This is the poem that Frank wrote for a class of medical students at University of California, Berkeley:
NO CAN NOTS by Frank Moore Sunday, April 28, 2002
Talking to future healers & teachers & maybe future muckrakers & troublemakers Well, Not really future Because hopefully You are doing IT RIGHT NOW! Hopefully I’m not talking to the future guards Of the corporate normalcy Armed with can nots, Limiting futures from birth, Enforcing coloring only within the lines, Enforcing doing everything THE RIGHT WAY THE NORMAL WAY
This poem was published in the book Skin Passion, a book of poems and paintings by Frank Moore.
Connie completed the fading into death this afternoon. She has always lived in her young mind, always was a black sheep, raising black sheep, always wanted to know, always hungry for education, NO MATTER WHAT! WHATEVER IT TOOK! Deaf to CAN’T, to dumb rules!
No time for social frills, no time for BS, no time for limits. Just time for deadpan joy of just everyday, for no-nonsense love, for pushing and demanding for possibilities. She bit, or pretended not to hear, just going for what’s right like a tank… running you over.
You were a fool if you believed her mcgoo act! Hero? Yes! Always growing beyond working in a doctor’s office, after getting a college education, after the leaving of Jim, threatened by his black sleep wife, after pushing me onto THE REAL WORLD, after raising Jerry and me, after getting out of Utah as a free thinker!
Just taking Tums and aspirins, Connie at 79 lived a very rich life… always young in life… now always will be young!
Jerry and I are so lucky to be in the black sheep family of CONNIE!
the open mike is the most democratic channel… well maybe except for hyde park sproul soapbox freedom. anyone can sign up to step up to bat, step up to the mike and into the sacred belljar where art poetry is free to expose truth, free to use whatever it takes, whatever style it takes to expose truth… that is, until your given time runs out and hooks you around the neck and yanks you from the belljar stage. but in the belljar channel you are in danger testing, crying, being so sucking bad that both you and they curse your birth, sharing found ideas, listening to the silence and the polite clapping greeting your bombs or to your ravings of rage that hit too close to home, messing up the nice polite parlor.
entering the open mike belljar is a leap into uncontrolled possibilities, uncomfortable quest through good bad boring embarrassing and sometimes magical.
nobody owns the belljar, except when you are in the channel, in the pipe behind the mike, holding the modern talking stick until it is time to pass it on to the next. but the talking stick is everyone’s, for anyone with something to express. if one is banned, censored, from holding the talking stick just to punish, just to protect a neat fragile nice order, we all are banished from the sacred talking stick which becomes just a cock that we rub.
i get worried if my words and images fit through veins clogged with fatty taboos of polite appropriate of comfortability.
i get worried…is the art that small that it fits through that pinhole of a hole…so small that nudes on the walls, words on telephone poles, any shift in the social power structure threatens the very reality fabric.
i’m too proud to admit the art poetry is that small. so my art becomes a roto-rooting balloon covered in razors tipped in draino acid, pushing pressuring uncomfortable unsocial grinding against the grain until the killer fatty clots of taboos burst out the other end and go down the drain like trouble.
i don’t really go after the hitlers, the mccarthys, the helms, or their brown shirts.
they are just limp-dicked power-junkies with swiss-cheese egos, each hole filled with inferiority. they are just moons with no power light of themselves, just reflecting fear.
no, i go after the nice people who never asked where the trains were going, boxcars filled with people. didn’t have to. only suspected, only heard rumors…after all, the general is a friend. never said, excuse me, i am a jew too, a jap too, a gay too, i’ve negro blood running in my body, aids too. i’m a commie who took home movies of our nude kids. so better put me on that train too. better put us all on that train. there ain’t no train big enough!
i go after the nice people who keep going to work after seeing their friends missing, after hearing rumors of blacklist and blackball. must write something about that subject to THE TIMES. he used to be such a pleasant fellow…but now he is a whining paranoid…not a sort to have to tea. he is like a wet messy fart. not in my backyard!
