[Web Archive note: This centerfold insert is a two-sided 15 x 22 inch poster, of which this page can be considered the back side. The other side of the poster is rendered at https://www.fifthestate.org/archive/69-december-26-1968-january-8-1969/poetry-2/ .]
The Consumer Society Must Die a Violent Death
from: ‘James Crawford’ for the Six Nations
to: Sir Frederick Haldimand, January 3, 1782
Father, we send you herewith many scalps
that you may see that we are not idle friends.
Father, we wish you to send these scalps over the water to the Great King
that he may regard them & be refreshed; that he may see our faithfulness in destroying his enemies & be convinced that his presents have not been made to an ungrateful people.
Father, attend to this for it is a matter of much weight
The Great King’s enemies are many
& grow fast in number.
They were formerly like young panthers
who could neither scratch nor bite
we could safely play with them
& feared nothing they could do to us;
but now their bodies are becoming big
as elk & strong as buffalo.
They have great & sharp claws now
& have driven us out of our country
for taking part in your quarrel.
We expect the Great King will give us another country
that our children may live after us & be his friends.
Say this for me to the Great King.
Father, we have only to say further
that your traders exact more for their goods—
our hunting is lessened by the war
so that we have fewer skins to offer them
which ruins us.
Think of some remedy.
We are poor
& you have plenty of everything.
We know you will send us powder
& guns & knives & hatchets
but we also want shirts & blankets.
I do not doubt that your Excellency
will think it proper to give
some further encouragement to those honest people.
The high prices they complain of
are a necessary effect of the war.
Whatever presents may be sent for them will be
distributed through my hands with prudence & fidelity.
I send herewith to your Excellency under the care of James Boyd eight pecks of scalps, cured, dried, hooped & painted with all the Indian triumphal marking
of which the following is invoice & explanation:
1. 43 scalps of Congress soldiers
killed in different skirmishes
stretched on black hoops of 4 inch diameter
the inside of the skin is painted red with a small black dot
to note these men were killed with bullets
Also 62 of farmers
killed in their homes
with red hoops the skin painted brown
and marked with a hoe
a black circle all around
their being surprised in the night
& in the center a black hatchet
significant of the weapon with which they were slain
2. 98 of farmers
killed in their homes
figure of a hoe to mark their profession
great white circle & sun
for they were surprised in daylight—
a small red foot
shows they stood on their defense
died fighting for their families.
3. 97 of farmers
killed in their fields
a large white circle
with a little round mark for the sun
black bullet marks on some
hatchets on others.
4. 102 of farmers
mixed of the several marks above
only 18 with a little yellow flame
to mark their being prisoners
who were burned alive after scalping—
their nails had been pulled out at the roots
& other torments—one of these
we supposed to be a rebel clergyman
his hand being fixed to the hoop of his scalp.
5. 88 of women
hair long & braided in the Indian fashion
to show they were mothers
ground with little tadpoles
to represent the tears of grief
a black scalping knife
or hatchet at the bottom
17 others hair very grey
plain brown colour
no mark but the short club
or cassetate to show they were
knocked down dead or had their brains beat out.
6. 103 of boys of various ages
small green hoops
whitish ground on the skin
red tears in the middle
a black bullet mark
knife, hatchet or club.
7. 211 of girls big & little
small yellow hoops
scalping knife, etc.
8 This package is a mixture of all the varieties
mentioned above to the number of 122 with a box of birchbark containing
29 little infants’ scalps various sizes
small white hoops
WE ARE ERASERS
NOT U.S. RUBBER
AND AS US
DURABLE SECOND RUBBER-MEN
WITH FIXED-SAP WE COME-IN
TO ERASE INK-BLOT/S SMEARED
WITH/IN HISTORY AS SEAL/S
TO RAISE RE-RAISE ERASE
RE-RAISE RE-ERASE AS WE ARE
RAISE/D BOUNCING OFF
SPONGE-BATS FLICK/ING AND
FLIP/PING OUR BACK-HAND/
SHOTS TRAVELLING THE SPACE
WAYS FROM PLANET TO PLANET
TRACING NEW HISTORIES TO
MEET AND FORCE YOU/R
NEXT PLAY BOUNCE/IN
ENERGY BACK TO
THIS APPARATUS WILL FIRE THE BURNING BOTTLES A HUNDRED METERS OR MORE WITH A FAIRLY HIGH DEGREE OF ACCURACY. THIS IS AN IDEAL WEAPON FOR ENCIRCLEMENTS WHEN THE ENEMY HAS MANY WOODEN OR INFLAMMABLE MATERIAL CONSTRUCTIONS; ALSO FOR FIRING AGAINST TANKS IN HILLY COUNTRY.
