Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Needle - a poem by Ken Kesey he claimed was Robert Service's

Cover of the last supplement to the Whole Earth Catalog - click to enlarge

Ken Kesey contributed this poem (among his other curious contributions) to The Last Whole Earth Catalog and supplement.

I read The Needle when it was first published, attributed to Robert Service. It was undoubtedly written by Ken Kesey (maybe in conjunction with Ken Babbs).

Ken Kesey, back then

The Needle
by "Robert Service" but probably by Ken Kesey

First, brothers and sisters and spirits of our sphere,
I wish to make one thing perfectly clear;
During these last ten turnings of a year
I have been
Jacked-up, jerked-off, brought down, strung-out,
And I've
Holed up, come on, cooled off and hung out,
And I've
Rushed and flashed and flushed and twitched
And I've
Sniveled and snorted and bellowed and bitched
And I've
Been spaced out atoms in the heartless void
And a slightly-plotted tightly-knotted paranoid,
I've watched friends grin goodby as I spiraled down the drain?
I've had doctors shake their fingers at the fungus on my brain;
And I have called, friends and doctors, oh I have roared out my soul
From the compass busting bottom of the false magnetic pole,
But it was a place beyond friends or medicine's reach--
A senseless 3-D cry from a binary breach--
And the heartless void can listen but doesn't seem to care
And my call was never answered until the needle turned to prayer.

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