Ginsberg’s “Plutonian Ode”

Travis Diruzza and me performing Ginsberg’s “Plutonian Ode” this past Wednesday

Plutonian Ode

What new element before us unborn in nature?

Is there a new thing under the Sun?

At last inquisitive Whitman a modern epic, detonative,

Scientific theme

First penned unmindful by Doctor Seaborg with poisonous hand, named for Death’s planet through the

sea beyond Uranus

whose chthonic ore fathers this magma-teared Lord of

Hades, Sire of avenging Furies, billionaire Hell-King worshipped once

with black sheep throats cut, priests’s face averted from

underground mysteries in single temple at Eleusis,

Spring-green Persephone nuptialed to his inevitable

Shade, Demeter mother of asphodel weeping dew,

her daughter stored in salty caverns under white snow,

black hail, grey winter rain or Polar ice, immemorable seasons before

Fish flew in Heaven, before a Ram died by the starry

bush, before the Bull stamped sky and earth

or Twins inscribed their memories in clay or Crab’d flood

washed memory from the skull, or Lion sniffed the

lilac breeze in Eden–

Before the Great Year began turning its twelve signs,

ere constellations wheeled for twenty-four thousand sunny years

slowly round their axis in Sagittarius, one hundred

sixty-seven thousand times returning to this night

Radioactive Nemesis were you there at the beginning

black dumb tongueless unsmelling blast of Disillusion?

I manifest your Baptismal Word after four billion years

I guess your birthday in Earthling Night, I salute your

dreadful presence last majestic as the Gods,

Sabaot, Jehova, Astapheus, Adonaeus, Elohim, Iao,

Ialdabaoth, Aeon from Aeon born ignorant in an

Abyss of Light,

Sophia’s reflections glittering thoughtful galaxies, whirlpools of starspume silver-thin as hairs of Einstein!

Father Whitman I celebrate a matter that renders Self oblivion!

Grand Subject that annihilates inky hands & pages’ prayers, old orators’ inspired Immortalities,

I begin your chant, openmouthed exhaling into spacious

sky over silent mills at Hanford, Savannah River,

Rocky Flats, Pantex, Burlington, Albuquerque

I yell thru Washington, South Carolina, Colorado,

Texas, Iowa, New Mexico,

Where nuclear reactors creat a new Thing under the

Sun, where Rockwell war-plants fabricate this death stuff trigger in nitrogen baths,

Hanger-Silas Mason assembles the terrified weapon

secret by ten thousands, & where Manzano Mountain boasts to store

its dreadful decay through two hundred forty millenia

while our Galaxy spirals around its nebulous core.

I enter your secret places with my mind, I speak with

your presence, I roar your Lion Roar with mortal mouth.

One microgram inspired to one lung, ten pounds of

heavy metal dust adrift slow motion over grey Alps

the breadth of the planet, how long before your radiance

speeds blight and death to sentient beings?

Enter my body or not I carol my spirit inside you,

Unnaproachable Weight,

O heavy heavy Element awakened I vocalize your consciousness to six worlds

I chant your absolute Vanity. Yeah monster of Anger

birthed in fear O most

Ignorant matter ever created unnatural to Earth! Delusion

of metal empires!

Destroyer of lying Scientists! Devourer of covetous

Generals, Incinerator of Armies & Melter of Wars!

Judgement of judgements, Divine Wind over vengeful

nations, Molester of Presidents, Death-Scandal of

Capital politics! Ah civilizations stupidly industrious!

Canker-Hex on multitudes learned or illiterate! Manu-factured Spectre of human reason! O solidified

imago of practicioner in Black Arts

I dare your reality, I challenge your very being! I publish your cause and effect!

I turn the wheel of Mind on your three hundred tons!

Your name enters mankind’s ear! I embody your

ultimate powers!

My oratory advances on your vaunted Mystery! This

breath dispels your braggart fears! I sing your

form at last

behind your concrete & iron walls inside your fortress

of rubber & translucent silicon shields in filtered

cabinets and baths of lathe oil,

My voice resounds through robot glove boxes & ignot

cans and echoes in electric vaults inert of atmosphere,

I enter with spirit out loud into your fuel rod drums

underground on soundless thrones and beds of lead

O density! This weightless anthem trumpets transcendent

through hidden chambers and breaks through

iron doors into the Infernal Room!

