This Is Not America


The post below is a first response in the weekly poetry debate in England, by an online poetry critic, HRH, whose 'membership' was revoked, in this weeks Guardian poem of the week forum, by an anonymous 'community moderator', keeping 'order', safetly in 'class' at the Establishment Poetry organ all in the 18C global English poem agree on, and if you don't you'll never know coz it aint allowed to remain published. It is disappeared from the tru record of debate.

Twenty-eight and Twenty-Nine by Winthrop Mackforth Praed

To remain on, one must agree, the poem and commentary at the link above, is incredibly pleasant and respectable; demonstrating how fabulous it is to speak English, as long as we agree with the propoganda and poetries and prose screeds supporting the status quo, at a Media vehicle for trusterfarian and scumbag alike, in a melting pot of virtually free and open competitive speaking; 'critical debates' we were called; until the slow, devastating change occured in British & American cultural life, when Messrs Blair, Balls, Brown, Campbell & Mandelson founded a devastatingly duh! brand of New - now known as NuLab - party, of tories in drag, and two King Georges Bush, Cheney, Rove & Co., went to war for the US of us, America, quarter of a billion er, citizens hostage to events that duh! add not up but confuse, fold, spindle and mutilate those unbelievers from un-America.

This, by fox writer & faux intellectual, NeoConservative, was asked:

Is Obama being un-American by not starting more wars?

Duh, is it just me, or is the entire premise of this, purportedly genuine inquiry, founded on a conceit that America, the concept, the Idea on which the 'real' America is founded, would repudiate. Namely, that the greatest American presidents always strove to be remembered for that which, as John Fitzgerald Kennedy orated, 'we shall earn the eternal thanks of mankind, and as peacemakers, the eternal blessing of God.'

Now most global online poetry forums are gated, it is 'challenging', on Facebook, to participate in any quality critical debates, discussions and any coming together of men, women & our minds that read, reflect & refract what light of learning a trade in words, illumine the Public, who discover and decide if our realm of conversation is open, or closed; our very own republic of English nobility in print, speaking song, poetry, the music of what happens, ourselves alone appearing in Letters.

The opportunities for thrashing out agreement, accord, amity and a concourse of events that pass between us, wrapping the night above us, scenting silence and divinity scrying within us, risen in the rememberance of a ghost/ flickering beyond love - have been few and far between since Silliman and the Chicago Poetry mafia collapsed the cardboard front at Harriet, and the crazee academics at Digital Emunction, Micky 'fuck' me bobbing Baird Robbins, Armband who and the only decent one, K. Silem Mohammed, trailering in front of a rigged pack Poetry's fate created, post the two hundred mill injection, fabulously pleasant financial contentment on a grand scale for the poetry rag showcasing modernist American poets, already in a tangled weave of er, professional armies, a mirror image perhaps of the Military (and emasculated) industrial machine, global conglomerate, imperial corporation serving A very very few mega-bill rich who control what's going on out back at global poetry HQ, making the music of what happens balance, smooth natural actory facebook frauds, courtly bards, trillions in bills, smiths and songstresses, able gobs, unhappy chancers & language happening in and of the moment, modo, Modern America undivided our cultural whole continent, county, state & nation addressed, defending status quo in a Republic's taxcuts for the very very rich, paid, in part, by guess who, what... tough shit, this is not America of old, but the New American Poetry, the music of what happens, it is, er, you know, for us to decide.


How winsome this week's New Year's poem is. A nice choice for an audience of officially civilized advertisers, by an adviser of the public taste. What comes to mind, As I Was Going Down Sackville Street:

"Thus it happens that the directors of publicity can juggle with values and ideas, hide what is excellent and exalt what is mediocre and worthless. The advertisers become the advisers of public taste and the Arbiters, not of the Elegances, but of vulgarities. To the vulgar you must appeal through vulgarity." (p136)

Most of the contentions made, I would critically debate (if one were not disallowed from doing so), take issue with, disprove & in the commentary on this weeks wonderfully pleasant piece; the first of which is a claim that:

As in many of Praed's poems, much remains in "Twenty-Eight and Twenty-Nine" to appeal to the modern reader.

