The Poetry of Insanity

Herzog is a miserable, hateful, malevolent, avaricious, money-hungry, nasty, sadistic, treacherous, cowardly creep…he should be thrown alive to the crocodiles! An anaconda should strangle him slowly! A poisonous spider should sting him and paralyze his lungs! The most venomous serpent should bite him and make his brain explode! No panther claws should rip open his throat–that would be much too good for him! Huge red ants should piss into his lying eyes and gobble up his balls and his guts! He should catch the plague! Syphilis! Yellow fever! Leprosy! It’s no use; the more I wish him the most gruesome deaths, the more he haunts me. – Klaus Kinski in Kinski Uncut.

Your god is a mushroom cloud.  The Church of the Nuclear Christ.  Mushroom Cloud Messiah.  The fallout mission.  That would put the real fear in you.  Yes, forget this Christ guy.  He died for you.  Now you die for me.  That would be real cool to see you praying to an ICBM missile.  Watching you on television, kneeling to a perfect, gleaming warhead.  Now that’s a real idea.  Guaranteed destruction.  Forget the second coming.  You give me the missiles and I’ll melt heaven.  I’ll blow your saints to Lawndale.  That would be great to see you grovel in front of a god that you could see, that you could touch.  Only an idiot would believe that some god in the sky is going to wreck the place.  Let me give you something that you could really believe in.  Don’t you want, don’t you really need something to believe in?  Something solid?  Something to calm your nerves?  Yes, look to me.  Let me supply you with your faith.  The Church of the Real Deal.  Have mercy?  Why?  You’re into destruction.  Forget needles and suicide.  I am offering you something better.  You love to be controlled.  You dig ownership and control inflicted upon you.  Now you can kneel and confess and pray and grovel to something that offers you ultimate carnage without judgment or concession.  Isn’t that what you want?  Yeah it is.   Henry Rollins from Get in the Van

Oscar was not into serious street-fighting, but he was hell on wheels in a bar brawl. Any combination of a 250 lb Mexican and LSD-25 is a potentially terminal menace for anything it can reach – but when the alleged Mexican is in fact a profoundly angry Chicano lawyer with no fear at all of anything that walks on less than three legs and a de facto suicidal conviction that he will die at the age of 33 – just like Jesus Christ – you have a serious piece of work on your hands. Especially if the bastard is already 33½ years old with a head full of Sandoz acid, a loaded .357 Magnum in his belt, a hatchet-wielding Chicano bodyguard on his elbow at all times, and a disconcerting habit of projectile vomiting geysers of pure blood off the front porch every 30 or 40 minutes, or whenever his malignant ulcer can’t handle any more raw tequila. – Hunter Thompson on Oscar Zeta Acosta in Rolling Stone Magazine (As a side note I wanted to find something on Oscar from Revolt of the Cockroach People, one of his autobiographies and a masterpiece of insanity, but I found nothing online that suited my needs.)

I love the poetry of insanity.  I love it when a writer writes as if they have no concern of how they are perceived by the general public in their lifetime or after their death.  There is some kind of noble truth to letting all of your perversions and impulses hang out.  But it is more than this.  Vulgarity and insanity, when pushed far enough, become a kind of poetry.  The show Deadwood understood this.  Although Deadwood used Victorian language at times, it also trafficked in in a kind of vulgar language that reached the heights of art.  Total commitment.  It is taking the crude language and taboos of the day and making something beautiful out of them.  It is the language of freedom, giving up the most important earthly possession of all, your ego, and the willingness to be liked, and casting it aside.  I want peace and justice and love to become a reality for mankind on a daily basis.  However, this kind of language serves a purpose in that no matter how counterintuitive that is.  It frees the mind to go beyond the norms of everyday groupthink.  The writing itself might not be more than a personalized truth, but it allows for a wider circle of exploration.  Out there in the deep dark woods of the night might be a glimmer of truth that sets you free.

The New Greek Ideal

Don Juan
Picaresque
Wife beater vest
Cold hand
Ice man
Warring cave man
Well if this is what it takes to describe…
I’m not a man

Wheeler, dealer
Mover, shaker
Casanova
Beefaroni
A-ho but lonely
Well if this is what it takes to describe…
I’m not a man
I’m not a man
I’m something much bigger and better than
A man

Wise-ass
Smart-ass
Workaholic
Thick-skinned
Two-fisted hombre, olé
Well if these are terms you’d use to describe…

Oh, I’m shaking
Look at me I’m quaking
True grit
True blue
Kill crazy
So very manly of you
You are the soldier
Who won’t get much older
You are the slow Joe
Who signed up to go

Wolf down
Wolf down
T-bone steak
Wolf down
Cancer of the prostate

Ways to sit
And of course
Ways to stand
I’m not a man
I’m not a man
No big fat locker room
Hockey jock
Laughing
I’m not a man
I’d never kill or eat an animal
And I never would destroy this planet I’m on
Well, what do you think I am?
A man?

