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Cultural Hegemony : Voices in the Margins by Mark Murphy     < back  : index  :  next >   

Eye Portrait of poet Mark Murphy

photo: Graham Earnshaw

In a Rage with Allen Ginsberg

     Found once again shamelessly in bed with you, where I’m madder than you are, infinitely so, and I’ve been clear of the funny farm a full three years. I’m with you in a rage, experiencing the truth in all its mad glory, and the enemy is still nowhere to be seen. I’m with you in a rage, and I still can’t quite believe it – of all the crazy thinking, of all the screwed up goings on – all the wild eyed schemes.

     I’m with you in a rage, and my father is still lecturing me on the merits of reading poetry and committing it to memory. I’m with you in a rage while the televisions ring out in the public bars and shopping malls with the divine message: ‘the West is the best.’ I’m with you in a rage, and somewhere across the globe, incendiary bombs are being dropped on the homes of the unsuspecting poor. I’m with you in a rage where the doubts of centuries are blossoming in our hearts like some new sickness. I’m with you in a rage – two giant insomniacs, while the progress of the 21st century tramples our children underfoot. I’m with you in a rage with the poems and songs of our brothers burned into our minds, etched onto our tongues like some new language. I’m with you in a rage, and although we are not John Lennon and Yoko Ono, our message is no less momentous, no less relevant, no less heartfelt.

      Will our comrades ever forgive us for thinking poetry could make a difference? Fellow poets, the historical moment is upon us, we must rush the stage of history with our chap books and our manifestos. Forget your private hurts, I love you all in my own way. I loved the girls in the asylum too, though our kisses are gone forever. Ah, toilers of the page and soil, we will never submit to those who would enslave us. We know the greatest terror resides at home, the terror is what sedates us and what keeps us in chains. A hundred years passes, and the only difference is that exploitation isn’t meant to feel like exploitation anymore.

     O democracy with your promise that we can all share in the spoils – we reject the white picket fence and the church jamboree. O poets! O philosophers! O downtrodden masses! We are here to claim what is ours…

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