Swans Commentary » swans.com March 14, 2005  



An Outcast's Inappropriate Aria
Singing At The Dinner Table Of The Empire


by Phil Rockstroh




(Swans - March 14, 2005)   You and I are going to have this argument, America. It's been building to this for quite some time now. You've been telling me to hold my tongue, remain reasonable to a fault; simply, go along with it all. And, if I must, then I should stand in a "free speech zone" and hoist a protest sign -- that will be seen by no one -- while I chant into empty air. I'm at liberty to engage in all the free expression my malcontent heart desires -- as long as it doesn't cost you anything, by way of money, image, and power.

Now isn't the time, you counsel...It would be inappropriate...the Christian bigots in Kansas might take offense and sensible liberals everywhere would be compelled to show their distain by sticking their heads even further up the shit-reeking ass of the empire.

So be it. I hope you choke on the fecal matter lodged there. It would be fitting -- for the empire's colon is clogged with the digested corpses of those devoured by the insatiable appetite of the corporate/military/consumer state -- about whose behavior you counsel it's untoward to mention.

I think your advice is worth about as much as a thimble of warm latte spittle.

Now is not the time for paeans to the polite and appropriate: Systems (including empires) don't collapse in a polite and decorous manner...the second law of thermodynamics is one rude bastard...negative entropy did not attend the finest finishing schools and will not be presented to polite society in a decorous debutante ball...

While the earth is racked by global warming and the debt ridden American economic house-of-cards collapses -- our minds will not be granted gentle repose -- but will be roiled and riven by the imagery of a fever dream.

These things must be spoken about...anywhere and everywhere. Even if your plush, pink liberal ass counsels that to do so is...gasp!...inappropriate.

To continue to do it your way is to live (if it can be called that) cringing in Fear...as Fear's extraverted twin, Hysteria, rules the day...that is...until Hysteria's kissing cousins, Bigotry and Repression, arrive from the sticks brandishing a bible in one hand and a hangman's noose in the other.

Hysteria's reign is already upon us...though, presently, it's veiled in a minister's frock of Christian fascist delusion, a gauze of liberal platitudes regarding the inherent decency of the democratic principles of the American Republic, and an impenetrable fog generated by the corporate state's media propaganda machine.

And we sit around the dinner table, all of us, Hysteria's extended family -- we Christian scolds, neo-con pendants, careerist cretins, liberal ninnies, right-wing bullyboys -- you know, the whole miserable family of the present day United States -- I wish to ask who is missing from our family gathering? Who hasn't been extended an invitation? Who has been disinherited? Where are the black sheep of the family -- those members neither invited nor spoken about when our clan comes together -- the inspired misfits, indomitable freaks, defiant outcasts, magnificent failures -- the sorts who might broach uncomfortable topics, reveal the family secrets, or too vividly display our flaws? Where are those who have been cast out -- orphaned from this family -- and therefore, who, like a tragic hero from myth, are free to blunder upon unbearable truths...those who like Oedipus who have been struck blind to prevailing custom and normative delusion...those who can no longer see with their eyes -- but have learned to see with their hearts -- and thus are able to see our family for what it is -- not what it strives to appear to be?

Such transforming truths are not only the stuff of family history, but of evolutionary history as well; for they reveal that it is the mutant stains -- nature's innovative freaks -- who not only transform the closed, negative entropy-generating genetic systems habituated by their family members on this inbred planet -- but who enable life itself to diversify and flourish.

Political, careerist, religious, patriotic correctness suppresses the progenitors of social evolution: deep yearning, creative discontent, rages of sacred irreverence, revelry in carnal vehemence...all must be diminished, shrunk down, and obliterated like annoying insects in a bug zapper -- or else they might drive us bug-fuck crazy.

It happens every day. Driven by compulsions and rage, people seem to just snap these days...they go on shopping and shooting sprees...retail and retaliation. But that's been done and done to death. That's last year's fad -- and last week's rampage...

What can be done? How should I live? What resonates? Random truth? Reckless poetry? Perhaps a spree of poetry! Yes, but where do I procure the ammunition? Is there a waiting period? Will I have to answer personal and embarrassing questions? Such as: Is there a history of evolutionary mutations in your family history? Have you glimpsed eternity in a wild flower? Are you willing to risk everything to speak the truth of your heart? Are you willing to see what you've done to yourself by composing a life comprised of self-serving lies? And see how you've been a willing and active participant in the deceit and brutality that bleeds empathy and imagination from the world?

Are you willing to have your sacred verities and cherished beliefs forever shattered by risking contact with your own hidden darkness, by risking shambling through the seedy neighborhoods of your own psyche -- places where you have never before dared to venture for fear of being mugged by the reality of your own wretchedness -- and, finally, falling to your knees, and risking communion with the sublimely obscene voices of your better daemons -- the Angels of the Inappropriate you've for so long suppressed?

