Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Which Side Are You On? [1.]

This is the way we shake our hands.

Fucking comrades forever or for history,
we are. As sure as

the Thing is, you’ll be swallowing 

the bitter down
like there was no tomorrow.


  1. Yesterday the bitter with the sweet
    The cloudy symbols, the intermittent interesting mystery
    Tomorrow the hour of the sour,
    Beyond the sorrow, the getting on with floating this sinking wreck history.

  2. Then again, the mere thought of the future would be almost enough to drive one to swallow any sort of a pill, were there a pill, whether it were bitter or sweet, were there anyone, and were there a tomorrow. And in such circumstances, all comradeship, of whatever kind, bonded by nothing more than a handshake, a word, or nod, would be as close as we could come to eternity. Just to know there was someone (else) here and living. Forgetting history altogether, if we may dare.

  3. The frail sodality of a Left that is close to broken does feed the brothers and sisters; it's a way of life (and as such is the sign of some kind of hope) but the claustrophobia can also be unbearable.

    I'm not sure we can forget history, but we can imagine another kind of world, something verdant and unbounded and unpriced.

    The sinking wreck history stirred this up in my head:
    "This is how one pictures the angel of history. His face is turned toward the past. Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe which keeps piling wreckage upon wreckage and hurls it in front of his feet. The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed. But a storm is blowing from Paradise; it has got caught in his wings with such violence that the angel can no longer close them. The storm irresistibly propels him into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skyward. This storm is what we call progress."

  4. From this realm of the fallen and the falling it's increasingly difficult to imagine let alone take solace from what's left of a Left that now retains no more real existence than any other fuzzy memory. The last self-styled Leftist I encountered insisted that "to function in this realm" the first prerequisite is the possession of an Android Smartphone. When I crankily probed the semantics a bit, and suggested that the affective burden of "Android" might be difficult for some (not even mentioning the $400 original cost plus $40 a month thereafter), the Leftist became testy. By this I was to understand that there would be no place in the new Realm for, to take the most immediate instance at hand, the mute body bundles of doorway sleepers whose silent forms, surrounded by makeshift ratproofing barricades, populated the margins of this peripatetic latenight urban exchange.

    Slinking from shadow to shadow to escape the roving searchlights of the patrol vehicles of the Realm, then...

    Benjamin's angel of history now faces a dilemma. With his eyes locked open like those of the German soldiers at Stalingrad who could not stop viewing the horror because the eyelids had been frozen off, his back turned to the violence of historical Progress, and his wings pressed into stone, one imagines him a helpless target for any number of marketed products of the Realm -- navigational systems, smartphones, apps and snaps and and whatever other gizmos it may take to distract his attention from what's actually taken place and is taking place around him.

    But perhaps his work has been one for him without his having to lift a cautionary pinion.

    The dead have already been awakened, and they walk among us, texting, phoning, being smarter and smarter every day...

  5. This is kind of scary like the Olympics--the aftermath?

  6. Susan, with all those debts incurred, there's going to be some very bitter pills to swallow.

    TC, with all the good and ugly memories of the Labour Movement, with the sense of belonging it gave us as a family, it's hard to admit it's all gone. In this country, the Miner's Strike was the last gasp. Now it's the Facebook Revolution and all those smarter comrades revolting virtually: "All that is solid, melts into air"