Saturday, March 31, 2007

Bogged down in laos

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A Change Of Same

If you can count to that high a number, more power to you.
I lost track before I was of age. “The more things change,
the more they stay the same.” I’d be happy with three cents
for each time. I read an article from the Vietnam Era written
by a journalist named Arthur Hoppe who lamented that he
had come to a place in the madness, a kind of bookmark,
that saved him some small space of sanity before a colossus
of opposite. He stated that he was rooting against his own
country, that he had somehow lost the carefully crafted innocence
all American children got in those bygone days of proud national
life. He wrote that he was glad our forces had been bogged down
in Laos. I thought about calling this poem, Bogged Down In Laos,
and I may yet change it from A Change Of Same. I have not yet
had coffee. There are who knows how many dead since I went to
sleep for eight hours who will never ever again have coffee.

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The war is everywhere. The war is here in this quiet room where
only the ratatatat of my keyboard pierces lawns being mowed
twelve yards away, ping off clanging barrages of church bells
at noon. I’m in the trenches as sure as mustard gas is yellow.
“The more things change, the more they stay the same.” So I
came to this idea that we need a change of same, a different set
of things to lose count of, interchangeable, of course, but along
a different direction. The more free national health care changes,
the more it stays the same. The more affordable housing changes,
the more it stays the same. The more free and higher education
for those who want it
changes, the more it stays the same. The
more humans enjoy human rights changes, well you get it.

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We’re bogged down in America. The enemy are closing in.
It’s getting crowded because we insist on making room for
more enemies. The enemy looks like me. It looks like you, too.
This poem is not finding its soul. It has a leak somewhere.
There is no triple-A for poems. They’re expected to hobble on
square flat wheels for as long as they can until the last line is
mercifully administered. “The more things change, the more they
stay the same.” That won’t do. I’m bogged down in this poem.
Before the end of the first cup, I’m certain to be rooting against it.


Joseph Gallo
March 31, 2007


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Full article by Arthur Hoppe can be read by clicking on his name. Photos are from a hike I took yesterday up on the Santa Rosa Plateau.

3 Comments:

Blogger Bugwit parried...

How clever is your poem in it's declaration of not being clever.

I've seen you around at Joni's and thought I'd come get a free sample.

Your marketing works. I think I'll have a gallon of pistachio.

April 02, 2007 10:59 AM  
Blogger Joni parried...

I like your poems wherein you analyze where or how well the poem is going. It is Brautiganesque, although I can't recall one instance where he does that. Maybe it's just my imagination. Either way, it works for me. LOL

April 02, 2007 7:04 PM  
Blogger Joseph Gallo parried...

Thanks, Bug & Joni. One pistachio coming right up. :-)

I've only done this analyzing in the piece if it somehow warrants it. I'm always surprised as well, because it just comes out of nowhere but right on time. It's like the sub- is looking over the conscious mind and is noting structure as it serves expression.

I guess. Who really knows. And Brautigan and many others have done so, though I too cannot recall specific instances.

This comment is not going that great either...see? Get thee behind me, o' vapid literary device!

April 03, 2007 9:53 PM  

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