Lost Prophets Regained

Take an harp, go about the city,
thou harlot that hast been forgotten;
make sweet melody, sing many songs,
that thou mayest be remembered.
Isaiah 23:16 (KJV)

Morrison, Hendrix and Janis the J.
(with others lost tripping along the way)
continue to enlighten young stoners,
adolescent existential loners
who hold them as holy and dig their writ
in billows of bong-smoke. Listen to it:
Hendrix and Joplin and Morrison, man
were part of some cosmic, like, master-plan
true prophets—
thus sayeth The Lizard King.
High as kites, their disciples hear them sing
suburban anthems to teen perdition
sirens of drug-addled sixties vision.
pockets continue to empty for discs
while taking somewhat calculated risks.
Should vomitous overdose be esteemed
with visions that actual prophets dreamed?
These anointed cherubs of sad excess
can never illuminate, much less bless
a nation of youth who have lost their way
and can’t even choose which download to play.
Morrison, man—that dude was so profound
he broke on through to that state where I’m bound . . .
Moon-struck drummers, now ghosts of dubious name
live on, in pounding out their spectral fame;
exploding dirigibles flown too high
and blown to pieces in Lucifer’s sky.
Such riffs and licks and solos and visions
should force us to some unkind decisions
wherein we ask how free we really are
when enslaved to a devil’s fallen star.

 Count my syllables.
Behold beauteous imagery.
Smile now—pay later
.

A Limp and Fangless Thing

       There are about six people who buy new poetry, but they are not feeling very well. I bumped very lightly into one of them while walking down the sidewalk, and for a while I was terrified that I would have to write to eleven MFA programs explaining why everyone was going to have to apply for grants that year. The last time I stumbled upon a poetry reading, the attendees were almost without exception students of the poet who were there in the hopes of extra credit. One of the poems, if memory serves, consisted of a list of names of Supreme Court justices. I am not saying that it was a bad poem. It was a good poem, within the constraints of what poetry means now. But I think what we mean by poetry is a limp and fangless thing.

Alexandra Petri: Is poetry dead? 

Read full piece HERE