Thursday, September 12, 2013

Sinking the Titanic

Sinking the Titanic
(after meticulously rearranging the deck chairs)

Politics from a distance
appears flat as a sea
ironed to the horizon,
as a saucer of soup.

Closer to 
the skull-strewn shores,
we see a bottomless
tossing mass
of shit and blood. 

Some think
a good boat will cross it
but each Titanic always
finds its own
excremental iceberg.

~September 2013

55 floating fecal fragments for        the g-man 

Optional Musical Accompaniment

Image (slightly manipulated): After The Shipwreck, by Ivan Aivazovsky
Public domain via


  1. excremental ice that sounds like a joy to run true...there is no such thing as a good politician, that is an oxy moron...but they fool us, every time...they are def not the people's representatives....

  2. Well said! Especially "shallow as a saucer of soup".

  3. Oh Joy, I LOVE the Kinks....
    I loved your scathingly fecal political offering this week as well!
    Why can't you be this lucid every week? (sigh)
    Loved your social commentary 55
    You Rock the Prairie Baby!!
    Thanks for your wonderful support
    Have a Kick Ass Week-End!!!

    1. Thanks, G. You're just on my wavelength this time. All my stuff is really simple. I just talk funny. ;_) May your weekend dropkick many posteriors also.

  4. Excremental iceberg. What a wonderfully apt image.

  5. Love that ending ~ I think its a matter of perspective and you hit right on the head ~ Happy Friday ~

  6. I think I'll just tiptoe around the shore until I can get away.

    - Alice

  7. The deck chairs can be rearranged any which way, the ship is still goin' down. Yes, politics and politicians... usually do ride in on a doomed ship in one way or another... I'm still silly enough to hope for the so-called hero... sigh.

  8. Oh dear. A very well-expressed and mordant poem! I don't think they are really that bad! I think there is some good faith-- that doesn't mean that there is not doom in store, but don't we all always know that on an individual level at least! I just hope we don't wreck the planet for all the rest of the species - there's gott be something for the cockroaches to live on, right?!

    No, joking aside - good poem, (But I have eternal faith.) Take care, k.

    1. Well, someone has to, I suppose. ;_) I believe there are people of good faith, certainly. Some of them are even on the other side of the argument. But the over-riding force is towards corruption, lies, greed and worst of all, abysmal, arrogant ignorance. I was *extremely* disappointed in my President on Tuesday, but he has a difficult job, and no doubt I wouldn't be doing it much better. It's easy to criticize when you have no real skin in the game--although I still don't see the point of any of this sudden need to straighten out Assad, other than the fear of looking weak. That's not good enough to go kill people, imo, but of course, many others have felt it was enough in the past. Thanks for reading, k--and keep the faith. I truly do hope you are the one who's right and I'm the one who's wrong.

    2. Ha. It's just all so interesting. I actually found Obama to be very sympathetic and rather compelling on Tuesday. I don't believe that what he proposes will accomplish what he hopes it does- rather I think the risk/return is too great--but oddly, I think he's someone who really loves children, and the thought of all those children being gassed was just too much for him. I also think that there is a valid point about trying to deter certain types of weapon use - in terms of their power and indiscriminate effect. I don't have confidence in Susan Rice and Samantha Powers, but I don't really see this one as being about money. The stock market seems to fall with the idea of any bombing, and rise as it recedes. I absolutely understand the cynicism, but I do think there is a genuine fear of what will happen if there is no "strongman" in the room willing to act. And I don't think Obama is ignorant - to me, he is perhaps overly optimistic, or overly swayed by some PC type forces--I don't know, but I still found him to be very thoughtful, cautious, trying to do his best and trying very hard to balance a bunch of different factors and equities.

      Certainly though anyone who lived through Viet Nam especially has a different take on how these things start and how they work (and I'm one of those people.) So I agree with your basic view, but, in this case, I just don't see the venality.

      On the venality side, what really gets to me is the new income distribution figures out--terrible.

      Sorry to be so long and rambling. Unlike your mordant incisive poem. k.

    3. It's interesting, k, that the bits about the children seemed to you the most sincere--to me they were the most offensive, as they seemed purely intended to manipulate through gut response rather than reason--they were to me, not a rational justification for a strike, let alone a strategy at all, just an emotional argument that one sort of killing needs to be righted by another sort, implied: that only a bad person could see it otherwise.

      Everyone, not just you, but several I've had this argument with, seem to think I am criticizing Obama himself. Yes, I am disappointed in him, but for me this isn't about him at all--he, like every president, is a figurehead for our continuing international political stances, none of which have altered much in the last century. There's only so much he can do on his own initiative, and certainly, I do think he has a narrow plank to walk between right and wrong, and that, unlike many politicians, he does care about right and wrong.

      What I am criticizing is our arrogant, greed-dominated foreign policy and our very powerful, expensive and self-controlled war machine. Obama doesn't have anything to do with what the military industrial complex wants--hence the continuance of the Patriot Act, the Orwellian NSA, Gitmo, not closed but expanded, and no war criminal prosecutions for Bush and Cheney or any of the CIA operatives involved in torture---it is a self-perpetuating kingdom within the body politic that we pay for and are programmed by with speeches such as the one he gave--it's his job to do so, and to pretend he's in control, when that speech could as easily have been given by Johnson, Nixon, Reagan, Clinton, Bush or whoever. I have no doubt he loves children, or that he is a good man, but this isn't what it's about.