Over your dreadful vibration this measured harmony

floats audible, these jubilant tones are honey and

milk and wine-sweet water

Poured on the stone black floor, these syllables are

barley groats I scatter on the Reactor’s core,

I call your name with hollow vowels, I psalm your Fate

close by, my breath near deathless ever at your side

to Spell your destiny, I set this verse prophetic on your

mausoleum walls to seal you up Eternally with

Diamond Truth! O doomed Plutonium.
The Bar surveys Plutonian history from midnight

lit with Mercury Vapor streetlamps till in dawn’s

early light

he contemplates a tranquil politic spaced out between

Nations’ thought-forms proliferating bureaucratic

& horrific arm’d, Satanic industries projected sudden

with Five Hundred Billion Dollar Strength

around the world same time this text is set in Boulder,

Colorado before front range of Rocky Mountains

twelve miles north of Rocky Flats Nuclear Facility in

United States of North America, Western Hemisphere

of planet Earth six months and fourteen days around

our Solar System in a Spiral Galaxy

the local year after Dominion of the last God nineteen

hundred seventy eight

Completed as yellow hazed dawn clouds brighten East,

Denver city white below

Blue sky transparent rising empty deep & spacious to a

morning star high over the balcony

above some autos sat with wheels to curb downhill

from Flatiron’s jagged pine ridge,

sunlit mountain meadows sloped to rust-red sandstone

cliffs above brick townhouse roofs

as sparrows waked whistling through Marine Street’s

summer green leafed trees.
This ode to you O Poets and Orators to come, you

father Whitman as I join your side, you Congress

and American people,

you present meditators, spiritual friends & teachers,

you O Master of the Diamond Arts,

Take this wheel of syllables in hand, these vowels and

consonants to breath’s end

take this inhalation of black poison to your heart, breath

out this blessing from your breast on our creation

forests cities oceans deserts rocky flats and mountains

in the Ten Directions pacify with exhalation,

enrich this Plutonian Ode to explode its empty thunder

through earthen thought-worlds

Magnetize this howl with heartless compassion, destroy

this mountain of Plutonium with ordinary mind

and body speech,

thus empower this Mind-guard spirit

gone out, gone out, gone beyond, gone beyond me, Wake space,

so Ah!

Vegetal ontology in Jung


“Life has always seemed to me like a plant that lives on its rhizome. Its true life is invisible, hidden in the rhizome. The part that appears above ground lasts only a single summer. Then it withers away—an ephemeral apparition. When we think of the unending growth and decay of life and civilizations, we cannot escape the impression of absolute nullity. Yet I have never lost a sense of something that lives and endures underneath the eternal flux. What we see is the blossom, which passes. The rhizome remains.” –C.G. Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections

Democratic Socialism or Corporate Cronyism


It’s mid-April, and the 74-year-old democratic socialist senator from Vermont Bernie Sanders is not only still in the race for the Democratic nomination, he is in the midst of a spring surge to overtake the most inevitable candidate in modern political history. On Wednesday (April 13th), Bernie held a rally in Washington Square Park in NYC that drew somewhere in the neighborhood of 27,000 people. That’s a few thousand more than Barrack Obama at the same location in 2008.


Earlier this week, thousands of people marched on the Capitol building in Washington, D.C. protesting capitalism’s takeover of democracy. More than 400 people were arrested for refusing to vacate the area. According to Rolling Stone, “close observers of Washington activism say it may have been the largest [mass arrest at the Capitol] since the Vietnam War.” Tomorrow, only three days before Tuesday’s all-important primary, #Occupy Wall St. will reboot to march through NYC’s financial district in support of Bernie’s campaign. As of today the march’s FaceBook event page lists 12,500 as attending and 25,000 more as interested. I hope the march is yuuuge.

I must admit, I’m a bit disappointed by Bernie’s performance in the debate last night. He was nervous in the first several minutes of the contest, letting Hillary policy-bite her way to sounding like the policy expert on Dodd-Frank and breaking up the banks. For those who lean toward Bernie, it is becoming increasingly obvious that Hillary is leaning way further left today than when she started this race, no doubt in a thinly veiled attempt to attract actual progressives to her neoliberal cause.

On gun control, Bernie’s responses were also underwhelming. I am rather confused as to why he doesn’t rebut Clinton’s accusations by pointing out what every Bernie supporter (including me) was screaming at their TV at this point during the debate:

Hillary Clinton is the biggest international arms dealer in modern history.

