I’m sitting in the Arvada Public Library working on my capstone project reflection paper. (It seems the school cares more about how I feel about my work than how strong the actual work actually is. Fortunately, I have a superb adviser that cares more about the poetry.) As I wrote yesterday, bloggin is an escape for me, and here I am when I should be fleshing out a paper due on Monday or Tuesday. That’s tons of time!!
I went to a screamo concert the other night with my brother. I didn’t mosh, but I had the itch. But it wasn’t that bad of an itch because the crowd was pretty lame. Security was letting people do what they want (as long as people weren’t getting trampled and falling over) and only a handful of people were really into it. The bands were lively and rockin and screamin and one guy got on the mic and said, “Denver, you’re pretty weak right now.” My brother and I laughed about the concerts we went to in high school, where blood was smeared across the floor when the bands were finally done. Bumps and bruises appeared ifrom body surfers and we were usually tired from jumping and slam dancing. Not so poetic, but really fun! What has happened in the past 10 years that a bunch of kids go to a concert and stand around rather than beat each other silly. And then it hit me.
Kids are strapped down and locked in every time we take them somewhere. Once they grow out of the car seat, they get a bigger one. Then a booster seat. It’s safer for the kids and it’s the law. Heck, my wife and I just bought this massive thing (looks straight off of the Mind Eraser at Elitch’s) because we want our son to be safe in case something happens. Let’s take this to the melodramatic nth degree though. We want our kids to be safe. We give them plastic shells with seat belts until they’re 60 pounds or so. They swim in antibacterial hand gel whenever they can get their grubby little hands on the stuff. We give them hundreds of shots to help their bodies fight off disease (ask the autistic kid’s parents about how that works out). So when immunizations become unsafe, parents don’t have their kids shot (that sounds so wrong). I heard a statistic that if less than 90% of the population is immunized, then the immunizations won’t work. We’re headed to something like 80%. So in being safe, we’re jeopardizing safety. Hmm.
This is fun being emotional and dramatic. Let’s keep going. We take care of traffic danger with car seats and air bags (which the scars on my arms say are not safe at all, especially for tall guys). Now there’s school danger. Shootings all over the place. So systems are put into place so kids can be safe in public. This is good–I don’t want to get shot at when at work. I want to talk about literature for Pete’s sake!! Who’s Pete? I dunno, but we’ll press on. So it becomes safe to homeschool (I know many families home school out of necessity–geographic location, family situations, etc) regardless of the consequences (social, self-discipline, etc.). It doesn’t surprise me either that the majority of home school families are conservative Christians. Oooo, Christians love playing it safe. We’ve created our own safe sub-culture with safe music, safe literature, safe life styles, safe toys, and school is just another addition to the gated community. All of this safety is wrapped up neatly and stamped with a “the world can’t touch me, I’m an American” sticker. I think too many people have the mindset that if we leave the world alone they will leave us alone. Yup, the terrorists love that idea. I don’t think we realize that people out there want to kill us and they will sacrifice anything to get to that end.
It’s funny how an easy going crowd at a screamo show got me thinking about all of this. And I know it’s dramatic. But in the literary world, where Kenneth Goldsmith is causing a stir by saying that no poetry is new, nothing is new, only regurgitated and synthesized. But what if poets are too wrapped up in their car seats, to afraid to unbuckle and look at the possibility of creating, however influenced? What if the vocal established poets are happy in their booster seats, happy that their ideas are limited to a school zone? I would say we are too safe resulting in a mellow, meaningless unconsciousness. As Owen Barfield writes in Poetic Diction, “Great poetry is the progressive incarnation of life in consciousness.” On so many levels, we aren’t writing good poetry.