I hate when I discover a cool new (to me) poet from their obituary, but from the homage in Slate today, Jim Carroll sounds like a guy I’d have liked to drink a Scotch with.
Or maybe a cup of coffee. He was a recovering addict after all. He was the guy Leonardo DiCaprio played in The Basketball Diaries. He was a punk rocker, award winning poet, drug addict, Catholic Boy, and, at his lowest, prostitute. His is a story of glory from redemption. I’m a sucker for redemption.
The below is from a poem called “8 Fragments for Kurt Cobain.” Touching knowing that Jim Carroll wrestled the same demons that tortured Kurt Cobain to an uneasy peace. Took one to know one, but Carroll came out the other side. The fact that he died of a heart attack at his desk instead of at the hands of a demon is a testimony to the struggle that helped produce his genius.
Genius is not a generous thing
In return it charges more interest than any amount of royalties can cover
And it resents fame
With bitter vengeance
Pills and powdres only placate it awhile
Then it puts you in a place where the planet’s poles reverse
Where the currents of electricity shift
Your Body becomes a magnet and pulls to it despair and rotten teeth, Cheese whiz and guns
Whose triggers are shaped tenderly into a false lust
In timeless illusion
Hi and bye, Jim. I’ll get your book and have that cup of coffee with you anyway.