Title: Poetry
Subtitle: Centerfold, outer side
Author: Guerrilla
Date: 1968
Notes: Fifth Estate #69, December 26, 1968-January 8, 1969

  The Consumer Society Must Die a Violent Death







      for east harlem summer ’67



[Web Archive note: This centerfold insert is a two-sided 15 x 22 inch poster, of which this page can be considered the back side. The other side of the poster is rendered at https://www.fifthestate.org/archive/69-december-26-1968-january-8-1969/poetry-2/ .]

The Consumer Society Must Die a Violent Death



Victor Coleman

from: ‘James Crawford’ for the Six Nations

to: Sir Frederick Haldimand, January 3, 1782

Father, we send you herewith many scalps

that you may see that we are not idle friends.


Father, we wish you to send these scalps over the water to the Great King

that he may regard them & be refreshed; that he may see our faithfulness in destroying his enemies & be convinced that his presents have not been made to an ungrateful people.


Father, attend to this for it is a matter of much weight

The Great King’s enemies are many

& grow fast in number.

They were formerly like young panthers

who could neither scratch nor bite

we could safely play with them

& feared nothing they could do to us;

but now their bodies are becoming big

as elk & strong as buffalo.

They have great & sharp claws now

& have driven us out of our country

for taking part in your quarrel.


We expect the Great King will give us another country

that our children may live after us & be his friends.


Say this for me to the Great King.


Father, we have only to say further

that your traders exact more for their goods—

our hunting is lessened by the war

so that we have fewer skins to offer them

which ruins us.

Think of some remedy.


We are poor

& you have plenty of everything.

We know you will send us powder

& guns & knives & hatchets

but we also want shirts & blankets.

I do not doubt that your Excellency

will think it proper to give

some further encouragement to those honest people.

The high prices they complain of

are a necessary effect of the war.

Whatever presents may be sent for them will be

distributed through my hands with prudence & fidelity.


I send herewith to your Excellency under the care of James Boyd eight pecks of scalps, cured, dried, hooped & painted with all the Indian triumphal marking

of which the following is invoice & explanation:

1. 43 scalps of Congress soldiers

killed in different skirmishes

stretched on black hoops of 4 inch diameter

the inside of the skin is painted red with a small black dot

to note these men were killed with bullets

Also 62 of farmers

killed in their homes

with red hoops the skin painted brown

and marked with a hoe

a black circle all around

their being surprised in the night

& in the center a black hatchet

significant of the weapon with which they were slain


2. 98 of farmers

killed in their homes

hoops red

figure of a hoe to mark their profession

great white circle & sun

for they were surprised in daylight—

a small red foot

shows they stood on their defense

died fighting for their families.


3. 97 of farmers

killed in their fields

hoops green

a large white circle

with a little round mark for the sun

for daylight

black bullet marks on some

hatchets on others.


4. 102 of farmers

mixed of the several marks above

only 18 with a little yellow flame

to mark their being prisoners

who were burned alive after scalping—

their nails had been pulled out at the roots

& other torments—one of these

we supposed to be a rebel clergyman

his hand being fixed to the hoop of his scalp.


5. 88 of women

hair long & braided in the Indian fashion

to show they were mothers

hoops blue

skin yellow

ground with little tadpoles

to represent the tears of grief

a black scalping knife

or hatchet at the bottom

17 others hair very grey

black hoops

plain brown colour

no mark but the short club

or cassetate to show they were

knocked down dead or had their brains beat out.


6. 103 of boys of various ages

small green hoops

whitish ground on the skin

red tears in the middle

a black bullet mark

knife, hatchet or club.


7. 211 of girls big & little

small yellow hoops

white ground




scalping knife, etc.


8 This package is a mixture of all the varieties

mentioned above to the number of 122 with a box of birchbark containing

29 little infants’ scalps various sizes

small white hoops


Tam-UZ Fiofori.




























Diane di Prima


Even the sunsets here havent won me over

Havent convinced me

Simply, this isnt to me familiar land

Pink ears of jackrabbits high among the sagebrush

Dont tell me any different


I suppose we all learn; there is in Herodotus

the tale of Greek soldiers settling near Thebes

each given a woman, and land, one woman

so like another, one field...

