Thursday, January 31st, 2008...10:40 pm

tony moffeit | outlaw: the roots

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i. the blood of the poet

outlaw begins with blood. the blood of the poet. the visceral. the guts. the blood and the guts. that secret part of the brain. where the blood meets the guts in the electricity of the brain waves. and there is lightning in the veins. and the brain drives the limbs. the feet and the knees and the legs. and the arms and the shoulders and the stomach. a dance. the dreamwaves of the brain drive the dance. a billy the kid dance in which the gunfight is mad love. a theater of blood in which the gunfight is mad love.

it is total body in which the voice is searched out and found. a howl. a moan. a groan. a shout. a song. and even though the body may crumble it revives and is strong. from the voice. from the fire in the voice. from the fire in the song. and you find it is time to burn.

and it is mad passion you seek. delirious blood. the blood of the poet. dissatisfied. always dissatisfied. until you find: bullet words. words that graze the skin. words that enter the skin and you bleed. words that inspire a gundance. words that leap from the lips like lightning waves. or silence. a brutal silence that is there because you seek so much more to say.

it all begins with blood. the hot gypsy blood of a wild night. and the blood drives the electricity. and you want to be hypnotized. to have the receptivity of mesmerization. to be mesmerized by your own music. and what do you call it? you call it outlaw. because it is beyond all laws. and because you are a law unto yourself.

and what do you call it? you call it outlaw. and what do you call it? you call it ghost language. because it is a phantom. and because it is blood. ghostblood billy. billy the kid. because he reached the intensity of himself.

and what do you call it? you call it new icons. you call it new metaphors. you call it new archetypes. and where do you find it? with the outlaws. with those who invent something new.

and the landscape is barren. the outlaw appears where the landscape is barren. the outlaw appears out of nothingness to create new icons, new metaphors, new archetypes.

and it is not enough to create new archetypes, unless the new archetype has a taste of the old, the primitive, the raw crux of the universal, the eternal, the metaphysical, the magical. new archetypes which reach into the raw essence of life. new archetypes which reach into the roots, the essence, the soulfire.

ii. who are you?

outlaw begins with the purity of the vision. outlaw begins with the mysticism of the vision. outlaw begins with no separation between the mystical and the physical. outlaw begins with no separation between the visceral and the spiritual. outlaw begins with no separation between the will and surrender. outlaw begins with self-creation and with a receptivity to mystical forces. the outlaw is the one who creates and the one who is a receptor to being created by mystical forces.

and the crux of all the magic is the mystical tuning of the poet himself. only when the poet has reached the mystical trance of complete receptivity to the spiritual forces can he receive the dictation purely. only then can he be written by the poem. it is a trance and a dance.

the poem transfigures and transmutes. the performance of the poet transfigures and transmutes. the performance of the poet liberates. for the poet touches the poet core of the individual. individual to individual. one on one. ghost to ghost. blood to blood. the performance of the poet is a revolutionary act of ritual magic. the question is: who are you? the question is: you are who? and the answer is: you are who you are not. you are the ghost who has left yourself. you are most yourself when you are least yourself. you are most yourself when you are the ghost of yourself.

iii. poetry is dangerous, the poet is an outlaw

poetry is dangerous because the poet is an outlaw. poetry is dangerous because the poet lives by his own law: you are who you create yourself to be.

poetry is dangerous because the poet is on his own. poetry is dangerous because the poet is alone. poetry is dangerous because the poet creates his own laws.

poetry is dangerous because the poet is an outlaw. poetry is dangerous because the poet lives on the edge. poetry is dangerous because the poet welcomes obstacles. poetry is dangerous because the poet learns from defeat, learns from conflict.

poetry is dangerous because the poet’s greatest war is with himself.

poetry is dangerous because the poet creates his own marginality. poetry is dangerous because the poet lives internally. poetry is dangerous because the lifeforce is placed squarely in the hands of the poet, so he has no excuses.

poetry is dangerous because the poet is a law unto himself.

