Submitted by 安藤鈴 on September 23, 2008

Hi,

Could someone direct me to any Left-Communist poets? Or anarchist poets? Maybe you could post their writings here? I can't find any (apart from Stalinist ones which are nice...but Stalinist).

Or maybe you could post something you have written?

Rei

P.S: I wasn't sure if this was the right sub-forum for this, but neither did 'libcommunity.'

Demogorgon303

13 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Herman Gorter was a poet, but I've never read any of his stuff and no idea where to find it.

Alf

13 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The surrealist poet Benjamin Peret was quite close to left communism through his political association with Grandizo Munis.

安藤鈴

13 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Just to clarify - I'm interested in poetry specifically about communist issues - trade unions, national liberation etc.

Not just any old poetry which happens to be written by communists. ;)

varlet

13 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Man, i hope no one ever wrote a poem on trade unions...

What are communist issues?
Arent all issues communist [socialist] issues?

Alf

13 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Gorter wrote one on the workers' councils.....

posi

13 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Devrim posted this once, when someone asked a similar question about anarchist poetry. Worth a repost I think.

LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT

Comrades, if I don't live to see the day
- I mean,if I die before freedom comes -
take me away
and bury me in a village cemetery in Anatolia.

The worker Osman whom Hassan Bey ordered shot
can lie on one side of me, and on the other side
the martyr Aysha, who gave birth in the rye
and died inside of forty days.

Tractors and songs can pass below the cemetery -
in the dawn light, new people, the smell of burnt gasoline,
fields held in common, water in canals,
no drought or fear of the police.

Of course, we won't hear those songs:
the dead lie stretched out underground
and rot like black branches,
deaf, dumb, and blind under the earth.

But, I sang those songs
before they were written,
I smelled the burnt gasoline
before the blueprints for the tractors were drawn.

As for my neighbors,
the worker Osman and the martyr Aysha,
they felt the great longing while alive,
maybe without even knowing it.

Comrades, if I die before that day, I mean
- and it's looking more and more likely -
bury me in a village cemetery in Anatolia,
and if there's one handy,
a plane tree could stand at my head,
I wouldn't need a stone or anything.

Nazim Hikmet, 27 April 1953
Moscow, Barviha Hospital

Trans. by Randy Blasing and Mutlu Konuk (1993)

Shame most of his other stuff isn't that good - or doesn't work well in English.

If you fancy a bit of a laugh at the expense of an elderly trotskyist, may I suggest the poetry of AWL founder Sean Matgamna? http://www.workersliberty.org/node/10958 The one about Kronstadt is particularly worth a read, as is this, "The Trots":

Spending our lives in outcasts' work,
We are "The Trots” — and we still lurk
For all that History could wreak:
The key to higher times we seek,
To the remade world that proves elusive,
Although capitalism moles still, conducive
To our desire, whose fires it set:
In us, a class refuses to forget!

Check out the rhyme of 'elusive' with 'conducive'!!

安藤鈴

13 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

nico

Man, i hope no one ever wrote a poem on trade unions...

:oops:

I wouldn't expect it (poetry) to be popular in the West, but it is a form of entertainment and communication in different cultures.

Rei.

David in Atlanta

13 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Most overtly political poetry is just bad. For some reason the art doesn't lend itself well to politics.
There are exceptions of course, Brecht and Serge could pull it off, but typically even otherwise talented writers wind up sounding like Matgamna :roll: The Gorter piece about workers councils is an example. Most sources I find say his early lyric verses were among the best written in Dutch, but that is a thudding bit of doggerel, although the translator could be to blame.

nastyned

13 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I posted some of Herman Gorters poetry here once before. 'The Workers Council' is in the appendix of 'The Fundamental Principles of Communist Production and Distribution'. It's not very good though (or at least the English translation isn't):

The workers councils will one day become
the essence of all humanity on earth.
As when the power of brightest sunlight
is perceived in a great sheaf of flowers.
They are the highest form of together being,
they are the overthrowing of all alone-being.
In them alone each man, woman and gentle child
can find the single aim of ages, humanity's spirit itself.

The Workers' Councils, then, are as the light.
They are peace, tranquility and a balm for all,
they are the truth and the fountainhead of truth.

They are the foundation-rock in the great universe of humanity,
the nerve-centre of all labour,
they mean joy for humanity - they are the light.

(From "De Arbeisdersraad".)

You'll probably have more luck finding anarchist poetry than left-communist or even council communist poetry. If I remember rightly Freedom press published a book of anarchist poetry called 'Visions of poesy'.

Alf

13 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Yes, from memory, I thought it was a bit like that....In any case, there won't be any workers' councils in a communist society, which is surely what Gorter is talking about here.

Rum Lad

13 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Mayakovsky - A Cloud in Trousers.

安藤鈴

13 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Yes, Mayakovsky is good. I find the Russian futurists really interesting. Here is one of his poems:

Call To Account!

The drum of war thunders and thunders.
It calls: thrust iron into the living.
From every country
slave after slave
are thrown onto bayonet steel.
For the sake of what?
The earth shivers
hungry
and stripped.
Mankind is vapourised in a blood bath
only so
someone
somewhere
can get hold of Albania.
Human gangs bound in malice,
blow after blow strikes the world
only for
someone’s vessels
to pass without charge
through the Bosporus.
Soon
the world
won’t have a rib intact.
And its soul will be pulled out.
And trampled down
only for someone,
to lay
their hands on
Mesopotamia.
Why does
a boot
crush the Earth — fissured and rough?
What is above the battles’ sky -
Freedom?
God?
Money!
When will you stand to your full height,
you,
giving them your life?
When will you hurl a question to their faces:
Why are we fighting?

Lone Wolf

13 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Hey there OP author!

What a cool username!!! Cool as. Obv. you are a techie!

We used to have a cool "Culture" forum for such subject matter. I miss that. :sad: But whenever i campaign for its reinstatement i appear to be a lone voice. :sad: Maybe i should write a poem about my angst? :wink:

Yes, political poetry tends to be pretty dire. But i find general stuff about despair and anomie pretty fitting really :wink:

tsi

13 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

David in Atlanta

Most overtly political poetry is just bad. For some reason the art doesn't lend itself well to politics.

I'm more inclined to think that it's just that contentless art tends to rule the day. There's really just not that much out there in the way of overtly political poetry (and much less whose political content isn't shit politics).

John Cage has a few good political poems, although you could probably charge him of being a bit of a proto-lifestylist. Here's one:

We don't need government
We need utilities.

Air, water, energy
Travel and communication means
Food and shelter.

We have no need for imaginary mountain ranges
Between separate nations.

We can make tunnels through the real ones.

Nor do we have any need for the continuing division of people
Into those who have what they need
And those who don't.

Both Fuller and Marshal McLuhan
Knew, furthermore
That work is now obsolete.
We have invented machines to do it for us.

Now that we have no need to do anything
What shall we do?

Looking at Fuller's geodesic world map
We see that the Earth is a single island, Oahu.
We must give all the people all they need to live
In any way they wish.

Our present laws protect the rich from the poor.

If there are to be laws, we need ones that
Begin with the acceptance of poverty as a way of life.

We must make the world safe for poverty Without dependence on government

Neruda is also nice... but Stalinist. Mayakovsky is fantastic.

安藤鈴

13 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

This was an interesting one. Its translated, so apologies for any grammar mistakes.

These Foxes in Red.

The echo of your clapping signals
the screams of their bullets.
Your manic cries of nationalism heralds
the end of our class.
'Which side are you on?'
you question us.
But this is a game where both lose.
Or rather
they win
and we lose.
Yet your urges ring in our ears:
‘The flag must prevail!’
but for whom does this flag fly for?
Let’s be clear:
Those whom hand us rifles
and send us against our fellow workers whom
we have no quarrel with,
those who insist on our right
to be exploited in ‘our own country’
or a country with a familiar name
or a country, where, we can be exploited
by those with familiar names
let's be clear!
These people have an unquenchable jealousy.
The loss of their nation
means the loss of their profit.
Those who meddle with their crown
and coins
these: you proclaim to be our enemy.
We fight for their right to exploit us
and so you so-called emancipators urge us too.
Our leaders repeat to us:
we are all in the same boat,
their whips conveniently cracking behind us.
Our lives are chained to the oars,
Our fates sealed to the boat
Will it sink, or not?
We know it doesn't matter,
their pockets sag down
with the weight of their gold.
Our only hope:
Mutiny.
To you foxes in red,
We are but pawns in a game of chess.
But to us,
this is a game not worth playing.

jura

13 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I'm a big fan of V. Mayakovsky and some of the other Russian poets (A. Blok, for instance), though I really don't like the more overtly "political" stuff, as it often ends up in sloganeering (and supporting an anti-working class regime). I do suspect, though, that the English translations of Mayakovsky are not very good due to the huge differences in rhythm and rhyme. There is also a lot of fascinating poets from the 20s & 30s Central and Eastern Europe, but unfortunately largely unknown in the West...

Gorters poem on councils is beautiful.

x359594

13 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Gary Snyder is a wobblie and anarchist and has written poems about work, the environment and war. Allen Ginsberg was a fellow traveler left-communist and wrote about war, capitalism, sexual identity, indictments of the bourgeoisie.

Joe Hill, Arturo Giovanneti, Ralph Chaplin and T-Bone Slim were wobblie poets who wrote about working class issues. Franklin Rosemount is a wobblie and surrealist poet who attacks bourgeois society from the depths of imagination. Philip Lamantia was an anarchist and surrealist poet who also attacked the bourgeoisie.

Hungry56

13 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

What do you think you're doing, pig?
Do you really give a fig, pig?
And what's your favourite sort of gig, pig?
Barry Manilow
Or the black and white minstrel show?

Alf

13 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

What's your problem, hungry brother?
Why can't we all be nice to each other?

David in Atlanta

13 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Brilliant , Alf! If only all left communist writing was that simple and to the point....

Jason Cortez

13 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Christopher Logue (1926-)

Know Thy Enemy

Know thy enemy:
he does not care what colour you are
provided you work for him
and yet you do!

he does not care how much you earn
provided you earn more for him
and yet you do!

he does not care who lives in the room at the top
provided he owns the building
and yet you strive!

he will let you write against him
provided you do not act against him
and yet you write!

he sings the praises of humanity
but knows machines cost more than men.
Bargain with him, he laughs, and beats you at it;
challenge him, and he kills.
Sooner than loose the things he owns
he will destroy the world.
SMASH CAPITAL NOW!

But as you hasten to be free
And build your commonwealth
Do not forget the enemy
Who lies within yourself.

playinghob

13 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Please check out Voltairine de Cleyre. One of her classic poems is entitled "Nameless".

Blackhawk

13 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Kenneth Patchen was a communist poet that sympathized with the left-opposition but did not join. He was ardently anti-Stalinist and anti-CPofA. His position against WWII hurt his career in poetry, limiting him to a sort of cult following. Later in life he went very much pacifist and semi-christian.

That said, his poem "I don't mean to startle you but they are going to kill most of us", was one that probably had more of an effect on me than any other poem or piece of political literature that I have ever read. He was one of the "proletarian" writers, who was actually a proletarian, a 2nd generation steel mill worker. Patchen wrote in similar vein to Surrealists and Dadaists, though not being a part of their school. He also painted, wrote plays, did an album with Charles Mingus and wrote full length poem novels like Journal of Albion Moonlight (and my personal favorite) Sleepers Awake.

Not a left-communist, but definitely a favorite and worth reading.

David in Atlanta

13 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Oops.

ernie

13 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The Orange Bears, lovely poem.

I have to say poetry is a bit of a mystery to me, any suggestions for any good books which will help to penetrate and understand this art form?

Entdinglichung

13 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Oskar Kanehl (1888-1929) was a member of the KAPD and than of the AAUE, don't know if any of his poems were translated into English, the expressionist poet Max Herrmann-Neiße was for some years in the 1920ies a fellow traveller of the KAPD and than of the AAUE ... both belonged to the circle around Franz Pfemfert's - http://libcom.org/history/pfemfert-franz-aka-und-gaday-1879-1954 - journal Die Aktion

ernie

The Orange Bears, lovely poem.

I have to say poetry is a bit of a mystery to me, any suggestions for any good books which will help to penetrate and understand this art form?

I've never actually read much criticism or theory, just tons of poetry varying from godawful to magnificent. I'd recommend picking up as broad an anthology as possible, browsing it to find poets or maybe styles that appeal and go from there.

Fletcher

13 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Whilst there is a working class
I am of it,
While there is a criminal element,
Then I am in it,
And whilst there is a soul in prison,
Then I am not free.

Poetry of the Class War

Boris Badenov

13 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

David in Atlanta

Most overtly political poetry is just bad. For some reason the art doesn't lend itself well to politics.

Agree 100%. And anyone who thinks Stalinist poetry is "nice" should be waterboarded. Socialist realism/proletcult is an absolute monstrosity, and this idea that poetry is "communist" if it reflects issues pertaining to trade unions, national liberation (I don't see how that's really a communist issue frankly) etc. needs to be done away with permanently. The only poetry worth reading is that which articulates something about your own life experiences in a manner in which you yourself could not think of on your own.

Liam_Derry

Whilst there is a working class
I am of it,
While there is a criminal element,
Then I am in it,
And whilst there is a soul in prison,
Then I am not free.

Poetry of the Class War

“Your Honor, years ago I recognized my kinship with all living beings, and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on earth. I said then, and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it, and while there is a criminal element I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free."

E. V. Debs
Statement to the Court Upon Being Convicted of Violating the Sedition Act
September 18, 1918
http://www.marxists.org/archive/debs/works/1918/court.htm

Farce

12 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Is Gorky any good? This is some good political poetry:

You know, it's the old glass box at the—
At the gas station,
Where you're using those little things
Trying to pick up the prize,
And you can't find it.
It's—

And it's all these arms are going down in there,
And so you keep dropping it
And picking it up again and moving it,
But—

Some of you are probably too young to remember those—
Those glass boxes,
But—

But they used to have them
At all the gas stations
When I was a kid.

posi

12 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

...

As now I hear it, rising round me from Shanghai,
And mingling with the distant mutter of guerrilla fighting,
The voice of Man: ' O teach me to outgrow my madness.

Ruffle the perfect manners of the frozen heart,
And once again compel it to be awkward and alive,
To all it suffered once a weeping witness.

Clear from the head the masses of impressive rubbish;
Rally the lost and trembling forces of the will,
Gather them up and let them loose upon the earth,

Till they construct at last a human justice,
The contribution of our star, within the shadow
Of which uplifting, loving, and constraining power
All other reasons may rejoice and operate.'

...

WH Auden. Not sure about the title and only fragments of it are online.

back2front

12 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

"Visions of Poesy" (An Anthology of 20th century Anarchist Poetry) edited by Clifford Harper and published by Freedom Press for those interested in the subject...

Tart

12 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

First Hugh McDiarmid was a Stalinist and an obscurist with his made up "Scots" but he writes beautifully and about real things- OK a hymn to Lenin (yes a hymn to Lenin it is called that) shows his dyed in the wool Stalinist nature of his thinking and his elitism comes through in some poems and bugs the fuck out me but there is enough there to keep me coming back to his work for over 25 years now.
Tom Leonard is well worth checking out-His 'weegie language is a bit of a barrier but if you keep going (or hear him talk it) it is so good it hurts. http://www.tomleonard.co.uk/main-publications/intimate-voices/the-six-oclock-news.html
this didnt copy right but anyway

this is thisix a clocknews thiman said nthi reasona talk wiaBBC accentiz coz yiwidny wahntmi ti talkaboot thitrooth wiavoice likwanna yooscruff. ifa toktabootthi troothlik wanna yooscruff yiwidny thingkit wuz troo.jist wanna yooscruff tokn.thirza rightway ti spellana right wayto tok it. thisis me tokn yirright way aspellin. thisis ma trooth.yooz doant nothi troothyirsellz cawzyi canny talkright. this isthe six a clocknyooz. belt up.

Jenni

12 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

we did that poem at school :) my bristolian english teacher trying to read it in a glaswegian accent was amazing.

Boris Badenov

12 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

this is thisix a clocknews thiman said nthi reasona talk wiaBBC accentiz coz yiwidny wahntmi ti talkaboot thitrooth wiavoice likwanna yooscruff. ifa toktabootthi troothlik wanna yooscruff yiwidny thingkit wuz troo.jist wanna yooscruff tokn.thirza rightway ti spellana right wayto tok it. thisis me tokn yirright way aspellin. thisis ma trooth.yooz doant nothi troothyirsellz cawzyi canny talkright. this isthe six a clocknyooz. belt up

I can understand about 70% of that. what's "yooscruff"?

Vlad336

this is thisix a clocknews thiman said nthi reasona talk wiaBBC accentiz coz yiwidny wahntmi ti talkaboot thitrooth wiavoice likwanna yooscruff. ifa toktabootthi troothlik wanna yooscruff yiwidny thingkit wuz troo.jist wanna yooscruff tokn.thirza rightway ti spellana right wayto tok it. thisis me tokn yirright way aspellin. thisis ma trooth.yooz doant nothi troothyirsellz cawzyi canny talkright. this isthe six a clocknyooz. belt up

I can understand about 70% of that. what's "yooscruff"?

you scruff.

Boris Badenov

12 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

d'oh!

Tart

12 years 10 months ago

In reply to by Boris Badenov

http://leonarduk.com/tom/audio/6oclocklow.wav
this might help

John1

12 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

euro-communist / a gucci socialist

for a modern home and cheap electricity streamlined functional neat simplicity put yourself on the slum clearance list dial a dialectical materialist find out what your net potential is get married to an existentialist don't doubt your own identity dress down to a cool anonymity the pierre cardin line to infinity clothes to climb the meritocracy the new age of benevolent bureaucracy i like to visit all the big cities museums and municipal facilities i strive for critical ability i thrive on political activity i'm alive in a new society i arrive quickly quietly the car that i drive is the family variety roman catholic marxist leninist happily married to an eloquent feminist a lapsed atheist all my memories measure the multitude's deafening density psycho citizens are my enemies crypto nazis and their remedies keep the city silent as the cemetery's architechtural gothic immensity a new name on the less-than-kosher list the euro-communist / a gucci socialist

John Cooper Clarke (un-released)

If you like,

Ten Years in an Open Necked Shirt part

Linton Kwesi Johnson's dub poetry is also fantastic which has various communist themes.

Samotnaf

12 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

iirc Linton Kwesi Johnson wrote very contemptuously in The Observer in early 1981, about 8 months after a big riot in Bristol in 1980, of "white anarchists" who'd written something up something fairly poetic on the walls of Brixton, "Bristol Today - Brixton Tomorrow!", describing them as fantasists or something similar. Just a few weeks later this fantasy became a reality when true poetry shook the streets of Brixton in the biggest mainland riot since I don't know when.

I prefer this poem, written late 70s:

Now Is The Winter Of Our Poetry

Knowing:

How to wait
and
How to negate
When to use tact
and
When to act
When to smile When to bite
When to shine in the pitch black night
When to use the transparent door
Of a pompous metaphor
When to mime and When to shout
When to rhyme and When to grate
When to use a nice neat line
And
When to

Break it up

When to scan
and When to swim against the tide of bourgeois poetic rhythm
When to stop writing poetry
And when to live it
(and for you, dear reader,
when are YOU
going to
stop merely reading and word-playing and falling in love with
a nice phrase on a piece of paper and pissing around with
opinions you never do anything with and never doing anything
but?)

It's not William Blake or Shelley or early Brecht, but...

John1

12 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Who wrote it? Ian Bone? ;)

JoeMaguire

12 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Still my favourite ;)

Some men, faint-hearted, ever seek
Our programme to retouch,
And will insist, whene’er they speak
That we demand too much.
’Tis passing strange, yet I declare
Such statements give me mirth,
For our demands most moderate are,
We only want the earth.

“Be moderate,” the trimmers cry,
Who dread the tyrants’ thunder.
“You ask too much and people By
From you aghast in wonder.”
’Tis passing strange, for I declare
Such statements give me mirth,
For our demands most moderate are,
We only want the earth.

Our masters all a godly crew,
Whose hearts throb for the poor,
Their sympathies assure us, too,
If our demands were fewer.
Most generous souls! But please observe,
What they enjoy from birth
Is all we ever had the nerve
To ask, that is, the earth.

The “labour fakir” full of guile,
Base doctrine ever preaches,
And whilst he bleeds the rank and file
Tame moderation teaches.
Yet, in despite, we’ll see the day
When, with sword in its girth,
Labour shall march in war array
To realize its own, the earth.

For labour long, with sighs and tears,
To its oppressors knelt.
But never yet, to aught save fears,
Did the heart of tyrant melt.
We need not kneel, our cause no dearth
Of loyal soldiers’ needs
And our victorious rallying cry
Shall be we want the earth!

farmer

12 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night
Alive as you and me
Said I, but Joe you're ten years dead
I never died said he.
I never died said he.

The Ballad of Joe Hill, by Alfred Hayes and Earl Robinson

Try Shelley and other of the Romantics, Julian Beck, Hugo Ball, Tonu Trobetsky and some would say Henry David Thoreau.

Samotnaf

12 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Richard wrote:

Who wrote it? Ian Bone?

No - I did.
I find almost all 20th/21st century poetry that I've read pretty dire, particularly the political stuff, which is often far too worthy, tub-thumping. But if you have to have something that rhymes - this, a piece of graffiti written on a wall in Sheffield during the Gulf War of 1991, is pretty good:
"High-tech war kills and maims
The media shows us video games".
(and no, I didn't write this one)

Poetry as a specialist activity is a product of the division of labour - I prefer Lautreamont's "Poetry must be made by all - not one". Or, as an American Indian said,
“In my tribe there are no poets. Everyone talks in poetry”. (quoted in Howard Zinn, “A People’s History of the United States”).
As Vaneigem said "poetry rarely involves poems these days. Most works of art are betrayals of poetry."

Samotnaf

iirc Linton Kwesi Johnson wrote very contemptuously in The Observer in early 1981,...

I like LKJ. I like the sound and rhythm of his work, and when I met him, very briefly and casually, but often, I used to be his postman, he was a very pleasant man.

Devrim

Samotnaf

Poetry as a specialist activity is a product of the division of labour - I prefer Lautreamont's "Poetry must be made by all - not one"

Just read Maldoror, fucking amazing book. My edition also had his poems at the back, but they were just mental and not in a good way. I like LKJ as well.

Samotnaf

12 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Farce wrote:

Just read Maldoror, fucking amazing book. My edition also had his poems at the back, but they were just mental and not in a good way.

I don't think his book "Poesies" ('Poetry") are really poems at all; read some of it sometime ago but can't remember much - but not all of it is mental in a bad way. Debord's thesis 207 from Soc of the Spec is: "Ideas improve. The meaning of words participates in the improvement. Plagiarism is necessary. Progress implies it. It embraces an author's phrase, makes use of his expressions, erases a false idea, and replaces it with the right idea." I think all of this is plagiarised from Lautréamont's "Poesies", if I'm not mistaken.

Farce

12 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Yeah, "plagiarism is necessary" is def a Lautreamont line. It's possible that he was doing something really clever that I just didn't appreciate, but it didn't read that well to me.

Wellclose Square

12 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Seeing as he'd be 252 today, here's a little gem from William Blake:

The Chimney Sweeper

A little black thing among the snow:
Crying weep, weep, in notes of woe!
Where are thy father & mother? say?
They are both gone up to the church to pray.

Because I was happy upon the heath,
And smil'd among the winters snow:
They clothed me in the clothes of death,
And taught me to sing the notes of woe.

And because I am happy, & dance & sing,
They think they have done me no injury:
And are gone to praise God & his Priest & King
Who make up a heaven of our misery.

And now to crack open a bottle of London porter for a toast...

ernie

12 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Ah Blake! beautiful but at the same time so bloody obscure in places, But always worth the read.
Farce, who is Maldoro? I have vaguely heard of him.
Agree with Devrim and others on LKJ

ernie

Ah Blake! beautiful but at the same time so bloody obscure in places, But always worth the read.
Farce, who is Maldoro? I have vaguely heard of him.
Agree with Devrim and others on LKJ

The Chants of Maldoror is a long proto-surrealist prose poem written by the Uruguayan-French poet Isidore Ducasse (aka the Count of Lautremont)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Les_Chants_de_Maldoror
It doesn't really have anything to do with communism, but it is a wildly original work (esp. for its time) and challenges conventional morality.

Farce

12 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Weird, I hadn't seen this thread but was thinking about Blake today as a result of listening to a Fall song that (mis)quotes his "I must Create a System, or be enslav'd by another Man's".

spitzenprodukte

12 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Tom Wintringham wrote some lovely stuff, if a little formally niave, but from the English public school 'war-poets' tradition.

Mayakovsky I suppose would be the classic avant-gardist-

And so they say,
"the incident dissolved"
the love boat smashed up
on the dreary routine.
I'm through with live
and [we] should absolve
from mutual hurts, affliction and spleen. .

who was, incidentally, a big influence on a lot of the German visual artists that followed Dada.

It depends what you'd call poetry but a lot of English/Scottish folk songs come from the balladeering tradition, originally an accompanied spoken poem. I like a lot of the stuff Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger recorded with folkways for their lyrical content. Blast Against the Blackguards is a current favourite-

We have always treasured freedom in this country, but there are forces working in our midst today and they plan to overthrow the systems natural status quo by agitating, demonstrating, striking, picketing and so we feel the time has come to make our declaration in defence of freedom, property and nation.

Some are free to own the fruits of others labours, some are free to do a job and tow the line. Some are free to rig the races, free to deal themselves the aces, some are free to soldier on whilst others trample on their faces. It's a matter of survival of the fittest. And the fittest are the ones who grab the quickest.

Have you ever paused a moment to consider all the burdens borne by those who own this land? Each stock market fluctuation complicates the situation- keeping track of all that money is a full time occupation. For a nation cannot be described as healthy unless it's wealth belongs to those who're wealthy. When the Front is busy fronting for the Tories, and the cops are busy backing up the front, you must understand their function is to strike without compunction all those aliens from Bangladesh, West Brom and Clapham Junction. And by beating up all those in opposition, they're defending our most glorious tradition.

When a hero rises up and digs his heels in, puts the boot in in that good ol' fashion way, when he starts on union-bashing, you can bet he'll get the backing of Keith Joseph and his cronies, no assistance will be lacking in our heroes personal fight for liberation against the malcontent opposing exploitation.

But don't imagine we're opposed to all trade unions. There are some we look on with a kindly eye. When a union is controlled by leaders who've been bought and sold then its a treasure beyond measure worth ten times its weight in gold for they can always be relied on in a crisis to sell their members out at bargain prices.

When the day arrives that you become redundant, don't get angry with the boss and call him names. You must try to be objective, get the matter in perspective, see yourself as a component, just a cog that is defective. And with fortitude, accept the situation- that the junkheap is your natural location.

They have always treasured freedom in this country, that's provided that the freedom is confined to the few who bleed the nation, and, while preaching moderation, sit there belching after feeding on the working population.

So when some fat cat talks of freedom on the telly- don't imagine he means you- not on your nelly!

Obviously the tempo of the accompaniment gives it something....

Lastly I'd echo the sentiments above who said Brecht. My personal hero, he developed the earlier, sometimes crude possibilities of avant-gardist poetry and shaped it into a more cohesive political-aesthetic practice, theatrically in verfremdungseffekt.
Oh his theatrical work I like The Causcasian Chalk Circle and The Threepenny Opera, but most of all The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui (once played by Pacino apparently), an allegory for the rise of the Nazi Party which puts the blame full square at the door of capitalism-

Do not rejoice in his defeat, you men. For though the world has stood up and stopped the bastard, the bitch that bore him is in heat again.

Samotnaf

12 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I really like Blake's Songs of Experience (1794) which are not at all obscure, unlike some of his other stuff - eg
The Garden of Love:
I went to the Garden of Love,
And saw what I never had seen;
A Chapel was built in the midst,
Where I used to play on the green.

And the gates of this Chapel were shut
And “Thou shalt not,” writ over the door;
So I turned to the Garden of Love
That so many sweet flowers bore.

And I saw it was filled with graves,
And tombstones where flowers should be;
And priests in black gowns were walking their rounds,
And binding with briars my joys and desires.

Or this, from The Human Abstract:

Pity would be no more,
If we did not make somebody Poor

and most of the other stuff from Songs of Experience.

Apparently he participated in the destruction of Newgate Prison during the Gordon Riots of 1780.

Although I quite like "Dirty Old Town" and some other songs by Ewan MacColl, we shouldn't forget that he was a Stalinist, who wrote dreadful sick rubbish like The Ballad of Ho Chi Minh (which is well-known in Vietnam) and The Ballad of Stalin ("Joe Stalin was a mighty man and a mighty man was he/ He led the Soviet people on the road to victory").

