In truth's ragin' ocean, I'll take my chance.
Hello there. I'm Becket Knottingham, and I'm here to inform you of how a fringe feminist tried to deny me an education, in my younger and more vulnerable years. Of course in doing so she was only flattering herself, as something must exist in order for it to be denied. But all the same it was cool a crash course in the character of fringe feminists, which was actually useful for my novel.
Not only was I blessed with the opportunity to study creative writing with Joyce Carol Oates at Princeton, but I also possessed the talent, drive, ambition, and
creative genius to be kicked out of her class. My poems rhymed, and one of
them hinted at a romantic view of women, and thus everyone in the workshop
was oppressed, and made to suffer, by patriarchal methods, or something.
What you have to understand is that this brand of poetry totally pisses her off, 'cause she knows it's not about her-- she's not the type who knows how to inspire a romantic view.
As the guardian angel of all that is PC, she had to terminate my existence.
I was bringing diversity of thought to the class, but she already had enough
diversity, as all ethnicities were represented. That's what
diversity is to fringe feminists-- a bunch of liberals of different
genetic make-ups and genders, and stuff. Like usual she was packing-- packing an arsenal of pent up frustrations. But on this particular day she was looking forward to unloading a few rounds on a nineteen-year-old, living, white male. She was pretty psyched to deconstruct me. The political movement of feminism had given her a power that she would have never gotten by talent alone, or looks, and she was gonna use it.
Before class one day she called me out in the hall, out of ear-shot of everyone, just like a liberal might do, and
told me I belonged in the remedial writing class. She told me that,
"everyone has their talents." She said that I was lucky to possess a linear
mind. She knew this because of the way my head is shaped. Just kidding-- I had written down on the sheet she'd passed around the first day
that I was a physics major. And so I learned that feminsists like stereotyping. I remember wondering what her talents were, other than bureaucracy. Look, if you think I'm being unfair, go to the shelf in the library with all her books, pick one up, and see if you like it. If you like Shakespeare, or Melville, or Twain, or Salinger, or F. Scott Fitzgerald, you won't. If you don't like the Greats, then you needn't be here. Unless you've come looking to learn how to like cool books. We'll be glad to teach ya.
Anyway, she needed me to go make higher resolution
TV's and better laser printers, so she and her cultural elite friends could
grace the world with their "get even" creations.
But I didn't leave. I informed her I was taking out some serious college
loans so that I might learn to write creatively, and I just couldn't deny
myself the opportunity to study with somebody who had once been invited to Brown
University to read their poems. My perseverance paid off, for now my
book of sonnets is being taught at NC State, in an introductory literature
course, but this is no surprise to us-- after all, I studied under the
greatest. I am also distinguished by the fact that my work is funded by no government grants.
The other day I used my white-male linear mind to make a few calculations. If a thousand monkeys on a thousand type-writers typed
away for 10,000,000,000 years, they would have a finite chance of composing
Hamlet. And the remainder of it would be Joyce Carol Oates' collected works.
All the best,
-- Becket "Bluebeard" Knottingham!
There is no need for you to touch that mouse,
Just need a mind to interact with me,
Dial me up, invite me in your house,
If you feel that you need to be set free.
They put the picture books on CD ROM,
They're loading the mall onto MTV,
But airy thought's subtle, pristine kingdom,
They didn't believe in, and left to me.
Software and hardware, get an MBA,
Conform to aging, liberal cynics,
But yet the truth this force shall always say,
Poetry's the reason we do physics.
Technology can't change what words do mean,
There's yet me, the phantom in the machine.
Rise up minutemen, war is a brewing,
Come defend your freedom to bear Shakespeare,
Black crows in the Chapel, takin' to the wing,
Gothic towers shrouded in clouds of fear.
They summoned the fog that rolls 'cross this land,
The pedants now locking the college gates,
But the spirits of the greats that were banned,
Slip 'tween the bars to seal the pedants' fates.
It is too late now to change your image,
Nowhere to hide; you're marked, an empty man,
Can you recogonize this airy mirage?
It's me, the nineteen year old you once did ban.
So it is, I'm your greatest creation,
Beyond your wildest immagination.