poetry is dangerous because the poet is about revolutionary action. poetry is dangerous because the poet is a revolutionary. poetry is dangerous because the poet is an outlaw.

iv. to be born again

outlaw is in the air. outlaw is in the blood. the blood of the poet is stirring in red rivers. the blood of the poet is stirring in red waters. the revolution of the outlaw is about taking your life into your own hands, is about becoming the lightning bolt, is about becoming the bullet syllables, is about destroying everything and beginning anew. the revolution of the outlaw is about creating a whole new vein of language, of thought. it’s about laying waste to the entire landscape. and beginning anew with a line. no, a word. no, a syllable. one true outlaw impulse.

outlaw is about unveiling the mysteries of everyday life. the blood is thick in the air. you can smell it. you can taste it. outlaw is about connecting with the blood rhythms. outlaw is about becoming a law unto yourself. outlaw is about a constant search, a constant stalking of that original face before you were born, of that secret self that is your real self. of that gutcore of who and what you are. of that bedrock of who and what you are not. outlaw is about that rush of constant creativity. outlaw is about the obsessive velocity of living and writing at the speed of light. outlaw is about becoming a light wave.

and where do you find the outlaw? everywhere and nowhere. everywhere because the potential is everywhere. nowhere because the outlaw is in a state of invention, of creation, of breaking ground. you can only experience ghost words, ghost lines, ghost images, ghost rhythms, for the outlaw is in embryo. o, wait, the outlaw has been born!

v. theater of blood

where is the poetic act? where is the moment where ritual meets magic? where is the moment where performance is heightened by lightning in the veins? where is the mystery of a new identity borrowed from the night? when is existence turned into theater? when is a new kind of truth found? when is the impossible made possible? i want to go back to moments of primitive magic. i want to go back to primitive poets performing in the night.
i want to go back to the utter ecstasy of their beings glowing in the dark like haunted skeletons. the mysticism of their moves. the vibrations of their voices. when everyday life is turned into theater. when improvised stages become shadowed ecstasies. when the poet becomes another being.

the emotional cleansing of these performances, the catharsis, the purgation, is something different. it is a catharsis through the overflow of intensity of the poet through the poem. it is a high voltage wire that is thrown through the crowd. the poet’s body and spirit become a piece of lightning. language becomes something else. the subhuman and the inhuman become superhuman. that’s when the poet touches the root source of trance. that’s when the poet touches the root source of the spell. that’s when the poet casts his spell. the poet becomes ridden by the horse of seance. the poet becomes acted upon by other forces.

vi. revolution

outlaw is about the revitalization of language. outlaw is about the revitalization of spirit. outlaw is about the revitalization of the individual. outlaw is about creating yourself out of nothing. outlaw is about making yourself out of nothing. outlaw is about making your own laws.

outlaw is about being in a state of creation, of invention. outlaw is about new ideas and new ways of thinking. outlaw is about new ways of living, new ways of breaking loose. as much as anything, it is about liberty.

outlaw is about ecstasy, exhiliration, magnificent energy, a force that sweeps away everything in its path. outlaw is about becoming a being who is a wave of energy.

outlaw is about the power of the persona of the outlaw artist. outlaw is about the immediate impression of the individual behind the art: the enormous identity, the driven rebellion, the artistic innovation.

outlaw is about endless energy, endless vitality, endless searching, endless finding, endless creativity. outlaw is about busting down the doors, knocking down the walls, and in a burst of energy, finding yourself, losing yourself, freeing yourself.

outlaw is about changing your own life, changing your own way of living, changing your own way of thinking, changing your own way of being. outlaw is about creating a revolution in terms of the way you live. a revolution of one. a revolution of one on one.

1 Comment

  • Tony Moffeit’s essay is a stunning summary of the Outlaw Poetry movement. The prose is brilliantly set off with the kind of red images that Nicholas Ray, the director of REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE, is best known for. This is one of Moffeit’s best essays since POETRY IS DANGEROUS, THE POET IS AN OUTLAW. The whole piece pulses with a fever and a rage of blood.

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