---- this poem needs some explaining... I have been feeling lately like I have been making too light of violence by writing a few of my characters. That some of my readers were not following my intent, which was just to be light and absurd in kind of a three stooges on PCP kind of way; the politics under these images are serious.... I made up enemies to people my universe, used the partisan politics of my time.... I use the words republicans and neo-cons and such just as an 'other...' An abstraction. I almost never write about actually killing any person who is alive, because that would defeat my purpose; writing about shooting Tom Cruise in the head, rather obviously, is a metaphor that explains how poorly I view Scamatomologists. Writers have to make certain assumptions about how their work will be evaluated; if I was totally even more obvious than I am, it turns off the intellectual cogs. My favorite readers are
Anyways, in light of all the real violence in this world, I find myself writing a couple violent poems, and trying to get back into the mindset to write some Johnny Pain poetry, and comedy in general. We all need laughter. Still.... I am not the same person who wrote prose even a couple years ago. Everything is kind of a phase, in a way. An exploration of whichever avenue of prose trips my trigger at any given moment.
I was using way over the top violence, as a way of distancing myself from real violence. I didn't realize, I guess, the various ways that people use the prose they come accross in the world.
It is easy to forget why cults and dum ideas flourish in every society. Easy to sit here in my quiet neighborhood and write about violence like it is no different than an anidote about driving to work. Perhaps if I was closer to real violence, I would lose the ability to use laughter to deal with the madness I witness with each and every damn paper delivered? Not that I laugh about violence. I don't sit around making fun of someone who was murdered. I joke about killing people, when I truly mean to kill an idea. To fight a vague mental war that I have been drawn into simply by trying to be a responsible human being. I grew up seeing the neo con agenda as a war against unions, radicals, anyone who seemed to be doing anything anti-establishment. They were spurning blacks, making enemies of immigrants, holding off giving the country a nationalized health care plan despite the mountain of evidence that it would work and benefit everyone, except a few private industries that will have to shift, as businesses have since the beginning of time, into a line of work more in line with the modern world.
I was surprised when people said my work was terrifying. My stuff has less violence than most movies and cartoons. Still, it has violence. I have been flat out rejected socially by people who read my blogs and decided to hate me. I understand some people can not take a joke, and that is what it was... I mean, I would be in jail, I think, if I had been ever actually saying that people should be violent in protests, or their real life... I have always said shit like if you can't protest peacefully enough that the cops are on your side, you are too radical. Maybe I am naive... well, I am naive, I suppose. I just know the boundaries of my own behavior. I would never hurt anyone else over an idea. People are not the sum of their jobs, clothes, incomes, etc... I think of myself as criticising an ideal, rather than an individual.
I wanted to see Bush removed from office, but I would never have told anyone that I was in favor of a presidential coup. I believe that would be worse than what we already have. We know that our present form of government offers us some hope and freedom. We do not know as much about what would follow, if we allowed a crowd of new people with guns to have their shot at the carrying the flag for awhile.
I have never talked with anyone who even brought up an armed revolt in the united states, except in the most joking of ways possible. For someone like me to be taken as a terrorist, you have to really wonder why people can no longer recognize fiction from fact. I'll tell you why that is happening now more than ever -- the media lies to us all the time, about product after product that does not live up to the promises of the flashy folk... we grow up seeing politicians lying, our bosses lying... we realize sooner or later that everyone is lying all the time to each other, countries to countries, countries to people, lovers to spouse... We finally decide to start taking certain things of faith, because we really have no other sane alternative.
When I first realized that my stories about raising a hamster army concerned the intelligence agencies and was inspiring radicals and others, I was more or less amazed. Now, I am gunshy almost. I tore out my predator teeth and threw them at the camera. Can I pick them up again, knowing they have blood on them, and use them like plastic vampire teeth as I go on playing the joker? People watch the news and see soldiers dying, then turn on first person shooter games and run their body counts up into the millions...
