Thursday, September 12, 2013

TANKA, Not Tanks

by Nan Socolow

The following are six comments I submitted to the New York Times yesterday morning.  I wrote all of these comments in TANKA, Japanese form of poetry  using 5 lines of 5,7,5,7,7 syllables each. 

Threaten to Threaten, Tom Friedman:
Arab Gulf leaders
Support Obama's effort.
Syria's amok.
We're not the Global Police
No need to aid Jihadists.
Who do you Trust?  Maureen Dowd:
Pooty-Poot's given
Obama and John Kerry
The red-line exit.
Joe Six-Pack is anti-war
He was Bush's base.
Homeland Confusion, Tom Kean, Lee Hamilton:
Homeland not secure.
Congress needs to scrutinize
Gaps in oversight.
Today Anniversary
Of World Trade Towers attack.
The Government and Inequality, Tom Edsall:
America's Sin Qua Non
The rich are richer
The poor struggling for money.
Our Middle Class has vanish'd
09/11, My 2 Cents, Mark Bittman:
We use drones to kill.
Isn't gassing people worse?
Who will bell Assad?
Limited action?  No way.
Faint heart never kiss'd the cook.
The President Speaks on Syria, Ross Douthat:
I watch'd Obama. 
You're alone, wrong pundit!
O, insulting?  Not!
Ross, your lifetime has been short.
Study Putin and Assad.
Nan Socolow
Cayman Brac
British West Indies


Will said...

Nice work, Nan! My favorite is the one for Ross, the wrongest of the wrong pundits.

P.S. Here's a fantastic haiku I just found while googling tanka. I can't stop giggling!

Haikus are easy
But sometimes they don't make sense

Jay - Ottawa said...

takes two to tanka
but I’m all alona

as for the haiku
well –– “suki desu”
but can’t count past five

on the other hand
i ‘m brilliant at quotes

(by the way a kite’s
an arab vulture)

This from a chorus in T.S.Eliot’s “The Rock” (1934) alluding to the Crusades:

"Some went for love of glory,
Some went who were restless and curious,
Some who were rapacious and lustful.
Many left their bodies to the kites of Syria…."

annenigma said...

I'm sorry, I don't do Tanka, but I would like to know why nearly all the domestic media, including the Gray Lady and even Sardonickistas, won't touch the latest Snowden revelations with a ten foot pole. It concerns the NSA giving Israel raw, unfiltered intelligence data on Americans and even gives them carte blanche to use it as they please. NSA even admits to Israel that it could include data on government officials. So now we know the NSA does indeed capture some of our electors and other officials data. Yet it is not deemed newsworthy or worthy of discussion. Go figure.

Snowden must be feeling disheartened. He admitted that he spends his time scouring the internet to see what is happening as a result of his sacrifice. He must be wondering if he wasted his efforts and his life on this country. Sadly, Americans clearly can't bear very much reality (thanks, T.S. Eliot) because one of the biggest bombshells to date is being swept under the rug and there seems to be silent consent in this country that that's acceptable.

How can we have the robust public debate that Snowden gave us the opportunity to have if it is swept under the rug and the people are even helping lift the rug? That does not bode well for any of us.

I guess the silence about this important matter speaks for itself, like The Dog That Did Not Bark, or as Voltaire said:

"To find out who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize."

Zee said...


Sorry, I've been lost in my own thoughts instead of thinking much about the larger picture.

It's been pouring rain all day here in Albuquerque, just as it did on Tuesday, and I should be rejoicing as this is the first real monsoon that we've had here in three years or more.

Instead, I'm just numb, reflecting on Fred's sad testament to “mankind's inhumanity to mankind,” Will's video recollection of America's role in the brutal destruction of Salvador Allende's government in 1973, my friend Pat's moving song and video about Victor and Joan Jara (the former murdered in Pinochet's coup ), and Noodge's all-too-cogent explanation as to why all this is the way that it is, and why it won't change much in the immediate future.

In fact, I feel sick.

I'll do my best to try to look into the latest Snowden revelations as to with whom our government is sharing raw intelligence in order to better spy on you and me, but it'll have to wait a little bit until my stomach calms.

ste-vo said...

Is unable to really process any of these revelations anymore: zip, nada, zilch, I cannot. I am numb. I am kaput. I am no longer shocked at anything I hear on the radio or read on the internet. I am more concerned for the people of the Boulder, CO area who are dealing with flooding and my son does not even live there anymore. I see no way out of the morass of the cheesy nation we have become.

Jay - Ottawa said...


Not to worry. Snowden in search of something at the keyboard every waking hour is his default endeavor. And, thanks to hyper-alert folks at AIPAC, everybody knows AIPAC’s position.

The evermore bland NPR may have been pushing the envelope (and its luck) by airing the following report.

David Welna even mentions John Mearsheimer, co-author of “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy.” Could be NPR political reporters are again beginning to ask themselves: What would Big Bird do?

You’ll also enjoy the comments following the transcript. Morning Edition, where this was aired, is said to have between 20-30 million listeners, many of them influential policy makers commuting to important jobs, many of them movers and shakers like us.

The world’s remaining colonial powers have got to stick together. The US is Israel’s best friend. Some observers say the US is Israel’s ONLY friend. The two countries are more and more co-dependent. How else interpret UN Security Council vetoes by the US on behalf of Israel? In time, as the US continues on its sometimes muted and sometimes not-so-muted neo-con course through history, with US military bases around the world blooming like Israeli settlements on the West Bank, Israel may turn out to be the last and only friend of the US. Therefore, it is probably in the national interest of the US to continue with its yiddishe nachas* towards Israel, like the indulgent, non-judgmental mama AIPAC would have us be.


Zee said...


We've been praying for rain here in New Mexico--not all that far from Boulder, CO--over the last few drought-stricken years.

Now, like Colorado, we're getting "too much."

Ya just can't win!

As you imply, this is much more immediate than Syria, Israel, or wherever.

These are my immediate neighbors.

annenigma said...

Per NSA/Israel disclosures, I was more concerned about the highly unusual NON-LEGALITY in this agreement to share highly unusual UNFILTERED/UNMINIMIZED data. Both those things should put us on high alert for abuses of power. What a convenient work-around to allow Israel to go after American citizens it identifies as 'terrorists' with a wink and a nod from the USG - allowing them to do doing our 'wet work' for us.

A prime example is the death reported just yesterday of the American citizen 'jihadist rapper' Omar Hammami. He was assassinated, ostensibly by fellow terrorists. When you give someone else unlimited, unfiltered information along with a legal disclaimer, these type of things can just happen... honest, we had nothing to do with it.

Zee, I care a lot about Colorado too. The Springs is actually my new digs and also where my family lives. But I consider it a honor and a blessing to have the ability to still care about other things going on in this sad and sorry world even when things look gloomy. I attribute it to being a woman. We are not inclined by nature, instinct, or the demands of life to simply tune out other distractions or turn off entirely when things get tough. We often have to juggle multiple needs and issues at once, and lives often depend on our doing just that. Weapons are not our default mode of action, therefore we need to use all our senses, perceptions, and gifts.

Vive la difference!

Noodge said...

Just saw the news that Larry Summers has withdrawn from consideration as next head of the Fed.

I'd celebrate if I thought that meant we were going to get Janet Yellen. More likely, though, Obama will choose some other Wall Street lackey.