Stoned Poet Blues (with John Coltrane’s “Spiritual”}
Recipient of the 2015 Gonzofest Literary Award for Poetry
by David Pratt
Got them nowhere going, nothing showing, no use crying, even trying,
dogsick endtime blues…
I’m out here on the edge wondering what the?
fuck to do with myself.
Darting out from under the mainstream’s crush,
Slipsliding in the slipstream of relentless Time
Like piss on the tide
my peripheral soul a vast ocean
reaching past confinement, past
my landlocked meat stuck in Time.
Throw my head back to the moon
howl that gut, primal howl,
wailing from my prisoner soul
with an impulse to fly.
Standing at the edge of America,
with an impulse to fly.
Still I’m rooted to the soil,
a mortal rock of earth rooted to America
with roots go deep 200 years.
And before that a mystery of misty woods
blue-domed skies and endless virgin tracts
unraped by heaven thrusting monuments
of imperialist concrete and steel
hammered together in a frenzy of
Social Darwinism & the Glory of…
…a birdsong silence unsullied
by the eternal grind
of the machinery of subjugation
Already long the home of vibrant cultures,
Atlantis’ lost tribes, done sailed West & settled,
who welcomed the strangers to their shores
& took their word at word value,
praised their promises of peace,.
but instead were deceived and plundered,
raped & murdered in the dead of night
and slaughtered ‘neath the flaming sun:
dead babies at their mother’s bloody breasts
& mountains of buffalo bodies burning.
Now they’ve been civilized
which means beat,
which means battered,
which means buried
in the trampled dust of a thousand ruthless ages…
Sing silent laments for the terrible surrender:
“Oh deep despair for tattered skies,
for corrosive acid rains,
for strip-mined mountains crumbling
onto the fracked-up plains.
America, oh ‘merica,
who wrenched the soul from thee
and crowned your need
with cutthroat greed
from sea to dying sea?”
& what heinous crime has brought us
fallen angels to this darkening night?
We’re born wild
come forth kicking & screaming,
seething animals alive in Time.
But they start
soon as that smack on the ass
knocks in your first breath
opens wide your eyes,,,
Tell you how to be,
what to feel…
squeal the wide-eyed realization
of sacrificial virgins brought to slaughter,
dished out on greasy paper plates
at a backyard 4th of July barbecue.
Enroll us in obedience schools
where we tear out each others throats
on war zone playgrounds.
Pledge Allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America
& to the banana republics on which it stands:
“One nation under God, indivisible,
with Liberty & Justice
Every morning with hands on hearts,
eyes forced to the star spangled banner…
We believed and who can blame us now?
Confusion, disillusion and just plain mad.
Pissed off to be precise & nowhere to turn, man.
So we drop out,
we twist over,
we turn away.
Wouldn’t you, man?
Find myself in an accidental tribe of outskirters,
bound by our confusion & pain, doomed to go down together.
Fringe elements drifting, waiting for the War
& Nostradamus’ promise.
“Out here in the perimeter there are no stars.
Out here we is stoned,
Outcasts in the outback.
Out of our minds.
Hear us howl back in the night streets
where we prowl in aimless packs,
go digging for a bone.
…call me a dog when I slink out your city streets stick my nose in piles of shit & roadkill left to lie in sidewalk rot
…call me a dog when I lap the blood from your gutters
…call me a dog when I bite your mailmen & milkmen & policemen & salesmen I bite too
…call me a dog when my collar gets too tight & my leash caught up and wrapped around your liberty tree I hang myself from your liberty tree & swing in the frozen breeze
…call me a dog when I’m rabid call me a dog when I’m mad & put this mongrel to sleep
…call me a dog and see if I come
…call me a dog when you catch me in your nets in pens in pounds in kennels & laboratories where you sew my eyes shut
…call me a dog gooddog baddog doggone deaddog down dog me ’round a mangy stray in back alleys if I foam at the mouth or try to speak only to yowl a guttural growl or whimpered whine in this dog’s life
…call me a dog when I sniff out the truth or chase my tail a futile effort finally catch it it’s me
…call me a dog & my bark is worse than my bite,
paper train me,
rub my nose in it,
put this mongrel to sleep
before I wake up,
gnash my bloody teeth,
go for the throat…
I chase rabbits in my dreams,
Awake, I imagine I am Human:
a dangerous supposition.
The clampdown then, it’s come.
Because I too have seen the best minds of my generation
destroyed by madness and driven over the edge
by disgust and despair,
a born-to-die mentality
barreling shitfaced & 90
down that razor blade centerline
& the insatiable machine’s gnashing
maw eating our raw souls alive.
We’re not beat, Jack.
fucked up and trashed, smashed, totaled,
wasted, baked, burnt and hammered
with the approaching pall of a certain dark anarchy
menacing just beyond that last stab of light.
“The Time of the Assassins is here.”
Violence & chaos are the norm.
This is where we are at the end of it all,
those the rusting machine spit out
chewed cheated & gnarled beyond recognition.
Post-modern niggers all shades
of bruises to bare,
burdened with the knowledge of imminent collapse
& dangling like broken promises
in the jagged extremes of a cannibal culture.
Nothing to do. Nothing to be done.
I’m out here on the edge
& I think I might be going crazy,
or maybe just too high.
But with the world exploding
with such fear and loathing
what else am I supposed to do?
Living hand to mouth
one day at a time
I cruise with the current.
I kick back & float.
Wouldn’t you, man?