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DANGER, MAN

TRUMP IS PART OF A HISTORY OF WHITE MALE RAGE
Like a crazed killer clown, whether we are thrilled, horrified, shocked, or angered (or all of these) by Donald Trump, we cannot claim to be rid of him just yet. He bestrides the world stage like a silverback gorilla (according to one British thug), or a bad analogy, but he is there, a figure, no longer of fun, but grave concern.

There has long been a history of misogynistic behaviour in American gangster culture - one thinks of the grapefruit in the face in The Public Enemy, or Sinatra throwing a woman out of his hotel room and later commenting he didn't realise there was a pool below to break her fall, or the polluted womb in Pacino's Scarface... and of course, some gangsta rap is also sexist.  American culture has a difficult way with handling the combined aspects of male power, and male privilege, that, especially in heteronormative capitalist enclaves, where money/pussy both become grabbable, reified objects and objectives (The Wolf of Wall Street for instance), an ugly fusion emerges - a fascistic sexually-violent rhetoric of dominance, which is also an ideology of rapine acquisition.

Trump is the zenith of this type of American male. His troublingly bottled-up pacing, and looming presence, in the recent debate against his competitor, a woman, was amplified by exceptionally punitive language - arguably the most verbally bullying ever heard in American politics - she was a devil, had hate in her heart, and should be locked up. It was a display of pure Benito/Adolf style machismo - weird but undoubtedly alpha male - a brooding sense that real bones could break at any time. For Trump, history is a fist forever hitting a woman.

But there is more.  There are ALLEGED rumours of children, hired as sex workers, being bound and raped in awful billionaire orgies. America is the king of porn, the maker of more false sexual fantasies than any other; American popular culture - which we all adore like junkies love the poppy - is also our wounding vice and enemy friend; our fatal flaw is Netflix, box sets, the TV is good now story we tell ourselves - yes, and so is the Lotos.

Trump is the apex of what is no longer charming; he is the unacceptable face of male sexual-capitalist fantasy - the creepy-Hefner playboy - the 50 Shades billionaire - who hates and dominates women, the weak, minorities, foreigners, anyone who is not, in effect, a big white male like himself.

Trump has long been accused of being a narcissist - a rather tame accusation, actually. We are all narcissists in the Selfie age. He is worse.  He is a dangerous male.  He is armed with money, a sex drive, and a will to power second to none. He advocates violence.  He thrives on chaos, then pays lip service to law and order. He is the sexual predator who is also the police chief, the commandant, the movie star, the TV actor, the singer, the congressman, the doctor, the judge, the magistrate, the priest, the fireman - he is the man at the heart of the sex hospital, locking up and then abusing the victims at will.  He makes the laws, he abuses the laws - and all who would fall foul of his desires, which are total and fierce.

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THE WINNER OF THE SIXTH FORTNIGHT PRIZE IS...



Wheeler Light for 'Life Jacket'.

The runner-up is: Daniel Duffy - 'President Returns To New York For Brief First Visit'

Wheeler Light currently lives in Boulder, Colorado.



Life Jacket

summer camp shirtsI couldn’t fit in then
are half my size nowI wanted to wear
smaller and smallerarticles of clothing
I shrunk to the sizethat disappeared

of an afterthoughtin a sinking ship body
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JOHN ASHBERY HAS DIED

With the death of the poetic genius John Ashbery, whose poems, translations, and criticism made him, to my mind, the most influential American poet since TS Eliot, 21st century poetry is moving into less certain territory.

Over the past few years, we have lost most of the truly great of our era: Edwin Morgan, Gunn, Hill, Heaney and Walcott, to name just five.  There are many more, of course. This is news too sad and deep to fathom this week.  I will write more perhaps later. 

I had a letter from Ashbery on my wall, and it inspired me daily.  He gave me advice for my PhD. He said kind things about a poetry book of mine.

He was a force for good serious play in poetry, and his appeal great. So many people I know and admire are at a loss this week because of his death. It is no consolation at present to think of the many thousands of living poets, just right now. But impressively, and even oddly, poetry itself seems to keep flowing.