Rough draft for a Black Friday Rag

November 25, 2005 at 1:07 pm | In guerilla_politics, homelessness, ideas, justice, local_not_global, offspring, politics, scandal, scenes_victoria, social_critique, street_life, victoria, writing, yulelogStories | Comments Off on Rough draft for a Black Friday Rag

This morning I read an interesting article about a singing iceberg, but more importantly, I heard the iceberg (link follows, to audiofile). Combined with the general level of continuing insanity, I was inspired to get the following rough draft onto paper (and now, inter-textually, onto the blog). Yeah, yeah, I know it’s not exactly Howl, I’m not a poet, but that don’t mean I don’t feel like howling along with singing icebergs, either….

The Sound of An Iceberg Singing

I heard the trash-trawler’s purloined shopping cart
Rattling past my house at eight.
The man pushing by, one of
A thousand in Victoria, drug-addicted,
Mentally ill, or simply
“Hard to house,”
One of the thousand
Homeless, he collects refundables
To trade for cash at the Bottle Depot recycling place.

Workers with earplugs, protection
Against the constant crash of breaking
Glass shattering, the empty wine bottles,
The softer thud
Of extruded plastic, now empty, once fruitjuice-full,
Tossed by earplugged workers into appropriately sorted bins.
But mostly it’s the hard, hard sound
Of glass — bottles of beer, bottles of beer,
Rivetting noise
Recycled into new bottles.

My son has been listening to the radio,
A Seattle station —
He comes to my room to spread the fantastical news
Police were called when earlybird “Black Friday” shoppers,
Mobbing a Renton, WA-Walmart’s electronic section,
Caused major damage to the aisles,
Crashing shelves, fragmenting TVs stereos computers,
Assembled in China
Where city centres relocate
To newly-paved-over farmland
,
The ageing infrastructure of the old centres
Abandoned to further decay.

Assembled in China where a factory explosion
(Would the trash-trawlers on the Pacific Rim have heard it?)
Pumped benzene into the Songhua River.
Harbin the city and its 4 million residents have
No clean water now rushing by.
The loud injection of chemicals into the river
Silently kills anyone who drinks from it.

In other news (still incredulous),
He tells me that a one-hundred pound woman
Won
The twelve-minute, ten-pound turkey eating competition
By gorging four pounds three-plus ounces of flesh.
This was news-worthy — previous winners
(As well as this year’s runners-up)
Were invariably heavy-weighted, veritable behemoths
Embodying the outsized rapaciousness
Of The Very Large.

A one-hundred pound woman seems anomalous,
A shifting centre, perhaps
A blurring line between the very fat
And those more slim.
AP News leads the news like this:
“It’s a question just begging to be asked: How much turkey can a person gobble down in 12 minutes?
But two hundred people die in twelve minutes
Of starvation. Every twelve minutes of everyday
(Did you think that was a question just begging to be asked?
Victoria, too, is full of beggars…)
…Even when Black Friday shoppers cause
Walmart shelves to crash and
Chinese manufacturers relocate entire cities
Poisoned by water, or not,
To paved-over farmlands where
Food no longer grows,
Even when the International Federation of Competitive Eating
Registers yet another Thanksgiving Day Triumph,
Even when the actually slim are able to join
The ranks of the utterly unbalanced,
Even when it all comes crashing down,
Unbalanced as it is.

A bit of fast-flowing water,
Perhaps the Songhua River’s,
Adds its sound to all the world’s sounds,
And that hell freezes over in Antarctica,
Although it will all thaw out soon enough,
And that’s what the iceberg’s singing.

(If you made it to here, that last link is to the audiofile of the singing iceberg. Make sure you listen to the whole thing, it’s interesting.)

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