But they at least moved from glitter into gold:

As we step backwards even the clay becomes coarser

my thoughts echo big against the high, flat valley

they roll back, bigger than life, to devour my dreams


Red people in blankets wait for returning woodchucks.

(I know it, though they dont say it)

and beavers

and chipmunks, and possums, and otters, gophers, white people

poison the prairie dogs, if a dog find a dead one & eat it

he dies—what kind of game

is that?


Red people in blankets stand on their high flat roofs

outlined against the sky

they chant—they sing and pray and it could be

Morocco except the houses arent white

the women sell jewelry, giggling, the little boys

catch fish with their bare hands, in the sacred river


The city I want to visit is made of porcelain

The dead are gathered there, they are at their best:

Bob Thompson

in his checked jacket & little hat, his grin

full of cocaine, spinning down the street; Frank drunk

spitting out tales of Roussel, of Mayakovsky

brief anecdotes over bacon and eggs on a roll,

his keenness against the wind; Fred in pointed shoes

drinking an egg cream, his leotard over his shoulder

in a little bag, waving amphetamine hands at the sky


The porcelain city glitters, I feel my friends

hastening to join it & to join me there:

Bob Creeley tearing through Buffalo streets seeking entry

John Wieners holding still, mumbling and waiting

tears under his eyelids; I walk in that brittle city

still sleepy and arrogant and desperatly in love...


How did we come here? my bones

keep asking me.

They see themselves lying bleached on the sand floor of the valley

they dont like it

dont like it at all


the moon like a bleached skull

sits behind an abandoned house

the house is melting, it is becoming

part of the field


Which ones are weeds? the garden

teeters on the edge of success

We live in a mud cave, with a stone floor

a rather luxurious cave, with running water.


One thing they never mention in Western movies or those

ballads they’re always writing about wide open spaces:

Sagebrush has a smell

And there are hills, distinctly flesh-colored, lying down

in front of the purple ones.

O wondrous wide open spaces!

O dust on the roads!

O Rio Grande Gorge!

Green Taos valley full of thunderstorms and mosquitoes

Mountain with two peaks, sacred to Taos indians

Great ceremonial lake, fought over in congress

O Taos Indians, with your braids wrapped in leather

may you keep your sacred lake and whatever else

you would like to keep

may you drink with brother buffalo on its edge

when no one at all remembers the US congress


As for me I have just changed from the D to the A train

in a dark tunnel you Indians wouldn’t believe

a metal tube is shrieking as it carries me to an island

with four million people on it, eating supper.

The newspaper tells me that there is a war in Newark.

My hope is small but constant: black men shall tear down

the thing they cannot name.

They will make room again for the great sea birds

the woods

will spring up thicker than even you remember


Where you are, it is two hours earlier

the breeze is cold, the sun is very hot

the horses are standing around, wishing for trees

It is possible I shall see you dance again

on your hills, in your beads, if the gods are very kind.


Caryl P. Haskins, Of Men and Societies, ch. 3

Alaric (c. 370–410), chief of the Visigoths from 395 to his death, conqueror of Rome,

(E.A.Thompson in Encyclopedia Britannica)

Alaric al a rik, Gothic king and conqueror:

(unsigned article in Encyclopedia Americana)

He is not mentioned at all in Heichelman & Yeo’s HISTORY OF THE ROMAN PEOPLE (intended & heavily promoted as a college text, Prentice Hall 1962) nor in the very good OXFORD COMPANION TO CLASSICAL LITERATURE. Starr, A HISTORY OF THE ANCIENT WORLD has (Thank God! I know the man.) the sense to mention the sack though all he says about it is that “the event shocked the empire.” Scramuzza and MacKendrick, THE ANCIENT WORLD (my favorite text, Holt 1958) give it a pretty good paragraph, indicating something of the importance of the event, both as event and as symptom, but they should have referred the student to Gibbon’s great setpiece on the sack (DECLINE & FALL’ ch. XXXI), the ultimate source of their paragraph. Rostovtzeff, ROME (reprint of vol 2 of his SOCIAL & ECONOMIC HISTORY OF THE ANCIENT WORLD’ Oxford 1930) doesn’t mention the sack at all. Rostovtzeff’s is the most widely used, at least at the better colleges, and influential textbook of Roman history.

