Archive for ‘Magnanimous Misanthropy’

March 16, 2021

Pilgrimage


Snow falls outside the hotel window,
floating carelessly through the air…
and I don’t care.
The town spreads out below me:
A sprawling red brick dream,
with white capped peaks beyond.
But I don’t respond.

Crushing boredom, grueling emptiness,
purifying alienation:
This is exactly what I came here for.
There is nothing more.

The snow brings silence with it,
sinking into the frozen darkness of a Sunday night.
On these tired, sour, leaden streets,
the bitter desolation is too much to take
for very long.  I return to my station:
stretched out on a bed,
gazing at a distant mountain range
or staring at a faucet in a trance.
It’s not refreshing, it doesn’t seem strange
and seductive, as it appeared in advance.

Far from the City of Refuge,
with no practical scheme,
constantly ruing the latest version
of what might have been; emptying myself
into the emptiness, negotiating the rush,
as a pick-up truck plows through the slush;
and I resign myself to another night, another day,
serving out a sentence.
I told myself I’d stay.

Outsiders here are quickly identified:
they’re clean-shaven.
I observe the bartender’s warmth
with other customers.
Surrounded by laughter,
I watch the bubbles in my beer,
shooting from the bottom of the glass
to a rapidly nearing surface, evenly spaced,
like asteroids in a primitive video game,
and leave unthanked.

On the street a creature is drawn to me:
a vicious black dog, grudgingly restrained
by an unapologetic owner.
These excursions strike me now,
as they always strike me at this point,
as being selfish and pointless.
What am I doing here?
When will I learn?
Despite all the goodwill I brought with me,
the place gave me nothing in return.

March 3, 2021

World on a String


Beneath the unforgiving staleness
of the lucky old sun,
on the sunny side
of the empty street,
what’s left of the past dries up
in the heat.
Not far from the wedding chapels
and the sea of fun,
the action drains
into a slum.

It is quieter here,
the people are thinner,
the world’s un-stringed,
and everyone’s a sore winner.
That’s life, frankly sinful: entertaining
the possibility that life might be more
than a series of missed opportunities.

Riding a lukewarm streak
into a lonely road and a memory.
Sensing the disinterest, feeling
my insignificance, made keenly aware,
in a world of burgers and fear,
of my newly minted irrelevance.

Out here, you are nothing
and the past is paste,
as the world’s indifference shifts
into fragmented waste.
From sedentary restlessness
to flaneurial nausea, pursued by
but eluding grace.

Days of futile transit
redefine my sense of wonder.
Manifesting without the emptiness
within, between lesser known ruins,
in a promised wasteland
of lost opportunities.
When I catch myself unawares,
in the November of my years,
I’m hardly even there,
and I have never been so tired
of talking to myself.

March 27, 2020

Down From The Mountain

The trail you blazed was a well-worn path.
Narcissistic heroics,
with one eye on posterity.
Until the time rolled around to reverse
into the antithesis of what you once
so convincingly pretended to be: stripped
of the trappings of excess, climbing
the twelve steps on the ladder to success.
Sober up, straighten out, settle down
and become what you always wanted to be –
a clean-living family man.
That was the plan,
and it worked out perfectly.

An artist over-appreciated in his lifetime,
who threw himself a lifeline
of excess. Sheer force of vanity
kept you going; self-immolation
in the interest of self-preservation.
A smart career move:
You got it all out of your system, knowing
you weren’t in it for the long haul,
and found that underneath it all,
you were just a regular creative joe,
who used to claim that he couldn’t say no.

While others took a stand, you showed your hand,
reaping the rewards of self-destruction
as reconstruction, making mountains
out of your stumbling blocks.
A prince of redundant darkness,
chipping every nickel out of that rock.
A smug survivor, without a damaged liver,
satisfying a luxurious affliction
from a position of responsibility.
It wouldn’t be worth it
if you couldn’t do it publicly.

August 31, 2019

Seeking Answers and Gaining an Understanding

THE LYDIAN PODCAST
A ‘chat’ in the desert with Lydia Lunch and Tim Dahl.
It may be worth mentioning that this conversation took place over breakfast…
http://lydianspin.libsyn.com/episode-7

August 20, 2019

Last Ride

You lose your face, your health, your mind,
and what do you find?
Wisdom…
that it is too late to use.

You don’t have time anymore,
time has you. It speeds up
as you slow down,
and all the wasted years come rushing back
as you run out of fuel on a one way track.

The last ride is an express train,
not bound for glory,
no more stations,
end of story.

February 12, 2019

Beauty and Happiness

Beauty depresses me,
knowing that it’s temporary.
Positivity requires too much energy.
And even if I were happy,
I wouldn’t admit it,
for that would be an insult
to those who are not,
and those who pretend to be.

January 13, 2019

Moments of Rare Delight

Delivering a profound spiritual message for humanity at…

Echoplex, 1154 Glendale Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026
Saturday Jan 19th  8pm
w/ Flesh Eaters & Mud Honey

Furstworld, 8528 Desert Shadows Rd, Joshua Tree, CA 92252
Friday Jan 25th  7.30pm

Space Cowboy Books, 61871 29 Palms Hwy, Joshua Tree, CA 92252
Saturday Jan 26th 3-4.30pm
w/ Gabriel Hart


Chevalier’s Books
, 126 N.Larchmont, Los Angeles CA 90004
Sunday Feb 3rd   5pm
w/ Janet Fitch

 

December 9, 2018

An Act of Great Treachery and Narcissism

Where egotism and self-loathing meet, where urgency merges with futility. Let me grace you with my absence…

November 6, 2018

Roasting Sparks

I will be throwing barbs at the Mael boys at this fun-filled event.

 

April 9, 2018

Soar Into a Rosy Zone of Contemplation

Now unavailable on Instaflam:
https://www.instagram.com/johntottenham/

… Put it out there and watch nothing happen.