Tuesday, December 10, 2013

feature poem from defunct blog



Soul to sing of all the Suicide-Ins
of the 1960s and how righteous
to invade the avarice palaces
at Evil Inc or government offices
and from our ponchos raise in unison
rainbow-antic canteens and gulp enough
morphiates for a fatal dose, then call
the media knowing that despite the crowd
ambulances and police arriving
to stomach-pump and IV most of us
back to life, inevitably, in the rushed
roulette of it there'd be casualties,
a few of us would always die each time,
peace we'd cry and keel over wondering,
hoping our perish action gained the eye
of a public busy with headline TV
and cause commuters to sip their coffee
slower, or a mom making breakfast grin,
the kids to hit each other ouch that hurts.


Someone emailed me recently about this poem, asking if it was based on real events or if I made it up.  The latter, actually.  The 1960s had Love-Ins and Sit-Ins and Be-Ins and Fillintheblank-Ins, which functioned variously as serious protests (much like the recent "Occupy" demonstrations) or as festival-like occasions, or sometimes both,

but not, as far as I know, Suicide-Ins.

While working on the poem I struggled with the end, wondering if I should present an imaginary contemporary version of a Suicide-In, but finally decided to have it occurring historically in the 1960s (which is why it's "mom" in line 18 rather than the gender-neutral "spouse" it would be if I were depicting a similar scene from today) . . .


Here's my addendum-attempt at trying to "update" it— you can see how something of this wouldn't have worked:

contrast with how
a Suicide-In would occur in terms of
today: a thousand poets each in their
lair before an iCam could skype gobble
communal lethal nepenthe in simulcast—
sprawled bards keeling over to protest
the NEA's shameful underfunding
of innovative oilspills, avantdrone missiles and
pocket-nukes, not to mention [........]

Actually now I've been thinking about this "mom" in the penultimate line, I think I will change it to "spouse," mostly because of the word "ouch" in the next line.  The rhyme-sound of spouse/ouch works better, and I prefer the gender-neutrality of it also—

and 'spouse' is used in its final version, as it appears in my "Collected Poetry" book—


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