Mar 19

Coffee and Donuts on Ice

The Minister of Information
sits quietly in the Happy Donut
next to the seventy five year old
anarchist who doubles as his landlord.

The Minister of Information
wears his multi-colored
“Cleaver sleeve” pants
with their twelve inch
if they’re a foot codpieces.
He’s been sporting them
on the spoken word scene
sporting them all over town apparently.

He still owns dozens of them
from the Hollywood boutique
he opened briefly in the mid-70’s
in order to steal back “Fashion”
from the evil homosexual cabal

after beating charges back from exile
before registering Republican
before registering born again
and finally registering LDS.

“Say it. Say his name,” you curse.

The Minister of Information
calls up the rage on cue
from his anarchist landlord.
Bits of glaze and spittle
fly from his mouth
and land on my shirt
as he expostulates
the virtues of word.

The Minister of Information
Ranting beneath North Beach
twenty four-hour fluorescents
and something isn’t quite natural anymore.

He is shouting because his anarchist landlord
Bob Randolph wants him to.

The funny thing is
Bob doesn’t realize this.
Other poets sitting at the table
sharing this fluorescent moment
can see the hard truth.

The minister’s name will outlive
his burned out husk,
the ashen remains of a soul on fire
his name a symbol for something larger
than his meager hustle could ever be.

“Say it! Say his name!” you scream in my face.

The Minister of Information
comes to the end of his momentum
while returning to what’s left of his glazed

Bob smiles, as if he’s adopted a son.
Everyone else smiles too, but with sad eyes.

The Minister of Information
Won’t con his landlord much longer.
Because in the end
Bob won’t put up with weak activists.
He’s an anarchist, takes the shit serious.
You don’t steal from him, but the revolution.

The Minister of Information
can be a novelty for any
corporate news disseminator wanting
to rewrite the Sixties in their own image.

But the corporate news disseminator
won’t stop him from stealing from his landlord,
or any of the loved ones around him
for as long as they can stand his crack habit.

“Say his name. Say it,” you whimper at me.

He once kicked the Contract with America
across a stage he shared with Bobby Seale,
and maybe that was the day he really died.
Maybe that was when he went to Heaven.

The Minister of Information
gave slurred interviews in his last years.
Disoriented, he told of the wars
in late sixties Oakland, how it went down,
belonging only to those who were there.

He doesn’t say
what we all want him to say
what he said back then
back in oh so hopeful ‘67:

Now c’mon brothers and sisters
We have a voice
And I want to prove it to you.
And I know it may be hard at first
Cause you’ve been told all your
Life to shut up
But I want you to repeat after me

Fuck Ronald Reagan.

I’m serious

Fuck Ronald Reagan.

Fuck Ronald Reagan!

That shit feels good, don’t it?

The Minister…
needed to learn he needed others.
needed to disown his disowning,
though he had already disowned himself.

He had to rediscover the movement
earning back the love, earning back respect.
That’s why Bobby and Kathleen both forgave him
despite all his lies, despite all his flaws.

He never really hated
Once he learned
He needed to need.
That’s the day he became a real man.

I know, I whimper back. For no damn good reason, and for every reason, I miss
Eldridge too.

RIP E.C. (1935 – 1998)

–Paul Corman-Roberts