The above isn’t what I would call a banner reflection of my early twenties. I still had years of east coast winters and a lot of using ahead of me. I wouldn’t quit smoking cigs for nearly another 15, and to be honest, when I recently found this photo it brought tears to my eyes. I don’t even know where the black eye came from. These are years I’ll never get back that were spent on people I’ll never remember. But this is where I come from. This is where I write to you from. This is what I still see when I look in the mirror on my most broken days.
There are days when I can’t write. Days when I seemingly don’t know any words and have never had one valid life experience to speak of. Days when I don’t know what any of this is for. So I read. And I hang out with other people who read as if it’s their oxygen. And we go to this place together on Sundays, and we listen to a brilliant woman, and she tells us to make our pens do things, and we make our pens do those things.
On one of those particular days, we considered a poem entitled “Where I’m from” by George Ella Lyon. We were given twelve minutes to write our own version of “Where I’m From”. I share it with you because of it’s imperfections. It’s a vulnerable free-write. If you’re a writer, you’re privy to the blizzard-white hell of a blank page. Try something like this…any writing prompt, really. They work, and you end up penning articles that couldn’t have composed otherwise. Good luck. And enjoy.
Where I’m From (based on the poem by George Ella Lyon)
I am from the Blank Generation
If you’re from there too, then you can take it or leave it each time
I am from unsturdy tree houses with tables for writing
And bottles for spinning
Silent with my thoughts
The cool air carried grass and manure
Laced with honeysuckle and dad’s steaks
I am from the come home by dark, stay out of traffic, no allowance until the weeding is done trying times of an unruly youth.
Don’t get dead; he always said that
I’m from the night denizen, after-hours, what’s it cut with, who the fuck cares crew.
It smelled like gasoline and it tasted that way too
It burned as it begged, always, will we wake up tomorrow?
I’m from the last zones of freedom
Running the streets, sleeping in the fields, safety under bridges school of thought
I’m from the mind of an honor roll drop-out
I’m from subdued therapists, pharmaceutical fixers, desperate parenting of the 90’s type times
I never ate the pills
Not the ones you wanted me to
I’m from runaways
I’m from integrity that doesn’t look too unlike elitism to you
I’m from kindness
I’m from the sludge and decay and the cracking of the door frame
The lock that stayed latched based on trust and not hardware
I’m from the rats at my feet as I’m waiting for the door to open
I need my two minutes
I’m from that part of town
by beth blaszczyk
What’s the deal with the clandestine blog titles, man? Allow me to explain. My devotion lies in few places, but where it does, it doesn’t so much lie as it does, instead, take root. Relentless root. Unforgiving and unwavering. Over time, these few places will be revealed… but number one, in the forefront, is Punk Rock. It’s influence on my young brain, as well as the permanent markings on my adult brain, are well explained in the first blog. But what does the title mean?
I’ve decided to devote the “Pages” part of my blog to explaining this to anyone who cares. This won’t be too in depth, but it will follow a pattern. They’re on here for a reason. That’s all you need to know.
Begin. “What We Do Is Secret” : The opening track of the approximately 38 minute, debut (and only) full length EP released by The Germs, called “GI”, in 1979. The subject of a painting, done by me, hanging on my wall about 15 feet away from me right now. The tattoo that ‘s scratched into the left side of my rib cage. Listen here: What We Do Is Secret
“Pleased To Meet Me”. The title of The Replacements 1987 Full Length offering on Sire Records. The band that was introduced to me by a pen pal called “Kevin Person” when I was 14. The band that led me to the discovery of Alex Chilton, who led me to a bit of self discovery, who later asked me, “Can I put my haaands on you?” in that sexy, slow Louisiana drawl of his when I was 22. I said “Yes”. The band who’s bassist I would date exactly 13 years later while living in Hollywood, California, who would gift to me the 1950’s vintage telephone chair that still sits next to my bed today, and who would (ironically) break up with me over the phone from somewhere on a midwestern tour date. If he was from venus…
“Banned In DC”. A fucking Epic punk rock song by the infamous, seminal, legendary Bad Brains, out of Washington, DC. Released on their second full length album entitled “Rock For Light” in 1983, but recognizable to most from their 2003 compilation release, of the same name, which depicts the now iconic picture of the White House being struck by lightning. You Can’t Hurt Me. Why? I’m banned in DC.
Blank Generation. A generational theme song of sorts from Richard Hell and The Voidoids. It’s track 7 on the self-titled 1976 Sire Records release. You could guarantee I would play this song as part of every set during my early days of DJing back in Philly and New York. It was sexy and lingering in the way a first kiss can be. Played toward the end of the night, it was a kind of audio foreplay to set up the after hours choices to be made and, at almost three minutes in length, it’s enough time to …well, get a lot of important things done behind those decks. Enjoy here: I Was Saying Let Me Out Of He
Lastly, “Holy Commotion”. The latest soulful outcry from The Pretenders. Brand Fucking New. A bit more pop-driven than early Pretenders and, arguably, slightly over produced, but the message is poignant and the execution perfectly timed. Chrissie can do no wrong in my book and I’m not surprised that she’s still delivering to us what simply Must be heard. Because, I too… I want To Free Your Mind
by beth blaszczyk
#whereimfrom #punkrock #blankgeneration #poetry