Disillusion (1961’s Rhythmic Paradigm)

From Allen’s 1980 Basic Poetics lecture at Naropa

AG: “My ambition was to write a sort of Promethean twentieth-century poem, using all of the ancient meters that build up to some kind of  grand chorale.  And there’s a little sample of that in Journals Early Fifties, Early Sixties, a little thing called “Rhythmic Paradigm”, which goes on for half a page with a series of meters that are more complicated than the ones in “Kaddish” or “Howl” “

from “Rhythmic Paradigm  – National Anger” (1961)

Blasted be Congress and doom on the White House and cursed are the works of our Mayors and Priests –

Shit on the face of the Governors Senators Moviestar Banks and the N.B.C.!

Hypocrite Gold freaks’ newspaper death-traps advertize Crap-suck asshole cops!

Teachers in business suits, Lawyers in many pants, Dynamite stinks in your nostril war

Shit on all your dollars! Megaton yr. boneyards! Billions for Starvation! Man wants to die!

Arabs want power! Jews want their Jahweh! Pope wants Apocalypse! God wants to be God!

Hitler never dies! Stalin’s on the ice! Franco eats our eyes! Nixon’s on the Air!

Now I drop the mental bomb that blows our heads apart from God!

Lie! steal! fly! Hide! shout! cry! Creep! dream! curse! Drop dead! Mad Earth!

The resignation and dyspepsia here, reminiscent perhaps of Walt Whitman’s curiously untypical post-Civil-War poem, “Respondez”.  The opening lines of which follow here:

Respondez! Respondez!
Let every one answer! let those who sleep be waked! let none evade!
How much longer must we go on with our affectations and sneaking?
Let me bring this to a close—I pronounce openly for a new distribution of roles;
Let that which stood in front go behind! and let that which was behind advance to the front and speak;
Let murderers, thieves, bigots, fools, unclean persons,offer new propositions!
Let the old propositions be postponed!
Let faces and theories be turn’d inside out!
Let meanings be freely criminal, as well as results!
Let there be no suggestion above the suggestion of drudgery!
Let none be pointed toward his destination! (Say! do you know your destination?)
Let trillions of men and women be mock’d with bodies and mock’d with Souls!
Let the love that waits in them, wait! Let it die, or pass still-born to other spheres!…..”

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