Day 26 — predicting the end of monopolies

Monday’s volume of poetry read was a recent purchase & one I’ve been saving for the end of the month: Brian Bilston’s Alexa, what is there to know about love? I was saving Bilston for the end because he’s so fun & playful & cheeky & clever in his word game poems — & I suspected/knew I’d need an energising pick me up (this month more than usual; or perhaps not, perhaps it always feels this way by the end. I suspect it does, we just choose to blank it out).

“Love in the Age of Google” is a poem made up of single lines from google’s predictive text. I’ve seen a couple of other attempts at this type of poem & thought today is a good day to test it out (for reasons which will hopefilly become clearer in Poem 2). Curation of results has taken place. I wish I made more time to make both poems shorter, tighter, but I don’t …


Predicting Orpheus

1. DuckDuckGo
(yes other search engines are available)

did orpheus save eurydice
did orpheus look back
did orpheus die
did orpheus have children
did orpheus see eurydice in the underworld

— think most of these are pretty easy to answer, though the children one pulls me up short

why did orpheus look back
why did orpheus look back at eurydice
why did orpheus decide to rescue his wife
why did orpheus go to the underworld
why did orpheus die

— hmmm, feel like these are questions i should’ve asked at the start of the month. life mightabeen easier.

why was orpheus
why was orpheus killed
why was orpheus adored in thrace
why was ephesus abandoned
why was ephesus an important city
why was morpheus recast

— sometimes the algorithm breaks down, yes, even before i do

2. Google

i. did orpheus
what instrument did orpheus play 
…..oh good, an easy one. the lute. ah, harp. the lyre, the lyre…
what did orpheus do
…..wandered round the place singing. after that, things get ugly
how did orpheus get into the underworld 
…..excellent question, one which took me considerable
…..time in my books & online to answer
how did orpheus die 
…..not pleasantly. will that suffice?

ii. why did orpheus
why did orpheus go to the underworld 
…..even not knowing the tale, surely this is work-outable
why did orpheus look back
…..which is, of course, the crux
why did eurydice run away from orpheus 
… away? really? that’s the verb you’ve chosen.
why did orpheus look back at eurydice
… really all comes back to this, doesn’t it?
why did the maenads kill orpheus 
… “it’s complicated” a good enough reply?

iii. outtakes & bloopers
(in the interest of balance, google had its share of quirky predictions too)

~why did roman kill orpheus wife 
~why did hades give orpheus a condition 
~why did the gods gave condition to orpheus 
~why did thanatos come out of orpheus 
~why did morpheus kill orpheus


Day 26 — TACD (Today Another Company Died)

The Online Jungle — worse than the real Amazon

Audiobookstand, Avalon 
Books, Bookpages, BookSurge, 
Telebook, TobyPress, 
& Waldenbooks 

all book-related businesses 
Amazon has bought 
& closed (sometimes 
parts are “merged”)

sadly today Book Depository 
has been added to that list

a UK online book store 
once known for its wild range
affordability, & free worldwide D

launched in 2004 Amazon 
“acquired” the company
in 2011 (it was several years
before i realised 
my protest purchasing
was still lining
bald Jeff’s pockets)

but don’t feel too bad
(Amazon don’t)

they still own: 
Audible, Abebooks, 
GoodReads, ComiXology

none of which they 
developed themselves. 
all bought out to 
prop up/become 
part of the Bezos 

& this isn’t all of them

there’s MGM, Twitch, 
IMDb, Kiva, WholeFoods 
& countless others across 
disciplines i’ve not even listed 
at least 115, possibly more

these “killer acquisitions” 
aren’t limited to the cut
throat world of books

fossil fuel companies do it
buy green startups
shut them down
because they don’t 
want the competition

pharmaceutical companies 
buy rivals to eliminate 
competing therapies 
under development
so theirs is the only

it’s something we should all care about 
it’s why our antitrust laws need to be given real teeth

Day 21 — underground fungi & Gruen undercover

This poem is a sibling to yesterday’s in that it began as a verse in that Frankenpoem which did not fit in with the rest, but was an idea I liked & echoed one I’d been considering: a poem wherein Big O is a fun guy while making his way down to Hades. The title just won’t work though… 



took a wrong turn
shimerlight lost
not even shades
wander this way
lick water from walls
but wretched hunger
will claim me first
at least i’ll die here
perhaps my psyche 
will find its way to E
only the sooty fungi
the clang of clay pots
tracking spicy spores
down into the river
at the end of the world
beginning of the universe
stars & souls & gods
all zooming by / the ache
of my internal eyes


