Posts tagged ‘history’

May 10, 2011

poor poor Shel

by jhon baker

Shel, I’ll never forgive you for leaving us, as I’ll never forgive all those tethered to my heart except the one who left to leave behind her pain.

Shel didn’t die those years ago – he just went home.

full moon fifty miles outside Chicago 72° heavy
winds from the should standing under the starry’d night
sky and this is what I’m thinking…

ainsi il va.

March 19, 2011


by jhon baker

I am fairly embarrassed to call myself a blogger lately – as you can tell I’ve had other things on my mind and keeping up with everything is difficult – So, I’ve read almost no blogs, written very little in mine and in general am none too fazed by this.

The words on the page look foreign to me and today we recall the death of Willem de Kooning. Becoming a ghost of his own brush stoke today in 1997. 

Listening to Chopin, Opus 34, no. 2 in A minor – Writing a letter to a friend who I owe more than just that letter. I managed to nap between nine pm and eleven pm. awake now or still I can only think about Willem and Chopin, My friend and my pajamas.

February 15, 2011

have the mother effin flu tuesday

by jhon baker

Charlie Chaplin died on my first birthday. I don’t remember if there was  a pall over the celebration or for that matter, if there was a celebration of any measure besides the obvious, Christmas.

I’ve been getting sick for the past few days and today am full blown – too headachey and tired to write worth a damn, mainly posting to let the people I owe letters to that I haven’t forgotten them. I will write soon, this week in fact – just not today.

February 15
and I sober from
valentines day, sober from
cards revealing love
and whatnot
sober from peanuts specials
sober from cupcakes
sober from closeness
sober from rich dinners
prepared and consumed
with bread

 – unfinished, Hoc Scripsi

January 7, 2011

Twain, Huck Finn, New South Publications, Nigger Jim, and the whitewash of history as it may be found offensive.

by jhon baker

I’ve recently been disgusted by New South Publications new edition of the Twain Classic, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, where the words “nigger” and “injun” are removed. Nigger is replaced by the word slave as that somehow means the same thing with the same connotation. This is exactly what shouldn’t happen. I have my many reasons and have been all over this blogosphere commenting about it, incensed, and giving it a lot of thought. Today I happened upon this blog…
Et tu, Mr Destructo?
It makes the argument against removal of harmful words from great texts very well and should be a must read for everyone that reads this blog. I agree with it in it’s entirety. What follows are simply additional thoughts related to the matter at hand. I will get back to posting poetry very soon; it is all related though, isn’t it?

I feel strongly about language and that language should never be cheated or cheapened. I wrap myself in the skin of language, it’s importance to me can never be overstated. In writing I have yet to use the epithet “nigger” but know that someday it may come up and I would hope that I wouldn’t hesitate to use it properly with the correct intent – because it is intent that gives any word it’s power – a word on it’s own is a collection of letters that sits meaningless.
I’ve often wanted to have a particular bumper sticker made and may do so during the next election cycle – I want it to simply say “Abortion” – nothing else. This word alone can mean many things and has several connotations, the ire it receives is astounding to me. The word alone is not an opinion but that is what people will ascribe to it and I revel in the reaction.
The word “nigger” is no different, only complicated by our shared history and that we do not want to own the pre-civil rights abuses but we must. We want to put the somewhat recent use of slavery as far away from us as we can and we mustn’t – we should embrace our history, for good or ill, as our shared history. Then we can move forward together.

I have always ironically enjoyed fifties themed restaurants and can often be found asking where the “whites only” or “colored only” signs are or even ask to be seated in the whites only section. The related nostalgic experience excludes the actual past, I believe that this is a greater disservice. This is similar to when people talk about how the fifties or forties or – choose an era, were better in some way – more simple. Utter BS – selective memory and selective application of history is what that is. I point these things out to folks not to inflame but to enlighten and inform.

When did denying the past, obliterating it from our texts, do any good? Is the past not there to learn from, is the past not there and immutable.

October 20, 2010

walking a thin line of relation

by jhon baker

I am waiting
calmly, cautiously

I won’t take my life in 2012
it won’t be taken from me

the GMT constant isn’t

the world will not end then
as it has yet to do

I wish to arise unknowing

ignorant of the stars predilictions

 – Hoc Scripsi

I am posting this today though I think it may be crap. I may delete it or drastically alter it. Right now I am tired from not sleeping well and dealing with the continued pain of walking, lying down, sitting and breathing so my ability to flesh out the thought may be incomplete. I take the meds again and realize that it’s been nearly four years since I’ve known a morning or afternoon or evening without being intimate with bone crushing pain. I need a new drug and I am addicted to not being in pain. Shifts of season and lack of proper sleep aggravate the situation.
The path my life has taken since the accident is one I wonder if given the chance would I relive and make a different decision that day – it was such a perfect day – tragedy gave me a gift and exacted a price. There is nothing that I can change about it so I try not to wonder if I would.

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