Archive for the 'Asia' Category

Then There Are No Mountains

Once upon a time, the Japanese serenely, if painfully, slit their bellies . . . if they happened to drop a dish, or gaze cross-eyed at someone Above them.

While the Chinese were untroubled, as they further refined, building upon experience of some 5000 years, the most extreme and partypainful of tortures, while meanwhile routinely confining the feet of their women into monstrously deformed gnarled clumps, smaller even than baseballs.

Then: came the white people.

The white people demanded the Chinese and the Japanese wear suits and ties, and fellate capitalism.

This, the Japanese obediently did. Then they ran completely amok, and attempted to violently ant-crawl over the entire Pacific. Americans, armed, barely beat them back; the Japanese, retrenching, then shifted to swallowing all and every through electronics.

The Chinese, introduced to capitalism, first ate each other like hyenas; then, once one tong secured a place above all others, that tong determined to continue to torture and kill anything and everything that got in its way, while meanwhile making more money than anyone.

Now, the Chinese, they are abolishing mountains.

What the fuck. The things—mountains—don’t turn a profit. So off and out with them, then.

The Chinese are ripping down mountains to make flat places where Chinese can live.

They don’t engage in any balderdash like environmental studies, they just rip the shit down.

Several Chinese, who no one will pay attention to, submitted a paper to Nature saying maybe this isn’t a good idea.

Moving mountains is a complicated and dangerous business, even when people know what they’re doing. But smoothing out the landscape tear down the mountainwithout having a game plan first? That’s a whole other story.

Already, these projects have caused erosion, landslides and dust storms. Rivers have been entirely blocked or polluted, and forests, farmland and wildlife habitats have been lost. And that’s just the leveling part of this equation. A whole new set of problems emerges once building on the new land starts. In Yan’an, much of the soil being excavated from the mountains to fill in the valley is loess, a fine silty soil that doesn’t hold up well when wet. Building on that? Not the best choice.

This is stupidity beyond even folly. And it is already over.

We say everything comes back. And you cannot divert the river from the riverbed. We say every act has its consequences. That this place has been shaped by the river, and that the shape of this place tells the river where to go.

We say every act comes back on itself. There are consequences. You cannot cut the trees from the mountainside without a flood. That if the trees grew on that hillside there would be no flood. And you cannot divert this river. We say look how the water flows from this place and returns to us as rainfall, everything returns, we say, and one thing follows another, there are limits, we say, on what can be done and everything moves. We are all a part of this motion, we say, and the way of the river is sacred, and this grove of trees is sacred, and we ourselves, we tell you, are sacred.

Madness

Know

wrong

she don’t lie 
she don’t lie 
she don’t lie: ukraine

anyone who had a heart
they wouldn’t turn around and break it
and anyone who’s ever played a part
they wouldn’t turn around and hate it

they say: ukraine
sweet ukraine
oh: ukraine
sweet ukraine

We are all drowning in filth. When I talk to anyone or read the writings of anyone who has any axe to grind, I feel that intellectual honesty and balanced judgement have simply disappeared from the face of the earth. Everyone’s thought is forensic, everyone is simply putting a “case” with deliberate suppression of his opponent’s point of view, and, what is more, with complete insensitiveness to any sufferings except those of himself and his friends. The Indian nationalist is sunken in self pity and hatred of Britain and utterly indifferent to the miseries of China, the English pacifist works himself up into frenzies about concentration camps in the Isle of same as it ever wasMan and forgets about those in Germany etc. etc. One notices this in the case of people one disagrees with, such as Fascists or pacifists, but in fact everyone is the same, at least everyone who has definite opinions. Everyone is dishonest, and everyone is utterly heartless towards people who are outside the immediate range of his own interests and sympathies. What is most striking of all is the way sympathy can be turned on or off like a tap according to political expediency. All the pinks, or most of them, who flung themselves to and fro in their rage against Nazi atrocities before the war, forgot all about these atrocities and obviously lost their sympathy with the Jews etc as soon as the war began to bore them. Ditto with people who hated Russia like poison up to 22 June 1941 and then suddenly forgot about the purges, the GPU etc the moment Russia came into the war. I am not thinking of lying for political ends, but of actual changes in subjective feeling.

