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Poetry of Paranoia
Written at a time of great defeat and personal tragedy, we see below
Bean Newton struggling with fundamental questions of life and religion.
Mental, at least, is accurate, for here, as Newton attempts to deal
with the loss of his prize-winning rat Stinky to a rare form of sawdust
allergy and his continual rejection by the radical literary journals
Tongue and Glib, he takes on more and more of the
common forms of the writing of the emotionally unwell. This would lead,
by 1995, to his third hospitalization and his subsequent phobia of argyle
Of special note is the use of all capital letters in the poem's later
sections, common among schizophrenics and paranoids in general. The
fact that it has also become widely used by participants in Internet
chatrooms, spammers, and low-level bloggers suggests many mental illnesses
And so Desire,
says the Roshi, is the problem.
1. All life is suffering. This means:
2. Dogs suffer. Frogs suffer. The cow that squirted the milk that made
your razzberry frozen yogurt smoothie suffers. The bacteria that turned
that milk into razzberry yogurt suffered.
3. And I don't feel so well myself.
4. Ted Nugent takes pride in ending the suffering of God's creatures with
his bow and arrow.
5. Way to go, Ted.
6. What the Roshi didn't tell us was that suffering is better than The
Alternative, for all we know.
7. And we don't know that much.
8. I mean, you might think that Bill Nye, The Science Guy, knows a lot,
but even he doesn't know about The Alternative.
9. Sartre called it The Void, and, nauseated on his precipice between
lunch, life and The Void, he became walleyed.
10. No, really, if anything will, that will do it to you.
11. So all this means that Theology, Psychology, Physiology, Endocrinology,
Epistemology, Dermatology, Deontology, Deion Sanders, Ann Landers, The
Lunar Module, KLM, KLH, Physics, Existentialism, Gay Pride, Embryology,
Market Analysis, Astrology, Asterix the Visigoth, Pogo the Possum-goth,
Episiotomy, Essentialism, Platonism, Pessimism, Regression Therapy, Konrad
Lorenz, The Tree-Like Ents, John Entwistle's Ox, Oxfam, Oxford, Boxing
Day, Bagels w/ Lox, Krispy Kreme, Phosgene, Phosphates, Trilobites, Ungulates,
Winged Mercurials, Lincolns, Teleology, Telegraphy, Telephony, Phonics,
Electronics, The Terrible Twos, Ivan the Igniosaur, Rex the Rat, Rebus
Knebus, Grendel the Unpopular, Asceticism, Pathology, The Gorton of Fishy
Stix, Hot Licks, Hot Links, Leon Spinks, Garden Gnomes, New Critical Theory,
New Historicism, New Hystericalism, Satire, Beer, Fornication, Amelioration,
Amelia Airhead, Al Franken, the Porridge Industry, and Atomic Theory are
all essentially not of what we know, but of what we don't know - or rather,
of that specific lack of knowledge of what is that precludes us knowing
much of anything about our fates, really.
12. Corn Flakes. I forgot to mention Corn Flakes.
13. Consider the Corn Flake: it do not gather, neither do it sin.
14. Which brings us, as a fatted cow, to sin.
15. And desire: at loggerheads since before there were loggers, even.
16. I desire: students, Classic Coke, Klassik Karz, Tittie Barz, Marz
Barz, Barz-All, Barz-Leaks, Twin Peaks, Twice Pipes, Motorbikes, Cheese
Cake, Acid Baths (for my Engine Blox), Clean Socks, Priestly Phlox, Ingenues,
Parvenus, Peanut-Butter Parfaits, Easy Lays, Frito Pies, Open Skies, and
the Buick, always the Buick.
17. There would be no desire without the Tee Vee.
18. T.V. creates desire thru its brain-wave equivalencies, shot through
the eyeholes and (subsequently) through the brain case by the ELECTRON
GUN at the receiving end of the cathode-ray tube.
19. The C.R.T. receives its signals from a satellite, or rather "ites,"
circling the globe in the Xenon sunset, which
20. get their signals from the myriad uplink stations scattered like spilled
rice across this great land, standing in open fields and in the desert
sand with the fabled jackalopes, hiding discretely behind privacy fences
in the suburbs among yuppied S.U.V.s and incontinent Golden Retrievers,
21. within malaria-infested jungles, atop purple mounted fratricides,
skittering beneath the waves of oceans - basically everywhere.
22. And all it takes is ONE FALSE SIGNAL, one errant squirrel or pissed-off
Amazonian native - one spear chucked in anger or defeat - one Hantavirus-addled
packrat to ENTIRELY DESTROY ALL HUMAN KNOWLEDGE by disrupting the T.V.-inforced
brain-wave oscillations, thus collapsing all human thought into a singularity,
or rather of six billion individual singularities, or rather one big collective
singularity, this is to say A BLACK HOLE, that is to say an interdimensional
BigBang, such that if light cannot escape how can thought either?
23. For, what good are all the books in all the world if no one is there
to read them?
24. And so,