True, perhaps for others, but not this reader, at the moment; extemporising a response to this Establishment propoganda poem by a Williamite Tory Eton oxo stalwart singing his pleasant, jolly song of throats cut in Kerry and all wonderfully calm, Hanoverian aristocratic verve and brio, twenty years prior to the Great Hunger O'Connell died at the height of, 17 years after his intelligence, wit & poetic heritage as a Gaelic Aristocrat, created the condition in which, at the sweep of a pen on a piece of legislation the wily Liberator of the Irish peasantry, his audacity effected and which is the sort of 'much', one contends, that would 'appeal to the modern reader'; at least, this modern ear; hearing a magnificently anodyne critical commentary that, when one 'unpacks', is found to be, er, exactly the kind of mirror image of, frankly, a forgettable piece of doggerel elevated to heights it does not deserve to be spoken of from.

We might be inspired to draw topical parallels (the short-lived celebrity marriages, the columns of trite commentary) or to insert "grand and great" names of our own

Satirically speaking, what an exciting game; taking very minor poems from our canon, and having to do a lot of research to work out the historical references no one now knows (all but unshared by a majority of English people) ... & change the poem all together.

It doesn't strike me as a pleasant time, wallowing in the calm cultural excitement of knowing it all, the hard research work, historical Reality on which the central conceit of this week's entire commentary is founded; and which, if we are turned on by its dazzle, the Establishment propogandarist, stay alert, interested, dependable, don't discover the history was incredibly unpleasant for most; then who knows, bend down and arise enobled in one fell swoop of our Imagination, Intelligence, poetical eye-foundation, hard rock opposite to an Easy Establishment route of being incredibly pleasant and saying 'much' like:'s tempting to feel that the habits and paradoxes of power have not essentially changed in the last 200-plus years. Stanza three, for instance, has a quatrain that seems tragically applicable to the 20th century and beyond: "Some suffering land will rend in twain/The manacles that bound her,/And gather the links of the broken chain/ To fasten them proudly round her…"

Ignoring the ignaramus in the room, the factual elephantine reality that tho

Some suffering land will rend in twain
The manacles that bound her
And gather the links of a broken chain
To fasten them proudly round her...
' is the product of a satirist from the 'wining' side, easy speaking, not for the Peasant Aristocracy of his time, but the very Capitalist class of money-making, earnest, witty, urbane Englishmen turned out by their hundreds, who propogandarized their Master's voice, for one hundred and twenty continuous years since the last Stuart Queen of England, Anne the tragically pincered pawn in the game of gods, fate, chance, aristocratic chess, grand design of whatever it is: Poetry perhaps; unencumbered, not having to buy from the advertiser above, in a smooth glide, historical elision written by a tru blu Tory Member of Parliament singing status quo, Establishment interest, Empire and yea or no votes for the unpleasant people without a full Greek education and a deep and abiding love for witty light verse in the style of Juvenal; satirical wags from 2000 years and beyond, who the peasantry of Ireland, Praed smugly unaware, found it consoling to believe, perhaps; ignoramus jigaboos, daft apeths sinking in a cess pit of our own race to thicksville, brought upon ourselves, unlike his own Aristocracy and Establishment Status Quo verse from a poet painted by this weeks intellectual skillfully er, Ms, never less than natural, as that "twist" .. perhaps the most surprising. Those last two lines gallantly, if sentimentally, turn the poem into a tribute – presumably to Praed's wife, Helen Bogle. The satirist throws down his sword, and holds out an uxorious bouquet. Well, why not – it's the new year.

The number of readers, from the majority class of uneducated English moderns, with an enthusiasm to research even a fifth of the full historical record of this poem, are few.