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Punk Rock Portrait

Born white, pissed, privileged, one more well-versed freegan raised

By parents with advanced degrees in business law,

Home economics. Class? Rage? Just some thrift store phase:

Electric-blue hair, pawnshop guitar, fists ground raw

As beef. On stage, old-school trash acts zines call scream-core

Play “Hate & War.” Bands on tour spray-paint amps, brand new

Conversion vans: This Machine Kills Dead Metaphors

Read: rehearsed encores, feedback, power chords, tattoo

Sleeves straight-edge SHARPs in Docs still rock, sick of it all…

Pits full of screen-print faux-hawks, guest list fans, meth, sex,

Scenes meant to shred rules, bootleg labels stripped as malls,

Merch tables sold-out before Vets Hall shows, sound checks.

Part lifestyle, third-wave rude boy mixed with twists of ska,

Part snapshot pose tongue-stud punks perform, drunk by noon,

Cheap cover charge paid to skank, mosh in mock-applause,

Half keep time, make rent, do, stay, en masse, just out of step, tune.

Another Confessional Poem Disguised as a List of Bands

       Whose Albums I Bought Over the Past Couple Weeks

The Queers. The Violent Femmes. Chuck Berry.

Sex Pistols. Swingin’ Utters. Queen.

The Talking Heads. Aretha. Jerry

Lee. Creedence. Al “the Reverend” Green.

Nirvana. Bad Religion. Jello

Biafra. Rancid. Tribe. Costello.

The Band. Ramones & Social D.

The Pixies. Public Enemy.

The “Artist” Prince. The “Idol” Billy.

The Souls. The Furs. The Promise Ring.

Fugazi. Bowie. B.B. King.

Joe Cocker. Robert Johnson. Willie.

The Beatles. Elvis. Johnny Cash.

The Kinks. Marvin Gaye. The Clash.


Otis Redding (1941-1967)

No holy rolling souls have ever heard an angel sing

Anything near as righteous as Mr. Otis Redding.

So, hell-bent saints can keep their goddamn choirs…

We’ll float grace notes across burnt docks, rock on our lake of fire.

How Much is This Poem Going to Cost Me?

Not one fucking cent—in fact,

It’s so short, I could have written it

In chalk, snow, my own blood, in wet cement.

Underage Snuff

Our current last-ditch local response to this rash-like spike

In meth labs, grade school vandals, plus, sad final straw,

Straight-A pep squad girls (barely out of training bras)

Engaged in sex acts with ex-convicts they first met online,

Remains to shut down strip clubs, raid head shops, pass laws

That require photo ID to buy spray-paint, diet pills,

Till porn, hard alcohol, like cheap stuffed animals

Bored children pay to save with plastic joysticks, claws,

Will collect dust near condoms locked behind glass walls.

Thus, baby formula stocked next to boxed pouches of chaw.