Thursday, 24 May 2012

Drug Trial by Craig Erick Chaffin


Everyone has their own peculiar price,
not quantifiable in currency.
When my hypodermic grazed your vein,
you confessed yours.
It was not exorbitant
so I withheld the serum
a moment longer before 
pushing the plunger. 


You saw rattlesnakes mate in the arroyo
tangled like hoses, braided 
like black ropes for a day, 
utterly vulnerable in the grip 
of love or instinct. 

Indians say this sight 
grants second sight.

You saw your victimhood
cupped like a cross of iron
in the hollow above your sternum,
cold, rusted from fear,
dangling from a chain 
of misinterpreted 

is a dangerous thing
and can't be granted 
by a single vision.


Spoke a prophet with his head on a platter: 

"To stand for something, 
to protest abortion or the destruction of wetlands,
to remember the Holocaust or the Alamo,
to disagree with farm subsidies
or campaign against clear-cutting
helps focus minds dulled by tolerance,
not a virtue but a courtesy--
like ignoring someone's body odor 
in an elevator-- which makes it 
perfectly moral to say,

'I understand and accept what you are doing
though I find it utterly abhorrent.'

Blessed are those who have found their cause:
gun ownership, preservation of historic buildings,
the fight against leukemia or for hemp: 
whatever we are righteously incensed about
restores our passion for goodness,
however misguided." 

Beneath the empty platter 
the world moves 
like ancient women 
gathering fuel in vacant lots.


The gut-ache of youth, 
super-caffeinated though 
socially melancholy, is beyond 
the generation previous, 
confirmed by body-piercing, 
black leather and ghostly skin
as if in preparation, not for a prom 
but for a funeral.

You must have cancer of the throat
to sing for them.
Pain sustains them.

Blessed are the pure, 
if only driven by glands.


Seeking the river's calm
you stretched before the television, 
dreaming of a Winnebago 
and Palm Springs,
when suddenly you heard: 

My sheep hear my voice and my voice is on TV.

Was the sound inside or outside your head?

No televangelist with cockatoo hair
came to explain, so you wept like a sinner,
fearing you were the Christ,
everyone was their own Christ,
and this was too much for you
so I injected the antidote 
out of pity for all the lies 
you need to make life tolerable.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Things To Do On Speed by Ted Berrigan

mind clicks into gear 
& fingers clatter over the keyboard 
as intricate insights stream 
out of your head; 
this goes on for ten hours: 
then, take a break: clean 
all desk drawers, arrange all 
pens & pencils in precise parallel patterns; 
stack all books with exactitude in one pile 
to coincide perfectly with the right angle 
of the desk's corner. 
Whistle thru ten more hours of arcane insights: 
drink a quart of ice-cold pepsi: 
clean the ice-box: 
pass out for ten solid hours 
interesting dreams. 


Finish papers, wax floors, lose weight, write songs, sing songs, have 
conference, sculpt, wake up & think more clearly. Clear up asthma. 
treat your obesity, avoid mild depression, decongest, cure your 
treat your hyper-kinetic brain-damaged children. Open the Pandora's Box 
of amphetamine abuse.


Stretch the emotional sine curve; follow euphoric peaks with descents 
into troughs 
that are unbearable wells of despair & depression. Become a ravaged 
scarecrow. Cock your emaciated body in 
twisted postures 
scratch your torn & pock-marked skin, 
keep talking, endlessly.


Jump off a roof on the lower East Side 
Write a 453 page unintelligible book


Dismantle 12 radios 
string beads interminably 
empty your purse 
sit curled in a chair 
& draw intricate designs 
in the corner of an envelope


"I felt it rush almost instantly into 
my head like a short circuit. My body 
began to pulsate, & grew tiny antennae 
all quivering in anticipation. I began 
to receive telepathic communication from 
the people around me. I felt elated."


get pissed off. 
Feel your tongue begin to shred, 
lips to crack, the inside of the mouth 
become eaten out. Itch all over. See 
your fingernails flake off, hair & teeth 
fall out. 
Buy a Rolls Royce 
Become chief of the Mafia 
Consider anti-matter.


Notice that tiny bugs are crawling all over your whole body 
around, between and over your many new pimples. 
Cut away pieces of bad flesh. 
Discuss mother's promiscuity 
Sense the presence of danger at the movies 
get tough 
turn queer


In the Winter, switch to heroin, so you won't catch pneumonia. 
In the Spring, go back to speed.