(suggested songs to listen to while reading: Kinks, 'Stop Your Sobbing'; The Horrors, 'Sea Within A Sea'; Pretenders, 'Stop Your Sobbing')

I once had a copy of Tolstoy's War and Peace that was published during World War II. The story of "W 'n P" has a lot to do with Napoleon's invasion of Russia. The book came with two maps: one showing Napoleon's invasion, and the other showing Hitler's similar invasion. They were pretty much the same, remarkably, 'cept for one thing. Napoleon we know was unsuccessful but when this edition was published they did not know yet know what Hitler's outcome would be. Can you imagine that? There was a time on this earth when you were following the news, and the story of Hitler had not finished. I can't imagine anything more scary.

We all know the Hitler meme is an exaggerative one and you have to be careful when you compare anything to something so extreme. I'm just using this tho to explain a feeling. A feeling, well, to use something' a lil' earthy-hokey, about the fact of being alive. How you really don't know what's going to happen next. How you develop strategies (sorry for this awful word) to deal with this, but how you're really just stuck in it, like a mouse in a glue trap. The moment is alive and everything else is just dreams or hopes.

We are in this kind of moment in the US Presidential election which this blog has now been covering twice a month for about four months. Our last piece will be the day after the election, November 7. After this one there are just two blogs left. We are very near.

But near to what? (Am I building up suspense, or is stuff suspenseful 'nuff? One of my favorite parts of seeing bands live, is that anticipation, the tuning up, the roadies setting-up, the blah, blah, blah, when are they starting? etc. I even try to imitate it in my poetry readings by, uh, shuffling papers.) So near to what. Who is going to win. What's going to happen?

In this moment, in this bright clear sense of being! now, boom, right now, exactly, now … We don't know. We really don't. Can we admit it. We can talk about the horse race all we want, but it is a race, and there can't be even a photo finish, without a finish. The gallup (that's kindof a pun on the US polling firm), the stride, the energetic throttle, the equine neck, reaching, yearning – that's where we are now. Now.

I happen to think this election is as important as the two sides make it out to be. A "hinge" election with a door that can swing either way, to the right future or the wrong past. The door at this moment is swinging back and forth. Obama was ahead. Romney "won" the first debate. The jobs report numbers came in better than expected and the unemployment rate dropped. The polls are tightening. Now. What about later. We don't know. Feel that. Enjoy.

to be continued...


Mike Tyler is a celebrated post-beat poet who has been covered over the years everywhere from The Times to Wired. He is releasing his debut UK album, Erection, on August 20th via The Art Can Not Be Damaged.

Read: Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4 / Part 5 / Part 6 / Part 7