Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Gonzo | Poetry | Two Thumbs Up

I got to the Hunter S. Thompson party too late. By the time I discovered who he was, I was about nineteen and the narcotic-dabblers, goths and pseuds had already claimed him for their own. Hands off, Phil.

It’s a shame though, I really think I would have got on with him. In fact there were times when I thought it was going to work out. His writing on the Hell’s Angels is some of the finest journalism I have ever read. His political savvy and unfaltering outsider-ness were (and are) astounding. The 2008 documentary of his life paints one of the finest portraits of a writer I could imagine.

It is too late though. Sorry Hunter… I’ve had too many of the most heinous human beings on the planet tell me that “ya know, I’m only doing this while I’m putting my book together, I’m working on some kinda Hunter S. Thompson shit, ya know?” Sadly, yes I do know.

(ed. I am not saying that all Thompsonites are horrible people… I know at least three Hunter fans who are out and out thoroughly good sorts.)

The main thing that stayed with me when finding out about HST however, is the bizarre arrangements he made for his own funeral. The affair was apparently bankrolled by one Johnny Depp and involved some very particular preparations, but the salient facts are that his ashes were shot out of a cannon and there was a giant two-thumbed fist erected in honour of the event. I don’t know which hymns he chose.

So, with all this thinking about a suicidal, drug-abusing genius (the main demographic we seem to write about on this site) and his intricate funeral plans, I got to thinking about what sort of public send off I’d have if I was being bankrolled by a quirky A-List actor. Uplifting stuff, right?

Go on then, have a poem. You’ve earned it.

Last Orders

Let my grave be three-feet square and twelve deep
and rest my cadaver on its head so that in the months
following my fleeting my brain can finally absorb
everything I was at my end.

Let those I have offended worst in life be first
to toss gloating soil at my upturned feet
and let my past pupils pour gallons of red ink
over the hands that marked their juvenilia.

Advertise my send-off as a facebook event
and send malicious messages
laced with expletives
to those aloof hundreds who RSVP as ‘Maybe’.

Sit my ex-girlfriends together in a row
and let them all (even that one!) get on famously
before eventually arguing over which of them
is being snidely swiped at in this poem.

Set up a ‘lost-property’ stall by my tombstone
filled with the myriad items I’ve borrowed,
let Lewis take back his snooker cue and give
Emily the magazines I’ve no right to cling to

Hold the service on a 213 bus
for this has been my place of prayer
and silent introspection for over half
my sleepless life.

Arrange for no music, but provide a stereo
and invite my hipster friends to make mix-CD’s
watch them fight over which obscure B-Side
will best provide the funeral frisson.

Finally, mould my grip around my wife,
twist my hard arms around her waist
and let the suitors queue up to try
prising her from my cold, dead hands.

Phil Brown
Poetry Editor

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