—George Orwell, April 27, 1942

i’ve been runnin’
from side to side
now i know for sure
that both sides lie

they’re going wild
the call came in
early morning predawn, then
the followers of chaos:
out of control

they’re numbering the monkeys
the monkeys and the monkeys
the followers of chaos:
out of control

the call came in to party central
meeting of the green and simple
try to tell us something we don’t know

they’re meeting at the monument
the call came in: the monument
to liberty and honor under the honor roll

disturbance at the heron house
a stampede at the monument
to liberty and honor under the honor roll

a gathering of grunts and greens
cogs and grunts and hirelings
a meeting of a mean idea to hold

feeding time has come and gone
they’ll lose their heart and head for home
try to tell us something we don’t know

we don’t know

we don’t know

know

know

know

know

We Are Accomplished

Sweet Jane

standin’ on the corner
suitcase in my hand

jack’s in his corset and jane’s in her vest, baby
me, i’m in a rocknroll band

ridin’ a stutz bear cat
those were different times
the poets studied sweet reedrules of verse
the ladies rolled their eyes

you know they’re sayin': 

ukraine
ah, sweet jane
sweet ukraine

I dream a lot.

Yeah. Well. Obviously.

But, I mean, I also dream, when I’m asleep.

Like, this afternoon, I awoke—like any cat, I sleep, and wake, all through the day, and all through the night—from a dream where I was at Lou Reed’s house.

Lou was there; there in his house. In the age and incarnation of the photo featured there just above. Settled; serene. Aged: experienced: passed. Beyond all the bullshit. In the clear.

There, in his house, Lou, he slung over his shoulder a guitar, and, naturally, effortlessly, clear as pure water, played for hisself, me just there hearing, “Sweet Jane.”

Then, he unslung the guitar. And passed it to me. So I could give it a try.

I commenced to fumbling with the strings. Trying to get it right.

Eventually, I hit, more or less correctly, the first couple chords (and in “Sweet Jane” there are really only two chords). And so began feeling a little better about myself.

Then I noticed Lou had settled himself into an easy chair. Had turned on a TV (and the sound was pretty dern loud). And was eating something like popcorn.

I felt kinda forlorn. Left behind.

I was playing his song. But he was paying me no mind.

I pass through these dreams, and they pass through me. But generally I have no idea what they might mean.

Sometimes I pass some crippled day-time gibbering verbal accounting of these dreams on to the wise—and these wise are always women—and, sometimes, through them, the light, it do shine.

For instance, in re the above-referenced Lou Reed dream, after I had cripple-jabbered it onto her, AvoMayor, she did say:

i think that is a perfect Lou Reed dream. How many times do you think he played Sweet Jane in the course of his career?? But he’s retired and trying to just relax now, so he has given it to you..

Use it wisely : ) No pressure or anything………

and jack he is a banker
and  jane she is a clerk
and both them save their moneys, honeys
all when they come home from work

sittin’ there by the fire
radio does play
a little classical music from
march of the wooden soldiers

you can hear jack say:
he says: sweet ukraine
ah now baby: sweet ukraine
ah: sweet ukraine

Ukraine is a little tiny baby country.

Appearing, under that name, within those borders, but in the afterbirth of the Russian Revolution of 1917.

During which Lenin & Co., in a new and dusky shiny Red way, carved out, and named, various territories that, for the most part, 2001_tool_smhad been subsumed, some decades, and even centuries, before, into the Russian Empire.

What is today, in these 24/7 times, causing ape-men to foam, from sea to shining to sea, rattling all and every saber, over “Ukraine,” is about a dirt-patch that, for most of recorded history, for about 500 years, was part of Poland.

People, these days, because it is nearly against the law to know history, do not understand that long before these was any Russian Empire—or even any Russia—Poland, like a colossus, did bestride, all and every, of its nearby earth.

But then, in the course of things, like all empires, Poland waxed, and waned, and, eventually, crumbled into dust.

Until it was no more.

Until there became no Poland.

