Larissa's Blog

Nora at 13 from Patient Women in Unbearables Anthology

Delighted that an excerpt from Patient Women, "Nora at 13," appears in the new Unbearables anthology, From Somewhere to Nowhere: The Death of the American Dream. Thanks to editors Ron Kolm, Jim Feast, and Shalom Neuman!

"Madwoman" in From Somewhere to Nowhere Anthology

Delighted that my prose poem, "Madwoman," appears in the new Unbearables anthology, From Somewhere to Nowhere. Many thanks to editors Ron Kolm and Jim Feast! Madwoman  Here I am again    walking among these vague and tepid people    they evoke a slight feeling of distaste in me    they smell my  pain    they have no idea     I just hold my phone    the cellular phone I use for a disguise    and I talk, talk to the ultimate answering service     I walk and I talk to  God when you died I ripped the electrodes out of my skull    and ran away     from the land of cables and TV sets     great battles of television were fought here     great battles were lost     Soho is no different from uptown or downtown     it’s all money and talking and bars     sex and cars     job job job     so I went to see the trees The trees were beautiful    the leaves forming patterns of light on the ground    and as the light  played on my hair and my cheeks     I realized that no one ever dies     they just become trees    even Marilyn Monroe was alive in a leaf     I saw for an instant your face all acquiver in the shaking of a fern    in the light of the wind    and I kissed the trees    so I knew you were not dead     not really     you would not be so cruel as to die     really die Under the West Side Highway     I met all the men who lived there and one girl     she was 22 and pregnant and had AIDS     I didn't stay long but I stayed long enough     under the West Side Highway    I slept with Jesus in a cap     talked madman Spanish with Tito and the dirty apostles     knew there would always be enough loaves and fishes for me     knew that no matter how hard it got     I would always be safe and held near     close to God     it was my destiny to be greatly loved   I chose then to be close to God     to throw away my clothing and be close to God     there were times when not even a shirt came between me and God Under the West Side Highway     I spoke to Jesus     his face always changing     now Alex who lived in a tent near the wall    now Panama drinking wine     now Juan in his tin and cardboard hut   You followed me    watched me     you were worried     how would I get home and back to the life I had known     and I said     look who's talking you died after all     it's hardly for you to criticize me if I go off the beaten path a little too And as for the others    they worried too     unknown to them the protection that I had     and had always had    I said to them all     don't worry     I will love you     pray you home    look can't you see….I am your guardian angel    and you thought I was just homeless and mad    as though God hadn't made the whole world just for me Well now I am cured     I go to the bank    I take pills     I sit in restaurants have a job     I worry about money     and whether my new boyfriend has AIDs     we don't even have sex     he's too busy with his job     it's just as well     none of these men have anything that would compel you    or keep you through the night    its just banging bones after all      You see very few men have souls     and very few men have courage     the few who have the courage to follow their souls are mostly all dead     lost in leaves     people kill them you know     I don't know any more    I take pills and talk into the cellular phone    sometimes I think I hear your voice     sometimes I think I hear you and then no     it’s just the pills    I get a hum in my ear     its not you     I know you are not dead    but you're not here either    and I miss you I am cured so they say     but you can't really ever take the gift of madness away     once you have been stripped by God of everything     clothing  family  freedom  senses     you are his for life     and I was stripped     oh yes dear lord of everything     every last thing     God took everything     leaving only my soul     but I found that was enough   And you     you people think you have things     but really the next breath you take is the only thing you have     so how different are you from me  Look at us again    we the homeless     and see us for who we are    the archangels of God  You can not take the gift of madness away     I will always know about trees     will always see the arch of my lover's neck in the patterns of their light     I will  know that the patch of sky between the birch tree and the willow is him    his azure face    and I will always hear the voice of God wherever I go    no pill can block him out    no TV set can drown his voice    no fool can block the face of God from me    Look at me     madwoman     I am Magdalene  I am Joan of Arc    I am St. Marilyn Monroe     and I will always be your angel baby     I will always be your saint     pray to me.

This Is Different

The lip service to democratic values is gone, the judiciary is a tool of the executive, the media as watchdog is vastly undermined, propaganda is rife (Sinclair with the merger will reach 72 percent of TV households), the government is a white supremacist one, fascist governments are our models, right wing evangelicals are successfully taking evolution out of our schools and now, with the tax bill, can wage political campaigns without losing nonprofit status, climatology and other sciences are under attack, so much more. This is not business as usual; this is fascism and we have to fight with all our might now, literally all our might all the time, or else.

"Soon" Is Now

In every political campaign, every hustings, when we bring up women's rights, we are told, "Let's just win this district, this election, get this candidate in, and we promise, you are next, soon, soon." Well, thanks to the courage of the women who have confronted their sexual abusers, "soon" is now. The battle to secure our persons against battery and rape and demeaning harassment has been joined. Equal pay and full reproductive rights have to follow.

Elephants, Sexual Predation, The Mob

Donald Trump, Jr. killed a rare bull elephant just to cut off its tail and hold it in his filthy, guilty hands. Trump senior is a sexual predator and a white supremacist. Ivanka exploits slave labor and fronts for the crime-filled dirty money of Trump Panama. And they are all guilty of treason. What a disgusting mob the Trumps are!

The Banality of Evil

One meaning of the phrase, "the banality of evil," coined by Hannah Arendt reporting for the New Yorker on Adolf Eichmann's trial in Jerusalem for war crimes, is that the evil do not always give the appearance of monsters. Arendt saw no satanic genius in Eichmann, just an ordinary man, perhaps even a clown. And now we see our clownish, banal, very ordinary president and his banal, ordinary cabinet and banal, ordinary Republican henchmen rapidly erode our freedoms and democracy. Time to fight vigorously now, as Trump most heinous actions are normalized for a very ordinary and banal third of the electorate.

