January Reviews

Discussed in this post: 8 books (Pilgrim Bell; The Guiltless; Fictitious Capital; The Radiant Lives of Animals; Strictly Bipolar; The Hidden Spring; Shuggie Bain; and The Body Keeps the Score); 2 movies (Censor and Malignant) and 2 documentaries (The Rescue and Gunda).

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A Poem For My Son Charlie On The Occasion of His Thirteenth Birthday

My son
Born in water and blood
Becoming flesh
Not easy for you
Becoming father
Not easy for me
But darling
Just look at us now

You have the gentle curiosity
Of a boy unfolding
Cautiously in the world
Playfully at home
You remind me of myself
If I had grown up in a safe and loving home

My son
I give you what I did not receive
And you give me so much more than I ever imagined
Possible
Love and wholeness and reasons for living
A son is a supple and oh-so-delicate thing

You have a quiet thoughtfulness
A surprising ridiculousness
A delightful tender-heartedness
And when you slide yourself beneath my arm
When we sit on the couch together
I know that everything in my life that brought me here
Absolutely everything
Was worth it

Thank you
I love you
Happy birthday

2021 Reviews in Review

I read somewhat more books in 2021 than in previous years. The pandemic was certainly a factor. Be that as it may, I read 156 books, watched 44 films, and watched an additional 41 documentaries. Here, then, is my list of the best of the best, the worst of the worst, and everything else in between.

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The Rain Sounds Differently

The rain sounds differently
On hemlock pine and spruce
The wind speaks with a distinct voice
In maple elm and cedar
The dryads can tell you with their eyes closed
Which is which

The river sings when she is full and rushing
Playfully joyously
Glad to be alive
The naiads dance just below the surface
On moonless nights
They hold their breath and
Leap

My American friend
Tells me he can identify
A Glock 22 a Smith & Wesson Model 340 a SIG Sauer a Ruger Blackhawk
Just by the way they sound when fired
He can blindfolded assemble an AR-15
In 40 seconds or less
Something he tells me
With obvious pride

I go home
Pray to all the gods I don’t believe in
Kiss my children
And count my dead

Locusts

I hear the voice
Of anywhere but here
Calling me calling me
Calling me away
The mountains
The oceans
The forests
The swamps and river deltas
Anywhere but here
Calling me away

My people
We go
And we stay
Just long enough
To devastate
Everything
And then we once again
Hear the voice
Of anywhere but here
Calling us calling us
Calling us away

This City

This city is an open grave
Filled to overflowing with the present absence
Of all my dead friends

This city is a slaughterhouse
And nobody is criminally
Responsible
Just fiscally
Fiscally responsible

This city is a ghostland
Hey there’s Timo
I think to myself
Hey there’s Cam
I say
Before I remember
They’re all dead

This city rewards the greedy
And destroys the kind
This city is in other words
A secure investment
Rejoice
You bankers
Take heart
You real estate developers
All your properties
Will appreciate in value
And all your enemies
Will be dead

On Being Destroyed from the Inside Out

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Telling you about what I have experienced, the things I have witnessed, has no use. There is no point of application. Relating these things comes with no take away lesson. There is no message or meaning to them. There is no comfort for me in sharing them and no hope for you in bearing second-hand witness to them. They cannot be unseen, unread, unheard. All they can do, as Maria Stepanova observes (drawing on the work of Varlam Shalamov), is “destroy you from the inside out.”

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August Reviews

Discussed in this post: 21 Books (Virtue Hoards; The Revenge of the Real; Undoing the Demos; Capital Rules; A World Without Police; How to Blow Up a Pipeline: Object-Choice; The Hero’s Way; Sync; On Time and Water; Cyclonopedia; The Society of Reluctant Dreamers; Belladonna; The Case Worker; The Death of Vivek Oji; A Touch of Jen; While the Earth Sleeps We Travel; Selected Poems of Langston Hughes; Romanian Poems; Austerity Measures; and Voodoo Hypothesis); 2 Movies (Pig; and The Green Knight); and 2 Documentaries (Framing Britney Spears; and McMillion$).

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July Reviews

I am still a month behind with this. Nevertheless. Discussed in this post: 15 books (How to Change Your Mind; The New Way of the World; Never-Ending Nightmare; Family Values; On Violence and On Violence Against Women; Culture Warlords; Lectures on Russian Literature; Extinction; An Untouched House; Pastoralia; The Encyclopedia of the Dead; Dancing in Odessa; Letters in a Bruised Cosmos; Becoming Unbecoming; and They Called Us Enemy); 2 movies (Fugue; and Nosferatu the Vampyre); and 3 documentaries (Heimat is a Space in Time; Perfect Bid; and All Light, Everywhere).

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