And it should be pointed out that Brecht was pretty much a CP fellow traveller, and owed his theatre in East Berlin to the support of the Stalinist state. It’s well known that when the steelworkers rose up in East Berlin in 1953 and went to Brecht’s theatre to ask for help in supporting them he refused. Fear had nothing to do with his failure to support the steelworkers: Brecht’s international reputation put him in the unique position of having nothing much to worry about. What’s not well known is what my dad (who'd known Brecht a bit because he'd been an actor in Berlin up until Hitler came to power, and continued to keep up contact, mainly with Brecht's wife, I think) told me about him: he felt so guilty and ashamed after the steelworkers were crushed by the tanks of the Stalinist leader, Ulbricht, that his health suffered, and it led to his death in 1956, at the age of 58. If nothing else, this shows how a being a professional specialist in the culture of 'proletarian politics' usually has nothing to do with its practice, and that those who consider ideas as something separate from real life risk are pretty useless when it comes to any genuine struggle against this world.His only response to the uprising was to write a brief poem after it was all over -The Solution - which, though written in verse form, I reproduce here as a statement,because the verse form adds nothing to it: “After the uprising of the 17th June, the Secretary of the Writers Union had leaflets distributed in the Stalinallee stating that the people had forfeited the confidence of the government and could win it back only by redoubled efforts. Would it not be easier in that case for the government to dissolve the people and elect another?”. Neatly put, but too little too late, and no use in stemming that dreadful feeling of self-betrayal, betrayal of everything he’d apparently held dear to him, that must have torn and worn away at him until death.

And, by the way, I remember, in 1968, seeing "Arturo Ui" when I'd just turned 18, in East Berlin's 'Brecht Theater', and that quote at the end of the play:

Do not rejoice in his defeat, you men. For though the world has stood up and stopped the bastard, the bitch that bore him is in heat again.

was used by the performers as a warning against the rise of the ultra-right in West Germany, at a time when Ulbricht's soldiers were still shooting the occasional escaper from the East. The pot calling the kettle black.

As for Mayakovsky - the above poem (which is usually translated as "the boat of love breaks up on the reefs of everyday life", but I suppose the translator above wanted to keep the rhyme) was his suicide note.
For an interesting take on him, see: http://libcom.org/library/occupation-art-gentrification
"By 1923, when the success of private industry was seriously threatening the state's profits from the sale of their own commodities, Mayakovsky, a poet, and Alexander Rodchenko, a Constructivist photographer, combined to form an 'advertisement constructor' team to promote state goods. So for the next two years Constructivists dedicated themselves to not only promoting Bolshevik economic policy as a progressive force in the formation of a new social order, but also acted as an advertising agency with the state as their major client."

Samotnaf

Richard wrote:

Who wrote it? Ian Bone?

Poetry as a specialist activity is a product of the division of labour - I prefer Lautreamont's "Poetry must be made by all - not one". Or, as an American Indian said,
“In my tribe there are no poets. Everyone talks in poetry”. (quoted in Howard Zinn, “A People’s History of the United States”).
As Vaneigem said "poetry rarely involves poems these days. Most works of art are betrayals of poetry."

I think that poetry is, however, a craft. I think that one can learn to become a good poet through training and practice, and that everyone should be able and actively encouraged to write and read poetry. However, even if I spent a long time learning carpentry, I know that I would still make pretty inelegant and remarkably shit tables due to the fact that I'm massively cackhanded. Individual excellence in craft is something that can be celebrated as a communal achievement.

Samotnaf

12 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Edvard wrote:

I think that poetry is, however, a craft. I think that one can learn to become a good poet through training and practice, and that everyone should be able and actively encouraged to write and read poetry. However, even if I spent a long time learning carpentry, I know that I would still make pretty inelegant and remarkably shit tables due to the fact that I'm massively cackhanded. Individual excellence in craft is something that can be celebrated as a communal achievement.

I find most modern poetry pretentious crap (apart from EJThribb) - it makes my stomach squirm, my teeth grit. It's a specialist form of "communication"/monologue without anything daring about it. There might be certain exceptions, but in the West, as far as I can see, there's nothing about it apart from being a career. Kid's poetry, poems to someone you love, personal stuff, and even some jokey poems are different - but then they're not surrounded by some aura of ""creativity". The comparison with carpentry doesn't bear examination (I'm not thinking of the modernist, sometimes surrealist or whatever, aesthetics of upper middle class cupboards and tables that you might get in Conrans or places like that): to make an equivalent of them, when their social function and the cultural discourse surrounding them is so different, is to ignore their very different place in the hierarchical division of labour . A chair has a real use, whereas most poems are only made for an image of sophistication (and if they say something socially significant, almost invariably this could be better said in prose, without recourse to the vagueness that most poems express). As for your cackhandedness - if it's not a physical disability, I'm sure that could be overcome given time.

I quite like what Ken Knabb said in 1970:

Poetry, as poets are fond of relating, originated from religious or magical incantations. The respect for the bard was due to the fact that his words mattered. Supposedly, the precise phrases and refrains were necessary to keep the crops growing, etc.

Literary poetry has lost this significance, and its most advanced creators know it. Rimbaud is the archetypal example of the attempt to recover the magical. He failed. And this failure was and is inevitable. The poem form precludes the possibility of the realization of poetry, that is, of the effective realization of the imagination in the world. The institution of poetry is itself a social relationship inimical to that project. It inherits the specialization of creativity, of authentic utterance, from its origin with the priestly classes, and it returns there. Even such a one as Rimbaud, for all his passion for freedom and the marvelous, ends by developing the conception of the poet as a new priest or shaman, a new mediator of communication. But the realization of poetry entails the direct creative activity of everyone, and hence cannot tolerate such mediation. “The problem is to really possess the community of dialogue and the game with time which have been represented in poetico-artistic works” (Guy Debord, The Society of the Spectacle)....

As with the spectacle in general, the communication of a poem is unilateral. The passive spectator or reader is presented with an image of what was lived by the poet. An open reading only apparently overcomes this criticism; it democratizes the role of poet, it shares access to the top of a hierarchical relation. It does not overcome that relation.

Of course, a certain degree of communication does take place, but it is communication in isolation, it is not directly tied to the real daily activities of the men and women involved. Since our daily activities are, in general, constrained and alienated, it is natural that poetic creativity (if it is not conscious of the project that supersedes separation, and hence literary poetry) in its own defense tends to retreat from daily life. It accepts an isolated realm where its partial game can play itself with a consoling illusion of wholeness....

Poetry that is conscious of its own fulfillment in its own supersession never leaves daily life, for it is itself the project of the uninterrupted transformation of daily life...."

(Excerpts from "Ode on the Absence of Real Poetry Here This Afternoon - A Poem in Dialectical Prose")

Knabb read this out at an open poetry reading:

...to the puzzlement and disgruntlement of the other poets present, who by the rules of the game had to sit there and listen politely to my “poem” without interrupting. (from 'Public Secrets')

Boris Badenov

12 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Samotnaf

and if they say something socially significant, almost invariably this could be better said in prose, without recourse to the vagueness that most poems express

I'm not exactly sure why or how prose is "better"? more concise? more "to the point"? poetry is not about those two things necessarily, just like music is not necessarily about teaching you about sounds.
Making a utilitarian argument against poetry is ridiculous.

Rimbaud is the archetypal example of the attempt to recover the magical. He failed. And this failure was and is inevitable. The poem form precludes the possibility of the realization of poetry, that is, of the effective realization of the imagination in the world. The institution of poetry is itself a social relationship inimical to that project.

Ironically, this is exactly the kind of grandiose "tabula rasa" bullshit that I hate about certain strands of modern poetry. In denouncing all poetry as a "social relationship," Knabb is saying something as meaningless and unimportant as the hippest L-A-N-G-U-A-G-E poet.
In truth, "high poetry" like Rimbaud et al, is neither decayed bardic mysticism or bourgeois pomposity; true, some, if not most, poetry is that, but just because poetry is written by a "professional" that doesn't mean it doesn't have value for the "ordinary man." I never studied poetry at school, and I was never formally taught how to read it, and yet a single brilliant stanza (whether it is Rimbaud or Wu Tang Clan it matters too little to me) can have more impact on me than all the mediocre and concise prose of the world put together. Is that experience false, because some Situ has-been says it is? Fuck that.

Samotnaf

12 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Vlad said:

Making a utilitarian argument against poetry is ridiculous.

I was specifically criticising "socially significant" poetry - which "almost invariably" falls into hackish didacticism at best (e.g. late Brecht, or considerably worse - the unbearable cringe-inducing Pinter bollocks). Your post seemed like typical ideological communication - mis-quoting or mis-reading things said - picking up on words out of context, because the argument jars with your own ideas and you can't deal with it honestly. But maybe I'm mis-reading you - perhaps you could give me an example of a modern socially significant poem that had an impact on you.

And I wasn't trying to make a utilitarian argument against all poetry - it was more a question of analysing the separation of function and beauty - a chair can be both, but poetry never is.

"As William Morris pointed out, there came a time in feudal society when the functional and decorative aspects of workmanship became separated in both the object and the producer, craftsmanship and artistic production becoming progressively separate commodities and separate skills. So the time when ‘artists are craftsmen and craftsmen are artists’ comes to an end. Whereas products of labour had most often contained their decoration and aesthetically pleasing qualities as an integral, in-built component of their functional usefulness, many things now came to be produced as either predominantly functional or aesthetic in their use. The capitalist mode of production has kept design aesthetics within the commodity – one that there is status in judging and possessing (“to be admired for admiring”) but little joy in its producing, standardised and mass-produced as market competition necessarily makes it. So bourgeois aesthetics expresses as a virtue the division of labour in class society between these previously integrated components. Artistic activity is the reproduction of these aesthetic values." ("Closed Window onto another life": http://libcom.org/library/closed-window-another-life )

This is certainly not to say that, for their time, Blake, Shelley, Rimbaud , Mallarmé etc. weren't original and subversive. I too like a lot of Rimbaud - but Knabb's take on him added something to an understanding of the limitations of poetry: he certainly wasn't simply denouncing poetry as a "social relationship" (what isn't?). Nor was he saying that what Rimbaud wrote was "false". He was specifically criticising Rimbaud's poetry, like poetry as an institution, as a social relationship inimical to "the effective realisation of the imagination in the world." - that is, Rimbaud "inevitably" failed in his genuine search for the magical through poems. It's not such a big deal. You can be moved by his poems or not - that's not the point.

And the real problem is not to put Rimbaud, or any other 'great' poetry on a pedestal but to find the varied ways of expressing yourself imaginatively, originally and passionately as Rimbaud did in his own way and time, outside of the parameters of 'poetry'. Besides, Rimbaud's poems came from him trying to live daringly - and people often verbally or in other ways express themselves imaginatively without turning this expression into a product.

As for the "Situ has-been" put-down - ironically, the stuff Knabb puts on his site is so much weaker than his writings of 35 - 40 years ago in part because he's so much more tolerant of artistic/ cultural/poetic stuff now than he was a helluva long time ago. For example, nothing of his recent stuff compares with his excellent "Bureaucratic Comix" of almost 39 years ago, which is still far better than loads of Leninist garbage that permeates the libcom site here and there. Sheer poetry.

Samotnaf

I was specifically criticising "socially significant" poetry - which "almost invariably" falls into hackish didacticism at best (e.g. late Brecht, or considerably worse - the unbearable cringe-inducing Pinter bollocks).

I thought you were saying that poetry can't be socially significant, even the stuff that is not "hackish didacticism"; I guess I missed your point. Sorry.

Your post seemed like typical ideological communication - mis-quoting or mis-reading things said - picking up on words out of context, because the argument jars with your own ideas and you can't deal with it honestly. But maybe I'm mis-reading you - perhaps you could give me an example of a modern socially significant poem that had an impact on you.

I notice this is something you do: someone disagrees with you, you start accusing them of "point-scoring mentality" and "ideological misquoting." Stop doing that please. Maybe I didn't get exactly what you were trying to say, but I'm NOT trying to defend any dogma. I just reacted to what I thought was a reductionist and grandstanding argument about poetry "being dead" or some rubbish like that; it has nothing to do with me trying to defend certain preconceived ideas.

This is certainly not to say that, for their time, Blake, Shelley, Rimbaud , Mallarmé etc. weren't original and subversive. I too like a lot of Rimbaud - but Knabb's take on him added something to an understanding of the limitations of poetry: he certainly wasn't simply denouncing poetry as a "social relationship" (what isn't?). Nor was he saying that what Rimbaud wrote was "false".

Ok then; thanks for setting me straight.
Of course poetry is limited, but if you enjoy it (and I personally enjoy it the same way I enjoy music rather than the way I enjoy reading prose, so I don't think there's any contest between prose and poetry, which is what I thought you were saying above), then there is something to it. IMO what Knabb was saying failed to make the distinction between poetry as formalism (a notion that does deserve to be criticized) and poetry as human activity, something that goes far beyond the "high" poetry of canonical writers; this is why I mentioned a rap group in the same sentence as Rimbaud. I don't think they should be viewed as intrinsically different; only by putting Rimabud "on a pedestal," as you say, does poetry appear to be a useless echo of the past.

He was specifically criticising Rimbaud's poetry, like poetry as an institution, as a social relationship inimical to "the effective realisation of the imagination in the world." - that is, Rimbaud "inevitably" failed in his genuine search for the magical through poems. It's not such a big deal. You can be moved by his poems or not - that's not the point.

Why is that not the point? I think that is the only point. It doesn't matter to me what Rimbaud failed at, what his personal vision and artistic ambitions were; the only thing I and anyone else have access to is what he left behind; this is what we should judge him by, not his failure to reinstill the magic element in poetry (as if that was a realistic project to begin with).

And the real problem is not to put Rimbaud, or any other 'great' poetry on a pedestal but to find the varied ways of expressing yourself imaginatively, originally and passionately as Rimbaud did in his own way and time, outside of the parameters of 'poetry

I agree with this, but again there must be a distinction between 'poetry' as a body of formal appearances and actual poetry, as something that is constantly evolving.

which is still far better than loads of Leninist garbage that permeates the libcom site here and there. Sheer poetry.

any examples of what constitutes such Leninist garbage?

Samotnaf

12 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Your post seemed like typical ideological communication - mis-quoting or mis-reading things said - picking up on words out of context, because the argument jars with your own ideas and you can't deal with it honestly. But maybe I'm mis-reading you - perhaps you could give me an example of a modern socially significant poem that had an impact on you.

I notice this is something you do: someone disagrees with you, you start accusing them of "point-scoring mentality" and "ideological misquoting." Stop doing that please. Maybe I didn't get exactly what you were trying to say, but I'm NOT trying to defend any dogma. I just reacted to what I thought was a reductionist and grandstanding argument about poetry "being dead" or some rubbish like that; it has nothing to do with me trying to defend certain preconceived ideas.

OK - fair enough - maybe I wasn't being clear. But in my experience people often misquote or mis-read or deliberately want to misinterpret, or leap onto something which is utterly minor because of some ideological fixedness in their heads (and practical attitude). I once said to a friend that Stalinism didn't only rule by terror. He ranted on and on at me literally for 5 minutes without letting me correct him, drowning out my "but..buts" because he'd somehow not heard the 'only" bit. Anyway, as i said - maybe I wasn't being clear.

For the moment, can't comment on the rap group you mentioned, because I don't know them. I'll try to check them out.

He was specifically criticising Rimbaud's poetry, like poetry as an institution, as a social relationship inimical to "the effective realisation of the imagination in the world." - that is, Rimbaud "inevitably" failed in his genuine search for the magical through poems. It's not such a big deal. You can be moved by his poems or not - that's not the point.

Why is that not the point? I think that is the only point. It doesn't matter to me what Rimbaud failed at, what his personal vision and artistic ambitions were; the only thing I and anyone else have access to is what he left behind; this is what we should judge him by, not his failure to reinstill the magic element in poetry (as if that was a realistic project to begin with).

What I was trying to say was that your personal taste is not the point when discussing poetry as a social relation, as related to the aims and historical time and place of the poems, for the writer as well as the reader. I like some of Salvador Dali's paintings but this is essentially separate from considering what a scumbag in almost every way he was. And his social influence was, for the most part, just as unbearable. Leni Riefenstahl's movie of the 1936 Olympic games (Triumph of the Will, iirc) was interesting and aesthetically quite pleasing - but its ideological function was horrific. etc....

which is still far better than loads of Leninist garbage that permeates the libcom site here and there. Sheer poetry.

any examples of what constitutes such Leninist garbage?

The ICC (or " the icy sea" - because that's what they try to push people into); some of the people who take the ICC seriously; posi and The Commune; irrationallyangry and the SP; people who think that they're a vanguard by virtue of their 'consciousness'....But this thread is not the place for a debate on "Leninist garbage".

rooieravotr

12 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Paul Goodman, American anarchist, has some nice ones. Two I like a lot:

Hallowe'en 1969

O goblin with with your yellow fiery eyes
and jagged mouth that frightened me to carve,
glaring out of out window to the street
protect us from the candidates for mayor

Kent State, May 4, 1970

Ran out of tear gas and become panicky
poor inept kids, and therefore they poured lead
into the other kids and shot them dead
and now myself and the whole country
are weeping. It's not a matter of degree,
not less no more than the Indo-Chinese slaughtered,
it is the same; but most folks are shattered by
home truths (as i know who lost my boy)

I am not willing to go on this week
with business as usual, this month this year
let cars slow down and stop and builders break
off building and close up the theatre.
You see, the children that we massacre
are our own children. Call the soldiers back.

mike-servethepeople

12 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Bob Saltis is a retired worker in Adelaide, Australia. Ark Tribe is a construction worker facing six months jail for refusing to attend a compulsory secret interrogation by the government building "watchdog", the ABCC. Going back to Comrade An's original request for communist poetry on trade union issues, I submit this on his behalf. It is from my blog:
http://www.mike-servethepeople.blogspot.com .
Info on the Ark Tribe struggle can be found at http:www.arkstribe.org.au

FOR ARK TRIBE
By Bob Saltis

1. Building worker

In this sunburnt country
where workers toil for others’ gain
and all too often on building sites
mangled bodies scream accusation
and every week a wife or mother
mourns
we salute Ark Tribe
an ordinary bloke
who proudly wears his union badge
and stands up unyieldingly for workers’ rights

The law would have him wear the yoke
but
he does not cower and boldly defies the greedy sharks

“Dob in your mates,” fawning lackeys howl
“or six months jail awaits”.

But this man is built of sterner stuff
The flag he flies is the Southern Cross
Anger seethes in stern eyes
“I like my beer and darts with mates but
I’ll rot in your jail and not give up
the liberties my mates of old won for me.
Me and my union we’re in this boat together
We’ll fight till we smash this evil thing.”

2. Building bosses

The sharks have multiplied in the building industry
construction company sharks
bank sharks
insurance sharks and
private equity sharks

This is the age of the shark and the vampire in the building industry
The vampires have their fill of the blood
and the sharks wax fat on the gore
of workers slain in workplaces
by unsafe scaffolding, falling cranes
and collapsing bridges
by the bosses cutting corners and
taking risks

This is the age of the plunderer in the building industry
They gloat over rising profits
swindle their way to massive
fortunes
lord it at the top of the heap
and squat on the workers’ backs

This is the age of hypocrites in the building industry
Smugly they dish out charity
while they shabbily turn a blind eye
on safety
and ruthlessly throw workers on the
heap

This is the age of the dominion of capital and its owners
“We’ll have one more profit’” they cry
“We’ll cut corners and take risks
To this end we’ll bust
the building union
And we have a bead on Ark Tribe.”

3. Building watchdog

The ABCC
I accuse.
I accuse the ABCC of being a pro-boss
watchdog
This is why building workers hold the
ABCC in utter contempt.
ABCC stands for Anti-union Bloody-minded Class-prejudiced Contemptible watchdog

A is for the anti-union watchdog set up
to bust effective unions and weaken
the union movement. To this end
unions are demonized with allegations
of corruption and violence and union
members are intimidated.

B is for the blackhearted bosses. Every
year in our sunburnt country mothers
wives and children mourn the
slaughter of fifty men in the building
industry but the bloody-minded
watchdog has never investigated the
bosses for unsafe worksites, or for
killing and maiming workers made to
work in unsafe conditions.

The first C is for cop on the beat. He
uses his oppressive powers to keep
unions off building sites checking on
the safety of members and to bully
workers into dobbing in their
workmates.

The other C is for the class war the
class-prejudiced watchdog is
conducting on behalf of the bosses by
relentlessly hounding the workers and
their unions. They aim to consolidate
their class dominion and so to have a
free hand to exploit workers.

I salute Ark tribe who stands up
unyielding against this anti-union
bloody-minded class-prejudiced
contemptible watchdog.

4. Building industry

Fired by the spirit of Eureka
Ark Tribe and his union are in the fight
together
the fight for rights at work
the fight against wrong.
In the spirit of those rebel heroes
they blaze with icy anger
and stand up to the black-hearted
bosses.

“One law for all!” the union demands
and hundreds take up the call.
“One law for all! One law for all!” the
workers chant
Ark’s comrades all.
“Comrade workers,” the union appeals,
“rally in support of Ark Tribe.
His fight for justice, to see justice done
Is not just for himself but for everyone.”

And in our thousands we take to the
streets
the awakened understanding of a
disfranchised class.
Resolute we march shoulder to
shoulder
heads high, strong and united
together.
An unyielding family, young and old
stern warriors for “Your Rights at
Work”
we know each other by our clenched
fists.
Defiant voices rising like rain clouds
over the land
we sing a solidarity song.

And we join this fight
keenly aware of the sturdy and tested
bond
that links us to those to whom
we owe the liberties we enjoy today.

We are singing a people’s song.

Fletcher

12 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

There was a young Leninist called THE OUTLAW
Who was not in the least bourgeois
Marching and rioting
To the rich he was disquieting
This keyboard warrior sits typing in the raw

mikail firtinaci

12 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The day the freedom comes
That day death is outlawed

Cemal Süreya

(a poet who lost one of the "y"s in his surname in a bet - my translation)

John1

12 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

"The only race is the rat race."

-Wall graffiti, London rioters, 1981

Samotnaf

12 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Richard wrote:

"The only race is the rat race."

-Wall graffiti, London rioters, 1981

Poetic it certainly is, but it was written in the late 60s by some people in King Mob, the situ-influenced group (I think some people assumed that because it was re-printed in the text "Like a summer with a thousand July's", about the riots of '81, that it was a piece of graffiti from those heady July days). King Mob also wrote the graffiti "The Tigers of Wrath are Wiser than the Horses of Instruction" at the same time more or less, a quote from the poet William Blake. Both were written in Notting Hill. It's implicitly a critique of some of the more didactic or whining poems (e.g. Hugh MacDiarmid's or Paul Goodman's) some people on this thread seem to think have something in common with poetry in the sense of the spirit of something life-loving, something against the deathly mediocrity of conformist culture, something subversive.

mikail firtinaci

12 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

every death is ahead of its time samatnof, and that fact does not have anything to do with love of life...

mike-servethepeople

12 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Re my earlier post: the link to the Ark Tribe website should read
http://www.arkstribe.org.au

And here's a song I wrote about Ark that can be downloaded from the ArksTribe website (OK - it's not great poetry, but it rhymes which might please someone...):

Stand Tall – for Ark Tribe

Come gather round and listen
To the thunder rolling in,
‘Cos the rich are trying to break us
And we’re not gonna let them win.

Well they tried it on the wharfies
With scabs and thugs and lost,
So how to break the building sites
Where the workers won’t be bossed?

“We own the law, we own the courts
And that’s the key to their defeat:
We’ll give the workers six months jail
For every time they meet!”

The workers met on safety
And Ark Tribe led the way,
So Gillard’s thugs decided
That he would have to pay.

“If your name it is Ark Tribe
Come to our interrogation –
You’ll have to dob your mates in:
That’s the way we run this nation!”

“Oh my name it is Ark Tribe
And I ain’t gonna talk to you.
My freedom flies with the Southern Cross
And there’s nothing you can do.”

“If there’s anything that I’ve done wrong
I’ll take your jail, that’s fine!
But killing fifty men a year
Is the bosses’ crime, not mine!”

“As for your Liberal and your Labor,
To me they look the same
With Howard’s rotten laws served up
In Julia Gillard’s name.”

“Well, I’d a-ridden with Ned Kelly
I’d a fought with bold Ben Hall,
‘Cos it was wild colonial boys like these
Who taught us to stand tall.”

Well, if Ark Tribe’s put in prison
By their “tough cop on the beat”,
The wild colonial boys and girls
Must get out in the street.

And we must ride like Edward Kelly,
We must fight like bold Ben Hall,
‘Cos it was wild colonial boys like these
Who taught us to stand tall!

21/7/09

Jenni

12 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

i recently heard a good communist poetry, well it is more of a song, but it is still in the category of verbal artistic expression. it goes:

i was born to a middle class family
i went to a good school
i got into university
and when i got there i thought i was so free
and then i learnt a new word
and that word was AUTONOMY
autonomy
fuck yeah.

Jenni

i recently heard a good communist poetry, well it is more of a song, but it is still in the category of verbal artistic expression. it goes:

i was born to a middle class family
i went to a good school
i got into university
and when i got there i thought i was so free
and then i learnt a new word
and that word was AUTONOMY
autonomy
fuck yeah.

a timeless classic.

The Outlaw

12 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

don't know if this is communist let alone poetry but here;

People all given up
a planet of defeat
the war noet yet lost
victory isn't dawning
bored with the fight
why even bother?
chose to lose
in a game of chance
this game of life

what about the defence of poverty
or should we no longer shield the defenceless
allo them to starve, let them go hungry!
the wasting of resources, all lavish
so help give us that pound
yeah they don't need alot
look just blade it on greedy toffs
they don't want to share the wealth
because inequality is in their gain
come on people this world, insane!

No longer stewards of peace
locked down wanting release
look it is a criminal!
still timmy can't haveh is fill
oliver said please, even pelasded
and what did he ever get?
life full of sorrow and regret
and a twat to the cheek!
just for fuckin hungers sake?
the sword lost in the lake!

a war soley unjust
but we have that need
the need for greed
people go and die
is this an oil addiction?
a gapping wound!
a great global infliction!

stamping our mark
like an animal
but at our expense
no need for wealth
consumed by greed
feed the hungry!
let them eat cake!

living in the age of terrosim
this aint no funny biz
with the erosion of rights
yet its gone tomrorow
sorrow is what e feel
contempt without contemplation
the death of a whole nation!

The workes struggle
a battle of wills
a fight for survival
the death of a system
based on greed n blood
money greater than people
no need for freedom
don't believe the lies
it's time 4 revolution!

one that is here today

mikail firtinaci

12 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

art is the alienation of destructive urge...

Spassmaschine

12 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

On My Own

The first time ever I saw your face
You smiled at me and my heart began to race
We met because we put the earth first
Across the world, many are dying of hunger and thirst

What about the killing fields?
Will there be a time
When people stop dying
Due to a war crime

Did they ever stop to notice
All the blood they’ve shed before?
Did they ever stop to notice
All the innocents killed at war?

What have they done to the world?
Look what they’ve done
George Bush claims to be a Christian
But he’d have killed God’s only son

I’m missing you more than words can say
But I know I’ll see you again one day

Hide my head, I wanna drown my sorrow
Will I see you tomorrow?
I find it kind of funny
I find it very sad
That the sanest people in the world
Are those they smear as mad
It’s a very very mad world
Mad world

I didn’t mean to smear you
You emailed me to say it’s not true
That you’ve had an ordeal like mine
Trying to prove you’re mentally fine

On my own, pretending you’re beside me
Quite alone, trying to ensure the world will be free
In the rain, the pavement shines like silver
All the lights are misty in the river
And although they sometimes say love is blind
I love you for your beauty as well as your mind

I love you and when my ordeal is over
I’ll smile and hope you’ll become my lover
Without you, the world around me changes
And on my own, I have to face the dangers
I miss you but every day I’m learning
I love others, but it’s for you I’m really yearning

I love you
I love you
I love you
Especially on my own

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2UFTKEc8XY8

Samotnaf

12 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

mikail firtinaci wrote:

art is the alienation of destructive urge...

Totally agree. And I wish more people on libcom saw art like this.
But your earlier post:

every death is ahead of its time samatnof, and that fact does not have anything to do with love of life...

- I really couldn't work out what that had to do with anything I'd said; even as a misunderstanding, I still can't see how you've come up with that. Please enlighten me.

mikail firtinaci

12 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

mikail firtinaci wrote:
Quote:

art is the alienation of destructive urge...

Totally agree. And I wish more people on libcom saw art like this.

