Notes on craft (2) (motive force)

October 6, 2007 at 5:47 pm | Posted in writing | 2 Comments
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“Let us first acknowledge that freedom’s just another word
for nothing left to lose. (No, I do not acknowledge my quotes,
footnotes are for those who delight in esoteric reference and telling you what you should already know, Billy McGee, while you’re stomping that reed and the driver smells of cheap bourbon and has his hand on my knee.)

nothing left to lose cos I lost it all to you,

poetry is pointless cleverness
(the thing itself, the kiss, the swish
of sword in dead of night is always

unless it has the power to transform thought,
(otherwise only poets will ever read poetry),

If you do not desire revolution you are not a poet,
Buddhist monks are being beaten,
right now, at the end of time,
the future of your society if you do nothing.
Who among you can say, no, we have no
wife-beaters here, no child-thieves sneaking
from closets and t.v.s,
Buddhist monks being beaten to death
in public view by people who know only which way
a gun is pointing, the future of your society,

read Whitman, it is possible for a man to be a poet,
read George Gordon, Lord Byron, dissent is not madness,
read Wilde for a tale beneath manners and art
about the courage required for honesty,
you cannot be a poet and not be a revolutionary,”
F. said and drained his glass,
“Now how about playing a song we all know?”

I looked down at the piano,
and all I could see was Janis Joplin,


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  1. though there’s none of your trademark imagery, this is possibly my favourite piece of yours……the rage is the rhythm…..and then the sadness and falling away in the last stanza…… no you cannot be a poet and not be a revolutionary…………

  2. Powerful . . .

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