I’m Not a Man by Morrissey.  These lyrics are the best ones I have come across in a long time.  I listen to this song almost every day.  They allow you to look at the world through a new lens.  I called them the new Greek Ideal because they are idealistic, a place to strive for, but will not be reached by many.  But they are a path worth heading down, even if you fall short.  They outline the macho behavior that leads to war and the destruction of our planet.  Right now Morrissey is without a label and this record, World Peace is None of Your Business, is hard to find.  I wanted to wait till it was available again to post these, but they mean too much to me.  As soon as it is available get a copy.  Thank god he’s out there…

Design

I found a dimpled spider, fat and white,
On a white heal-all, holding up a moth
Like a white piece of rigid satin cloth -
Assorted characters of death and blight
Mixed ready to begin the morning right,
Like the ingredients of a witches’ broth – 
A snow-drop spider, a flower like froth,
And dead wings carried like a paper kite.  
What had that flower to do with being white,
The wayside blue and innocent heal-all?
What brought the kindred spider to that height,
Then steered the white moth thither in the night?
What but design of darkness to appall? – 
If design govern in a thing so small

Design by Robert Frost.  A poem to properly begin October on. I am in and out of Chattanooga this morning, on to somewhere else in mere minutes.  This will have to do for now.

Popular Problems

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Samson in New Orleans

You said that you were with me
You said you were my friend
Did you really love the city
Or did you just pretend

You said you loved her secrets
And her freedoms hid away
She was better than America
That’s what I heard you say

You said how could this happen
You said how can this be
The remnant all dishonored
On the bridge of misery

And we who cried for mercy
From the bottom of the pit
Was our prayer so damn unworthy
The Son rejected it?

So gather up the killers
Get everyone in town
Stand me by those pillars
Let me take this temple down

The king so kind and solemn
He wears a bloody crown
So stand me by that column
Let me take this temple down

You said how could this happen
You said how can this be
The chains are gone from heaven
The storms are wild and free

There’s other ways to answer
That certainly is true
Me, I’m blind with death and anger
And that’s no place for you

There’s a woman in the window
And a bed in Tinsel Town
I’ll write you when it’s over
Let me take this temple down

By Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen’s new album, Popular Problems, comes out today.  I will review it at some point, but for today I thought I would just share one of the sets of lyrics.  Cohen has long been a hero of mine.  His work is complex and I don’t envy anyone that tries to accurately portray one of his works in print after only a couple spins.

Are We Having Fun Yet?

Rain permeates the air
Like a shit mist
Headed to Oklahoma
A territory
That some confuse with a state
The Indian Tribes were marginalized there
(That’s a euphemism)
And replaced with the Pick-up Truck Tribe
If that’s progress
Then I am a Yeti
Much of life is perspective
I have heard many jokes
At Amarillo’s expense
But Amarillo feels like Paris in the ’20s
Once you have spent time in Oklahoma
I have a friend who spent time
In Uganda and Afghanistan
She said, “Afghanistan made Uganda
Look like the future.”
You get the idea
Yet there are good people here
As there are everywhere
If life teaches one anything
It is that stereotypes and assumptions
Will one day make you look the fool
Regardless,
I suppose someone might want to string me up
For writing these words
A stupid end to a meaningless life
Game on
Have at it
Are we having fun yet?

Advice

Someone dancing inside us
Learned only a few steps:
The “Do-Your-Work” in 4/4 time,
The “What-Do-You-Expect” waltz.
He hasn’t noticed yet the woman
Standing away from the lamp,
The one with black eyes
Who knows the rhumba,
And strange steps in jumpy rhythms
From the mountains in Bulgaria.
If they dance together,
Something unexpected will happen.
If they don’t, the next world
Will be a lot like this one.

By Bill Holm

It’s Only Tuesday I’m Afraid

The poets have been castrated
And now they just play for scraps
Meanwhile the golden child
Gets blown while going in the black

It’s grotesque and it’s insulting
It’s decadent and inhumane
But it’s only Tuesday
I’m afraid

The painters have all been hired
By the advertising agencies
To paint Vincent van Goghs
For the drug companies

It’s grotesque and it’s insulting
It’s decadent and inhumane
But it’s only Tuesday
I’m afraid

Some clown just ate a spider
Now they’re throwing him a parade
Some slut is crying for the camera
While swimming naked in champagne

It’s grotesque and it’s insulting
It’s decadent and inhumane
But it’s only Tuesday
I’m afraid

Having fun in Boise, Idaho 8/19/2014