Unite good sailors, after dusk tonight,
Towards the sea, follow the map in your soul,
There we'll conspire, out of the elite's sight,
A plan to seize back everything they stole:
Know this, that the truth means nothing to them,
They think themselves superior to it,
Common sense they have been trained to condemn,
Educated to scorn this common wit.
Their nihilism is their most precious gem,
Nothingness is where nothing does best fit,
Be careful when your back is turned towards them,
That with their jagged pen your throat they don't slit..
Looted the presses, universities,
But the helm of truth's ship, they'll never seize.
Sitting alone by the window one night,
Brown dried grass sleeping in the late summer,
Heard a symphony playing out of sight;
Neither bows nor brass, a silent drummer.
Perhaps yawning sounds of distant traffic,
Or ghosts lamenting in the heavy air;
Echoing vibrations from the tragic,
A melody of yesterday's despair.
That quiet music made it all seem true,
I drew a cool breath and felt it's all right;
Come tomorrow there are things I must do,
But I believe in silent sounds of night.
When it plays again, the night's symphony,
Perhaps she'll hear it and remember me.
The phone rang, she said, "hey, there's a blue moon,
Let's picnic in the old cemetery,
We'll start off at dusk, be there by night's noon,
It's far off, hard to find, but by the moon we'll see."
Now I'm not morbid, don't worship Satan,
Any more than Darkness's Prince might worship me,
But of graveyards at night I am a fan,
As I was of her quiet mystery.
Met her down at the old waterfall fort,
She was seventeen, I was twenty three,
TheyUd taught us to not heed laws of the court,
But a friend's all I wanted her to be.
'Cause I'd been through it all too many times,
I was still burning for yesterday's crimes.
A reflected moon danced 'cross the water,
The lake 'round the graveyard's peninsula,
She recited a poem her dad taught her,
About the perfect poet's fatal flaw:
"There was a youth who could make it all rhyme,
And everything he touched it turned to gold,
He wrote of love and death and tide and time,
But to find the yellow metal's so cold."
The poem chilled me; the flames faded to coals,
One more piece of art born of suffering,
Threw another log on to warm our souls,
But light to the night more wood would not bring.
Then I saw it! I saw it clear as day!
The thought no words, only sonnets, could say.
Hey, hey, I'm havin' fun on this voyage,
Navigating the internet's ocean,
Pirate sage of the information age,
To the truth's wind I lend my devotion.
Won't you climb aboard, and I'll take you there,
Places you never thought that words could go,
Hear the skull and bones flapping a solemn prayer,
For this steady wind that always does blow.
And this ocean, my friend, is our frontier,
There's no wake from the corporate schooners,
This ship no administrator can steer,
Join Captain Drake and his sonneteer loners.
Yeah, I'm Captain Drake, looter of good cheer,
Into the elite heart I've come to engrave fear.
I'll tell ya, that orders don't mean too much,
From those who do not feel the words they preach,
And your nihilism's not much of a crutch,
For it can only prop up empty speech.
Look close and you'll see, all the mutineers,
Among the faces you thought were your crew,
Don't be surprised Captain, when all your peers,
Abandon your ship for one that sails true.
And your rage-filled threats don't seem so bad now,
No tenure, I'm sentenced to walk the plank,
But closer to water rides your ship's bow,
For your final command, you I do thank.
Oh Captain, Captain, your ship's got a hole,
And it's too big to be filled by your soul.
Copyright Becket Knottingham, 1994-95
And here's a song that my band, Preppy Death, sings.
What did our parents do with the angels?
Smoked 'em in Hollywood, sold 'em to hell.
Now, there's not much left to sell anymore,
Made love a mall with a revolving door.
And my little sister turned seventeen,
She was gonna be a hit on the scene,
I'll always wait up until you get in,
Hey there, I've benn worried, where have ya been?
I took a needle,
Put it in my vein,
And now I don't,
Feel the pain.
There's nothing deeper,
Than nirvana songs,
Don't ya worry, brother,
The pony-tailed editor said there's no need,
'Cause consuming leaves us with no time to read,
Just grow your hair long, drown your thoughts in drink,
'Cause it's evil, whenever white males think.
Hey, slow down,
I just want to kiss,
Don't you feel,
'Cause would you listen,
If I didn't sing?
Would you hear in yourself,
Some subtle, whispering, thing?
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