yes, i go after nice people. but my time in the belljar is about over. so i’ll leave you with this. what is happening in your backyard is what really matters. so be sure to weed!
the cave is our world, his and mine. together around the fire in the warm cave. it has always been this way. mother and grandmother…mothers and grandmothers have always been in the cave above the tribe, have always been talking to the world spirits for the tribe, have always been taking the tribe out of the world of survival, cold wet fear…into our body cave of warm laughing joy, taking them into us deep for awhile.
and there has always been one of his kind in the cave. mother said that before i was born, the one who she lived in the cave with died. his death cursed the tribal field, cursed the tribal planting. the tribe again survived only by the hunt and the gathering. the spirit of the field would only come back when mother could mate in the tribal field with a healer after hair grew on his body. until that time, during times of moon blood, mother led the tribal women in the chant of plant magic, keeping their knowing of the secrets of growing alive during the years of waiting.
as the world spirits desired it, for many years no deformed male baby who could be a healer lived for more than for a few days within the tribe…even when mother secretly took such babies from the sacrifice rock and brought them to the cave, where she and the old healer tried to bring them fully into life.
so after the death of the healer, mother had to make the secret and dangerous journey to the sacrifice rocks of other tribes in her quest for a deformed boy baby, for a spirit that didn’t dwell in the world of survival, for a magical son who could be a healing bridge between all realities. mother had to hide behind the sacrifice rock of each tribe for many nights, waiting for a father to put a deformed boy child on the rock to die.
one day the tribe discovered that mother was not in the cave. they went into a ritual dance and a fast, piling all the food outside the cave to bring her back. they had a feast when they discovered that she had returned with a new healer. she had found a deformed boy baby. she saved him from the sacrifice rock and carried him to the cave. there she gave birth to him. everyone knows that cave magicians can give birth to even full-grown men. so no one was at all surprised to see this baby in the cave.
mother took care of him, raised him in the cave. she grew to understand his sounds, his moving body, his spirit talk. i understand him now. as he grew up, his healing magic became physical touch. he was in the future and the past and the world spirit…linked with mother’s body. now linked with my body.
when hair grew on his body, mother took him as her magical mate. then the secrets of growing, the magic of the plants, again came out of the moon cave and into the field. once again, the spirit entered the field and was attended to by the women of the tribe.
once again, before every harvest and every planting, the tribe carried mother and her magical mate to the fields. there she would take him deep inside her. they became one body together in ritual pleasure, offering the pleasure to the earth spirit as a thanksgiving. these were the only times he left the cave. these were the only times that she took him deep into her, although they were always together in the sacred play when they were in the cave, rubbing, licking, laughing, moaning, crying within the awareness of life. he and i are still in that awareness cave.
mother got big and i came out of her into the cave. if i was a male baby, mother would have gone like a spirit with the baby out of the cave to where the woman of the chief slept. she would have put the baby beside the woman and then slipped away. the boy would be born to the woman of the chief. the magic of the cave mother can only be passed on to a daughter of the cave. if i did not come from mother’s body, she would have gone on a quest for a cave daughter, leaving the healer alone in the cave. the tribeswomen would take care of him as best as they could. but if mother would die on the quest, the healer would die. then the tribe would die.
i grew up cuddled up between their bodies, playing with their bodies, smelling the herbs mother hung to dry in the cave, smelling the teas and other medicines mother made from them to give those who came to the cave to be healed. i ate the food and drank the water and the milk that the tribe brought to the mouth of the cave everyday.
i always played with mother and the healer…to me, he is laughing face because his hairy face always has tickled me…when they played together. but she put me into the child hole to play whenever she and he did rituals with a tribesperson. grandmothers from long ago dug these child holes. there is one just outside the cave for when mother danced with the chief before every hunt, before every battle, arousing his power.
i now arouse him.
