no cures

“no cures.”

No tears in the eyes of the youth
Patriotism is the new faith
“I am no criminal”
Blind masses of youth marching
Civil disobedience
“It’s not the ideology, it’s the people”
“It’s not the guns, it’s those damn bullets”
Not to question patriotism is to stagnate
and become blind followers to the new union
of the personality and power
Teflon coated politicians are a function
of the worshipping masses in Nike Air
shoes and
pictures of Amish farmers advertising
the new microwave dinners
The impressionable youth has
been emblazoned with the
distant distrust of life and the
trust of death
The disillusioned generation has
become the materialist image of the
thing they hated
The disillusioned legacy to the
unborn is bearing the fruit of discord
The secret becomes the top secret
the nixon doctrine becomes the
new amendment to the Constitution
and the Cambodian is now the
Involvement becomes a pact of
decimals and the Tuesday lunch group is the NSA
The sergeant-at-arms (and
legs and dismembering and shouting and fits
and bits and snarling …) forcing out the
dissenter to the group view
Why can’t my kids be conditioned?
My kids are suffering because the
others are Wrong. Let’s go back to
the good old days when we were
so confident in the country that we
end up in Vietnam …
Let’s fight for hope … with guns
and knives and grenades and tooth and
The war is over. long live the
I can’t make a difference is the
war cry of
America the beautiful even though
I don’t know why
American arrogance of the blue-eye
big-nosed Johnny Appleseed spreading the
seed of the golden apple
The victors write the history – the
youth of Vietnam and the American youth in
Vietnam are the history
The government didn’t win the war and
the hindsight condemnation of the
leaders is the pen and
cry of the lost innocence of the
lost lives of the lost youth
Political motivation is the numbness
of the new lost youth
I don’t know about that so don’t
tell me what I don’t want to deal with
Knowledge of is not power over:
knowledge is burden
The people of the world are going about
their business just tell them you’re in
power they won’t mind …
because they don’t care … they don’t
want to know
Can this country open its eyes and
wipe the rummy haze from
a dream of advisors in Panama
and the Vietnam legacy of advisor-
One person is not enough unless
you’re Hitler or
the wide-awake young prefect who
sleeps thru it all
I’m anti war, anti-calories, anti-red
meat, anti-anchovies, anti-gothic …
(what are you for?)
There must be another way (anti-status quo)
I’d die for this country no matter
what … (is that what you’re for?)
I’m here for the wrong reasons
I’m a naive uninformed
… American …
We’re all Americans
but we can kill ourselves …
(is that what you are for?)
We have a new youth, but who
is going to be the new Them?
The tiger’s back isn’t a strong enough
metaphor – we were Hoovered into
the filter bag (the Scylia and Charybdis
of American Myth)
The self-destructed Lincoln Log country
has to be put away
Rebuild the Lincoln Log Lego walls
(do we isolate ourselves again?
Let’s go back to the wilderness and
skip the walls (maybe we’ll find ewoks
hiding behind the trees)
The walls of orange yellow blue
white and red Lego blocks may be
safe but they’re ugly. They are the
monuments to the Glorious War dead
from the double-super-duper-new-and
improved American Jihad of those who
Islam the Walt Disney constructed teflon
Can we afford to draw lines anymore
between Us and Them
Is that what we
believe in? The amputation of our humanity
“You can tear the skin off but you’ll scream.”
I need to learn more … not only can I
not condemn what I understand …
Can I understand what comes after me?

copyright 1990 j.g.bell
originally appearing in ‘The Nascent’ literary and arts magazine 1990

momentarily again

I was asleep too long
you woke me to myself
anyway a potential
future was motivating
everything new enough
waking to a dream
I dared imagine real
in the end never regret
but unable to say what
I’ve written again aloud


Having worn out your welcome under your own name
You stumbled on the perfect sleight of hand
Pulled from the secret treasure of Templars
You use the decapitated head of the prophet as a puppet
To twist his words into a proof confirming your bias
You hide behind his persona as if a mask
In order to puke out your personal agenda
And promote your own ego-stroking pet projects
like a priest of ancient Egypt shouting into a funnel
To echo through the temple you conspire to fool people
Into accepting your self-serving pronouncements
Words have real meanings so you chose them carefully
Intent on mixing a new potion to turn gold into lead
Misleading and manipulative, you manage to fool many
But there are some somewhere that see through you
And can resist your subterfuge and glory seeking
Usurpation is your middle name
Self and promotion are the first and last
But the pyramid isn’t where you’ll be buried
And the hieroglyphics of your real name will fade
All your hard fought narcissism and sociopathy
Forgotten by everyone and not recorded in history

sweet smoke

In my imagination I’m looking
into your eyes as you smile;
the soft warmth of your thigh
touches my cheek as I breathe
you into my lungs; I am stoned
on the sweet smoke of your beauty;
I hold you in my lungs
as long as I can and then exhale
a long, deep and delirious sigh
toward the vault of stars
in the sky shining like glitter
on your skin … and am finally satisfied

wholly unbalanced

I find you wholly unbalanced.
You favor the dagger
like a crutch,
and that addiction proves
your need further banishing.
Your crude supplication
to what you take as
objective truth is
transparent to the wise
as weakness of mind.

fading glow

The lights went out when she left town
Good thing the moon was out in full
And plenty of candles to burn
During this new dark age