Two reasons for the cover up: fear that it’s gonna happen “here” as it must and ‘cause, since we won over the indians, it’s important to believe that winners are the good guys, so:

However rugged or self reliant the individual Iroquois or Algonquin, Australian Bushman or Zulu—however superior in many features his sensory and mental organization—his loosely knit society has been destroyed or absorbed by the closely knit units of some dominant people wherever there has been serious competition.


Sam Abrams

the accident of the gun


arrival at the tip of africa

50 yrs too soon

cause some hittite

someone in hittite territory

learned how

to make iron swords

to use the horse in

such a way

single inventions made

as it happens here or there or

rather one invention

on the coast of asia minor by semite

or greek

accident of geography

epistimology &

dont let em tell you

science does work is

even beautiful

that mess of

colonial fucking administrators

drunk failed-at-home deserter

shipwreck a parliment

also not in the library


beautiful people

dancing in long lines free feet beat on earth

a few more guns already the principles of fire control

a few more

guns would have done the job

The king of the Goths who no longer dissembled his appetite for plunder & revenge, appeared in arms under the walls of the capital; and the trembling senate, without any hopes of relief, prepared by a desperate resistance to delay the ruin of the country. But they were unable to guard against the secret conspiracy of their slaves and domestics, who either from birth or interest were attached to the cause of the enemy. At the hour of midnight the Salarian gate was silently opened, and the inhabitants were awakened by the tremendous sound of the Gothic trumpet. Eleven hundred and sixty-three years after the foundation of Rome, the Imperial City, which had subdued and civilised so considerable a part of mankind, was delivered to the licentious fury of the tribes of Germany and Scythia.

August 24, 410 A.D.


Marcelle Schwab

This is the teaching: Destroy, destroy, destroy. Destroy within yourself, destroy all around you. Make room for your soul and for other souls. Destroy, because all creation proceeds from destruction....For all building up is done with debris, and nothing in the world is new but shapes. But the shapes must be perpetually destroyed...Break every cup from which you drink.

for east harlem summer ’67

Victor Hernandez Cruz

August 5, 1967

to wreck the store you buy your wears in

to feel & see the glass bouncing off the ground

to see & feel those things

later defining points

bad & points good this

shit & that idea

the idea of familiar streets friends of yours

ripped someone out his cage someone some punks

the papers said some punks some friends of mine

with scars from 1959 with holes in the veins

from 1963 with sons & daughters with mothers

save in the projects some old men lifting their

arms for the first time in years grand pops i

say i saw grand pops you punks

trying to burn down gas stations why you

should be shame

of yourself

trying to overturn innocent parked cars

why you should hide your face

smashing bottles against the precinct walls

why you would jail yourself

throwing gasoline bombs

why you should pray for now on

knocking the ground off its legs like that

breaking the A&P & taking milk & oven golden

sliced bread Hunts Tomato Sauce Coca Cola

bottles you later threw at your friendly police

you were drunk the papers said drunk teen-agers

who had no jobs winos who ran up a block one

punk had a bow&arrow two punks with rifles

sitting by garbage cans ready to be aimed & fired

at the friendly police a girl punk going in

front of the cops & yelling telling them to

kiss her ass you dumb you racist gringo you

worst then devils you think you bad with those

big guns the girl punk with a sore throat was

carried away by friends the night exploding.

the papers said you were drunk BUT WE KNOW WE WERE HIGH.


for roberto and adalaida fernandez retamar

Margaret Randall (from The Vessels)

i too remember the place

when the place was not a corner, not easily


or something more abstract


making it knowable, come

follow me you have seen it the eye going out

along the top of a wall

a garden you know on the other side

perfectly combed

or not, a place to sit down in.


that is how you count backwards, put

yourself again in that place

able to take in your fingers, separate,

your parents are going to cape town


they have no reason not to

no reason

to say

on a matter of principle

i will make sacrifice, when it isn’t,

not even that.