Can you accept the unsettling truth of knowing that what we inflict upon the world we will eventually inflict upon ourselves, and visa versa?

And ask over and over again this question: When so many external and internal forces work to thwart, degrade, and destroy our essential selves, hence the world -- what can help to restore us?

Poets tell us that only depth-delving songs, those sounds and images that reveal hidden truths, can partially restore what had been lost...Orpheus can pass into the underworld and back...but Eurydice remains lost to shadow... We only half live in the world...the rest is mystery...

Lorca called it Deep Song: An autochthonic music that allows us to live beyond ourselves...to glimpse larger realities...and be freed from our self-constructed prison of believing the world of subjectivity and habit is the only world possible.

Deep Song is not mood music for those in a Prozac state of mind. It is a cord progression of the cosmic blues. It wails primordial storms and collapsing stars; it sings of uncharitable seas of dark matter and of the alien oceans of our tide-tossed hearts.

Deep Song is what arrives, even transgresses, when we cannot cajole from the silent stars the precious objects of our infantile shit-pants' agenda nor negotiate from insistent night an end to our ineluctable powerless against the ineffable mysteries of our existence: You know that sorry-ass, pitiful pleading to Jesus, to Allah, to Krishna, to the God of Success, to the unforgiving God of your Credit History known as Equifax, and the saturnine, child-devouring God of Global Corporate Capitalism...such strategies of magical thinking, in the face of massive, impersonal, and unfeeling forces, being as effective as attempting to coach the ocean to speak your name.

Deep Song sees a billion futile prayers swarm in empty air like a nimbus of gnats...

Deep Song washes away the dualistic distinctions that delineate my days; it never deludes me into believing I am the person I believe myself to be...

Deep Song hangs a hammock between Death and the Abyss.

Deep Song licks the clits of those moralistic spinsters Limits and Time...so that they, for a moment, forget their totalitarian duties and yearn for escape to some secretive and permissive rendezvous.

Deep Song hears the particles of chickens, pigs, and cows lodged between your teeth singing a hymn that is an ode to common destiny; Deep Song shows up when your hobbling-up Esplanade about to cut into the Quarter and your blown-out whore's asshole begins tooting the same tune, then tears into a ripping trumpet solo from Potato Head Blues.

Deep Song is what comes to your room after you've engaged in months of compulsive masturbation and builds a towering, empire from your stiff cum-rags.

As you can see -- I'm damned tired of polite, dinner table chit-chat...of cleaning up for so-called decent company...of being lickspittle appropriate before liberal ninnies, authoritarian bullies, and mindless rubes.

How's this for a dinner table-clearing riff of Patriotic Incorrectness?

I'm having this recurring vision of flocks -- and then more flocks of Ward Churchill's returning, roost-seeking chickens. There will be so many flocks of roosting, rampaging, revenge-reaping chickens thronging the streets, boulevards, highways and backloads of the U.S.A. -- such a proliferation of poultry payback -- it will look like Col. Sanders, OD'd on acid, having a vision of Hell.

How about a serving of Religious Incorrectness for any of you Scripture Nazis still left at the table?

Your Judeo-Christian texts -- your blood-drenched Torah and Holy Bible should be retitled "The Sky God's How-To Book of Genocidal Madness." Furthermore, all you death-enamored, mammon-grubbing, dumbass Christian fundies are less likely of getting into heaven (as if there is one) as unrepentant atheists, compulsive masturbators and unabashed sodomists...if not a petty thief, or an aging, tweak-head, transvestite streetwalker, or even a reality television show contestant...

How about a slice of Patriotic Incorrectness for dessert?

History will record that the American soldiers who died in the imperial wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will have served the cause of freedom to the same extent as the German storm troopers who died establishing the enduring glory of Hitler's delusions of a Thousand Year Reich. And that the rotting corpses of the American dead will have served no higher purpose -- that is -- other than decomposing into composting bio-matter serving to regenerate the earth's topsoil -- or they would have -- if their dead bodies weren't as irradiated with depleted uranium as the weeds overgrowing the poisoned soil surrounding Chernobyl.

Harsh talk for the dinner table of the American family, you say.

How can we enjoy our meal? How can we digest our food?

And I ask -- how could you before?

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Internal Resources

America the 'beautiful' on Swans


About the Author

Phil Rockstroh on Swans (with bio).



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This Edition's Internal Links

Bring Back Poindexter, Please! - by Richard Oxman

The Insurgent Word: "Persona Non Grata" - by Gerard Donnelly Smith

The Open Society Revisited - by Michael DeLang

Side Effects Of Perverted Brains - by Philip Greenspan

Profiling, Torture & Knowledge - by Francis Raven

Never Underestimate The Power Of Fear - by Milo Clark

English vs. American Theatre Criticism - by Charles Marowitz

Framing - Poem by Gerard Donnelly Smith

An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge - Short Story by Ambrose Bierce

Blips #14 - From the Editor's desk

Letters to the Editor

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Published March 14, 2005