NEW MEXICO POEM
Diane di Prima
Even the sunsets here havent won me over
Havent convinced me
Simply, this isnt to me familiar land
Pink ears of jackrabbits high among the sagebrush
Dont tell me any different
I suppose we all learn; there is in Herodotus
the tale of Greek soldiers settling near Thebes
each given a woman, and land, one woman
so like another, one field…
But they at least moved from glitter into gold:
As we step backwards even the clay becomes coarser
my thoughts echo big against the high, flat valley
they roll back, bigger than life, to devour my dreams
II—CORN DANCE, TAOS PUEBLO
Red people in blankets wait for returning woodchucks.
(I know it, though they dont say it)
and chipmunks, and possums, and otters, gophers, white people
poison the prairie dogs, if a dog find a dead one & eat it
he dies—what kind of game
Red people in blankets stand on their high flat roofs
outlined against the sky
they chant—they sing and pray and it could be
Morocco except the houses arent white
the women sell jewelry, giggling, the little boys
catch fish with their bare hands, in the sacred river
The city I want to visit is made of porcelain
The dead are gathered there, they are at their best:
in his checked jacket & little hat, his grin
full of cocaine, spinning down the street; Frank drunk
spitting out tales of Roussel, of Mayakovsky
brief anecdotes over bacon and eggs on a roll,
his keenness against the wind; Fred in pointed shoes
drinking an egg cream, his leotard over his shoulder
in a little bag, waving amphetamine hands at the sky
The porcelain city glitters, I feel my friends
hastening to join it & to join me there:
Bob Creeley tearing through Buffalo streets seeking entry
John Wieners holding still, mumbling and waiting
tears under his eyelids; I walk in that brittle city
still sleepy and arrogant and desperatly in love…
IV—EVENING, TAOS VALLEY
How did we come here? my bones
keep asking me.
They see themselves lying bleached on the sand floor of the valley
they dont like it
dont like it at all
the moon like a bleached skull
sits behind an abandoned house
the house is melting, it is becoming
part of the field
Which ones are weeds? the garden
teeters on the edge of success
We live in a mud cave, with a stone floor
a rather luxurious cave, with running water.
V—FAREWELL, NEW MEXICO
One thing they never mention in Western movies or those
ballads they’re always writing about wide open spaces:
Sagebrush has a smell
And there are hills, distinctly flesh-colored, lying down
in front of the purple ones.
O wondrous wide open spaces!
O dust on the roads!
O Rio Grande Gorge!
Green Taos valley full of thunderstorms and mosquitoes
Mountain with two peaks, sacred to Taos indians
Great ceremonial lake, fought over in congress
O Taos Indians, with your braids wrapped in leather
may you keep your sacred lake and whatever else
you would like to keep
may you drink with brother buffalo on its edge
when no one at all remembers the US congress
As for me I have just changed from the D to the A train
in a dark tunnel you Indians wouldn’t believe
a metal tube is shrieking as it carries me to an island
with four million people on it, eating supper.
The newspaper tells me that there is a war in Newark.
My hope is small but constant: black men shall tear down
the thing they cannot name.
They will make room again for the great sea birds
will spring up thicker than even you remember
Where you are, it is two hours earlier
the breeze is cold, the sun is very hot
the horses are standing around, wishing for trees
It is possible I shall see you dance again
on your hills, in your beads, if the gods are very kind.
