Smoke My Herb




When I was young all I had to do was smoke a joint and listen to

“I am the Walrus”

And a poem came out the other end


Four quatrains of quartz

The rhymes were hard as rock

It was tight and mean and manly

The Word before the Cock


And don’t let anyone ever tell you that drugs are bad for you

They’re worth the risk, Man

They’re worth the risk of ten thousand boys and girls jumping off bridges

Because millions of boys and girls find god


They find god when


A straight guy and a gay guy

Will kiss each other, on the cheek

And know that they’re just great friends


They’ll  find god when


He says hello

And she says goodbye
And they smoke herb

And now she always says hi


This is mundane

This is jibberish

This is pitifully pedestrian


But it’s groooooovy man

Yeah it’s got the elan

To make you kill the Klan

And free the guys in the can


And I say yeah man

I speed on the autoban

Say Shima in Pakistan

Say Allah where they eat ham


And I say do it man

Throw your stuff in a moving van

Have sex while you get a tan

Forced entry is the best plan


And I say goo goo ga jube

Goo goo ga jube

Up the Ass without lube

Be sexy sans attitude


This is bequeathed by marijuana

For the brain it’s pure manna

For poets a new stanza

For a painter the pieta


Copyright, David Gottfried, 2012







Diving into the purple sea of acid hot and sweet

The manifold colored canopies, John Lennon’s heated treat

And if perchance on some little psychedelic street

His majestic presence I should conjure-up and meet


I would bow low and kiss his feet most willingly

For he is my English King; I am his servant free

The pulsating electric sounds fill me with glee

They ignite, excite, and I move most exuberantly


Through lanes of pennied plenty that shimmer in the dark

Afternoon of sultry sun redolent with the spark

Of waves of sound that mesmerize and never miss their mark

To that fevered clarion call my heart will always hark


The Royal Court of England is alive, it thrives, it’s well

Despite Charles and Di and that silly, self-made hell

Its scepter is no gilded stick that pirouettes pell mell

But a guitar weeping gently with strange words it needs to tell


But soon those Guitars of glory will no longer cry

Instead the sound will surge and to our delight defy

The crass and coarse commercial sorts who thieve and always


And saturate our ears with talk of what money can buy


Belting-out the Beauty of Byron, Shelly and Keats

A beat of riot and revelry triumphantly repeats

Like ocean waves crashing and smashing old defeats

The seventies and eighties, those dastardly retreats


The foam atop ocean waves screams like a teenage girl

Riding on resplendent waves in a concert’s wondrous whirl

The banners, bands and bombast will furiously unfurl

And we will all be swept up in a vast Stawberried Swirl


Copyright, David Gottfried, 1995

The Sexual Orientation of our Great Rock ‘N Rollers as Explained by Nietzsche

The Sexual Orientation of Our Great Rock ‘n Rollers as Explained by Nietzsche

I’m glad that the title of this little note got your attention and made you decide to read this.  To show my gratitude, I will try to be succinct, scintillating and not fancy shmancy — even though I’m briefly discussing Nietzsche.

In “The Birth of Tragedy,” Nietzsche said that art, among other things, was fueled by the drive to create in one’s art what evaded or eluded one in real life.   This drive manifests itself in the sexuality of some of our most famous Rock ‘n Roll Stars.  In rock, we find that the straightest dudes show their gayness and that gay guys show their straight traits.

For example, John Lennon, by all accounts, was exclusively heterosexual.  Indeed, he wasn’t merely a heterosexual; he was, reputedly, a caricature of  a macho, bruising, bashing son of a bitch.  But who was he in his music?  In addition to giving us explosive and energetic rock ‘n roll, he gave us a sweetness, tenderness and gentleness that seems a bit excessive for a straight guy.  “Imagine” is as sweet as the blackbird that Paul McCartney sung about in the White Album.  “Strawberry Fields Forever” exudes an ethereal, gentle diffidence (“Living is easy with eyes closed”) that straight men just aren’t supposed to have.   A “jealous guy” is ostensibly an apology to a woman he offended, but I don’t think any straight guy ever apologized so contritely and sincerely.  Ditto George Harrison.   He was by all reports straight.  But somehow he wrote a song which sports lyrics and music that seem very, very gay.  I am referring to their early hit, “I’m happy just to dance with you.”  As the title implies, the protagonist in the song, purportedly George, is happy just to dance with his girl and doesn’t even want to “kiss or hold (her) your hand.”    He sounds like a well-dressed gay guy dancing with a woman at a club.   All in all, these men, in their finest works, seem just a tad too cute to be straight.

Similarly, our greatest gay rock ‘n rollers seem to exhibit straightness in their optimal hits.  David Bowie, who in his early work seemed to be queerness amplified by speed and warped by acid, probably reaches the apogee of rock ‘n roll excellence in “Suffragette City,” a stick of dynamite which closes with the memorable line, “Wham Bam, Thank you Maam.”   Elton John, who is refreshingly forthright about his homosexuality, hit a home run with “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting,” a twister of a song which takes the most quotidian of things – bear, girls and fights  – and whips them into a superb sonic frenzy.

However, as I think of Elton’s work, I can’t help but remembering a philosophy professor telling me that there are very few, if any, universal propositions in life.  A universal proposition is something along the lines of All A is B.  Since we should use these propositions sparingly, we shouldn’t rush to conclude that straight men write their great work only when they sound gay or visa versa.  For example, Elton John and David Bowie were pretty damn good, and gave off  more than an inking of gayness, in Rocket Man and “Starman” respectively.  And John Lennon’s nuts are ready to explode a load in “Anytime At All.”  Nevertheless, I think they are at their most enchanting and engrossing when there seems to be an incongruity between their orientation and their music.

Copyright, David Gottfried, 2012

English Classes I Have Known


Jackie did not have to write a word

Or read a word

She was the Word


With a dozen joints in a gilded cigarette case, incipient anorexia, severely short hair, itty

bitty tits, affairs with dozens of men and incessant allusions to imagined lesbian trysts

She was Bloomsbury of Long Island

Lady Jackie of Great Neck

Virginia Woolf on electric guitar


Her Alpha Romeo raced like dactylic meter

Her color coordinated clothing shone with alliteration

And the constancy of her howls and shrieks and yelps

Gave us the vowelled certainty of an inexorable running rhyme


Running her cars into the ground like men,

When she was mad she’d screw with the ignition key and

Kill the car’s starter


But Daddy would pick her up and buy her a new car

And she felt just as special as somebody on Masterpiece Theatre

Screaming at the servants and eating tea and crumpets


Her tantrums at Bagel Nosh were the stuff of legend

She yelled herself into Laurence Olivier doing Richard III

Doped herself into Coleridge and became a Caribbean Mariner

Mushroomed into Lewis Carrol and became John Lennon in drag


And then John Lennon got shot

And Jackie married a lawyer and moved to Westchester

And I’m sure she’s never written a word since


David Gottfried, Copyright, 1998