I suppose in another mood I will find that I might as well laugh rather than cry, and make a violent joke here and there. Tonight, sitting here trying to decide which way to take my new prose efforts, I find Johnny Pain too expressive. Too easy a glimpse into my mangled psych.
Oh, well... this is a poem that really is not much of a poem at all, really.... more a prose effort to figure out why I write in the different characters that I do, and what they mean to me at different points in my life.
I may not have had much hope in politics, but I have always assumed, sort of, that they were at least not all actively against the common man, and did some obviously did good -- life is pretty cool sometimes in america, there is no doubt about that. There is peace throughout the land. They allowed a poor boy like me to go to college, to pursue my literary dreams almost where ever they want to wander. Blah, blah, blah.... so, I think we could do a lot better.... Hardly makes me alone.
Weird, as I write all of this, it becomes a part of the Waking Up Jesus story... I think about Him inspiring violence, not me.... I am in the character in that story of course, but he is just a side of me that fits onto a page. Our stories bleed together obviously. When I write about finding myself in the middle of a movement that I did not know existed, when I mention violence in the context of my words, I am always referring to matters that I do not know how to interpret.
There is the narrative that says a poet in chicago started writing about a revolution, and it inspired a lot of people in different places to believe, in a kind of war of the worlds kind of way, that the united states was having a revolution. This one says that we took over, then quite possibly lost in the end... in this story, the communists, the mafia, the workingclasses, blacks and leftists radicals and malcontents everywhere, rose up and declared that Bush had to go. In their flush of excitement. After this I do not know? The problem with this scenario is that I was a mere cog in the wheel of whatever happened. I have no idea why I was chosen? The theories I was told had to do with aleins and being christ. Hardly the kind of rational explaination one is going to take on faith... though when this was happeneing, the drugs they gave me made anything seem possible. Ugh.... I am not
I am a sniper
taking out targets one at a time
shifting my scope until a cross on your forehead says fire
from a man filled with potions
that send out hoardes intent on the kill
spells of a few sentences
muttered in a poem
and sent out electronically
to the four corners of the earth
metaphors of a struggle more mundane than the poetry can hold
become intellectual bombs set off in the minds
drugging words that create ephiphanies
stir enough passion to brand the words unforgettable
My mock violence tries to come to grips with the real stuff
commenting with enough laughter
to make the horror/the horror attractive enough
to create disgust
a need for justice
stronger than any of your fears
a sloughing off of everything you know
for something new
a conversion to your own private planet
where you play the little king
my serial killer character is a mind game that I play with my shadow side
bringing out my inner beast enough to know its darkest reactions
to explore this creature that I find myself inside of
that I am told is too many different
things to believe everybody
I have no reason to kill and never want anyone to kill anyone over anything
they will and I cannot stop the violence so I am left commenting from afar
trying to relate to the problem
to keep it in my mind
long enough to make it alive as a story
I have felt the blood thirst
No human alive has not felt the desire to kill for a fleeting, insane second
the desire and the act are a world apart
real serial killers would none of my qualms
they would have a need as strong as sex and hunger to kill
everything is a porno novel in their minds
I have A fascination
for high drama lives
the farthest reaches
of human oddness
on the page
not in real life
I am ressurecting Johnny Pain
after a few years writing about my new Jesus mostly
trying to make this prose voyage
of mine filled with various characters
the Jungian archetypes that ramble around in the dark pits of our mind
come out to play on the page
the poems of death and mayhem
play on movie screens in my mind
flashes of explosions
staccato screams s of machine guns
cries of the dead
violence was around long before the comic prose of Johnny Pain
he is a creation of and in the media
birthed by the violence itself
the pure child of the horror --
free of all reservations about who he hurts
his idealogical utterances the mere excuses of a convicted criminal
a terrorist blowing up our mental suburbs
dragging the civilians into the fray
where the left and right play out their war games
Check out all of my blogs by googling my name, John Scott Ridgway