Sex Pistols

When you spit on me

I keep falling in love with your

nihilism. Go ahead and lick

the scars left after the cuts. I’m

attracted to the scent of your

apathy. I just ripped my shirt for

the fuck of it. You tattoo anarchy

on my palm with permanent ink.

To know you’re flesh I watch for

you to bleed when pierced. So

you want to dominate my so what.

From 1977 (Ravenna Press)

Chart Gender Punk Bands

Chart shows the gender make-up of punk bands that I listened to c. 1977. You could count the women musicians on one hand — Moe Tucker, Patti Smith, Deborah Harry, Tina Weymouth. Later I heard the Slits (1979) and the Go-Gos (early 1980s ). In the 1990s my daughter showed me the light with Sleater-Kinney, The Gossip, Bratmobile, Bikini Kill. Punk got better over the years!

TalkingHeads77Four reasons why a 40-year-old* LP still matters to me:

  1. Psycho Killer 
  2. It’s one of four punk albums I bought at House of Guitars in late 1977 that I still have. (My turntable is still hooked-up too.)
  3. It’s before Brian Eno produced them.
  4. We scalped our Styx tickets to buy Talking Heads tickets instead, 1978.11.09, (true story).

*Released from Sire on Sept. 16, 1977

  1. The Clash
  2. The 101ers
  3. Redemption Song
  4. He takes a cab and carries his own guitar***
  5. He takes sides****


*RIP (1952-2002)

**This is the third poem I wrote with the title “Why Joe Strummer still matters.”

***I can’t find the draft, but we were standing in line at Seattle’s Showbox for the Mescaleros that night. A taxi pulls up, Joe Strummer gets out carrying a guitar case and enters the club through the front door (this was before they added the metal detector gate). No rock star trappings, just a guy going to work. Shouts of “Hey, Joe!” from those of us in line and a nod from him.

****The other was written the day he died in 2002 (I was walking downtown and heard a sax player in the bus tunnel entry) and was included untitled in Punk Poems:

Sax echoes / Through the underground– / There was a line / Drawn–  / We always knew / What side to take– / On the street / The player blows / Each / Note–

Burgess CHART London Calling

Mapping the British punk scene — influences and connections late-70s into the 80s — with The Clash at the center of the Universe (because that’s the way it was for me).

Chart from 1977: A Punk History coming from Ravenna Press (2018).

ElvisCostelloElvis Costello releases My Aim Is True on July 22, 1977. E L V I S  I  S  K  I  N  G  E  L V I  S  I  S  K  I N G is repeated in reversed single letters in the black squares of the checkerboard pattern. 25 days later the King, Elvis Presley, dies on Aug. 16. It is a symbolic death — how bloated rock and roll has become — and ironic — just days after a new King is declared. That fall “Watching the Detectives” goes into high rotation in my dorm room at Mohawk Hall.


Influences and connections. Mapping the NYC punk scene from the mid-70s. Chart from 1977: A Punk History coming from Ravenna Press (2018).