Until, in the late 18th Century, Poland actually ceased to exist. What was once “Poland,” was divided between Russia, Prussia (read: crazed Germans), and the doomed Habsburgs of Austria.

After WWI, to punish the Austrians and Germans, who had been defeated, and the Russians, who had gone wild and gone Commie, the allied powers decided “Poland” should be reconstituted.

They also Made a new and different-one nation, out of what was once Poland, known as “Ukraine.”

Which was, quickly, and in the course of things, absorbed into the nascent Soviet Union.

This “Ukraine,” it yoked together a “western” stretch of people on soil that had, for millennia, yearned towards the west, and an “eastern” stretch of people on soil that had, for millennia, yearned towards the east.

Everybody, west or east, who ever wanted to grow shit, has always liked “Ukraine”—and lots. Because it features deep fertile soil, unmatched, anywhere on the planet, except in California’s central valley. Deep, unbelievably rich topsoil, 20 feet deep.

Of course, these days, the soil, that everybody for millennia has fought so over,  is all ruint. Because, there in Ukraine, in 1986, the Chernobyl nuclear reactor erupted, and scarred not only the near and far, but all the planet.

There were forty-one official deaths from the accident, and half a million unofficial.

An honest list would reach to the moon.

some people like to go out dancin’
then there’s other people, baby,  they gotta work
—you better watch me now—

there’s some evil mothers
they’ll just tell you that life’s just made out of dirt
that pretty women baby wrongthey never really faint
and villains always blink their eyes
that children are the only ones who blush
and that life—LIFE—that life is just to die

but i want to tell you somethin':

Bobby Hoffman and Yakov stood in the middle of the road facing a security wall decked with shiny coils of wire. Each man wore a yarmulke and a tasselled shawl. Arkady couldn’t make out what they were saying, though they rocked back and forth to its rhythm.

Beyond the wall was another wire-draped wall and, fifty meters farther on, the sarcophagus, as stained and massive as a windowless cathedral. Dim security lamps glowed here and there. A crane and a chimney stack towered over the sarcophagus, but compared to it, they were insignificant. The sarcophagus was apart, alone, alive.

Arkady didn’t need to use his dosimeter; he felt his hair rise.

The chanting wasn’t loud enough to carry far. Bobby’s voice was whispery. Yakov’s was deep and worn, and Arkady recognized the Kaddish, the prayer for the dead. Their voices overlapped, separated, joined again. Standing outside the corrupted shell of a nuclear disaster, rocking back and forth like human metronomes and intoning the same verses over and over, “Ose sholom himromov hu yaase sholom.” When they finished the prayer, they simply began again.

Arkady moved into their line of vision. Each step brought the sarcophagus closer, too, as if it had been waiting for the right hour to leap the wall, a hard sight to face without a prayer. Yakov acknowledged Arkady with the briefest nod, to say not to worry, that he and Bobby were fine. Bobby clutched a list of names that Arkady could see because of a rising moon that spilled over the station yard. The list looked long. Arkady remembered Eva saying that a complete list would reach the moon.

I loathe that I feel I have to step-by-step. I just want to play the chords.

Russia, the one place it has warm water, the one place it can sail its boats, is on the Black Sea. And the one place it can access that sea, is through the Crimea. Little strait. Through which the Russians can sail, and sail and sail, from the sea of Azov, to the sea of Black, and then into the Mediterranean. Where it can feel, at last, like it is a Real nation.

Russia, astrologically, is a Scorpio. Which means, at root, it believes that all and every are always out to get it.  Whether that is true or no.

Just sayin’.

Crimea. The Mongols swept into all and everywhere beginning in the 12th Century: no one, anywhere (except the Vietnamese), could stop them.

Centuries later, the last Mongol Khanate to be made to retreat was that in the Crimea, which was absorbed into the avidly advancing Russian Empire, only round about 1800.

Not that these mongols went into the great good night: they retreated into the mountains, and from there fought the stop this nowRussians, and, in the course of things, the Soviets.

Some of them, during WWII, allied themselves with the Germans.

And so, WWII concluded, Stalin decreed it was right and meet to export the entire population of the Crimea, to Central Asia.

