Friday, June 22, 2012

We all know people who absolutely must have a tan

We do know such people. I can't recall if I were ever one of them, or if I simply reasoned one had to be exhibited, and acquired colour by default. Oh, yes. The which-comes-first thing, the chicken or the egg: sort of like, whether 'tis nobler to be at war, or merely be able to bomb. I, for my part, would always take my country's view: bombing is good enough. (And did you think, we would go in this direction? But possibly you'd underestimated the power of pec?). As Summer arrives, it's refreshing that our diplomatic choices redound upon first principles, without having to be spelled out.

I need hardly say, these diplomatic choices are only another way of framing the question, of what sort of friends one can get in any given season, with any given conduct. Has anyone noticed, the kind of people the United States has been hanging with, lately? Essentially, they're the gang Madeleine Albright used to trot out on Sunday as "warlords," when Bill Clinton noticed he hadn't conducted a war yet, and settled on Somalia for its simplified imagery. No Presidency in the lifetime of anyone living had not resorted to war to obfuscate its domestic excuses, and Clinton was running late. Not for the first time, would night follow day: losing Mogadishu, he went to Kosovo to bomb.

Inevitably (and there's no one to blame for this, of course), there's less fastidiousness about compan-ionship, when bombing options get a little thin on the ground. The need to hook up has always worked some strange society; but now that it's Summer again, there's no need to be partisan about it.

Is it dirty
does it look dirty
that's what you think of in the city

does it just seem dirty
that's what you think of in the city
you don't refuse to breathe do you

someone comes along with a very bad character
he seems attractive. is he really. yes. very
he's attractive as his character is bad, is it. yes

that's what you think of in the city
run your finger along your no-moss mind
that's not a thought that's soot

and you take a lot of dirt off someone
is the character less bad. no. it improves constantly
you don't refuse to breathe do you

Frank O'Hara
The Collected Poems
  of Frank O'Hara
Donald Allen, editor
op. cit.


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