A Punk’s Essay


Fifth Estate # 288, December 1977

Dear Fifth Estate People,

I read your paper and like some of it. It is a little boring most of the time but except for that it is exciting.

Still you are the only ones who care. No one else minds kissing the ass of whoever happens to own them momentarily.

I never wrote much before, being a garbageman and part-time used Groucho Marx pubic hair salesman, but I hope you are unimpressed enough with everything else (or enough of everything else) to print this.

If you don’t print this, please mail it to someone, but don’t throw it away. That would only make my work harder. I am a garbageman, as I said, and did I tell you, I can also get you a deal on some leftover molars from the Lynyrd Skynyrd Band!

I love rock and roll, and dope and anarchy, and whatever will get me laid it I say it in the right (or in your case) left ear.

for the explosion of punk

Detroit, Ohio

A Punk’s Essay

The Principal of my school looked like somebody cut off his ass with dull razor-blades and nailed it to his face. He was like a father to me. He sat me on his lap and said that with a little application I could find a place in society.

College was little improvement. My soul was industrialized. The men around me seemed as little more than pogo sticks with aftershave lotion on. The women, an antidote of love, always asking what I was going to be when I graduated.

“A criminal,” I would say, “they always get their name in the papers!”

I never got my degree. Too many fights with professors who, of course, knew nothing of drugs or of mutilating the psyche of Western man. The professors were just like all the bosses I knew: walk around and seem important, speak as if oil runs through their veins, act like cheap wine with an impressive label.

I had several girlfriends in college but couldn’t maintain long-term relationships. Every one of them would ask, “What are you going to be when you graduate?” I would show them the door, but no more.

“An Obituary,” I would say, “they always get their name in the papers.”

After quitting school I had many jobs, none that would last long. It took 2 million years to evolve into myself—let the damn industry do the same, I ain’t no baby-sitter. My boss said that you have to work, that it was because Eve and Adam bit the apple, that a snake made them do it. What the hell kind of God, no matter how old and feeble, would let a snake fuck-up everything he worked for?

Every time I got fired or quit I felt funny coming in for my last check. The boss looked sorrowful, even the secretary made faces like an egg with PBB in it. My boss would say (it seemed, after every job I lost), “Now where are you going to go?”

“To get stuck in my car on a train track, that always gets in the papers.”

By now I have come to several inescapable conclusions. The records all say “Which one of us are you going to buy now”—by “Dollar Bill and the Diplomas.” Jesus freaks walk around with holes in their hands and say “Jesus spent a lot of time with lepers and the sick, and with prostitutes,” and now I know where epidemics came from.

To save my soul I see all these hippies walking around, and because of their new jeans and records thinking that they will change the world. All the young kids in school laugh and splash water on them as they drive through puddles in new cars. The hippies write all the new magazines and make the records. They are the bearers of fashion, the Zsa Zsa Gabors of 1990 with an unimpressive list of former marriages.

I don’t care what they say, Marlon Brando is not dead. Go ahead, anybody, dig up his grave and I bet he won’t be there.

But Elvis is dead. Go ahead, anyone, look at his old movies and you will see his corpse. How dare they rudely interrupt a natural biological process. But talking to dead people is all right. I find them infinitely more stimulating than the fashion-conscious.

That is why some punks dress-up like dead people—to show our disdain for a civilization that makes living a joke and a stale one. It is far better to bugger a corpse, I dare say, than to bore the living.

A philosophical inquiry: Anyone who uses the word “existentialism” should have sewer water puked on them. This code was invented to make us feel like we are nothing. It is the product of grave-robbers of a pseudo-mystical school who distort the concept of void. Freud chickened out. He knew how to free the world but not how to catch a fish. Consequently, the whole history of lewd bedfellows—the university establishment and the medical business—presupposes the stillbirth of revelatory experiences. How can we expect a person who is trained in the torture of rats and frogs to liberate humanity?

Everyone knows that the only heroes in America are the outlaws and Indians. Any kid on my block who played the good guy at recess got beat up. Billy the Kid, Pretty Boy Floyd, Bonnie and Clyde, the Devil, Crazy Horse, Lee Harvey Oswald—these are the people we should be erecting statues to.

Equally important to influence the youth of our nation are the monsters in horror movies. When a kid can snuggle up and watch some magnificent creature completely demolish one of our proud cities, you know he won’t jump up and get popcorn. Secretly they would like to be those monsters, but they are educated into lying to themselves. The only reason presents are given on Christmas is to make us forget the splendors of Halloween. Let us elevate Halloween and make it a permanent daily festival. Let the spirits rise from the grave! Let the mind tremble with delicious hunger to fly through the night in a perfect feast on the cowering myth of innocence… [end]

Kids Will Be Kids

DALLAS—(ZNS)—A 15-year-old Texas boy, wearing a wig and women’s clothing, successfully freed his 13-year-old younger brother from a Dallas County Juvenile Detention home by pretending he was his mother.

The home’s chief probation officer, Don Smith, said that no one in the place suspected that they were being taken in by the scheme. According to Smith, the 15-year-old simply telephoned last month, imitated his mother’s voice and said “she” would be stopping by in several weeks to take legal custody of the younger boy.

The unidentified youth then sashayed into the detention facility, decked out in a blond wig and his mother’s clothing, signed the necessary papers and took off with his brother.

LONDON—(ZNS)—Three teenage students in England were charged with trying to poison a school principal who had disciplined them. The incident came to light after the three allegedly stole silver nitrate from a school laboratory and poured it into the cream cup on their school principal’s tea tray.

The three young women had been punished for walking to school by a “forbidden route” and for arriving late. One of them said of the principal, “I hated him. He is mean and horrible. I did not care what happened.”

A court later found two of the three guilty of stealing chemicals, but dropped the attempted poisoning charges. The two 15-year-olds were placed on two years’ probation.