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Blackout Poem: Expat by sethness Blackout Poem: Expat by sethness
This is what's called a "blackout poem", which is sort of like "found art" for poets. What the author does is to use a collection of words, and black out the irrelevant ones, leaving a poem or phrase behind.

In this case, if you read the "enlightened" ( ;) ) words, you can see the protest of an expat who finds it abhorrent that his tax dollars (and "bloodied hands", in a metaphorical MacBeth sense) are contributing to the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq.

In honor of Ehren Wateda [link] and efforts at objectivity like this one [link]

The pages I "found" this poem in are consecutive pages from [link] "the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction", America's 2nd oldest scifi short story magazine. The left page is from a short story; the right page is an advertisement.
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minniemugwort Featured By Owner Dec 9, 2010
very nice work!
VioletMagenta Featured By Owner Dec 9, 2010   Writer
Amazing and powerful. It's also very cool that you found this from an advertisement.
hazelly Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2007
This is a style I quite enjoy reading and writing. You've done a pretty nice job on this poem - the message is very clear, and using an ad for the blackout is an interesting idea. I don't quite understand the meaning behind the first line, though. (Now wait a minute, those aren't my hands.) Is there something I'm missing? I can't see the relation with the rest of the piece.
sethness Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2007
Incidentally, if you look at the facing page you'll see the text I'd originally planned to draw the poem from. However, the forum I'd planned to show it in-- Worth1000-- is particularly onerous about religious commentary from non-theists, so I chickened out of doing an Atheist/Agnostic poem. Sadly, mere weeks later, I gave up membership in Worth1000 because of ongoing issues with how they favor religious blathering but stamp out atheist protests. That's what brought me to DeviantArt. :-)
sethness Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2007
Well, when a supposedly representative government uses your tax dollars to make war, torture, shred the constitution, reward the rich for robbing the poor... those sorts of things, then the government is no longer behaving as the "hands" of the citizens.

This can also be used as an image of "hands" as literally the hands of a soldier when he realizes that he can't defend a democracy by joining a military dictatorship, in essence giving up his "hands" and his free will in order to obey generals. Thus, while a soldier merely follows orders of "superiors", his brain is disconnected from his hands. When, like Lady MacBeth, he looks down at his blood-stained hands and feels guilt, he wakes up and says "those were not my decisions. Those were not MY hands-- from this moment forward, I take responsibility and make all decisions for my hands, my actions, my decisions."

...Like E. Watada [link] , the American officer who is facing courtmartial because he concluded that the war he was asked to continue is illegal and immoral, and he feels it's his obligation to resist.

One of the nice parts about being American is how expats' taxes are calculated. When you realize that your taxes are paying for something immoral, corrupt, illegal-- you can become an expat. You don't need to pay ANY taxes to America while working abroad, as long as your income doesn't exceed $130,000. This fact is one of the biggest reasons that I became an expat in 2000. I'm simply withdrawing my "hands" from an immoral group effort.
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March 16, 2007
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