put the flowers you find in a vase
put the flowers you find in a vase
last few stanzas of Michael Ondaatje’s “Breeze”
we are failing our soldiers.Daniel Somers was a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He was part of Task Force Lightning, an intelligence unit. In 2004-2005, he was mainly assigned to a Tactical Human-Intelligence Team (THT) in Baghdad, Iraq, where he ran more than 400 combat missions as a machine gunner in the turret of a Humvee, interviewed countless Iraqis ranging from concerned citizens to community leaders and and government officials, and interrogated dozens of insurgents and terrorist suspects. In 2006-2007, Daniel worked with Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) through his former unit in Mosul where he ran the Northern Iraq Intelligence Center. His official role was as a senior analyst for the Levant (Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel, and part of Turkey). Daniel suffered greatly from PTSD and had been diagnosed with traumatic brain injury and several other war-related conditions. On June 10, 2013, Daniel wrote the following letter to his family before taking his life. Daniel was 30 years old. His wife and family have given permission to publish it.
from Sebastian Junger’s “The Perfect Storm”
When The Mountain Goats’ All Hail West Texas came out, I was already a devoted and convinced fan, but it was that album’s opening track, “The Best Ever Death Metal Band Out of Denton” in combination with some of the poetry I was reading at the time, that seemed to somehow raise the stakes for me. I was living in Akron, Ohio, some poetry school behind me, teaching reading at an elementary school, and feeling separated from anyone else who wanted to devote their lives to making poetry. I know I’m not alone in adopting this particular song as a rallying cry for not being afraid, but that is what it became. It gave me permission for unashamed pursuit, and a sense of urgency and belonging. It was right around this exact time that I started Octopus Magazine and wrote the first few poems of what would become The Man Suit.
A few years later when I had returned to school for poetry, and was living in Lincoln, NE, I met Mathias Svalina. In his basement apartment, tacked up onto the wood paneling across from the bathroom in his hallway, were these exact words from that song: When you punish a person/for dreaming his dream/don’t expect him to thank/or forgive you. It was through this song, and this exact bar in that song, that I knew we were both capable, if we stuck together, of being undeterred. Together, the two of us started Octopus Books in those months.
So last night, biking along the east bank esplanade in Portland to the IPRC for a Futuretense Books reading, when I again saw these exact words as grafitti on the wall beneath the Morrison Bridge, I felt reminded of this urgency, this absolute necessity, another 5 years later, as if I was somehow supposed to see it in this brief window of time before it gets painted over. Other people were biking and jogging past it and not even turning their heads to look. In this song I feel dedicated, undeterred, and not alone. Thank you for this song, John Darnielle, for putting your hand on the back of my neck every time it plays, and every time I see it written on some wall. To another five years. Hail Satan.
As if Zachary Schomburg weren’t amazing enough. Hail Satan.
I have not been here in ages, and that makes me sad, but I do have news. My new chapbook from dancing girl press, “You aren’t in this movie”, was just released, & it’s kind of Halloweeny (though it works for any time of the year). For 7 bucks, you can read my fantasias on Lynch & Cronenberg & various film noir goodies & some Hitchcock, too. Read an excerpt at the link and check out one of the poems from the book in the latest issue of 13 Myna Birds.
This is good stuff-great stuff
The late Neil Armstrong was the main photographer on the first mission to the moon.
He used a modified Hasselblad (pictured above) to shoot medium format photos from the lunar landscape. Reminds us of the exciting new photos we’ve been getting back from Curiosity!
via Chase Jarvis
to read Nine Alexandrias
on the bus from
New York to somewhere
home, maybe, or the place
containing my posessions.
these days my writing is
poetry in response,
but one must start somewhere:
red star express lines,
I’ll be back in two days
Or well if some people got divorced.
my Thurston Moore photo cut out in a zine….
“Courtney gave me Kurt’s parka after he died. I love seeing that hanging in my closet.”
“The only way [Sonic Youth] could really break up is if someone died, I think.”
"May others see in us only what we see in then, perfection and beauty beyond telling." -Ray Bradbury, from "Driving Blind"