There Would Be a Goal Involved

Month: November, 2012

Sunday Poem, November 25, 2012

It Was Raining In Delft

A cornerstone. Marble pilings. Curbstones and brick.
I saw rooftops. The sun after a rain shower.
Liz, there are children in clumsy jackets. Cobblestones
and the sun now in a curbside pool.
I will call in an hour where you are sleeping. I’ve been walking
for 7 hrs on yr name day.
Dead, I am calling you now.
There are colonnades. Yellow wrappers in the square.
Just what you’d suspect: a market with flowers and matrons,
Beauty walks the world. It ages everything.
I am far and I am an animal and I am just another I-am poem,
a we-see poem, a they-love poem.
The green. All the different windows.
There is so much stone here. And grass. So beautiful each
translucent electric blade.
And the noise. Cheers folding into traffic. These things.
Things that have been already said many times:
leaf, zipper, sparrow, lintel, scarf, window shade.

—Peter Gizzi, Some Values of Landscape and Weather (2003)

Drunk Reviews in Outline Form: L.A. Confidential

  1. I think I have this movie on my hard drive because my dad really likes it.
    1. Some other things my dad really likes:
      1. The Big Bang Theory
      2. The Bodeans
      3. Keynsian economics
      4. Meg Ryan (until she started fucking Russell Crowe and became a slut)
      5. Eating cereal with whole milk
      6. Using saws of all varieties
  2. Narration
    1. Is often stupid
    2. Is especially stupid when you cast Danny “Hot Leather Couch” DeVito for it
    3. Seriously who thought this was a good idea everything sounds like a fake commercial for like a hospital furniture outlet in Camden
  3. Cheekbones
    1. More like cheekboners amirite ladies
    2. Guy Pearce
      1. Looks like HE was “cut to look like a movie star”
  4. I dunno I have to put the cut (not of the star-making variety) here I guess Read the rest of this entry »

Sunday Poem, November 18, 2012

The Long While

We’d been sitting I don’t know
how long, candles having that
effect on time, when you leant

across & said, What the country
needs is a servant class. Words
that pushed me back in my seat.
No, you said, I mean an actual

class like a school, where we’d
all learn to serve. There’d be
whole semesters devoted to

waiting your turn or bowing or
scrubbing a patch of red carpet.
People would be graded on

not asking about their grades.
What do you think? I thought
we’d been here quite a while
without seeing a menu. Then

I remembered how late it was,
we were in a barn, the table
between us a bed of straw.

—Brendan Constantine (2012)

Sunday Poems, November 11, 2012

I skipped last week, and it’s Armistice Day, so here are a few of my favorite WWI poems.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Violence of Touch

“[R]ape is most of the time understood as an offense against morality and not as a crime against the bodily integrity of a woman. Other forms of sexual violence are often understood and articulated in the law as an outrage upon the modesty of a woman or against her dignity. There have been significant developments in international law moving away from understanding sexual violence as a crime against the dignity of a woman, to an invasion or an attack on the body of a person. Such developments are yet to be incorporated in the national laws of many countries around the world, including Africa.”

—Vahida Nainar, Litigation Strategies for Sexual Violence in Africa (The Redress Trust: London, 2012).

Here we have two definitions of rape, not merely different but opposed; one frames it as “a crime against the dignity of a woman,” the other as “an invasion or attack on the body of a person.” The shift in object between the two—from “woman” to “person”—is significant, as are the contexts in which they were created—one self-consciously universal, global, committed to abstractions supposed to be valued in any human social arrangement; the other, particularistic, national, negotiated according to cultural and contingent notions of right and wrong. Immanent in these competing accounts of sexual violence is a host of dichotomies that have historically been gendered:

Women // People

Particular // Universal

Moral // Legal[1]

Subjective // Objective

Emotional // Physical

These legal theories imply a choice: is rape an invasion of the flesh? Or a violation of the mind? Such a distinction is, obviously, false; rape participates in both components of each of these oppositions. It is an attack on one’s agency and on one’s body. Any accurate definition of rape will acknowledge this duality, and incorporate two necessary elements: consent (the subjective experience of desiring or not desiring) and breach (any physical act that proceeds despite the absence of consent). These categories ally themselves rather neatly with those outlined above:

Consent // Breach

Contemporary feminists have developed a comprehensive theory of consent, and it gets a lot of play in our media and our praxis. This emphasis makes a certain sense. In a country where the majority of assaults are committed by acquaintances and are not accompanied by catastrophic injury, it has been necessary to foreground the mental anguish caused by sexual assault to dismantle the notion that rape is only “legitimate” if committed by a stranger with a gun. And our culture’s distorted ideals of female sexuality have required us to offer alternative visions of women as active, desiring subjects who know what they want and are capable of articulating it. For these reasons and others I’d never argue that consent isn’t central to our work. But has our problematizing of consent been matched by the development of a comparably complete concept of breach? Or have we neglected the second, but equally crucial, prong of the definition of rape?

Read the rest of this entry »