Saturday, July 5, 2008

Democratic Vistas 2008

Closer yet I approach you;
What thought you have of me, I had as much of you—I laid in my stores in advance;
I consider’d long and seriously of you before you were born.

Who was to know what should come home to me?
Who knows but I am enjoying this?
Who knows but I am as good as looking at you now, for all you cannot see me?

Crossing Brooklyn Ferry -Walt Whitman (1819-1892)


Whitman

"I say we had better look our nation searchingly in the face, like a physician diagnosing some deep disease." - Democratic Vistas

"Look for me under your bootsoles."

On Long Island, they moved my clapboard house
Across a turnpike, & then felt so guilty they
Named a shopping center after me!
Teen-agers call me a fool.
Now what I sang stops breathing.

And yet
It was only when everyone stopped believing in me
That I began to live, again-
First in the thin whine of Montana fence wire
Then in the transparent, cast off garments hung
In the windows of the poorest families,
Then in the glad music of Charlie Parker.
At times now,
I even come back to watch you
From the eyes of a taciturn boy in Malibu.
Across the counter at the the beach concession stand,
I sell you hot dogs, Pepsis, cigarettes-
My blond hair long, greasy, & swept back,
In a vain old ducktail, deliciously
Out of style.
And no one notices.

Once, I even came back as me,
An aging homosexual who ran the Tilt-a-Whirl
At county fairs, the chilled paint on each gondola
Changing color as it picked up speed,
And a Mardi Gras tattoo on my left shoulder.
A few of you must have seen my photographs,
For when you looked back,
I thought you caught the meaning of my stare:
Still water,
Merciless.

A Kosmos. One of the roughs.

Leave me alone.
A father who's outlived his only child.

To find me now will cost you everything.

-Larry Levis (1946-1996)


Happy Independence Day . . . enjoy it while it lasts.

3 comments:

tvoh said...

Hoping you and your family are safe and that yesterday's event did not in any way cause you any problems.

Black Sea said...

We're fine. The one terrorist who escaped apparently led the police on a high speed chase through our district of Istanbul. My students found this all quite exciting.

As you may know, three Turkish policemen (you can still say this in Turkey) were killed in the attack. The US Consolate has been blamed by many Turks for not opening its doors to let the policemen in during the gunfight. Also, no Consolate security staff came out to join the gunfight.

The police had access to a guardhouse with both bulletproof glass and door that were more accesible than the Consolate door. The Consolate doesn't open its doors during an attack, because that's the best way for the terrorists to get a bomb inside. The Consolate guards inside the compound don't carry weapons, and are forbidden to engage in combat on Turkish soil, as opposed to inside the Consolate itself.

All of this not withstanding, America is being blamed for "betraying" Turkey, once again. Last night, the evening newscaster commented, "With Americans, this comes as no surprise."

I guess GWB will chalk this up as another victory in the war against terror.


Turks have a paranoid streak a mile wide and an overabundance of self pity, but that being said, most Americans have little idea of their country's image and reputation overseas, and particuarly here. Some of the local animosity to America is attributable to the local culture (Turks trust nobody, not even each other). But some of it is the direct result of our imperial ambitions.

tvoh said...

Glad to hear you and the family are okay.

Much better information than in our news here.