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The Poem For Warner Stringfellow

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J' )■ i ■ ■ ■ 1' 1 3 3 I Detective Lieutenant, Detroit Narcotics Squad, who has been single-handedly responsible for busting me on two separate occasions for possessing and selling marijuana and who stumbled into my new apartment last night by accident over a year since the last time he saw me & two years to the day after he first busted me - Warner you are living in another century, this new one started while you were running around in circles chasing dangerous crimináis to keep the city safe from marijuana & people like me - "I know what you are, " you told me last night, "and when I get you again you ain't gettin off so easy . 111 DROWN you you worthless prick" you said But it won't be so easy "next time, " Warner, if there is a next time, because this whole new thing is getting so far out of your clutches you don't even know what it is - except you can sense it with what senses you have left, you know somehow that things ain't what they used to be, that this world is changing so fast you haven't even got a place in it no more Your old-time power & control have no place in this world, Warner, & as long as you keep trying to hang onto them you'll just get farther & farther behind until you die , Warner, until you're dead. Not too long ago, Warner, I would have given anything just to get my hands around your neck and choke you to death But that time is past, there's no need of it, you'll die anyway any thing will, when it stops growing & there's no more need for it in the world - There's no need for you now, Warner, tho it may take 20 years bef ore you or the people you have made it your life to lie to find out your uselessness & criminality - You can't make mea criminal, Warner, you shouíd know that by now, & your prisons & courts don't scare me any more, I know what you are & I don't hate you any more, I won't let you trap me in thal tiny little bag of yours, I won't respond the way you have to have me respond because it's too late for that now, Warner, it's just too damn late for those games, the whole fucking UNIVERSE is right there in front of our eyes & it's all I can do to stay open to it now while it's still "my" time Even the 6 months you got me in your prison, Warner, only made me stronger & less ai raid of the puny fear traps that are your only tool -- what're you gonna do, Lieutenant Stringfellow, when you have to try to arrest all the people younger than I am who smoke marijuana every day & don't even care about you at all, when you come to bust them all they'll do is laugh in your face, you're so funny, you come on like someone on your tv set, all that 1930's shit, or 1950's, the century changed at 1960, you're as out-of-date as the House American Activities Committee who tried to scare the young cats in 1966 & these cats showed up wearing Revolutionary War costumes laughing at you - it's 19sixty-six, Warner, there is no thing to fear except your jails, & they'll fall soon they're fallen now, they don't mean anything any more & even if you kill us all off that's no big thing Warner, we just get born again more & more aware of what's really happening in the universe but it's too late to kill us all, you missed your chance in 1959, before the whole thing really started you've been playing that funny shit for 2000 years & all you've got is a gun & a badge & a house in a nice neighborhood & a car & a tv set & you can't even talk to your own kids they just don't wanna hear it, you send them to psychiatrists & they go over to somebody's house & smoke reefer listen to the FUGS & John Coltrane & Sun Ra & don't even think about you until they have to go home & what a drag that is, Warner, going home to their atrophied parents who are dying in their living room chairs watching BATMAN on tv & dancing the frug with Jackie Kennedy in their dreams What kind of life have you got, Warner, when you have to sit & think about me for over rwo years, and I'm 25 now, what're you gonna do with all these fucking kids who are crazier than I am & don't care what you do, you ain't nothin to them, & in four years Warner, half the U. S. population will be under twenty-five years of age You're HOOKED, Warner Stringfellow, you're strung out you've shot so much of that dope in your head that shit Harry Anslinger & Hoover sold you but all it is is JUNK, Warner, & you can't keep selling people junk forever they get hip to you, they don't want any more of it they've had enough, they want something REAL, Warner, & you just ain't got it to give to them They don't care about titles no more, Warner, a lieutenant ain't nothin but a cop, & a cop ain't shit They wanna see who WARNER STRINGFELLOW is, &. what he does with himself , that badge & title ain't gonna fooi nobody no more not like it has, they'll do like I do & cali you by your given name, that's all any man needs, you won 't get me Warner, even if you lock me up again, because you're the one who's trapped in all that Aristotelian bullshit, the world is not black & white, it's all colors Warner, all you need to do is open your given eyes and see it & I hope you do, you're a man too, all of us are, and every man is made to be free I love you like I do any natural-born man but you got to BE a man, Warner, not a cop you got to open yourself up or be shut off completely as you are now from the world of human beings - Come on out of that jail, Warner. let your crimináis go, you've just trapped them in your silly bag, & there's no need for those games, we're all lovely & free Warner, we're all human beings, & nothing you can do can ever change the universo - I get up to change the record, Eric Dolphy OUT TO LUNCH, it's 7 in the morning & the world changes too, it moves farther away from where you are, my wife turns over in bed she's probably dreaming about you - you put her in jail too, Warner, but only overnight, & you took her man away for six whole months -- we celebrated our lst anniversary while I was in your jail, & it only made us stronger & more together than before - you see how puny your bullshit punishments are. And now we'll bring our own baby into the world & see what it can do for you, even tho you want to wipe out its father even before it's born & my wife feels sorry for you, Warner just to show you what you're up against with us, she really won't play your silly hate games - that poor man, she says, he must spend all his time thinking of how he'll get us - doesn't he have anything better to do with his life ? And what can you do with her, Warner, shoot her? Or lock her up? The problem is what're you gonna do with your self, Warner Stringfellow? Let me leave you with that. What will you be in five years, Warner, an Inspector? Like puor stupid Jimmy Fike at the House of Correction? Why don't you quit playing games, Warner, & grow up to be a MAN like the rest of us (This is the story you wanted me to write about you, Warner, the one you asked me about again last night, & it's the best I can do - I hope you can hear it Love all ways Detroit October 6th, 1966 for Charles' birthday