Jena Osman's poem, "Dropping Leaflets," is audible and discussed thoughtfully on PoemTalk (#37)
, as a particularly intriguing example of documentary poetry. Documentary poetry, as I've described elsewhere, attempts to employ language from other texts and documents in order to read against the grain of official history, to reveal (either through cutting, through absence, or differential presence) that which is unspoken yet nonetheless part of the truth. According to Osman, on the poem:
"The title of this programs is 'Finding the Words.' Every day I look in the newspapers. I keep sensing the presence of what's not being told... 'Help me come up with a strategy to get through this white noise.' I don't have that strategy, except to call attention to components of that white noise so we can hear it for what it is. In the spirit of Marianne Moore, who often incorporated what she was reading into her poems, I'm going to read a piece made of words I found when I read transcripts of press conferences given by Bush, Ridge, Rumsfeld, and Cheney in the last few days. I read the transcripts, printed them out, I tore them up, and then I stood on a chair, and then I bombed my office floor with them as if they were leaflets and the leaflets told me what to do. So this piece is called 'Dropping Leaflets.'"
Help me come up with a strategy to get
through this white noise.
-- U.S. Representative Cynthia McKinney,
Are we on the ground now? Ally cells and I said operations.
We cleared 50% of a wonderful friend and enduring opposition.
Take the solid.
We clearly are loud. We are the postal system.
No evidence has been information.
Attacking the caves. Are you on the ground enduring?
A wonderful friend ramped it up.
You ought to open your mail.
Opposition element: the air. The talents work with precision.
84%. The population attacking the caves, the talents work with the
caves and tunnels.
Hiding in caves, wavering in caves and hiding in mosques.
A wonderful friend on the ground.
Freedom I said: the enduring ally cells.
Interested in the view, in our aid sensitivities.
50% to the front of our effort adding that 80% are willing to play.
Independent oper-oppo-sition forces that are rosy.
So make assumptions on the ground. Are we on the ground now?
Scraps of information work from opposition.
Can be more than air. The target. The air liaison.
Campaign with the bombing and entirely happy.
Attacking the leaflets.
We keep working hiding in hiding in caves
and cowering in cowering in cowering in caves
and I could say confidential areas.
The mosques and rest efforts are mad.
Execution in the targeting of democracy.
Those risks culti-targeting to minimize the individual.
An obligation to the spirit of enterprise.
A war of roundup freezing worldwide, and proceeding on course.
Training facilities, proceeding on course, freezing their guided
A population is tons of struggle against evil.
A civilized world of innocents in the mud, an enemy that's on the
ground for there is no neutral ever. No neutral homeland.
For the first time first time first time in history
ordinary busi-security bioterror
to defend enemies with the no-ness of life.
Confident in destruction / complete and cause / certain of the rightness
of this time / in the right / man the victories / to comment for a freer
world history / committee of evil / defeat the forces / we will fight and
great coalition wherever they are an era of over flight right against
terror basing global terror the global trade and lives of our world improve /
the modern alliance / I like citizens / but rather than the dust settle it
could mean / as acknowledged /the carpet bombs precision bombs / as
long as 23 months and I said go to America on alert / get a softball to
school if you work / take your child / game this afternoon / game or a
soccer to the president's going to the game / the fight / our new
baseball game / to help us in our task / force will sign terrorists tracking
American citizens / to protect level warriors / the decibel from these
shadows / open your mail louder