Thursday, May 19, 2011

four-square Crown of Nothing

To continue a little further with the poetry and lyrics theme ...

Earlier I brought up the Tales of the Tribe online course by Robert Anton Wilson that had such a strong effect on me. One of the things Wilson introduced was the idea of "fossil poems." As I understood it at the time, "fossil poems" meant viewing short phrases with a poetic eye, sometimes common phrases you wouldn't think twice about. For instance, you might be watching CNN and hear the anchor say something in the course of reporting that rings a poetic nerve.

Researching "fossil poems" right now, I find that the idea originates with Emerson in the Second Series of his essays circa 1844:

By virtue of this science the poet is the Namer, or Language-maker, naming things sometimes after their appearance, sometimes after their essence, and giving to every one its own name and not another's, thereby rejoicing the intellect, which delights in detachment or boundary.

The poets made all the words, and therefore language is the archives of history, and, if we must say it, a sort of tomb of the muses for, though the origin of most of our words is forgotten, each word was at a stroke of genius, and obtained currency, because for the moment it symbolizes the world to the first speaker and to the hearer.

The etymologist finds the deadest word to have been once a brilliant picture. Language is fossil poetry. As the limestone of the continent consists of infinite masses of the shells of animalcules, so language is made up of images, or tropes, which now, in their secondary use, have long ceased to remind us of their poetic origin. But the poet names the thing because he sees it, or comes one step nearer to it than any other. This expression, or naming, is not art, but a second nature, grown out of the first, as a leaf out of a tree.

This Emerson quote which I just found comes courtesy of an old friend, Toby, who often goes by the name Bogus Magus on the Maybe Logic Academy boards. Bogus was one of the dozen or so people who made it all the way through of the Tales of the Tribe course.

All this preamble about fossil poems sets up a fossil poem I noticed that abstractly fits with Iggy Pop's Squarehead lyrics. Squarehead is the 10th and final song on Instinct.

You can kick me out of a real good jive
You can use my friendship like a doorknob

You can make me super styrofoam

You can make me feel all alone

You can stuff hamburger in my head

But I ain't gonna be no squarehead

You can tempt me with a pretty girl

You can call on me in fancy fur

You can say, "Just do it, everyone is"

You can tell me that it's just showbiz

You can turn my life from green to red

But I ain't gonna be no squarehead

You can burn my bridges down for laughin', ha ha ha ha
You can call me a fool for crashin', woh

You can make me stare down at the floor

You can make me listen while you snore

You can do all these things that I have said

But I ain't gonna be no squarehead
Let's go!

You can make my position low as a dog

You can trick me with your social fog

You can criticize my very bag

You can call my treasures a heap of slag

But you might as well eat lunch instead

Cause I ain't gonna be no squarehead

I ain't gonna be no squarehead
I ain't gonna be no squarehead

I ain't gonna be no squarehead
No, I ain't gonna be no squarehead

No, I ain't gonna be no squarehead

No, I ain't gonna be no squarehead

No, I ain't gonna be no squarehead

I ain't gonna be no
I ain't gonna be no

The fossil poem comes from a book of potent poetry called The Path Workings of Aleister Crowley: The Treasure House of Images. The author is not Crowley but one of his students, J.F.C. Fuller.

O Thou four-square Crown of Nothing, that circlest the destruction of worlds! I adore Thee, Evoe! I adore Thee, IAO!

IAO is a gnostic name for God.

Ok, so it seems a bit of a stretch, I'm just in one of those moods ... it helps to listen to Squarehead with this fossil poem close by.

PS The Treasure House of Images has been known to work as a sort of bhakti grapple hook for jumping brain circuits, or accessing parallel worlds etc. The book was published by Christopher Hyatt's press, New Falcon in the 1990's.

1 comment:

  1. Iggy's lyrics certainly have some resonance. Even his theme tune, "I Wanna Be Your Dog" is unforgettable. They are poetry as much as many famous "poets" produce.

    I like the concept of fossil poetry. I'll think about that for a while.

    RAWs books had a lot of influence on me, especially the earlier ones. I am still catching up with the some of the later ones. He is very much missed.

    I have looked at the course on the Maybe Logic Academy but taken the plunge. I was never sure if they would be good or not.

    Iggy looks funny in his "four-square Crown of Nothing".