Sunday, November 30, 2008

InDigest Issue 8

Not sure why it's taken me so long to post this, as InDigest Issue 8 has been up for about a week now, but here it is:

InDigest Issue 8, including new poems, a new short story, new work in the Gallery (including painting included here), and columns from Bedside Stacks, Is That Cowardly?, and The Ulysses Sage.

Hope you like it. Let me know.

Friday, November 21, 2008

It's Been a While

Wow, it's been two weeks since my last post. I have been extremely busy and, like a lot of people, just breathing a long sigh of relief after that great election. I don't have much to share, but Dustin is keeping up a little better: He's obsessed with Randy Newman at the moment, and, in a drastically different opinion than his own, I am astounded that Brad Liening's Daily Poem Factory is still going and I think it's awesome!!!

Look for a new issue of InD soon.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

My Response to "Drinking the Kool-Aid"

The joke, and possibly the actual concern of the day seems to be that too many Obama supporters are just "drinking the Kool-Aid,"* or in other words, we believe too strongly in this one man's ability to bring about change. It's silly, really, and those who will fall prey to this are destined for heartbreak. More importantly, they are missing the message, the point of this whole campaign: it has never been about this one man, no matter what "cult of personality" labels some have tried to pin on him. Yes, Obama has certain attributes that have allowed him an unlikely and ridiculously fast ascension, but many of these can be found in any great leader. Again, what has led him to the presidency is not so much him, as his ability to make the rest of us believe, and further still, to want to do something about what we believe in. The difference, therefore, will come from us, not him. Let there be no mistake, as I told my father over all these months, the man who told me (and with whom I wholeheartedly agreed) on those occasions when my fervor for Obama started boiling, "Obama is no savior," the real work began on November 5.

That being said, here are my two initial responses to people who are joking or are genuinely concerned about succumbing to "Drinking the Kool-Aid":

1) Don't. It simple. Just don't. Don't believe that Obama can do everything all by himself or even with his staff. That--to use a tired expression--is politics as usual. The change that is being called for is not just a change of president. The change is in the citizenry's apathy, in our indifference. Don't be apathetic and don't be indifferent and you won't have drunk anything. Here's one way those of you in St. Paul can get involved: The Lab, a program through the St. Paul Public Schools that offers a small group experience where youth are inspired, encouraged and empowered to discover, understand and share their voices and the truth of their lives, is always looking for volunteers. If you're not in St. Paul, 826 National is another organization always looking for volunteers to work with kids. There are seven 826 chapters across the country, from Seattle to LA to New York. Their goal is to assist students ages six to eighteen with their writing skills, and to help teachers get their classes excited about writing.

Volunteering some of your time to your community is one concrete way you can have an impact. These are just two places that need volunteers. The list is endless (if you know of others, please leave suggestions in the "comments" portion of this post). Don't let others decide how things will be different. Change them yourself.

2) I just picked up the book Obama's Challenge: America's Economic Crisis and the Power of a Transformative Presidency by Robert Kuttner. (Please also leave book recommendations on this topic in the comments portion of the post.) Though I'm only about 20 pages into it, it seems like a book that will show how Obama must stay true to progressive ideas while convincing those on the other side of the aisle to come closer to those (progressive) ideas, rather than the reverse: the president moving toward the center. On page seven, Mr. Kuttner makes it clear that he hasn't drunk anything:

So either Barack Obama will be a transformative president, or the bad economic circumstances that he inherits will sink his promise and America's, and the moment will have been lost. He will be a great president--or a failed one, his presidency grounded "in shallows and miseries."**

Those are scary, but true words. I, for one, don't want this presidency to be a failed one. So, again, if you don't want to "drink the Kool-Aide," then don't. Stay involved. Volunteer. Keep reading about policy issues and decisions (just because David Plouffe doesn't send you an email about it, doesn't mean you can't find the information for yourself). Keep following Obama like you have over the last year (or two). Just don't rely on him to do everything. I'm telling you, you will be heartbroken if you do.

*From Wiki: "Having 'drunk the Kool-Aid' also refers to being a strong or fervent believer in a particular philosophy or mission — wholeheartedly or blindly believing in its virtues."

**Shakespeare, Julius Caesar

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Dear Mr. President

Dear Mr. President,

I have had tears in my eyes on and off since last night when you took the stage in Grant Park, Chicago. When you implored us to fully believe that mantra "Yes we can," repeating it calmly and humbly, I knew it was finally true.

Your face, as you walked onto that stage last night held something often shadowed by your confidence (though your confidence is of a different sort than we have come to know, so refreshingly lacking in arrogance). You were humbled and in your humility, you cemented your humanity. And it was all there on your face, before you spoke one word. People have praised and attacked your oration these past several months. But there, standing before tens of thousands in Chicago and millions more watching across the world, you did not need to say a word. Your face held more eloquence than any speech you have ever given.

