Victoria's Secret: .posted by ben on Jan 7 at 06:56:16

The one in the upper-left-hand corner
is giving me a look
that says I know you are here
and I have nothing better to do
for the remainder of human time
than return your persistent but engaging stare.
She is wearing a deeply scalloped
flame-stitch halter top
with padded push-up styling
and easy side-zip tap pants.
The one on the facing page, however,
who looks at me over her bare shoulder,
cannot hide the shadow of annoyance in her brow.
You have interrupted me,
she seems to be saying,
with your coughing and your loud music.
Now please leave me alone;
let me finish whatever it was I was doing
in my organza-trimmed
whisperweight camisole with
keyhole closure and point d'esprit mesh back.
I wet my thumb and flip the page.
Here, the one who happens to be reclining
in a satin and lace merry widow
with an inset lace-up front,
decorated underwire cups and bodice
with lace ruffles along the bottom
and hook-and-eye closure in the back,
is wearing a slightly contorted expression,
her head thrust back, mouth partially open,
a confusing mixture of pain and surprise
as if she had stepped on a tack
just as I was breaking down
her bedroom door with my shoulder.
Nor does the one directly beneath her
looking particularly happy to see me.
She is arching one eyebrow slightly
as if to say, so what if I am wearing nothing
but this stretch panne velvet bodysuit
with a low sweetheart neckline
featuring molded cups and adjustable straps.
Do you have a problem with that?!
The one on the far right is easier to take,
her eyes half-closed
as if she were listening to a medley
of lullabies playing faintly on a music box.
Soon she will drop off to sleep,
her head nestled in the soft crook of her arm,
and later she will wake up in her
Spandex slip dress with the high side slit,
deep scoop neckline, elastic shirring,
and concealed back zip and vent.
But opposite her,
stretched out catlike on a couch
in the warm glow of a paneled library,
is one who wears a distinctly challenging expression,
her face tipped up, exposing
her long neck, her perfectly flared nostrils.
Go ahead, her expression tells me,
take off my satin charmeuse gown
with a sheer, jacquard bodice
decorated with a touch of shimmering Lurex.
Go ahead, fling it into the fireplace.
What do I care, her eyes say, we're all going to hell anyway.
I have other mail to open,
but I cannot help noticing her neighbor
whose eyes are downcast,
her head ever so demurely bowed to the side
as if she were the model who sat for Coreggio
when he painted "The Madonna of St. Jerome,"
only, it became so ungodly hot in Parma
that afternoon, she had to remove
the traditional blue robe
and pose there in his studio
in a beautifully shaped satin teddy
with an embossed V-front,
princess seaming to mold the bodice,
and puckered knit detail.
And occupying the whole facing page
is one who displays that expression
we have come to associate with photographic beauty.
Yes, she is pouting about something,
all lower lip and cheekbone.
Perhaps her ice cream has tumbled
out of its cone onto the parquet floor.
Perhaps she has been waiting all day
for a new sofa to be delivered,
waiting all day in stretch lace hipster
with lattice edging, satin frog closures,
velvet scrollwork, cuffed ankles,
flare silhouette, and knotted shoulder straps
available in black, champagne, almond,
cinnabar, plum, bronze, mocha, 
peach, ivory, caramel, blush, butter, rose, and periwinkle.
It is, of course, impossible to say,
impossible to know what she is thinking,
why her mouth is the shape of petulance.
But this is already too much.
Who has the time to linger on these delicate
lures, these once unmentionable things?
Life is rushing by like a mad, swollen river.
One minute roses are opening in the garden
and the next, snow is flying past my window.
Plus the phone is ringing.
The dog is whining at the door.
Rain is beating on the roof.
And as always there is a list of things I have to do
before the night descends, black and silky,
and the dark hours begin to hurtle by,
before the little doors of the body swing shut
and I ride to sleep, my closed eyes
still burning from all the glossy lights of day.
              -Billy Collins

Not As Cool As Woody: .posted by ben on Jan 7 at 06:27:05

Trapped in a box of tremendous size
It distorts my vision, it closes my eyes
Attracts filthy flies and pollutes in the skies
Sucks up our lives and proliferates lies
Trapped in a box
Trapped in a box, four walls as sky
Got a screen for a window about two feet wide
My mind rides and slides as my circuits are fried
No room for thought, use the box as my guide
Trapped in a box
Trapped in a box
Watch the world as it flocks
To life's paradox
We're all trapped in a box
Trapped in a box I'm not alone
I know of others with a box as their home
Light only enters from a crack or a hole
This is not enough for a human to grow
Trapped in a box
            -No Doubt

A Thought: .posted by ben on Jan 7 at 06:14:47

I have all these pictures of men who did fairly memorable things, but all the pictures of women I seem to have are of them looking beautiful, or perhaps stupid (or both).

