Political poems published in CounterPunch

In September, three of my poems appeared in the CounterPunch Poets’ Basement.

The first, “Slow Progress Ahead,” I wrote after a March 2012 visit to North Carolina, where the Old North State was engaged in a contentious ballot initiative to amend the state’s constitution to define marriage in hetero-normative terms.

I wrote “Unauthorized Access” after a conversation with Peter Galison, in which he was explaining his theory of secrecy (and he later developed into the film, Secrecy). It’s important to know, he thinks, that while there is such a thing as classified information, there is also a detectable edge of that information. The example he used is that the maximum altitude at which a military jet can fly may be classified, but you can know that that is classified information. Thus, you can know what secrets the government wants to keep. After September 11th and Katrina, the US government began classifying large swaths of information never before restricted, much of it having to do with the exact locations and material composition of levees and dams. On weekend bike rides, I seek out gravel roads and other abandoned or restricted passageways. I don’t have to ride far to run up against a sign telling me that I’ll be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law if I keep on my current path alongside one of the levees in the Sacramento River’s watershed.

Finally, “Cave Lights” represents the overarching lesson I took away from my studies in philosophy – everything we think we know is just what we know now, and everything we think we know could be overturned by the next breakthrough in science or the humanities. So, have some humility.

From October 10, 2012

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