David Hess and Jim Behrle have weighed in on Barrett Watten's call for a critique and analysis of the reasons the present administration have given us for going to war (see -Circulars-). All have ignored the quiet voice of Masha Zavialova whose recent statements on the list were the most cogent because she lived through all this in the Soviet Union. Masha feels there is real work to do for poets in "taking the shit" off what our leaders have to say. But this will take even more time, as poets have immediately clashed as to how to go about working together. One group wants to deconstruct what has been said in order to become more constructive, the other group wants us to say or do something more constructive right away. Are these positions very far apart? Both ideas are useful. But to debate is so much more soothing than to act, feels so much more organized, profound and planful, and these fascinating discussions will continue until a few more thousand, or tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of people die. I lived through all this in the 60's.
In the years of the organization of the protest movement in the 60's , eventually dissidents of every stripe came to work together. It took years of caring people watching more and more other caring people die horrible, useless, violent deaths. Blotto hippies, radicals of all types, students, business people, soldiers, politicos, mothers, brothers,sisters, children, ex-soldiers, hobos, rich people, poor people, the rainbow coalition all working together. Soon the bodies will be so bloody and piled so high and the disgust and misery will be so intense that these semantic arguments will no longer be of much interest. But none of us can really begrudge this needed time of contemplation and discussion. As long as we can bicker over intellectual points, over who is more brilliant or more knowledgable than who, it only means we are not yet quite horrified enough, not quite revolted enough.A few are already. Marianne Shaneen represents that group: the new avant-garde.(We are already being warned that the hours in jail for protesters are getting longer.)
When we are all revolted enough we will do something, not because we "feel we should" but because we will feel and therefore recognize that we have no choice. And every single one of us will work like hell together to stop this terrible war. And it will feel like love, not hate, like we are embracing something beautiful together, not like we are arguing among ourselves either politely or rudely. This is when the poetry really comes into it, don't you think? That said: when do we call for a "Day of Reckoning?" Doesn't it seem that the next step would be towards a day of job walkout and protest, world wide?