Friday, December 05, 2008

All Poets Are Thieves!!!

Today we wonder whether the financal chaos will consume us financially, emotionally, psychologically. Artistically? No, we don't think much of that dire descent into aesthetic despair or even madness. But many writers have indeed. Today is the anniversary of American poet Vachel Lindsay's death at the age of 52. He drank Lysol to kill himself, not the most aesthetically or palate-pleasing beverage with which to pull the plug. In any case, Lindsay, a basement-bargain Walt Whitman, a middling, perhaps even mediocre poet, died when his personal indigence was not equivalent to the nation's. When those around you are boisterous successes, it is surely demeaning to be the economically failed and frustrated pen-man. Now we face a capitalist fiasco where everyone, including the artists, will take a real hit. Will artists and/or citizens decide to drink Lysol? I hope not. If they cannot, as radio commentator Tavis Smiley encourages, "keep the faith," then perhaps they will experiment with red wine and sleeping pills, a finer means to construct a death. In celebration of Lindsay I will encourage Tempest readers to read his work. You might like it. Since I haven't a clue whether the poems from Lindsay's THE CONGO AND OTHER POEMS are still under copyright or if I am permitted to quote an entire poem in this space, I will simply recommend that you take a gander. But if one is to drink while reading, try wine, whiskey, fabric softener, Lestoil, or--dare I say?--water. Lysol should only be consumed within several feet from a toilet or a defecating child. J/C