there is a child hole at mother’s secret place where she goes when the tribe faces death from nature offended…the secret place where she offers herself to earth spirits as a sacrifice by working herself up by dancing and rubbing until who she is burns away. and there is a giant children hole in the middle of the moon cave where all the tribeswomen with children without body hair go during the times of blood. i watched the rituals from the child hole. when i could get out of the child hole, i could take part in the rituals…even before body hair and times of moon blood.
mother started teaching me cave mother magic and how to combine and blend it with the magic of laughing face. laughing face has always been my brother, my playmate. i grew up understanding his sounds, understanding his body, hearing his thoughts, seeing through his psychic eyes. he is my body. since i had body hair, he has been my mate.
mother started teaching me cave mother magic. cave mother magic is body magic. the body of the cave mother is the body of the earth. after i could get out of the children hole in the moon cave, mother started teaching me cave mother magic. mother said a long time ago the women of the tribe did not bleed together as one body in the full bright moon time. each woman bled alone at her own time away from the tribal fire, bled alone in dangerous cold darkness. one day, the moon, full and bright, told cave mother that the women will only have their time of blood in the nights and days of bright moon. the moon told cave mother that on the night before the full bright moon, all the women with all the children before body hair should leave the tribal fire, carrying a flaming branch, and dwell together in the special cave until the last moon blood fell. the times of moon blood are the most magical.
during times of moon blood, the elder men with the chief stay with the healer in the healing cave, taking care of him until the cave mother returns. they feed him, give him drink, bathe him. but they themselves fast and chant and rock and gently touch him. they can not understand him, can not see through his eyes. but as they sit around him, his spirit fills them and they are filled with visions.
mother began my magical training by taking me with her when she left the moon cave during the waiting day and the day of restoring. on these journeys she would collect herbs, special stones, healing mud, and all the other magical objects that she would prepare and use with the healer in their cave, our cave. she told me the story and the power behind each object. she told me the secret magical stories hidden within the stories that the women shared within the moon cave, rubbing one another, rocking together, enjoying their single body.
after the times of blood, when we returned to the healing cave, mother started letting me help her prepare the healing objects. mother said the objects by themselves do not have healing powers. but the body magic calls forth the healing effect of the object just as mother and the healer call forth the healing magic within each other. after someone left the cave after a ritual, mother started explaining to me what had happened. most of this explaining was not done in words, but by mother and laughing face playing with me, turning my body and spirit on.
laughing face would melt into the person’s body as they played, seeing what was needed. sometimes by touching deeply, he could transmute the inner sickness. other times, when he felt death was approaching, he and mother would arouse the body spirit to melt with death. but most of the time, as the healer was physically melted with the person, mother saw with the healer’s eyes, felt with his body. then the healer would lay back, and mother would begin her body dance, rubbing wet warm, sucking the other into her, licking coolness, blowing life into the other, dancing hard and long deep into the woman cave. the other could be the ill person. often it was the healer. just before she left, mother started to pick me to be the other dancer. the dance would fade into sleep. then just before dawn, mother would wake the person up, give him herbs or a magical object, give him rituals, then would send him back into the tribe in survival.
i absorbed all of this. i saw boys come to the healing cave when they first had hair on their bodies. the boy with first body hair would be barred from entering the moon cave on the first time of blood after body hair first appeared. the cave mother would ritualistically force his mother to not bring him into the moon cave again because he would never be again her son. the cave mother would send him to the healing cave. there, the chief would bar him from the cave, telling him to sit on the rock outside the cave, to wait for cave mother, to wait, not moving, without food, without water, without sleep.
days later, the cave mother would return to the healing cave, without giving any notice to the sitting would-be man. she would enter the cave and would lie beside the healer. the elders would slowly dance from the cave to the sitting would-be man, lift him up, carrying him into the cave mother, lying him on her, belly on belly. then the elders would leave to dance outside of the cave.
