Beat Cops (the Pilot)

Introduction to a Poem Requested by a Dear Friend. Please note: dear friend is somewhat of an ambiguous phrase, which should not be misconstrued to mean that I have anything against any deer, elk, moose, springbok, or other non-horse, leaping, running, jumping herbivore – which is like a vegetarian except more boring in conversation – because I like woodland and veldt-dwelling creatures of that sort because they never try to talk to you when you’re on the phone with someone else).

Anyway, here goes: It’s a never-ending story, a pit without a toppus or a bottomus, a continuous saga, or at least a tale that seems to be sagging ever closer and closer to the ground: it’s the ending of the end-all, the creme de la creme of something that was once was soft and pliable and oh so very pleasant to the touch, smell and sight but now has hardened into a plastispasmodic dessert tray offering that shows signs of oxidation, sugar viscosity breakdown and overall loss of morphologicality and appeal. What is it? Or rather, what was it, what could it have possible been, from whence did it come and will it return at end of day to close our eyes and minds to deprive us of the burden of imaginative recompense? I don’t know.

I’m milking this one for all it’s worth: I feel it’s my udder responsibility. What I have attempted to attempt here is an introduction, a prologue, a pre-initialization segue, an opening monologue, to set the stage, give you the background, or sort of give you the “in last week’s episode” synopsis of what you might have missed if you had been out having some sort of a mid-life crisis experiment consciousness awakening mind-bending good old fashioned get up and go something going on last week and between the sound bite politics and other mindless trivia that have been sandwiched in between your neurons and synapses in the intervening time period instead of paying strict attention to the events, actions, and their separating moments of extreme boredom (don’t you just love those peaks and valleys?).


Beat Cops

Starring Eric Bogosian as Detective William Blake, and Henry Rollins as Detective Charles Bukowski. Also starring Ken Nordine as Sergeant Henry Miller. With special guests Allen Ginsberg as Rabbi Schultz, and William Burroughs as Captain Stryker. Extra special guest: Jello Biafra as Mayor Robert A. Wilson.

Beat Cops is a Quinn Martin Production.

Tonight’s Episode: If Lenny Bruce was God, written by Arthur Rimbaud and W. H. Auden.

Opening voiceover during credits:

You asked me for a poem writ
so you could exercise your wit
You needed divine inspiration
so as to avoid self-perspiration

most unladylike, perhaps
to court the muse like shooting craps
’tis better yet to sit in laps
and coax sweet lines from bitter chaps.

You asked me for a poet’s speech
And yet refuse to let me teach
you of the truth in life not spoken:
wheels of life by words unbroken

most unpoetically inclined,
one who would feed from someone’s mind
without first tasting of their own
’tis worse than copycat, the clone.

You asked me for a poet’s thought
So you could tame the muse, once caught
But being caged it dies and rots
between the lines in books you bought.

‘Tis most unkind, you now will say
This hurtful verse upon me preys;
But if you would the answer know
Then phrase the question even so.

You asked me for a poem writ
And so a poem you will get
But have a care for what you seek
The poet’s bite is seldom meek

You asked me for some Poetry
But cared not for the life in me
This poem then is my reply
You want a tear, then learn to cry.

OUR HERO ENTERS, STAGE LEFT, SAYING: It’s a poet’s world, I suppose. Well, that’s not entirely true. The world is the poet’s palette, so to speak, and one who is a poet uses what brushes, colors, words and expressions are available to fully describe what cannot be obtained. Poetry is the description of that which we have never seen, or a description of what we wish we could have seen when we saw a lover, a train wreck, the face of an old woman, the rotting remains on the battlefield, or maybe a combination of them all. The distillation of images, as the painter Francis Bacon once said. We take the sentence in its complete form, the clinical description of an event pulled from a narrative that perhaps would take hours to recite or read through, and by pulling out the key word-images, the relationship-images, and perhaps turning and twisting them from their original order create a chain of images that presents a more vibrant, saturated portrait of the subject.

FROM THE DARKNESS, A VOICE SINGS OUT: I disagree, I disagree – I cannot understand at all; Which doesn’t mean I cannot understand it if I tried to understand it but I cannot stand to stand and understand it when it hurts to stand beneath it; When it falls and cannot stand under its power.

