are good enough to die for
I was flicking through a book,
Earlier today, on the social history of Britain in the 20th Century and I have to say that
I was absolutely blown away
To see that Heroin was only
Made illegal in 1956.
Nineteen Fifty fucking Six !
Can you believe it ?
At the time, according to
Government records, there was
47.5 heroin addicts in the
Whole British Isles. Before you
Even begin to think of what
Makes up 0.5 of a heroin
Addict, 47.5, in the whole
Fucking country !
Prohibition worked really well
There, didn’t it ?
The only winners that I can see
In the whole, sorry scenario
Are drug dealers and criminals.
How to make 47 turn into
Hundreds of thousands.
Call me sceptical, or cynical, but something doesn’t quite add up here, for me.
You might possibly think that in the ’50’s with the birth of the
Teenager, and suddenly large numbers of working class
Youngsters going to University
And getting educated. That
Those in power would like to See a lot of working class
Youngsters opiated and numb
As I said, I’m cynical, and a bit
Of a conspiracy theorist, but
It’s just a thought
ANOTHER BAR, THIS ONE TOKYO
“Another,” he said,
his knees pressing
against the mahogany panels
of the old bar,
“and keep them coming
until I can take no more.
There won’t be
a last call tonight.”
The clatter of caroming
billiard balls cut
through the cigarette smoke
that curled against
the etched, streaked mirror,
over the din of karaoke.
As the bartender rinsed
and wiped the glasses
with a beigy cotton towel
and walked to the storeroom
he lifted the shot glass.
“This one’s for you Ginsberg,”
as he had earlier for Lowell,
Reznikoff, the others.
Much later as the sun
rose slowly, as his head
rested in his left hand,
he struggled to grab the small glass,
lifted it painfully
from the ash littered bar top
and in a sodden, slurred voice
whispered, head falling
against the wood, “and this
is for you Corso.”
stomping, glorious shapely gears, dangerous curves
turn on your large hips and walk away,
mumbling “fuck you” fumbling ample breasts
back into the bodice because I bounced in erect
with no bullshit and wouldn’t say I love you
you can’t reverse gears now you’ve
swallowed me you hate me why you hang
around me I could make nice or we could
watch fireworks later, settle into why I’m not
how you are how many times you lie on me
angry you tell me you faked, tell your friends
“I never fucked him” meanwhile I meditate,
meshed, mashed mouths into you
I never lie, never sleep without you, not
asleep, in love with someone else
unable to matter to you, to be your friend
and lover, you think love and law guilt
and sin and blame coven and covenant
I think like a man, a monkey merely
filthy and “pussy” scared you know
you let me in I tell myself you would
do it again I awake a world away a married
man 12 steps from poetry to slavery
love and sex and pure knavery and not
It is important to practice your craft. Try to hone your poems down to concise and finely tuned statements about the true beauty in the world. Send these pithy ruminations to magazines and publishers who seem to share your view of the arts or to those whom you admire. Be persistent. No one likes a quitter or those who are easily discouraged. Try to get a foothold in Academic circles. Much success for a poet can be had with those who read and are conversant in the language of books. Maintain an air of humility as you continue to sharpen your skills. Let others make the seminal observations about your writing and your character. Garner awards so soon your newest collection of poems will have some sort of a medallion on it or at least some addendum to your name signifying you are one of the true young lions of the literary world. At some point it may be necessary to formally approach poetry with a book of sonnets or sestinas or historically highly regarded forms. A language phase may be added consisting of words which ring and shine for their own sake. Actually, settle down somewhere back East or in some mystical locale made famous by your own verse. In this time speak of the spirit of the place you inhabit. Even use the term Zeitgeist and see if you can get away with saying Weltanschauung. Become obsessed with the plight of some group and their struggle and devote two or three books to heroic songs of justice in their name. Get a job at a university of your choice because you love to give back to young people. Write your observations on the world to your local paper or even to some lucky periodical of which the editorial staff will be so thrilled to have your input. Become an actual charity or an endowment of some kind so people will see and hear your name when they watch PBS shows and other younger writers can get money and medallions and addendum on their books. Champion a few of them and maybe have some affairs. Get to know some famous people but make sure they see you as aloof or somehow above everything that goes on or inexplicably dark of mood. Become some kind of living national treasure whom someone undoubtedly will say the very advancement of letters could not have been possible without your contribution. Design a building for your foundation. Scratch that. Have a committee design a building for your foundation and hire a famous architect to build it. Probably on the grounds of the university you are now an absolute bulwark of culture within. Make sure the building is expansive and ornate with wings and futuristic furniture and green over there and orange over there. Go out of fashion quietly and without unseemly protest about how you no longer understand the world or young people. Understand that the smell of your books will be slightly musty and reflect your death in the way a poem never could when some literature professor you taught tasks a student with writing a paper about you and your poems which after all is said and done are exactly what always came first.
RODE INTO FIVE HAIKUS
Bones turn to dust
Sunburnt Woods lonelier
Dogs going back to earth¡
Owl’s head our freedom
Even if it did blow over
To pick up and go.
Is what makes this place
As little as possible
Sky and Earth
At the edge of silence
Translucency in it¡