Archive for the ‘In the Nation’ Category


faked by Wednesday, May 11th, 2011



faked by Sunday, January 23rd, 2011

PX600 Silver Shade.

The day after Christmas I took the train down to Coney Island. It was snowing. (It was actually a blizzard, I was just too foolish to know).

By the time I got to Coney it was snowing so hard you couldn’t see. I saw a statue in the distance. It was a man with his arm around another man. Oh, I know this story, I thought; even a football fan from the South knows this story. Even a 35 year old knows this story. I didn’t know there was a statue, didn’t know it was down at Coney Island, didn’t know that it would be so cold that the film wouldn’t really turn out, didn’t know that between the snow and the cold and the bronze you wouldn’t be able to tell the men apart.

But after all, wasn’t that the point anyway.



faked by Monday, January 17th, 2011

PX600 Silver Shade.

Rats seen in subway: 2
Abandoned Metro cards seen in subway: ∞
Level of confusion upon exiting subway into Times Square: high
Times asked for directions over the course of week: less than ten, more than four
Times I might have been helpful: A couple. I hope
Dumplings consumed: six (3 fried, 3 steamed)
Location of dumpling consumption: Mr. Dumpling


faked by Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

I shoulda dropped right out
when the teacher told me
you cannot write poetry about the X-Men.


Go, Read: Jack Butler featured in Town Creek Poetry

faked by Monday, December 7th, 2009

Friends! Ninjas! Poetry Lovers! You will want to direct your browser over to the latest issue of Town Creek Poetry, the online magazine with the good sense to feature the poetry of Jack Butler. In addition to nineteen poems drawn from across Jack’s career, the issue features an essay on the state of poetry and a new interview. It’s like Jack Butler box set with extensive liner notes, all for free on your computer. I’m amazed you’re still reading this paragraph. Follow the link!

Joe Simon is Freaking Out and I’m Loving It: Brother Power and Prez

faked by Monday, August 3rd, 2009


Thoughts on the Forthcoming Howard Chaykin Blackhawk Collection

faked by Friday, July 31st, 2009

“I loved Blackhawk! [. . . ]It was about achieving liberal ends by fascist means. It was the first comic book I ever stole.” – Howard Chaykin, interview in Comic Book Artist #5 (2004).


Three More of These Things

faked by Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

More political verse. Been calling them octals since they have eight lines. Now I am considering referring to them as, since I send them to the White House by email, dottawa rima. I know, I know, that’s terrible, and an insult to the form used so well by Byron in Don Juan or Yeats in Sailing to Byzantium.

What can I say? I have terrible taste. You knew that already, right?

Maybe the tone is a bit combative in these. So? Obama’s not a wuss. I am greatly disturbed by Geithner’s Wall Street insider blinders, and when Obama went on Leno the other night, he seemed more interested in coming across as plausible and in charge than he did in actually confronting the problem. In my opinion we have had way way more than enough of officials telling us to keep quiet and trust them. It sounded like he was still campaigning. I DO trust Obama, sort of. But campaign strategy aint gonna cut it, and I think the citizens in a democracy are obliged to keep an eye of their choices.

Besides, who pays attention to poets? We may be the unacknowledged legislators of the world, but in my experience most of the emphasis in that phrase goes on the word “unacknowledged.”


The Secretary of the Treasury
paid off his friends first. Why should you be
defending this turkey? We believe in change
all right, you need a little time. Not strange.
But it doesn’t take time to begin, and you began wrong.
Same old greedy story, same old song.
I voted for you, but now you must get rid
of the “expert” crooks: We’re counting on you, kid.


Listen, I hate to break the news to you,
but after the idiot self-righteous clown and his crew
did all that damage to our country, we need
a hero, a Lincoln. Don’t let it go to your head.
The heroes always have to pay a price.
It isn’t rhetoric, but sacrifice.
What’ll it be? Smooth-talking also-ran?
Or do you have the guts to be the man?


As far as I’m concerned, the president
is just a man, not some divine advent.
He campaigns well, and maybe, just maybe,
can throw out the bathwater but not the baby.
I’ve spent nearly fifty years on what I love,
and I’m better at it, when push comes to shove,
than he is at his job. So should I bow
and bend the knee? No way, no time, nohow.


faked by Friday, March 13th, 2009

Like everybody else, I’ve been using the contact function. Sending comments to political types makes me feel helpless, so I made a sort of sport of it by coming up with rules. I wanted my comments to be short (under their word limit) and figured there was no point trying to talk about more than one subject at a time.

Since I’m a poet, I naturally thought of a poetic form. What I came up with is a variation on an old standard, the heroic couplet (two lines of rhyming pentameter). My variation is eight lines or only four couplets long, way under the limit, but who wanted to say that much anyway? Naturally, I use the movement of speech to jazz up what would otherwise be the monotony of meter.

I’m writing them whenever the mood strikes, whenever a subject coalesces from the general furor and seems to merit a comment. A bonus: Though technically speaking I am sure I am just as powerless, the act of construction required to put my thoughts into a form, even a slight one, has done away with my sense of helplessness.

Here’s the first four. There will likely be others. (more…)


faked by Tuesday, January 27th, 2009


(a memoir of the downfall)

‘Twas Bush league, and the slimy toads
Did lie and gamble with our fate;
All flimsy were the moral codes
That should have kept them straight.

“Beware the Ubergeek, you con,
The tongue that speaks, the mind that thinks;
Avoid the democrats, and shun
Decent people as dinks.”

But look: A supple mind commands
The field, and bullies must obey:
They robbed us blind, but now their kind
Has had its brightest day.

Like crawfish in the bottom mud,
They stirred up clouds of murk and muck;
They hadn’t tortured, pillaged. They were good.
And what kind of a name is Barak?

They never thought the time would come
When brains and courage came on strong
And decency beat villainy:
To them we call, So long.

“And hast thou lost to ubergeeks?
Go to your cells, you thieves and crooks.
O blessed day, let habeus stay!
A Potus who reads books!”

‘Twas Bush league, and the slimy toads
Did lie and gamble with our fate;
All flimsy were the moral codes
That should have kept them straight.