Well I was not really serious about that. it was a responce to the Outlaw's poem - meant to be a joke. I am not sure whether art is the alienated form of creaitivity or not, I do not really know much about art.

Quote:

every death is ahead of its time samatnof, and that fact does not have anything to do with love of life...

- I really couldn't work out what that had to do with anything I'd said; even as a misunderstanding, I still can't see how you've come up with that. Please enlighten me.

That was a responce to what you said above when you wrote;

some people on this thread seem to think have something in common with poetry in the sense of the spirit of something life-loving,

There is another poem of Süreya and "every death is an early death" part is a referance to that... But as I said I did not really mean to say much...

Boris Badenov

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Chicho Sanchez Ferlosio - Malditas Elecciones

Que el mundo va a cambiar,
nos dicen
que cuando votemos nos escucharan
nos dicen
si en cambio no votais
nos dicen
los del otro lado nos aplastaran
y así se quedarán
nos dicen
con las manos libres para hacer su plan.

Malditas elcciones
decimos
si la voz rebelde se domesticó
malditas elecciones
decimos
quieren el gobierno
y nosotros no...

Menudos de demagogos
con sus perros de presa
jugando como siempre
al palo y la promesa
malditos socialistas
vendidos al patrón
jugando con nosotros
al gato y al ratón.

Nos habeis traicionado
sin ninguna verguenza
nos habeis desterrado
y matado tambien...

Harbá que echar la cuenta
de tantas injusticias
la cuenta de la sangre
y de la libertad

La cuenta de la sangre
y de la libertad...

translation (approximate; my Spanish is very shaky):
The world will change
They tell us
That when we vote they listen to us
And if you don't vote
They tell us
The other side will crush us
And so you will have to
They tell us
Make your own plan

Goddamn elections
We say
If the rebel voice be tamed
Goddamn elections
We say
They want the government
And we do not...

Petty demagogues
With their hounds
Playing as usual
With the stick and the promise
Goddamn Socialists
Sold to the bosses
They play cat and mouse with us
You have betrayed us
Without any shame
We'll have you banished
And killed ...

The story of blood
and freedom
will keep count
of these many injustices

The story of blood
and freedom...

Samotnaf

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The following limerick is certainly not as worthy as some of the previously quoted stuff, such as the poem about the National Guard's Kent State murders in 1970, by Paul Goodygoodyman (how extraordinarily radical to denounce these killings) and I admit it's not a really revolutionary critique of unions but it has some qualities lacking in the semi-social realist stuff (such as an absence of pretentiousness):

When the Bricklayers' union struck,
Dear Old Freddy was having a fuck.
By union rules
He had to down tools;
Now that's what I call damn bad luck

mike-servethepeople

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

What did the originator of this list mean by "Left-Communist poets"? Poets whose writing explicitly propagates communism, or communists who write poetry that may be quite personal and reflective?

For example, Mao Zedong wrote explicitly political poems and personal and reflective poems. Commiserating with Li Shuyi on the discovery, after many years, that her husband had been killed by the Guomindang (KMT), Mao composed a reflective piece on his feelings for Yang Kaihui, his first real wife, who was also assassinated by the GMD. "Poplar" and "Willow" are plays in Chinese on the surnames of their respective spouses. There is a political aspect to this poem (defeat of the GMD), but it is also one man's profound feelings of love for a person murdered several decades beforehand. Its literary allusions are steeped in Chinese mythology, such as the story of the moon goddess, Chang-E.

REPLY TO LI SHU-YI
--to the tune of Tieh Lien Htua

May 11, 1957

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I lost my proud Poplar and you your Willow,
Poplar and Willow soar to the Ninth Heaven.
Wu Kang, asked what he can give,
Serves them a laurel brew.
The lonely moon goddess spreads her ample sleeves
To dance for these loyal souls in infinite space.
Earth suddenly reports the tiger subdued,
Tears of joy pour forth falling as mighty rain.

mike-servethepeople

What did the originator of this list mean by "Left-Communist poets"? Poets whose writing explicitly propagates communism, or communists who write poetry that may be quite personal and reflective?

They meant poets who were 'left-communists'. This is no way includes Mao.

By the way, even allowing for what could be an awful translation and myself not understanding anything at all about the cultural context, that is possibly one of the worse poems I have ever read.

Devrim

ajjohnstone

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

If they hqaven't been mentioned Oscar Wildes Ballad of Reading Gaol and Shelleys Mask of Anarchy

But there is D H Lawrence political poem collection published in 1929 in a volume called Pansies .

O! Start A Revolution

O! start a revolution , somebody !
not to get the money
but to lose it forever .

O! start a revolution , somebody!
not to install the working classes
but to abolish the working classes forever
and have a world of men .

Kill Money

Kill money , put money out of existence .
It is a perverted instinct , a hidden thought
which rots the brain , the blood , the bones , the stones , the soul.

Make up your mind about it all:
that society must establish itself upon a different principle
from the one we’ve got now.

We must have the courage of mutual trust.
We must have the modesty of simple living.
And the individual must have his house , food and fire all free - like a bird.

Money-Madness

Money is our madness, our vast collective madness.

And of course , if the multitude is mad
The individual carries his own grain of insanity around with him.

I doubt if any man living hands out a pound note without a pang;
And a real tremor , if he hands out a ten-pound note.
We quail, money makes us quail .
It has got us down , we grovel before it in strange terror .
And no wonder, for money has a fearful cruel power among men .

But it is not money we are terrified of ,
it is the collective money - madness of mankind.
For mankind says with one voice : How much is he worth ?
Has he no money ? Then let him eat dirt , and go cold -

And if I have no money , they will give me a little bread ,
So I do not die,
but they will make me eat dirt for it .
I shall have to eat dirt , I shall have to eat dirt
if I have no money

It is that I am afraid of .
And that fear can become a delirium .
It is fear of my money-mad fellow-man.

We must have some money
To save us from eating dirt .

And this is wrong.

Bread should be free ,
shelter should be free ,
fire should be free
to all and anybody , all and anybody , all over the world.

We must regain our sanity about money
before we start killing one another about it .
It’s one thing or the other.

How Beastly The Bourgeois Is

How beastly the bourgeois is
especially the male of the species -

Presentable , eminently presentable -
shall I make you a present of him ?

Isn’t he handsome ? isn’t he healthy? Isn’t he a fine specimen ?
doesn’t he look the fresh clean englishman , outside ?
Isn’t if god’s own image ? tramping his thirty miles a day
after partridges , or a little rubber ball ?
wouldn’t you like to be like that , well off , and quite the thing ?

Oh , but wait !
Let him meet a new emotion , let him be faced with another man’s
need ,
let him come home to a bit of moral difficulty , let life face him with
a new demand on his understanding
and then watch him go soggy , like a wet meringue .
Watch him turn into a mess , either a fool or a bully.
Just watch the display of him , confronted with a new demand on his intelligence ,
a new life-demand.

How beastly the bourgeois is
especially the male of the species -
Nicely groomed like a mushroom
standing there so sleek and erect and eyeable -
and like a fungus , living on the remains of bygone life
sucking his life out of the dead leaves of greater life than his own .

And even so , he’s stale , he’s been there too long .
Touch him , and you’ll find he’s all gone inside
just like an old mushroom , all wormy inside , and hollow
under a smooth skin and an upright appearance .

Full of seething , wormy , hollow feelings
rather nasty -
How beastly the bourgeois is !

Standing in their thousands , these appearances , in damp England
what a pity they can’t all be kicked over
like sickening toadstools , and left to melt back , swiftly
into the soil of England .

Wages

The wages of work is cash .
The wages of cash is want more cash .
The wages of want more cash is vicious competition.
The wages of vicious completion is - the world we live in .

The work-cash-want circle is the viciousest circle
that ever turned men into fiends.

Earning a wage is a prison occupation
and a wage - earner is a sort of gaol-bird
Earning a salary is a prison overseer’s job ,
a gaoler instead of a gaol-bird .

Living on your income is strolling grandly outside the prison
in terror lest you have to go in .And since the work-prison covers
almost every scrap of living earth , you stroll up and down
on a narrow beat, about the same as a prisoner taking his exercise .

This is called universal freedom

WHY?

Why have money?
Why have a financial system to strangle us all in its octopus arms?
Why have industry?
Why have the industrial system ?
Why have machines , that we only have to serve?
Why have a soviet , that only wants to screw us all in as parts of the machine?
Why have working classes at all , as if men only embodied jobs?
Why not have men as men , and the work as merely part of the game of life?

True , we’ve got all these things
industrial and financial systems , machines and soviets, working
classes.
But why go on having them , if they belittle us ?
Why should we be belittled any longer?

The Mosquito Knows

The mosquito knows full well, small as he is
he’s a beast of prey.
But after all
he only takes his bellyful ,
he doesn’t put my blood in the bank.

DH Lawrence

mike-servethepeople

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Many thanks to Devrim for acting as spokesperson for comrade 安藤鈴. I should have gone back and read the latter’s second post where he/she does indeed offer the clarification I sought, namely “I'm interested in poetry specifically about communist issues - trade unions, national liberation etc. Not just any old poetry which happens to be written by communists.”

And yes, Devrim comrade 安藤鈴 would probably share your distaste for Mao as a communist; nevertheless his poetry is highly regarded for its aesthetic standards in China. Could we see your own poetry comrade, so we may judge the elevated heights from which you sneer at a single translated piece?

I welcomed this discussion originally because I thought it may encourage comrades on the left to share their attempts at poetry. I put up the song lyrics I wrote about the South Australian construction worker Ark Tribe, but I didn’t want to discount the poetry by communists that was personal and reflective as I find that sometimes is more pregnant with communist emotion and insight than explicitly “political” poems.

Devrim - here’s one more from me.

Bernie Banton was a worker for the James Hardie asbestos company. He became the human face of a campaign conducted on behalf of workers seeking compensation for having contracted mesothelioma. He led a deputation about this to see Tony Abbott, then a minister in John Howard’s Liberal Government in Australia. Abbott insulted him, saying “Bernie Banton’s not really pure of heart, is he?” to indicate that he was just some sort of paid agitator and not really concerned with the condition that was killing him. Howard’s government was defeated; Abbott was recently elevated to the position of Leader of the Opposition. My poem may not be great poetry, it doesn’t advocate communism, but I wrote it with communist feeling.

Your turn with a poem please Devrim.

Other comrades please put up your poems as The Outlaw and Captain Soap have done!

Bernie Banton, heart so pure
I cry for the cruelty they made you endure
Covered like a snowman in asbestos dust
Their workplace relations a breach of trust
Bernie Banton, pure of heart
They treated you like a bloody spare part.

Bernie Banton, heart so pure
They knew, they knew, they knew for sure
Asbestos was a vicious killing carcinoma
That horrid death – mesothelioma
Bernie Banton, pure of heart
How many lives did they tear apart?

Bernie Banton, heart so pure
They damaged your lungs, there was no cure
But you fought the bastards to see justice done
Not just for yourself but for everyone
Bernie Banton, pure of heart
Yet they laughed at you right from the start.

Bernie Banton, heart so pure
Laugh last, laugh loud, to know that you’re
The one who took it up to them
That they’re the ones whom we condemn
Bernie Banton, pure of heart
Fighting to the end their greedy black art.

Bernie Banton, heart so pure
Insulted by Abbott - that human manure
“Never take no for an answer” was your advice
They couldn’t buy your humanity for any price
Bernie Banton, pure of heart
Fighter for all right from the start

Bernie Banton, heart so pure
The qualities of the worker, not the entrepreneur
How bad was the pain against which you struggled to live?
“I wouldn’t wish it on a Hardie’s executive”
Bernie Banton, pure of heart
I’d wish it on them and their profit chart!

Samotnaf

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

mike_servethepeople:
I put a poem of my own ("Now Is The Winter Of Our Poetry") on this thread, so I obviously have the credibility necessary to comment on Mao's crap.

Although much of the time on other threads I am in complete disagreement with Devrim, I'm with him 105% on this.

mike-servethepeople (in his bossy affronted indignant tone ) said that Mao's

poetry is highly regarded for its aesthetic standards in China

Well, Rupert Brooke's poetry used to be

highly regarded for its aesthetic standards

in Britain, but that doesn't mean it wasn't crap; taking a totalitarian capitalist country's "standards" as your own shows how very far you are from anything "communist" (your own poem is not much of a great leap forward from the one you posted by that mass murdering bureaucrat Mao). But let's have a look at this:

ON EXPRESSING AN OPINION

I dreamed I was in the classroom of a primary school preparing to write an essay, and asked the teacher how to express an opinion.
“That’s hard !“ Glancing sideways at me over his glasses, he said, “Let me tell you a story —“When a son is born to a family, the whole household
is delighted. When he is one month old they carry him out to display him to the guests — usually expecting some compliments, of course.
“One says, ‘This child will be rich.’ Then he is heartily thanked.
“One says, ‘This child will be an official.’ Then some compliments are made him in return.
“One says, ‘This child will die.’ Then he is thoroughly beaten by the whole family.
“That the child will die is inevitable, while to say that he will be rich or a high official may be a lie. Yet the lie is rewarded, whereas the statement of the inevitable gains a beating. You. . .
“I don’t want to tell lies, sir, neither do I want to be beaten. So what should I say?”
“In that case, say, ‘Aha! Just look at this child! My word. . . . Oh, my! Oho! Hehe! He, hehehehehe!’”

Lu Xun, July 8, 1925, listed as a prose poem in his selected works, and a far more interesting example of Chinese poetry than any of the thousand blooming flowers written by that paper tiger, Mao (whose portrait dominating Tianamen Square, in 1989, was splattered with red paint by radicals who didn't hold their nation's "aesthetic standards" in "high regard").

Since prose poems tend to be generally less jarring in form than the vast majority of post-surrealist non-prose-poem-type-poetry, will mike_servethepeople (on a platter with roast potatoes for the bureaucrat's banquet..?) allow Devrim the choice of writing a poem not in rhyming couplets, which he may or may not feel would stick in his throat (I certainly can't speak for him obviously)?

Here's a poem of mine, written on the occasion of Mao's death:

POETRY CORNER

In Memoriam Mao Tse Tung, poet and Server Of The People

So. Farewell
Then Mao
Tse Tung.

You died
Before mike_servethepeople
Could express his admiration for your works.

"running dog of capitalism"
Was
One of your
Charmingly poetic
Phrases.

"Power grows out of the barrel of a gun"
Was another.
I loved how you showed those uppity red guards turned anarchists in Shanghai the truth of that one,
Comrade Mao.

We will remember your
Scintillating verses
Forever.

You have put the po back into
Poems.

E.J.Samotnaff (71½)

If you liked this poem, you can download a selection of E.J.Samotnaf's verses from www.sneeringfromelevatedheights.com

mike-servethepeople

Could we see your own poetry comrade, so we may judge the elevated heights from which you sneer at a single translated piece?

You won't be seeing any attempts a poetry from me. I am not interested in writing it at all. That doesn't mean that I can't have any opinion on others' works.

nevertheless his poetry is highly regarded for its aesthetic standards in China

Things like this tend to happen when you hold a certain position within the state. It is like people believing that Atatürk did everything perfect here in Turkey.

Actually, I live in a country where poetry is a living vibrant part of the culture. People still read and write poetry here whereas in the anglophone world, it seems, to a certain extent, to have become a study of things written long ago by people long dead.

Samotnaf

Although much of the time on other threads I am in complete disagreement with Devrim, I'm with him 105% on this.

I didn't think that we disagreed on that much, but never mind.

Farce

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Still don't think I've found a better Communist poem than Brecht's "Questions from a worker who reads", despite the author's incredibly dodgy Stalinist sympathies. I like The Solution, his incredibly belated attack on Stalinism mentioned earlier in this thread, as well.

Red Marriott

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

devrim

mike-serves people

nevertheless his poetry is highly regarded for its aesthetic standards in China

Things like this tend to happen when you hold a certain position within the state. It is like people believing that Atatürk did everything perfect here in Turkey.

Confirming Devrim's comments on mike-serves people's claims about the popularity of Mao's poetry, here is what Simon Leys says, who wrote several very good books on Chinese culture, history and the Mao era;

Let us have no illusions about the quality of Mao's artistic creation. The fame of his poetry owes everything to his fame as a politician; if Mao had not played his particular part in history, his poetical works, which are slight and often clumsy, would not have stood out from the work of thousands of other amateur poets who flourish in each generation of Chinese scolars. Certainly the poet's inspiration meets the politician's experience to commanding effect in the poem "Snow" (to the tune of Ch'in yuan ch'un) which is memorable in the same sense as "Song of the Great Wind" by Lui Pang, the founder of the Han dynasty, or the poems of the military leader and statesman Ts'ao Ts'ao (even if, as gossip has it, Mao's poem was corrected and reshaped by Liu Ya-Tzu). But this single example apart, it is not difficult to agree with Arthur Waley's criticism, which used a pictorial comparison and rated Mao's poetry "not as bad as Hitler's painting but not as good as Churchill's". (Simon Leys, The Chairman's New Clothes - Mao and the Cultural Revolution; Allison & Busby, UK 1981)

For what might happen if Mao disapproved of your literary efforts;
http://libcom.org/tags/yenan-literary-opposition

mike-servethepeople

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Samotnaf - I tried the link to your other poems, but coudn't open it. Tried googling sneeringfromelevatedheights and still couldn't locate it. Is there a problem with the URL or am I just technically incompetent as well as a Stalinist and a Maoist and.....

Mike

Lexxi

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Wasn't there a poem which Mao wrote which went like

I wash my prick
in her cunt

Samotnaf

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

mike-servethepeople

Samotnaf - I tried the link to your other poems, but coudn't open it. Tried googling sneeringfromelevatedheights and still couldn't locate it. Is there a problem with the URL or am I just technically incompetent as well as a Stalinist and a Maoist and.....

Mike

My apologies - this was a wind-up - some of it explicitly intentional, some of it utterly unintentional. You were not meant to take the poem seriously. It's culturally-specific to the UK, and in my nationalist arrogance I took it for granted (didn't even question it) that Australians would recognise what I guess most people in the UK would recognise as a parody of what already is a parody. It's written in the style of E.J.Thribb (Google that - check it out in Wikipedia) . The website does not exist - EJThribb's "poems" almost always end with a version of :
If you liked this poem, you can download a selection of E.J.Thribb's verses from www.sneeringfromelevatedheights.com .

PS I'm not 71½ either - not quite, anyway. E.J.Thribb's 17½. And has been for several years now - I've been 17½ for almost as long as him.

Samotnaf

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Here, an original EJThribb, which I hadn't realised existed until I googled it 2 minutes ago. Certainly up there in the top ten of my list of communist poetry:

Lines on the Death of Chairman Mao

So.
Farewell then
Chairman Mao.

You are the
Last of the
Great revolutionary

Figures. You
And I
Had little in
Common

Except that
Like me
You were a poet.

Though how you
Found time
To write poems

In addition to
Running a
Country of
800 million people

Is baffling
Frankly.

EJ Thribb

Choccy

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

We've seen 'em come and we've seen 'em go
But we're the boys who are in the know
We're back have you missed us?
We're back you could have fucking kissed us
We're back been away a while
We're back with our combat style
Pretenders to our name
We're back we're in the game
We'll take you on and sort you out
'Cos that's what combats all about
We're back been away a while
We're back with our combat style
You want the real men?
We're back we're here again
You know what we're fighting for
We're back we're combat 84
We're back been away a while
We're back with our combat style

Choccy

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

RAID 'convenience'
"an embryo, a fetus, a baby is in progress.
no consideration is shown for the unwanted child awaiting in the womb.
banning is not prevention, but it's a step in the right direction.
the coat hanger will always be there for those who maintain the slaughter. abortion is mass genocide, practiced through the ease of convenience."

EARTH CRISIS 'firestorm'
Street by street. Block by block. Taking it all back.
The youth's immersed in poison--turn the tide
counterattack. Violence against violence, let the roundups begin.
A firestorm to purify the bane that society drowns in. No
mercy, no exceptions, a declaration of total war.
The innocents' defense is the reason it's waged for.
Born addicted, beaten
and neglected. Families torn apart, detroyed and abandoned.
Children sell their bodies, from their high they fall to drown.
Demons crazed by greed cut bystanders down.
A chemically tainted welfare generation.
Abslolute complete moral degeneration.
Born addicted, beaten and neglected.
Families torn apart, detroyed and abandoned.
Children sell their bodies, from their high
they fall to drown. Demons crazed by greed cut bystanders down.
Corrupt politicans, corrupt enforcement, drug lords and
dealers; all must fall. The helpless are crying out.
We have risen to their call. A firestorm to purify.

Yorkie Bar

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

It's funny because under all the macho language and purple prose, all I can hear is "drugs are bad, m'kay?".

mike-servethepeople

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Wasn't there a poem which Mao wrote which went like

I wash my prick
in her cunt

No there wasn't.

The only reference to this is in Li Zhisui's [i]The private Life of Chairman Mao[i]. On page 364 Li states:

I suggested that he should at least allow himself to be washed and cleaned. Mao still only received only nightly rubdowns with hot towels. He never actually bathed. His genitals were never cleaned. But Mao refused to bathe. "I wash myself inside the bodies of my women," he retorted.

There are two possibilities with this: one, that it is true in its entirety. Mao used earthy language and preferred the dirtiness of peasants to the cleanliness of the landlords and intellectuals. Philosophically a good position, but not one to be implemented at the expense of personal hygiene!

The second possibility is that is one of a number of fabrications inserted into Li Zhisui's original text by right wing academics recruited by Randon House to ensure the book was a huge scandal, with Mao as a deviant sex monster - the sort of thing that might turn it from a book of limited interest to one with massive sales based on salacious insights.

You can make your own judgements on Li Zhisui's moral character as a person who fled to the embrace of US imperialism in his declining years. Since you (Lllien) are a young person and still working your politics out (as per your profile on this site), take a look at http://chinastudygroup.net/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/manufacturing-history-xulin-dong.pdf .
It is lengthy but provides some insight into how Li Zhisui's "expose" was written.

Even assuming that Mao shared your predilection for “lots of casual fucking” (your profile again) – and by the way, good luck to both of you in that – isn’t it a little bit hypocritical of you to take a quote that no-one else than Li Zhisui was privileged to hear and embellish that with the literary refinements of anglo-saxon four letter words, dress it up as a “poem”, in order to piss on the face of a man whose party and government brought undeniable changes for the better to Chinese women?

Here’s how Mao expressed his emotions about the new women of China (oops, sorry, obviously loses a bit in the translation):

MILITIA WOMEN
INSCRIPTION ON A PHOTOGRAPH
--a chueh chu
February 1961

How bright and brave they look, shouldering five-foot rifles
On the parade ground lit up by the first gleams of day.
China's daughters have high-aspiring minds,
They love their battle array, not silks and satins.

Lexxi

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Weirdo Maoist Freak:

No there wasn't.
The only reference to this is in Li Zhisui's The private Life of Chairman Mao[i]. On page 364 Li states:
[i]I suggested that he should at least allow himself to be washed and cleaned. Mao still only received only nightly rubdowns with hot towels. He never actually bathed. His genitals were never cleaned. But Mao refused to bathe. "I wash myself inside the bodies of my women," he retorted.
There are two possibilities with this: one, that it is true in its entirety. Mao used earthy language and preferred the dirtiness of peasants to the cleanliness of the landlords and intellectuals. Philosophically a good position, but not one to be implemented at the expense of personal hygiene!

LMAO. I knew it wasn’t a poem & I knew the source of where the quotation originally came from. I was just being facetious and copying what someone had humorously written on another site. But thanks for protecting the integrity of Mickey Mao. :r:

The second possibility is that is one of a number of fabrications inserted into Li Zhisui's original text by right wing academics recruited by Randon House to ensure the book was a huge scandal, with Mao as a deviant sex monster - the sort of thing that might turn it from a book of limited interest to one with massive sales based on salacious insights.
You can make your own judgements on Li Zhisui's moral character as a person who fled to the embrace of US imperialism in his declining years.

Since you (Lllien) are a young person and still working your politics out (as per your profile on this site), take a look at http://chinastudygroup.net/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/manufacturing-history-xulin-dong.pdf .
It is lengthy but provides some insight into how Li Zhisui's "expose" was written.

I’d rather watch paint dry than read a book defending the inaccuracy of claims regarding the sexual activities of Mao. I scarcely care one way or another about Mao’s sex life, or indeed any part of his personal life. My politics are worked out enough for me to know that Maoism is nothing more than a liberal bourgeoisie ideology.

Even assuming that Mao shared your predilection for “lots of casual fucking” (your profile again) – and by the way, good luck to both of you in that – isn’t it a little bit hypocritical of you to take a quote that no-one else than Li Zhisui was privileged to hear and embellish that with the literary refinements of anglo-saxon four letter words, dress it up as a “poem”, in order to piss on the face of a man whose party and government brought undeniable changes for the better to Chinese women?

Isn’t it a bit hypocritical of scum like yourself to dress yourselves up as communists, yet have only ever in practice betrayed and spat on the working class and real communist militants? Isn’t it hypocritical of you to even talk about "women’s rights" when the only reason that such changes were brought were, like all developing capitalist countries, for the expansion of the working class and the accumulation of capital? That it dressed itself up in rhetoric about the emancipation of women is irrelevant.

And I wouldn't (have) pissed on Mao even if he was on fire.

Here’s how Mao expressed his emotions about the new women of China (oops, sorry, obviously loses a bit in the translation):
MILITIA WOMEN
INSCRIPTION ON A PHOTOGRAPH
--a chueh chu
February 1961
How bright and brave they look, shouldering five-foot rifles
On the parade ground lit up by the first gleams of day.
China's daughters have high-aspiring minds,
They love their battle array, not silks and satins.

Of course, China needed as many soldiers as it could when it crushed various rebellions and gave support to reactionary groups along side its ally the US. Sorry, I don’t think the glorification of militarism has anything to do with the abolishment of gender lines, nor do I think the gender make up of an army of a reactionary state is at all relevant to whether I'd consider that state 'progressive.'

Tojiah

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

How dare you disrespect

!!!

Lexxi

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

geNdurrr equAlitY

Tojiah

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

mike-servethepeople

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

OK Lllien, so she can crack walnuts with her butt. Nice....

You say:

Isn’t it a bit hypocritical of scum like yourself to dress yourselves up as communists, yet have only ever in practice betrayed and spat on the working class and real communist militants?

I didn't realise we'd met. Where do you know me from?

BTW, here's an earlier betrayal of and spitting on the working class and "real" communists like yourself. Sorry for the lengthy intro:

Australia is a nation created by British colonialism, which seized the southern continent from its indigenous owners in 1788 and succeeding years. Ruling class historians describe this as "discovery" and "settlement" and even today try to deny that the process was one by which one group of people, the colonialists, used violence and the threat of violence to overturn the traditional rights of another people, the tribal communities of Aboriginal Australia.

As a Second World country, Australia is denied its full rights to independence by imperialism. The injustice of this is visited many times over on the indigenous peoples, many of whom live in worse than Third World conditions.

Twenty-six years ago, the Texas-based multinational Amax decided that it wanted to drill for oil on the Noonkanbah pastoral lease near Fitzroy Crossing in Western Australia. The traditional Aboriginal owners saw themselves as custodians of the land and it’s Dreaming sites and resisted this encroachment on their land. The labour movement swung into action behind them.

The right wing Premier of Western Australia mobilised the state forces behind Amax and a vicious police presence was used to guard a convoy of 49 Amax trucks on their journey from Perth to Noonkanbah, 3000 kilometre to the north.

Twenty-five years later, in December 2004, the Noonkanbah community won a native land title claim to 1811 square kilometres of their traditional land.

The "place of the goanna" refers to an indigenous belief about a part of the mining lease being sacred to the large Australian lizard called the goanna.

The wedgetail eagle is a magnificent and majestic bird, the largest of Australia’s birds of prey.

TRUCKS OF AMAX

Like Nazis marching
into Poland
comes this convoy
from the city:
snake of chrome

with snake-evil task,
the trucks of Amax,
going to Noonkanbah,
place of the goanna,
to rip and tear.

In this time and place
a Nazi raid
into the lands of those who
with sacredness and gentility
uphold civilisation
against the perfidious
god of profit.

With conqueror’s sneer
at the roadside few
the police drive straight
at the camera crew

Superiority – so base, so low,
as on the trucks of Amax
go…

In my dull routine
far from the jellied
heat of the road,
an aching to fight:

to swoop from the skies
in wedgetail glory
leaving the trucks of Amax
gory

But police stand guard
with batons hard
along the road
to Noonkanbah…

Under the banner of plunder
the Nazis march today
all through the great
Down Under
if Amax has its way.

And a fight it shall be,
for in these things -
incompatibility!