I don’t know whether to be more worried
Of the effect she already has at such a distance
Or of what will happen when she gets back
And the power and lights return
To show me what a mess i’ve made
In the short time i’ve been on my own
Alone with myself and no one else
But a cat and the fading glow
Of electronic gadgets and a phone


another demon of dance
when all but almost naked
in satin and lace, red ribbons
but don’t touch, don’t touch
it’s a job for shapely asses
and I want to grace this
drink of her late at night
she has these marks on her
where did her irises go
glowing strangely like corpses
is she blind to what can be seen
of places and no places on earth
banished her from here
we’re forced to wander there
like lost souls in purgatory
for frame of my face can
cherubim swords of flame
and the genital dance deny
what takes place in a temple
of pylons in a familiar place
setting the feast of tastes to dine
around her like a ritual enacted
remember the dance this time
of pain and remembrance
of tortured metaphor and simile
and what is left remains
all that this is fluorescent lights
at the end of another night
no more dances tonight
escape to make your way home
and face the last dance alone
at home where you belong
between these sorry sheets
analog of the risen allegory
resurrection and epiphany
this is your nightmare
story told to the sane
who deny mary her due
as first and foremost disciple
magick makes you strong
and young again again again
all along you thought
it was a story or song
told by loving troubadours
in halls of honour and longing
for the courtly love of women
long ago forgotten maidens
but find instead the truth
that heresy is a longing
for harlots and whores
more true than truth told
for truth long kept secret
by people and protected
from angels and their ilk
because the perfect future
can’t ever know the truth
or secrets are spoiled by speaking
of imperfect past conjugated
belonging to a fake and false
category of classification
that belies a particular cypher
lost word but recovered code
from the temple floor uncovered
in eight sided rooms illustrated
of rediscovery and renewal
each equinox like clockwork
as password changes recognition
and the ritual renews narrative
continuity of changes communicated
takes place within chambers flashing
colours within the walls of legendary tombs
and wombs opened first and foremost
for you and four fingers lifting the coping stone


that expansion
and contraction
yoga and tantra
luscious and juicy
sweaty and sweet
never managed
to let go to that
not completely
unable to hold on
afraid of a lot
things seductive
and beautiful
just to know
lots of reasons
one might hold back
reasoned ignorance
from knowing things
afraid and desirous
life without restriction
free to flow
feel and find  
the real and redolent
and ritualistic
orgasmic cosmic
centre and release
from all this fear
and uncertainty
and holding back
necessary fearlessness
to go down on goddess
have her explode
with ecstasy
all over my face
to justify my existence
a threshold
below which
nothing else
seems to matter


your bible-thumpery is thwartsome
and is as in need for jestery poking
as any archetypal old bat
in Sunday dress and flower hat
who can’t keep her nose out
of other people’s business
that you don’t see that
is evidence of a character flaw

that need for a truth you have
to use as a crotchety crutch
you desperately cling to
in your vaudeville act
until you’re using it as a slapstick
like an indignant and loud
mother hen squawking and pecking
which then you seem to stand
well enough to wield it
begs for someone to kick it
out from under you each time
you lean on it for support
to leave you flailing
from truth to truth
until you learn
to stand on your own
without props
and leave behind
in a moment of rare clarity
and character arc
and pinocchio-nose poking
around other people’s behinds

because truth is really a choice
about efficacy and meaning
made by those seeking it
and is neither the grail
nor the stripper pole
neither unified theory
nor monopole
but rather is useful
to describe phenomena
as experienced
in particular ways
and to speculate
on noumena
through noesis
and that’s a personal journey
each person takes
for themselves
with some useful truth
as a map for that territory
but which map is for them
is for them to choose

and the only crime in that
worth getting flustered about
is if they travel like tourists

but that’s your schtick:
an esoteric version
of a stupid American tourist
talking trash and trashing
everyone else’s country
oblivious to any plight back home
while haughtily heaving
your bulky belly around
in loud hawaiian shirts
and greasy stained chinos
talking s-l-o-w-l-y
taking pictures
of every exotic thing
trying to capture
the spectacle
in a slideshow
but really missing it all

instead use your senses
to experience the real
right before your eyes
or abandon senses
to the many and the one
noumenal moment

spend your time
on your own journey
instead of criticising
to the exclusion
of experience
of the excursion
because you’re disturbing
both the natives
and the other guests
and giving the rest of us
a bad name

first principles

the thing you know
and propound as fact
whether true or not
is an article of faith
because of your relationship to it
you are slavishly devoted
to the proposition that you’re right
no matter what the truth is
like a teenager
your truth is a gun
you wave around loaded
with the safety off
looking for someone to shoot
and that you happen to fire blanks
or misfire once or twice
is of no concern
because you’ll reload
with whatever ammo is available
and shoot at whatever happens along
just to prove the point
that your position is something you’ll defend
until death
until the sun dies
until the universe crumbles
forever and ever amen
or you change your mind
whichever comes first


I’m still strongly under the spell
of the delusion
that along will come a princess
and with just one kiss
will rescue me from all of this
and in a moment fix everything

wicked way

i get a feeling i can’t shake
that sex with you is a mistake
a mistake that i keep making

some great ideas in heads
aren’t always so great in beds
or whatever is conveniently steady

like counter tops and tables
and great old oak trees
like bookcases and stairwells
and renovated back seats

when i’m horny it sounds great
but that’s not thinking straight
that’s thinking hardly at all really

i want to get off this roller coaster jam
because riding you is a ride thru bedlam
fun for a while but leading to damnation

like enabling self-hate and co-dependence
and recourse to prostitution
like wham-bam and substance dependence
and permanent self-mutilation

listening to myself is the trick to kick
that by which the thumbing of my prick
something comes this way wicked