      As for the venality, it is in the cost of these wars--trillions of dollars that could be spent for far better purposes instead of to finance people who make staggering fortunes out of killing on the grand scale. Every tomahawk (est cost $569,000 (1999)for AGM-109H/L version to $1.45 million Tactical version) or cruise missile $1,410,000 ea we use in this proposed 'surgical' strike--and they are estimating over 200, none of which, of course, could possibly kill an innocent civilian--puts more money in their pockets, and increases the chance that more and more will be needed.

      Our 'limited strike' could be a very expensive/profitable one, even if it only lasted a short time and was indeed a surgical, no boots action, but I believe an intervention now in Syria would start a far larger conflict, that Israel, Lebanon, Turkey, and Iran would all become involved, and the price-tag--in dollars and lives--would be enormous.

      AFA the arrogance--I don't brand Obama as arrogant, but I do brand many of his statements about 'the greatest military in the world,' etc etc, so----what could be more arrogant than saying 'The US does not DO pinpricks???' or assuming we have the solution for the complex, centuries-old troubles of the Middle East, many of which we ourselves have made far worse, and that it comes on the back of a US drone or bomb?

      Why can't help come in the form of diplomacy, humanitarian aid, medical supplies, education, food, shelter, safe zones,etc instead? It's never even discussed, and negotiation only seems to have happened this time through a completely unintended accident that took everyone by surprise.

      Still, we may squeak out of this one with a diplomatic solution thanks to Russia, and Obama himself, his good qualities which I do believe are real--and I will give him every credit for being willing to go there. I don't think a President McCain or Romney would, certainly.

      I doubt all these words will change anyone's mind about anything, but it makes me feel better to say them, so thanks for listening, k, and for caring about all these concepts, regardless of where we may differ.

    4. Hi- well, I don't differ about the bloated self-perpetuating military complex--and you are right about the costs and the lack of humanitarian effort. My mother always says we should have just given every Afghani the amount that has been spent there - I don't know if any women would have been recipients, but other than that, I don't think it would have been a worse procedure than what was undertaken--

      The pinprick line was terrible, but to be fair, I think it was specifically directed at the greater Hawks-- McCain and others who have specifically said any strike would be a pinprick.

      I am not in favor of a strike - and I do wonder at the concern for children when so many thousands are caught in strikes. And the whole thing is so destabilizing--Obama has said we don't particularly want "regime change." So there does not seem to be good logic there.

      The question I guess--and especially with chemical and nuclear weapons is how do you handle treaties at all when the participants do not seem willing to enforce them? Does it matter as long as the participants don't have the weapons? I don't know. My sense is that part of why these weapons are so feared (reasonably) is that having them does not necessarily require the other side to have a huge military build-up in order to be terribly powerful. They can hopscotch over all the B-52 bomber stage and stealth jet stage and just jump straight to annihilating force - if they can somehow lob them somewhere--

      At the same time, I'm not sure that the idea of pre-emption works so well. But, of course, there is a idea that you do not want to wait for a chemical or nuclear strike to happen-(My worry is that they will precipitate these things--but I may not be sufficiently cynical. There is plenty of spare hate in the world.

      You are right that the truly revolutionary thing would be to try to do something humanitarian on a larger scale. And that is truly radical to the other side too --look at the poor polio workers-- and anyone trying to start a school--

      Course when you think of it that way, a few more schools HERE would not be amiss. Agh. k.

  9. a cracking exploration joy. I have been working the circuit debating Syria and never have I heard so much rhetorical shite, except for maybe the last time we all got ready to bomb the shit out of another place when we didn't like their shit but only after we had sold them loads of shit that kills people and sat back and done shit whilst they had already done a fleet of aircraft carriers worth of other 'orrible shit.
    just this evening I heard somebody say that killing people with chemical weapons is against the law because . . . and the 'rules' of war are . . . and the U.N/international law prevents 'inhumane' killing during times of war . . . rich, middle class people are so articulate when sat in the comfort of their own arseholes!

    ironed to the horizon is just brilliant imho

    and the final stanza is, well TITANIC!!!

    So many swinging dicks;
    one day they WILL all hang
    by their own conscience
    and their gods will appear
    as unforgiving
    as I.

    Now where's my SAX,
    I'm going down playing JAZZ
    with or without
    and audience.

    all the best Hedge.

    1. As long as you're going down playing. I feel like I'm in a time warp, personally. I've been hearing this same noblesse oblige crap refrain about making the world better by killing people and invading their countries since the Gulf of Tonkin. Every jingoistic catchphrase kills another struggling brain cell. I have to say when I heard the 'america doesn't just do pinpricks' line, part of me rolled over and died. Thanks for reading, Arron.

  10. Even the survivors have a hard time clinging to the flotsam.

  11. Love it! Lots of excremental icebergs out there!

  12. "Excremental iceberg." Has it ever been more precisely and colorfully described? I think not.

  13. So true...though I wish it wasn't. :(

  14. Oh my gosh, I used to love that song, but haven't heard it or thought of it in decades! That whole album was so good.

  15. Ain't it the shit....and we're on our way!

  16. Love it...It does seem politicians can always find their own pile of shit to hit...this is the first time I have written flash 55..I thought I would attempt something other than poetry...

  17. And there's never enough lifeboats. That pretty well sums it up.


"We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, out of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry." ~William Butler Yeats