The Death Of Cool
Gods do not need to wear gold shoes.
Shoes of disco air breathed by Nike,
shoes to be drunk in slowly
gazing through glass at night.
I would sell half of myself
in a heartbeat
to journey shod
in reflections of hope.
Cool is gone.
No more rippling surface
and forest shade
hushing us to stellar reflection,
beseaching us to
outsiders on the inside,
use our brain cells,
Excerpt from The Death of Cool published by Cold Lips. Please purchase a copy of Cold Lips 3 Featuring Douglas Hart here for the full poem:
The concept of Hungry Ghosts exists across many forms of Buddhism. A typical Tibetan image is of tear-shaped bodied creatures with bloated stomachs and pin-like necks, in perpetual need. This is often interpreted as a paradigm for hauntings of the soul manifest as addiction, compulsions and attachments, all driven by a sense of unmet human need for love. Intense emotional needs are being expressed in an animalistic manner. Some attribution is linked to neglect of ancestors. Perhaps, more accurately it is the neglect BY our ancestors (parents) that creates this hunger, although Buddhism teaches us that our responsibility then lies in how we manage this in order to be compassionately at peace with our identities. Easier said than done.
The poem explores the concept in relation to the prevailing hunger for social media and cyber gratification, neoliberalist consumption, and, of course, beautiful shoes (fetish).
The other idea is in looking at the shift away from the cultural paradigm of Cool- which includes notions of aloof or objective intelligence, celebration of outsider-identity and originality being valued. The shift to the street word Sick, although thought to originate in skateboarder speak in California, now signifies quality within a landscape of gratuitous reproduction and is a near physiological meme. What is served by the use of a negative term as a positive qualifier? Are we all sick right now and needing to normalise or voice it? Or is this a counter- cultural reclamation of stigma? Evolutionary Language scholars will have many more ideas, but I personally mourn The Death of Cool as a signifier of the devaluing of originality.
Valerie Solanas is understandably not celebrated for her attempt to kill Warhol. She was, in fact, a friend and peer of his who had significantly contributed to feminist discourse through her “Society for Cutting Up Men” manifesto, where both violence and intelligence are justified. What I love about The SCUM Manifesto is the Freudian inversion – where womb envy displaces penis envy as the societal cause of undesired phenotypes. Whether parody or not, this is a piece of art in its bold focus on the control mechanisms imposed on the female body extending through the discourse of psychoanalysis so that inferiority is built as innate mental architecture. Such is the insidious tenure of the discourse.
The poem attempts to contextualise the act as performative and embodying social activism.
I have to thank the book ‘The Lonely City’ as inspiration, written by the talented Olivia Laing.
Your locks should have been oiled
with coconut not patchouli.
Surely your research truly
could have, should have,
shocked the establishment out of
the confusion, this allusion
to the Asian flowering plant
would have offended the resident Dryad of your mother’s reading room Waterhouse.
She, furious and beguiling,
would rather you had washed your locks amongst the other daffodils and then fucked off
away from their sylvan realm
to drum, hum-drum, melancholy,
you and your pedigree dawg on
a Rajisthani hand-loom string
eating black organic lentils
from Notting Hill.
You want world peace and I do too
I see the gentleness inside of you
a gradient of joy as we ascend
the concrete steps to the free party
after dusk, no cicadas just cigarette ends
Yours are American Spirit which
taste nice like smoke signals
of the heart and I always liked the
printed blue and yellow
but again Fuck Off
you are smarter than this
so apply that colossal and heritage
mind to dissolving the sunset
and painting a modern picture
of union not that Benetton
hand-holding of the 90’s but
conversation and giant ears
listening, like a hares up on the Heath
in the spring breeze, open.
Come invest yourself in a true way
and I will too.
I will work hard to peel away the
onion skins of city, migration, misfit.
Sell the Waterhouse for refugee bread
and let’s preach on the road
of the endless distractions
we battle today, we who seek
gentleness and mother-branches
to break our fall and green to enrobe us.
Come let’s dance on the table tops;
and I mean the cracked white melamine ones-
auction off the oak dining tables
and death beds,
Come, we are free.
London opens its arms to artists of The Old Order. It’s Members Only clubs sink with gold crafted into the charm bracelets of New Brittania, heirlooms of hedonism and the aesthetics of the Modern Romantics. It is possible to build art and microsociety when one has means in West London.
This observation undermines itself as performs it’s own othering. How boring to fall prey to that which you abhor. Societal chains and shoulder chips are boundaries enabling growth of energy. All humans can apply this energy to develop themselves and culture.
But do we have to bring in the personal? Autobiography is a necessary autopsy. From reflecting on it we learn means of freedom including relationally.