mother would gently let the boy enter her body, guiding him to melt with her in body and spirit, pulling him into the deep trance of transforming pleasure. then, when the boy had died to his child soul, the elders of the tribe would enter the cave, lift the entranced would-be man onto their shoulders, and carry him out of the cave and on into his quest for a vision, for a new soul, and for a proof of his worthiness to be within the tribe.
when a girl first entered the moon cave on her first time of blood, the women gathered around her and rocked her gently day and night until the moon blood stopped flowing between her legs. then they washed her childhood away, washed her into womanhood, washed her first in their moon blood, then washed her in clear cold water, welcoming her into their collective body.
then the cave mother took the new woman outside of the cave, laying her down on a bed of leaves. mother would reach deep inside the new woman, gently breaking the seal of skin, if it had not been broken in child play. the mother started calling forth from inside the new woman, started calling forth wave upon wave of intense moaning burning pleasure moving within the new woman’s body, joyfully burning up the little girl’s insides, the body of the young new woman writhing, opening wide to let the whole universe in. when the little girl had been completely burnt up, the tribal women took the new woman into their circle to rock with her.
as my mother did before, i live with laughing face in our cave of love and play, far outside the reality of cold survival of the tribe. most of the time, people of the tribe come to our cave not to be healed of some sickness, nor to know the future, nor to appease the spirits, nor anything that you in your time might think would be magically important. most of the time, they come to be rocked by me and the healer, to be sung to by us, to play with us, to come into our personal love of warm playing skin. the possibility of this personal love has not truly entered their reality of survival…except in their memories of what they have experienced within our cave…slowly this pleasure playing of personal love has leaked out of the cave over the lifetimes of the many cave mothers from the time when the first young girl found the first healer and hid with him in a cave, sneaking out to steal a blazing branch from the group fire of the human pack, sneaking out at night to gather berries and fruit…sneaking out so that the pack wouldn’t kill the useless deformed boy…sneaking out until she became an earth spirit to the pack when they caught sight of flashes of her. the young cave couple lived a new kind of existence together. in the pack there has always been the physical love of a mother for her babies, and children of the pack always have played together. but when the children entered the adult pack reality of cold survival which was dominated by fear, by individual isolation, and by being together solely out of physical need, this love and this child play quickly faded into the ultimate black beyond the light of the night fire of the pack.
but in the first cave couple, the personal love that was the mother-child physical love within the pack transmuted into the personal love between people that hadn’t been linked by the birthcord. this new kind of love was what melted the bodies of the first cave couple together. their playing together as children in adult bodies called forth this new kind of love. slowly their play revealed totally new physical pleasures which humans had never experienced before. in the pack, there was an ever-present lurking of a violent urge erupting in some male, grabbing a female from behind just to let her go a minute later after the pressure of the urge had been relieved, the woman going off to soothe her wounds.
but within their cave playing, the first cave mother and the first healer began discovering the many paths of pleasure within their body of two…long giggling tickling belly warm chest moaning exploding white light turning colors sleeping warm skin. on these paths of pleasure, the moon came to them and taught them magic. the moon told many strange things…that men were not just protectors and providers…that men have a direct and active role in the creation of life…that everyone in the pack is physically connected to one another as a body. becoming aware of these things would transform the pack into a tribe, calling forth tribal love, extending into the land and animals. this awareness would come slowly as the tribespeople visited the cave, visited the personal love of the cave mother and the healer, experience within their own bodies the new physical pleasure. they would take tiny bits of the expanding cave reality back to their relationships within the tribe. the moon said every pack had a cave couple developing, hidden, playing.
i am seeing into your time through laughing face’s eyes. i’m seeing past the marble temples where cave mothers became sex goddesses…past the men of power dividing the cave mother from the wounded healer, chaining her to promote isolation by turning her into just a safety valve for the release of guilt of power and the frustration of unattainable desire.
but laughing face and i are still in our hidden cave waiting for you to come and play with us.
1. What were the THREE MOST IMPORTANT things you did to get a break and start moving toward recognition as a performance artist?
2. While you were moving toward getting to where you needed to go, how did you make enough money to survive while not taking away TOO much time and energy from your creative work?
3. How do you spend your days now, mostly? e.g., approximately what percentage of each day is spent writing, marketing yourself, planning shows, arranging tours, scoping out and applying for grants, bringing in outside income, acting as a mentor to other artists, etc.?
4. What do you love MOST about doing what you do now?
5. What do you HATE most about doing what you do now?
I can only answer art is not a career not a money maker but a money taker an addiction, a life long master who does not give a flying fuck what I “THE ARTIST” loves, hates, what I want to do, where I want to go
the artist’s job is to surrender, to follow, to melt into art
making money is easy
but the river of art rarely flows
naturally that way
without damming the river up
so keep your day job get a day job you like doing because art is your mistress of night & you ain’t her pimp she’ll take your money & time she will take you into the basement of the unseen
you’ll get old with her attending her needs rocking on the porch with her no goals, no plans, no marketing, no rush.
Just rocking, just surprises everyday,
just people dropping by,
just floating without knowing,
just doing, just suffering, just enjoying.
Evolution searches out potential Within every life form, Within every experiment, Flowing through change, Flowing through adaptations Into new possibilities.
This tide wave Moves everything, Shapes everything, Leaving everything Which doesn’t find The ever changing Potential within its soul Behind… Just didn’t live out Within the dynamic dance Of existence. Failures are the golden steps Of expanding creation.
But we civilized humans Have been denied For most of the blink Of our history Most of our potential. The tide wave Has been dammed up, Evolution has been funneled Down into a narrow, High pressure laser Focused for profit and power Of the hidden few.
Most of our potential Is locked in, Locked away, Locked out, Locked up. Locked away in closets, Locked up in factories Of meaningless work, Locked away in warehouses Of waiting to die… Death waits A dull lifetime to come. Locked outside the margins, Locked outside on the homeless streets, Locked inside the suburbs of isolation, Locked within the walled communities Of comforting unreasoning fear, Locked up within well-paid sitcoms, Locked out toiling in the fields, Not allowed to eat the food, Dying in the false famine, Dying from thirst In the African dust Manufactured from bottled demand, Dying from sickness Preventable, Curable, Locked away within The dark other, Locked in the kitchen Cooking artificial food Of bland pretending Routine not fulfilling Any need or love, Locked down in chains On the sofa, On the shrink’s couch absorbing unattainable desires, Locked in gridlock, Not coming, Not going, Just sitting within Unmoving isolation, Listening to the latest muzak Of loveless loneliness, All shining and cold, Locked away In the passionless bedroom With the glass ceiling, Tied down in the bed of hopelessness, Tied down, Locked up in the nursing home, Lifetimes of wisdom Dismissed and forgotten, Locked up in padded cells, Dangerous healing imagination Being burned up by electric shock, Burning up the trash that could Save us all. Locked up on Death Row, Within the isolation cells Lies change. It will not die, Even under tortures Of ten thousand years. Just lock it up! Dam it up With the oily gum Of dogma! Manufacture fear and mistrust Of the other of difference. Pour the many flavors Of this poison Of bigotry From childhood In mother milk, In God’s image, On the blackboard Of coloring within the lines… Lock what’s acceptable, Normal, Within the lines… Then send these good citizens Off on crusades of killing Of the different other, Of killing off diversity Which is the curse Of profitability. The brew of bigotry Blinds the eyes to red is the color Of all human blood, Blinds us to We all are locked in Locked up, Locked away On the plantations Of slavery, In the sweatshops Of suppression, In the factory farm fields Of exploitation, In the occupied territories Of closing walls, Of refugee camps Of wandering Jews, Of death camps, Warehouses of all kinds Filled with waiting-to-die Living hopes, dreams, Loves, imaginations, Cultures of the human spirit Which do not fit into power, Wealth, and the controlled reality.
Yep, we all are in there, Including most of you Who believe you are The masters and the guards In your dank cubbyholes Of fears and addictions.