A VOICE SOUNDS AS THE SCREEN BEGINS TO FADE: THE LIMITS OF YOUR MTV-WEANED, HOSTESS-FED, SOUND BYTE TAUGHT, SELF-HELPNOSIS COUNSELED, HYPOCRYPTICAL BOURGEOIS RELIGIOSIMPLIPHONIC MIND-DRAINED SPINE-CRUSHED ATTENTION SPAN REQUIRE THAT WE TAKE A COMMERCIAL BREAK AT THIS TIME. DO NOT PANIC – THE PROGRAM WHICH YOU ARE NOW PSYCHICALLY AT ONE WITH DUE TO ITS IMPLANTATION IN YOUR SUBCONSCIOUS MIND AND ACTUAL ALTERATION OF YOUR DNA STRUCTURE WILL RETURN SOON TO PLACATE, CALM, SOOTHE, RELAX AND OTHERWISE DESTROY WHAT IS LEFT OF YOUR SELF-WORTH, SELF-DISCIPLINE, DIRECTION, PURPOSE, FAITH, HOPE, AND CHARITY. THANK YOU FOR WATCHING. YOURS TRULY, THE ALIEN COALITION FOR PEACEFUL PLANETARY TAKEOVERS.

COMMERCIAL BREAK: Thank you, ladies and gentlemen, we’re back in the former soviet socialist republic for which it stands in the place where you work it’s not a four-letter take the car you’ll never regret a Garbo and remember after Raymond Burr did Ironsides he never went back to moving picture this: two guys walk into a bar, one of them has a parrot on his head and shoulders his burden with the best of them and us festival carnival difference between good and primeval and norm and betty and bop and the rest of the gang tonight on the well-seasoned well-done well maybe charred a little on the edges and a little heavy on the barbecue but what’s a party without a few pigs in a beach blanket bingo tonight at St. Mark’s on St. Mark’s all you marks better be there or be square and what’s left to say except thank you thank you you’ve been a beautiful audience and Elvis has left the building a stairway to paradise riverboat casino which is a boat that doesn’t float that is but never mind if you’ve missed the boat remember the titanic and wasn’t she just? and speaking of justice, tonight on the people’s basketball court we’ll see the big showdown between the hornets and their natural predators the bulls and it’s not just another well produced documentary on breeding habits of insects such as the Branch Davidians and you take the high road I’ll take the low road and you’ll get to Reno before I do, I do, I do believe in Santa Claus and yes, Virginia, teach your children that you’re not a dirty word like kike or spic or nigger or whore or dumbfuck or commie or freethinker or artist or homeless – it’s not just two four letter words put together in a longer sentences for first time parental discretion is advised this program includes adult situations and potential offensive language, but up with the theme Music and down with the lights, it’s time to get back to our show me yours I’ll show you land mines and bombs and oil spills and rape murder robbery circuit city’s big stereotype sale away on the wings of dear sir and pretend there’s no tomorrow because the show must go on and on and so we bid you fond adieu which means with God so here we go give me a D what’s it spell …

LIGHTS RISE (which might give credence to the geocentric viewpoint, after all. On the other hand, she had warts – or a catcher’s mitt):

A FIGURE DRESSED IN BLACK CROSSES THE STAGE, PAUSES, APPEARS TO BROOD, THEN SPEAKS SOFTLY: Hello. You don’t know me, but I suppose that really doesn’t matter. Even if you thought you knew me, you probably would have mistaken me for somebody else, somebody you thought you knew, somebody who gives a shit about the trouble you get into through your misconceptions of reality. Hell, even if you knew me, which to you would mean you recognize my voice, have learned to put up with my hellacious mood swings, know where to find me on a Thursday night, or heard about me down by the holy water at Our Lady of the Blessed Assumption, you wouldn’t know me; but that’s OK. I’ve learned to accept that. Besides, I can only be to you what you want me to be, as long as you don’t what what you are.

A SECOND FIGURE, DRESSED ONLY IN A WHITE G-STRING, CROSSES AND SITS DOWN ON THE EDGE OF THE STAGE: I don’t understand him – he’s such an asshole; which is not to say that I don’t admire him in a proctological sort of way, but (no pun intended) there’s just something about him that’s just so unsavory I can’t seem to put my finger in it (oh, I’m sorry, on it) and if there was something more nice about him, if he wasn’t so full of shit – but then, he’s only the messenger, so to speak, and I don’t want it to seem like I don’t like him; we’re very close (just like this) and oh, how he makes me giggle sometimes. But I don’t give a shit, I don’t take any shit; I’m not in the shit business.