According to the International Business Times:

Under Clinton’s leadership, the State Department approved $165 billion worth of commercial arms sales to 20 nations whose governments have given money to the Clinton Foundation, according to an IBTimes analysis of State Department and foundation data. That figure — derived from the three full fiscal years of Clinton’s term as Secretary of State (from October 2010 to September 2012) — represented nearly double the value of American arms sales made to the those countries and approved by the State Department during the same period of President George W. Bush’s second term.


A big chunk of that $165 billion in arms went to Saudi Arabia in the form of Boeing F-15 Strike Eagle fighter jets. Not long before Hillary became Secretary of State and approved the deal, Saudi Arabia donated $10 million to the Clinton Foundation. Boeing donated $900,000. After Obama appointed Hillary in 2009, the Clintons reluctantly agreed that their Foundation would not accept money from foreign governments while she was serving as Secretary of State. Apparently they feel no need to avoid the perception of undue influence now that she is running for president, since the ban on accepting money from foreign leaders was lifted the moment she stepped down from the State Department. Will the ban be re-imposed if she takes office as president? I wonder whether Hillary would be for legislation allowing Boeing and other defense contractors to be sued for civilian deaths caused by their weapons overseas?

After losing the congressional election in 1988, largely as a result of his support for an assault weapons ban, in 1990, Bernie had to make a deal with the gun lobby in Vermont to become the first socialist elected to congress in decades. He didn’t try to hide this fact during the debate. He continues to stick to his guns. He refuses to apologize or pander on the issue. But why has he let Hillary win the moral high ground on this issue when her private business ventures and State Department decisions (is there a difference for her?) have so obviously contributed more to world-wide gun violence than all the other presidential candidates and currently serving congresspeople combined? It’s as if Bernie’s been told by the party bosses that the transnational military-industrial complex is off limits during the primary campaign. He’s not allowed to mention it in earshot of any of the major media networks. At least, not as long as he wants to remain a member of the Democratic party.

USA_2009._Percent_of_adult_males_incarcerated_by_race_and_ethnicity.pngBernie and Hillary agree that many of our nation’s public and private institutions bear the scars of a racist past. Where they differ is in their prescriptions. Hillary offers platitudes. When challenged, she remains defensive and dismissive. Bernie’s response to the mass incarceration of 2.2 million Americans is universal public education from K through college and a thorough cultural overhaul and demilitarization of the criminal justice system.

On the ecological crisis (mentioned for the first time an hour into the debate and discussed for about 10 minutes), Hillary is arguing that fracking is part of the “bridge” to renewables. She’s refusing to take swift and decisive action to disempower the fossil fuel industry on behalf of future generations.

Bernie is offering the only adequate federal level policy response to climate change. He is the only candidate who is openly recognizing the “unprecedented urgency” of the crisis. He is the only candidate calling for a carbon tax. He is the only candidate with a $1 trillion infrastructure bill to rebuild the American energy grid to run on renewable energy in 10 years. Bernie quoted Pope Francis during the debate, who has described the industrial growth economy of global capitalism as “a suicide course.”

Grant Maxwell   grantmaxwell    Twitter

Some Hillary supporters have been decrying the sarcasm they detect in Bernie and his supporters. Sarcasm is one of the only authentic responses to the sort of condescension the Clintons are directing at young people. We are the next in line who are going to have to deal with the inaction, negligence, and impropriety of the present generation of leaders. Excuse us for not being patient enough for your austerity incrementalism or trusting enough in your crony capitalism, Hillary.


Caroline Schelling on Birth & Death by Stuart Dean

Caroline Schelling

Of the many letters Caroline wrote to her lifelong friend Luise, one of the most intense  (the 57th Letter) dates from seven years after the 4th Letter discussed in my last post.  By then both were married; only a few months earlier Caroline had given birth to her first child (Auguste); though Luise already had children, Caroline knew that one of them was terminally ill.  In the first paragraph Caroline describes how difficult Auguste’s birth was for her; in the second she consoles Luise over the impending death of her child.  She thus subtly parallels birth with death and hence the labor for one with mourning over the other.

Fifteen years later, only a few months after the death of Auguste–the last of her four children to die–Caroline’s generally positive disposition evidenced in the 4th Letter and her experience in grappling with birth and death evidenced in…

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