June 21, 2009

Poem the Pizza Guy

older now, cognizant of commerce
base and superstructure service
the Poem of back then
rebellious against the sure thing
in everything and why not buy
a big goddamn
university degree, the canon
and all those myths out of fashion

now, Poem’s kids eat plain
cheese with multigrain crust

a different kind of economy, love

the shifts are similar, the structure
of directed apathy or panic, the mandatory
sequel, the media spin on feelings

Poem remembers the bird lady at the door
placing old coins in his palm
one at a time, slowly
reciting the full price intensely
focused hunger

“measures of wealth, well-being . . . “
begins to say something standing at
the corner of ethics and art
but the playoffs are on, jobs
are being cut, there is no time to think
we might be not possible

June 5, 2009

Linh Dinh from the NY Times

"Confronted by a torrent of bad news from our capsized economy, many people anticipate at least the kind of unrest that has already broken out in many countries, but we are so docile, really. Some people I know speak of heading for the hills and stocking up on canned food, potable water, guns and slugs — the bunker mentality. But instead of fleeing one another, like we’ve already done for half a century or so, shouldn’t we figure out how to be closer in every sense? Why not shorten distances and trim all excess from our lives?

"More Americans are experiencing poverty by the day, and I’m certainly not making light of destitution, but it doesn’t seem to me that increasing consumption — “growth” — is the answer. My ambition was to become an artist, before I switched to something even more practical, poetry, but one need not be a bohemian to value activities that reward the mind and spirit.

"Smaller portions are in order. Simplicity is O.K. It’s time to slim down.

Linh Dinh is the author of four books of poems and two short story collections, including his most recent, Blood and Soap. His novel, “Love Like Hate,” will be published in 2010 by Seven Stories Press.