Compassion and the greed of the plunderer
Respect and the superior man’s contempt
Understanding and the arrogance of the profiteer
Independence and prostitution to the foreign dollar
Freedom and police in the pay of traitors

No - there are no
swastikas, only dollar signs

but like Nazis
marching into Poland
go the trucks of Amax

..............

Regards,
Weirdo Maoist Freak

Not even a poetry thread can escape Godwin's law...

Devrim

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

mike-servethepeople

Like Nazis marching
into Poland

The Germany invasion of Poland acted as the spark to the Second World War as a result of which between 60,000,000 and 80,000,000 (i.e. at least three times the current population of Australia) died.

Perhaps you need to get a bit of perspective.

mike-servethepeople

As a Second World country, Australia is denied its full rights to independence by imperialism.

Superb! Is this somebody just making a parody of Maoism? Revol perhaps?

Devrim

Lexxi

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

You'd think it would be a parody of Maoism, Devrim, but what else is Maoism but a parody of Marxism?

The Maoist 'movement' in Australia has a long history of supporting republican/independence movements in order to 'free' Australia from the imperialism of Britain and the US :D , frequently along with conservatives and other nationalist groups. The left as a whole also generally supports private-property land rights for Indigenous people.

Boris Badenov

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

lol maoists. That's so 60s dude. We didn't land on Plymouth rock, Plymouth rock landed on Mars!

Boris Badenov

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Not exactly "communist poetry," but...

Uncle Son

He was just a workin' man,
Simple rules and simple plans,
Fancy words he didn't understand,
He loved with his heart,
He worked with his hands.

Liberals dream of equal rights,
Conservatives live in a world gone by,
Socialists preach of a promised land,
But old Uncle Son was an ordinary man.

Bless you Uncle Son,
They won't forget you when the revolution comes.

Unionists tell you when to strike,
Generals tell you when to fight,
Preachers teach you wrong from right,
They'll feed you when you're born,
And use you all your life.

Bless you Uncle Son,
They won't forget you when the revolution comes

and

Oklahoma USA

All life we work but work is bore,
If life's for livin' what's livin' for,
She lives in a house that's near decay,
Built for the industrial revolution,
But in her dreams she is far away,
In Oklahoma U.S.A.
With Shirley Jones and Gordon McRea,
As she buys her paper at the corner shop,
She's walkin' on the surrey with the fringe on top,
Cos in her dreams she is far away,
In Oklahoma U.S.A.,
She walks to work but she's still in a daze,
She's Rita Hayworth or Doris Day,
And Errol Flynn's gonna take her away,
To Oklahoma U.S.A.,
All life we work but work is a bore,
If life's for livin' then what's livin' for.

Two songs from the Kinks' Muswell Hillbillies album. Pretty amazing stuff imo.

Tarwater

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

There's a crack up in the ceiling,
And the kitchen sink is leaking.
Out of work and got no money,
A Sunday joint of bread and honey.
What are we living for?
Two-roomed apartment on the second floor.
No money coming in,
The rent collector's knocking, trying to get in.
We are strictly second class,
We don't understand,
(Dead end!)
Why we should be on dead end street.
(Dead end!)
People are living on dead end street.
(Dead end!)
Gonna die on dead end street.
Dead end street (yeah)
Dead end street (yeah)
On a cold and frosty morning,
Wipe my eyes and stop me yawning.
And my feet are nearly frozen,
Boil the tea and put some toast on.
What are we living for?
Two-roomed apartment on the second floor.
No chance to emigrate,
I'm deep in debt and now it's much too late.
We both want to work so hard,
We can't get the chance,
(Dead end!)
People live on dead end street.
(Dead end!)
People are dying on dead end street.
(Dead end!)
Gonna die on dead end street.
Dead end street (yeah)
Dead end street (yeah)
(Dead end!)
People live on dead end street.
(Dead end!)
People are dying on dead end street.
(Dead end!)
Gonna die on dead end street.
Dead end street (yeah)
Dead end street (yeah)
Dead end street (yeah)
Head to my feet (yeah)
Dead end street (yeah)
Dead end street (yeah)
Dead end street (yeah)
How's it feel? (yeah)
How's it feel? (yeah)
Dead end street (yeah)
Dead end street (yeah)

-Kinks

Caiman del Barrio

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Nice one, so how many more pages before this sufficiently degenerates for me to post lyrics from:

-Springsteen
-Cock Sparrer
-RATM?

Boris Badenov

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Ray Davies really is something else innit.

Caiman del Barrio

Nice one, so how many more pages before this sufficiently degenerates for me to post lyrics from:

-Springsteen
-Cock Sparrer
-RATM?

Improved rather, from the stalinist crapola of the first pages to what is essentially GOOD STUFF. That said take your Cock Sparrer and shove it up your RATM.

Caiman del Barrio

Nice one, so how many more pages before this sufficiently degenerates for me to post lyrics from:

-Springsteen?

from the first two albums that he is sort of embarressed about which have really weird lyrics, or his later 'more normal ' stuff?

Devrim

Caiman del Barrio

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The River's the example that springs most instantly to mind. I'm not hot enough on the lyrics to the first two records, they're more whistly, foot tappin' awesomeness as opposed to chest-thumpin' awesomeness.

That said, we've had a Western Maoist already, so I wouldn't be lowering the tone too much if I tried to present Rosalita as communist cos it's about a pretty Mexican girl...

John1

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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mike-servethepeople

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I entered uninvited
Forgive me my intrusion
Searching for “communist poems”, not “lib-coms”:
It was sadly my confusion

Freaky weirdo Maoist martyr
Deserved his lib-com lashing
Cyber dangling stuffed piñata
Who was he to come gate-crashing

Samotnaff
Thanks for Thribb, EJ
Happy to read some more of his
Sometime, someday…

Lllien
Sweet little darlin’
You can go and fuck
Dear dead Joseph Vissarionovich Djugashvili

Comrade An,you started this
Farewell…zaijian…gaobie
But there’s one last thing I want to say:
Mao zhuyi wan sui!

Samotnaf

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Presumably Richard's post above is one of William Burrough's cut-ups (arbitrarily taking words cut out of an article or ten and sticking them together).

Well, just recently I downloaded some 'Libertarian Communist' software which included Burrough's-type cut-ups, amongst its choice of "structural forms", though I've yet to try the 'cut-up' form as it doesn't produce anything remotely interesting (e.g. Richard's "poem").

This 'Libertarian Communist' software is an update of a very old "Theory-by-numbers" software from way-back when PCs were called "New Technology", which the ICC and others have been using for the last 30 years or so (basically, it works like "Painting by numbers": it's structure is various correct attacks on Trade Unionism and Nationalism, with blank spaces for details like dates, bureaucrats' names, countries, "revolutionary groups", etc. which you 'colour' in with the specifics).

Anyway, this new version is "Left Communist/Anarcho-Communist/Situationist/Council Communist/Whatever-ist Poetry", and it's a lot more sophisticated, less predictable, than the old stuff from circa 1980. It can do any poetic form you want, adapted to various versions of your opinions. What you do is give a 30 word precis of your ideas about a given subject (e.g. Marx, Kronstadt, the CNT, etc.) and click on a poetic form and/or poet's name. For example - I clicked on "Shakespeare, Macbeth" as one of the forms and "General Theory" as subject matter (having given my 30 words), and it came up with this:

Tomorrow, and wage slavery, and forced passivity,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of wasted time;
And all our resignations have lighted submissive spectators
The way to dusty Capital. Out , out, brief candle!
Life in class society's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more; it is a lie
Told by the ruling class, full of sound and fury,
Signifying commodity relations....

Then I just changed it to "Hamlet" and this came up:

To revolt or not to revolt: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in daily life to suffer
The Asbos and humanitarian aid of outrageous capitalism,
Or to take arms against a swamp of constraints,
And by opposing end them? To die, to sleep;
No more; and, by a sleep to pretend we end
The heartache and the thousand bureaucratic shocks
That our enslaved life is heir to, 'tis an illusion
Determinedly to be opposed. To die, to sleep;
to sleep: perchance to watch Eastenders; ay, there's the rub;
For in that sleep of death those compensations which come
When we have finished the day's wage labour,
Must confuse us with lies. There's the respect for alienation
That makes calamity of so long a living death;
For who would bear the armies and ideologies of time which is money,
The oppressor's delirium, the proud person's degradations,
The pangs of a world without love, the law's irrationality
The insolence of authority, and the spurns
That patient merit of commodities takes,
When he himself might settle his accounts
With a molotov cocktail? Who would hierarchies bear
To grunt and sweat under a weary pseudo-life,
But that the dread of something after the death of class society,
The undiscovered world from whose absence of boundaries
No revolution returns, this dread intimidates the will
And makes some of us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to possiblities that we know not of?
Thus consciousness without practice does make cowards of too many of us;
And thus the creative hue of revolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of impotent thought,
And adventures of great courage and historical moment
With this self-doubt their currents turn awry,
And lose the chance of anti-capitalist action...

The I did the same with William Blake and his poem "The Tiger" and this came up:

The Ryot

Ryot Ryot burning bright
In the forests of the night:
What commoditys’ hand or eye,
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

On what street corner or street cries
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare we aspire?
What lucidity dare sieze the fire?

What the bricks against the chain?
In every furnace was they brain!
What new world? What clear grasp
Dare its lively tremors clasp?

When the kids returned to watch TV
Or Diluting life with SWP
Did the State smile, its work to see?
Did the powers that make them sheepish make thee?

And what molotov, beyond art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to thunder
What dread anger? And what dread plunder?

Ryot Ryot burning bright
In the forests of the night
What other-directed hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

Not bad, imo.

These took about a minute each, but it can churn out some poetic forms at the rate of 60 per minute (e.g. the EJThribb I posted about Mao and mike_servethepeople above took just one second; same for rhyming couplets - I guess mike_servethepeople has the same software). Others it produces a little slower - about 6 a minute; the following limerick took about 10 seconds:

There was an old prof called Cleishbotham
Need some old lies? - he's sure got 'em
He treats critics with venom
Like his hero - dead Lenin
Who liked critics so much that he shot 'em

Likewise, this one:

There was an old chanter - Baboon;
Not singing scat, he'd just croon
He knew just one song
And sang far too long
Far too slow, out of time, out of tune

Not King Lear, more Edward - but not bad for 10 seconds' effort.

The Haiku (7 syllables, 5 syllables, 7 syllables), however, despite its brevity, is, on the surface, deceptively simple but takes a lot longer to create (about 10 minutes); e.g. this one about our favourite Left Communist international organisation and would-be party (not the all-night variety):

The icy sea freezes all
Drowning in notions
Archtic. Sinking not thinking.

As I said, deceptively simple.

Anyway - it does everything - clerihews, for example ...these two came up, the first, a fairly obscure one about Alf:

C.D.Ward
Makes me bored

Unlike his hero HPLovecraft, he's usually 'correct', safe and detached

Almost invariably writing in a flat prose few have ever mis-matched

and:

Mr.Weeler
Wordsmith, spieler
Never a thing to say
But says it anyway.

Or doggerel - for example:

Alas! Anarchism now mourns for her professor extinct -
The late and the good Prof Howard Zinn.
We hope his soul has fled to communism beyond,
Where are everlasting lectures of which we are fond.

Then there are elegies, sonnets, jazz poetry, acrostics, double dactyl higgledypiggledies, epic poetry, epistles, nonsense verse - you name it, it's got it. And even poems in the style of virtually any poet whose style is predictable : e.g. e.e.cummings, Pam Ayres, John Hegley, Pinter, TSEliot, etc.
It also does song styles - rap, ballads, Bing Crosby ("I'm dreaming of a red and black Spartacusmas"), etc. (though it doesn't do fairly unpredictable lyrics, say in the style of The Kinks,of whom Vlad seems to be a fan).
But it does do nursery rhymes... this one came up:

baa baa red and/or black sheep,
have you any wooly ideas?
yes comrade,
no, comrade,
300 rags full of cliches
260 for Master Lenin,
39 for Dame Montseny,
and maybe just 1 for the little proletarian who struggles along the lane to the end of alienation, following the straight and narrow path of alienation itself, keeping just one step ahead.

Brilliant, no?*

Download for free from: www.theresnopoetrylikelibcompoetry.com

*No

Tarwater

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Improved rather, from the stalinist crapola of the first pages to what is essentially GOOD STUFF. That said take your Cock Sparrer and shove it up your RATM.

God, can someone tell me one bad thing about the "shock troops" album? I doubt it.

Ray Davies is almost just as good (credit where it's due)

Now that you've found your paradise
This is your Kingdom to command
You can go outside and polish your car
Or sit by the fire in your Shangri-la
Here is your reward for working so hard
Gone are the lavatories in the back yard
Gone are the days when you dreamed of that car
You just want to sit in your Shangri-la

Put on your slippers and sit by the fire
You've reached your top and you just can't get any higher
You're in your place and you know where you are
In your Shangri-la
Sit back in your old rocking chair
You need not worry, you need not care
You can't go anywhere
Shangri-la, Shangri-la, Shangri-la

The little man who gets the train
Got a mortgage hanging over his head
But he's too scared to complain
'Cos he's conditioned that way
Time goes by and he pays off his debts
Got a TV set and a radio
For seven shillings a week
Shangri-la, Shangri-la, Shangri-la, Shangri-la, Shangri-la, Shangri-la

And all the houses in the street have got a name
'Cos all the houses in the street they look the same
Same chimney pots, same little cars, same window panes
The neighbors call to tell you things that you should know
They say their lines, they drink their tea, and then they go
They tell your business in another Shangri-la
The gas bills and the water rates, and payments on the car
Too scared to think about how insecure you are
Life ain't so happy in your little Shangri-la
Shangri-la, Shangri-la la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la

Put on your slippers and sit by the fire
You've reached your top and you just can't get any higher
You're in your place and you know where you are
In your Shangri-la
Sit back in your old rocking chair
You need not worry, you need not care
You can't go anywhere
Shangri-la, Shangri-la, Shangri-la, Shangri-la, Shangri-la, Shangri-la

"Arthur" as a concept album is solid communist poetry all the way, now that I think of it.

Samotnaf

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

mike_servethepeople said

I entered uninvited
Forgive me my intrusion

etc.
Well the software from
www.theresnopoetrylikelibcompoetry.com (see above) has come up with this reply:

Not so much your lack of invitation
That caused such sarcastic irritation
As your senseless hero-worship of Mao,
Ignorance of Chinese women - and how!
Anti-imperialist? - don't forget
The anti-Empire Mao made in Tibet*

Rhyming couplets are truly the best, no? Such a popular 'easy listening' form is essential - we must treat the plebs like Mao did with his Little Red Book, and like pop stars and others do in the West - as the childish peasants they basically are.

*(By the way, according to 'Socialisme ou Barbarie' , it was the Tibetan ruling class, with the Dalai Lama as part of them, that first 'invited' the Chinese State to quell social unrest there because they couldn't control things on their own; only the Chinese State overstayed its welcome. )

And how about this from The Kinks -

Brown - you really got me going
you got me so I don't know what your class is doing
Sarkozy - you really got me now
You got me so I can't sleep at night

Yeah - you really got me going
You got me so I don't know what anybody's doing
Oh yeah, you really got me now
You got me so I can't sleep at night

you really got me
you really got me
you really got me

Obomber - you really got me going
you got me so I don't know what your class is doing
Chavez - you really got me now
You got me so I can't sleep at night

Yeah - you really got me going
You got me so I don't know what anybody's doing
Oh yeah, you really got me now
You got me so I can't sleep at night

See - wanna set myself free
Don't wanna be takin' false sides
Rulers, you really got me now
You got me so I can't sleep at night

you really got me
you really got me
you really got me

Oh no...

(solo guitar)

etc. etc. etc.

Samotnaf

This 'Libertarian Communist' software is an update of a very old "Theory-by-numbers" software from way-back when PCs were called "New Technology", which the ICC and others have been using for the last 30 years or so (basically, it works like "Painting by numbers": it's structure is various correct attacks on Trade Unionism and Nationalism, with blank spaces for details like dates, bureaucrats' names, countries, "revolutionary groups", etc. which you 'colour' in with the specifics).

:p

As for my poem...I was watching Dada - Europe after the rain documentary and nicked the idea from there, can't get anything past you can we. My aim wasn't for it to be deeply 'interesting' but to elicit some kind of response other than the poems on here had done up to this point. I think it kind of worked a little. Or perhaps it had none or very little effect?

Samotnaf

12 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Richard - been on holiday from libcom, but back to reality (or is it the other way round?).
I'm not sure if your "can't get anything past you can we?" was meant ironically, since I attributed your cut-up to Burroughs not Dada, whose techniques Burroughs, hardly original, burroughed from. Should have sussed that - thanks for making me see the connection.

The link you gave - Dada - Europe after the rain - was kind of interesting, though it's like yet another repeat of anti-art turned into art - subversive during and after WWl, hardly subversive almost 100 - 40 years later (see "Closed window onto another life", which I co-wrote; see, especially the chapter "Taste and Tasteability: Taste - ancient and modern", but also some of the other stuff - particularly the bit on the attack on Duchamp's "fountain"/urinal - is relevant to a critique of dada). Also, I highly recommend Vaneigem's A Cavalier History of Surrealism, which is an excellent counter-balance to the uncritical pro-surrealist video, and includes a lot of interesting takes on Dada, Breton, Artaud, Peret, etc.

Of course, Dada, particularly German Dada, as the "Dada - Europe after the rain" video shows, was a lot more radical than any of the tame Tracy Vermin or Damien Hearse dada imitators. Even the sound poems are funnier than anything modern dada imitators produce (though I'm certainly not recommending better imitation). However, "True dadaists are against dada", they declared - but that too can become an ideology. "Dada has no pretensions", they declare - but that too became a pretension.

The video recounts Breton meeting a patient in hospital who claims that the war is a fake, bodies taken out of morgues and placed on the battlefield for the cameras, etc. Reminded me of a guy I knew who said, after the April '81 riots in Brixton, "It was all done in a studio". He was already past the half-way mark to madness, and had been very into Vaneigem's take on nihilism (which critically appreciates Dadaism as part of nihilism) - and it seems that the fall into subjectivism as a reactive rebellion can all-too-often lead into madness (eg Artaud). Perhaps "cut-up" is a form of madness made into art - because it leaves everything to chance, and submitting to chance might seem 'open', but it's like being an open sewer - ( Tom Lehrer said, "Life is like a sewer - what you get out of it depends on what you put into it", but really it should be "what you get out of it depends on what the various forms of external authority put into it", but that's not at all funny ). Cut-up is as determined by this sewerish life as anything else and isn't a genuine opposition to the material base of the rigidity of linear thinking, any more than de Bono's lateral thinking is. Like all techniques and methods, its use is totally dependent on the aim of its user, and dadism's/surrealism's aims of trying to destroy the stifling atmosphere of dominant life and culture by cultural means ended up in reinforcing/reforming what it hoped to oppose. Surrealism's reactive ideology against "reason" probably comes from the oppressive "rationalism" of French post-Revolution culture, which never had the same power in anti-rational Britain (hence 'Alice in Wonderland' and Edward Lear have always been perfectly compatible with the dominant nonsense, which is not to say that there aren't some good bits in both, just as there are in Monty Python, which can be used in a subversive way).

The video you mention quotes Hans Arp as saying that his former dada friends, turned Stalinist, "conscientiously ... mix poetry and a 5 year plan in one pot". That almost sums up some of the poetry recommended in this thread. Yet maybe we should consciously mix "poetry" (the subjective) with an objective attack on the various "termite state"s that Arp refers to. Cut-up is a technique, but like all techniques, in order to use it radically against external authority (if you're not to be determined by whatever crap external authority arbitrarily flushes your way), you have to use it with your semi-conscious thoughts and desires - to try to push yourself against this chaotic cut-up world/life in a determined way. It's a bit like automatic writing - sometimes you come up with some funny expressions you'd never come up with by just writing in a normal 'theoretical' way, but on their own they communicate nothing to others other than some vaguely "poetic" aesthetic nonsense; used more consciously (having found such expressions by chance) they can make your critique more striking, poignant, more hitting home than just the standard objective way. Though some people go overboard with this subjectivity,often losing sight of what they really want to say by getting stuck in clever clever language games (I'm thinking of some of the Tiquun-influenced stuff being produced now in the States) . It's a delicate balance between 'objective' research and subjective expression. And that shouldn't just be applied to rigid writing habits or fixed methods of 'theoretical research' (e.g. the standard University-prescribed methods of Aufheben's articles) but to the practice that theory should be part of - life, and the struggle against the life the "rational" forces of the commodity imposes on us, has to be an interaction between rational choice and chance encounter, between conscious decision and seizing fairly arbitrary chances (e.g. the way people fighting the cops will suddenly find a practical interesting use for the things around them that they would normally have just seen as things "out there"). Subverting the way we cook and eat, our sex lives (if we have one), our walks round where we live, our travelling, our conversations, our daily practical habits in all aspects of our lives - subverting by the experimental interaction of chance and conscious choice, depending of course on the different margins of freedom our different situations in this world permits us - should be as much part of our attack on this world as experimental writing.

By the way, since St.Valentine's day, this is the Chinese year of the tiger (metal tiger, not paper or electronic one) - so Blake's poem, as a development of his proverb from hell in his book "The Marriage Of Heaven And Hell" (a beautifully subversive title for its time), "The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction", seems worth producing here:

THE TYGER (from Songs Of Experience)

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare sieze the fire?
And what shoulder, & what art.
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? & what dread feet?
What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?
When the stars threw down their spears,
And watered heaven with their tears,
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?
Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

(1794)

I reproduce it here because I've looked at it a couple of times over the last 2 weeks. What's your (or anybody else's) interpretation of this? It seems that, despite the fact that Blake inevitably (given his epoch and his geographical location) believed in some kind of God, there's a kind of critique of God, particularly as some absolute fixed thing, in this - though saying this hardly says enough. I've never managed to read E.P.Thompson's book on Blake, hardly getting past the first few pages, because it seemed so academic and unnecessarily clever clever, but maybe other people here have gleaned something from it, or from other analyses of Blake............?

Don't want to get into a spectacle of erudition, as a friend said libcom forums encourage - but these long rambling thoughts tend to come to me at this time of the morning after a strong cup of coffee..........

Leo

12 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Nazim Hikmet

From stone, from bronze, from plaster, from paper,
from two centimeters to seven meters,
from stone, from bronze, from plaster, from paper; his boots
in all the squares of the city, under which we lied,
in parks, over the trees, his shadow:
from stone, from bronze, from plaster, from paper,
his mustache: from stone, from bronze, from plaster, from paper,
inside our soups in every diner,
in front of his eyes in every from,
his eyes from stone, from bronze, from plaster, from paper.
Gone he was, one morning,
gone was his boots, from the squares,
his shadow from the trees,
his mustache from our soup,
his eyes from our rooms,
and relieved we were of the oppression of thousands of tons
of stone, bronze, plaster and paper...

...

Nazim Hikmet

On Living

I

Living is no laughing matter:
you must live with great seriousness
like a squirrel, for example--
I mean without looking for something beyond and above living,
I mean living must be your whole occupation.
Living is no laughing matter:
you must take it seriously,
so much and to such a degree that
for example, with your hands tied behind your back,
your back against the wall,
or in a laboratory
with your white coat and safety goggles,
you can die for others--
even for those whose faces you've never seen,
even though you know that living
is the most real, the most beautiful thing.
I mean, you must take living so seriously that
even at seventy, for example, you should plant olive trees--
and not for your children, either,
but because although you fear death you don't believe in it,
because living, I mean, weighs heavier.

II

Let's say we're seriously ill, need surgery--
which is to say we might not get up
from the white table.
Even though it's impossible not to feel sad
about going a little too soon,
we'll still laugh at the jokes we are told,
we'll look out the window to see if it's raining,
or still wait anxiously for the news...
Let's say we're at the front--
for something worth fighting for.
There, in the first skirmish, on that very day,
its possible to fall down on our face and die.
We'll know this with a curious anger,
but we'll still worry ourselves to death
about the outcome of the war, which might last years.
Let's say we're in prison
and close to fifty,
and we have eighteen more years,
before we can get past the iron doors.
We'll still live with the world outside,
with the people and the animals, with the struggle and the wind--
I mean with the outside beyond the walls.
I mean, however and wherever we are,
we must live as if we will never die.

III

This earth will grow cold,
a star among stars
and one of the smallest ones,
a gilded mote on the blue velvet--
I mean this, our great earth.
This earth will grow cold one day,
not like a block of ice
or a dead cloud even
but like an empty walnut
it will roll along in pitch-black space ...
You must grieve for this right now
--you have to feel this sorrow now--
for the world must be loved this much
if you're going to say "I have lived" ...

Wouldn't actually consider him a communist after early twenties, but nice poetry imho.

Samotnaf

12 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Leo - imho pretty boring poetry.

And what's 'nice' about it ? ('nice' conjurs up Pam Ayres - and at least Pam Ayres has no 'communist' pretensions). Does 'nice' mean writing - in the early 20s when he was in your opinion 'communist' - a poem commissioned by Ataturk to rouse Turkish volunteers in Constantinople to join his struggle? Even for a Left "communist" like you there must be some contradiction, or was Turkish nationalism progressive up to this point in your terms? (at least Byron died for a nationalist struggle, which about 100 years before Ataturk, was certainly relatively progressive; besides, he wasn't fighting or writing for "his" country). Of course, doing commissioned work and 'communist' poetry are not contradictory in your ideological terms, because you probably write for your organisation under (unpaid) commission, but the content of the form and content of his poetry is vapid and empty compared with, say, Brecht at that time.

Does 'nice' mean saying "Living is no laughing matter"? Better to say that " laughing is no laughing matter"; i.e. the split between humour and seriousness has to be suppressed, something Nazim Hikmet doesn't even attempt to do. Does 'nice' mean "dying for others"? The only person I'd die for would be my kid or for other kids, and even then, it wouldn't be for them, but for myself - because I know I couldn't live with myself if I didn't risk my life if I could save theirs' when theirs' was in danger. Does 'nice' mean this typical Stalino-Leninist notion of "communist": so nice to die for the Party, for the Organisation, for the 5 year plan, for the alien Other. As Vlad said a lot earlier in this thread, 'Anyone who thinks that Stalinist poetry is "nice" should be waterboarded' (quote from memory, possibly slightly inaccurate).

What exactly was 'communist' about the guy? Or are you so used to talking in your sleep with others who talk in their sleep - without anyone telling you you're all talking bullshit - that you consider such questions over the top? Maybe I should leave you to rest in peace.

Of course, I'm taking all this far too seriously; most posters don't even bother to think beyond the surface - but then, as Nazim Hikmet almost said,"you must critique with great seriousness".

Btw I put "communist" in inverted commas above in reference to you Leo not just to slightly annoy you, and even less to come over as sectarian but because you don't even try to follow the supposed logic of threads, which is that posts are meant, more or less, to follow some of what has been said before in the thread - that's part of what "communist" means - something to do with communication. And you definitely didn't address a single thing that has been said on this thread at all. And if I'm pissed off, it's because your unthinking nonsense and that of your organisation is all over this site, and you completely ignored not only everybody else's post, but my last one posted this morning in response to Richard's, a post that required a little more reflection than your insipid philistine stuff. If it seems ridiculous to bring this up in an exaggerated manner on this thread that's because this particular version of sterile braindead politics has possibly sabotaged what could have been an interesting discussion on dada, surrealism and Blake - which if anyone isn't scared off after this rant of mine, would be a far more useful focus than just churning out people's favourite poems without any discussion.

A friend said that libcom creates an atmosphere where everything is reduced to an equivalent because nothing is consequential. If people are serious about "living and critiquing with great seriousness" then being rude to these Leninist politico bores should be number one priority. Instead they get away with rubbish and lies and people are so used to it they think why bother? Doubtless people will say I'm being self-important and excessively aggressive; however, if I thought that what I said was the equivalent of every tedious ICC hack that farted on this site just to draw attention to themselves, I'd be seriously suicidal.

Leo

12 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Does 'nice' mean writing - in the early 20s when he was in your opinion 'communist' - a poem commissioned by Ataturk to rouse Turkish volunteers in Constantinople to join his struggle

What on earth are you talking about? In the early twenties (1922 to 1925 to be prescise) his poetry was pretty anti-Kemalist, he actually calls Kemal a dog in one of his poems from that period. He became a communist when he went to Russia to study, he was obviously a nationalist before he went there. He joined the Communist Party of Turkey in Russia and when he returned to Turkey, he joined the right wing of the party.

As for the poems, they were both written well after the forties, when Kemal was dead.

