Personal History

I voted against Nixon; I voted against Reagan; I voted against both Bushes -- this time, while I'm voting against McCain, I am also voting for Barack Obama. That's a good feeling. Update: Josh Corey's eloquent call to vote for Barack Obama.

Author: jd

Joseph Duemer is Professor of Literature Emeritus at Clarkson University in northern New York state. His most recent book of poems is Magical Thinking from Ohio State University Press. Since the mid-1990s he has spent a good deal of time in Vietnam, mostly Hanoi. He lives with his wife Carole & five terriers (four Jack Russells & one Patterdale) on the stony bank of the Raquette River in South Colton.

6 thoughts on “Personal History”

  1. I agree that I voted for Clinton in 1992 mostly because I was voting against Bush, but my vote for Clinton in 1996 was clearly for Clinton. Still, I was not very excited about it. Now I’m excited.

  2. Yeah, it’s not that I wasn’t happy to vote for McGovern or even Clinton, but in the first case it was clear we were not going to win & in the second my enthusiasm was decidedly tempered.

    Mayflower shoots
    into the wind hurling
    the thorn haw-fruit
    windward without aim
    careless of obstruction.
    In daytimes, people have unsavory reasons
    for things of human value, need, want and use.
    When night returns aisle 23B location marker
    in Long’s in North Berkeley drugstore lights-up
    listing cough drops, condoms and sundries.
    Mayflower shoots
    into the wind hurling
    the thorn haw-fruit
    windward without aid
    careless of obstruction.
    People share clean air and love, anger, happiness,
    contentment as if all unaware of roses, the apple,
    peach, Bing cherry, blackberry as if they are “free
    riders” as if mutual gains are not problems of “the
    commons” and they not beneficiaries of the commons.
    Mayflower shoots
    into the wind hurling
    the thorn haw-fruit
    windward without aid
    as if careless of obstruction.
    Yearly daily, hourly, every second people are hurling themselves
    windward unaware of the dynamics of the most common needs.
    No other proof need we like the hawthorn are related.
    Mayflower shoots
    into the wind hurling
    the thorn haw-fruit
    windward without aid
    as if careless of obstruction.

  4. for Anthony Rudolf


    Bring your briny canvases, add Hooker’s Green to the marine ooze’s undersea’s wealth rising with a hard lemon-candy-agitation working in the head nurse’s mouth as she tells the bed-bound old lady there are no more nonallergenic diapers & can’t do much about bedsores—-a scene Vermeer
    never painted, but had he it’d’ve been bathed in amber and carried like an old mirror into auctionhouses with tones of plain-man jeering at the tall galleries, pavilions, wood theaters, journeys where no one says no to the syncopations of gold and silver : here gold and silver nuzzle the empires that flail, fall in our ant kingdoms.



    My life is your story. A reinterpretation.
    The where’s and when’s keep turning.
    A spinning plate half-dipping
    into the Pacific Ocean here at Land’s End.
    We are on this tilting/raked stage
    where great ships foundered.
    Their great sentences of life, death—
    unfinished symphonies: the future
    out there our audience
    who’ve driven in to watch.
    Ugly is a sharp paradigm shift.
    Death an epistemological rupture.
    Praise for a tractor, dancing
    for chump change. Red armpits.
    Earth jimjams a jungle, diamond skies,
    long-nailed dogs cut bark, tree
    rats scurry in canopies.
    Telephone call, then a summary, a
    sea change, playground happenings.
    Alert/Vigil/ Rely/Comply/Watch/Obey:
    the wheel is round; life pushes.
    Photography winds over time, westering.
    Over the mind a brown shale.
    Everyone there is here, Justine.
    It will take, it took a lifetime to flower,
    to fly, to sail this sea this thickening
    light here where I hear voices
    under the surface of consciousness
    the bungled aspirations
    with here now leprosy as a model.
    Roomtone, mouthfeel, Jersey Justine,
    reordering parts, rationing emotions.
    Grim ire, harmony’s trigger, September.
    Ripening memories pressing upward.
    Death ship for new sowing.
    Thickening light a sea scar.
    Stardust, a diminishing gusher.
    Milk as it pinkens sunrise, sunset.
    Roses silt down into a lake of sleep.

    Edward Mycue


    Contact is crying recognition.
    Like match against surface
    it is not the fire.
    Flint is stone cold.

    A little world, selected, limited—
    home—you come in
    to a house another time:
    maybe you’ve stopped

    For life
    not for red gold we work
    war, hunger
    dying forgetting forgotten.

    For life not for red gold
    our new Jerusalems struggle
    for simple dreams
    for days to end in.

    Not how it came. How did it go?


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