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“Truth on the scaffold. Wrong on the throne.”

I started GILGAMESH in 1980. I published it twelve years later in 1992. I want to see this done as a Silent Animated Film using limited animation in black and white with color and 3D used for effect. The text of the poem will run across the bottom of the screen (like subtitles in a foreign film). The final film is to be experienced with live music.

“…When at last each man realizes that nothing is to be expected from God, or society, or friends, or benevolent tyrants, or democratic governments, or saints, or saviours, or even that holiest of holies, education, when each man realizes that he must work with his own hands to save himself, and that we need expect no mercy, perhaps then…Perhaps! Even then, seeing what manner of men we are, I doubt. The point is that we are doomed…No God is coming to save us. No system of government, no belief will provide us with that liberty and justice which men whistle for with the death-rattle….What distinguishes the majority of men from the few is their inability to act according totheir beliefs. The hero is he who raises himself above the crowd…To get men to rally round a cause, a belief, an idea, is always easier than to persuade them to live their own lives.

“The role the artist plays in society is to revive the primitive, anarchic instincts which have been sacrificed for the illusion of living in comfort…

‘“I came not to bring peace, but a sword!’ said the great humanitarian. That is not the utterance of a militarist, nor is it the utterance of a pacifist; it is the utterance of one of the greatest artists who ever lived. If his words mean anything they mean that the struggle for life, for more life, must be carried on day by day. It means that life itself is struggle, perpetual struggle. This sounds almost banal, and in fact it has become banal, thanks to the frog-like perspective of Darwin…

“For my part, I will say that whatever else I may want, I know I don’t want work. To live as an artist I stopped work some ten or twelve years ago…Naturally I was not paid to stop work and live as an artist…if one chooses to live his life in his own way he must pay the penalty…I need no leader and no god. I am my own leader and my own god. I make my own bibles. I believe in myself-that is my whole credo.

“…My books are banned in the only countries where I can be read in my own tongue. I have enough faith in myself however to know that I will eventually make myself heard, if not understood. Everything I write is loaded with dynamite which will one day destroy the barriers erected against me.

“…I am against revolutions because they always involve a return to the status quo both before and after the revolutions. I don’t want to wear a black shirt or a red shirt. I want to wear the shirt to suit my taste…Fuck your capitalistic society! Fuck your Communistic society and your Fascist society and all other societies! Society is made up of individuals. It is the individual who interest me-not the society.

“…Freud created a fiction which helped him pass the time away…

“So long as (man) cannot operate as a savage or less than a savage, and think as a god, or better than god, he will suffer…A man who is full of God is outside of faith…When a man is truly creative he works single-handed and he wants no help. A man acting alone, on faith, can accomplish what trained armies are incapable of doing. To believe in one’s self, in one’s own powers, is apparently the most difficult thing in the world…Whenever an English artist of any value has arisen he has been marked as Public Enemy №1.” This is just a brief excerpt. The complete text can be found in THE COSMOLOGICAL EYE by Henry Miller).

The history of the human race has always been, that the theorists (priests) of one generation collect examples and make rules out of them from the lives of the preceding generation, which did not know it was making rules.

As the oyster makes its pearl out of that which causes it grief so to do we.

What people forget (or choose to ignore) is that Jesus has not a single hard word for anyone but priests whom he calls whitewashed tombs filled with decay, robbers of widows and orphans with long feigned prayer and worse (sound like he’s describing the conventional church today).

I am staggered by those who think being queer (eccentric) a sign of weakness (intellectual or otherwise): From ON LIBERTY by John Stuart Mill; “The initiation of all wise or noble things comes and must come from individuals; generally at first from some one individual. The honor and glory of the average man is that he is capable of following that initiative; that he can respond to wise and noble things: I am not countenancing the sort of ‘hero worship’ which applauds the strong man of genius for forcibly seizing on the government and making it do his bidding in spite of itself. All he can claim is freedom to point the way. The power of compelling others into it is not only inconsistent with the freedom and development of the rest, but corrupting to the strong man himself. It does seem, however, that when the opinions of masses of merely average men are everywhere become or becoming the dominant power, that the counterpoint and corrective to that tendency would be the more and more pronounced individuality of those who stand on the higher eminences of thought. It is in these circumstances most especially, that exceptional individuals, instead of being deterred, should be encouraged in acting differently from the mass. In other times there was no advantage in doing so, unless they acted not only differently but better. In this age, the mere example of non-conformity, the mere refusal to bend the knee to custom, is itself a service. Precisely because the tyranny of opinion is such as to make eccentricity a reproach, it is desirable, in order to break through that tyranny, that people should be eccentric.

“Eccentricity has always abounded when and where strength of character has abounded; and the amount of eccentricity in a society has generally been proportional to the amount of genius, mental vigor and moral courage it contained. That so few now dare to be eccentric marks the chief danger of the time.”

Bad as it was in Mill’s time it is far worse in ours thus the need to be queer is even more pronounced.

I was in Montreal in 1992 doing a show. I was supposed to be there for three days (Saturday, Sunday, Monday). Saturday & Sunday we were sold out. I was to get 50% of the door. I could not get an honest reply from the management. I tore up the money and returned to Toronto a day early.

