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Ode to Francis Farmer

(Or Will There Really Be a Morning)

 Joseph Ridgwell
 Joseph Ridgwell
Ode to Francis Farmer
by Joseph Ridgwell  FollowFollow
Oswald's Apartment, a collection of short fiction and two chapbooks of poetry Where Are The Rebels? And Load the Guns are currently more from Blackheath Books. A further collection of poetry, Lost Elation is published in New Zealand by Kilmog Press. Joseph Ridgwell's debut novel, Last Days of the Cross, is available from Grievous Jones Press. His work has also appeared in short story anthologies, literary collaborations, and numerous online publications. For more information on Ridgwell's writing go to: The author has just completed his latest novel, Burrito Deluxe, and a short story collection is due out on Kilmog Press in early 2011
More work by Joseph Ridgwell:
Ode to Francis Farmer
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I finished the book with tears in my eyes
The story of a beautiful actress
Forced to self-implode by a society that will not accept non-conformity
For you must confirm or be squished like a cigarette butt in the gutter
And she loved a drink
So I dreamt of meeting her in an LA bar
At the height of some long forgotten 1950’s summer
And we would have gone on a mad bender together
Cursing at the world, at Hollywood, at the stupidity of everything
And after my fifteenth beer I would have professed my undying love
For the prettiest girl that Seattle ever produced
And we would have kicked off our shoes, held hands, saluted the bartender
And walked off into a purple night
Along a long lost Sunset Boulevard
Towards the Knickerbocker Hotel
With heat waves shimmering in the distance
Hollywood forgotten
Ten thousand American evenings ago


But none of that ever happened
For Francis Farmer is dead
She died long before I was born
Dreaming of a real morning, going mad, insane, abnormal,
Having electro-shock treatments,
At the hands of crazed professors,
Just because she swore in public
Well I like people who swear in public
I’m ganna scream that in your ear while you queue to buy a sandwich
I’m ganna yell and roll my eyes and order you to buy me a drink
Because I like the mad ones, the crazies thrill me, and manic behaviour turns me on
For everything else is
And what passes for normality in this world
Is insane
Dr Walter G Freeman performing lobotomies on twelve year olds
Politicians sending teenagers into war
Governments dropping smart bombs
Terrorists blowing themselves up
People in love with money, power, and kitchen appliances
So I don’t like what I see
And I don’t like most other humans
But I like the fact that Francis threw an inkwell at a judge
But not the stupidity of that judge for jailing her for 180 days
Because he didn’t have a sense of humour
No, I like the mad ones, those who dare to be different
I like brittleness, edginess, nervousness and kinky behaviour
And I like Francis Farmer
And her beautifully fucked up alcoholic mind
And her blonde beauty
And her arrest for vagrancy
And drunk driving
And her sad end
Which comes to all of us


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