Posts Tagged ‘Kenneth Rexroth’

“140 Syllables” by Kenneth Rexroth

February 21, 2014

All my life I have wondered,
Why doesn’t somebody write
A terrible poem that says
In so many words, this world
Is a fraud, the people who
Run it are murderous fools,
Everything ever printed
Is a lie, all their damn art
And literature is a fake,
Behind their gods and laws, and
Pee hole bandits, their science
Is just a fancy way to kill
Us and our girls and kids.
What I want to know is why
Somebody doesn’t write it
All down in about twenty
Lines of seven syllables
Once and for all, and scare the shit
Out of all the dirty squares.

Reading Rexroth

March 19, 2009

I’ve been reading Kenneth Rexroth lately and enjoying him a great deal. In his long poem (200 pages!) The Dragon and the Unicorn I found in one small section two statements of belief that I’ve held myself for quite some time. They’re related. The first one is this:

A real religion is not
Believed in, it is practiced.

I think that’s an important idea. A lot of Christians think that all you have to do is believe in Jesus, and you’re covered—which isn’t true. You have to put the principles he taught into practice—and they’re tough ones. You can’t understand religious ideas any other way. You can’t take your understanding from a book. Books get messed with. More importantly, religion—real religion—is ineffable, and no book can contain the ineffable. It’s only there to get you started.

The second statement is:

Neither Augustine nor Karl Barth
Are religious men. They are
Emotionally unstable

I don’t know anything about Karl Barth, but I’ve had a gripe with Augustine for a long time. He wasn’t a saint; he was an intellectual. And while not the first, he was one of the biggest distorters of the teachings of Christ. He was, in part, trying to make the new religion palatable to the Empire, which has nothing at all to do with spirituality. It’s a perversion of it.