#1 said to #2
“you take my orders, that’s what you’ll do”
#2 said to #3
“#1 will be the death of me”
#4 said to #2
“it’s time there was a palace coup”
#3 said to #1
“i think it’s best you fetch your gun”

#4 said to #5
“good god! you’re being boiled alive!”
#3 said to #4
“forget everything you thought you just saw”
#4 said to #6
“i’m disgusted by these politics”
#3 said to #7
“let’s send #4 to heaven”

tweedle dum said to tweedle dee
“it doesn’t pay to anger me”
said tweedle dee to edgar poe
“why he hates me i do not know”
said edgar poe to charles darwin
“ignorance is the vilest sin”
said darwin back to edgar poe
“the more you eat, the less you know”

quoth berry, chuck to holly, buddy
“the good mans road is rough and muddy”
concurred holly, buddy with berry, chuck
“the good man, too, will know no luck”
asked berry, chuck, of elvis p
“why did you shoot out your tv?”
said elvis p to johnny b goode
“that act was grievously misunderstood”

#3 said on the fox news
that buddy holly stood accused
of treasonous conspiracy
with charles darwin and elvis p.
his witness were #7
and #9 and #11.
#4 said to #6
“i’m certain now the deal is fixed”

#1 summoned the duke of earl
and said “our time has come to rule the world.
call #3 and tweedle dum
and raise an army for the war to come.
here’s a death warrant for charles darwin
and that white man wearing a black man’s skin
and a wiretap for chuck berry
and plausible deniability.

the duke, he called up #3
said “here’s where we write history”
#3 called the st louis flash
said “give me a big enough lie and a handful of ash.
get #2 to light the fuse,
rattle the cage and poke the jews.
get you tickets for the holy war
and the funeral of #4.”

#2 called #1
saying “god forgive what i have done”
#1 said to #2
“i worship a different god to you”
#2 begged #3
“when i die, who will my judge be?”
#3 washed his lilywhite hands
and said “you will be judged in blood and sand”

#1 called number #6
said “it’s hard to kick against the pricks.
have #3 bury #2
do it live, right on fox news.
i’ll show you how the strong survive…
while the witless have elected #5.
when dust is settled and day is done
we all just work for #1.

This piece originally appeared on my MySpace Blog,  Full Mental Jacket, in May 2010 – where it is fair to say the response wasn’t always friendly and the range of interpretations were diverse and imaginative. if it helps, think of it as the crankier cousin to this. Whatever – this was one of the pieces I had a hard time leaving out when I brought the blog across from MySpace in February 2012 but, on reconsideration, I think it is important to show that sometimes the purpose of writing something is as important as the product of writing something.

This entry was published on 05/22/2010 at 12:03 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

22 thoughts on “#1,#2

  1. Pingback: Straightforward Poems for Straightforward People « tarnation and eudemonia

  2. changeforbetterme on said:

    Liked it! Have to be one’s toes to keep up, or I’m just tired? But either way I liked it.

    • Seb on said:

      I think they key is trying to remember where and who your were in May 2010. And where we could see the country having traveled over the last 18 months and where it was going from there.

      • changeforbetterme on said:

        ahhh okay. I will have to re-read it with that in mind. Thanks

  3. A lot going on here – I like the playful jumps of character…. Yes, I can imagine this is one that caused some debate… Which is always a good thing!

  4. Well it just shows how thick I am, because I ‘m guessing this refers to various political characters in the US, but I can’t see that it says anything so dreadful that people would have to get pissed off online about it. I think I need a ‘companion notes to Seb’ for this poem. Which I like, but don’t understand.

  5. I think what happened with this poem was it had the good luck or bad luck to come along at the point where the old categories were disappearing from MySpace so we had a drift of News and Politics into Writing and Poetry and also we had a drift away from the site of the Conservative bloggers, leaving W&P pretty much the domain of the loony. Leeza-fied left. And anyone who dared to mock the Clothesless Emperor Obama had the pain brought unto them, via flying monkeys. The line about the white man wearing the black man’s skin would have been a red rag to them (I noticed you have changed it, by the way to “THAT white man” not “A white man”). It is dense, it is unusually symbolic for you but it is also still a brave poem and, as it;s time shows, a very prescient one.

  6. Trent Lewin on said:

    I feel like my brain has just been endlessly twisted and somehow improved for all that. I am confused and alarmed by where my mind was going while reading this, so either you’re a demon or a complete genius. Words should always be used this well. And numbers too. And where did Chuck Berry come into things? And killing C.Darwin and all… And all boiling down to something pertinent about an election… Brilliant.

    • The general theme of the poem is about the devil we know and about how change is not always as good as a holiday!

      • Trent Lewin on said:

        I get that. #1 rules I guess, no matter what you do, but the mere existence of this poem says that change is necessary, doesn’t it? Although I do like holidays too.

  7. isiscambassassassassian on said:

    I recall this much as Dan did – it was different and people didn’t like different. And it did piss the libutards off as well, if I recall.

  8. chuck berry & darwin, & US politics … who does that?! this is clever as shit, Seb. I’m having fun plugging in names & imagining the scenarios.

    • Thanks for getting that. This is what I do – or at least, what I enjoy doing best – digging up the little tatters of a lost American language and trying to make them work again in a modern context. Chick Berry, Acts of The Apostles, Bill O’Reilly, A restaurant in St Louis becomes Fallujah, the war against science and the current and previous administration’s language of enlightened ignorance – they are all little scraps of words that once meant something in the wider consciousness and can mean something again with a new juxtaposition. I don;t know if you read the other linked poem, but it is mainly in the language of the four blind bluesmen – McTell, Johnson, Jefferson and Fuller – their idiom is resurrected to serve again in an age they could barely have contemplated, yet they described perfectly.

      Thanks again!

  9. ha…clever piece…said darwin back to edgar poe
    “the more you eat, the less you know”….i like…i’m getting a bit confused with the numbers but haven’t slept for 24 hours, so i should make a drawing to get things straight…but think i got the gist of it anyway…ha

  10. The teeth on this are sharp.

  11. Yaz on said:

    I had to read twice…still didn’t get most of it, but will give to my husband to try and figure out the characters…he’s better than me! Very clever, but can’t understand negative response.

  12. i love this! witty, biblical, historical, political, pop culture, all wrapped together into a puzzle with a #1 answer to all… great!

  13. David Eric Cummins on said:

    Brilliant, man. Sounds like Highway 61-era Dylan lyrics.

  14. Canadian here, but still know a bit about this and that – you are such a clever, clever man. Loved it.

  15. very cool coming to california because of a dream..enjoying my time here…three more weeks to go…smiles

  16. Thanks for the like, Seb. Ian x

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