Anyone who thinks that Stalinist poetry is "nice" should be waterboarded'

It is true that Nazim Hikmet himself was a rather fickle Stalinist for the most of his life, but his poetry is generally considered within the boundaries of futurism and the "Turkish avant-garde" rather than "socialist realism", and in any case what is actually Stalinist while looking at arts is to base the evaluation made on the politics of the artist.

if I thought that what I said was the equivalent of every tedious ICC hack that farted on this site just to draw attention to themselves, I'd be seriously suicidal.

Perhaps you should be if you have spent such a large amount of time drafting a hysterical response to someone who posted two poems on the internet.

Who is trying to draw attention to themselves, or who is boring for that matter, is pretty obvious. Seriously, get a life...

miles

12 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

A poem recently published on the ICC website, about the feelings of a returned soldier:

 
A soldiers tale

 All the endless anticipation could not prepare you

All the training casually comes and goes

If you have been pulled and stretched in every way

Have been sent to the edge of the crevice

and been tempted to look down,

All the while feeling yourself on the crest of

grim madness and bloodthirsty insanity

 

If you've had to kill or be killed and so killed 

in anger and hate and blind panic,

When friend and foe alike blur

with barely time to register or regret,

To try and duck something that could kill you

before you'd thought to duck

 

If you've had to carry someone in your hands

as their life dribbled away with every jerk and heave

Heard the last exhalations of two hundred

cursing and shouting the name of their most beloved 

Maria or Mark or God

 

Have fought the protestations of your innards

ejecting themselves at the visceral scenes

(now safely locked away)

After all of this, and all of that  -

what does a return to normality mean?

Leo

12 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I thought that was pretty good, sort of reminds of this song by Eric Bogle:

Oh how do you do, young Willy McBride
Do you mind if I sit here down by your graveside
And rest for a while in the warm summer sun
I've been walking all day, and I'm nearly done
And I see by your gravestone you were only nineteen
When you joined the great fallen in 1916
Well I hope you died quick
And I hope you died clean
Or Willy McBride, was is it slow and obscene

Did they beat the drums slowly
Did they play the fife lowly
Did they sound the death march as they lowered you down
Did the band play the last post and chorus
Did the pipes play the Flowers of the Forest

And did you leave a wife or a sweetheart behind
In some loyal heart is your memory enshrined
And though you died back in 1916
To that loyal heart you're forever nineteen
Or are you a stranger without even a name
Forever enshrined behind some old glass pane
In an old photograph torn, tattered, and stained
And faded to yellow in a brown leather frame

Did they beat the drums slowly
Did they play the fife lowly
Did they sound the death march as they lowered you down
Did the band play the last post and chorus
Did the pipes play the flowers of the forest

The sun shining down on these green fields of France
The warm wind blows gently and the red poppies dance
The trenches have vanished long under the plow
No gas, no barbed wire, no guns firing now
But here in this graveyard that's still no mans land
The countless white crosses in mute witness stand
To man's blind indifference to his fellow man
And a whole generation were butchered and damned

Did they beat the drums slowly
Did they play the fife lowly
Did they sound the death march as they lowered you down
Did the band play the last post and chorus
Did the pipes play the flowers of the forest

And I can't help but wonder oh Willy McBride
Do all those who lie here know why they died
Did you really believe them when they told you the cause
Did you really believe that this war would end wars
Well the suffering, the sorrow, the glory, the shame
The killing and dying it was all done in vain
Oh Willy McBride it all happened again
And again, and again, and again, and again

Did they beat the drums slowly
Did they play the fife lowly
Did they sound the death march as they lowered you down
Did the band play the last post and chorus
Did the pipes play the flowers of the forest

The version I would recommend if anyone wants to listen to the actual song is by Dropkick Murphies, and the songs called "The Green Fields of France".

Wellclose Square

12 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Haven't heard Dropkick Murphies', but heard June Tabor's version - which is very good.

Leo

Limp Bizkit

:hand:

BTW did you hear about the riot when Korn came to Caracas? Loads of dudes ripped up the fences and stormed the VIP section. At least one rich insurrectionist called it "class warfare".

Samotnaf

Leo - imho pretty boring poetry.

That is your opinion. However, Nazim Hikmet Ran is quite widely recognised as being a great poet. If you don't like it fair enough, but others do.

I don't think the ones above are great poems, or great translations. There was one that I posted previously that a lot of people seemed to like:

Nazim Hikmet

Last Will And Testament

Comrades, if I don't live to see the day
-- I mean,if I die before freedom comes --
take me away
and bury me in a village cemetery in Anatolia.

The worker Osman whom Hassan Bey ordered shot
can lie on one side of me, and on the other side
the martyr Aysha, who gave birth in the rye
and died inside of forty days.

Tractors and songs can pass below the cemetery --
in the dawn light, new people, the smell of burnt gasoline,
fields held in common, water in canals,
no drought or fear of the police.

Of course, we won't hear those songs:
the dead lie stretched out underground
and rot like black branches,
deaf, dumb, and blind under the earth.

But, I sang those songs
before they were written,
I smelled the burnt gasoline
before the blueprints for the tractors were drawn.

As for my neighbors,
the worker Osman and the martyr Aysha,
they felt the great longing while alive,
maybe without even knowing it.

Comrades, if I die before that day, I mean
-- and it's looking more and more likely --
bury me in a village cemetery in Anatolia,
and if there's one handy,
a plane tree could stand at my head,
I wouldn't need a stone or anything.

Samotnaf

And what's 'nice' about it ? ('nice' conjurs up Pam Ayres - and at least Pam Ayres has no 'communist' pretensions).

Nice is either 'Hoş' or 'Güzel' in Turkish, both of which are quite widely used for a variety of things that wouldn't be described as 'nice' in modern English. One of your main points seems to be about 'nice', which in my opinion is pretty poor. How would you feel if somebody laied into you about using an adjective in not quite an appropriate way in French, which I believe you speak, as you live there, and then remember that Leo hasn't even been to England as he can't get a visa, like most people here.

Samotnaf

]Does 'nice' mean writing - in the early 20s when he was in your opinion 'communist' - a poem commissioned by Ataturk to rouse Turkish volunteers in Constantinople to join his struggle?

As Leo pointed out Hikmet was a nationalist at this point and became a 'communist' later. Are you implying that if people once had nationalist politics then whatever they do later is implicitly discredited.

Nazim Hikmet was a man, who spent a large proportion of his adult life in prison, and most of the rest in exile. He was stripped of his Turkish nationality and died in Moscow. Yes, he was a Stalinist, so was my father and grandfather. They were both people who spent their lives fighting for what they saw as the cause of the working class. It doesn't make their politics any less reactionary, but I feel that we should at least have some sympathy on a human level.

Hikmet was this sort of nationalist:

Nazim Hikmet

Nazim Hikmet is still continuing to be a traitor

We are a half-colony of American imperialism, said Hikmet.

Nazim Hikmet is still continuing to be a traitor.

This came out in one of the Ankara newspapers,

Over three columns, in a pitch-black screaming streamer.

In an Ankara newspaper, beside a photograph of Admiral Williamson,

smiling in 66 square centimeters, his mouth in his ears,

the American admiral.

America gave 120 million liras to our budget, 120 million liras.

We are a half-colony of American imperialism, said Hikmet.

Nazim Hikmet is still continuing to be a traitor. Yes, I am a traitor, if you are a patriot, if you are a defender of our homeland,

I am a traitor to my homeland; I am a traitor to my country.

If patriotism is your farms,

if the valuables in your safes and your bank accounts is patriotism,

if patriotism is dying from hunger by the side of the road,

if patriotism is trembling in the cold like a cur and shivering from malaria in the summer,

if sucking our scarlet blood in your factories is patriotism,

if patriotism is the claws of your village lords,

if patriotism is the catechism, if patriotism is the police club,

if your allocations and your salaries are patriotism,

if patriotism is American bases, American bombs, and American missiles,

if patriotism is not escaping from our stinking black-minded ignorance,

then I am a traitor.

Write it over three columns, in a pitch-black screaming streamer,

NazIm HIkmet is continuing to be a traitor, still!

Samotnaf

you don't even try to follow the supposed logic of threads, which is that posts are meant, more or less, to follow some of what has been said before in the thread - that's part of what "communist" means - something to do with communication. And you definitely didn't address a single thing that has been said on this thread at all.

I thought that he did. The OP said this:

安藤鈴

Could someone direct me to any Left-Communist poets? Or anarchist poets? Maybe you could post their writings here?

Samotnaf

And if I'm pissed off, it's because your unthinking nonsense and that of your organisation is all over this site, and you completely ignored not only everybody else's post, but my last one posted this morning in response to Richard's, a post that required a little more reflection than your insipid philistine stuff. If it seems ridiculous to bring this up in an exaggerated manner on this thread that's because this particular version of sterile braindead politics has possibly sabotaged what could have been an interesting discussion on dada, surrealism and Blake - which if anyone isn't scared off after this rant of mine, would be a far more useful focus than just churning out people's favourite poems without any discussion.

He replied to the OP. What are you so upset about? That he wasn't interested in what you were discussing? To be honest I have just read through it and I didn't really understand what you were talking about. What would it be useful for? Personally I would rather read the poetry that others liked. However, other have put up poems on this thread and no of them received the barrage of vitriol that you reserved for Leo. What is the problem?

Samotnaf

Doubtless people will say I'm being self-important and excessively aggressive; however, if I thought that what I said was the equivalent of every tedious ICC hack that farted on this site just to draw attention to themselves, I'd be seriously suicidal.

Ah, I see. He is a member of the ICC, so has to be criticised whatever.

To be honest I think that you were well out of order and that you owe him an apology.

Devrim

miles

A poem recently published on the ICC website, about the feelings of a returned soldier: 

Erm, I was very dubious about this. Poetry is a bit of a dead medium in English. In Turkish it is much more popular. We use poetry in our stuff. For example at the start of this leaflet on the TEKEL strike:

http://tr.internationalism.org/ekaonline-2000s/ekaonline-2009/el-tutusa-tutusa

I am a bit doubtful about it in English though.

Devrim

Wellclose Square

12 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Samotnaf - your reproduction of Blake's The Tyger:

I reproduce it here because I've looked at it a couple of times over the last 2 weeks. What's your (or anybody else's) interpretation of this? It seems that, despite the fact that Blake inevitably (given his epoch and his geographical location) believed in some kind of God, there's a kind of critique of God, particularly as some absolute fixed thing, in this - though saying this hardly says enough. I've never managed to read E.P.Thompson's book on Blake, hardly getting past the first few pages, because it seemed so academic and unnecessarily clever clever, but maybe other people here have gleaned something from it, or from other analyses of Blake............?

I won't offer an exegesis of The Tyger, but some random thoughts around Blake's 'kind of critique of God' which tend to come to me at this time of night after a few glasses of Guinness Foreign Extra Stout and Grolsch Weizen.

There is a kind of critique of God, evident when you look at poems like The Chimney Sweeper, which chides those who 'are gone to praise God & his Priest & King / Who make up a heaven of our misery'. The Garden of Love describes 'Priests in black gowns... binding with briars, my joys & desires'. Blake believed in some kind of God - as Saree Makdisi puts it: 'Blake repeatedly stresses an immanent conception of God, and hence a human potential for the infinite: "He who sees the Infinite in all things sees God. He who sees the Ratio only sees himself only. Therefore God becomes as we are, that we may be as he is" (from No Natural Religion)' (Makdisi 28).

I think this is where the figure of Urizen comes in. He's depicted by Blake as the classic white-bearded, transcendent God, sat up in the clouds, clutching a pair of dividers, in the picture known as The Ancient of Days. The name Urizen, I think, was intended to evoke the finitude of the horizon, as well as - in an anticipation of txt-spk - 'Your Reason', that is, the rationality of the emerging industrial world, of which Urizen is the God. He is "the great Work master," who absolutely dominates an industrial and commercial mode of productive organisation in which "each took his station, & his course began with sorrow and care / In sevens & tens & fifties, hundreds, thousands, numberd all / According to their various powers. Subordinate to Urizen" (The Four Zoas) (Makdisi 117-118). Urizen's role as 'work master' is inseparable from his self-proclaimed role as God - "Am I not God said Urizen. Who is Equal to me". A "Conqueror in triumphant glory", Urizen builds his universal empire:

First Trades & Commerce ships & armed vessels he builded laborious
To swim the deep & on the Land children are sold to trades
Of dire necessity still laboring day & night till all
Their life exctinc they took the spectre form in dark despair
And slaves in myriads in ship loads burden the hoarse sounding deep
Rattling with clanking chains the Universal Empire groans.

E P Thompson speculated that Blake came from a Muggletonian background. In fact, it's since been found that both Blake's parents were members of the Moravian Chapel in Fetter Lane, off Fleet Street, which was destroyed in the raid of May 10th 1941. Blake is likely to have drawn much of his religious language, symbolism and inspiration from here. On a bit of a tangent, I think the Moravian connection - between Blake's outlook and Afro-Caribbean radicalism from the 18th century to the present (the 'discourse' on Babylon, for example) - would be worth investigating. That's prompted by reading the obituary in today's Independent for the actor, Cy Grant, who voiced Lieutenant Green in Captain Scarlet, amongst other things. The great-grandson of a slave, he was born in British Guiana in 1919, one of seven children of a Moravian minister and a music teacher. His minister father impressed upon him that Toussaint l'Ouverture, who led the revolution in Haiti, was a great leader. I remember one of those Who Do You Think You Are? TV programmes where a black British athlete (Colin Jackson?) went to Jamaica to see where his mum had come from and there was a plot of land owned by the Moravian church which had been given to freed slaves.

PS The Makdisi book is William Blake and the Impossible History of the 1790s Uni. of Chicago Press 2003 - reading it still 'in progress' (though rewarding) - E P Thompson is a doddle in comparison.

Wellclose Square

12 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Devrim wrote

Nice is either 'Hoş' or 'Güzel' in Turkish, both of which are quite widely used for a variety of things that wouldn't be described as 'nice' in modern English. One of your main points seems to be about 'nice', which in my opinion is pretty poor. How would you feel if somebody laied into you about using an adjective in not quite an appropriate way in French, which I believe you speak, as you live there, and then remember that Leo hasn't even been to England as he can't get a visa, like most people here.

and

Poetry is a bit of a dead medium in English. In Turkish it is much more popular.

This is interesting and probably needs a thread of its own. A few years ago I read a newspaper report rehashing some 'scientific research' into language and psychology which remarked on how different languages appeared to be conducive to different ways of perceiving and acting in the world (not to be confused with so-called 'national characteristics', presumably). That's about all I can remember, I'm afraid, other than that it was observed that the English language was conducive to free market capitalism. Perhaps another stimulus to James Joyce's FinnegansWake - 'I am at the end of English'. Any thoughts?

Wellclose Square

This is interesting and probably needs a thread of its own. A few years ago I read a newspaper report rehashing some 'scientific research' into language and psychology which remarked on how different languages appeared to be conducive to different ways of perceiving and acting in the world (not to be confused with so-called 'national characteristics', presumably). That's about all I can remember, I'm afraid, other than that it was observed that the English language was conducive to free market capitalism. Perhaps another stimulus to James Joyce's FinnegansWake - 'I am at the end of English'. Any thoughts?

I tend to disagree with the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis, and think that thought does not have a strong influence on cognition. I think that thought goes on at a more base level than language and that we then internally 'translate' to the language we use.

Devrim

Wellclose Square

12 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Devrim wrote:
I tend to disagree with the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis, and think that thought does not have a strong influence on cognition. I think that thought goes on at a more base level than language and that we then internally 'translate' to the language we use.

Thanks for clearing up that little mystery.

Dano

12 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

There is an article about brazilian anarchist poetry here. In portuguese, the most know anarchist poets were José Oiticica and Roberto das Neves.

A Anarquia
José Oiticica

Para a anarquia vai a humanidade
Que da anarquia a humanidade vem!
Vêde como esse ideal de acordo invade
As classes todas pelo mundo além!

Que importa se a fração dos ricos brade,
Vendo que a antiga lei não se mantém?
Hão de ruir as muralhas da cidade,
Que não há fortalezas contra o bem

Façam da ação dos subversivos crime,
Persigam, matem, zombem, tudo em vão...
A idéia perseguida é mais sublime.

Pois nos rudes ataques à opressão,
A cada herói que morra ou desanime
Dezenas de outros bravos surgirão.

The Anarchy
José Oiticica

Torwards anarchy goes humanity
'Cause from anarchy humanity comes
See how this ideal of agreement invades
The classes throughout the world

What does it matter if the rich fraction cries out
Seeing that the ancient law doesn't keep up?
The walls of the city shall crumble
'Cause there are no fortresses against goodness

Make the subversives' action a crime
Persecute, kill, mock, it's all in vain
The pursued idea is more sublime.

'Cause on the rude attacks to opression,
For each hero that dies or gives up
Tens of other braves will rise.

It's kind of heroic and manichaeist, but it's nice!

Dano

12 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

In Brazil there is cordel, a form of popular poetry really big in the northeastern. No academic crap, it's an authentic folk art, based mostly on story-telling. There is some interesting political cordel (none anarchist, though).

Mark.

12 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Dano, thanks for the Brazilian poems. Do you know if any of these were set to music or whether it was just written poetry?

Dano

12 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I don't think they were set to music. Most of them were only published in the anarchosyndicalist newspaper A Plebe. Almost all of the songs sang in the anarchist movement were translations of other country's stuff (like The Anarchist International, Primo Maggio and Hijos del Pueblo), specially because of the high number of immigrants. There's an article on brazilian anarchist music here, and another one about poetry here.

By the way, Edgar Rodrigues wrote a book in 1992 called O Anarquismo na Escola, no Teatro, na Poesia (Anarchism in School, Theater and Poetry). I don't have it, but it looks interesting.

I didn't understand the hostility towards poetry in here. The maoist guy was right in this aspect, it is really important in some cultures. Poetry can be a wonderful form of popular expression.

Devrim

miles

A poem recently published on the ICC website, about the feelings of a returned soldier: 

Erm, I was very dubious about this. Poetry is a bit of a dead medium in English. In Turkish it is much more popular. We use poetry in our stuff. For example at the start of this leaflet on the TEKEL strike:

http://tr.internationalism.org/ekaonline-2000s/ekaonline-2009/el-tutusa-tutusa

I am a bit doubtful about it in English though.

Devrim

Dev, I wouldn't say the poetry is a 'dead medium' in English. As I understand it, it's very much alive and kicking, especialy amongst young people - rap music anyone??

The other point I would make is that poetry can and will be more significant, but as with most art, you can't divorce it from the wider state of society and the state of the class struggle. So you can see from the examples of Russia 1917 (Proletkult) and, more recently, the uprisings of May 68, that artists can flourish in line with upsurges in the struggle. Indeed, it is also the case that the division between 'artists' and all others, itself begins to breakdown...

It kind of reminds me of the bit in the German Ideology where Marx talks about to hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, criticise after dinner, just as I have a mind, without ever becoming hunter, fisherman, herdsman or critic.

Personally i don't see the problem as poetry per se, more that - as here on this thread - it's being read, whereas poerty demands performance.

Whether it's good , bad or indifferent is another question.

Samotnaf-

I was being slightly snide to be honest but it could be seen as kind of a compliment, alluding to your impressive general understanding and critique of a wide range of subjects that pop up around here. I had already read your Closed window...I've been trying to work through your uploads since you made some insightful comments about the nature of some of the discourse around these parts. I also recognise the role some posters take in closing down discussion, others putting their 'seal of approval' and some posts which are left of the left if that is the right term? Being shot down before they even get a conversation started. I have further criticisms but I won't go into them here. They certainly combine to put people off posting, including myself especially if you are not as well read for example. I also enjoy the situationist style of writing if I may call it that which you often delve into. It tends to cut through the bullshit so to speak without losing its relevance. However, I recognise others disagree entirely. I agree with your criticisms of 'my' cut up, it clearly means very little to anyone apart from myself as I was able to read it in its original form even though my intention wasn't to be 'artistic' it was to stimulate a reaction. Your points about using techniques, their limitations, aims etc are interesting and a useful guide. So thanks,I appreciate someone putting in detailed effort to what was essentially a mediocre post at best by myself. So, my new and improved Revolutionary soap powder:

We revolve in the historical
and the temporal.
Convulsed between Samotnaf's
subversive.
And the sleight of bourgeois individualism.
One ends up in cultish, esoteric shamanism.
The other, The Icey Sea.
We dance and we slog...
and therein lies the separation.
The freedom of our collective labour,
will be won through struggle!
In the Bedroom!
In the Kitchen!
And in the Forums!

Bedrooms, Kitchens, Forums!

I'll post the 'annotations' in a while...
If this comes across as infantile/utter shite so be it.

Leo

12 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Heres some parts of a Nazım Hikmet's The Epic of Shiekh Bedreddin, about a proto-socialist rebellion in the 15th century Ottoman Empire. I translated these, so I hope it doesn't sound too bad.

Nazım Hikmet

The Epic of Shiekh Bedreddin

This lake is the İznik Lake.
It is still.
It is dark.
It is deep.
It is within the mountains
like the water in a well.
The lakes in these parts here
are misty.
The fish here are tasteless,
malaria comes from the marshes,
and the lakesfolk die
before they grow white beards.
This lake is the İznik lake.
Next to it is the town of İznik.
The anvil of the blacksmiths are like a broken heart here.
The children always feel hunger.
The breasts of women look like dried fish.
And young lads never sing songs.
This town is the town of İznik.
A house in the artisans district…
An old man resides in this house.
His name is Bedreddin.
A short man
with a long beard,
a white beard.
His eyes, cunning like those of a child
And his yellow fingers, just like reeds.

***

A bare footed woman cries on the shore.
and on the lake an empty fisherman’s boat
floats like a dead fish.
Going to where the water is taking it,
going to get crushed by the mountains.

Night has fallen over the İznik lake.
The loud warriors of the mountaintops
have beheaded the sun,
and made it bleed into the lake.
A bare footed woman cries on the shore.
The woman of the fisherman,
chained in fortress because of a carp.
Night has fallen over the İznik lake.
Bedreddin leaned down on the lake,
filled his hands with the water and stood up again.
And as the water fell from his fingers
back to the lake,
he said to himself:
“ – That fire, which is right inside my heart,
it is burning,
growing from day to day.
This, not even forged iron can stand.
My heart is about to melt…

I shall disappear and then strike!
We the men of the soil will go conquer it.
And realize the secret of unity, the power of facts;
we shall cancel the laws
of nations and sects…”

***

It was hot.
He looked down from the mountains of Karaburun,
at the end of the land, at the horizon, frowning:
A fire was on its way,
beheading children in the meadows
as if harvesting bloody poppies,
dragging their naked screams behind.
A fire with five banners was coming from the horizin, burning everything on its way.
It was Prince Murat who was coming.

***

It was hot,
Mustafa the heretic, disciple of Bedreddin looked,
looked Mustafa the peasant.
Looked without fear
without anger
without laughter.
Looked steeply
looked directly.
***
It was hot.
The clouds were full.
Almost as if a sweat word was the first drop about to fall down.
Suddenly,
as if falling down from the rocks
pouring down from the sky
growing from the ground,
as if the last work of art given by the land
The stouthearted men of Bedreddin faced the army of the prince.
They had seamless clothes,
They were bareheaded
barefooted
and had bareblade swords.
The grand war began.

The Turkish peasants of Aydın,
Greek sailors of Chios
Jewish artisans,
ten thousand heretic comrades of Börklüce Mustafa
dived in the enemy forest like ten thousand axes.
Their banners, red, green,
Their shields inlaid, their helms made of plate,
the lines
were torn into pieces but,
within the falling rain, as the day fell on the night,
two thousand remained of the ten.

In order to sing songs all together,
and to all together draw the nets from the water,
in order to forge steel like pinking all together;
and all together tilling the soil,
in order to eat the honey pairs all together,
and so that they could say that except the sweet cheek of the beloved,
everywhere
in everything
all together!
Ten thousands gave eight thousand away.

They were defeated.

The victors wiped the blood on their swords
on the white seamless shirts
of the vanquished.
And the land, like a song singed all together
tilled all together by the hands of brothers and sisters,
was beaten by the horseshoes
of the stallions, bred in the palace of Adrianople.

***

They stood in the dark.
He started speaking:
“— The market of the town of Ayaslugh has been set up.
Who again, friends,
Who again has been beheaded tonight?”
The rain
was falling all the time.
They started speaking
hey told him:
“—The market
hasn’t been set up yet
it will be
The blowing wind
hasn’t ceased yet
it will cease
His hasn’t been
beheaded yet
he will be”
As the darkness got more and more wet
I appeared where they stand,
to them I said:
“—Where are the gates of the city of Ayaslugh?
Show me and I shall get through!
Does it have a castle?
Tell me and I shall turn it into a rubble!
Do they collect tribute?
Say, so that I shall defy!”
He started speaking, and said:
“—The gates of the city of Ayaslugh are tight
One can’t go in and out.
It has a castle,
that won’t easily become rubble
Go now, brave horseman,
just go home.”

“— I shall come in and come out” I said.
“— I shall burn and destroy” I said.
He said: “—The rain stopped
the day is awakening.
For Mustafa
Ali the hangman
is calling.
Go now, brave horseman,
just go home.”

***

I know the sound of this galloping.
Bloody manes upon them, these pitch black horses
have crossed the dark road in full speed
with captives tied to the saddles with ropes, as ever.

I know the sound of this galloping.
They
came into our tents one morning
as if the song of our friends.
We shared our bread with them.
The wheather was so beautiful,
the heart so hopefuly
the eyes are as if those of a child
and doubt, our wise friend, is sound asleep.

I know the sound of this galloping.
They
galloped away
from our then one night, in full speed.
The guard, stabbed from the back
and tied to the saddle,
the arms of our most valuable.

I know the sound of this galloping.
And so does the insane forest.

***
In the center
steep like a sword plunged into the ground
our old man.
In front of him, the sultan.
They looked into each others eyes.

The sultan wanted,
before this embodiment of blasphemy got slaughtered,
before, by the rope, the final word got slit,
that law prevails a little bit
that the business is taken care in proper spirit .

A sacred scholar,
whose property just got shipped from Persia,
with the name Mevlâna Hayder,
happened to be ready, right there.
He blessed his hennaed beard and took care of the business:
“His property is haram,
yet his blood is halal”
he said.
They turned to Bedreddin:
They said “You, speak also.”
They said “Account for your heresy.”

Bedreddin
looked outside, from the arches.
There is the sun outside.
The branches of a green tree in the courtyard,
and the stones, being carved by a river hard.
Bedreddin smiled.
The pupils of his eyes shined.
He said:
“—Well, since we lost this time
Whatever we do, whatever we say, it’s in vain.
No point in going on for too long.
As the writ belongs to us,
Give it, so we can stamp its heart.

***

The rain is drizzling
cowering
slowly
like an oration of treachery.

The rain is drizzling,
like how white and naked heretic feet
run over the wet and dark soil.

The rain is drizzling,
in the artisans market of Serez,
in front of a coppersmiths shop
my Bedreddin hangs from a tree.

The rain is drizzling.
It is a late and starless time of the night
And it is the naked flesh
of my shiehk,
hanging under a bough without a leaf.

The rain is drizzling.
The market of Serez is mute.
The market of Serez is blind.
The accursed sorrow of silence, darkness on the air
And, with its hands, the market of Serez, covers its face.

The rain is drizzling.

cresspot

8 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

BUMP I WANT TO SEE SOME MORE COMMUNIST POETRY!

Entdinglichung

8 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

cresspot

BUMP I WANT TO SEE SOME MORE COMMUNIST POETRY!

you want communist poetry ... so you get Herman Gorter!

found at https://lostupabove.wordpress.com/2012/05/23/zie-je/

You see I love you,
I find you so sweet and so light -
your eyes are so full of light,
I love you, I love you.

And your nose and your mouth and your hair
and your eyes and your neck where
your collar is and your ear
showing through your hair..

You see I would like to be
you, but it can not be,
the light around you, you just are
what you just are.

Oh yes, I love you,
I love you terribly,
I wanted to say it all -
But yet I can not say it.

backspace

8 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Gorter would make a great worryingly eccentric cat owner

Entdinglichung

8 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

cresspot

8 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I looked for some more poetry but wasn't satisfied so I wrote my own after reading DH Lawrence's poems posted earlier in this thread. TO THE STRAWBERRY FIELDS!

The milk jug is for sharing.
The egg basket is for sharing.
The strawberries are for sharing.
Let's all just share and stop bickering.
Let's throw out the police
from our windows and our doors.
And the tax-collector too,
with his grubby hands and fat face.
And let's build a new City.
Where doors need not be locked.
Where the clock is but an ornament,
and not the tyrant of the daylight.
Where we are not mindlessly
lugging ourselves about
in order to earn a penny or two
for some fathead.
A city of light-
not of heaven, but of earth.
Out in the strawberry fields
we shall all work, and sing,
together.

