This is not America. This is the Land of Borg. A place spawned by TV.
TV, the PC, smart phones, etc. Mothers giving birth to machines. Look around. I saw three of them just yesterday--one walking down the street, another sitting on a bench in a park, a third in his car at the bank drive-up window, all of them with a piece of technology growing out of an ear, clinging like a leech; perhaps receiving messages from outer space, perhaps playing music, perhaps taking pictures of the inner brain where neurological synapses are already being phased out by micro chips.
I have a walking stick made of purple-heart Amazon wood with a silver tip and an elk-antler handle. I'm going to grow my silver beard back and my hair down to my shoulders, and barefoot and dressed in burlap I'm going to strike out with my shaman stick at the Borg growing out of us.
The time is ripe for an old-fashioned prophet. He needs to appear before our direct link to God is cut off by inventions.
Think small. Think infinitesimal. Think virus. Think biological implants, deep in the labyrinth of Borg. A spray of California poppies in their hard drive. Daisies in their circuitry. Crab grass in their memory bank. Lima beans in their digital warehouse. Ants zinging crazed through the dark bloodless maze of their gigabytes.
Do not go gently into that dark night. Rage against the dying of the light.
A 45-minute nap and he comes up off the couch like Prometheus, slams down a triple-mocha, and goes on the attack.
Think singular. Sever connections. Renounce 12-step study groups. Focus.
Go for the crucifixion and resurrect in three days to spread the message. Get it right this time.
A scribe in a hut on a mountain, drinking saki and eating brown rice, taking dictation from voices floating down from the moon.
By sunrise he is asleep on his straw mat, a dreamless sleep, an emptiness waiting to be filled.
It will not go well for the Borg once his blue eyes open.
Where to go from here? Out for a beer? Back through the air vent of time? I've been reading my Survival Song trilogy that I wrote 30 years ago, three volumes in a press run of 250 copies each, mimeo. It's as on target as if I'd written it yesterday.
Recently someone in Spain emailed me a copy of a published Bukowski letter in which Bukowski paints me as one of those fuckers who live off women and walk around pretending to be poets. As opposed to Bukowski who worked factories all his life. As opposed to Bukowski who hung on to a post-office job for decades because he was terrified of losing the benefits. I'd guess that the letter was written during the time Bukowski thought I was hitting on his lady, Linda King.
I was setting pins in a bowling alley nights and picking potatoes by hand all day during the summer of my fifteenth year. I dropped out of school and worked in a factory when I was 17. I did three years in the army and after the army I worked bars in New Orleans and San Francisco, then janitorial gigs, and for the past 38 years I've cleaned windows. No safety net, no retirement. So fuck Bukowski, who wound up driving a BMW and living in a small mansion in San Pedro with a woman to look after him. By the mid-80s he was writing me that I'd fought a harder, cleaner fight than anyone he knew.
John Bennett was for many years the driving force behind Vagabond Press which operated on the run from Munich to DC to New Orleans to San Francisco and beyond. He’s published four novels, two novellas, five short story collections and numerous books of poetry, essays and shards, a poem/story hybrid of his own invention.
He keeps slamming out the words, if anything with more ferocity than ever. As Henry Miller said so eloquently around half a century ago, “You may as well have your say, they’re going to shit on you anyway.”