combat primer

they called Celine a Nazi
they called Pound a fascist
they called Hamsun a Nazi
they put Dostoevsky in front of a firing
squad
and you know they shot Lorca
gave Hemingway shock treatments
and you know he shot himself
and they ran Villon out of town (Paris)
and Mayakovsky
disillusioned with the regime
and after a lover’s quarrel
well
he shot himself.
Chatterton took rat poison
and it worked.
and some say Malcom Lowry died
swallowing his own vomit
while drunk.
Crane went the way of the boat
propellor or the sharks.

Harry Crosby’s sun was black.
Berryman preferred the bridge.
Plath didn’t light the oven.

Pascal cut his wrists in the
bathtub (it’s best that way:
in warm water).
Thomas and Behan drank themselves
to death.
there are many others
and you want to be a
writer?
it’s that kind of war,
you know:
creation kills;
many go mad,
some lose the way and
can’t do it
anymore.
a few go into old age.
a few make money.
some starve (like Vallejo).
it’s that kind of war:
casualties everywhere.

all right, go ahead
but when they sandbag you
from the blind side
don’t come to me with your
troubles.

I typed this tonight
on this kitchen table
while listening to
Music for the Royal Fireworks
by Handel.

now I’m going to smoke a cigarette
in the bathtub
and then I’m going to
sleep.