Entdinglichung

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

some really bad maoist poems: https://www.marxists.org/history/erol/ncm-3/lc-poetry.pdf

jahbread

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

A Limerick

There was an Old Man called Gaddafi
Who blew up a train load of navvies;
The people went barmy
Because of this swami
And next day Spain pulled out its army.

jahbread

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

cresspot I like the ironic style of your poem but I didn't like this line:

And let's build a new City.

I know that communism breaks down the barrier between town and country so is a new City really our aim.

Auld-bod

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Legal Midnight Hour

Well, the dying time came, the legal midnight hour,
The moment set by law for the Chair to be at work,
To substantiate the majesty of the State of Massachusetts
That hour was at hand, had arrived, was struck by the clocks,
The time for two men to be carried cool on a cooling board
Beyond the immeasurably thin walls between day and night,
Beyond the reach of airmail, telegrams, radiophones,
Beyond the brotherhoods of blood into the fraternities
Of mist and foggy dew, of stars and ice.
The time was on for two men
To march beyond blood into dust -
A time that comes to all men,
Some with a few loved ones at a bedside,
Some alone in the wilderness or the wide sea,
Some before a vast audience of all mankind.

Now Sacco saw the witnesses
As the straps were fitted on
Tying him down in the Chair –
And seeing the witnesses were
Respectable men and responsible citizens,
And even though there had been no introductions,
Sacco said, “Good-evening, gentlemen.”
And before the last of the straps was fastened so to hold
Sacco murmured, “Farewell, mother.”

Then came Vanzetti.
He wished the vast audience of all mankind
To know something he carried in his breast.
This was the time to tell it.
He had to speak now or hold his peace forever.
The headgear was being clamped on.
The straps muffling his mouth were going on.
He shouted, “I wish to forgive some people
Or what they are now doing.”
And so now
The dead are dead? ? ? ?

Carl Sandburg

jahbread

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Mockeries & Phrase

Blessings flow:
The reason for life is love
And even before there was
My hands stretched forth up above,
Zion we love.

Mockeries and phrase, Babylon applauding for building an evilous world;
Follies and craze, ghetto youths skylarking, not seeing all dem twist & twirl.
Mockeries and phrase, states and church applauding for building
the Western World;
Follies and craze, ghetto youths skylarking, not seeing Mystery Babylon.

Where do you go from here,
Rasta found you guilty on the points of care?
Atomic energy fuel your ego cheer,
Manufacture machine based upon your nuclear;
Your human family been dragged to warfare,
In the children heart you try to drive all your fear.
Can be recognized from the clothes you wear
Yet we nah judge your seam dem, neither your tear.

I tell you now:
Living in this polluted hemisphere, youths hold strong,
judgement again!
The works of the wicked never will prevail for long;
Where you belong, Ethiopian? Babylon me tell yuh say yah.

Me tell dem, the youths in agony, organise proper thing
Ay! Channel the only way dey go.
So-called authority giving us brutality,
I fight for my rights also
Nothing to eat, we hungry; no clothes fi wear, we hungry;
Bullets will never stop flow!
Selassie I -- love and mercy inna the crumbling city
Protect us all! Ah tell you now, oh, oh, oh,
Living in polluted hemisphere, people hold strong,
judgement again!
The works of the wicked man never will prevail for long.
Where you belong?
Give us repatriation!
Selassie I done know say ah.

Mockeries and phrase, Babylon applauding for giving such
an evilous world;
Follies and craze, ghetto youths skylarking, not seeing all dem
twist & twirl.
Kill we fi days, Babylon applauding, cause him dunk we inna the
evilous world.
Follies and craze, ghetto youths skylarking, we'll be strong all you
boys & girls!

Miguel Collins

orphanages

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

SOoo as for 'communist poetry'

most people that try to write pol. poems suck at it. so it depends on what you're interested. if you don't give a shit about literature but wanna read some 'communist poetry' that's one thing. I owuld suggest taking a different route, since what the fuck does a revolutionary movement need poetry for anyways (ie the relationship b/w the 2 is definitely not a programmatic one, so it's not so important whether poems are explicitly political or not)

that being said, regardless of whether or not the authors were political, poetry written in/around moments of extreme political tension can be very fucking good.

an example of this would be cesar vallejos "spain, take this chalice from me" which was written spanish civil war time period. that is, however, a book, not just a poem.

the obvious other example is Rimbaud's illuminations, written during the paris commune time. this is a better example of poems written under the sway of revolution without being epxlicitly (always) political. in his poetry we can see how revolution is an active destruction of all our senses– thus the imagery, hallucinations, etc.
Anna Mendelssohn wrote brilliant poetry and was part of the Angry brigades in the UK

as for contemporary stuff, I would very highly recommend checking out sean bonney's work. his blog is here, but i would check out his soundcloud and essay on mute magazine on blanqui.

abandonedbuildings.blogspot.com
http://www.metamute.org/editorial/reviews/eternity-to-here

other, less interesting contemporary communist poetry is the stuf coming out the bay– from commune editions. Jasper & Joshua & Juliana Spahr all have books just released about the fires in the last few years. I would start with Juliana's work

a last contemporary book to recommend would be jack frost's 'the antidote' which was written about the oaklkand commune. super dope shit.

i'll leave you with this rimbaud poem, please check out sean bonney's work. i swear to god it's dope as all hell

What’s it to us, my heart, but blankets of blood
And of coalfire, a thousand murders, endless
Howls of rage, and wails of hell-pits disclosing
All order; and North-wind playing still on the debris;

But vengeance? Never! And yet we crave it.
Industrialists, princes, senators: die!
Power, justice, history: kneel! We’re due,
Due blood. Blood, and golden flames.

All in for war, for vengeance, for terror
My soul! We writhe in its Bite: O! pass away
Republics of this world! Emperors,
Regiments, colonists, peoples. Enough already.

Who will rouse these whirlwinds of frenzied fire
If not us, and those we call our brothers?
It’s our turn! Giddy friends, our fun begins.
O floods of fire, we’ll never work

Europe, Asia, America, vanish. Our march
Of vengeance has occupied everything
Cities and the countryside! – We’ll be wiped out!
Volcanoes erupt and Oceans boil…

Oh! My friends! – My heart, it’s sure, they are brothers:
Shadowed strangers, if we were to leave! So let’s go! Let’s go!
O misfortune! I’m trembling and this old earth on me
Who is more and more yours – the earth melts,

It’s nothing! I am here! I am here always!

Noah Fence

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I'm pretty self conscious about posting this but what the hell.

My most recent literary effort;

Winter sky, deep blue, high and magnificent
Sunlight reaching to Earth like great crackling shards of glass
All is paused, still in this dormant season
The oceans, flat, hard and blue, flat, hard and green
The brown and green of the land sparkling with a white bloom of frost
What perfect beauty
How sweet the universe’s gentle pleasure at being itself
This is what and this is why and this is all
Perfection hums in the contours of the hills, the softness of the mist in the valleys, in the many angles of the rocks and the black skeletons of the trees
But now something soils this perfection, mocks its magnificence, breaks the stillness with its constant scurrying, with its futile efforts to impress
Fat on self-importance, swollen with empty pride,
This thing called humanity could be a part of all there is
But instead it sets itself apart
Each cell in this sprawling creature thinks not of the whole but only itself and in doing so condemns itself and the whole to a needless demise and the few cells that know what they are and cherish the whole exhaust themselves going round and around like a fly with one wing, certain to get nowhere.
So what of the sky and the sea and the land?
Do they feel pity in their hearts at our self- imposed ruin?
Do they wish they could help us to end the stupidity and carve something beautiful from the rock of ourselves?
Not a fucking chance mate, they’ll be glad to see the back of us.

Auld-bod

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I cannot say what makes a poem ‘communist’. I like this.

Monkey

‘All monkeys are brothers,’
Agreed the amiable small creature.
‘But one has to draw the line,’
Dropping a coconut to show just where.

His smile was in extremis,
Like the end of a cocktail evening.
His lips twitched, he was squeamish,
Hated hurting heads or feelings.

‘A joke’s a joke,’ he stuttered,
‘But some things even I can not condone.
My brothers wouldn’t like it,
I speak not for myself alone.’

The drooping palm-leaves
Were playing their end-of-performance tunes
The tree-trunk bowed
Like a tactful manager despising his patrons.

D.J. Enright

Auld-bod

6 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The Poor Wake Up Quickly

Surprised at night,
The trishaw driver
Slithers from the carriage,
Hurls himself upon the saddle.

With what violence he peddles
Slapbang into the swarming night,
Neon skidding off his cheekbones!
Madly he makes away
In the wrong direction.
I tap his shoulder nervously.
Madly he turns about
Between the taxis and the trams,
Makes away electric-eyed
In another wrong direction.

How do I star in that opium dream?
A hulking red-faced ruffian
Who beats him on his bony back,
Cursing in the tongue of demons.
But when we’re there
He grumbles mildly over his wage,
Like a sober man,
A man who has had no recent visions.
The poor wake up quickly.

D.J. Enright

fidel gastro

6 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Nobody has mentioned Benjamin Zephaniah but I guess as he is still alive he's not a historical figure? Anyhow.....

Miss World https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DflgQ4CyQSM

Money https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VT_WpXlqW1s

Sleeper

6 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Yes

Fletcher

Whilst there is a working class
I am of it,
While there is a criminal element,
Then I am in it,
And whilst there is a soul in prison,
Then I am not free.

Poetry of the Class War

Auld-bod

6 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Sleeper #155

It's good, though owes something to E.V. Debs:

'I said then, and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it, and while there is a criminal element I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free.' (Court statement, 1918)

Sleeper

6 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Benjamin Zephaniah is a wonderful poet, as well as being patron of Haven. All good.

red and black riot

Nobody has mentioned Benjamin Zephaniah but I guess as he is still alive he's not a historical figure? Anyhow.....

Miss World https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DflgQ4CyQSM

Money https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VT_WpXlqW1s

Sleeper

6 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I searched for The Mask of Anarchy and it didn't show up on this thread so here it is:
( also you can have it read to you if you use windows - http://www.bl.uk/learning/langlit/poetryperformance/shelley/poem3/shelley3.html )

As I lay asleep in Italy
There came a voice from over the Sea
And with great power it forth led me
To walk in the visions of Poesy.

II

I met Murder on the way -
He had a mask like Castlereagh -
Very smooth he looked, yet grim;
Seven blood-hounds followed him:

III

All were fat; and well they might
Be in admirable plight,
For one by one, and two by two,
He tossed the human hearts to chew
Which from his wide cloak he drew.

IV

Next came Fraud, and he had on,
Like Eldon, an ermined gown;
His big tears, for he wept well,
Turned to mill-stones as they fell.

V

And the little children, who
Round his feet played to and fro,
Thinking every tear a gem,
Had their brains knocked out by them.

VI

Clothed with the Bible, as with light,
And the shadows of the night,
Like Sidmouth, next, Hypocrisy
On a crocodile rode by.

VII

And many more Destructions played
In this ghastly masquerade,
All disguised, even to the eyes,
Like Bishops, lawyers, peers, or spies.

VIII

Last came Anarchy: he rode
On a white horse, splashed with blood;
He was pale even to the lips,
Like Death in the Apocalypse.

IX

And he wore a kingly crown;
And in his grasp a sceptre shone;
On his brow this mark I saw -
'I AM GOD, AND KING, AND LAW!'

X

With a pace stately and fast,
Over English land he passed,
Trampling to a mire of blood
The adoring multitude,

XI

And a mighty troop around,
With their trampling shook the ground,
Waving each a bloody sword,
For the service of their Lord.

XII

And with glorious triumph, they
Rode through England proud and gay,
Drunk as with intoxication
Of the wine of desolation.

XIII

O'er fields and towns, from sea to sea,
Passed the Pageant swift and free,
Tearing up, and trampling down;
Till they came to London town.

XIV

And each dweller, panic-stricken,
Felt his heart with terror sicken
Hearing the tempestuous cry
Of the triumph of Anarchy.

XV

For with pomp to meet him came,
Clothed in arms like blood and flame,
The hired murderers, who did sing
'Thou art God, and Law, and King.

XVI

'We have waited, weak and lone
For thy coming, Mighty One!
Our purses are empty, our swords are cold,
Give us glory, and blood, and gold.'

XVII

Lawyers and priests, a motley crowd,
To the earth their pale brows bowed;
Like a bad prayer not over loud
Whispering - 'Thou art Law and God.' -

XVIII

Then all cried with one accord,
'Thou art King, and God and Lord;
Anarchy, to thee we bow,
Be thy name made holy now!'

XIX

And Anarchy, the Skeleton,
Bowed and grinned to every one,
As well as if his education
Had cost ten millions to the nation.

XX

For he knew the Palaces
Of our Kings were rightly his;
His the sceptre, crown and globe,
And the gold-inwoven robe.

XXI

So he sent his slaves before
To seize upon the Bank and Tower,
And was proceeding with intent
To meet his pensioned Parliament

XXII

When one fled past, a maniac maid,
And her name was Hope, she said:
But she looked more like Despair,
And she cried out in the air:

XXIII

'My father Time is weak and gray
With waiting for a better day;
See how idiot-like he stands,
Fumbling with his palsied hands!

XXIV

‘He has had child after child,
And the dust of death is piled
Over every one but me -
Misery, oh, Misery!'

XXV

Then she lay down in the street,
Right before the horses' feet,
Expecting, with a patient eye,
Murder, Fraud, and Anarchy.

XXVI

When between her and her foes
A mist, a light, an image rose,
Small at first, and weak and frail
Like the vapour of a vale:

XXVII

Till as clouds grow on the blast,
Like tower-crowned giants striding fast,
And glare with lightnings as they fly,
And speak in thunder to the sky

XXVIII

It grew - a Shape arrayed in mail
Brighter than the viper's scale,
And upborne on wings whose grain
Was as the light of sunny rain.

XXIX

On its helm, seen far away,
A planet, like the Morning's, lay;
And those plumes its light rained through
Like a shower of crimson dew.

XXX

With step as soft as wind it passed,
O'er the heads of men - so fast
That they knew the presence there,
And looked, - but all was empty air.

XXXI

As flowers beneath May's footstep waken,
As stars from Night's loose hair are shaken,
As waves arise when loud winds call,
Thoughts sprung where'er that step did fall.

XXXII

And the prostrate multitude
Looked - and ankle-deep in blood,
Hope, that maiden most serene,
Was walking with a quiet mien:

XXXIII

And Anarchy, the ghastly birth,
Lay dead earth upon the earth;
The Horse of Death tameless as wind
Fled, and with his hoofs did grind
To dust the murderers thronged behind.

XXXIV

A rushing light of clouds and splendour,
A sense awakening and yet tender
Was heard and felt - and at its close
These words of joy and fear arose

XXXV

As if their own indignant Earth
Which gave the sons of England birth
Had felt their blood upon her brow,
And shuddering with a mother's throe

XXXVI

Had turnèd every drop of blood
By which her face had been bedewed
To an accent unwithstood, -
As if her heart had cried aloud:

XXXVII

'Men of England, heirs of Glory,
Heroes of unwritten story,
Nurslings of one mighty Mother,
Hopes of her, and one another;

XXXVIII

'Rise like Lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number,
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you -
Ye are many - they are few.’

Auld-bod

6 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Thirty years ago I attended a poetry workshop in Birmingham held by Benjamin Zephaniah. Only remember he was a nice guy who generated creative enthusiasm.

Sleeper

6 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Tina Morris - anarchist

They will do terrible things
to your face-
wiping away the colours of dreaming
from your eyes
and forking your tongue's
innocent laughter

Storming the secret places
of your garden mind
where magic seeds your life with wonder,
they will prune and dig and hack
and leave a dreadful emptiness
where once jungles flowered.

When your body would bend
itself to earth's warm pulse
or drink the juices of the seasons
or paint the skies
with fierce imaginings
they will erect barriers and cages
around the wild creature
which is your soul.

And you will forget
that once you knew
the power of magic
and the joy of freedom
as you wither away
behind the terrible things
they have done to your face.

James MacBryde

6 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Michael Smith: stoned to death by three reactionary JLP mobsters

Mi cyaan believe it
mi seh mi cyaan believe it
room dem a rent mi apply widdin but as me go in cock-roach rat and scorpion also
come in
one good nose haffi run but mi nah guh dong sit dong pon high wall like Humpty
Dumpty
mi a face mi reality
one lickle bwai come blow him horn
me look pon him wid scorn when me realise how mi five bwai pickney was a victim
of the trix dem call partisan politics
an mi bun mi belly and mi bawl
Mi seh mi cyaan believe it
mi daughter bwaifriend name is Sailor and him pass through the port like a ship
more grand pickney fi feed
but the whole a we need
what a night what a plight mi cyaan get a bite, mi life is a stiff fight and mi
cyaan believe it
sittin in de corner wid mi friends talkin bout tings and time
mi `ear one voice seh: "who deh?"
mi a seh "who deh?"
"who a seh who deh when wi a seh who deh"
when wi tek a stock, dem lick down wi flat
teet start fly, and big man start cry
an mi cyaan believe it
mi seh mi cyaan believe it
De other day mi a pass one yard pon de hill, when mi tek a stalk mi `ear "hey
bwai!"
Yes ma'am
"hey bwai!"
Yes ma'am
"You clean up de dog shit?"
Yes ma'am
an' mi cyaan believe it
Doris a mother of four, get a wok as a domestic
bass man move in an bap-si-kaisico she pregnant again
bap-si-kaisico she pregnant again
an mi cyaan believe it
De yard de other night when mi a hear fire, fire to plate claat, who dead, you
dead, who dead, me dead, who dead, Harry dead, who dead, heleven dead, woyeee,
Orange street fire deh bun mi `ead and mi cyan believe it
Lord me see one black bud livin in one building but no rent no pay so him cyaan
stay, Lord de opress and de disposess cyaan get no res`, what nex`
Tek a trip from Kingston to Jamaica, tek twelve from a dozen, mi see mi mama in
heaven. Madhouse. Mi cyaan believe it.
You believe it?
How you fi believe it when you blind you eye to it?
But mi know you believe it, laaawd, mi know you believe it.

Sleeper

6 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Women of the Weather Underground

They call it terror
if you are few and have no B-52s
if you are not a head of state
with an army and police
if you have neither napalm
nor tanks nor electronic battlefields
terror is if you are dispossessed
and have only your own two hands
each other
and your rage
It is not terror
if you are New York’s Finest
and you shoot a ten-year old Black child in the back
because you think Black people
all look like
they’ve just committed a robbery
It is not terror if you are ITT
and buy the men
who line Chilean doctors up in their hospital
corridors
and shoot them for supporting the late
democratic government of their country
It is not terror but heroism
if you were captured by the Vietnamese
for dropping fragmentation bombs
on their schools and hospitals
Only those who have nothing
can be terrorists
.......

Noah Fence

6 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Not exactly communist poetry but the poet is a communist, so what the hell.

A Poem From a Dying Anarchist

A good man knows how to die

He sees no darkness

Only light

A good man knows how to die

He knows what death is

He feels its beauty

Understands the nature of its release

A good man knows how to die

He never seeks it

But welcomes it when it comes

A good man knows how to die

He learns how by living a good life

A good man knows how to die

He knows that what he leaves undone

Will be done by others

That the things he did not see

Will be seen by others

And as death steals over him

The knowledge of this wraps him up like a warm blanket

A good man knows how to die

And as his death approaches, his regrets flutter away

Like a beautiful butterfly transformed from an ugly grub

A good man knows how to die

And as he breathes his last breath

The pain and anguish of his life leave his face

And it is reborn

Yes, a good man knows how to die

And I am a good man

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Auld-bod

6 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

It's good. Who wrote it Noah?

Noah Fence

6 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Auld-bod

It's good. Who wrote it Noah?

Nobody well known - some guy called Comrade Webby!

boomerang

6 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Noah Fence

Auld-bod

It's good. Who wrote it Noah?

Nobody well known - some guy called Comrade Webby!

Thanks for sharing that poem, Noah. You say Comrade Webby... as in Webby from libcom????

The poem is very moving and I like its message, or at least what I interpret as its message, which is that we can make peace with death if we live our lives in a good way, by doing good things in this world, and trying hard to make a positive difference... and that even if we can't finish the job (none of us can), that there will be others to carry on for us, and even if we won't be here to experience the positive effects of what we contributed, that others will be here. Many others. And that's a beautiful thing.

Cooked

6 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Noah Fence

A good man knows how to die

He knows that what he leaves undone

Will be done by others

That the things he did not see

Will be seen by others

These lines were the best. I knew you had some health issues but are you doing
as poorly as the poem suggests?

Boomerang: Noah is Webby he changed his nick.

Noah Fence

6 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

These lines were the best. I knew you had some health issues but are you doing
as poorly as the poem suggests?

Well thanks! As for my health lets just say the wheels have been falling off at quite a rate with the latest turn for the worse last week. I'm in good spirits though. In fact it's quite exciting in a weird way and anyways, it ain't quite over yet! It's a matter of timing between transplant and end of play. Which will come first??? On my good days though I'm having a fucking blast!

SRQ

6 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Danil Harms was the best, he write only one complete book, Occasions and Majakovsky were revolutionaries and banned by Stalin. Bout of them tell about contradictions and occasions, absurdity, what change of new soviet era bring whit it.
Literature studies respect them even they are radical and more like revolutionaries than communist.

Noah Fence

6 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Anger born of love
Creates something new
Something of power
Something magnificent, majestic
The motivation to discard comfort, forgo gratification
To lose identity and use anonymity as a lever to prize open the door to freedom
Anger born of love
Overcomes fear, pain and hopelessness
It propels you through deep snow, along icy rivers and over flesh shredding rocks
Anger born of love is the distillation of the human spirit
It is something of hard beauty
Something that lives in the heart of those that are the change in the world
And it is something very, very fierce

elraval2

6 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Sorry, haven't read through the entire thread... but has Pablo Neruda been mentioned?

ajjohnstone

6 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Once again to promote our blog, Socialism Or You Money Back, every Tuesday there is a topical humourous poem posted by our comrade Richard Layton.

This was his latest offering

SILLY B’LEADERS!

7/3/16. Obituaries of Nancy Reagan reveal how
she and the former U.S. President used to consult
an astrologer before making political decisions.

The myth of leadership runs deep,
It undermines each thought;
Like faith in God from a young age,
It’s something that we’re taught.

It’s there to put us in our place,
To make us feel quite small;
So all of us will then believe,
We matter not at all.

We’re told that it’s great leaders who,
Make our whole world go round;
And if it wasn’t for their deeds,
We’d flounder on the ground.

Adolf was guided by the runes,
And Churchill picked by fate; (1)
Whilst Blair’s one more Messiah who,
Arrived back far too late!

The problem with all statesman is,
They’re guilty of one sin;
And it’s the same as all of them,
Believe in their own spin.

With egos massaged by all those,
Who toady to their needs;
They really do become convinced,
The world turns on their deeds.

But when we look at the hard facts,
We find this is a myth; (2)
And leaders throughout history,
Have more than took the pith!

(1) Churchill was convinced that ‘fate’ had chosen him to be a ‘great man’.
He modestly described himself as a star shining amongst lesser lights.

(2) Wikipedia on ‘Leadership’, “Noam Chomsky and others have brought critical
thinking to the concept of leadership and have provided an analysis that asserts that
people abrogate their responsibility to think and will actions for themselves. While
the conventional view of leadership is rather satisfying to people who ‘want to be
told what to do’, these critics say that one should question why they are being subjected
to a will or intellect other than their own if the leader is not a subject-matter expert”.

Others found here
http://socialismoryourmoneyback.blogspot.com/search?q=richard+layton&max-results=20&by-date=true

Battlescarred

6 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

How about this lovely poem from Louis Aragon on the GPU (Cheka, GPU, OGPU,NKVD, and finally KGB):
"Prelude to the Cherry Season":

I sing the GPU which is taking shape

In the France of today

I sing the GPU we need in France

I sing the GPUs of nowhere and everywhere

I call for the GPU to prepare the end of the world

Call for the GPU to prepare the end of the world

To defend the betrayed

To defend those always betrayed

Ask for a GPU, you whom they bend and whom they kill

Ask for a GPU

You need the GPU

Long live the GPU the dialectical figure of heroism

Real heroes not imbecile idiot pilots

Who people think are heroes just because they

Fly in the face of the earth

Long live the GPU, true image of materialist splendor

Long live the GPU; down with Chiappe and the Marseillaise

Long live the GPU; down with the pope and the bugs

Long live the GPU; down with money and banks

Long live the GPU; down with the cheating East

Long live the GPU; down with the family

Long live the GPU; down with infernal laws

Long live the GPU; down with socialist assassins like

Caballero Boncour MacDonald Zoergibel

Long live the GPU; down with the enemies of the proletariat

elraval2

6 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

is it just me or is most 'Communist' poetry terrible?

Noah Fence

6 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

This machine traverses the world
Blind, deaf, stupid
No care for the destruction in it's wake
It just rolls on, devouring all
Spitting out the bones
Our bones
It's fuel is reason, beauty, possibility
And from its exhaust spews isolation, pain, confusion and hopelessness
There are no winners, no one and nothing is safe
This machine, capitalism, like a stinking putrid soulless animal
Eternally ravaged by an insatiable hunger will never stop
And all the while, men and women feel the sharp horror of separation from how it could be
Should be
Like tiny amoeba, alone in a vast empty universe
We stand, transfixed in it's dark light
Made to feel to blame for our inability to live in these unnatural hellish conditions that this animal subjects us to
Made to feel inadequate
Made to feel fear
So saturated by the blood of this thing that we cling on to it, worship it, and spend our lives feeding it
This creature must be slain if we are to feel joy in our species
To realise the possibilities that we hold
To not be alone anymore
For this is the true crime committed by this machine, this animal, this capitalism
It separates us and puts us into our most unnatural state
Alone
We starve in a world of plenty
We freeze under a hot sun
We are imprisoned by limits in a limitless world
All this because we are forced to be alone
Alone
Alone...

Sleeper

6 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Alex Comfort - anarchist

Song For The March

Now on the night march
now in the dark time
you who have sung before
give us a song, now

You are the voice of the dead
you are the tongue, speak
sing with the numberless throat
of the dead and the weak

Should that song once rise,
and should they live again,
a wind of voices will spring
joined in my single voice

You have desired a song
should we dare to sing
though you kill all of us
the song will go on.

This has goodness, breath,
a blade against history
a blow at the old lie
life in time of death

this has culture, grace
the conscript who disobeys
a prison roof in a blaze
a heel in a rulers face

this is our poetry
every command that finds
a hand that takes a hand
voices like rising winds
and the running street.

elraval2

6 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

in my humble opinion, the above may be communist, but certainly not poetry.

And lo! from opening clouds, I saw emerge
The loveliest moon, that ever silver’d o’er
A shell for Neptune’s goblet: she did soar
So passionately bright, my dazzled soul
Commingling with her argent spheres did roll
Through clear and cloudy, even when she went
At last into a dark and vapoury tent

elraval2

6 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

what about Lorca. has he had a mention here?

Auld-bod

6 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

This I think owes more to William Morris than Karl Marx.

Song

And when our streets are green again
When metalled roads are green
And girls walk barefoot through the weeds
Of Regent Street, Saint Martin’s Lane.

And children hide in factories
Where burdock blooms and vetch and rust
And elms and oaks and chestnut trees
Are tall again and hope is lost

When up the Strand the foxes glide
And hedgehogs sniff and wildcats yell
And golden orioles come back
To flash through Barnes and Clerkenwell

When governments and industries
Lie choked by weeds in fertile rain
For sure the few who stay alive
Will laugh and grow to love again

John McGrath

Noah Fence

6 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

That is ace Auld Bod.

Sleeper

6 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Tristan Tzara

TO MAKE A DADAIST POEM

Take a newspaper.
Take some scissors.
Choose from this paper an article of the length you want to make your poem.
Cut out the article.
Next carefully cut out each of the words that makes up this article and put them all in a bag.
Shake gently.
Next take out each cutting one after the other.
Copy conscientiously in the order in which they left the bag.
The poem will resemble you.
And there you are – an infinitely original author of charming sensibility, even though unappreciated by the vulgar herd.

The Pigeon

6 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Row row row your boat,
gently down the stream,
merrily merrily merrily merrily
life is but PURE AND UNTIRING CLASS STRUGGLE.

The Pigeon

6 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Sleeper

Tristan Tzara

TO MAKE A DADAIST POEM

Take a newspaper.
Take some scissors.
Choose from this paper an article of the length you want to make your poem.
Cut out the article.
Next carefully cut out each of the words that makes up this article and put them all in a bag.
Shake gently.
Next take out each cutting one after the other.
Copy conscientiously in the order in which they left the bag.
The poem will resemble you.
And there you are – an infinitely original author of charming sensibility, even though unappreciated by the vulgar herd.

