I do not endorse a way of life but describe one,
and the audience is left to make its own decisions and judgments.
This is what I consider freedom of speech, freedom of expression,
and freedom of thought.
The poet’s miracle is that he turns sin into song,
deified and defiled, at once nothing, self-made, someone
bleeding hi-fi, a low-life living high, inaudible
until he defies stereo logic, opening minds
and third eyes like cauterized wounds, red peppered flesh swollen
to bells stretched with his talon’s inscrutable mark, talent
his work burns on, tongue a tattooing dart he champions
like cancer’s cure, his words crawl across opposition’s floor,
telling the world all it fights for will go unheard, unless
those crabs in its bucket join his war or go fuck themselves,
until freedom’s extended to a global consciousness,
only then will the poet have finished, expression what
keeps old wounds clean, unclean souls from becoming cold machines,
speech emboldens and frees us when our fears wringing prestige
threaten to keep us greasing the old regime’s grey guns, when
we’re the weapon, ev’ry one of us has balls, a canon,
an audience writhing for enlightenment, our heads tired
of being bored, we need poets not to fill but open
wide our hungry holes, well-paid perverts whose verse will wake us
the hell up and shake the headboard, whose poetry tastes of
electric weather, curling toes with its wicked letters,
twisted faces of the type that makes silence go further,
fingering to unhinged whisper, damp throats unaccustomed
to coming when called, damned to wait out the storm’s calm down in
cellars with other hell-raisers no one’s rooting for, our
fellow soothsayers, those rich singers in whose throats silver
solutions linger, truth they’ll pour like swirling mercury
into ears thirsting for what already fills arteries.
1Madonna, in a speech delivered to the Italian press on her arrival in Rome on July 11, 1990, written in response to the Vatican calling for the banning of her Blond Ambition World Tour. Filmed and televised by Rai Uno, Italy’s national public service broadcaster, live from Rome Ciampino Airport.