AND NOW A WORD FROM OUR SPONSORS: We make shit. We don’t give a shit about you. We know you’re not shit. You don’t need this shit. Buy this shit. Buy this shit. Don’t worry, it won’t last long enough for you to get tired of it. We know our shit. We wouldn’t shit you. Don’t buy our competitor’s shit, it’s just shit. If you miss this limited time offer, you’ll be shit out of luck. Buy our shit. Buy our shit.

WE NOW RETURN TO OUR PROGRAM ALREADY IN PROGRESS:

When I first saw you, baby, I knew
That it was more than just simple economics
How could our love be less than atomic
When we’re both little more than moronic …

CRAZY LOVE: Starring Jesus Christ as Charles Manson, and Mary Magdelene as Lizzy Borden. In tonight’s episode, Mary and J.C. make a mutual suicide pact: if either one of them ever decides their lives are just a little too hectic, they’ll put all their kids on Thorazine and Prozac and get the premium cable package and lock them in from the outside and take off on a two week cruise to, you guessed it, THE BAHAMAS. Ten fun-filled days and exciting nights in this tropical island paradise which while fully exploited to take full advantage of your ever valuable tourist dollars still retains a little bit of the mystique and wonder that makes it a perfect spot for that out of the way tryst with a married lover or boss or secretary. Remember, you get not only the natural splendor of white sandy beaches, rocky coves, flower covered mountains and dazzling coral reefs, but you get American food, slums, beggars, smog, inflation, heart disease, and all the other benefits of civilized peoples.

THIS IS A TEST OF THE EMERGENCY BROADCAST SYSTEM. BROADCASTERS IN YOUR AREA IN ASSOCIATION WITH LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT AND EMERGENCY RESPONSE PERSONNEL HAVE DEVELOPED THIS SYSTEM TO KEEP YOU INFORMED IN THE EVENT OF AN EMERGENCY. WE REPEAT, THIS IS ONLY A TEST. HAD THIS BEEN ACTUAL EMERGENCY, THE SOUND YOU JUST HEARD WOULD HAVE BEEN FOLLOWED BY OFFICIAL NEWS AND INFORMATION. WE REPEAT, THIS IS ONLY A TEST. HAD THIS BEEN AN ACTUAL EMERGENCY YOU PROBABLY WOULD NOT BE ABLE TO HEAR THE SOUND OF THIS BROADCAST, AS YOU WOULD BE SAFELY TUCKED AWAY IN AN EARTHQUAKE SHELTER OR BOMB SHELTER OR RADIATION CONTROL CENTER OR SUCH LIKE, ESPECIALLY AS WE ARE IN THE DISTRIBUTION HUB OF THE UNITED STATES HERE IN MEMPHIS AND THERE IS IN CASE YOU WERE NOT AWARE, A LARGE MILITARY BASE VERY CLOSE NEAR BY. DON’T YOU FEEL MORE SECURE KNOWING THAT A BUNCH OF PAID VOLUNTEERS (WHAT A CONCEPT) ARE RESTING AND PATROLLING IN YOUR IMMEDIATE VICINITY? ANYWAY, THIS ISN’T AN ACTUAL EMERGENCY, BECAUSE IF IT WAS, YOU WOULDN’T NEED US TO TELL YOU ABOUT IT: YOU’D PROBABLY BE SITTING ON THE VERANDA OILING THAT 12-GAUGE SHOTGUN YOU GOT ON YOUR TWELFTH BIRTHDAY AND SAYING, “HONEY, WHERE THE HELL DID I PUT THAT BUCKSHOT?” OR WHATEVER IT IS YOU SAY TO YOUR LOVED ONE IN THE HEAT OF PASSION. REMEMBER, WHAT WORKS IN THE MOVIES DOESN’T WORK IN REAL LIFE. THIS IS ONLY A TEST – AND JUDGING BY THE SMELL RISING UP FROM AROUND THE TOWN, A LOT OF YOU FOLKS OUT THERE ARE PANICKING JUST A LITTLE ON THE EXTREME SIDE. STOP KILLING EACH OTHER; IT’S ONLY FRIENDLY FIRE. REMEMBER, HAD THIS BEEN AN ACTUAL EMERGENCY YOU WOULD BE COUNTING ON EACH OTHER TO HELP EVERYBODY SURVIVE, AND EVERY PERSON WOULD BECOME YOUR BUDDY, YOUR PARTNER, YOUR SQUAD. THESE PEOPLE AROUND YOU (EVEN COPS, CONGRESSMEN, AND THE CLINTONS) ARE YOUR FELLOW AMERICANS. WE REPEAT, THIS IS ONLY A TEST, AND IT’S NOT TRUE/FALSE OR MULTIPLE GUESS. THIS IS AN TIMED ESSAY TEST. HAD THIS BEEN AN ACTUAL EMERGENCY YOU MIGHT HAVE HAD ONLY SECONDS TO ANSWER PERHAPS THE MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION YOU WILL EVER HAVE TO ANSWER IN YOUR ENTIRE LIFE: WHAT ARE YOU WILLING TO DIE FOR?

