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Postmodern Village
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The Poetry of Paranoia
by E.W. Wilder

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 socks.

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 go undiagnosed.

And so Desire,
by Bean Newton

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, deep
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,