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Thursday, December 18, 2014


from La La Land: A Novel by Damascus Dammings 

You have heard it said, “grammar is a poet’s instrument.”

I say to you, “grammar is a police baton. A poet sculpts brutality.”

Here is how the baton works, I will tell you how the baton works. 

First, learn to call the baton-crack 'music,' become adept at absorbing the sting, translate its blunt ministrations thru the medium of pulped muscles. Carry the purple echo home, without complaint. Lurch thru the hallways of yr bruises. Speak properly. 

Soon they will give you a stick.

You have said, “it is good to be open to learning, rather than dismiss it,” and I agree.

It is very good to be open to learning, and here—I bring you the fruits of great learning: a poet is a police baton. Grammar is a blunt instrument. It calls the baton-crack ‘music,’—and look! I hear the precise sharp tempo, I see the rise and fall.

You have said, “to throw away our tools and call them ‘police batons’ is foolish.”

I say to you, you do not yet have a baton. You do not yet have a stick. I wish to God all poets were cops. I wish every one had a baton and a stun gun. As it is, we are sheep led to the slaughter.

We learn to fear the shepherd’s stick, and believe that we are thereby shepherds. We learn to call the baton-crack ‘music.’ Where the music goes, we follow, or flee, according to the tempo. It leads us to fresh streams, and we say, “I thirst,” to pastures, “I hunger.” Hunger, thirst, safety, slaughter: we learn to call the baton-crack ‘music.’

Now, no shepherd lives on behalf of the sheep, but sheep, on behalf of the shepherd. Whatever is done, is done for the shepherd. Wherever there is water, it is for the shepherd’s thirst. Green pastures, for the shepherd’s safety. Ultimately, the sheep are for the shepherd’s belly.

Instead, we should see the stream and say, “the shepherd thirsts.” When we eat sweet grass, “the shepherd hungers.” When we hear the crack of the police baton, we should say, “the shepherd is a sculptor of murder.”

Learn to call the baton-crack ‘slaughter.’

Now, grammar is the instrument of our oppression. You have said, “to throw away our tools… is foolish,” and I agree. We must learn the tools that carve souls, and sculpt human lives, and demolish cut blocks of stone, and call them ‘living statues.’ We must learn the instruments as they are, we must become thick gongs of beatings. Grammar is a police baton: we must beat and be beaten, learn poetry with our bodies, feel music, be shaped by the blows of grammar.

When poets become students of slaughter, slaughter will become the instrument of our salvation.