WE NOW RETURN TO OUR PROGRAM, ALREADY IN PROGRESS: When we last left our hero … and what sort of a hero is he? Let’s pause for a moment and analyze the situation. First, a poet. Suspicious sort, poets. In a way, they’re like tomatoes. Originally called the love apple, the tomato was considered poisonous by many cultures and was not eaten. Also, there has been great debate (which some say is settled and some say is not) over whether, like poets, tomatoes are fruits or vegetables. I say tohmahto you say tamayta let’s call and order a pizza and a couple a sixers, if you know what I’m saying. Which brings us back to do, or our hero, anti-hero, protagonist, centerfold, anchorman, the star, the big cahuna: the poet. I suppose it would be easier to put it into a poem to give you the feel for what he’s feeling, or at least a little tea and sympathy:

Once I thought I knew an old thought
Like a ghost companion inside myself
Where dwelling on itself it grew
And found me waiting for its voice

Once I thought I found a lost voice
Like a wind passed through my teeth
When calling on itself it flew
And found me breathless in its absence

Once I thought I reached conclusions
Like old cellmates not forgotten
Who taunting through their innuendo
Locked my heart against the window.

TONIGHT’S EPISODE OF BEAT COPS HAS BEEN BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE LETTERS F U AND THE NUMBER 666. BEAT COPS IS NOT, HAS NOT BEEN, NOR WILL EVER BE A QUINN MARTIN PRODUCTION. IF THERE HAS BEEN ANY CONFUSION DURING THIS EVENING’S BROADCAST, WE HUMBLY APOLOGIZE FOR THE INADEQUACY OF YOUR SCHOOL SYSTEM, SOCIETAL TRAINING PROGRAMS, AND OVERALL LIFE-SYSTEM MYTHOLOGY WHICH HAS LEFT YOU WITHOUT THE ABILITY TO APPROACH NEW AND DIFFERENT SITUATIONS, VIEWPOINTS, WALKS OF LIFE, ETC. WITH AN OPEN MIND AND ACCEPTING AND HUMBLE SPIRIT.

FURTHERMORE, AS DISTRESSING AS IT MAY SEEM (AND WE, THE PRODUCERS OF BEAT COPS WHO ARE YOU WILL REMEMBER NOT ASSOCIATED WITH QUINN STEVE OR DEAN MARTIN, MARTIN LAWRENCE, WINK MARTINDALE, MARTIN SCORSESE, THE RED TAILED MARTIN, ROWAN AND MARTIN, OR EVEN MARTIN SHORT, FIND IT MOST DISTRESSING WE CAN ASSURE YOU), THE MOST DISTRESSING THING OF IT ALL IS THAT WE HAVE AS A SPECIES LOST THE ONLY GIFT THAT REALLY SEPARATES US FROM THE QUOTE DUMB CREATURES: THE ABILITY TO LAUGH AT OURSELVES AND AT EACH OTHER, TO SEE THE BEST IN EVEN A TERRIBLE SITUATION, TO STRIVE WITH UNBEARABLE SORROW, TO GO WHERE THE BRAVE DARE NOT GO. IT’S NOT IMPOSSIBLE, PEOPLE. IT’S ALL UP TO YOU. APATHY IS DEATH. THINK, MOVE, AND GROW.

AND NOW, SOME EXCITING HIGHLIGHTS FROM NEXT WEEK’S EPISODE:

First: We’ll talk about the book of signs, stop, dangerous curves, road construction, soft shoulder, merge left (considered by some to be a communist plot), merge right (which is ridiculous considering Wilfred Brimley and the right thing to do), etc., etc.

Second: Hell, that might take up the whole show, because after we get through signs like bump and hill we gotta work through Capricorn, Gemini, Pisces and then we’ll have a big discussion on Scorpio women, which I’m planning on working through for the next seventy or eighty years.

Finally: Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? What a stupid question. The evil that men do (and a lot of women, too) is not in their hearts. It’s all in their heads. Thank you, and goodnight.

November 1995

from The Secret Undertown Ministry

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*