The Coat Puller

a column


Fifth Estate # 34, July 15-31, 1967

It looks like straight people will do just about anything in their power to keep the love organism from growing and spreading, just because they can’t “understand’ it and don’t know what’s happening in the world around them. If you haven’t noticed, straight people are always putting love people down, sending their kids to psychiatrists to get “straightened out, calling the police on their kids, beating hippies who try to start honest and loving business operations, stealing from hippies and terrorizing their homes and gathering places, hitting and kicking people who have no eyes to fight back, and things like that. I’m tired of it, for one, and I just wish these people would wake up and start seeing what their stupid lives are all about and how vile they are being in their relationships with each other and with us.

I don’t own anything, I don’t have anything to defend, I don’t have eyes to argue with anyone about anything, and I’m goddamned good and tired of being hassled by people who are only hassling themselves in the process. What young people are doing, by their daily actions, is making the world a decent place for people of all kinds to live in, and it gets pretty silly to see straight people who don’t even know who they are keep trying to mess themselves up even more. They set up rules that make no sense and waste thousands of hours and millions of dollars trying to enforce them, even when it’s plain to see that their game is stupid and senseless to the extreme.

They put their own kids in nuthouses and jails just to prove that they’re “right” about some hideous ideology some European faggots invented in the past. They will repeatedly give up the present for the past, and fight you all day if you want to live right now instead of ten or twenty or a hundred years ago -just because they don’t realize that the present is theirs too, it’s everyone’s, and you can only have it if you LIVE in it.

People have become (been made) so deadened to their own human possibilities that they think EVERYONE has to be so dead, and they do everything within their (purely secular) power to make sure that no one frees himself from their bullshit. But enough of us are slipping through their weird barriers to make the present scene really interesting and a groove to be a part of. Even though it gets hard to take at times.

For example, Gary Grimshaw, my friend and partner, was convicted in Traffic Court (of all places) two weeks ago of “displaying obscene drawing” [see article in this issue] and sentenced by Judge Andrew C. Wood (remember that name, people) to 15 days in the Detroit House of Correction, a $150 fine, and a year’s probation for writing the horribly dirty word FUCK on a kite that some greedhead patriot” American company had manufactured in the image of the sacred American flag and sold for 15 cents.

“Judge” Wood instructed Grimshaw’s “jury of his peers” that FUCK was obscene under any circumstances, contrary to all Supreme Court rulings in this country since 1927 and the Roth vs. US case involving James Joyce’s Ulyses, which they didn’t want to let into the country. Now even Ulyses has had the blood sucked out of it by the Hollywood greed-heads but FUCK, an honorable old Anglo Saxon word for the most basic form of human intercourse, is still dangerous and “obscene,” so much so that the Uncle Tom prosecutor in the Grimshaw case couldn’t even bring himself to say the word to the jury, and the judge himself could only spell it out like you do to little kids when you want them to “go potty” or however you want to get around saying “look, kid, why don’t you go take a shit.”

And to top the whole thing off, the officer in charge of the case, an Officer Keuhn or something (pronounced “Keene” as in peachy-keen) from Vernor Station, got on the stand and perjured himself (LIED) in order to get a conviction in the case.

These people are so untogether that they can’t even play their own silly games by the rules they make up for them. I guess I’m foolish ever to expect them to keep their own terms straight and be honest, though -I’ve sure had enough experience with them to know better, but I keep changing so much I guess I think they do too. Except they aren’t concerned with change one bit -actually, they wish everything would stay the same all the time so they wouldn’t have to be bothered with trying to keep up with the world and could play golf and watch TV all the time like they want to. What weird people!

Anyway, Grimshaw is finally released on appeal bond, which cost us $40 we really didn’t have, and then the next week we have to post $50 bond for Pun, who was arrested for “driving without a license ‘ (even though he wasn’t even driving when he was arrested) by a carload of narcos on Plum Street at 2:30 in the morning when he and Tom Abrams had gone to visit Dennis Smith who lives there at 923 Plum, in the same place I used to live, then Grimshaw, and now Smith. Pun had been out of the car nearly five minutes when the narks pulled up, but they had to arrest him for something ,since they couldn’t find any dope on him. His trial will be September 5 in Traffic Court too—come by and check it out. It always freaks out the funny people in the court building when a lot of hippies show up to help defend one of the tribe.

I know lots of other cases—people come to Trans-Love and tell us about their troubles because no one else seems to care about them. Ten people got charged with “possession of marijuana’ in East Lansing when cops kicked in an unlocked door and found an ounce of grass in the house, though not in the possession of any of the people there. A fifteen-year-old ‘genius’ friend of mine is in the nuthouse because he’s too together for anyone to recognize his worth—his parents and the learned psychiatrists they retain can’t deal with him and so they lock him up. A bunch of neighborhood kids broke into the Artists’ Workshop and looted all our vending machines and smashed everything up because they couldn’t understand why the door was left open 24 hours a day. I bought a copy of The Marijuana Papers (at $10.00) for my attorney to use in my case and someone stole it off my desk before I could give it to him. Another loving soul stole my saxophone, which I haven’t even paid for. And tonight, when I came down to write this column for the Fifth Estate my Smith-Corona electric typewriter, which a dear friend had donated to Trans-Love, had been stolen off the desk.

We get into business deals with “respectable American businessmen” and they burn us not only for the money but for thousands of dollars worth of labor and artwork. We work around the clock, day after day, trying to make Detroit a better place for people to live and work, giving away all our labor and time and energy, and no one cares enough to throw in a few dollars to help pay the rent on the Workshop, the telephone bill (so people can call for help when they need it), paper, etc. It gets pretty weird out here all right, and I just wonder how much longer people like ourselves are going to stand for it. Me, I need some STP, to make me “Serene, Tranquil, and Peaceful”—maybe that’ll cool me out enough so I can keep taking all this bullshit. But I guess I don’t really have any other choice—I know too much now to ever get out of it.