Hitler's Cookies

Hitler's followers baked cookies, played sports, loved movies. Most, I'm sure, loved their families and were kind to their pets. None of that remains. We feel only contempt and loathing for these fascists. Trump supporters, nothing of your legacy will remain except your support of an evil leader. Absolutely nothing else.

Review of MEDUSA'S COUNTRY by Meredith Sue Willis in Books for Readers

Medusa's Country is more stunning poems from Larissa Shmailo. She is endlessly surprising, riffing off other literature-- an erasure poem using lines from "The Lotus Eaters" section in Joyce's Ulysses; one called "My Vronsky" with reference to Nabokov's failure to understand Anna Karenina-- but also about a relationship destructive to the narrator. There is also a poem called "Daddy's Elusive Love" with short lines and hard-hitting rhymes like 's Sylvia Plath's famous "Daddy." Shmailo's Daddy,. though seems to have hidden his love.
I looked for it in boxers;In the dumps of ten detoxes;In the roll of rundown rockers;In anal & banal boys.
There is, of course, a lot more Here, as in her previous books, we have passages of her personal story of living on the edge and in the lower depths as in the "The Trick Wants to Go to Plato's," the old Plato's Retreat sex club where single men aren't. The narrator, who is indeed in the sex business, says " I sign a document attesting that I am not a prostitute; my whore name is Nora."These poems alternate with ones using myth and rhyming patterns and parody (See "Fragment from the Ilatease of Homey, from a Recently Discovered Mycenaean Test." The final poem of the book, the title poem, about Medusa, ends
But once a man stood like a statueBefore my cave of treesHis eyes transfixed by my serpentsThat hardened, froze, and pleased.
You will never be bored by Larissa Shmailo's poetry. I don't suppose that sounds like much of a recommendation to read it, but what I want to say is that her inventiveness and wit are only matched by her searing life experiences and her observation of death.She surprises over and over.

Reading for Boog City 11!

Pleased to be reading for the 11th Boog City Festival on 9/15 at 6:30 pm at Unnameable Books!

Honey Badger Don't Care

This vid is a favorite among the Alt Right. The tough, crazy, unstoppable animal totem, the honey badger, "doesn't care," "doesn't give a shit." These are the values of the alt right, not to care, to be tough, never to be sensitive or kind, values embodied by Donald Trump.
Breitbart declared "The Age of the Honey Badger Has Dawned" shortly after Trump's election; all concerned are working hard to make it a reality, and promise never to quit. I also promise not to quit until this nation expresses caring and kindness in all its affairs. But the Alt Right has to go back to the badger hole it came from.Honey Badger Don't Care

There is no such thing as nonviolent Nazis

Or Klan. 
They want to kill you. If you are disabled, mentally ill, black, brown, Muslim, feminist, Jewish, LGBT, or leftist, they want you dead or enslaved. Don't be confused about that. And their affiliates want the same. They are much more extreme than you can imagine. I spend time on their websites for a book I am writing, and almost pass out from the murderous rage of these monsters. Almost. 
They are lifting weights, stockpiling arms, get ready as we speak. The president of the United States loves them. Do not think Trump will not use them for violent ends.

White Nasties

White nasties believe the white race is under attack. The marchers Friday night chanted "you will not replace us." They believe POCs will "replace them," that they will be a minority, and imagine they will be treated as they have treated minorities. And terrorism is "an act of love for the white race." See the Nazi video, "Neo-Nazi Skinhead has a point" for an example of one of their Aryan role models
For every one marcher, there are thousands of people who believe in the white nasty stuff; I would estimate 25 million racists, racist enough to cast their vote for an extremely racist president. 

Nazi Signs and Symbols

As evidenced by yesterday's march at the University of Virginia, Nazi and white supremacist groups are forging alliances, uniting, and proselytizing. Be on the lookout for their signs and symbols, which include the versatile Pepe the Frog meme. This meme appears as racial caricature, Hitler, concentration camp "humor," and even as alt-right hero Donald Trump; per Joshua Green, Trump has sent this meme to his fans on reddit, and alt-right leader Richard Spenser wears a Pepe pin). 
More classic signs are tats with the numbers 14, 18, 88, which refer numerologically to Hitler's name and Nazi slogans; the Nazi SS sig and other runes; and even AC/DC logos (these refer to Nazi vids set to this music). Of course, the true messaging of the Alt Right (who are not all Nazis; they just don't mind hanging out with Nazis) is in Trump's attacks on immigrants, Latinos, LGBT persons, African Americans, women, and people with disabilities - yes, Trump's mocking of the disabled NYT reporter was red meat to this base and their ableism beliefs. 
Do not for a moment think that Donald Trump is not completely aligned with these movements. His chief strategist may not be a Nazi, but Bannon's reading list shows he is willing to use Nazi philosophy. White supremacists and their fans are Trump's best hope for an 8-year presidency, and the years beyond.

Sinclair Broadcasting Group - Alt-Right Propaganda

I am deeply troubled. Sinclair Broadcasting Group, whose news programs make Fox News seem centrist, is acquiring Tribune Media. It will soon saturate 80 percent of the nation. Their glowing coverage of Trump is devoid of fact, literally pure propaganda. So, an impressive cavalry is coming to aid Trump, and, if need be, will be positioned to replace him with another Koch-and-Mercer-approved candidate. I know we who oppose the right are the majority, but aren't authoritarian governments always opposed by an oppressed -- and silenced - majority? #resist