And within our cells We have been digging Throughout the ages Underground passages Linking passions together. When we reach to touch one another, The bars melt like butter. We sing together In words that the masters Can’t understand. We create together, Dream, imagine together. We hope and make love Together behind the dam In evolution.
The silly mentally retarded girl Giggles as she runs to hug An absolute stranger. This is hope Of evolution. The police hose fires High-pressure profits Blasting of shortages Through the dam’s hole… Business as usual. But it looks like evolution Is about to burst through the dam. Will it destroy all of us? Who knows! We always have lived With Dooms Day Judgment Day Around the corner. Sometimes it came, Sometimes it didn’t.
But I’m betting That our underground potential Will be released in the coming flood And will expand.
But then This is written by A guy Who was supposed to have died LONG AGO In one of those death cells!
you foolish idiot!
You want to make
You want to cure
and all other impractical
How to condemn the human species
Look… the game of evolution is change by experimentation.
We freaks are the experimenters
the name of the game
is flexibly adapting
risking into the unknown newness
of uncontrolled future
we misfits have always been the adapters,
I’m not wasting my time
talking to you about magic and such
just about evolution
if you don’t need us crips,
if you don’t need us no more…
our advice is
don’t breathe deep
in your air-tight coffin
and move very slowly
in your thin-skinned world
of ever increasing fragility
loud doctor judge voices kept pronouncing no intelligence, no future, no spark, just a black hole drain… put him forgotten memories institution.
family screaming voices over thanksgiving and christmas table accused the mother’s sins taken out on the son… the son there listening crying for 13 years.
kids were pulled away… maybe it’s contagious. kids were slapped away for looking at the slobbering doll.
adults, keeping the doll for awhile to give the poor woman a break saying over coffee, why does she keep him, no future, can never do anything… sure, he understands… but more the pity… understanding doom… look at him listening to us in the chair… 4 years old and doomed to can not.
abandoned at 5… hospital, their excuse, a baby brother being born, then me with chickenpox… but i knew it was because i shit too much, pissed too much… so i held it in until i couldn’t anymore… and then sat in it because i needed too many baths. sat in it until after college… it was the least a burden such as i could do!
they were going to leave me again….. the floppy ugly thick-lipped, buck-tooth dumbo-ear no-future me… for 2 years… i’d be 10 before i’d see them again… if then… but my hives put an end to that!
frames steel and leather pinched, rub blisters, rub raw red sores from hips to ankles, framing imprisoning chaining this gross abnormal beast down into the sacred appearance of normalcy, that abstract state. if the beast crossed his legs, the illusion would crack… so wedge a lead bar between these frustrated legs for 26 years… never mind it pinches his balls. he will just watch tv all his life.
me lying on a hard table, listening to the professionals discussing my doomed fate. me only in underpants. they want always to cut open my body and brain. i knew kids who were twisted zombies after doctors cut them open. doctors want to give me drugs to stop my slobbering and to tranquilize my body into the american dream… or in the ballpark. they settled on daily physical torture.
dad missed my ninth birthday party for a bender…. babbling drunkenly later about how he loved me. teachers bribing one another about who would get the freak. one quit. but the professionals decided the schools weren’t equipped to handle such a creature. sentenced to isolation with mother in the towers… with daily outings to physical tortures. bent fingers, arms, legs so far into unnatural positions that it took three of them to do it, so far i screamed in pain, screaming i want to be normal. i lied, i never wanted that! one time i stuck my hand up into their cunts. they rubbed ice all over my body, then brushed me hard with a house paint brush. i awoke when i was 13 after an operation to pull my balls down, i awoke to hear one nurse saying to another, “why did they bother, no woman would make love with him.” mom once told me, “any girl who would want you must be crazy.” in the towers, i lost my hearing. the teenage “babysitter” blindfolded 14-year old me so i couldn’t see her and two girlfriends dance sexually with one another.
