Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Coalition Partners;Janet Malcolm

For the perished-
Coalition Partners
C 2011 by E.M.Kabak

Ordinance, shrapnel
Depleted uranium
Cesium, strontium
Creeps in the cranium

Rocketing weapons
Rampant radio-

Cores of reactors fueled now with Mox
Atomic dust seeps into our timed clocks
Anti-aircraft guns, bombs’ thunderous noise
These are our coalition partners’ new toys

Nuclear reactors built on a fault
Human but seismic in greed and gestalt
Truth is briskly washed out to sea
Daily regimen- catastrophe

Tsunamis and earthquakes ,plutonium spewing
It’s unsafe to eat or do what you’re doing
Our coalition partners- don’t hold your breath-
Disease, deceit, destruction and death

Janet Malcolm, the fearless New Yorker writer who specializes in a rarefied prose combining astute reporting with fine edged character study and more than a touch of psychoanalysis and the craft of a fine novelist, has just published her latest, Iphigenia in Forest Hills,(Yale University Press).

It is an expansion of her celebrated article in last year's New Yorker on the trial of Mazoltuv Borukhova, the Forest Hills Uzbeki doctor who was tried and convicted for engaging a relative to murder her estranged husband/dentist in cold blood in front of her daughter, shortly after suffering what appears to have been a totally unjust decree of losing custody of the child.
Malcolm, who is also the subject of a long interview in the new issue of Paris Review, casts a broad net, catching human folly in the family court system, in the conspiracy rantings of one of its representatives, in the Uzbeki community,male- dominated as it is, and in the judiciary, among other places.
No one escapes the scalpel. Here she is on the trial judge:

"[The Judge] is a man of seventy-four with a small head and a large body and the faux genial manner that American petty tyrants cultivate."
Here again-
"The court documents do not reveal what was actually going on between Borukhova and malakov during the dissolution of their marriage.The documents are a crude allegory of ill will peopled by garishly drawn, one-dimensional characters. But some truth leaks out of every court document, as it does out of everything written or said."

In the stable of fine writers deployed by the New Yorker,including such stalwarts as Lawrence Wright, Janet Malcolm may well be the lead horse.You can also pick up her recent book on how Gertrude Stein and Alice B Toklas escaped the Holocaust without leaving France, as well as her earlier works on Plath and Hughes , the Jeffrey McDonald murder trial, and her "In the Freud Archives", the subject of a long and ultimately unsuccessful libel suit by Jeffrey Masson against the author.

One rarely finds an author whose characterizations are so apt and prose so accurately and unforgettably etched.

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