‘I heaved upon that cross, my gut burnt with vinegar wine;
Cursing, I vomited upon the women who, weeping, knelt below.’
Men are but men and those who judge but men,
they harbour video film fantasies
and crave eccentric haired prestige.
They have blended expert opinions, inherited learning,
with their flaws and neuroses
casting shadows along the pathways of justice.
And see, just when I toiled within the field
like the lily, unnoticed, behind chained doors
and mute windows I was borne unwillingly
into the changing winds that breathed
new life into a dust laden culture.
Every outlet cried of the West’s probation,
cracks in walls bled a new Renaissance,
TVs blinked black and white ideals,
a grand beginning of grown awareness,
youth’s involvement in the ways of man,
while I learned from yellowed news sheets
of dreams that were woven in the outside world.
The four white angels, insect-like possessed me as
from flattened minor chords sprang up a concept
that rang across the universe.
Autonomous images were branded on my brain,
tap water wrung visions of England,
bright city lights, rain-shrouded and pale
merged with apparitions of suburban lawns.
Tobacco smoke invoked unbidden glimpses of stately homes,
girls in short dresses, sensuous and carefree
appeared in swift response to some light, unguarded phrase.
In red brick walls were hewn the faces of the day
and a view of the same sky that covered London’s streets
promised to drown me too in wild surrender.
I watched my finest hours decline,
monitored voices of The Dream through biased headphones.
Thus would I be lionized and adored, for I came
bound in chains of mystery and pain
suffering with a joy no-one dared share,
a plumed hunger perched crownlike on my skull,
this halo of bloodied thorns.
And who shall cast the first stone? See,
the ascetic exists beyond the yearning of the flesh.
All relationships lose meaning, all human folly
regarded with the eye of knowing, so too
does the schizoid man dwell beyond (though below)
all intercourse with life.
Then what remains?
Stripped of the coarse haired saintly robes,
choked by desire, he, gasping reaches out
to break the humid sky. He grasps at all,
drowning in a mire of alternate swamps
that sink the soul in false-self involvement.
Thus youth pronounced me great,
for in a world of hypocrisy and hype
I mastered means to survive.
Searching, as all fools do,
I stole from Everyman.
The media created flames that burned me and
the media would in turn
ignite my beacon to the young.
Like a cape of darkness then I gathered around me
children of rejection
for I had had much time to learn.
I had dreamed their dreams, known their fears.
Yet how hollow was this adoration from those who gaped
in adulation at my ageing, whiskered face.
Thus it all began.
The Lord of the Eternal Erection was born.
In my babbling tower I grew strong
while they, in turn diminished.
I raped psychology, returned answers that
were no more than a glib façade.
Haphazard games I played,
a faked knowing, while beneath me lay
a black abyss.
In the streets of the grateful dead I ruled
but the opposition of older men constrained me
and the lure of the Valley of Death was great.
Yet there were hours remembered,
like a cigarette shared
with a friend or lover
on a sunny day;
a clear patch on
Illustration: Claire Palmer