Thursday, March 13, 2008


(w. apologies to allen ginsberg)

i saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by Theory
running naked through academia thinking they were on a battleground
talking critical deconstruction whiteness queer play
wearing their lyotards and hiring their butlers
talking like people who'd never had to struggle for a meal
--even though many of them did--
in which their addiction to poststructural bullshit make them feel even guiltier for being poor
(poorness being an unacceptable category of discussion;
as well as a barrier to buying drinks for their cynical professors)
abandoning all faith in humanity except as text
abandoning all hope for liberation except in the mind of the mind of the mind
fighting only the safest but sexiest sounding fights
then turning away from real battles because of ontological purity
afraid to get their fingernails dirty
afraid to explain and justify their lives to people living in trailers
afraid to face their own complacency
telling themselves their next conference paper would liberate humanity
telling themselves discourse was reality
embarassed that their dead miner railworker soldier grandparents
might rise from the grave and ask them what the hell they were doing with their lives


Emily said...

there are always conversations one does hear, defenses made that one does not hear, and a continual fight that one does not hear. is it sardonic of me to say that with every selection of reality there is also a deflection of reality?

matt said...


Fragments of two pieces not written by me:

"It's not a water-mill, really, labor. It's like the
Paper-mill pulverizing, crushing each fiber of rag
into atoms,
Or the workhouse tread-mill, smooth-lipped, that wore
down a London of
doxies and sharps,
or the flour mill, faerique, that raised the
cathedrals and wore our hosts of dust-demons,
but its mostly the miller's curse-gift, forgotten of
God yet still grinding, the salt-mill,
that makes the sea, salt."
--Anne Winter

"she regenerates
And like tha sun disappears only to reappear
Maria she's eternally here
Her time is near
Never conquered but here."
--Rage Against The Machine

Emily said...

this is what i am catching:

everything is labor. yes. why is my labor suspect? why is it that my labor does not constitute labor? i say this because i have always been skeptical (as the way i might read your second fragment). but then i read undoing gender, and i realized that there really are life and death issues in the structure of language. even butler has room to grow.

why cannot we think about evolution, not in the scientific terms, but more in a recognition that people need time to grow, time to figure out what needs to be said, time to come to maturation. maybe then we can find the answers. what, really, is the dialectic?

matt said...

Emily, you're right of course. And I went a little crazy. But my poem was still alright, and I know you hate theory hacks who think they were born with silver spoons in their mouths. There are, of course, laborers who are unconscious of their role in labor.

Rage's "Maria" is a woman who crosses the desert into America from Mexico, again and again and again, dying and reborn and dying and reborn. She's eternally here, never conquered. It's one of their most beautiful lyrics, and "beautiful" is not something I'd normally use when describing RATM lyrics.

joice said...

hey Matt, long time.. I just read your post through google reader and came here to congratulate you upon your poem.

coincidently, somehow I have been thoughtful about these topics and your poem had a perfect timing to the way the theme has surrounded me.

I have been working on the translation of some books on quite specific and theoretical issues (social research methodology) and for many times I come across to some discussions which seem to have so little to do with any kind of, say, reality - but the authors do that with such an effort and engagement that one should think that it actually will/would make a lot of difference for... something (!)

anyway, nice to come here and read you again.