Monday, August 23, 2010

Acceptance: Kill Poet

Kill Poet said to me: "you write good. real good.
we'd like to use a piece for issue9 which will drop soon.

Kill Poet is not just a poetry journal. It is a multimedia immersion in a hard-bitten subculture that embraces the grotesque and the violent, perhaps drawing some of its knife-edged momentum from the legendary Grand Guignol.

On the other hand, perhaps not. Kill Poet is utterly fresh in its avant-garde fatalism, the amoral plunge into a collage of altered states, taboo fixes, and symbolic murders. It’s a wildly popular venue judging from the four thousand followers on MySpace. Readings at Lestat’s Coffee House in San Diego seem (from YouTube) horribly well attended.

Cut Bukowski in half, trim him young and mad, then fuck with his brain chemistry to reflect the situational anguish of today’s youth--then suture that onto body parts of Mrs. Lovett and Green Day--and you get some idea of what’s going on at Kill Poet.

Make no mistake, though, this is not a garbage dump of mindless gore. The great salvation of kp is its literary merit, the excellence that forgives and even encourages its explorations and subversions.

As the United States plunges into dismal pain due to a gluttonous housing-market binge, two senseless wars, and a numb reliance on debt to support a craving for material fluff, Kill Poet may become the spearhead of a graphic yet eloquent dissent. If I were young, as the kp crowd seems to be, I would be disgusted with the leadership of the Empire for pissing away my future during an insipid and evil binge.

I’m an old geezer and I’m disgusted with the Empire. We all should be.

And yet most of us continue to chew our cud in bovine resignation. But not at Kill Poet. Their black-and-red motto is, Viva La Poem!

Poetry might be all this country has left for its younger generations. Even the basic supplies needed by a painter--oils, brushes, easel, canvas--are unaffordable. Someone needs to speak the truth, even indirectly, about our deranged wonderland of commercials and bombs.

But then again, Kill Poet refuses to be put in a box as a protest zine. It is many things liable to many interpretations, but in the end it is the underground masterwork of Jason Neese and Cat Benitez and whoever else is involved.

The only way to begin to fathom this site is to go there and start being killed yourself. The words of the editors, from the “editors’ page,” are a good place to begin dying. I humbly present you the first few lines, which deserve to be etched in a wall somewhere in blood (there is, in fact, a picture at kp of a poem apparently written in blood):

i am a few things.
i publish poetry
but i am not
just a poetry press
as my name
would allude to
i do want to end you
but not in the way you think.
it will be an honor
killing your perceptions
of poetry, only to
reanimate them


A final caveat and plea: If we close our minds to the genius of Kill Poet just because it is disturbing, we sacrifice empathy for comfort; and those without empathy lose contact with half of their own minds.


1 comment: