Jim Carroll – “8 Fragments for Kurt Cobain”

September 16, 2008 at 1:56 pm (Jim Carroll, Poetry & Literature)



Genius is not a generous thing

In return it charges more interest than any amount of royalties can cover

And it resents fame

With bitter vengeance


Pills and powdres only placate it awhile

Then it puts you in a place where the planet’s poles reverse

Where the currents of electricity shift


Your Body becomes a magnet and pulls to it despair and rotten teeth,

Cheese whiz and guns


Whose triggers are shaped tenderly into a false lust

In timeless illusion



The guitar claws kept tightening, I guess on your heart stem.

The loops of feedback and distortion, threaded right thru

Lucifer’s wisdom teeth, and never stopped their reverbrating

In your mind


And from the stage

All the faces out front seemed so hungry

With an unbearably wholesome misunderstanding


From where they sat, you seemed so far up there

High and live and diving


And instead you were swamp crawling

Down, deeper

Until you tasted the Earth’s own blood

And chatted with the Buzzing-eyed insects that heroin breeds



You should have talked more with the monkey

He’s always willing to negotiate

I’m still paying him off…

The greater the money and fame

The slower the Pendulum of fortune swings


Your will could have sped it up…

But you left that in a plane

Because it wouldn’t pass customs and immigration



Here’s synchronicity for you:


Your music’s tape was inside my walkman

When my best friend from summer camp

Called with the news about you


I listened them…

It was all there!

Your music kept cutting deeper and deeper valleys of sound

Less and less light

Until you hit solid rock


The drill bit broke

and the valley became

A thin crevice, impassible in time,

As time itself stopped.


And the walls became cages of brilliant notes

Pressing in…


That’s how diamonds are made

And that’s WHERE it sometimes all collapses

Down in on you



Then I translated your muttered lyrics

And the phrases were curious:

Like “incognito libido”

And “Chalk Skin Bending”


The words kept getting smaller and smaller


Separated from their music

Each letter spilled out into a cartridge

Which fit only in the barrel of a gun



And you shoved the barrel in as far as possible

Because that’s where the pain came from

That’s where the demons were digging


The world outside was blank

Its every cause was just a continuation

Of another unsolved effect



But Kurt…

Didn’t the thought that you would never write another song

Another feverish line or riff

Make you think twice?

That’s what I don’t understand

Because it’s kept me alive, above any wounds



If only you hadn’t swallowed yourself into a coma in Roma…

You could have gone to Florence

And looked into the eyes of Bellinni or Rafael’s Portraits


Perhaps inside them

You could have found a threshold back to beauty’s arms

Where it all began…


No matter that you felt betrayed by her


That is always the cost

As Frank said,

Of a young artist’s remorseless passion


Which starts out as a kiss

And follows like a curse.

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Leonard Cohen – “Millenium”

September 16, 2008 at 1:46 pm (Leonard Cohen, Poetry & Literature)

From Flowers for Hitler

This could be my little
book about love
if I wrote it–
but my good demon said:
‘Lay off documents!’
Everybody was watching me
burn my books–
I swung my liberty torch
happy as a gestapo brute;
the only thing I wanted to save
was a scar
a burn or two–
but my good demon said:
‘Lay off documents!
The fire’s not important!’
The pile was safely blazing
I went home to take a bath
I phoned my grandmother
She is suffering from arthritis
‘Keep well,’ I said, ‘don’t mind the pain’
‘You neither,’ she said
Hours later I wondered
did she mean
don’t mind my pain
or don’t mind her pain?
Whereupon my good demon said:
‘Is that all you can do?’
Well was it?
Was it all I could do?
There was the old lady
eating alone, thinking about
Prince Albert, Flanders Field,
Kishenev, her fingers too sore
for TV knobs;
but how could I get there ?
The books were gone
my address lists–
My good demon said again:
‘Lay off documents!
You know how to get there!’
And suddenly I did!
I remembered it from memory!
I found her
pouring over the royal family tree,
I almost said,
‘you’ve got it upside down–‘
‘Take a look,’ she said,
‘it only goes to George V.’
‘That’s far enough
you sweet old blood!’
‘You’re right!’ she sang
and burned the
London Illustrated Souvenir
I did not understand
the day it was
till I looked outside
and saw a fire in every
window on the street
and crowds of humans
crazy to talk
and cats and dogs and birds
smiling at each other!

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