Poetics and Polemics: The X Rated Chronicles

By: Bill Whaley
21 March, 2020

Anger and Practical Philosophy

“Training for death is training to die to one’s individuality and passions, in order to look at things from the perspective of universality and objectivity.” (Pierre Hadot, Philosophy: as a way of life, Blackwell Publishing, 1995, a book about spiritual exercises re: spiritual death and rebirth.)

The Epic Tale of the White Oaf and the Limp Pencel

1. The Horror. Pictures of Plague clog television screens (gurneys dressed in white, the body curled beneath the IV, ventilators and respirators gasping for “personal protective equipment.”) Kurtz comes home to share “the horror” at the cross roads of the west in NYC or is Kurtz (See Conrad and Coppola) the White Oaf, a thorn among roses at the White House?

2. Zombie Mitch brags this Sat. a.m. “We’re working” on the weekend (while sybaritic colleagues squirrel away plunder gained via stock, tipped by “inside info.” The new faces of Infamy on Mt. Rushmore: Burr, Loeffler, Feinstein, Inhofe. The Republican Senate threatens to raise One Trillion in support of Democratic Socialism (Bernie wins?).

3. The Helpless Oaf can lie but will not surrender the corpus delicti to the Republic’s crematorium so a failed system can be reborn. Even as NY Gov. Cuomo begs for help to block El Viro and El Vira’s crawl up the beaches and into the bodies and minds of New Yorkers, the President attacks the messengers.

4. The plague marches toward the germaphobe, who barely speaks, mumbles beneath orange layers and sticky blond wig, a grotesque refugee from Death in Venice, who will die in Casablanca, played not by Bogart but by Sidney Greenstreet, the fatman, chasing the falcon and Rick’s dice tables.

5. The myriad and moribund mopers in the Senate print paper with the founder’s visage, who has withdrawn his blessing. Financiers have replaced the Captains of Industry, whose successors, errand boys, salesmen, and shipping clerks, can’t find the delivery point.

6. The Great White Oaf regurgitates the lines uttered by Limbaugh, Hannity, and Murdoch as Mr. Pencel offers all the assurance of a potted plant. The Orange Face and Pale Dick represent American Exceptionalism to the exceptionalism named FDR, HST, DDE, JFK (RFK), LBJ.

7. Phantom hype and hubris broadcast: the “rapture is near.” We fly neither high nor low but outside time and space searching for the blessing behind the curtain. Still Antigone confronts Creon and buries her bros, screaming in heroic tones at the guards

8. Somewhere the peasants throw their pitchforks in the pick-up trucks. Somewhere the empty images mirror Fox, incapable of arousing industry or erecting PPE barriers to the implacable plague. Somewhere the Five Million gather to march on the Bastille.

9. In my generation the writer and the poet participated in Armies of the Night and marched on the Pentagon. Abbie Hoffman and the Yippies levitated the Pentagon (while the bunions played golf). Oh, yes, the Jacobins and Robespierre are sharpening the Guillotine. There is no joy among the thorns in the Rose Garden.

10. The White Oaf cannot get out of bed without the assistance of the Limp Pencel. A pin prick threatens to puncture the windbag. “My kingdom for a horse,” but the nail was lost, and the shoe, and the horse, though the horseless rider comes riding, riding up to the White House. A ghostly nemesis on a bicycle spits karmic bile and phlegm at the dead men walking in the nation’s capital.