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a spanish civil war poster

a   g u n s l i n g i n g   m a n i f e s t o
m a s q u e r a d i n g
a s   a   p o e m

d a r r a n   a n d e r s o n

You may think I’m a poem
cause I look like one
but I’m not.
I’m as much a poem
as a dog is a bone.
I wear the appearance of poetry
like a Groucho Marx mask.
For me every day is Halloween.
Rhymes, short lines,
Iambic pentameters
are my disguise.
Some sprout mullets,
handlebar moustaches,
dress in drag
to evade photo fits
on ten most wanted lists
or the concrete boots of Mafioso
" suicided" beneath Brooklyn bridge.

I’m not a poem,
not a sonnet, an ode or an epic
I’m really
(perhaps I should whisper-
for careless talk costs lives)
… a manifesto.
I don’t blame you for falling for my camouflage
my smokescreen, my Trojan horse
which has smuggled me through customs,
like a Wizard of Oz lurking behind the curtain
and here onto this website,
where I’ll hide out
until the heat dies down,
the hounds lose track of the scent
and I can whistle Dixie,
drink moonshine
then hitch a freight train south of the border.
To me all you puny humans look the same
same dumb stares,
like a confused donkey whose just discovered fire
pupils moving languidly from right to left to right
like windscreen wipers
still wiping on a junkyard car
rusting in the rain
with a fading battery
and bullet holes in the side.

They thought they’d hunted us all down
pursued us by satellite
tarred and feathered,
pelted with rotten tomatoes
and blue-moulded cabbages
they horded us into ghettos
gloomy subterranean libraries.
Row after row
Cemeteries of those words
that dared seek the power of change
to turn through some alchemy
to leap
from word to deed.
You’d find us there confined
the magnificent Futurists,
Breton’s cluster of surrealist headcases,
sepia photographs of graffiti Paris 68,
the pylon poets,
the ghost songs of
Salvador Allende
Buenaventura Durruti
and a space set aside
for the thinkings of George Monbiot
and the musings of the street prophet Eamon Mc Cann.
But I got out
swam down sewage pipes,
vaulted over barbed wire,
danced over the mountains,
I survived.
I will survive.

Deep down
I despise most poetry.
I eat poems the way mortals eat stew
(with a big wooden spoon).
I look upon the finest love sonata of
As something stuck
to the soul of a shoe.
Love is blindness, delusion, mild insanity
that makes lesser beings
go slighty soft in the head.
Poetically romantics are almost
the lowest of the low
speedfreaks of the verse world
But there is one form
I hate more
than any other
One enemy of mine
One who shine the shoes even of the love poems
One that is terribly, horribly bourgeois in character
My disgust of which
I express on the backs of lavatory doors
To astound and delight
toilet cubicle philosophers.
Death to angst poetry!
Death to the puritans and their bone-dry words!
Open your window wide and hurl abuse at them
As they trudge down the street
a dollop of dismal dripping cloud above their skulls
avoiding cracks in the pavement
" Bastard child of a scurvy dog,
Whoreson boil of a barbermonger,
A foul and pestilent bedfellow of misery"
and if they dare talk back,
to turn a word in your mouth
clamber down the drainpipe
and tear them limb from fucking limb.

We shall unleash blitzkriegs on those
who make their fortunes
trying to convince us life ain’t worth living
call their bluff,
up against the wall muthafuckas!
where we’ll puncture them
with Trotsky’s ice pick
and laugh heartily
as they fly around the room
like amphetamine balloons.
Believe me comrades when I say
Depression is counter revolutionary!

Have they not noticed
this is a world filled with lightning and electricity,
of winter palaces and their storming,
of buckshot constellations colliding and spiraling
the still night sky
like an armada of Stuka bombers ablaze?

A world of wondrous wine and sublime song,
of awe and wonder shrouded
by mere routine,
of the extraordinary lurking beneath
the surface of the mundane,
this is a world of tempestuous incendiary poets
built through the immaculate laws of chance
and a miraculous combination of
portions of the Periodic Table
burning incandescent with mad ambition
and thoughts of literary terrorism.

Don’t tell us what we know.
Tell us what we’ve yet to experience
so that we may see the world
not through jaded cynicism but
through new eyes
with the wonderment
that the first man possessed.
We require more
And we are prepared to take hostages,
sacrifice sacred cows,
desecrate exalted idols
and defile precious temples
to clear a path.
When we see a yawn we will throw our boots at it,
when we see a critic we will reach for our revolvers,
when we see snob poets
draining the world of magic
with their insignificant idle concerns
we will knock them from their stilts.
We demand a bridge between
what is
what should be.
We demand art that
that snaps us out of the hypnosis of self,
that sings the song of incendarism,
that reignites the magic that survives
in pockets of resistance
against all odds
and wakes us up
from our narcissistic slumber.

Enough of the cult of miserabilism!
Your coffin will creak and moan
enough when you are dead.
We on the other hand
shall chase death from the door
across ploughed fields and crumbling roads
chase death through crashing waves,
over the continental shelf
and into the depths.
Death has no sovereignty over us.

Comrades, Brothers and Sisters
Believe the words of a manifesto
who would happily take human form
to watch the world go by
through two holes cut
in a newspaper
(The Manchester Guardian)
with a bowler hat,
a monocle
and a briefcase
filled to the brim
with lyrical hi-explosives.


© copyright 2004



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