerful man in the free world? You know, it's not all fun and games out there on the golf course. You're golfing with important people and they are watching your strokes very carefully. And you know that the Secret Service guys are all laughing behind your back. You're the most powerful man in the free world and any one of them guys would lay down his owrn life for you, but they know that they're better than you, and they're always watching you. Those guys are buff and even if they fake a duff when they're playing with you, you're knowing that they could make a three hundred yard drive easy and heh-heh, you're lucky if make 125. I mean, what do you do with that? Knowing that the guy with the taut suit and wire in his ear carrying your clubs could not only finish the course way under par, but he's going to throw himself in the path of a bullet while you're fucking around in the sandtrap? And not only that, but the Russian President and the British Prime Minister are watching, you know, from the green, waiting to make those final putts, looking very diplomatic but inside screaming. And Putin can putt. And Blair, well you know that the drink girl on hole 9 is always gonna flirt with him before she gets to me. They're always suckers for that British accent. I'd rather be at war, any day, then golfing.

American Terror Suspect's Path From Streets to Pentagon Brig (Part I)

Experimental novelist Hery Michaux always considered himself to be a Frenchman, but in fact by birth he was an American born Johnathan Werd. He was a literary outlaw, a renegade wordsmith, a concrete poet with an attitude and a pen. (It was as though someone was haunting his every step.) And he was plotting the overthrow of the US government, one character at a time. And Michaux is not online. Michaux has a posse, a group of guerrilla writers with whom he often collaborates, undermining the institutions of the global oil-capital-cultural hegemony in ways very small, but in ways which build over time. There is a band of writers working in the margins of society, a group so transparent as to be nearly invisible. Forget Al Queda. Remember Millennium.

Commission Seen Ready to Fault 9/11 Air Defense

When she doesn't reset the alarm after she gets up and I oversleep and am late to work, I am tempted to fault her. And that's a huge sign of personal weakness after all. I mean that, and it didn't take five sessions with the therapist for me to admit that either. I realize, I fully realize, that it is a fully human failing of mine, for instance, to blame someone else for the misplacement of the butter in the cheese drawer or the missing corkscrew. This is the type of thing that I have been tempted to blame others for, even those times when I was living alone and had, for instance, no one to blame these things on outside of the cat and the occasional visitor.

And work is hard. Anybody who tells you the life of an air traffic controller is an easy one has another thing coming. Particularly on a day like 9/11. I wasn't in one of the towers that had to watch the doomed planes veer off-course, listening to the sounds of struggle and confusion, but I've heard the stories, and read the testimony of those who were, in the Air Traffic Controllers chat rooms. Some have never quite recovered their equilibrium. Like most workers who take pride in their work, it's not easy seeing things spin so out of control, to feel completely helpless in the face of tragedy. This is compounded by the frustration of having to live with the suspicion that we were deliberately taken out of the loop, that some evil cabal within our own government had purposely thwarted standard operating procedures in order to insure that the attacks would be successful.

Shift in Fight Over Abortion

With Roe vs. Wade hanging by the thread of a single Supreme Court Justice's powdered wig, the pro-life forces of this country are planning their most audacious move yet. Not only are they giddy about the inevitable (as they see it) overturning of one of the most controversial decisions ever promulgated by the highest court in the land, they are beginning to map out future strategies that will not only prevent future (legal) abortions, but will also undo the damage of the past. A leading pro-life advocate explains: "Certainly, our primary goal is to abolish legal abortion, but with that triumph apparently within sight, we've also turned our attention to considering ways of undoing the effects of 31 years of infanticide. In effect, what we want to do is give the millions of aborted children another chance at life. Therefore, we're exploring ways of tracking down every unfortunate living victim of abortion, meaning the poor mothers who were deceived into becoming murderers, and offering them the opportunity to undo their crime via human cloning. For those unwilling to take part in this redemptive program . . . well, let's just say we're considering . . . uh . . . more persuasive means of accomplishing our goal. While we are, in general, leery of government interference in private lives, we believe the life of the unborn child takes precedence, and that moving them from the unborn (and murdered) side of the ledger to the living side of the ledger is only just and right. Some might argue that cloning replacements for the millions killed is wrong because it appropriates God's powers of creation, but to my mind, if God hadn't wanted us to use this technology for good, He wouldn't haven't given it to us in the first place. We believe there is way to practice cloning in a Godly way, without encroaching on his divine prerogative."

I say to all that stuff, there's some things the eggheads just got to sort out. Like stem cells. That's a tricky one. That's where you bring in the eggheads who say you can take this from that freezer, but you can't take that from that freezer because of something Aristotle said and Einstein proved. I'm all for eliminating childhood, cancer, and all the other problems. E Pluribus Unum, One Nation God, We Trust, Divisible, Novus Ordo Seclorum, and all that, too.

Indictment Clouds Jackson's Deals

Shelley Jackson frowned behind large, orange-framed, rose-tinted, heart-shaped sunglasses as she descended the courthouse steps, snapping her satchel latches closed.

Shelley Jackson had been having a rough time of things. All the words in her text "Skin" were rising up and had hired a copyright attorney. They were forming sentences of their own, even a few poorly-formed paragraphs. She had been spending more time in court, trying to regain control of her words, than she was actually able to spend creating new ones. What had started as conceptual art had turn into written art, then fleshy art. And the flesh had a mind of its own.

