Friday, October 1, 2010

CombatWords October 1, 2010: Taboo

CombatWords October 1, 2010: Taboo

I don't want to end up like the Star Wars kid, but I don't mind laughing at him. I don't like racist humor, but I love humor that seems to be racist. Yes, I like to break some taboos, but I think other taboos are essential. Pedophiles fill me with some serious homicidal rage. You can offer me all the evolutionary psych and boo-hoo bullshit about fuxed up minds/childhoods; I still want to destroy them. In fact, that fury I feel for pedophiles is so intense, I just try to put it out of my mind most of the time. I think this is healthy, as we have a tendency to become our enemies. If you think enough about pedophiles, you start to see them everywhere. So sometimes, it's better not to think about them—this is the wisdom of taboo. Some things are filled with such infectious horror, they should be forbidden.

Of course, who does the forbidding? Well we do. We forbid ourselves and we forbid others; and as attitudes change, so do taboos. This is why I'm skeptical of taboos, even though I also see their value. You can't reason with some people and you just have to forbid them. Not all good judgments can be explained or rationalized and taboo is a recognition of this truth. Then again, lots of taboos are stupid

Combat Expiration: Midnight PST, 10/3/2010

Critique Expiration: Midnight PST, 10/4/2010

Bonuses/Penalties: +3 if posted by 6pm PST, 10/1/2010; +2 if posted by 9pm PST, 10/1/2010; and +1 if posted by Midnight PST, 10/2/2010

The Rules:

ps (10/2/2010; 10:57am PST): Forgot to post penalties: -1 if posted by 10/3/2010 by 3am PST; -2 if posted by 10/3/2010 by 6am.

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  1. Love Might Sustain Us [CombatWords Poem, October 1, 2010]

    Blaze, we envy how you're fed
    Everything we thought we loved
    Sacrificed to you for heat.
    Paintings, tools and even books
    Warmed, though never slaking thirst.
    Bottled water drained to bathe
    (Vanity, the last to go),
    Cans of tuna spilled for dead
    Memories, perhaps a dream.

    Cat for sake of fur. The hope
    That he feels for me; the way
    First he offers rats we won't
    Eat, but still he begs for milk,
    Egg, a bit of herring meat;
    Even though the stores have closed.
    Earth's retired, too tired to sprout.
    Innocence must die with love:
    Feast on cat before we starve.

  2. TABOO!!
    (In the style of The Last Poets)

    (shouted in unison)
    (over improvisded hand drums)

    (shouted in unison)
    (over improvisded hand drums)

    (shouted in unison, ending in silence)

    (heavy hand drumming improvised)
    Taboo forbid, usually for good reason,
    Taboo gets the paedo's raped in jail
    Taboo makes the power slightly less
    powerful, but does nothing for the
    victims on a bed flames

    (heavy hand drumming)
    Shouldn't it be
    To run a company into the ground
    And walk away with a giant parachute
    Heavy metals leeching into the ground water

    when your work is to keep workers from
    working (at too high a price)

    you are barracading yourself in your panic room
    as the "people", your "people"
    burn down the doors

    (shouted in unison, ending in silence)

    (continue drumming)

    (spoken over sparse drumming)
    We hope for a reclamation, a truce, a harvest of good will,
    yet it never seems to come.
    We hope for a peace, or even a piece,
    yet it never seems to come
    We hope that first become last and vice versa
    yet it never seems to come

    (continue drumming)

    Now you fail me as I'm starving in suburbs
    Now you fail me as I beg with cap in hand
    Now you fail me super giant capital beetle
    Now you fail me, us, to a man

    (continue drumming)

    Taboo is not something far off
    It is something that your sister in law dies of

    Taboo may have symbolic consequences but
    not for any of us

    Taboo makes us puke by verisimilitude
    Taboo sorts us out, wheat from the chaff
    Taboo is not what you think it might be

    Taboo is what is killing my ass

    (shouted in unison, ending in silence)

  3. Love might sustain us:
    Wow, fucking great, didn't really see where it was going till half way through
    dig it +1
    the whole second stanza, rats we won't eat, begging +1
    post apocalypse setting +1

    tugs my emotions, though I'm a dog person, same applies

    really excellent

  4. Who will be
    the voice of a generation
    of spoiled mamas boys
    who had

    Who will
    well fed
    the sexualised
    the content
    body sculpted
    the ones
    without even
    to be perverted?

    I refuse.
    Its easier to persecute the fat and the smokers and the pedophiles and the brother and sister who love together and the man who cheats on his spouse

    Bring them all on Ricki Lake; they are the sinners of today.

  5. @Khakjaan Wessington
    +1 for the flow
    -1 for "never slaking thirst" (although I do get it that it maintains the rhythm)
    +1 for clean narrative through the poem

    Funnily, I'm reading an anthology called "wastelands - stories of the apocalypse right now". This would have fitted right in.

    My apologies, but I just wasn't feeling the form of this, so no + or - points.

  6. The Role of Rule Over Time [CombatWords Poem, October 2, 2010]

    There are rules to musical meter,
    bold lines between
    distortion and melody;
    Rehearse your rudiments.

    Simple elements are
    black lines scribed upon
    white page. Timeless
    because sound defines
    the experience of life.

    When speakers pulse inconsistently
    the old audience visibly cringes
    and decries the use of aural force
    as expression outside the lines
    of well-constructed meter and forethought rhyme.