When he was done, not a native inhabitant remained.

Stalin—heh—that’s just the way he be. A stone cold killer. With one hand on a vodka bottle. And another on a List.

I these days am only amused by those who burrow deep into dark and dank and-all-and-every all-encompassing theories. Where all is forever explained. By some nefarious puppet-stringing total control over everything.

The current ferment over Ukraine is a perfect example of how it is not so black/white, from however one approaches black/white, as it may seem.

Russia will never give up Crimea. That is the only place its Navy may flow from a warm-water port.

Crimea was part of Russia. Until 1954. When, Khrushchev gifted the Crimea to Ukraine. Why? Because Khrushchev was Ukrainian. He wanted to reward the homeboys. Against all logic. Against all history. But what did that matter? He did it. Because he could.

That’s all there is. There isn’t anymore. Except, again, I’ve wasted my time. I should, really, only have inscribed, these final eight lines. All the rest, in the long view, is either masturbation, or waste.

anyone who had a heart
they wouldn’t turn around and break it
and anyone who’s ever played a part
they wouldn’t turn around and hate it

they say: jane
sweet jane
oh: ukraine
sweet ukraine

Christmas In Many Lands

party

Can’t Get No

After this world war, the United States and the USSR may unquestionably emerge unhurt when all other nations are devastated. I can imagine, therefore, that our country, which is placed between these two giants, may face great hardships. However, there is no need for despair. When these two lose the competition of other countries in their respective vicinities, they will grow careless and corrupt. We will simply have to sleep in the woodshed and eat bitter fruits for a few decades. Then when we have refurbished our manliness inside and out, we may still achieve a favorable result.

—Lord Koichi Kido, to Emperor Hirohito of Japan, December 3, 1940

Isoroku Yamamoto was a gambler. Though cards, and other games that matched him against fellow human beings, were too often too easy for him; shortly after he learned poker, while attending Harvard, he thoroughly cleaned out his classmates.

So roulette was his game. Like most who have become truly entranced by the wheel, Yamamoto understood that it was there that one may best flickeringly apprehend the ineffable laws of chance, and, maybe, occasionally, fleetingly, ride them. Aboard the wheel, Yamamoto became one of the few people ever to “break the bank at Monte Carlo”: that is, he won more chips than were present at the table, requiring that a black shroud be thrown over the whole works until replacement chips could be summoned. Yamamoto often mused aloud that he would like one day to quit his day job, and open his own casino.

Yamamoto was also a conjurer, adept in feats of magic. His speciality was making things disappear. At a White House dinner in December of 1929, he enchanted down-table aides to President Herbert Hoover by vanishing coins and matchsticks.

In December of 1941, Yamamoto successfully vanished an entire fleet. One moment the ships were in port, there in Japan; the next moment, they were gone. Reappearing some days later, unobserved, off the coast of Hawaii. From this disappeared fleet, was launched the attack on Pearl Harbor.

As a gambler, Yamamoto didn’t think much of his country’s imperial adventurings. He pronounced the invasion of China doomed: too much land, too many people. He likewise predicted failure for any Japanese war on the United States: too much wealth, too many resources. While traveling in the States, Yamamoto had passed through oil country in Texas, and there observed in one field more oil than was present in all of Japan. War runs on oil. Japan didn’t have any. Once the US and its allies ceased shipping oil to Japan, the taps ran dry. By December 7, 1941, many of the private vehicles in Japan still on the road were running on charcoal.

But although he thought it a mistake, Yamamoto, at his emperor’s command, devised the plan of attack on Pearl Harbor. And when that attack was over, it was Yamamoto who in the States was made to shoulder much of the blame: the nasty little arch-fiend of a sneak who perpetrated the “day that will live in infamy.”

And thus it was that, in April of 1943, Yamamoto’s spirit disappeared from his body. Departing through a bullet hole in his head, drilled there at the personal command of President Franklin Roosevelt, who had ordered Yamamoto’s assassination. In “Operation Vengeance.” America much more honest and direct, then, in its operational code names.

furthur=>


When I Worked

September 2014
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