As impolitic as it might be to say, I believe this is because of a lack of meaningful female contribution. Who is Woody Guthrie's female equivalent? The closest I can think of is Janis Joplin, but she came so much later, and is only one female musician in a wave of male musicians at that time.

The solution to sexism is not to claim that women have been equally prolific in the past, but to modify education in such a way that women might be equally prolific in the future.

Malcom X wasn't a nice person either. He was racist damnit. Yes, you can be black a racist at the same time.

Spiderwoman Revisited: .posted by ben on Jan 7 at 06:03:02


This Machine Kills Fascists: .posted by ben on Jan 7 at 05:55:44

Seen the pitcher last night, Grapes of Wrath, best cussed pitcher I ever seen.

The Grapes of Wrath, you know is about us pullin' out of Oklahoma and Arkansas, and down south, and a driftin' around over state of California, busted, disgusted, down and out, and a lookin' for work.

Shows you how come us to be that a way. Shows the dam bankers men that broke us and the dust that choked us, and comes right out in plain old English and says what to do about it.

It says you got to get together and have some meetins, and stick together, and raise old billy hell till you get youre job, and get your farm back, and your house and your chickens and your groceries and your clothes, and your money back.

Go to see Grapes of Wrath, pardner, go to see it and don't miss.

You was the star in that picture. Go and see your own self and hear your own words and your own song.

-Woody Guthrie, in one of his People's World columns (1939-'40), reprinted in Woody Sez, New York, NY, 1975, p. 133.


The Ghost of Tom Joad: .posted by ben on Jan 7 at 05:41:53

"Ever'body might be just one big soul
Well it looks that a way to me. 
Everywhere that you look in the day or night 
That's where I'm gonna be, Ma, 
That's where I'm gonna be. 
Wherever little children are hungry and cry 
Wherever people ain't free. 
Wherever men are fightin' for their rights 
That's where I'm gonna be, Ma. 
That's where I'm a gonna be. 
             -Woody Guthrie
Woody Guthrie Bruce Springsteen Rage Against the Machine
Of course, Steinbeck started all this...

Hacked: .posted by ben on Jan 7 at 00:14:24

Everything is back up again. I hope it stays that way, but it looks like someone has finally hacked my sorry ass. I beg of you, do not destroy my pitifully unprotected network! I mean you no harm!

My ass was kicked by someone on a dialup no less:
Sun Jan 6 16:59:34 from 103dial189.xnet.ro

The mac show is later today. Soon I will have an outdated iBook, or so I hope. This is a picture of the new iMac. You saw it first, on wasabi nonetheless.

On Writing: .posted by ben on Jan 4 at 02:45:54

Writing is the art of balancing plot with art. Writing such as Issac Asimov is disasterous because it has no art. Writing such as terminal Joyce is disasterous because it has no plot and is therefore somewhat unreadable. The good stuff, such as Italo Calvino, balances art with plot.
Have a White Jesus: .posted by ben on Dec 24 at 04:11:24


A white Jesus...kind of like a white Christmas, only different. Peace and love and goodwill to men, and all that good stuff, and death in the middle east. If it weren't for Western Europe's odd affinity for Christ, we might well not be killing Arabs. Ironic that Jesus (who probably looked somewhat like bin Laden) can be regarded as the cause of so much misery. Christianity caused the dark ages, the puritans, and Ashcroft. Organized religion is scary.

Merry Something: .posted by ben on Dec 24 at 04:09:27

It's the night before the night before Christmas. I have a plane flight later today, in the afternoon. I'm going to St. Louis, and bringing my new direct drive bike. It will provide me with an escape after the house in St. Louis becomes unbearably tedious.

Everyone is gone. I made the mistake of calling Betsy. She seemed appalled that I called, and further appalled that I wanted to talk to her. That makes me somewhat sad.

The kind of works, but I can only receive email. Earthnet fucked that up, is apparently blocking my Gnotella requests, and turns my connection off every hour or two. I need to yell at someone, but there is no one to scream at on the weekends. I also have to send networksolutions some form to reset a password that I never received in the first place.

But that's all quite tedious.

comment: .posted by ben on Dec 18 at 01:47:33

I was going to write a piece about how foolish pornography is, particularly when it has a theme, but that idea is quite self evident.
Blow my breasts off and call me something: .posted by ben on Dec 18 at 01:43:31


Long Live Death: .posted by ben on Dec 18 at 01:43:11

Apparently the government has decided the Al Queda in Afghanistan are no more. It apparently doesn't matter that bin Laden wasn't captured.

The government should have taken this approach in Vietnam. Never mind the military didn't kill all the Viet Cong. Never mind the communist regime. We accomplished our objective, that is, we killed lots of Vietnamese. Instead of going through a decade or two of denial, the United States could have been proud of the Vietnam experience.

I should go into public relations.



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