Creative Intermission 2!

From the very beginning, the beats were drawn to jazz like moths to a lamp–it defined the 40’s

Allen Ginsberg (source: photobucket)

Allen Ginsberg
(source: photobucket)

hipster from which they evolved. While the jazz musician’s lifestyle and jazz itself were directly appropriated and abused in many ways, shapes, and forms; there is also something that was purely artistically inspired by jazz: free-verse. Influenced by the unbridled flow of the music, free-verse implemented the idea of jazz on a literary level. Filled with vivid and spontaneous imagery, instantaneous emotion, and a disregard for conventional poetic structure, free-verse was a profound development in poetry to which the beats contributed. Irwin Allen Ginsberg is considered to be a founding-father of the technique, and his epic poem “Howl” to be the quintessential free-verse work. Ginsberg is well known for bringing free-verse onto the scene; partly because he published work employing the technique at a time when it was pretty against the grain. The mainstream literary community was renewing an interest in structure and objectivity, due to the rise of a formalist wave of literary theory known as “New Criticism”.

"Howl" cover (Source: ginsbergblog.blogspot)

“Howl” cover
(Source: ginsbergblog.blogspot)

Free-verse effectively flipped-off these formalists in a big way; continuing in the beat tradition of opposing structure at any and every opportunity. Like 50’s jazz, which rejected regular meter and beat, free verse also managed to somehow apply improvisation to writing.

What follows is my own bizarre take on free-verse, tuning into the half-anguished, half-mocking tone which so often seeps through the words of Ginsberg, Kerouac, and countless others.

 

 

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you’re going to wake up one morning and discover that someone’s put ricin in your toothpaste
little to no success means
even your tears are dirty
plywood thoughts
limp passion
dim hands
soulless script
the bones you are arranged upon wear angry analytics oops you’re dressed wrong
everyone around here is clad in starshine kid, listen to mazzy star and find your cute sad-schtick why are you so tuned up radio-brain
satellite eyed

don’t drop knowledge quips are better received
do drop the ball do spit your cinnamon gum down the front of your shirt and wink
same song in split-pea keys, sweet or shady maybe both
everyone around you is waiting for something to break, chose the kneecap you never cried on
its brother knows too much
landslide scarring
playground pains
quietly rendered as dim passageways that burn blooms cheek to cheek

parroting tongues, language of reciprocation in the age of consent
to fairytales feathered in the delusions of watered-down minds, window-blinded
laid to waste subliminal graveyards
a wastrel surgeon makes fluorescent incisions
shakes hands with early mirrors whose grooves weep glass
each drop a keening sonnet that ruptures unsaid

 

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