NEWSpoem 10/10/2004 > Derrida Dead At 74

1. "the situation"

Assassinations, kidnappings, beheadings, raging barbaric guerilla war, Americans attacked 87 times a day, terrorism, chaos, mayhem. The day Darleen A. Druyun and Martha Steward went to jail, Afghanistan's first presidential election collapsed. The opposition to the U.S.-backed candidate claimed the ink washed off easily.

Iraq has developed into a two-front war: the battles for control over Iraq 's cities and the constant struggle to protect its far-flung petroleum infrastructure against sabotage and attack. The first contest has been widely reported in the American press; the second has received far less attention.

In the dictator's cuff disappeared his military might. He had not touched a phone in a decade. Rather than chemicals, his armies melted into sand, armories evaporated, sublimated to barns. Not a mountain of ice but steam. Something you could never roll a tank over. Our armies would strike from the sky like lightning? They put our spears in the ground. Your enemy can never finally defeat you unless they can pay attention to you. Hear.

There is a new problem in language. Evasion is erosion. Those who will not listen can say whatever they want to, addressing nobody. The dictator recognized that. The armies of viruses would spread even after his capture. He knew through our lies to the oil.

There are few moments in history that crystallize the contradictions of the reigning paradigm. I am referring here to the symbolism of these attacks. September 11th demonstrated that in the end America speaks but it will not listen, even when shouted at.

Though there are those who go beyond the dull shapes of these sentences, people of relentless precision for whom intelligence is usage. Do facts exist? Truth is not a rock, it is a path, a hermeneutic of verification, authority, credulity, but there is no penalty for speaking shadows where ideas were extracted.

Truth is not a rock, it is an explanation of gravel. It's in these shadows that their shredder hums, straining the fiber from the milk that feeds the teleprompter. A team of men with combs lift every adjective and dust beneath to remove shards of meaning. Smoke rises to the pyramid's tip.

Language rises uncoiling from the hot orange fact.


don’t even think what you just thought
to reason requires a shared calibration
journalism provides a protocol for this
the courts another. but it requires consensus
and coordination no matter how much
coercion may come into play

why did the art critic position himself against other art critics
in the foam of a crashing wave he towered
cast an arc of undigested theory into the depths of his grave
a vicious obituary dispatched the thinker's legacy
in the dollar eyes of the disinterested business class
overturned on a subway seat, ideas as business
in this metaphor derrida became bill gates
but for all their virtuosity with capital they couldn't
invest in his legacy; they weren't smart enough
they couldn't read french
those journalists who purport to write objective truth
whose authority, undermined by derrida's assertions,
rubberstamped him, executed him posthumously
while raising reagan and nixon from their graves
glorious elocution shone their aluminum virtue
capitalize on this new slippage, the signifier
leaves a trail of glistening slime as it sinks
from the frame. recursion, metaphor, false comparisons,
framing, scaling, disorganizing. if orwell died tomorrow
they'd lambaste him for his ideas of newsspeak
war=peace, liberating the people of iraq from their oppressor
today's newspaper is a flashbulb
obliterating history into a field of white spots
the flattening renders the cardboard diorama,
the meticulous layers of artifice,
into a continuous picture a convincing
glimpse through the porthole of language
into the roiling experience beyond
stormcloud palimpsest
one lie offsets another in type
set in black blood pressed from the facts as
we might have known them. sleep.


Derrida lunchbox by Greg Keeler.

Newspoetry at Spineless Books