Bob Avakian Has Told Me Through the TV,
A poem

is greatly heightened because of Bob Avakian and, to help strengthen
in which some rule over and oppress others, robbing them- worthy of human beings-
we have to keep on
system
the Chairman of our Party,
the revolution we need, the leadership we have and where everyone
contributes
This revolution is both necessary and- Communist Revolution?
revolution everywhere,
our Party
Bob Avakian
who does not come along very often. A the Revolution
The ultimate goal
Communist Party? leading even better
A Message, and a Call
In Bob Avakian
Chairman
there are no more this revolution is the Fight for much better system leadership
we have the kind of rare and ism-imperialism Revolutionary Communist Party
struggle together for the common
Communism: a world where people work
Black Bob in the situation and all his knowledge
Bob Avakian
keep the party on - leadership - the precious - enable the precious leader - revolution -
leader who has
It is this-
revolution
serving
his heart,
the world.
given today,
people that we we're in -
system has got us kills.

The Pigeon

6 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Malaysian

Shits
Breathes
Dreams
They are nothing.
Everything
is their consummation.

Auld-bod

6 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

How Fortunate The Man With None
From the play 'Mother Courage'

You saw sagacious Solomon
You know what came of him,
To him complexities seemed plain.
He cursed the hour that gave birth to him
And saw that everything was vain.
How great and wise was Solomon.
The world however did not wait
But soon observed what followed on.
It's wisdom that had brought him to this state.
How fortunate the man with none.

You saw courageous Caesar next
You know what he became.
They deified him in his life
Then had him murdered just the same.
And as they raised the fatal knife
How loud he cried: you too my son!
The world however did not wait
But soon observed what followed on.
It's courage that had brought him to that state.
How fortunate the man with none.

You heard of honest Socrates
The man who never lied;
They weren't so grateful as you'd think
Instead the rulers fixed to have him tried
And handed him the poisoned drink.
How honest was the people's noble son.
The world however did not wait
But soon observed what followed on.
It's honesty that brought him to that state.
How fortunate the man with none.

Here you can see respectable folk
Keeping to God's own laws.
So far he hasn't taken heed.
You who sit safe and warm indoors
Help to relieve our bitter need.
How virtuously we had begun.
The world however did not wait
But soon observed what followed on.
It's fear of god that brought us to that state.
How fortunate the man with none.

Bertolt Brecht

Noah Fence

5 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

**** **** is not my name

I am Webby, the great anarch

Sprawling creature of the deep

Strong and black and true

Centre of the universe

Always was, always am and always will be

The winds of time rush through me

As I tower over all that is

Seeing all, knowing all, being all

Righter of wrongs, deliverer of good

Beacon of truth

And now, a bell tolls, enlivening my senses, alerting my great mind..,

Hold on, that is not a bell, it's my alarm

I open my eyes and the greatness has gone, a withering old man now fills my vision...

So I go and get some apples

Sleeper

5 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Sire, I am from another country
WE ARE BORED in the city, there is no longer any Temple of the Sun. Between the legs of the women walking by, the dadaists imagined a monkey wrench and the surrealists a crystal cup. That’s lost. We know how to read every promise in faces — the latest stage of morphology. The poetry of the billboards lasted twenty years. We are bored in the city, we really have to strain to still discover mysteries on the sidewalk billboards, the latest state of humor and poetry:
Showerbath of the Patriarchs
Meat Cutting Machines
Notre Dame Zoo
Sports Pharmacy
Martyrs Provisions
Translucent Concrete
Golden Touch Sawmill
Center for Functional Recuperation
Sainte Anne Ambulance
Café Fifth Avenue
Prolonged Volunteers Street
Family Boarding House in the Garden
Hotel of Strangers
Wild Street
And the swimming pool on the Street of Little Girls. And the police station on Rendezvous Street. The medical-surgical clinic and the free placement center on the Quai des Orfèvres. The artificial flowers on Sun Street. The Castle Cellars Hotel, the Ocean Bar and the Coming and Going Café. The Hotel of the Epoch.
And the strange statue of Dr. Philippe Pinel, benefactor of the insane, in the last evenings of summer. Exploring Paris.
And you, forgotten, your memories ravaged by all the consternations of two hemispheres, stranded in the Red Cellars of Pali-Kao, without music and without geography, no longer setting out for the hacienda where the roots think of the child and where the wine is finished off with fables from an old almanac. That’s all over. You’ll never see the hacienda. It doesn’t exist.
The hacienda must be built.

Auld-bod

5 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

COAL FOR MIKE

I have heard how in Ohio
At the beginning of this century
A woman lived in Bidwell,
Mary McCoy, widow of a brakeman
By the name of Mike McCoy.
Lived in poverty.

But every night from the thundering trains of the Wheeling Railroad
The brakemen heaved some lumps of coal
Over the picket fence into the potato patch,
Shouting briefly in harsh voices:
For Mike!

And every night,
As the lumps of coal for Mike
Crashed against the rear wall of the hut
The old woman arose, crept,
Drunk with sleep, into an overcoat and heaped
The lumps of coal to one side,
The lumps of coal,
Gift of the brakemen to Mike, dead
But not forgotten.

And she arose so long before daybreak and heaped
Her gifts away from the eyes of the world so that
The men would not get into trouble
With the Wheeling Railroad.

This poem is dedicated to the comrades
Of the brakeman, Mike McCoy
(Died from a weakness of the lungs
On an Ohio coal train)
For comradeship.

Bertolt Brecht

the button

5 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Sean Bonney is pretty good. Just finished his "Letters against the firmament."

of Downing Street, that assembly of ghouls & defunct regimes
of the warm November wind, our absurd paupers’ memories

outside London it is all geometry, a euphemism for civil war
I remember our cotton dresses, those ribbons and bows

we skirted the disks of the city, its deserted, dying angles

we were wearing flags and pretty flowers, but our memories
at several intersections they opened into vast arched domes

of that other life, its obnoxious circles, of relics and animal love
the horrific quantity of force we will need to continue even to live

*

When you meet a Tory on the street, cut his throat
It will bring out the best in you.
It is as simple as music or drunken speech.
There will be flashes of obsolete light.
You will notice the weather only when it starts to die.

Noah Fence

5 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Put through my letterbox by my old neighbour after we had a discussion about skyscrapers. His theory was that they were there for the powerful so that they could look down on us and convey their position of power;

Lord Foster is a lofty chap
He likes a lovely view
With easy access to the top
To take good aim and shit on you!

This arrived with it for my kids who were little at the time

Old King Cole was a merry old soul and a merry old soul was he
'It must be done, it must be done!'
Out of the window he poked his bum
To go to the lavatory
Queen Victoria passing by
Received a sausage in the eye!

Clearly my neighbour was a splendid fellow. If further evidence is required I'll point out that we regularly had an 8am Sunday morning tryst on his front doorstep with him dressed in white long johns and thermal vest whilst sipping sherry from a bone china cup and saucer.

Auld-bod

5 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The button #189, reminded me of the work of Alan Jackson, who was once a Scots anarchist active in the peace movement in the 1960s. He is still around. Here is two if his poems:

tiny nippled men

tiny nippled men wander through the auld toon
in delicate high voices they cry
‘we are what you’re coming to’

‘get away fae me, ye daft poofs’
the big drunk labourer shouts
and falls down the steps into the bog in the grassmarket

The Worstest Beast

the worstest beast that swims in the sea
is man with his bathing trunks down to his knee

the worstest beast that goes through the air
is man with his comb to tidy his hair

the worstest beast that bores through soil
is man with his uses for metal and oil

the worstest beast that hunts for meat
is the man who kills and does not eat

the worstest beast that suckles its young
is man who’s scared of nipples and dung

the worstest beast that copulates
is man who’s mixed his loves and hates

the worstest beast that has warm skin
is man who stones himself with sin

he’s the worstest beast because he’s won
it’s a master race and it’s almost run

Sleeper

5 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Adrian Henri, Tonight at Noon

Tonight at noon
Supermarkets will advertise 3p extra on everything
Tonight at noon
Children from happy families will be sent to live in a home
Elephants will tell each other human jokes
America will declare peace on Russia
World War I generals will sell poppies on the street on November 11th
The first daffodils of autumn will appear
When the leaves fall upwards to the trees

Tonight at noon
Pigeons will hunt cats through city backyards
Hitler will tell us to fight on the beaches and on the landing fields
A tunnel full of water will be built under Liverpool
Pigs will be sighted flying in formation over Woolton
And Nelson will not only get his eye back but his arm as well
White Americans will demonstrate for equal rights
In front of the Black house
And the monster has just created Dr. Frankenstein

Girls in bikinis are moonbathing
Folksongs are being sung by real folk
Art galleries are closed to people over 21
Poets get their poems in the Top 20
There’s jobs for everybody and nobody wants them
In back alleys everywhere teenage lovers are kissing in broad daylight
In forgotten graveyards everywhere the dead will quietly bury the living
and
You will tell me you love me
Tonight at noon

Auld-bod

5 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

ALL OF US OR NONE

Slave, who is it who shall free you?
Those in the deepest darkness lying,
Comrades, these alone can see you,
They alone can hear you crying,
Comrade, only slaves can free you.
Everything or nothing. All of us or none.
One alone his lot can’t better.
Either gun or fetter.
Everything or nothing. All of us or none.

You who hunger, who shall feed you?
If it’s bread you would be craving,
Come to us and let us lead you.
Only hungry men can feed you.
Everything or nothing. All of us or none.
One alone his lot can’t better.
Either gun or fetter.
Everything or nothing. All of us or none.

Beaten man, who shall avenge you?
You, on whom the blows are falling,
Hear your wounded brothers calling.
Weakness gives us strength to lend you.
Comrade, come, we shall avenge you.
Everything or nothing. All of us or none.
One alone his lot can’t better.
Either gun or fetter.
Everything or nothing. All of us or none.

Who, O wretched one, shall dare it?
He, who can no longer bear it
Counts the blows that arm his spirit,
Taught the time by need and sorrow,
Strikes today and not tomorrow.
Everything or nothing. All of us or none.
One alone his lot can’t better.
Either gun or fetter.
Everything or nothing. All of us or none.

Bertolt Brecht

potrokin

5 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Noah Fence

Not exactly communist poetry but the poet is a communist, so what the hell.

A Poem From a Dying Anarchist

A good man knows how to die

He sees no darkness

Only light

A good man knows how to die

He knows what death is

He feels its beauty

Understands the nature of its release

A good man knows how to die

He never seeks it

But welcomes it when it comes

A good man knows how to die

He learns how by living a good life

A good man knows how to die

He knows that what he leaves undone

Will be done by others

That the things he did not see

Will be seen by others

And as death steals over him

The knowledge of this wraps him up like a warm blanket

A good man knows how to die

And as his death approaches, his regrets flutter away

Like a beautiful butterfly transformed from an ugly grub

A good man knows how to die

And as he breathes his last breath

The pain and anguish of his life leave his face

And it is reborn

Yes, a good man knows how to die

And I am a good man

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A beautiful poem Noah, thankyou for sharing. I am sorry to hear of your health problems and hope you get better.

Noah Fence

5 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

A beautiful poem Noah, thankyou for sharing. I am sorry to hear of your health problems

Aw shucks, thanks. I'm pretty convinced I'll be ok, unfortunately my life depends on someone else's death which is a shame but with a new liver I've got around an 80% chance of living a decent length life, which ain't too shabby!

Battlescarred

5 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Roses are red
Violets are blue,
I'll smash the state
And liberate you

(bit vanguardist there)

Battlescarred

5 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

More seriously
"Aphrodite Metropolis by Kenneth Fearing

Harry loves Myrtle--He has strong arms, from the warehouse,
And on Sunday when they take the bus to emerald meadows he doesn't say:
"What will your chastity amount to when your flesh withers in a little while?"
No,
On Sunday, when they picnic in emerald meadows they look at the Sunday paper:
GIRL SLAYS BANKER-BETRAYER
They spread it around on the grass
BATH-TUB STIRS JERSEY ROW
And then they sit down on it, nice.
Harry doesn't say "Ziggin's Ointment for withered flesh,
Cures thousands of men and women of motes, warts, red veins,
flabby throat, scalp and hair diseases,
Not expensive, and fully guaranteed."
No,
Harry says nothing at all,
He smiles,
And they kiss in the emerald meadows on the Sunday paper.

JonC

5 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Sean Bonney again:

ACAB: A Nursery Rhyme

for “I love you” say fuck the police / for
“the fires of heaven” say fuck the police, don’t say
“recruitment” don’t say “trotsky” say fuck the police
for “alarm clock” say fuck the police
for “my morning commute” for
“electoral system” for “endless solar wind” say fuck the police
don’t say “I have lost understanding of my visions” don’t say
“that much maligned human faculty” don’t say
“suicided by society” say fuck the police / for “the movement
of the heavenly spheres” say fuck the police / for
“the moon’s bright globe” for “the fairy mab” say
fuck the police / don’t say “direct debit” don’t say “join the party”
say “you are sleeping for the boss” and then say fuck the police
don’t say “evening rush-hour” say fuck the police / don’t say
“here are the steps I’ve taken to find work” say fuck the police
don’t say “tall skinny latté” say fuck the police / for
“the earth’s gravitational pull” say fuck the police / for
“make it new” say fuck the police
all other words are buried there
all other words are spoken there / don’t say “spare change”
say fuck the police / don’t say “happy new year” say fuck the police
perhaps say “rewrite the calendar” but after that, immediately
after that say fuck the police / for “philosopher’s stone” for
“royal wedding” for “the work of transmutation” for “love
of beauty” say fuck the police / don’t say “here is my new poem”
say fuck the police
say no justice no peace and then say fuck the police

Battlescarred

5 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

George Woodcock
Sunday On Hampstead Heath

Underfoot on the hill the water spurts
Thickly out of the brilliant matted grasses
Where the slopes fold in groins and thighs of earth
And the winter sunlight in thin golden masses
Falls through the lunging wind that swings the skirts
Of the girls walking with their soldiers over the heath.

A group of dwarf fir trees marks the crest
With boughs like drowners' hands that claw the sky.
Far down the slope a white springboard rears
Its gaunt and skeleton frame above the grey
Tossed pool where in summer the divers raced
But where now only the ducks bob, resting their oars.

Leaning their weight on London, the smoky roofs
Below the hill stretch out their infinite folds,
A stony sea, far in miasmic depth
Where men sleep out their empty dreams of deeds,
And towers and domes, surging like green reefs,
Rise up heroic and powerful in their sloth.

Here on the hilltop my friends and I sit down.
They talk of prison; the conversation falls
And I say, "One evening we must drink at the Spaniard's"
I do not know what they are thinking as their heels
Kick out the turf and their gaze creeps over the scene,
Peering through the smoke for the customary landmarks.

But, going away in my mind from their shut faces,
Away from the quiet hilltop and the leisurely men
Digging their new gardens below in the little valley,
I enter the forest of rooftops and, under the grimy stone,
Walk among the pipedreams of men in braces
Reading in Sunday newspapers the end of faith and folly.

And in the broken slums see the benign lay down
Their empty, useless love, and the stunted creep,
Ungainly and ugly, towards a world more great
Than the moneyed hopes of masters can ever shape.
In the dead, grey streets I hear the women complain
And their voice is a spark to burn the myth of the state.

And here where my friends talk and the green leaves spurt
Quietly from waterlogged earth, and the dry twigs bud,
I see a world will rise more lovely than Blake
Knew in his winged dreams, and the leaves of good
Will burst on branches dead from winter's hurt,
When the broken rise and the silent voices speak.

Auld-bod

5 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Battlescarred #199

Terrific.

Noah Fence

5 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

George Woodcock? Is he the Tyranny of the Clock guy? First Anarchist literature I ever read as a wee 16 year old. The Anarchist Reader was the book and the Tyranny piece was the thing that grabbed me having started work and becoming subject to said tyranny.

Noah Fence

5 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I am no feeble Christ, not me.
He hangs in glib delight upon his cross. Upon his cross.
Above my body. Lowly me.
Christ forgive, forgive. Holy he, he holy, he holy.
Shit he forgives. Forgive, forgive. I, I, Me, I.
I vomit for you, Jesu. Christi-Christus.
Puke upon your papal throne.
Wrapped you are in the bloody shroud of churlish suicide.
Wrapped I am in the bloody cloud of hellish genocide.
Petulant child.
I have suffered for you, where you have never known me.
I too must die. Will you be shadowed in the arrogance of my death?
Your valley truth? What lights pass those pious heights?
What passing bells for these in their trucks?
For you Lord, you are the flag-bearer of these nations,
one against the other, that die in the mud.
No piety, no deity. Is that your forgiveness?
Saint, martyr, goat, billy. Forgive?
Shit he forgives.
He hangs upon his cross in self-righteous judgment,
hangs in crucified delight, nailed to the extent of his vision.
His cross, his manhood, his violence, guilt, sin.
He would nail my body upon his cross,
as if I might have waited for him in the garden,
as if I might have perfumed his body, washed those bloody feet?
This woman that he seeks, suicide visionary, death reveller,
rape, rapist, grave-digger, earth-mover, life-fucker. Jesu.
You scooped the pits of Auschwitz.
The soil of Treblinka is rich in your guilt,
the sorrow of your tradition,
your stupid humility is the crown of thorn we all must wear.
For you? Ha. Master? Master of gore.
Enigma.
Stigma.
Stigmata.
Errata.
Eraser.
The cross is the mast of our oppression.
You fly their vain flag. You carry it.
Wear it on your back Lord. Your back.
Enola is your gaiety.
Suffer little children, suffer in that horror.
Hiro-horror, horror-hiro, hiro-shima, shima-hiro,
hiro-shima, hiro-shima, Hiroshima, Hiroshima.
The bodies are your delight.
The incandescent flame is the spirit of it.
They come to you Jesu, to you.
The nails are the only trinity.
Hold them in your corpsey gracelessness.
The image that I have had to suffer.
These nails at my temple.
The cross is the virgin body of womanhood that you defile.
In your guilt, you turn your back, nailed to that body.
Lamearse Jesus calls me sister! There are no words for my contempt!
Every woman is a cross in his filthy theology!
He turns his back on me in his fear.
His vain delight is the pain I bear.
Alone he hangs, his choice, his choice.
Alone, alone, his voice, his voice.
He shares nothing, this Christ; sterile, impotent, fuck-love prophet of death.
He is the ultimate pornography. He! He!
Hear us, Jesus!
You sigh alone in your cock fear!
You lie alone in your cunt fear!
You cry alone in your woman fear!
You die alone in your man fear!
Alone Jesu, alone, in your cock fear, cunt fear, woman fear, man fear.
Alone in you fear, alone in your fear, alone in your fear.
Your fear, your fear, your fear, your fear, your fear, your fear, your fear,
Warfare, warfare, warfare, warfare, warfare!

JESUS DIED FOR HIS OWN SINS. NOT MINE.

potrokin

5 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

A great poem, heres another one of theirs I like....

Demoncrats

I am not he, nor master, nor lord,
No crown to wear, no cross to bear in stations.
I am not he, nor shall be, warlord of nations.
These heroes have run before me,
Now dead upon the flesh piles, see?
Waiting for their promised resurrection, there is none.
Nothing but the marker, crown or cross, in stone upon these graves
Promise of the ribbon was all it took,
Where only the strap would leave it's mark upon these slaves.
What flag to thrust into this flesh
Rag, bandage, mop in their flowing death.
Taken aside, they were pointed a way, for god, queen and country,
Now in silence they lie.
They ran beside these masters, children of sorrow,
As slaves to that trilogy they had no future.
They believed in democracy, freedom of speech,
Yet dead on the flesh piles
I hear no breath, I hear no hope, no whisper of faith
From those who have died for some others' privilege.
Out from your palaces, princes and queens,
Out from your churches, you clergy, you christs,
I'll neither live nor die for your dreams.
I'll make no subscription to your paradise.
I'll make no subscription to your paradise.
I'll make no subscription to your paradise.
I'LL MAKE NO SUBSCRIPTION TO YOUR PARADISE....

potrokin

5 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Noah Fence

George Woodcock? Is he the Tyranny of the Clock guy? First Anarchist literature I ever read as a wee 16 year old. The Anarchist Reader was the book and the Tyranny piece was the thing that grabbed me having started work and becoming subject to said tyranny.

I know that George Woodcock wrote Anarchism, A History of Libertarian Ideas and Movements, which is very good, I have a copy of it. I seem to remember watching a documentary about him once and all I can really remember from it is that he had something to do with some tribal people who had a communal, almost anarchist society/way of living, but my memory of it isn't great.

the button

5 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Sean Bonney again, this time one of his "Letters against the firmament."

Thanks for your letter. You think I spend too much time going after ‘easy targets’, do you? Got to admit I chuckled over that one. A while ago, you recall, I admitted to you I make a fetish of the riot form, and in that admission implied I was fully aware of the risks involved, that any plausible poetics would be shattered, like a shop window, flickering and jagged, all of the wire exposed and sending sharp twists and reversible jolts into whatever it was I was trying to explain or talk about. Think about it this way. Imagine that you had a favourite riot, one that you loved. Tottenham. Millbank. Chingford. Walthamstow. I like the last one, but only for sentimental reasons. It’s a stupid question, but maybe will help you to see what I mean when I use the word “poetics”, or “poetry”. What was Marx referring to when he was talking about the “poetry of the future”, for example? And what use is that in thinking about prosody? Anyway. Loads of people have made maps of clusters of riots, trying to come up with some kind of exegesis based on location and frequency. And quite right too. Think of the micro-vectors sketched out within the actions of any individual rioter, of how those vectors and actions relate to those shared among her or his immediate physical group, and thus the spatio-physical being of that group in relation to their particular town / city, and finally, the superimposition of all of those relations in all of their directions and implications onto an equally detailed charting of the entire landmass understood as chronology and interpretation. Christ, you could include data about the weather-systems on Neptune if you wanted to. What would happen to this map, I’ve been asking myself, if we went on to superimpose the positions of riots of the past, the future too if you want to be facetious, onto the complexities we’re already faced with. Sudden appearance of the Baltimore Riots of 1968, to take a random example. Or the Copper Riots of 1662. The Opera Riot, Belgium, 1830. The 1850 Squatters Riot, California. Personally, I like the Moscow Plague Riots of 1771, both for their measures of poetry and analogy, and for the thought of them as an element of the extraordinarily minor Walthamstow Riot of 7th August 2011. Plague is a bad metaphor, thats it accuracy, it refers to both sides, all sides, in quantitively different ways. Hegelian “aspects” and all that, yeh? But primarily, its dirt simple: It runs in both directions. Means both us and them. Is a jagged rip through all pronouns. The thunder of the world, a trembling, a turbine. Cyclical desperation, clusters of walls. The first signs of plague hit Moscow in late 1770, as in a sudden system of forced quarantine and destruction of contaminated houses. Within a few months, a clock of vast scratching, fear and anger. September 15th they invaded the Kremlin, smashed up the monastery there. The following day they murdered the Archbishop, that wormfucker, Ambrosius, they killed him, and then torched the quarantined zones. Much burning, yeh, much gunshot and vacuum. And no antidote, no serum. Around 200,000 people died, not including those who were executed. Its a grisly map. Disease as interpretation and anonymity. The plague itself as injection into certain subsets of opinion, those predominantly generated within hegemonic diagrams of running water and digital electricity. Plague sores, each basilica split open to various popular songs, calendars folded within them, recorded crackles through the forcibly locked houses, code etc., LEDs and meth. Basic surrealism. Aimé Césaire wrote years ago that “poetic knowledge is born in the great silence of scientific knowledge”. And science itself the great silence at the centre of corporate knowledge, its dialectical warp and synaptic negation. As in a single node of extraction made up, for example, of the precise percentage of the world’s population who will never again be called by name, except by cops and executioners. Each one of those names - and we know none of them - is the predominant running metaphor of the entire culture, a net of symptom splinters producing abdominal pain and difficulty breathing, which in turn leads to a sharp increase in arrest numbers throughout the more opaque boroughs of selected major cities. OK? Now write a “poem”. Directly after the August Riots I went to one of the big public meetings, don’t know why, guess I was feeling a bit confused. Or maybe just bored. The speakers were awful, patronising, professional counterrevolutionaries, you know the type. But there was one woman who spoke, she had nothing to do with the organisation, they’d got her up there for obvious reasons, yeh, and she lived on an estate somewhere and her son had leapt 16 floors from a tower block window. He’d been on curfew and the cops had turned up, without warning, at his flat. To check up or something. Anyway, he leapt 16 floors down, and they told her he’d killed himself, “and I know my boy”, his mother said from top table, “and he wouldn’t have jumped, he wouldn’t have killed himself, not for them, not for anyone, not for the cops”, and her voice cracked a little and then she said “and as for the riots, I thought they were fair enough, and I think there should be more of them, and more, and more”, and then she stopped and there was some applause, but it was a little shaken and a little nervous. Understand? Here’s a statistic for you, an elegant little metric foot: not one police officer in the UK has been convicted for a death in police custody since 1969. Get that? A lifetime. I think that’s what she was getting at, at the meeting: every cop, living or dead, is a walking plague-pit. And that includes the nice ones with their bicycles and nasty little apples. Like some kind of particle mould. They are all Simon Harwood. They are all Kevin Hutchinson-Foster. And are running, with crowbars and wheels, year by year, strata by strata, backwards into, well, what they used to call the deep abyss, or perhaps the metamorphosis of commodities. The unity of opposites, anti-constellations cutting through chronology, an injection of three droplets of the weather on Neptune into each malevolently flashing unit of time tumbling backwards through all of written history, all 16 spirals of it. “Poetry”, remember, “is born in the great silence of scientific knowledge”. What do you think that means, “the great silence”. I ask because I’m not quite sure. Hölderlin, in his “Notes on Oedipus”, talks about the moment of “fate”, which, he says, “tragically removes us from our orbit of life, the very-mid point of inner life, to another world, tears us off into the eccentric orbit of the dead”. But he’s not talking about “fate” as in myth, or the number of fatalities taking place every year in police cells and occupied territories worldwide, or indeed the home of every benefit claimant in this town. He’s talking about prosody, about the fault-line that runs through the centre of that prosody, and how that fault-line is where the “poetic” will be found, if its going to be found anywhere. The moment of interruption, a “counter rhythmic interruption”, he calls it, where the language folds and stumbles for a second, like a cardiac splinter or a tectonic shake. Again, just as with the plague, this is a cracked metaphor, an abstraction or a counter-earth. Actually its an entire cluster of metaphors, and each one of those metaphors twist in any number of directions, so that “counter-rhythmic interruption” refers, at the same time, to a band of masked-up rioters ripping up Oxford St., and to the sudden interruption inflicted by a cop’s baton, a police cell and the malevolent syntax of a judge’s sentence. We live in these cracks, these fault-lines. Who was it, maybe Raoul Vaneigem, who wrote something about how we are trapped between two worlds, one that we do not accept, and one that does not exist. Its exactly right. One way I’ve been thinking about it is this: the calendar, as map, has been split down the middle, into two chronologies, two orbits, and they are locked in an endless spinning antagonism, where the dead are what tend to come to life, and the living are, well you get the picture. Obviously, only one of these orbits is visible at any one time and, equally obviously, the opposite is also true. Its as if there were two parallel time tracks, or maybe not so much parallel as actually superimposed on each other. You’ve got one track, call it antagonistic time, revolutionary time, the time of the dead, whatever, and its packed with unfinished events: the Paris Commune, Orgreave, the Mau Mau rebellion. There are any number of examples, counter-earths, clusters of ideas and energies and metaphors that refuse to die, but are alive precisely nowhere. And then there is standard time, normative time, a chain of completed triumphs, a net of monuments, dead labour, capital. The TV schedules, basically. And when a sub-rhythmic jolt, call it anything, misalignment of the planets, radioactive catastrophe, even a particularly brutal piece of legislation, brings about a sudden alignment of revolutionary and normative time, as in the brute emergence of unfinished time into their world, it creates a buckling in its grounding metaphor, wherein that metaphor, to again misuse Hölderlin, becomes a network of forces, places of intersection, places of divergence, moments when everything is up for grabs. Well, that’s the theory. Riot, plague, any number of un-used potentialities we can’t even begin to list. The names of everyone who has died in police custody since 1969, for example. The name of every civilian who has died in Iraq since 2003. Plague. The opposite of solidarity. Or rather, solidarity itself: the solidarity of isolation and quarantine, of the bomb-zone or the ghetto. The great silence is full of noises. And thats what I mean when I talk about poetics. A map, a counter-map, actually, a chart of the spatio-temporal rhythm of the riot-form, its prosody and signal-frequency. A map that could show the paths not taken. And where to find them, those paths, those antidotes, those counter-plagues. Anyway, I hope that answers your question. It’s a very partial account, for sure. There are hundred of other points of access to the metaphor cluster engaged within the riot form: think about the Portland Rum Riots of 1855, for example. Or the Zoot Suit Riots of 1943. Their trajectories through the varying intensities of official and unofficial chronology, the music of the past re-emerging as a sheet of blazing gin flowing through Chingford. Like that time we marched on Parliament, burned it to the ground. Remember that? It was fantastic.