Word reached Jackson in late March of "Sintax Parties," where her fleshly substrates would gather in groups of five or ten to see what could be written, often in noisy daisy chains. The pleasure, it was said, was intense, and often oral.

By the first week of April, grainy JPEGs of a rogue word tattoo--the word "shelley," uncapitalized--appeared on the internet. Party sentences began to coalesce around that improper proper noun, placing the author in compromising suppositions.

And she felt obligations towards them, her words. She'd promised to attend their every funeral. But she had not counted on the extent to which those words would come to have expectations of her, how many of them would look to her for advice on even the simplest of decisions.

The "the"s, of which there were many, came to resent her for their ambiguity. "Puss" was not a happy man, and "scab" claimed that her love life had been ruined by the project. "Blood" was a Crip with a taste for avant-garde literature, and his life had become a living hell, a series of jumpings and beatings both from his fellows, who considered him a traitor, and from his enemies, who thought he was laying claim to the blood of one of their own.

And then there were those words who were upset that all opportunities for revision had been pre-empted. "Everyone knows that first drafts are notoriously buggy," one of the words explained (she wished to remain anonymous to avoid 'reprecussions'). "Jackson may think her every word is holy writ, but get real: every writer can use a good editor now and again. I'm just really unhappy that the philosophy of 'First thought, best thought' held such sway. Or so it seems. I'll always feel like I really could have used a good proofreading, but I'll never get it."

Rich to Get Richer if Google Goes Public

I'm in iChat. Help! Trying to get to the bottom of it. Prisoner. Google wouldn't treat me this way. Google loves me. Not exclusively, I know; Google made that clear from the beginning. "Don't expect me to be monogorous, babe."

Monogorous. With an "R." I had to look it up. Google has a huge vocabulary. But I guess Google intended to be ambivulous by saying "monogorous." Google likes to leave Google an out. Google is like that. Google has a tough job. I need to be understanding.

Like Google says: "If you had MY job, you'd need a few beers at the end of the day, too!"

iChat is sexy, no doubt about that. Just between you and me, iChat is more exciting than Google. In the, if you know what I mean, bedroom. Sometimes, iChat's little bloops and bleeps and little pop-uppy bubbles really, if you know what I mean, turn me, like, on.

OK. By now you've noticed that I'm not monogorous either. Yes, I'm kind of dating iChat and Google at the same time. But you know what what they say: if it's good for the Google it's good for the . . . me.

But Google really loves me. That's how I can sleep at night, knowing just "how much" Google is customized for me. Do you realize how much programming that takes for Google to find all that stuff for me? Google always reminds me of that. Expecially after some beers. Before Google gets angry. Or passes out.

Google doesn't hit me a lot. Only after some beers. And only if I deserve it.

Windows doesn't give a rat's ass. Windows looks down on all the kids with their nifty playthings and says you're coming along, you're coming along nicely. When you grow up to be a big boy you can join my team. You're in Triple A and there's only one big league. And I own it.

And poor Panther, howling outside the door of widespread popularity, can only find solace in serial canoodling with iPods and, when he's really depressed, other mp3 players. "That should have been me," Panther says over and over. "I deserve to be rich. I'm the real innovation."

Every Administration Has Its Naysayers

Woodrow Wilson, that man was terrible for this country. Washington? Bad teeth, not a statesman. Polk? Annexed the whole southwest from Mexico, Old Hickory Napoleon of the South, rat bastard. Lincoln, frog-eating fucker, the people who say he freed the slaves are liars! Bill Clinton? Slick Willie? He was a good president but he has his naysayers. Jimmy Carter? It's his fault the Cold War ended! Andrew Jackson? The Indian Removal Act caused all Native Americans east of the Mississippi to abandon their homes. And he cheated at dominos. Rutherford Hayes? Assassinated. Ronald Reagan is the only living American president to have died a long time ago. Millard Fillmore: ran again in 1856 on the Know-Nothing ticket. Say no more. Calvin Coolidge? While he was in office, the Ku Klux Klan exceeded 4 million members. FDR? Resounding flatulence. Played the wheelchair card for sympathy. His cousin Teddy (oh, yes! it's all documented) used to drop his rifle and run whimpering if a fawn stamped its foot. Calvin Coolidge? A weakness for grease. Who can forget the private, candlelit altar to Gilbert and Sullivan in the Lincoln bedroom?

Dad had it rough. He won a war, too, and the stupids came after him. I'm gonna be wary and get the whiz kids on the commercials and get me a few terrorists come October. Vietnam, my petunias. We got Saddaam and that John Kerry acts like he's such a hero just because he got shot a few times. The smart man dodges the bullet.

Cypriots beep car horns but wonder about future

Cypriots in Nicosia today enjoyed the waning days of enjoying the pleasures of sound in a raucous, yet melancholy, set of impromptu demonstrations across the divided capital. The European Union's decision to divide the human senses among its members has been greeted with approval in some countries like France (taste), Austria (touch), and Germany (common sense). Other countries such as Latvia (vague sense of foreboding) have been less happy with their lot, and politicians there are faced with a growing unrest.


Newspoetry at Spineless Books