    But musicians are a varied mass
    and when given lessons, they easily passed.
    They have mastered the rules and understand design
    but still they shatter the lines in unconventional time.
    The rules, teachers redeclare. Times change.

    New sonic mathematicians play and age
    and try to teach the new rules to youth
    who disobey to reveal historical truth;
    What's right to me is always wrong to you
    so what's the point in labeling it taboo?

  7. @khakjaan

    Well this certainly is dark, I did feel a sense of apocalyptic mourning while reading this, like it could've been excerpted from Cormac McCarthy's "The Road" or something similarly bleak. Which is not to say it is bad, but it certainly does toe the line of taboo. It's at once comforting to know that at the end the protagonist still has companionship but then it's heart-rending to know that companionship must be abandoned for survival so +1 for ripping my fucking heart out.

    +1 because the visuals pulled me in very well, +1 for flowing well from fire to a cat without a stutter. That's something I couldn't do. Respect!


    The questions are valid but I feel I needed more from the person asking them, all I got were harsh judgements. I'd prefer it with the last line cut, take the pop culture reference out or, in revision, force a bunch of pop culture references in. The first thing to alienate people is when they are no longer a part of pop culture, and I think that could fit well in the whole question/answer format of your poem. I'd say revise this whenever you're feeling pissed off at the other generation, something real could come of this. For now it feels like a pretty rough draft so I'm not gonna +/- at all.


    Beat poetry as defined by the mention of a beat pervading through the form. I am going to empathize with you on this poem, I enjoy beat poetry but (this is my personal opinion) beat poetry MUST be seen and not read. I never ever ever felt right just reading Ginsberg or any of his contemporaries, but I've been VERY moved by some beat performances I've seen. The thing for me about beat is that it seems so frenetic, real and sometimes just explosively improvisational. That form could definitely work as a diatribe against taboo, but on the page here it doesn't do much for me. That's just me personally.

    Suggestions for revision would be to toss out all the parenthetical insertion and keep the loose form, keep the energy, keep the emotion and then either record a video of you performing it or try to adapt it to the page a bit more fluidly. I want to say +1 for guts because I'd never try beat poetry but also -1 for the thoughts being just short enough to not really take me anywhere. There's a clear subject, but not enough pull to rally me for or against anything. All just my personal opinion! Keep writing!

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. Tootsie Roll

    My brother Louis and I
    serenaded our parents one evening
    by bouncing on their queen-size bed and reciting,
    at the tops of our lungs, the rhyme we’d learned
    on the playground during recess that day:
    Milk, milk, lemonade
    ‘Round the corner, fudge is made.
    Put your finger in the hole,
    Now you’ve got a Tootsie Roll.

    We did the hand gestures that went along with the song,
    pointing first at our little-boy nipples,
    then at the crotches of our matching pajamas,
    then with great gusto at our wiggling butts.
    When we were done we flopped
    onto the mattress, giggling hysterically.
    Mom and Dad were less amused, and demanded to know
    where we’d learned such a sick chant.
    Now, years later, I feel sad for our poor parents,
    with their vanilla lives, their dull couplings.
    I’m certain neither one of them ever experienced
    the excitement of feeling warm excrement
    spread across their cheeks, their lips,
    never felt the thrill of having it washed off
    with a steaming trickle of piss.
    They never knew the sweet fear of getting caught,
    the way they caught Louis and I one night,
    two brothers playing a game we never did bother
    to come up with a name for.

  10. @PP:

    I liked how the stage instruction worked into the narrative. +1
    Rode that fine line of mocking & paying tribute to the bongo-poet. It was funny and I loled. +1

    Nothing that detracted from my enjoyment. It is what it is.

    You could try something w/ more ambition. Be more serious and also sillier at the same time. You can do it.

    +2 – 0 = +2

  11. @forpuck:

    Set up was really strong. +1

    Resolution fell flat. -1

    Promising, but it didn't work imo.

    +1 -1 = 0

  12. @Ruterger:

    I always like me some deftly handled shit-talk. +1
    Liked that it was a dialogue between method. +1

    I thought it could go bigger, but I didn't see any real flaws.

    I liked how it seemed to meander at first, and only made itself clear in the end. Cinched the argument pretty tight. Liked the ambiguity of how it was stated (poetry) with what it was stating.

    +2 – 0 = +2

  13. @rToady


    Lol! +1
    The first poem of the bunch to really grab two handfuls of diarrhea and leap into taboo. +1
    Direct & superb take on the theme. +1



    +3 – 0 = +3

  14. Mimesis. The diluting agent for taboo glycerin. My dog glycerin. A pitmash bullet bounding warhorse cuts skin like cheap tijuana steel.

    Hits you like a fuckin freight train. Jaws suspend 6o pounds from the end of a strip of rope. That glycerin's unlawful to run pure.

    You got to break glycerin down. Dilute it. Mimetic storage of glycerin is, however, legal. Cause glycerin on its own, running round your neighborhood...? Glycerin rips fat little jedis from the middle, eats their guts in the middle of the street, while they cry out for grandma and salvation. Glycerin salivates.

    That's hard to internalize, hard to think on, that pure glycerin. Running through the gutters along your street. Slap that shiver with a little mimesis, get yourself a camera, grab onto your jedi stick.