Monday, May 26, 2008

Monday Poetry Train - for Joe Stummer

I just watched an incredible documentary last night about the life of Joe Stummer, lead singer of The Clash. Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten. There was so much I didn't know about him, especially the amazing journey of his life. And even though he had some tortured years and pushed away a lot of his friends, he was authentic, and he was a very generous human being. I found the film inspiring in many ways.

When he died at 50 (of a congenital heart defect he knew nothing about), he had come full circle and found peace and happiness in his community.

(The title is in reference to Joseph Campbell's Monomyth, the Hero's Journey)

Separation – Initiation - Return

Joe Strummer lived
the perfect Hero’s Journey
status quo ransacked
when sent to boarding
school the inciting brotherly
suicide the threshold of the
free world trials and allies and
enemies lovers and fans
until finally the belly
of the beast
without a backup band
and the only redemption
to make amends with
all the hippies

he burned fires in circles
after he learned
it’s not places you return to
it’s peace of mind the
final okay I’m here this is it
this is me
and I’d rather be happy
than right
that rock laughing at me
in the shade
without form
we could live that long
and have compassion too


Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Strummer is, indeed, a fascinating guy. This poem gives him a real feel, a real characterization. Nicely done!

Danika / OpenChannel said...

thanks, Susan. I was thinking of you when I posted this. I highly recommend the doc if you get a chance to see it. I think you'd dig it.

Julia Smith said...

I'm incredibly late to your post on the train, but I'm so glad to find it. I haven't seen this doc but it sounds good.

I love the title of your poem. I've got the hero's journey very heavy in my mind at the moment - just saw 'Ironman'. I love these lines:

'and I’d rather be happy
than right
that rock laughing at me
in the shade
without form'

artpredator said...

"burned fires in circles" --love that--makes me curious! we'll have to check out the film! we were supposed to see him at Coachella but he died a few months before the gig...

artpredator said...

wow kcrw is playing an awesome kinda acoustic version of i'm all lost in the supermarket which made me think of your poem and wonder if this version is in the film???

ahh and now another clash song version nver heard before their must be a soundtrack?? of no they just explained this was a demo version--on the 25th anniversary of london calling...

btw, you're not linked yet to the train!

Danika / OpenChannel said...

You know, I don't recall Lost in the Supermarket being in the movie at all, come to think of it.

I'm linked now, baby!