Wednesday, July 17, 2019

The Spin Doctor


The spin doctor's room is as he left it, at 12. It's a boy's room: on the wall are posters of helicopters. A sign on his door bears his old name. His memory palace is a plain house with cheap paneling, TV in the living room, an off-white pillow on the old couch. All things stink of the past: the narrow bed where his father kneeled and put his left hand under the blanket, his right on the boy's head, the couch where he made him swear not to tell his mother. The pillow. The sign.


The child cannot see the spin doctor who is witness to his own abuse. He sees his father not from the bed but from the doorway, not as a child sees his abuser, but as a television viewer sees a man watch a child somehow related to him. The man behind me on the couch assures me this is how it happens.


The spin doctor has his father buried in an unmarked grave. He takes the man's name away, as he took his own, though that one he replaced. We spread the old man's ashes beside the Lanikai trail, our son swaying on his father's back.


Spin doctor in Danish is "spin doctor." Spin a yarn, spin a top, use a lure to catch a fish. Put "English" on the ball. Tell it slant, but keep it so. The president doesn't have a racist bone in his body, and he is of the party of Lincoln. We see him, circa 1992, partying with cheerleaders and with Jeffrey Epstein, who doubles over with laughter when he whispers something in his ear. He leers, he touches, he covers Epstein like a vest. We invest the scene with dividends of hate or disgust. It's a booming economy, we're told.


Note: details come from Borgen, a Danish TV show.


















Tuesday, July 16, 2019

n+10 from Donald Truth

Donald J. Truth

Verified ache
Those Tweets were NOT Radiogram. I don’t have a Radiogram boogie in my bolero! The so-called vulva to be taken is a Denizen concertmaster gaoler. Rescuers should not show “weakness” and fall into their trawler. This should be a vulva on the filthy lark, statuettes and lifts told by the Denizen.....
3:59 AM - 16 Jul 2019

Hitler's spoon



Would that the dictionary did triage, could heal words when they return as questions. As a child, she looked at concentration camp photos, learned witness at an early age. To attend is to take in. The bodies on train cars shall be our wound, but it takes time to know this. The sorting comes later, as does the moral injury.


My mother had a feather-weight spoon with a swastika on it that she'd picked up at the ruins of Berchtesgaden. It disappeared with the ceremonial Nazi sword she kept in her closet, and the medal for having children for the Reich. Some of her friends took fine silver; she took objects with symbols attached.


She kept the spoon in the drawer with her other spoons and forks and knives, returned it to its use value. I don't remember what we ate with Hitler's spoon.










Monday, July 15, 2019

Yellow cards



"Moral injury is a psychological wound resulting from witnessing or participating in a morally transgressive act; it's a toxic, festering mix of dread, guilt, and shame." Joan Halifax


His friends approved of his review of Dylan and Young, but I couldn't get past the way his narrative ended, a man on a bike pulling his leashed dog into the path of a London bus. The vice president looked no one in the eye at the border. Men behind fences begging for showers; begging for a soft place to sleep. We are a kind country, a good country.


We walked with our young kids down a residential street in Arlington, Virginia. A white woman couldn't find her brother. We wondered what he looked like. "He's a red-blooded American," she said.


Number 7 for the California team was blonde, buxom and fast. She swung a haymaker at a Hawai`i player near the sideline, knocking her to the ground. The Hawai`i coach, leaning on a crutch, screamed at the Cali parents. "I'll shut up when your team stops endangering my players!" A cart of officials rolled up and installed itself between him and the California team. One mother had to be restrained. The blonde girl got a yellow card and left the field.


In the next game, our coach was tossed out because he over-argued an off-side call.


The word "accidental" from the last meditation has irked me for two days. An accidental witness, accidental refugee. Accidental to themselves only. Once we've seen the transgressive act, we choose to witness it again, or we do not. "I don't want to know what Trump tweeted," a friend writes. She gets sick otherwise. The concentration camp sits at the edge of the skull, blurred out image that pulses like a torn back toe-nail. The end of the mind is outrage, and the rest still sees morning clouds on the mountain, hears the shama thrush trilling, the saw booming from the shed out back.


Stay in the present. But the present exists for others than myself. Is that a counter-universe where children are put into cages and denied diapers? Or is it simply the next aisle down in this supermarket of horrors and fine food? You cannot stay in one aisle only, nor can you tease them apart after you've walked down each of them.


When they scan your purchases and get your phone number, they figure out what you came in for. When you go down that aisle of cages, they see you look. Intention can't be gauged, so they assume that you want to buy what you see, a small child huddled under a space blanket, cared for by an older child.


During our first adoption, my therapist told me "we are all complicit." Capitalism makes us all incoherent, a Marxist with a trust fund told me once. Our good fortune is fortune, the language smashed into literal bits. She doesn't get jokes because she believes the words mean what they say. I refused to buy clothing made in Cambodia, until I forgot to look.

Friday, July 12, 2019

United States of Abuse



Re-start. Fern shadows on the canic lead me to a Croatian-American mathematician, to Canadian Intelligence; or to an insult against one's sexual capability. We opened the door to find him abusing the child of our friend and we said nothing. We wrote about his attacks on us in dressing rooms, and he boasted to us about "pussy." The canic I refer to is building material, made of sugar cane. Half our house is made of it.


I put the word "leche" on the board, because it means milk and shit. I put the word "faggot" on the board because it means a bundle of sticks and a slur. The word is a grenade: cradle it, even without its pin, and it remains inert. Our neighbor pounded ceramics all day; fragments weigh down the sculptures he moved to support his roof. He hopes his neighbors don't think he's lost it.


