(AFTER ALLEN GINSBERG'S
I saw the best poets of a lifetime
in one vast envelope of rejection.
There was Matthew,
spit out poems;
spit them out as if
nobody could stop him chanting;
and there was Mark,
who developed a new mode
of global punk literature
without even sharpening his pencil;
then there was Luke,
who, through reading
the entire history of poetry
in one brief evening,
inculcated a brand new
Joycean mode of thinking;
and, of course, there was John,
who, after an afternoon nap,
Into an ever-expanding literary picture.
I saw all the real poets destroyed;
saw them send verse away
just to be turned away themselves,
saw them try and try again
to prove the romance wasn't over;
saw them try, only to see
their creative synergies killed
left on dusty doormats
over and over again.
By God! they were real apostles;
more real than any poet
before or since-
they were geniuses, I tell you,
geniuses who never knew quite how
nepotistic and infantile the literati
ingenious living, breathing men,
who, with vision in their veins
and futurescapes for minds,
could only fall foul
of the pop-art editors;
the scum-n-sucre madmen
who, born out of sobriety,
to a dark and artless world;
testimony to the post-Dylan, post-wonder, post-creative
They were our futures, I tell you;
our one and only optimistic legacy;
the men who, if only discovered,
would have spun the world
into an ever-rolling renaissance;
apostles of a greater God
than ever graced existence;
apostles with guts, spunk, stamina,
grace, wisdom, even noble blood;
men born to take the earth
and meld it with the heavens
the use of words
and the use of words alone;
men who, because they were bards,
could only face destruction
at the hands of life's monsters;
those monsters, with lifeless, endlessly prosaic verses,
who had possessed and beaten
the poet's cause
into nothing but a self-possessed waste of ink and paper.
I knew them, damn it,
I knew the true followers of the written word;
knew Matthew, Mark, Luke and John;
knew the spirit beings within;
kiss, the kin, the kith
of the first resurrection of Poesy
from the base metals of the heart.
I saw them all destroyed.
I saw them all rejected.
I saw my own love for living
being crushed into an upturned box
to rot away.
I saw all of them die.
I saw all of them fade away.
I saw the best poets of a generation
driven into the sea.
Copyright JDB 1993