Jim Carroll shared our fear of dreaming. we got over that fear now. but still remember how it was – longing for something: just let me live until I see this one thing happen – fall in love, write something good, go someplace, see someone…we were afraid they’d blow up our dreams before we’d get a chance to live them. cold war anxieties dominated generations of thinking and feeling – cold war guilt. how bad some of us have treated one another, spreading toxic patterns. but we’re not running with fear anymore, we’re running with love.
It’s not at all just something that’s past and solved. Not at all. It’s just that I can see it a little clearer now, that fear is their tool….and it works very well…and they use it very well. And I still am using it to measure my time, only I don’t give a screw about trips to camp anymore, or basketball games two weeks from now. It’s just gotten bigger now…will I have time to finish the poems breaking loose in my head? Time to find out if I’m the writer I know I can be? How about these diaries? Or will Vietnam beat me to the button? Because it’s poetry now…and the button is still there, waiting… -150-151 Basketball Diaries
We too have felt like please let me live to see some beauty, have a good life, write some good things, let me stay alive on this earth just along enough to meet someone and say thank you, just long enough to make music and see the poems come through.
This societal fear that’s instilled in us brings to mind Bob Dylan’s song Masters of War,You’ve thrown the worst fear That can ever be hurled Fear to bring children Into the world For threatening my baby Unborn and unnamed You ain’t worth the blood That runs in your veins
Dylan confronts the fear mongers and tells them that threatening our babies for their wars is way too high a price. Not wanting to bring babies into this world, that’s how bad the fear of their evil bombs has left us – that’s what a legacy of destruction has done. They’ve given us nervous veins. Made us scared to bring children into this cockeyed life. but not any more.
In her stunning memoir Just Kids, Patti Smith talks about how Jim Carroll was once her lover, who taught her a lot about writing poetry and surviving the blues of living in crazy-person u s of a that fucks you up so you fuck your self up.
we declare no more paranoia. in the moment of now, this is our lives. we are not afraid of others. we are not afraid of doomsday. we live for this pulse right now, not in fear of death blues. we remember the hungry and in pain, the hopeless, the on drugs & booze who can’t hardly lift their heads & got no money. and we seek a better world for all of us.
The Jim Carroll poem “Love Rockets” from Fear of Dreaming brings to mind the songs “Black Smoke” by the Tindersticks and “Dolphins” by Fred Neil. All three pieces defend the sky and water and animals against the ways of war. The earth is our friend and mother, belonging to no one and sacred to all. How could we want to dump toxins in it & shoot it up?Love Rockets Wet leaves along the threshold of the mid-day and I’m off to rescue the sky from its assassins jogging and screaming and launching my clean mortars into the March obscene air…the enemy. I suppose I’d rather be sitting in Samoa now sipping a quart of Orange Julius and being fanned by Joey Heatherton in black tights and white glossy lipstick. but I’m not. I’m here. and I have something to say, as well as something to take care of. And that something is probably more important than you realize. I like the sky (don’t you) its warmth, its friendliness, I’m not going to let all this fucking soot taint that terrific blue. battle the filthy airs with your mortars and your prayers. you’ll soon be overcome with lovely sensations of the sky. you’ll be thinking of me as this happens. -18
The poem says, isn’t it crazy that corporate industry wants to destroy the sky for money? The sky, the sky that gives us sun and moon and we send our prayers to – they send their dirty blood seeking mortars thru. The sky that birds fly thru. They send bullets thru. We want to turn rockets into love.