Friday, October 3, 2008

Not for the Faint Hearted by Joseph Di Lella

Not for the Faint Hearted
by Joseph Di Lella

The opening line
"I'm tryin' out new material
for an upcoming act in Vegas,
so if it doesn't work, you have my humblest apologies"
was George's polite way of saying,
"if this cr-p don't stick
just fu-kin' forget you ever heard it from me, okay?"
Out of character for Carlin to care
about how others perceived his expressive nature,
but he always did have a way with protocol -
don't you agree?

So it was that one night on the bayside concert
during another comeback tour
from health problems plaguing him for decades
but never halted his aggressive nature
of confronting live audiences
or the public at large
who secretly asked to be pounded over the head
with a hammer of words
an anvil that shaped his foul language
for what it truly was
a vestige
a refuge of thoughts not meant to be spoken
in polite company.

A non-paying customer that night,
who could be as a lowly graduate student,
I hid in the shadow of a hotel stairwell
adjoining the upscale venue
looking and listening
at the wealthy
grimacing and whispering
when the stories
the defining moments of the work
shocked and offended the gathered crowd.
But the stage hands
concessionaires and security workers
laughed at just the right moments
at just the wrong words
with so-called evil connotation,
vivid imagery and pointed commentary.

Only one week past
his departure from a mortal coil,
I recall a barrage of four letter words
and other profane visuals
not subtle but more gross
on politics, culture, sex, music and language.
Though the exact storytelling escapes me
today, I recall wondering how his newest stand-up
would play in a city that never sleeps
for even on the largest stage
exist the smallest of American values and morals
on tolerance
and seven little words
that continually reshape performance art
on what obscenity and decency
truly means to the thoughtful.

As a satirist, the man understood
it is never
the transmission of the message
of vile or hideous scatological terms
but the intention behind the thoughts
that makes the audible sins
repulsive and revolting
to those who truly have
a mind, a heart and a soul.

Author bio:

Joseph DiLella is currently an assistant professor at Eastern New Mexico University, teaching Bilingual Education and Reading. He has published poetry and short stories in El Portal, a university literary magazine. Over the past ten years, he has written many a book (sports, educational, poetry, etc.) that he hopes will one day will find their rightful place in bookstores across the land. He has also penned teleplays, screenplays and pitched story ideas to Paramount Studios (Star Trek: Enterprise and Star Trek: Voyager). Joseph has held panels at the famous San Diego International Comic Con called 'How to Pitch and Write for Star Trek.' For Star Trek: Strange New Worlds (vol. 10). His short story, Cheating Destiny, was an 'Alternate Selection' by Dean Wesley Smith.

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