Noah Fence

5 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Brexit, Bremain

In out, in out
Shake it all about

Entdinglichung

5 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

anthem of the Puerto Rican Revolutionary Workers Organization: https://www.marxists.org/history/erol/ncm-3/prrwo-pb-heat/heat-song.pdf (1976)

LinksRadikal

5 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

If I were
Mere a speck in your eyes
Blinded by expropriating them bastards
If war
Like a slithering snake comes
Bring it.
We'll endure and
Live to tell the tales.

(this anonymous manuscript was found after a Yugoslav official storming of suspected Bordigist premises)

LinksRadikal

5 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Shit blimey
Double post
Punish me the most

Noah Fence

5 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

There was an anarcho named Noah
Who once was a bit of a goer
But now that dumb prick
Walks with a stick
He'd be dead if he walked any slower!

potrokin

5 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Power is Boring (Jello Biafra)

Believe me, if I were dicator
You know what I'd do?!?!?
Come to think of it,
There's a problem there
For aspiring tyrants like me and you...

Ever wonder what it'd really be like
To be your own dicator
Might be its own kind of prison
Of total fear

Can't make love or go anywhere
Without bodyguards in your hair
Never know which trusted friend
Has plans to blow you away

3,000 pairs of shoes
No one to talk to
'Nuff guns to kill everyone you own
The masses act so loyal
Yet you can't sleep in the same place twice
I wouldn't want to be a Noriega or Khadafi
Would you?

[Chorus:]
Power is boring
Power is boring
Power is boring

And ya know, I wonder how
The downtown crowd can stand themselves
Look sharp
Play to win
Through intimidation

That person at the next desk
Ain't your friend
He's your competitor
The only way to get promoted first
Is to get HIM first
Or else

Hi ho whadya know
They all got the same plan for you
Where do these people go
Between their daily meals of work
Too burnt and stressed
To even think of how to spend the money
No one to show it to
But people just like me-AGH!

[Chorus]

Hot damn, we're the headliners at last
Gonna show this scene a thing or two
Play games and help our friends
Now the phone rings all the time
It's all you fault
"You've been crowned king
Of what you used to warn us about"

Why play that game at all?
The ones who want the power THAT bad
Are missing something in their lives
Being scared of my friends
In ajunta, scene or business world
Is the most miserable existence
I could think of on earth

potrokin

5 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Attack of the Peace Keepers- Jello Biafra

Army ads looked cool-I signed right up
Besides, it was the only way could find a job
"Great place to start" and see the world
Womanize at discos
And fake going nuts
To scam infirmary drugs

So send in the clowns
The NATO circus is here to protect you
Your choice must be ours
Yankee corruption
Or the big bad Soviet threat

Don't you feel secure
Sending our Top Guns guard your sky
Flying their fighter planes upside down
Stoned out of their minds

For a real hot time
How 'bout an air show crash?
Or a G.I. riding a stolen tank
Through downtown Manhattan
And off the riverbank
Where he drowns

Fall in with the clowns
Remember-
NATO is here to protect you
With nuclear bombs
That come to visit
And decided to stay

[Chorus:]
Attack!
Attack!
Of the peacekeepers
Attack!

The charge of the joke brigade
In charge
We can blow up the world
More times than you

We'll show 'em
We'll show 'em
With radioactive subs

We'll show 'em
We'll show 'em
With missiles in your back yard

Guarded
By soldiers
On acid during night watch
And generals who care only
For fat pensions and bribes

If that don't scare the commies nothing will
Cept maybe our Bradley tanks tripping over themselves
Both powers have one goal in common
to keep Germany divided
Never strong enough to start another world war

Occupied by the clowns
Is it really you NATO is here to protect?
With Berlin type walls
When they came to visit
We all decided to stay

[Chorus]

potrokin

5 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

War Pimp Renaissance- Jello Biafra

War Pimp Renaissance
War Pimp Renaissance
War Pimp Renaissance
War Pimp Renaissance

Yippee Tai-Yai-Yai Yo
Evil Commie empire's gone
Yippee Tai-Yai-Yai Yay
Now we're the only one

Let there be peace on earth
What ever gave you that idea
Economy depends on guns
We'll have an arms race with ourselves

March, March
Forward to the caves

War Pimp Renaissance
War Pimp Renaissance
War Pimp Renaissance
War Pimp Renaissance

General who's never been to war
Is like a rapist who's never been laid
Like shootin' fish in a barrel
Inner child must be fed

Deep fry a quarter million ragheads
Into crispy eagle snacks
Pure chewing satisfaction
Pure chewing satisfaction

March, March
Ah Ha Ha Ha

Question ain't, who killed JFK
But, where are they now

War Pimp Renaissance
War Pimp Renaissance
War Pimp Renaissance
War Pimp Renaissance

Who's a-gonna buy our missiles
Who's a-gonna buy our guns
Everyone on the whole damned planet
We'll throw in free land mines

Starve the Russians 'til a nut takes over
Put the Arms Race back on boil
As the world's population's exploding
Wars for water, not oil

Too damn many people already
Clutter land we could use for golf
Egg 'em on to bloodbaths like Rwanda
Help 'em eat each other alive

Praise God
We brought the rapture on
Hey, wait for me

potrokin

5 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I Wish I Was in El Salvador- Jello Biafra

Used to be in a gang
'Till I beat a kid half dead
In a video arcade
Judge gave me a choice: Jail or the Marines
Best time I ever had was being an MP

Aw yeh
I wish I was down in El Salvador
Where I could jerk off with my gun
And kill the poor

More gang busts after I'm discharged
Got on offer from police
Surprise! We'll wipe your record clean
If you'll become one of us

You've got just the skills we need
For the government's official gang
Robothug Riot Squad
Already I want more

Aw yeh,
I wish I was down in El Salvador
We're just countin' days
'Til we can do it up here

Well, Officer Friendly-
What does Elmer the Safety Elephant
Have to say about this...?
Well, good buddy
I''ll bet he says you can't do this ARGH!
Or this ARGH!
Or this ARGH!
Or even this ARGH!

"His toy gun looked real
I had to defend myself..."
I'm always lookin' for excuses
To defend myself

People are storming out into the streets
People are pouring out into the streets
They hate me, they hate me

I just might have to defend myself
NOW!

It's party time...

I look at you and smolder
With my nightstick and my shield
Little kids throw rocks at me
Their moms call me a pig

Commander says I gotta hold the line
'Til the TV cameras leave
Then we'll fire away, make my day
Just like good ol' Kent State

Why wait!
It'll be like I was down in El Salvador
Gonna jerk off with my gun
and kill the poor
Be a big man with my gun
And kill the poor

Jerk off with my gun
I think I'm gonna cum
Then I'll kiss my gun good night
And put her under my pillow

Noah Fence

5 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Written for me by Ultraviolet and reproduced with her permission.

It doesn’t matter how much you ask

I won’t blow you wearing a Corbyn mask


You can plead and you can beg

I won’t fuck you in no Corbyn drag


Even if you sob with mournful cries

I won’t put on that Corbyn disguise


I know that you want Jezza’s jizzum

Even more than you want anarchism


But don’t you worry, here’s some news that’s great

Jezza lusts after your virgin prostate

I bear no responsibility for this filth

Auld-bod

5 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

A Dog Has Died

My dog has died.
I buried him in the garden
next to a rusted old machine.

Some day I'll join him right there,
but now he's gone with his shaggy coat,
his bad manners and his cold nose,
and I, the materialist, who never believed
in any promised heaven in the sky
for any human being,
I believe in a heaven I'll never enter.
Yes, I believe in a heaven for all dogdom
where my dog waits for my arrival
waving his fan-like tail in friendship.

Ai, I'll not speak of sadness here on earth,
of having lost a companion
who was never servile.
His friendship for me, like that of a porcupine
withholding its authority,
was the friendship of a star, aloof,
with no more intimacy than was called for,
with no exaggerations:
he never climbed all over my clothes
filling me full of his hair or his mange,
he never rubbed up against my knee
like other dogs obsessed with sex.

No, my dog used to gaze at me,
paying me the attention I need,
the attention required
to make a vain person like me understand
that, being a dog, he was wasting time,
but, with those eyes so much purer than mine,
he'd keep on gazing at me
with a look that reserved for me alone
all his sweet and shaggy life,
always near me, never troubling me,
and asking nothing.

Ai, how many times have I envied his tail
as we walked together on the shores of the sea
in the lonely winter of Isla Negra
where the wintering birds filled the sky
and my hairy dog was jumping about
full of the voltage of the sea's movement:
my wandering dog, sniffing away
with his golden tail held high,
face to face with the ocean's spray.

Joyful, joyful, joyful,
as only dogs know how to be happy
with only the autonomy
of their shameless spirit.

There are no good-byes for my dog who has died,
and we don't now and never did lie to each other.

So now he's gone and I buried him,
and that's all there is to it.

Pablo Neruda

Noah Fence

5 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I like tha alot.

Noah Fence

5 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Within
The linear magic moving from miracle to inevitable
Sacred, not to be touched
Nobody's fucking business
To be left to fulfill itself
Right?

But no
Once again the monster perverts reality
Usurps nature
Makes reason unreasonable
Makes the unreasonable essential
What shit is this? What the fuck?
But yes, we will act out perversion to end the perversion
We will become rapists to end rape
This is a false fate that we cannot disgard
And we will live with it
Our new world will live with it
A glorious stain that will simultaneously fill our hearts with joy and break them in two
And as it draws its final breath the monster will puke out its last laugh, it's final heal grind on the face of humanity
But ha! It's dark energy could never understand our ability to live on light
We may take time to cleanse its stench from our souls but one day we will
Oh yes, our emancipation will be made whole and the monster will cease to have ever existed!
Ideology will die
It only exists when there is another to oppose
And then our freedom will at once justify and ensure that our perversion never happened
We will never see it
But we are it and it is us
That is so beautiful
Really very beautiful

potrokin

5 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

This is more like fascist poetry when you consider who wrote it but anyhow. . .

This Be The Verse by Philip Larkin

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.

But they were fucked up in their turn
By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another’s throats.

Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don’t have any kids yourself.

potrokin

5 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Noah Fence

Within
The linear magic moving from miracle to inevitable
Sacred, not to be touched
Nobody's fucking business
To be left to fulfill itself
Right?

But no
Once again the monster perverts reality
Usurps nature
Makes reason unreasonable
Makes the unreasonable essential
What shit is this? What the fuck?
But yes, we will act out perversion to end the perversion
We will become rapists to end rape
This is a false fate that we cannot disgard
And we will live with it
Our new world will live with it
A glorious stain that will simultaneously fill our hearts with joy and break them in two
And as it draws its final breath the monster will puke out its last laugh, it's final heal grind on the face of humanity
But ha! It's dark energy could never understand our ability to live on light
We may take time to cleanse its stench from our souls but one day we will
Oh yes, our emancipation will be made whole and the monster will cease to have ever existed!
Ideology will die
It only exists when there is another to oppose
And then our freedom will at once justify and ensure that our perversion never happened
We will never see it
But we are it and it is us
That is so beautiful
Really very beautiful

This is great, bold poetry Noah. Nice one.

potrokin

5 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Money by Philip Larkin

Quarterly, is it, money reproaches me:
‘Why do you let me lie here wastefully?
I am all you never had of goods and sex.
You could get them still by writing a few cheques.’

So I look at others, what they do with theirs:
They certainly don’t keep it upstairs.
By now they’ve a second house and car and wife:
Clearly money has something to do with life

—In fact, they’ve a lot in common, if you enquire:
You can’t put off being young until you retire,
And however you bank your screw, the money you save
Won’t in the end buy you more than a shave.

I listen to money singing. It’s like looking down
From long french windows at a provincial town,
The slums, the canal, the churches ornate and mad
In the evening sun. It is intensely sad.

potrokin

5 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Ode To A Nightingale

My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains
My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk,
Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains
One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk:
'Tis not through envy of thy happy lot,
But being too happy in thy happiness,---
That thou, light-winged Dryad of the trees,
In some melodious plot
Of beechen green, and shadows numberless,
Singest of summer in full-throated ease.

O for a draught of vintage, that hath been
Cooled a long age in the deep-delved earth,
Tasting of Flora and the country green,
Dance, and Provencal song, and sun-burnt mirth!
O for a beaker full of the warm South,
Full of the true, the blushful Hippocrene,
With beaded bubbles winking at the brim,
And purple-stained mouth;
That I might drink, and leave the world unseen,
And with thee fade away into the forest dim:

Fade far away, dissolve, and quite forget
What thou among the leaves hast never known,
The weariness, the fever, and the fret
Here, where men sit and hear each other groan;
Where palsy shakes a few, sad, last gray hairs,
Where youth grows pale, and spectre-thin, and dies;
Where but to think is to be full of sorrow
And leaden-eyed despairs;
Where beauty cannot keep her lustrous eyes,
Or new love pine at them beyond tomorrow.

Away! away! for I will fly to thee,
Not charioted by Bacchus and his pards,
But on the viewless wings of Poesy,
Though the dull brain perplexes and retards:
Already with thee! tender is the night,
And haply the Queen-Moon is on her throne,
Clustered around by all her starry fays;
But here there is no light,
Save what from heaven is with the breezes blown
Through verdurous glooms and winding mossy ways.

I cannot see what flowers are at my feet,
Nor what soft incense hangs upon the boughs,
But, in embalmed darkness, guess each sweet
Wherewith the seasonable month endows
The grass, the thicket, and the fruit-tree wild;
White hawthorn, and the pastoral eglantine;
Fast-fading violets covered up in leaves;
And mid-May's eldest child,
The coming musk-rose, full of dewy wine,
The murmurous haunt of flies on summer eves.

Darkling I listen; and for many a time
I have been half in love with easeful Death,
Called him soft names in many a mused rhyme,
To take into the air my quiet breath;
Now more than ever seems it rich to die,
To cease upon the midnight with no pain,
While thou art pouring forth thy soul abroad
In such an ecstasy!
Still wouldst thou sing, and I have ears in vain---
To thy high requiem become a sod

Thou wast not born for death, immortal Bird!
No hungry generations tread thee down;
The voice I hear this passing night was heard
In ancient days by emperor and clown:
Perhaps the self-same song that found a path
Through the sad heart of Ruth, when, sick for home,
She stood in tears amid the alien corn;
The same that oft-times hath
Charmed magic casements, opening on the foam
Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn.

Forlorn! the very word is like a bell
To toll me back from thee to my sole self!
Adieu! the fancy cannot cheat so well
As she is famed to do, deceiving elf.
Adieu! adieu! thy plaintive anthem fades
Past the near meadows, over the still stream,
Up the hill-side; and now 'tis buried deep
In the next valley-glades:
Was it a vision, or a waking dream?
Fled is that music:---do I wake or sleep?

John Keats

potrokin

5 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

To A Cat

Cat! who has pass'd thy grand climacteric,
How many mice and rats hast in thy days
Destroy'd? How many tit-bits stolen? Gaze
With those bright languid segments green, and
prick
Those velvet ears - but prythee do not stick
Thy latent talons in me - and tell me all thy frays,
Of fish and mice, and rats and tender chick;
Nay, look not down, nor lick thy dainty wrists, -
For all the wheezy asthma - and for all
Thy tail's tip is nick'd off - and though the fists
Of many a maid have given thee many a maul,
Still is thy fur as when the lists
In youth thou enter'dst on glass-bottled wall.

John Keats

Entdinglichung

5 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

a new translation of some of Herman Gorter's pre-political poems: https://archive.org/details/HermanGorterPoemsOf1890ASelection

Auld-bod

5 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

While reading this poem yesterday, I heard the voice of Joan Baez reading. I’d totally forgotten it.

Qasida of the Weeping

I have closed off my balcony,
for I do not want to hear the weeping.
But out there, beyond grey walls,
nothing is heard but the weeping.

There are very few angels who sing.
There are very few dogs who bark.
A thousand violins fit in the palm of my hand.

But the weeping is an enormous dog.
the weeping is an enormous angel.
the weeping is an enormous violin.
tears have muzzled the wind.
and nothing is heard but the weeping.

Federico Garcia Lorca
Published 1934

Noah Fence

5 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

This machine traverses the world
Blind, deaf, stupid
No care for the destruction in it's wake
It just rolls on, devouring all
Spitting out the bones
Our bones
It's fuel is reason, beauty, possibility
And from its exhaust spews isolation, pain, confusion and hopelessness
There are no winners, no one and nothing is safe
This machine, capitalism, like a stinking putrid soulless animal
Eternally ravaged by an insatiable hunger will never stop
And all the while, men and women feel the sharp horror of separation from how it could be
Should be
Like tiny amoeba, alone in a vast empty universe
We stand, transfixed in it's dark light
Made to feel to blame for our inability to live in these unnatural hellish conditions that this animal subjects us to
Made to feel inadequate
Made to feel fear
So saturated by the blood of this thing that we cling on to it, worship it, and spend our lives feeding it
This creature must be slain if we are to feel joy in our species
To realise the possibilities that we hold
To not be alone anymore
For this is the true crime committed by this machine, this animal, this capitalism
It separates us and puts us into our most unnatural state
Alone
We starve in a world of plenty
We freeze under a hot sun
We are imprisoned by limits in a limitless world
All this because we are forced to be alone
Alone
Alone...

shortshanks re…

5 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Thankyou Beautiful

Auld-bod

5 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Vaudeville: 1916

I watch vaudeville. Two Swiss women whose bodies are perfect
Throw their legs and shoulders among trapezes and flying
rings, a cross-play of flesh tights (and what are the babies
doing since Russian and Austrian soldiers killed all the cows
in Galicia?)

I watch vaudeville. A clown acrobat with a red mouth slashed
on a death-white face tickles us all with mock danger and
mock pain; he does handsprings on top of three tables
pyramided and he double-somersaults from flimsy ladder
(and how long will the Crown Prince batter Joffre at Verdun
and how long will French and Prussians cut each other, faces
and guts, in the trenches and tunnels – and how long will the
toy carvers of one nation drive their bayonets into the necks
of toy carvers of another nation?)

I watch vaudeville. O we all watch vaudeville. And the Swiss
women might carry beautiful children in pockets of flesh, in
lovely red tissues where children hide. And the French clown
acrobat with the red mouth slashed on a death-white face,
maybe he has a cousin at Verdun, a cousin with an ear off
and two ribs gone.

I watch vaudeville. O we all watch vaudeville. And the Crown
Prince and Joffre over their breakfasts ask how the weather
looks for new troop movements.

Carl Sandburg

potrokin

4 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Oi Polloi- Let The Boots Do The Talking

Oi!
A child is burnt to death
By nazis on the street
A man is stabbed and scarred for life
Yet you say they've a right to put their views

What is this liberal rubbish?
Are you some kind of mug?
Don't talk to me of "free speech"
For murdering fascist thugs

We remember Mosley
And how Cable Street folk fought him
When we see the fash
We let the boots do the talking

Some think they'll be halted
By spouting a lot of hot air
Others think you can stop them
By waving a yellow lollipop in the air

But we remember Mosley
And how Cable Street folk fought him
When we see the fash
We let the boots do the talking

Punks and sabs and travellers
And hippies and ravers too
They'd build another Auschwitz
This time for me and you

But we ain't gonna take this
From some bonehead in the "master race"
He won't be mastering anything
With a vegan steelie in his face!

adri

4 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Probably an ill-timed attempt to contribute to this thread, but I thought this work ("Ozymandias") had an anti-authoritarian feel to it (the irrelevance of the greatness of the king with the passing of time) and wanted to share (it's apparently a popular poem and there's an adjective, ozymandian, based off it). The familial background of the author, Percy Shelley, is also interesting. For those who don't know Shelley was the partner of Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein or the Modern Prometheus. The latter was daughter of early feminist Mary Wollstonecraft and political thinker William Godwin, both of whom were influential among later anarchists.

I met a traveller from an antique land,
Who said—"Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. . . . Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal, these words appear:
My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away."

Auld-bod

4 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

An Epilogue (Again)

I have seen flowers come in stony places
And kind things done by men with ugly faces,
And at the races the sleaziest bullies win the highest places
So I trust in the revolution, too.

(With apologies to John Masefield)

Noah Fence

4 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

On revolutionary violence. God knows what trip the author was on when he wrote this!

Within
The linear magic moving from miracle to inevitable
Sacred, not to be touched
Nobody's fucking business
To be left to fulfill itself
Right?

But no
Once again the monster perverts reality
Usurps nature
Makes reason unreasonable
Makes the unreasonable essential
What shit is this? What the fuck?
But yes, we will act out perversion to end the perversion
We will become rapists to end rape
This is a false fate that we cannot disgard
And we will live with it
Our new world will live with it
A glorious stain that will simultaneously fill our hearts with joy and break them in two
And as it draws its final breath the monster will puke out its last laugh, it's final heal grind on the face of humanity
But ha! It's dark energy could never understand our ability to live on light
We may take time to cleanse its stench from our souls but one day we will
Oh yes, our emancipation will be made whole and the monster will cease to have ever existed!
Ideology will die
It only exists when there is another to oppose
And then our freedom will at once justify and ensure that our perversion never happened
We will never see it
But we are it and it is us
That is so beautiful
Really very beautiful

Noah Fence

2 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

6am. I leave the hotel and head for the sea. Through the lanes of Indy stores. Hipness, hip, vegan shoes, coffee. Oh how they love their coffee. The cool people, the beautiful people, putting out signs, chairs, tables. Intentionally shabby, beautifully fucked up. Magnets to the wallets of the aesthetes that populate this city. Cold hard commerce softened by the aesthetic. Shielded from view, yet still quietly growling away. The hungry beast.
The gulls scream as I close in on the beach. And they may well scream! For if they can see what I can see, feel what I can feel, to scream is the natural thing to do! Littered along these streets, in doorways, on benches, they would see the helpless, homeless young. The abandoned youth, with their blankets, their bags and their bottles. Mournful dejected faces, horror struck at the realisation of their reality as they wake to another day of desperation, deprivation, degradation, and desolation.
In a city full of empty hotel rooms, holiday lets and magnificent town houses big enough for five, six, seven families, a city full of soft warm and empty beds, they sleep outside on cold hard stone. A city full of restaurants, in turn full of delicious nutritious food, yet they beg for scraps. And here I am, full of fear of my financial future, yet so grateful to know I will sleep in a warm comfortable house tonight, a warm comfortable bed, with a belly full of food. I see a face, so young, so sad, so bereft of hope, and my spree begins - five pounds, ten pounds, twenty pounds, each new face peering out from a doorway triggers an automatic action, the note is handed over almost as if I have no say in the matter. The final note in my wallet, ten pounds, says goodbye to my touch. Ninety five pounds closer to ruin, I keep walking, and now, face after face after face and I can do nothing for them. Have I really done anything for anyone but myself? Feed the poor? Maybe that should read ‘feed my conscience’?
If this was nature, if this was just an inevitable reality, I could accept it. I could accept that life is necessarily shit, and I could go about my miserable business, until the day I am relieved forever of my misery. But no! This is not nature, this is not inevitable. This is a perversion. This is nature denied. And so I cannot accept this. I will not! And so now, for me it is another day of longing. Longing for the world I know can exist, must exist. Another day of doing my pitifully small part in trying to make that world a reality, and today that will have to be enough.

adri

2 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Littered along these streets, in doorways, on benches, they would see the helpless, homeless young. The abandoned youth, with their blankets, their bags and their bottles. Mournful dejected faces, horror struck at the realisation of their reality as they wake to another day of desperation, deprivation, degradation, and desolation.

Sounds like Blake's "London" there:

I wander thro' each charter'd street,
Near where the charter'd Thames does flow.
And mark in every face I meet
Marks of weakness, marks of woe.

In every cry of every Man,
In every Infants cry of fear,
In every voice: in every ban,
The mind-forg'd manacles I hear

How the Chimney-sweepers cry
Every blackning Church appalls,
And the hapless Soldiers sigh
Runs in blood down Palace walls

But most thro' midnight streets I hear
How the youthful Harlots curse
Blasts the new-born Infants tear
And blights with plagues the Marriage hearse

adri

2 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I think all of the critical Great War poets maybe deserve an honorable mention (obviously being anti-a-war doesn't translate to communist; could maybe read Marx's sonnets to Jenny if you want proper communist poetry), Siegfried Sassoon, Wilfred Owen and others. Owen also wrote "Miners" as a response to the Minnie Pit Disaster.

"They" by Sassoon

The Bishop tells us: 'When the boys come back
'They will not be the same; for they'll have fought
'In a just cause: they lead the last attack
'On Anti-Christ; their comrades' blood has bought
'New right to breed an honourable race,
'They have challenged Death and dared him face to face.'

'We're none of us the same!' the boys reply.
'For George lost both his legs; and Bill's stone blind;
'Poor Jim's shot through the lungs and like to die;
'And Bert's gone syphilitic: you'll not find
'A chap who's served that hasn't found some change.
' And the Bishop said: 'The ways of God are strange!'

R Totale

2 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Fight to a Finish by Sassoon is great, always relevant in the face of the pious patriotic nonsense that still gets served up about the war.

adri

2 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

R Totale

Fight to a Finish by Sassoon is great, always relevant in the face of the pious patriotic nonsense that still gets served up about the war.

I thought Owen's "Dulce et Decorum est", the full expression meaning "how sweet and fitting it is to die for one's country", sounded relevant to today with the push to "get people back to work", especially if you replace the last bit with something like "our gains", if that's not too much of a stretch. I think the propaganda and celebration of labor, similar to the propaganda and celebration of dying in the ruling class's wars, is a kind of "old lie" disguising capitalist lust for profit. Haven't read much from Owen but I'd be curious about what his views on the "the truth" were.

R Totale

2 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Something that people outside the UK might not be aware of is that that a) May Day is sort-of an official holiday here, although they moved it to "the first Monday in May" rather than the actual day in an attempt to sever it from its meaning, and b) this year the government have moved the holiday to be Friday 8th instead, as a commemoration of VE Day, because even the watered-down not-on-May-1st version of May Day was too much to be allowed. Of course, as it turns out May Day this year was never going to be spectacular anyway, but the whole thing is a yet another reminder of how much our rulers are still reliant on endless repetition of "that old lie".

adri

2 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

If it's of any interest, Pankhurst includes Sassoon's letter declining to return to duty on the front page of the July 28th edition of the Workers' Dreadnought (also the date when the paper changed from the Woman's Dreadnought) under the heading "Soldier Learns the Truth" and later included some of Sassoon's works from the "The Old Huntsman" in the August 11th edition.

adri

3 months 1 week ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Here's a work by Simeon Polotsky (1629-80) talking about what sinful bastards the merchant class is (a heroic couplet I think?—I guess it's also more the translator's doing, still funny though),

The merchant class can hardly keep from sinning.
The Evil Spirit to his ways is winning,
great greed the merchant's soul is e'er infesting,
his entire life with gross misdeeds investing.
First, every merchant's greatest desire
is to buy things for less and sell them higher.
Great sin abides in the raising of prices;
with small profit only is one sinless.
The second sin of merchants is False Promise,
seduction of the buyer their sole premise.
The third sin be the merchants' dubious pledges,
as numerous as the sand grains at the oceans' edges.
Their fourth sin on criminality verges
when, often, in weighing, the merchant perjures.
When purchasing, their scale shows less than's in it,
yet when they sell, their scale extends its limit.
By wetting down their goods some merchants show their cunning
or by adding bad merchandise to the scale's summing.
In such a deed one sees the merchants' sin's commission.
God forbade such acts but finds in them no contrition.
Adding of interest is the fifth sin dire
when higher prices for term payment they require.
Some seek through sales on credit, extra money off it,
and reaping higher prices, in such business profit.
In false claims of worth is the sixth sin constituted
when poor products for good ones are oft substituted.
The seventh sin be defects of a product hiding
and selling them as good, the buyer thus deriding.
The eighth is concealment, all aspects not disclosing,
and thus bad transactions on the buyer imposing.
Often merchants make their sales in improper lighting
the buyer into blindness thus benighting.
O you Sons of Darkness in evil thus abiding.
Abusing your neighbors, toward your own bad end sliding.
Shady business practices lead to Darkness Eternal,
deprived of the Lord's Light in punishment infernal.
Give up this black business, forsake these acts of thieving.
Then will you to heaven climb and God's Grace be achieving.