Day 21 — TIL about the Gruen Effect

the Gruen Effect

shopping malls (& casinos)
modern pilgrimage sites
fully enclosed  introverted
climate-controlled faux 
town squares skylight-lit food 
court pleasuredomes+parking
are intentionally designed as 
confusing customer traps /
disorienting / losing track 
of time & space / engrossing 
overwhelming experiences /
crammed with colour / bright 
lights / tantalising smells / to 
transport customers in/
to states of emotional
arousal / succumb to countless 
tempting desires / forget their original 
reason for shopping / make impulse purchases
because / they’re / available / & / attractive

\ not because \ they’re needed

April 9 – Day Nine: a change of tack

While at the launch of a book of poetry tonight, the phrase “eco-anarchist” lit a fire under a few things I’ve been thinking for some time. What is the place of poetry? Can it change the world? Probably not, but if it can challenge it, that’s almost as good.

The Redistribution Manifesto & Hit List


The dam wall is about to break
It’s been building for a while
This resentment towards the so-called 1%
Really it’s a much lower number
Too long we’ve allowed them their dominance
The corporate capitalistic oligarchy
has been tried & found wanting.
Their socio-comic irrationalism
is getting in the way of our fee market economy

If free-trade agreements were not actually misnomers
& if globalisation brought equal benefits globally
but …

The solution is simple.
They’ve had their chance.
Been given ample opportunity to change,
yet they cling, confidently cling,
knowing nothing’s altered in 200 years
Other than increasing the odds in their favour
so why now.

The solution, I said, is simple.
Take back what’s ours.
Or just — take equality.
(as we’ve probably never truly had it)
The irony is that the right is actually not
What’s left of the left, needs to step up,
& grow a pair.
Militant actions are necessary.
Gandhi spoke of non-violent resistance
But the conservatives’ poster boy,
turned over tables in the temple.

It’s time to turn some tables.

My solution is simple.
Kill the rich. Just the ultras, for a start.
For the price of a few bullets
maybe a carbomb
great injustices could be undone.
I myself am willing to train.
Willing to risk eternity in hell
to free the millions, the billions.
Yes indeed, I’ll cop that
to prevent this inexorable dystopia.

Let’s try another route.
& if it’s built on a few
dead billionaire’s bodies, so be it.
Is their death worth more
than the millions in sweat shops,
& slave labour camps,
let alone the billions in
daily grind employment
that are not sweat shops
– yet still don’t provide
financial security.
Who would not, knowing
what we know now

& given the chance, have drowned a certain young Austrian
artist as he stood at his easel by the Danube River in 1900


The Manifesto

1. Publish the hit list.
2. Reward the Redistributor.
3. Wait a week. If nothing changes, move down the list.
4. Anyone who gives away 20% of their wealth in each 7 day period, is safe for the following week.
5. Every so often, mix up the order. Keep em on their toes.
6. Repeat till extreme affluence — or extreme poverty — no longer exists.


The Hit List: a first draft (the top 5)

0. Gates [$76 billion] even though he’s #1
he gets a short reprieve for already offloading
a fair whack of cash. & encouraging others to do so too.

1. A Walton is first. Doesn’t matter which of the 4.
[each worth between $34 & $37 billion]
Whichever one goes might make the others think fast.
Thus, a few birds, one stone. Oh! & tidy up Walmart salaries. Today.
Actually, scratch that. Tidy your third world workers salaries today.
You can fix your employees up tomorrow.

2. A Koch brother is next. [$40 billion each]
Again it doesn’t matter which.
(supposedly pronounced “Coke”, we know the truth)
One less sociopath in the world, is always welcome.
We’re just deregulating a few pesky wealth hoarders.

3. Although ex-Aussie Murdoch [$13.5 billion] is a relative minnow,
eliminating him early on could have nice knock on effects.
Watch the rabid Fox Newsrabbit “journalists”
fear monger their way out of that one.
Make sure an American Redistributes old Rupe
(They do, after all, have the right to bear arms)

4. Putin is in some lists as having a secret $70 billion in assets.
Not sure if it’s true, but ditto for knock on effects.
Can anyone say Crimea?

5. Ingvar Kamprad [$53 billion] is next. Probably a nice guy,
but your top five position is for bringing us IKEA.

The rest of the list will be released, 1 week from today.
Brace yourselves.