dad was pissed. he couldn’t hit a crip. so every night at the dinertable he would scream at my brother, humiliated my brother, backhand slapped my brother, whipped my brother with a belt…. and then exited to the local bar. i always cried. my high school teacher made me eat clorets because my breathe and body odor stank bad. college wouldn’t take me because my slobbering would offend and distract other students. airlines used this logic to not let me on their planes.
rubbing myself into climax in college, nothing came out like before. orgasms weren’t messy like before… before that bladder operation. curious, i went to the college nurse, who checked with the doctor who didn’t see any reason to tell a 27-year old virgin ugly rag doll about the side-effect of the operation of no-mess orgasm… after all, rag dolls don’t have sex or kids… we don’t want to have more rag dolls! my would-be mother-in-law told my would-be wife “marry somebody else… and adopt frank!” she said a lot more choice things… but time and space are limited. but she did bribe every justice of the peace for miles around to not marry us.
if you don’t shut-up, you spoiled brat… living with old drunk male nurse who kept rag dolls in their place by punching them out. lived with him for 6-months… until he pulled a loaded gun on me. then i screamed him to sleep. a knife at the crashpad… if i didn’t stop laughing at him… i wasn’t laughing. a paper dixie cup at the headshop… if i didn’t start talking, he’d push it down my throat. never mind the hitman. never mind linda’s mafia papa. and i’m sure i’ve forgotten a lot. my first french kiss was from a guy who then tried to rape me putting his penis in my mouth. i like french kissing.
Oh this poem is shit! I might as well Be writing an essay Like I told the cops When they ask me “Are you with THOSE poets?” Hey, Peter denied being with Jesus Three times Before the cock crowed! But they ain’t no Jesus! Just poets whining About poetry being censored, Being thrown out of the café Because they wouldn’t follow THE HOUSE RULES To promise the poetry Would not offend anybody, To give a warning Of possibilities of offense So that earplugs Could be inserted! Now I agreed That THE RULES Are Fascist. I told the cultural gatekeepers My opinion! I tried to be THE VOICE OF REASON, Tried to mediate. I AM A NICE GUY, After all. But the immature poets (obviously age ain’t a sign Of maturity!) Started reading poetry Right here in the café… After their permit had been REVOKED! EMBARASSING! I mean I was embarrassed! I started chatting loudly To drown out The forbidden words, To not be connected To the untouchables Actually yelling about CENSORSHIP AND FREEDOM! Thank god The powers turned up The musak! But the savages just screamed POETRY! That’s when I started Writing my poem… After all I AM A POET! But my focus Has been shaken by poets Being dragged, Very roughly, Across the floor, Right in front of my table, And being booted outside! It’s a wonder I can Write at all! They have put armed police protection Around the café As I write this. That’s better… But still the sounds Of struggle outside Invade the café Just like the sweet smoke Gets into my house From the soap factory Next door… Some fools say it is a death camp! Fools! No one would put a death camp In OUR neighborhood! OH, CHRIST! The loonies are actually Reading poetry Outside In the bitter cold, Right outside the big window Right next to my table. They are making eyes at me, Trying to make me feel guilty For being a poet Sitting warm inside, Sipping coffee, Writing poetry When poetry is Locked out! Well, it won’t work! I just moved to another table, My back towards them. Don’t they realize The real censors are rightwingers, Lady Bush, Helms, brown shirts With their blacklists? We nice reasonable people Ain’t censors! We are artists and poets, After all! We are family, After all! We ain’t the enemy, After all! And we will make you Look like feeble-minded whiners If you dare come after one of us, THE REASONABLE PEOPLE!
Damn, they are still out there! I can’t leave, Going through raw poetry Between home and me! I’M TRAPPED Listening to Phil Ochs Singing on the jukebox A SMALL CIRCLE OF FRIENDS.
Deborah Crooks reads “My Night At The Café Ruined” on Frank Moore’s Shaman’s Den, June 19, 2011.