Monday, August 24, 2009

King Philosopher

This is a re-write of a 2006 poem, which some may have seen in its previous incarnation:

King Philosopher
Dear Manpower,
I humbly seek employment
as a Great Philosopher.

I can start begging during the fast
to be whipped by wisdom
in a street with inverted signs.
Even pop stars know:
no shameful confusion;
no prospects for upward nobility.

When wisdom whips my eye,
only then will I demand
promotions toward the industry’s ultimate.

I humbly insist that destiny decrees
I be a chosen Great Philosopher
alongside the textbook hall-of-famers
featured in Ideas of the Great Philosophers.

Even such stratospheric aspirations
cannot sate my celebrity ambition
until I parlay my success
into a reality TV show:
'What is Truth?'

A Great Philosopher’s memory is long,
Dear Manpower,
Alight this steadfast understanding-seeker;
afford me passage to gluttonous opportunity
and your staff shall be
my Season One Sophists.

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Thursday, August 20, 2009


The loon’s lilt is my Halloween ghost.
Its icy broken fingers caress my inner ear at night,
just as it did when I fit
into that basement box
with the stuffed animals and plastic
propaganda warriors.

Though I’ve grown and left boy-toys
in mouldy asbestos boxes,
though I’ve married and moved to city soundscapes:
the yowling ups & downs of feline passion;
the dotingly shattered bottles of downtown drunks
stumbling home arm-in-arm;
the new day confessions of the broken-hearted,
I can still hear the lake loon twitters of childhood.

And though my wife sleeps snoring beside me,
though my baby cries for milk and entertainment,
I can still feel the loneliness in that loon’s solitary song,
sung only for its echo.

It is as loud and empty in my mind’s ear
as it was when I shrank tiny in the bottom corner
of that little basement on a midnight lake
under an open window,
shivering damp and sunburnt in the autumn sun’s
breezy shadow.

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Thursday, August 06, 2009


"How could it be...that Mali was producing more than 60 tonnes of gold a year (and more cotton than any other country in sub-Sahara Africa) and still be coming out at the bottom of the United Nations' HUman Development Index, usually ranking among the five least developed countries on earth?

"And how could it be that Nigeria, Angola, Cameroon, Gabon and the Republic of Congo (capital Brazzaville) and more recently Mauritania, and Equatorial Guinea could be such important oil producers and still suffer such crushing monetary poverty and dismal statistics on access to basic education and health care, life expectancy and other key indicators on human development?"

--Joan Baxter


Wednesday, August 05, 2009

cheap calories

"We all subsidize the cheap calories with our tax dollars, the strategists make fortunes, and the overwight consumers get blamed for the violation. The perfect crime." --Barbara Kingsolver


Saturday, August 01, 2009

television eyes

"You might see things better on television, but you'll never know if you were alive or dead while you watched."--Barbara Kingsolver


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