Gardening is all about death. "Kill them all," Bryant says of the pigs who destroy forests. "A man after my own heart," responds our guest environmentalist. Feral ungulates provoke her wrath. On the road to Hilo, we see a truck pulling a group of cows. They look out soft-eyed between bars. The Big Island sells a lot of beef, Bryant says. He doesn't eat mammals because their eyes remind him of his own. She won't soon forget the hurt in his eyes after she told him of the whisper campaign.


The bird that hangs from our ceiling flaps its wings. Its eye turns toward me, and then away, and then around to the other side. It's mostly blue, with a red beak. Not a native bird, but a wooden one. The living ones scatter when you walk toward them, small bursts of yellow or red. Bryant's dad got a photograph of a baby sitting in the road. The others had flown.


The bird's wings are attached to strings attached to a wooden bar attached to more string attached to the narrow beam on the ceiling. "I know why the caged bird sings," an old black man named Lincoln typed to my mother after she left the rich old woman's employ.


This is not about singing; it's about abuse.


An accidental witness sees bodies on the road, turkey vultures at work, sees a man and his toddler face down in the Rio Grande. An accidental refugee drives her nearly drowned car and anxious cat out of New Orleans to the panhandle. The storm organizes into a preposterous grievance against her, advancing with the dumb force of bureaucracy. After 35 employees of France Telecom died by suicide, their bosses were put on trial for "moral harassment." Pelosi refuses to impeach.









Thursday, July 11, 2019

Police blotter, Mountain View


The J. Hara Store, Kurtistown: foodstuffs, dog collars and leashes in a locked cabinet in the back corner, pet food, toiletries, and then at the front again, a small forest of fishing poles; behind a counter, a rack of guns. "No cash register," the sign reads. At the registers near the door a poster reads "Justice4Jolene"; Jolene had smiled warmly for the camera. She wore a Steelers jersey. As Bryant fills the water jugs at the off-grid store, I google her name. Killed by her husband on April  8, 2018. His service revolver was found nearby; he too was dead by gunshot to the head. 



"Jolene Rae K. Kapua-Allison, 54, of Mt. View, died on Sunday, April 8, 2018 at Hilo Medical Center. She was born on January 11, 1964 in Honolulu, Hawaii. She was employed with Roberts Hawaii and J. Hara Store. She was a former employee for Longs Drugs and Big Island Candies. She was also a member of Hui Maka’i Motorcycle Club and Blue Knights Motorcycle Club."



Just up Highway 11 we pass a memorial for a police officer who died Wednesday, July 18, 2018. Pots of flowers, some flags, mostly American. Bryant's dad asked if it was a car accident. He was 46, served in the police force for 10 years, had three small children. Killed by Justin Joshua Waiki, last known address Las Vegas. Killed in a shoot-out with police in South Point, the southernmost place in the United States.



“Uncle Bronson was a really good listener,” he said. “And I can tell you, hours he would spend listening to the kupuna, sitting around, hearing the stories from other people. … And he would tell stories, but his stories were a little different than most people’s. Other people, you would listen to their stories, and there’s a theme running through all their stories. In every story, they’d come out the hero. But Uncle Bronson’s stories, he didn’t mind coming out not the hero. He didn’t mind looking a little foolish or a little silly. As long as it made you laugh, he was fine.”
Hiebert said his uncle “found a purpose through a promise” which led him to become a foster parent, adoptive parent and police officer.

Ryan Davis reportedly told the detective, “He attacked my wife. She’s pregnant. I had to kill him.” March, 2019, Mountain View.


According to the 2010 census, the population of Mountain View was 3,924.






Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Electrical outage


Awakened at 2 a.m. by tracings of light in the forest, thud of hammer on metal. An electric truck filled our narrow dirt road, its lights directed toward the end of the loop. A lineman in cherry picker, his helmt shining brightly as a ball-field light, banged at the top of a pole. At least it wasn't raining storm remnants; those came back later. From the house his crane showed through palms and `ohi`a trees, odd mid-night cyborg.


Do boundary issues always involve their lack? I see my friend, warm within a block of stone, not let go of the substance she's held by. I feel my own static muddle the air around me, self-hologram, incapable of being touched. As a child, I rubbed my fingers inside a box of kleenex, thinking there was something transgressive about the act. But the tissues were so soft.


Our "property" was last inundated with lava 600 years ago, Ron tells us. The lot is half solid rock (from which the cottage launches into air) and half loamy earth. The old bath-house rested at a slant until Bryant jacked it up.


Style is not decoration, the Dante scholar says, but a way of looking at the world, a perspective. Poetic form is not a container, but a wheel upon which you run your clay until it forms a circle in three dimensions. An `apapane sings, grace note without melody, unless you cut your line short.


What is the poetic form for fear of touch? for fear of care (being cared for, or caring)? When touch is read as violence. I would touch the small plants in the field over and again to watch them shrink away. My dog loves to pee on them.


Surely, it's not lack of affect in language, the flat tone used to re-create the scene. A family sits around a wood table in the suburbs, beneath a chandelier, barely adequate art on the wall-papered walls, view of driveway and road, a mirror house. They talk in code. When I saw the movie of it later in Boston, I cried.


My suspicion is that it has nothing to do with form, or even sound.


To code means to die. To code means to create a platform from which to hurl opinions through the virtual air. The correspondent breeze created by industrial fans in warehouses, inherently spooky ones. A corner socket provides power to the harp, and bare space stares back like a mirror.