You let me speak,
my words mean nothing.
Why don’t they matter?
Why do you treat them
like wooden blocks stacked
into imaginary towers?
Why do you wreck them?
My blocks should be
mine to knock down.
I can build that tower again,
shrink myself so I can
climb it, stand on top,
shout, “Listen to me!”
and wait for someone
to call back, “I am.”
After Derek Boshier’s The Identi-Kit Man (1962)
Born a man, he surrenders his flesh to the dentifrice gods, who sit at their thrones over America, turn his bones and skin into puzzle pieces covered in candy-striped paste, molding his chest to fit the bristles of their great brushes. They stretch his arm outside the box they’ve confined him to, scrub it down just to bring it back later. His detached head eyes the last piece needed to complete the puzzle in his right leg, oozing white, red, now green, it keeps spreading. The gods never give him that piece. Instead, they remake the man in the image they designed, so they can project it onto screens everywhere. So others can follow.
You go out into the world, unable to communicate or relate with others. You feel raw emotion, pockets of pain, constraints, restrictions, but words will emerge. Step on the slippery slide, get to the bottom, impact the environment. Look to eliminate the monotonous mechanism, a mechanism eliminating positive meaning. See the flow of thought and focus on the pleasure you need. This holds true for me, you, him, her. Experience fills up space in yourself. Resist the program, the process, discover things you never saw before. The key is to open your mind, ignore suggestions to violate your integrity, raise the hero in you.
Source: Joseph Sugarman, The Adweek Copywriting Handbook, 2007, pages 101-108
Red, Yellow, and Blue dance together, change partners, trick us by changing into orange and purple skins. They drink too much, tumble into each other, roll around on the ground, thrusting fists. They parade down the street with their brothers, sisters, carrying banners, spectators waving flags, cheering “‘ray for primaries,” everyone has a favorite color, but children love them all, why can’t grown-ups love them all? Red, Yellow, and Blue spend the night in separate bed, fantasies about being with the others making them restless, the next morning, they all wake up, red-eyed, tinkling spoons their only dialogue. Red. Yellow, and Blue step out of the house, into the morning rays, within minutes up to their old tricks again.
The intensity of life shatters numbs us, shapes a generation. The most restless searcher searches into himself. He realizes his purpose on earth, to penetrate the depths of man and perhaps change man. And it’s a marvel. Some of it rubs off on you, seizes mind and body — you stop thinking superficially, and it comes through. You turn away from the fiercely turbulent power, but can’t remain indifferent. There are bad forces that bring suffering, misery to the world. Be the opposite force. Discover a clear, urgent sense for being. Focus all energies. Make the most of your capacities, look more deeply into life and its possibilities.
Source: Nat Hentoff, liner notes, John Coltrane, Expression, Impulse! records, 1967
Christopher Iacono lives with his wife and son in Massachusetts. You can learn more about him at cuckoobirds.org.