Friday, November 11, 2016

It Was All Just Meat

The year the National Poetry Slam invaded Seattle, Re-bar hosted a spotlight show for several visiting slam poets.  In quick succession, the crowd received a cheery faced lovable fat guy loser performing a piece about how he wasn't the midnight lover, but the lover the apparently insatiable woman lets in after the midnight lover takes off, that, immediately followed up by two young male poets performing a rap-influenced piece about pleasuring the fat chicks. 

There was plenty of rhythmic punch in the delivery style, but the content hit nerves. One woman in the audience cried out until it became an actual piercing scream, effectively kicking the plug out of the outlet. 

I remember two things post-halted slam piece. The two poets out on the sidewalk, smoking cigarettes, blank faced and confused, and inside, audience members tending to the distraught woman. For her, obviously, the piece had failed to take flight like all good poetry does. Instead, it came off as violent, male, the kind of paternal porn rape fantasy men unreel in their minds with the thoughtless mechanics of peeling an orange. 

More succinctly, she put it like this: "It was all just meat." 

Years later, at a slam qualifying event determining the membership of the Seattle slam team, this idiot, facing elimination, decided to preface his deciding round piece with a dedication. The poem was one of his go-to pieces, this one about Hitler, specifically, the choice, that is, the impossible opportunity to travel back in time and choose whether or not to kill the young Hitler before he becomes Hitler-Hitler, thus saving millions upon millions of lives.  

His preface amounted to: "I'd like to dedicate this poem to my grandmother who died at Auschwitz."

About that. 

His grandmother didn't die at Auschwitz.  I think at the time he was sweating bullets over whether or not he was going to make the slam team, both grandmas might've been alive and kicking, and if one, or both, sadly, were actually pushing up daisies, it had nothing to do with the horrors of the Third Reich.

Out of convenience, for the sake of allaying his fear he called upon perhaps the 20th century hallmark blot signifying man's inhumanity to man, and gave it personal gloss to goose his potential score. The philosophy student took his moral barometer and deep sixed it in the nearest possible logistic cow flop.  

One of the more gruesome aspects of the Holocaust documentary Shoah is the banality of exposed bureaucratic machinery.  The miracle of the near 10 hour film is the absence of archival footage. Filmmaker Claude Lanzmann ignored black-and-white film of sunken cheeks, exposed ribcages, and landfills full to popping with bloated corpses as a lever to move his rock.  Meat is eschewed. Such was his knack. Spartan footage of historical documents provides applicable punch, things like the simple nuts-and-bolts of figuring out the most efficient internment camp train schedules and how to achieve an oven capable of disposing of as many bodies as possible in a day. 

As far as I know only one co-worker voted Republican in the national election. He is white. He is straight. He is old as fuck.

Yesterday, getting ready for work, I listened to a teenager on NPR, utterly freaked out because her mother is undocumented and she has friends accepted into college programs who are undocumented and now they face a giant void given the next four years of a Supermeat Republican Executive-Legislative-Judicial sandwich. The girl was so upset most of what the reporter chose to share with listeners came out in hitched sobs.

Later, my gleeful co-worker was telling me about some unsubstantiated story of Clinton calling a compatriot in tears, utterly devastated over the election results.  He also stated that protesters should just accept the fact that they lost.  This seems to be the general take of not only Trump supporters, but even those in the anti-Trump pool. 

They counter for productivity, rolling up sleeves and working intelligently and methodically to reclaim the country next time. This seems the perspective of the aged Liberal or Progressive; saddled with cooled blood, settled into a groove, more conservative and therefore more useless than they care to admit. No one, hypothetically, is grabbing grandma's pussy and she doesn't have too much to worry about when/if the Roberts Court begins poking into the ultimate fate of unborn fetuses.  

While the ship pitches and sways, while neighbors argue or agree to get along despite divides deep or shallow, while white males exult in triumph and all too many others face a new likelihood that they or their loved ones might run into a gaggle of frat boy-type group menace, this continues.  To my brain and my sense of priority, this > that.  This would be happening even if Clinton had triumphed in the electoral college.  Or if it had been Bernie v. Trump. Or Bernie v. Kasich.  

Not long ago I finally realized animals will continue to be treated deplorably until human beings finally figured out how to get along with one another. November 7th? The animals were fucked. November 8th? Fucked. November 9th? Still fucked. 

Hypothetically, we'll survive into a 22nd century. By then, all this American moral ground constantly dug up, seeded, partially grown, and then dug up and seeded again will lock down. All the blood-boiling issues of the day might cease existence as toys abused at the hands of an ever rotating cast of politicians and the puppet masters who love them.

I keep thinking back to those slam poets, the ones that really knew how to show a big girl a good time. Their confusion that the slam piece could be construed any way other than cool or bad boy bragging of the highest order. I don't know that you could call it similar to the apologies of the avowed non-racist/non-homophobic/utterly-hate-free Republican voter. They are the ones who just won back their country. All those racist acts you hear about are being committed by outliers to the cause.  And yet anyone paying just a little attention to the campaigns just ended would have to say, if they were honest, that meat, the color of meat, the sexual persuasions of meat, the religious beliefs of meat, were used as a lever to deliver the result.    




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