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The Carma Bums 

Los Angeles, Ca./Atlanta, Ga.

The Carma Bums are M. Lane Bruner, S.A. Griffin, Doug Knott, Mike M. Mollett & Scott Wannberg - a poetry/performance ensemble born out of the counterculture miasma of the 1980's Hollywood/Los Angeles art punk & performance scene. The Carma Bums are poets who have a desire to speak to others on a human level as experience, bop and heart. Like the healer poet of New Jersey, William Carlos Williams, they believe in the poem as news, music and in this case, protest. In their time they have travelled extensively throughout the western U.S. and Canada inside of their 1959 Cadillac & 1966 GMC bus. On the road, they were often joined by giggling Goddess of word, Ellyn Maybe. All the members reside in the Los Angeles area except for M. Lane Bruner, who is a professor of rhetoric & communication theory in Atlanta, Ga. The Bums are not slam poets, never were - different critter. They do not believe in the poem as competitive sport, only mortification. This poem is a group piece created specifically for the Poets Against The War website using email. The Carma Bums are words without end...

Theme Song For The Movie of the World News : An Eerie Elegy
(The Revenge of the Vending Machines & The Hotdogs of War)

somewhere just before the end of this fractured film of ours
long before the blind off-track bettors
declare the winners of the three legged horse race
long before the apocalyptic think tanks lurch
blindly forward in the final strut of
we don’t remember what we were
over the glowing desert with brave new stolen languages
free to reap & mine
the bittersweet nuclear harvest
of blood and oil
and sugar-souls that got liberated

even before the bastard bite of history calls home the false rewards
the bounty hunters of glory
come ready to rock
all powered up all right
but repeatedly stalled
at the gate

it was a beautiful blaze in shattered baskets of chaos
that lit our way to see us through the afterglow of fetid victory
like Sodom & Gomorrah
now you know we’re just acting positive to say that
(don’t look back)
Oh, stink me! We are a happy atomic pillar of love
stumbling piecemeal into the
ancient heat of frankincense and myrrh

over there, on the field of battle
modern muted verses of epic spear-throwers
split the artless air full of ticking gusts and empty promises
their wild history never told
stuttering into bomb-deaf ears from undisclosed locations
while nuclear winds of niggling network news
sweep clean the antediluvian hands of time’s up!
those hands hanging in the air like
so much plenty dirty laundry
racing against the crusading world of news networks
washed red, white and blue
with subliminal pornographic x-tra-hi nipplefocus chic -
I mean ABC the happiest place on earth
NBC just another stock exchange of information
Generally Electric CBS
(well, not all the time, but just generally)
& CNN & TBN, etc., etc., etc…

the cosmos has misplaced its parking ticket
and there is no validation available at this time
the violated cosmos cries out once again for the ice-blue Krishna moment :
Eve & Adam
apple & snake
big bang & ethereal boom
licking clean
the radioactive rib of victory

strip teasing reality TV
enticing the swelling prick & womb of interest
anticipating the fateful ending
wrestling with the awful results of the stupid truth
in the unforgiving photo finish flash
where the impatient ticket holders shuffle uneasily
while history takes inventory of
the next recipient strange love holocaust

Who will win?
Who helps Who control Who?

together, gripped in shrouds of mortal mud
we were the horse and empire riders of HummVee/SUV & ATV -
we had a good run,
running the last fake races with them
again, we thought it was real, but we learned that
angels of fate
angels of mercy
angels hovering over other angels
looking over our shoulders at the
angels of death
angels in the Texas out&oilfields;
our better angels of Lincoln’s tomb
and even the angels of a merciful war & peace
who may or may not be accountable or even available
where the dead rest dreaming transpersonally hammered into ethereal sentience by everything
they never understood or spoke of
while the spirit gives back to itself,
mirrors like a river said Hegel on his toilet, what once it was
at the camp of forgotten holy warriors on fool’s errands
where no one is anyone really anymore
except Buddha-face, who is looking backward
at all our immigrant fantasies
chanting about how to get it cheap, and real,
as our real dreams lay abandoned in pieces all about us
slim hope broken & blowing away
like the desert sand we capture vanishing
with our pawnshop Salvador Dali melto-hands

we must buy gas masks, and safety,
and lots of duct tape
for a safer world right now! GET IT?!!
(we had to buy what we were directed to buy into at any price)

forget having a good time -
Goddamned humanity!
what the hell’s it all good for anyway?

Hey buddy, could you spare some peace for the change?
Hey sister, would you sell away our blood for a rich shot?
Hey friend, do you hear the clarion call hip-hop forever may we be blessed?
Can I grope you? I am a needy society!

some sound track thank you fevers
tongue unruly continents of wounded bones
that claim they can hold a tune
no one can dance to
I can’t, and I’m glad

the monster makes perfect sense
as certainty compels the converted over the cliff
Gods & Generals driven by protesters
along with their signs of mad cowboy disease
the new Romans thundering again into the born-again wilderness
sent there
by God,
to learn their lessons again
over the edge

when we lose our way
we take our useless tickets home
left in a drawer with the rest of what we've lost
we do it for you who are what we were yesterday
who have never won their right mind honestly

half-life time spits inane love songs from the abyss of the stomach
a strange file indeed over an Internet of sincere liars
while at the see thru internment camp for fleas at Guantanamo
elephant audience demands something better than
dogs for best friends

back at the oasis
the best music of all is late in showing up
with its weary resume
attached to its sad but sacred heart
but it does arrive

stop and listen

it is what you have been waiting to hear all your life
and its really good news!
we are more than we would have been.
we’ll all get up tomorrow with our new, sandy-desert-colored faces
with tank parts for arms
and missile legs
mortar recall
night vision
and transformer everything

in time
we suck in our enemies
with sweet justice for all
and they become every good old-timey Republic Western we ever saw
with John Wayne
Tom Mix
Hoppy & Roy, Trigger & Silver
& hey Lone Ranger, don’t forget Tonto, Kemosabe
as we Hi Yo & AWAAAYYYYY!!!!

happy trails to you, whoever you are…
until we meet again
in our sad agrarian nowhere
in our present rapture
here in Camp Heaven
as the movie flickers away

Vaya con Dios my darlings…


2003 The Carma Bums – Los Angeles/Atlanta
M. Lane Bruner, S.A. Griffin, Doug Knott, Mike M. Mollett & Scott Wannberg

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