When you did finally speak, your modesty did not allow you to run away to some perch of hyperbole and expectation, too lofty to reach. Even in this moment of jubilation, you were realistic. And you showed great respect for your listeners by not making grand promises that would leave us disheartened in the end. Instead you did what you have done until now. You told us the truth. You told us that the road ahead will be long. The road ahead will be difficult. And you reminded us once again that it was not you that allowed for your standing there in Grant Park (though our praise may outweigh your modesty today), but us. As you have called on us before, you asked us to believe not just in your ability to bring change, but to believe in ours as well.

This last point is what will make you a great leader, Mr. President. No matter how many times it is repeated, let this fact never lose the weight it carries: You have inspired millions of people across the world to believe that their voices matter. Where before they had none, today they have one. And it is loud. And it is clear. And it is spoken through you, Mr. President.

As the world celebrates--and it is truly a world celebration--we recognize that there is so much work to be done. You would not let us forget this, even in your proudest moment. Today the real work begins. Having taken a giant leap for man, we are still great leaps and bounds from where we wish to be. You know this, Mr. President, as well as anyone. Still, today, facing in this new direction, the sun shining brightly on my face, I join the world in this celebration. And I say with more fervor than I have ever said before: I am proud to be an American. Because being an American today once again feels as though I am a part of the world.

Thank you for that, Mr. President.

Yours sincerely,
David Doody

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

An Election Day Poem

When I was in New York this past week I was lucky enough to attend a poetry reading where the poet Rick Barot read. He went out on a limb and read some very new poems. They were excellent, and I'm sure will only get better as he edits. After the reading I told him that I particularly enjoyed one, which was about John McCain. I told him that it did something that I felt I would currently be too angry to do in any form, namely humanize John McCain in a way that none of the "war hero" propaganda has done over these last few months. Rick was nice enough to give me that poem, which inspired a poem of my own, and Rick's reading of it--so soon after writing it--has inspired me to share my poem (something that, if you know me, you know I don't do easily). It is about as new as a poem can be, and may, in the end, look very different from this, but I am going to share it here, now.

Election Day, 2008

for Rick Barot

You fell down before I did, but while I was listening
to gospel music this morning I cried in the shower.
You fell, but I keep breaking down.

They’re telling us a new day is rising, and I’m too nervous
to believe them. There’s a landing strip on the other side,
they say, but I don’t even recognize what we’re flying.

Much less how to touch down softly.

We are all jungle cats skinned and placed on display
in markets we didn’t even know existed.
Our meat isn’t sold, but left where we were shot down

and skinned.

And these days I have learned to hate the flies
for being flies,
their lack of compassion for me.

I am angry. Other poets can still humanize
those in whom I can’t see the humanity anymore.
They sign their poems and hand them to me.
This is the closest I will get to understanding.

But maybe tomorrow I will break down for other reasons.

I Could Be Wrong, but...

aren't all taxes inherently socialistic--i.e. paying into a fund to be redistributed to where money is "needed"? So, if one is going to call any tax plan socialism, it's really just what degree of socialism he or she is comfortable with. Otherwise these people should refuse to pay taxes and demand to take it upon themselves to fix the roads near them, educate their own children, protect the land around them, et al. People just take for granted things that have come before and say things as if we don't have all these precedents to go on. It's like, you already pay taxes, and that's ok, uh? But others aren't ok, uh? Well, why aren't you fighting to stop the ones you already pay. Why isn't that socialism? Because you didn't have a say in them? So there's nothing you can do about them? I'm confused.

Bringing Sexy Back

Doesn't Obama look like he's in a Justin Timberlake video in this picture from the New York Times?

On This Election Day, Some Wise Words From Ben Harper and Some Blind Boys

I wish we could live forever
Then melt into the sun
Melt into the sun
Time is gonna change you
Once it gets you on the run
Gets you on the run

There will be
There will be
There will be a light
There will be a light
There will be
There will be
There will be a light
There will be a light

I've been running
Ever since
Ever since I was a child
Some call it free
And some call it wild

There will be
There will be
There will be a light
There will be a light
There will be
There will be
There will be a light
There will be a light

Let the warmth of my love
Dry away all your tears
Fear not for I am with you
I will fear not - fear not - with you here

There will be
There will be
There will be a light
There will be a light
There will be
There will be
There will be a light
There will be a light

There will be
There will be
There will be a light
There will be a light

About Me

David Luke Doody is a freelance writer and editor. He is a founding editor of InDigest Magazine (, an online literary magazine and the blog editor for Guernica Magazine ( His writing and interviews have appeared in those magazines as well as in The Huffington Post,, The Minnesota Twins Yearbook, and Intentionally Urban Magazine, among others.

This is how my nephew loves me

This is how my nephew loves me

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