if born in the clean of things it’s the scum

that draws, attracts,

always come to the tongue and so you go

to bronx or the lower east side

sit on the stoop


the same hand and the hand remains

the same

a balance

ice in your mouth, warm blood

between your legs.


it’s a good place that does not

charge too much, tells no tales

behind you

you are gone into godhead and powered grace

what is not yours

you’re sold

under the counter or through the mail


is felt, the pain

killed before it comes,

every pore protected.


but sudden the place becomes the corner

is joined

of itself is met

on a wild death, the terrible cries don’t stop

in your ears

in your mouth you taste the words


in you

wanting to change them make them more plain

hide them from breath they blow

on the water all the new nets

that sing.


i am gone now but that place

is cut in me

crazy the words that loose their days and nights


before me along the same wall in the garden, yes,

you remember

she who taught me this

when i knew i was going to die

i said

i will learn to die well and when i lived

now i will know how to live,

my hands that are


my brothers.


Robert Kelly

A place to stand. No verb, no need for that. All these days (a season

is a year) rejected any

place to stand that wasnt flesh. My flesh. All days

I have spent to keep doors open. Know less than all

more than enough

(Hamilton a spook

down to his throw-back hair, ochre macaroon, Washington’s black son

thin pale man eating our money

West Indigo blue eye, glint blue of the gleet

of silver, greasy as a quarter——young,chemcraft kits detect:

bogus coin, of bog, the Irish

got here in good time (where’s here?),

issued in JFK & me

who will both survive (long pause, all gold)

as lyrists. Chrysea,phorminx

gold ribs of a woman’s

vault o get the sound, spray the sound on the merciless air. Low Mao

has fallen, from old forms, marx the 60 cycle hum, in the helectric

hitself, cant get it out

without you turn (the whole set off)

And turn again

faithful Castro, langobard of libertad, be gentle to makers who would suck

your sugarcane. No man in power

hungers power. No god

aspires to be god. Go to confession & confesh

I worked for liberty, let

them give it to me up the ass

what church will take a girl like me, she said

& from the gold vault of the western sky, did thunder down silver


on the ground: o lick me up, I sing in your pregnancy, I see

(it was the tape going round that spoke)

the baby in your womb all red & wet

(It was the Bank in the matrix of the Union, the inter

est on the national debt

it was that halfbreed villain Hamilton. every


turns fascist fast. Flash) Nothing degenerates like success

Good scientists bad alchimists)

it was a boy, I saw the cock

nestled in phylogeny, drearing its way down

the history books. It was Rhoda went to Israel, patriot of the rain,

shot. arabs with her tits,

hips over Jordan, wet out of Nazareth.

No man in power. The girls. get down to it. Honey

dont go in today. tell you boss go

suck Castro’s sugarcane. no man in power. no man in power.

you cant verb a thing

without a place to stand. That’s what I gave, no liberty but to do

the work you are. where you are. to verb & go on verbing. No

man in power. the big black cock. gets it up for peace). fifty

states on a dead man’s chest. Bay of Pigs

between her legs. he could not

conquer. any night. Invade. Invade. Better to be dead,

unread, than not to say truth. Truth is

what you make.

The moral. imagination of a simplistic man. is even enough.

Hamilton be damned. Money be damned. I saw the whole

creation travailing for me, me & Kennedy (martyrs!

I am with you in your tombs) a place to stand.

Chrysea phorminx

gold sinews of a woman’s strength

I sing on. on. on.

Bank or no bank, it would not have mattered, the people

had no choice. no interest. what mattered to em

nothing mattered. no ground,

no place to stand. You cannot rent. an opinion

you cannot repay

A fact. Usura was part & parcel of money,

still is & once you own

(use) anything, the use is interest.

Earth pays her price

for our tillage. (pay as you go & git). Experiment

becomes. fascism. There are enough interruptions

for everyman.

this is me, the American.

The old square harp shaped like an open door. The old song

shaped like a dollar bill & by jesus it does sing

green in the evening. I have spent my day. opening the door.

golden lyre. who can believe your honey

tongue in my head. they shot

him through the throat, did that matter,

they pinned the crime

on somebody standing by with no mouth. did that matter?

we will stand

on the corners of music . we will fight

by the rivers of freedom

we will hear the . song to the end.