06 October 2011

Steve Jobs, saintly and flawed...

Look, it's good that we want to celebrate our fellow humans in death, and see them as heroic, inspirational, etc. And probably (possibly) Steve Jobs was a good human being-- a good friend, a good husband, and so on. But he also treated Africa like a raw goods depot (at all costs, including that of human life), and treated China like a slave factory/garbage dump. He's probably responsible for creating more e-waste than any other person on earth. And while his business model was successful, it also embodies pretty much everything that's wrong with modern capitalism-- endless production and expansion, endless obsolescence and consumption, and no meaningful active concern for the long-term well-being of the planet or those who live on it. Of course, I'm writing this on my shiny new MacBook, so...

04 October 2011

from Calligrammes, by Guillaume Apollonaire

image from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Guillaume_Apollinaire_Calligramme.JPG

(Transl: Hello world that I am the eloquent language that your mouth O Paris fires and will fire always at Germans)

This is one of the pieces from the book Calligrammes, which the poem below is also a part of, so you can imagine that the post below would have a visual layout that is much different than we see here. Apollonaire was one of the pioneers of this style of "Concrete" poetry.

Here's a short bio from www.poets.org/php/prmPID/737

Guillaume Apollinaire (Wilhelm Albert Vladimir Apollinaris Kostrowitzky) was born in Rome on August 26, 1880. He purposefully kept his parentage clouded in speculation but was most likely the illegitimate child of Angelica Kostrowitzky, a Polish woman living in the Vatican. Apollinaire was raised in the gambling halls of Monaco, Paris, and the French Riviera; during his education in Cannes, Nice, and Monaco, he assumed the identity of a Russian prince.

In his twenties he worked for a Parisian bank and kept company with artists such as Picasso, Braques, Chagall, Max Jacob, Eric Satie, Marcel Duchamp, and his lover, Marie Laurencin. During this time, he published a number of semi-pornographic books, proclaiming that the writing of the Marquis de Sade would gain prominence in the new century.

Apollinaire's first collection of poetry, L'enchanteur pourrissant, appeared in 1909, and his reputation was established in 1913 with Alcools, a melange of classical versification and modern imagery. Apollinaire had a reputation as a thief-—he was detained for a week in 1911 on suspicion of stealing the Mona Lisa—-and decided to become a French national by enlisting in the infantry during World War I.

He was stationed on the front in Champagne until 1916, when he suffered a head wound and had to be trepanned. He outlined his poetic and political beliefs in L'esprit nouveau et les po√ętes in 1917. In 1918, after a series of short-lived affairs, he married Jacqueline Kolb. War-weakened, Apollinaire died shortly after of the Spanish Flu on November 9, 1918, in Paris. Calligrammes, a collection of concrete poetry, was published a few months after his death.

01 October 2011

buttoned up and blue

It's 4 in the morning
I get up fully dressed
In my hand a little bar of soap
Someone I love sent me

I go to wash up
I emerge from the hole we sleep in
I feel terrific
And happy to be able to wash up for the first time in three days
Then all clean I go get a shave
After that I blend in sky-blue with my blue uniform until night falls and it's a very sweet pleasure
To say no more about anything I do it's an invisible being doing it
All buttoned up and all blue now blended into the sky I disappear

By Guillaume Apollinaire, translated by Ron Pagett