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Jim Carroll: the American Arthur Rimbaud

Leonardo DiCaprio played punk rock poet in 1995 film The Basketball Diaries

  • Love Story
  • The penalty for desertion
  • is death by a firing squad.
  • I’m saving you this trouble
  • enclosed is a pistol.
  • loaded with only one bullet.
  • squeeze the trigger once.
  • perhaps nothing will happen.
  • but squeeze a second time...
  • a third time...
  • You see
  • I know the games you love.
  • Little Ode on St. Anne’s Day
  • You’re growing up
  • and rain sort of remains
  • on the branches of a tree
  • that will someday rule the earth.
  • and that’s good
  • that there’s rain
  • it clears the month
  • of your sorry rainbow expressions.
  • and clears the streets
  • of the silent armies...
  • so we can dance.
  • Praying Mantis
  • Look at it
  • It’s all blank
  • The face in the photograph
  • Too dark for features
  • But the praying mantis
  • Just so clear
  • Its forelegs fingering my hair
  • And it’s there in focus on my shoulder
  • It teaches me my true name
  • It gives me this message:
  • Do not strike the low chord,
  • Lest its vibration awaken the halls of Maya.
  • It instructs me on the ways when need be to hide
  • It awakens the serpent inside to throb, to burn
  • It pulls the arrow from my ear
  • And it whispers, whispers, whispers a last word
  • What seems the last vapors of a long dream
  • Like Baraka wrote, like James Brown sings
  • Whispers, “please, please, please.”
Jim Carroll

Jim Carroll (1949-2009) was an American poet and punk rock musician. He is perhaps best known for his 1978 autobiographical account of high school drug culture, The Basketball Diaries, which inspired a 1995 film of the same name, starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Carroll. Because Carroll demonstrated impressive writing skills as a high school student, he was often compared to another teen progeny, French poet Arthur Rimbaud. Carroll wrote several volumes of poetry, including Living at the Movies (1973), The Book of Nods (1968), and Fear of Dreaming (1993), and recorded seven albums with The Jim Carroll Band.

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  • Love Story
  • The penalty for desertion
  • is death by a firing squad.
  • I’m saving you this trouble
  • enclosed is a pistol.
  • loaded with only one bullet.
  • squeeze the trigger once.
  • perhaps nothing will happen.
  • but squeeze a second time...
  • a third time...
  • You see
  • I know the games you love.
  • Little Ode on St. Anne’s Day
  • You’re growing up
  • and rain sort of remains
  • on the branches of a tree
  • that will someday rule the earth.
  • and that’s good
  • that there’s rain
  • it clears the month
  • of your sorry rainbow expressions.
  • and clears the streets
  • of the silent armies...
  • so we can dance.
  • Praying Mantis
  • Look at it
  • It’s all blank
  • The face in the photograph
  • Too dark for features
  • But the praying mantis
  • Just so clear
  • Its forelegs fingering my hair
  • And it’s there in focus on my shoulder
  • It teaches me my true name
  • It gives me this message:
  • Do not strike the low chord,
  • Lest its vibration awaken the halls of Maya.
  • It instructs me on the ways when need be to hide
  • It awakens the serpent inside to throb, to burn
  • It pulls the arrow from my ear
  • And it whispers, whispers, whispers a last word
  • What seems the last vapors of a long dream
  • Like Baraka wrote, like James Brown sings
  • Whispers, “please, please, please.”
Jim Carroll

Jim Carroll (1949-2009) was an American poet and punk rock musician. He is perhaps best known for his 1978 autobiographical account of high school drug culture, The Basketball Diaries, which inspired a 1995 film of the same name, starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Carroll. Because Carroll demonstrated impressive writing skills as a high school student, he was often compared to another teen progeny, French poet Arthur Rimbaud. Carroll wrote several volumes of poetry, including Living at the Movies (1973), The Book of Nods (1968), and Fear of Dreaming (1993), and recorded seven albums with The Jim Carroll Band.

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