Caryl P. Haskins, Of Men and Societies, ch. 3
Alaric (c. 370-410), chief of the Visigoths from 395 to his death, conqueror of Rome,
(E.A.Thompson in Encyclopedia Britannica)
Alaric al a rik, Gothic king and conqueror:
(unsigned article in Encyclopedia Americana)
He is not mentioned at all in Heichelman & Yeo’s HISTORY OF THE ROMAN PEOPLE (intended & heavily promoted as a college text, Prentice Hall 1962) nor in the very good OXFORD COMPANION TO CLASSICAL LITERATURE. Starr, A HISTORY OF THE ANCIENT WORLD has (Thank God! I know the man.) the sense to mention the sack though all he says about it is that “the event shocked the empire.” Scramuzza and MacKendrick, THE ANCIENT WORLD (my favorite text, Holt 1958) give it a pretty good paragraph, indicating something of the importance of the event, both as event and as symptom, but they should have referred the student to Gibbon’s great setpiece on the sack (DECLINE & FALL’ ch. XXXI), the ultimate source of their paragraph. Rostovtzeff, ROME (reprint of vol 2 of his SOCIAL & ECONOMIC HISTORY OF THE ANCIENT WORLD’ Oxford 1930) doesn’t mention the sack at all. Rostovtzeff’s is the most widely used, at least at the better colleges, and influential textbook of Roman history.
Two reasons for the cover up: fear that it’s gonna happen “here” as it must and ’cause, since we won over the indians, it’s important to believe that winners are the good guys, so:
However rugged or self reliant the individual Iroquois or Algonquin, Australian Bushman or Zulu—however superior in many features his sensory and mental organization—his loosely knit society has been destroyed or absorbed by the closely knit units of some dominant people wherever there has been serious competition.
the accident of the gun
arrival at the tip of africa
50 yrs too soon
cause some hittite
someone in hittite territory
to make iron swords
to use the horse in
such a way
single inventions made
as it happens here or there or
rather one invention
on the coast of asia minor by semite
accident of geography
dont let em tell you
science does work is
that mess of
colonial fucking administrators
drunk failed-at-home deserter
shipwreck a parliment
also not in the library
dancing in long lines free feet beat on earth
a few more guns already the principles of fire control
a few more
guns would have done the job
The king of the Goths who no longer dissembled his appetite for plunder & revenge, appeared in arms under the walls of the capital; and the trembling senate, without any hopes of relief, prepared by a desperate resistance to delay the ruin of the country. But they were unable to guard against the secret conspiracy of their slaves and domestics, who either from birth or interest were attached to the cause of the enemy. At the hour of midnight the Salarian gate was silently opened, and the inhabitants were awakened by the tremendous sound of the Gothic trumpet. Eleven hundred and sixty-three years after the foundation of Rome, the Imperial City, which had subdued and civilised so considerable a part of mankind, was delivered to the licentious fury of the tribes of Germany and Scythia.
August 24, 410 A.D.
This is the teaching: Destroy, destroy, destroy. Destroy within yourself, destroy all around you. Make room for your soul and for other souls. Destroy, because all creation proceeds from destruction….For all building up is done with debris, and nothing in the world is new but shapes. But the shapes must be perpetually destroyed…Break every cup from which you drink.
for east harlem summer ’67
Victor Hernandez Cruz
August 5, 1967
to wreck the store you buy your wears in
to feel & see the glass bouncing off the ground
to see & feel those things
later defining points
bad & points good this
shit & that idea
the idea of familiar streets friends of yours
ripped someone out his cage someone some punks
the papers said some punks some friends of mine
with scars from 1959 with holes in the veins
from 1963 with sons & daughters with mothers
save in the projects some old men lifting their
arms for the first time in years grand pops i
say i saw grand pops you punks
trying to burn down gas stations why you
should be shame
trying to overturn innocent parked cars
why you should hide your face
smashing bottles against the precinct walls
why you would jail yourself
throwing gasoline bombs
why you should pray for now on
knocking the ground off its legs like that
breaking the A&P & taking milk & oven golden
sliced bread Hunts Tomato Sauce Coca Cola
bottles you later threw at your friendly police
you were drunk the papers said drunk teen-agers
who had no jobs winos who ran up a block one
punk had a bow&arrow two punks with rifles
sitting by garbage cans ready to be aimed & fired
at the friendly police a girl punk going in
front of the cops & yelling telling them to
kiss her ass you dumb you racist gringo you
worst then devils you think you bad with those
big guns the girl punk with a sore throat was
carried away by friends the night exploding.
the papers said you were drunk BUT WE KNOW WE WERE HIGH.
