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This is not Hell. This is the Street September 28, 2011

Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, Poetry, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
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First posted Oct 13, 2008. Reposting in solidarity with OccupyWallSt.org. The first General Assembly of Occupy New Orleans occurs at noon Sunday, Oct. 2 in Washington Square Park. It is time to throw the bloody fist onto the shore and claim this land as your land, as our land.

I work for a bank I choose for years from discretion to call Moloch, which is moving all it’s New Orleans jobs to another city: mine included. Perhaps by posting this or showing up Sunday I will never work again. Perhaps it is better to stand in the rubble of what America has become roasting pigeons on a stick that to continue as we are. I don’t have much faith in the political proclivities of New Orleans. We can be quick to anger but nothing burned here in 1968. Still, a century ago a few men of color conspired together, purchased a forbidden railroad ticket, and set in motion the events that ultimately toppled Jim Crow.

I was lucky enough to see with my own eyes the recent stock-market crash, where they lost several million dollars, a rabble of dead money that went sliding off into the sea. Never as then, amid suicides, hysteria, and groups of fainting people, have I felt the sensation of real death, death without hope, death that is nothing but rottenness, for the spectacle was terrifying but devoid of greatness… I felt something like a divine urge to bombard that whole canyon of shadow, where ambulances collected suicides whose hands were full of rings.”

— Federico Garcia Lorca

New York (Office and Denunciation)

Under the multiplications,
a drop of duck’s blood;
under the divisions,
a drop of a sailor’s blood;
under the additions, a river of tender blood.
A river that sings and flows
past bedrooms in the boroughs-
and it’s money, cement or wind
in New York’s counterfeit dawn.
I know the mountains do exist.
And without wisdom’s eyeglasses,
too. But I didn’t come to see the sky.
I’m here to see the clouded blood,
the blood that sweeps machines over waterfalls
and the soul toward the cobra’s tongue.
Every day in New York, they slaughter,
four million ducks,
five million hogs,
two thousand pigeons to accommodate the tastes of the dying,
one million cows,
one million roosters
that smash the skies into pieces.

It’s better to sob while honing the blade
or kill dogs on the delirious hunts
than to resist at dawn
the endless milk trains,
the endless blood trains
and the trains of roses, manacled
by the dealers in perfume.
The ducks and the pigeons,
and the hogs and the lambs
lay their drops of blood
under the multiplications,
and the terrified bellowing of the cows wrung dry
fills the valley with sorrow
where the Hudson gets drunk on oil.

I denounce all those
who never think of the other half,
the irredeemable half,
who raise their mountains of concrete
where the hearts of little
forgotten animals beat
and where all of us will fall
in the final fiesta of jackhammers.
I spit in your faces.
That other half hears me,
eating, pissing, flying in their purity,
like the supers’ children
who take their flimsy palettes
to the holes in spaces where
insects’ antennas are rusting.
This is not hell, this is the street.
That is not death. That is the fruit stand.
There are broken rivers and distances just out of reach
in the cat’s paw smashed by a car,
and I hear the song of the worm
in the hearts of many young girls.
Rust, fermentation, earth tremors.
You yourself are earth drifting among numbers in the office
What am I going to do, put the landscapes in their right
places?
Put in good order the loves that soon turn into photographs,
that soon become pieces of wood and mouthfuls of blood?
No, no: I denounce,
I denounce the conspiracy of these deserted offices
which erase the plans of the forest,
and I offer myself as food for the cows milked empty
when their bellowings fill the valley
where the Hudson becomes drunk with oil.

Federico García Lorca, 1929-1930

(translation of the first half of the poem by Greg Simon and Steven F. White)

(translation of the second half of the poem by Galway Kinnell)

Comments»

1. Paul Benton - September 29, 2011

Mark – the Lorca quote was one of the greatest summations of this whole fucking mess ive ever read. where did that come from? letters? thanks for printing it here. -Paul

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