As in a tasty mix of talk

Saturday, February 27, 2010


with copious bowing and scraping to Allen Ginsberg

I see the best minds of every generation metastasized by madness, running burned slashed and poisoned through doctor ghettos with desperation prayers for a cure that never comes,
angelheaded children with bald heads begging for the heavenly connection to feeling better for just one night, just one hour of release from the clinking, clanking machines of half-life, so Mommy and Daddy will stop crying and the doctors will stop telling lies
to hollow-eyed grandparents waiting in darkened rooms smoking one last cigarette before the ambulance blasts its banshee song, and delivers them to operating rooms
where every last scrap of poetic sexual bravado and emotional mercy meets the tip of a scalpel and dies,
and dreams of lingering youth float across the tops of burning roofs where even the fire escapes collapse
while bodies fry, and insurance perverts count heir money count their money count their money tapping clipboards made of human hopes and needs, skin stretched tight across their holocaust of greed,
and priests stand on corners rattling thin tin cups, taking contributions for the cause the cause the cause collecting millions, billions, trillions of dollars to save us all like Salk did for a dime, before compassion dried like tears on homeless faces invisible to the suburban mass of dittoheads turning their radios up and thumbs down.

We who walk hospital halls in paper gowns hiding insane beliefs that stepping up to the programmed punishment for our crime of cancer will redeem us, crack open the door to a heaven where we will celebrate the Gods who metastasize their arcane tests of worthiness, wearing hair shirts announcing the Avon 5K for Cancer, the Susan G. Koman Walk for a Cure, the Puscilanimous Scam of Pretending to Find a Cure, when the misery mills better suit their justified ends, and from somewhere far, far away we hear the money jingle as we lay down to submit to fate, dutifully chastened, spirits professionally broken, grinding our teeth because we think we hear the sound of champagne corks popping through the walls, of cruiseliners booming on their way to Dubai, to the Senate Supermarket, to Rodeo Drive, to the fire sale in carpeted rooms where Picassos hang and lobbyists smile at their own reflections in the bloody sheen of Mission Accomplished, inborn rights abolished, selling miniature pink and blue coffins and reusable urns that are converted to wine carafes after the ashes are scattered and the mourners gone, quoting Ginsberg’s Howl that “I'm with you in Rockland where you bang on the catatonic piano the soul is innocent and immortal it should never die ungodly in an armed madhouse.”
But it does.

I rise like an angry Phoenix from the ashes of everyone's treatment, transformed by living within futile systems, ennobled by clinging to thin shreds of beauty still visible through drugged-out, impossible days, choosing between more of the same insane choices for staying alive to feed insurance schemes, and see from this perspective how the healthy are twisted with fear, too delicate and trembling to demand a cure for a lynchpin disease that twirls the world on its scaly finger, to insist upon the defeat of a monster that may never darken their lives, even though its steamy breath permeates liquid walls between home sweet home and right next door, and I say I understand the fear the fear the fear but hear this while I can tell it: we will drift between the boundaries of heaven and hell until we use the cure that is out there in X-Files black and white, curling in hard-copy folders, waiting to be invited into the light of a brave new wave of implacable life.


Blogger Laurie said...

This is beyond brilliant.

7:30 PM

Anonymous San Diego Farmgirl said...

Awesome! It's too long for me to comment any more than that after just one reading. I need to roll it around in my Libra brain for a couple of days before I decide which parts I like best.

Until then, I think Jenny McCarthy has come to the same conclusive as you:

9:58 PM

Blogger Judy Williams said...

Ditto what Laurie said. No comment would even be worthy of words after the masterpiece you created with yours.

5:38 AM

Anonymous Grace Cale said...

Truly amazing, Pat, seriously. What wonderful creativity! I love the intelligence that shines in your work, and this piece makes several stark reflections of our society. It truly seems a masterpiece. <2

6:29 AM

Anonymous San Diego Farmgirl said...

Okay, had time to 'sleep on it'. :o)

So hard to pick favorite parts! Excellent choice, picking Ginsberg to frame the anger and harsh reality of your subject matter, our society's choice of material gain over love and beauty. I think he would have liked this tribute very much!

First: hollow-eyed grandparents waiting in darkened rooms smoking one last cigarette before the ambulance blasts its banshee song
So visually dead on. What a great description of an ambulance siren.

insurance perverts count heir money count their money count their money
How did you make the heir/their connection? Typo accident or brilliant flash of genius?

suburban mass of dittoheads turning their radios up and thumbs down.
Love this, given all our talks about giving money to homeless people

lobbyists smile at their own reflections in the bloody sheen of Mission Accomplished
Yes, they do. Fuckers.

I say I understand the fear the fear the fear but hear this while I can tell it:
I like what comes after, but the way you frame it is so powerful you can't help but sit up and pay attention! And I have to say, sometimes I lose your 'voice' in my head and hear Ginsberg himself performing this one! BRAVO!

PS: Please leave a long time, preferably longer than me because I'm selfish like that. :o)

7:17 AM

Blogger Yakpate said...

Farmgirl: heir/there was an error... sorry I missed that!

Thanks for your comments. I am embarrassed when people praise my skill as a poet, because it makes me feel like I'm fishing for a compliment (even though it DOES feel good to get them!). I think that, as a poet, I am half talent and half passion... maybe even slanted more toward the passionate end of that spectrum. What I love is when something I write makes people think about issues. I guess that's the goal of every writer in every genre.

8:31 AM

Anonymous オテモヤン said...


9:42 PM

Blogger stacyj said...

powerfull and intense

10:59 AM

Anonymous NikkiS said...

I am too sad too are birlliant in your writing...which makes me hear the words (and the hurt) coming right from your mouth...I actually hear your voice in my head as I am reading it...the hurt part is hard for me, cause I love you so much. The writing beautiful and powerful. I think this is one for the Yak Pate book of poetry for sure :):):)

5:57 PM

Blogger altadenahiker said...

This leaves me gasping. Painfully, beautifully written.

7:49 AM

Anonymous Mechelle said...

Pat, It was amazing. Your writing always astounds me. I like Nikki hear your voice in your writing. It is like being near you. I don't know what else to say.

11:51 AM

Blogger Pasadena Adjacent said...

This poem made me cry. I wish I knew you. I would ask you questions I didn't ask my best friend.

9:11 AM

Blogger Mister Earl said...


12:24 PM

Blogger Gladgrower said...

It especially is time to send prayers, love, and beams to our beloved friend and sister.
May all our journeys be blessed, and full of friends like our gal....and may we somehow mingle together along the way again. <3

1:31 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Today, in sadness and gladness,
we honor our Sister and Auntie Pat, whom we cannot thank enough for her
constant inspiration, and love and care for the family. She left us in the
night, as we were sending her wishes for her journey ahead, ever filled
with the love of this family. Thank you, Pat - for all you are to u...s.
You have been a blessing to this family, first to all the women,
and then to the nephews born. THANKS BE. Tonight we drink champagne
in your honor, and will laugh and cry together over your life
Peace, to one who overcame trials and tribulation, found her lovely self, and taught the others some of what she learned. She gave and gave, and and was beginning to learn to receive. Adieu, Lovely Heart.

8:51 AM

Anonymous desertmary said...

Rest in Peace, Pat..

10:30 PM

Blogger Shanna said...

My eyes fill with tears, my heart pounds and I shudder and am speechless except perhaps to howl.

12:25 AM


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