Wherever I had gone in Montreal I kept seeing a very intense looking young man.

In Toronto I was presenting a program of films by Jean Cocteau at my Cineforum (located in my home). A friend was supposed to run the program. I called, told him I was back. He said, “I had planned on doing it. Why don’t I take care of them coming in? You take care of them leaving?”

I saw none of the people who came in. One of the people leaving was the twin, doppelganger, of the fellow I kept seeing in Montreal. I said to myself, “This is interesting.” To him I said, “Would you care for a beer?”

He did. We talked. Peter asked to live with me. He brought in a number of books on poets and poetry. In one of them Allen Ginsberg spoke of how he had been blocked as a poet until he realized if he put three words to a line he had a poem. I thought, “I can do that.”

I put Peter in charge of my screenings while I poured out a free verse retelling of the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh. I passed it around after I self published it.

Here is what some friends said:

“Magical. Very, very powerful.” — John Herbert (author of FORTUNE AND MEN’S EYES).

“Remarkable.” — Thomson Highway (The Rez Sisters).

“Magical. It made me tingle.” — Al Aronowitz.*

“A page turner.” — Judith Merril (mother of modern SF — speculative fiction).

“Amazing. I really liked it.” — Jane Jacobs (author of THE DEATH AND LIFE OF GREAT AMERICAN CITIES, DARK AGE AHEAD).

“I did not know Reg Hartt is a poet. I did not think free verse suited to the epic form. When I started it I did not think I would like it but Hartt pulled it off. GILGAMESH is written with great power. It is better than anything by the half dozen people who regularly win prizes for poetry in this country. The sexual scenes are suitably barbaric. The naked flesh has been returned to the bare bones of the epic. Hartt has traveled the hero’s journey to the dark side of existence.” — John Robert Colombo.

Not too shabby.

Nonetheless, this came about BECAUSE I tore up the money, returned a day earlier than I meant to and found a remarkable young man whom Destiny had determined I must meet.

Until One Is Committed

Until one is committed there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back,
always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way. I have learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets: Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. — W. H. Murray, THE
SCOTTISH HIMALAYAN EXPEDITION.

The commitment is not to God or a political party or to any thing mundane.

It is to our selves.

I had begun GILGAMESH in 1980. Took me twelve years of thinking and then welcoming an absolute stranger into my life.

In ancient times people said, “Always welcome the stranger. He could be one of the gods.” In early Christianity people said, “Always welcome the stranger. He could be Jesus.”

In our time people lock the door to the stranger.

Not at my house.

“We have the seed of God in us. Hazel seeds grow hazel trees. Pear seeds grow pear trees. God seeds grow….” — Meister Eckhart.

“To those who receive him, even to those who believe on his name, Jesus gives the power to become begotten children of God. Our birth is not by flesh nor blood nor the will nor power of man but by God.” — John 1: 12–14.

Takes arrogance to believe that. Arrogance comes from the Latin “arrogare.” It means to “claim for one’s self.”

Scripture calls us to be humble towards God but to be arrogant towards men.

“Whatever the world condemns you for, make it your own. It is your self.”-Jean Cocteau.

CRAZY JANE TALKS WITH THE BISHOP

I met the Bishop on the road And much said he and I.
“Those breasts are flat and fallen now,
Those veins must soon run dry;
Live in a heavenly mansion,
Not in some foul pigsty.”

“Fair and foul and near of kin,
And fair needs foul,” I cried,
“My friends are gone, but that’s the truth
Nor grave nor bed denied,
Learned in bodily lowliness
And in the heart’s pride.

“A woman can be proud and stiff
when on love intent;
But love has pitched his mansion in
The place of excrement;
For nothing can be sole or whole
That has not first been rent!”

  • William Butler Yeats.

This is the great dilemma; that love has pitched his mansion in the house of piss and shit.

This is why so many disdain earthly love for something they think better, higher.

It is neither better nor higher.

God bless Crazy Jane.

  • Al Aronowitz wrote the first positive press about Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs. He had been sent to write a hatchet piece on them. He said. “When I heard them I realized for the first time in my life I was in the presence of living poets.” He introduced Bob Dylan to Allen Ginsberg and The Beatles. He was the only American journalist The Beatles would talk to when they played Shea Stadium. Miles Davis justly had no love for white men. He loved Al. He paid for the funeral of Al’s wife. Al became my friend. I was told as a young man in high school I had the wrong attitude and would starve in two weeks if I left high school that day. Had I not walked out that instant I would have starved. We are called to have faith in something much harder to believe in than God or Jesus. As Henry Miller wrote, “To believe in one’s self, in one’s own powers, is apparently the most difficult thing in the world…Whenever an English artist of any value has arisen he has been marked as Public Enemy №1.”

Yes, it is. Yes, we are.

In a moment when America is being trumped by mediocrity we need more people willing to be Public Enemy №1.

http://www.blacklistedjournalist.com/ .

Canadian publishers tell me there is no market for my work. That’s fine by me. My work is not done for the market. No artist’s work is.

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