Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Dirty Lenny

“Heroes aren't born,
they’re cornered,”
said the Foxx.

I wasn't around
to see his battle,
I only read about it.

His modest proposition
to say the things
he thought comical,
the things
everyone thought
but were too timid to speak,
brought him to light.

Some intone his name
as one would a martyr
for the hipness cred,
forgetting his own definition
that a comic needs
“to make an
audience laugh
at least once
every 20 seconds
for a period
of not less
than one hour.”

Some try to see him
independent of his milieu.

You can’t
because he couldn't exist
without the repression of the fifties,
with its paranoid boundaries,
and spooky religious superstition.

The nerve he let tumble out
fueled by hypocrisy and speed
was a crazy quilt of jazz argot,
metaphysical poetry and
Yiddish schtick
at a seedy San Fernando club.

They called him
Dirty Lenny,
and he was my favorite kind of hero,
Jewish, with a correct sense
of moral righteousness
not unlike
Jesus, except
Jesus wasn't
a junkie.

Lenny Bruce
my hero in life,
done in by
the heroin life.


  1. i know him mostly by the REM song honestly...i did read a bit of his bio...what an interesting personal life...and sad that drugs and such take so many that are in that spotlight....

  2. Well said (or written, actually, but it has a converstational quality) from the opening line to the closing.

  3. Anonymous4:07 PM

    Good stuff, Mosk. I think you hit just the right tone for the subject.