"I AM become death, the shatterer of worlds."

Those words from the Bhagavad Gita flashed through Robert Oppenheimer’s mind 60 years ago today, on the occasion of the first nuclear weapon’s test in New Mexico. Less than a month later, the US dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The current issue of The New Scientist (but you have to pay to read the article) commemorates that day: The world’s first ever atomic bomb was tested on … Read more "I AM become death, the shatterer of worlds."

Homage to Gustaf Sobin

Paul Gauguin — Café at Arles Robert Kelly just sent me this, his “klagendes Lied,” for Gustaf Sobin: MEMORIAL GUSTAF SOBIN Arles no rain a shadeacross stone bleacherswaited two thousand years forour one conversation continuescontinues * But also how we failed the wordsby using themhe so few and I so manyand all the stone wantedwas the weight of men sitting there in evening sun thinking such thoughts as menten … Read more Homage to Gustaf Sobin

Bastille Day, B-Day

Today, 14 July, is Bastille Day, the day when in 1789 the good people of Paris, after breaking into the Hotel des Invalides where they gather 28000 rifles, hear (the rumor) that there’s gunpowder in the old Bastille prison fortress & thus attack the place (which is defended by 82 veterans and 32 Swiss guards under the very incompetent command of officer De Launay, who loses his head, literally, … Read more Bastille Day, B-Day

3 poems by Mohammed Bennis

LIGHTNING You desertbe vasterlet a painful dustenvelop methe migrating dustthe birds have pushedtoward the tablet where violence residesBut now it burstsand delivers booksand dilutes itselfin all the veinsBe vasteryou whose place isthe perpetuity of rageand let the portshave done with fearAbsurdlyclemencycomes to help meVerticality has prepared mefor this effacementthenover therea scream lights upThese palm trees make their evening humid and rottenMy handis threatenedon the shoulder of steam * * … Read more 3 poems by Mohammed Bennis

A culture of Mass Graves

A symposium of writers from ex-Yugoslavia met in Munich’s “Literaturhaus” last Friday & Saturday to think and talk about the Srebrenica anniversary. Today at least four German daily papers report extensively on the occasion, with one reprinting one of the talks in full. The writers present included essayist Dzevad Karahasan from Sarajevo, the Slovenian writer Drago Jancar, the Hungarian László Végel, now living in Serbia, the Serb Drinka Goikovi, … Read more A culture of Mass Graves

Srebrenica: Ten Years After

Today is the 10th anniversary of the worst case of European genocide since World War II: while the international community and U.N. peacekeepers looked on, Serb forces separated civilian Bosnian Muslim men from women and killed at least 8000 men and boys (from age 12 to 77) en masse, or hunted them down in the forests. Two of the main culprits, Ratko Mladic, the leader of the Bosnian Serb … Read more Srebrenica: Ten Years After

Claude Simon (1913-2005)

“One never describes something that happened before the labor of writing, but really what is being produced… during this labor, in its very ‘present,’ and results not from the conflicts between the very vague initial project and the language, but on the contrary from a result infinitely richer than the intent… Thus, no longer prove but reveal, no longer reproduce but produce, no longer express but discover.” (from Simon’s … Read more Claude Simon (1913-2005)

The ICJ & the Wall of Shame

An Israeli military sign in Arabic announcing the check-point is openfrom 7:40 to 8:00, 14:00 to 14:15, and 18:45-19:00, only 50 minutes a day Today, 9 July, is the first anniversary of the International Court of Justice’s ruling on the Wall — the so-called security fence — Israel has been building since June 2002, claimed by the Israeli government as necessary for self-defense, though it is visibly one of … Read more The ICJ & the Wall of Shame

For Gustaf Sobin

From Clayton Eshleman, this morning, this poem: FOR GUSTAF SOBIN Radiating in my shroudI governed my matrixwandering Egyptian anima mundi,sensing in these parent powersa deeper larval plait. What was it to see then?As if with water halfway up one’s eyes,a shimmering miraginality,breathed blood, non-bioquestioned breath,walking in carrion-coifed time. A dimpled slug with rabbit ears.Equilibrium: cone-shaped loaf, vase of water.Fecal rainbow undulating through an alabaster jar.Light entombed in gneiss.Carnelian amulet. … Read more For Gustaf Sobin