H e a r t   S o n s   &   H e a r t   D a u g h t e r s   of   A l l e n   G i n s b e r g

N a p a l m   H e a l t h   S p a :   R e p o r t   2 0 1 4 :   A r c h i v e s   E d i t i o n






You Can’t Be A Jerk & Write Great Poetry


you can't be a jerk & write great poetry

no you can't be an asshole & plumb the depths of the spirit

you can be clever, you can be accurate as to form

but it's simply yr jumbo ego on the line, that's right


yr vision will ever be clouded uh huh

& yr ideas will always need sharpening

like a kid at the pencil sharpener

whose point keeps breaking over & over

as the kid grinds away & the pencil

just keeps getting shorter & shorter...


so wake up, you turkey romantics

& stop treating everyone like shit

yeah, you can't be a jerk & write great poems, lissen to me now

you can't treat other people like shit & not pay for it in yr art,       it's true


I mean, what do you think, the world's at yr service,

existing solely in yr brain,

waiting adoringly for you to etch a line or two in some porcelain

while meanwhile yr friends & lovers run away at yr hideous approach?


wise up, senor y senora saps!

before I start spilling the delicious venom


I relish the thought of yr beatific (ha) eyes

searching the corners of yr mess, searching

for a thought, any thought, something

to fill the hole of yr deserted imagination


Help! I'm being held prisoner by everything I say!

Breath itself enough to die from!

I was born an only alphabet!


It was all a pipe dream where you smoke the pipe itself & not the

tobacco, or, as some smart Belgian once said, having smoked his

pipe, & painted a picture of it from memory, this is not a pipe.

Only he wrote it in French so no one would ever know.


there's something to be said for it

but you don't know what it is

there's something that's the point of it

but yv got it all wrong

yr standing on the verge of it

but yv forgot which direction yr going

you don't even trip over yr own feet anymore

yr so busy bouncing on yr head

the director shouts, "Rolling!"

& you tumble right in front of the camera


understand, yr impulse was right

it was just too fast


you can't be a jerk & write great poetry





[Originally published in NHS 2010, http://www.poetspath.com/napalm/nhs10/index.html.]