YOU TURN A CORNER AND
for roberto and adalaida fernandez retamar
Margaret Randall (from The Vessels)
i too remember the place
when the place was not a corner, not easily
or something more abstract
making it knowable, come
follow me you have seen it the eye going out
along the top of a wall
a garden you know on the other side
or not, a place to sit down in.
that is how you count backwards, put
yourself again in that place
able to take in your fingers, separate,
your parents are going to cape town
they have no reason not to
on a matter of principle
i will make sacrifice, when it isn’t,
not even that.
if born in the clean of things it’s the scum
that draws, attracts,
always come to the tongue and so you go
to bronx or the lower east side
sit on the stoop
the same hand and the hand remains
ice in your mouth, warm blood
between your legs.
it’s a good place that does not
charge too much, tells no tales
you are gone into godhead and powered grace
what is not yours
under the counter or through the mail
is felt, the pain
killed before it comes,
every pore protected.
but sudden the place becomes the corner
of itself is met
on a wild death, the terrible cries don’t stop
in your ears
in your mouth you taste the words
wanting to change them make them more plain
hide them from breath they blow
on the water all the new nets
i am gone now but that place
is cut in me
crazy the words that loose their days and nights
before me along the same wall in the garden, yes,
she who taught me this
when i knew i was going to die
i will learn to die well and when i lived
now i will know how to live,
my hands that are
A place to stand. No verb, no need for that. All these days (a season
is a year) rejected any
place to stand that wasnt flesh. My flesh. All days
I have spent to keep doors open. Know less than all
more than enough
(Hamilton a spook
down to his throw-back hair, ochre macaroon, Washington’s black son
thin pale man eating our money
West Indigo blue eye, glint blue of the gleet
of silver, greasy as a quarter——young,chemcraft kits detect:
bogus coin, of bog, the Irish
got here in good time (where’s here?),
issued in JFK & me
who will both survive (long pause, all gold)
as lyrists. Chrysea,phorminx
gold ribs of a woman’s
vault o get the sound, spray the sound on the merciless air. Low Mao
has fallen, from old forms, marx the 60 cycle hum, in the helectric
hitself, cant get it out
without you turn (the whole set off)
And turn again
faithful Castro, langobard of libertad, be gentle to makers who would suck
your sugarcane. No man in power
hungers power. No god
aspires to be god. Go to confession & confesh
I worked for liberty, let
them give it to me up the ass
what church will take a girl like me, she said
& from the gold vault of the western sky, did thunder down silver
on the ground: o lick me up, I sing in your pregnancy, I see
(it was the tape going round that spoke)
the baby in your womb all red & wet
(It was the Bank in the matrix of the Union, the inter
est on the national debt
it was that halfbreed villain Hamilton. every
turns fascist fast. Flash) Nothing degenerates like success
Good scientists bad alchimists)
it was a boy, I saw the cock
nestled in phylogeny, drearing its way down
the history books. It was Rhoda went to Israel, patriot of the rain,
shot. arabs with her tits,
hips over Jordan, wet out of Nazareth.
No man in power. The girls. get down to it. Honey
dont go in today. tell you boss go
suck Castro’s sugarcane. no man in power. no man in power.
you cant verb a thing
without a place to stand. That’s what I gave, no liberty but to do
the work you are. where you are. to verb & go on verbing. No
man in power. the big black cock. gets it up for peace). fifty
states on a dead man’s chest. Bay of Pigs
between her legs. he could not
conquer. any night. Invade. Invade. Better to be dead,
unread, than not to say truth. Truth is
what you make.
The moral. imagination of a simplistic man. is even enough.
Hamilton be damned. Money be damned. I saw the whole
creation travailing for me, me & Kennedy (martyrs!
I am with you in your tombs) a place to stand.
gold sinews of a woman’s strength
I sing on. on. on.
Bank or no bank, it would not have mattered, the people
had no choice. no interest. what mattered to em
nothing mattered. no ground,
no place to stand. You cannot rent. an opinion
you cannot repay
A fact. Usura was part & parcel of money,
still is & once you own
(use) anything, the use is interest.
Earth pays her price
for our tillage. (pay as you go & git). Experiment
becomes. fascism. There are enough interruptions
this is me, the American.
The old square harp shaped like an open door. The old song
shaped like a dollar bill & by jesus it does sing
green in the evening. I have spent my day. opening the door.
golden lyre. who can believe your honey
tongue in my head. they shot
him through the throat, did that matter,
they pinned the crime
on somebody standing by with no mouth. did that matter?
we will stand
on the corners of music . we will fight
by the rivers of freedom
we will hear the . song to the end.