Punk Is a Four-Letter Word

(A Tribe of Orphan Aliens Waging War on Language,) a poem by Gabriela Jauregui

Punk Is a Four-Letter Word

A Tribe of Orphan Aliens Waging War on Language

For AC

The other day I went to the Chopo market with a friend who is a punk music aficionado. On the way he told me that a while ago he went to Other Music in New York and ended up talking with a woman who was also a punk music lover. He told her the NY Dolls were the most punk of all the NY punks. She answered that was total bullshit and introduced him to GG Allin, the most punk of punks. Hours after telling him about the heroin overdose that killed GG after a concert, and about his funeral, where his friends and brother injected more heroin into his corpse and doused it in whisky, they kissed. Most likely, they will never see each other again.

***

A Punk could be an inexperienced young man.

***

It turns out GG’s brother (by the way, for the record, GG’s real name is Jesus Christ) now sells masks of his brother’s face (Halloween costumes?).

***

Before, I thought the most punk people at the Chopo were really the Rastas. Surrounded by metaleros, punks and rockers, their little tricolored oasis was the most rebellious of all.

***

Punk=Different

***

When I was a girl, in my mind there was a free but firm association between punctuation and punk. For me, an asterisk was a punk period. A Star. The best.

***

A punk could also be a passive homosexual, and soft wood for kindling.

***

The other evening, at an experimental music concert (whatever that means!), after much solemnity, finally this old guy came out like a celestial clown, surrounded by stuffed animals and full of mezcal and humor. I would say he was a punk in his genre.

***

Beginners 4ever!

***

In the 1930s, punk day was when children were allowed into the circus, gratis.

***

In German, a period or point is punkt.

***

The Algonquins, who invented the word punk (from ponk, dust-ashes) were neighbors with the Mohawk who invented the famous hairdo. Punk is a tribe.

***

Recently, a fashion or phenomenon called normcore appeared. It’s something like hardcore normal: beige ironed-down-the-middle pants, white button-down shirt and socks, moccasins (not the native kind). A uniform to conform. I was invited to a normcore costume party. I couldn’t bring myself to go. Sometimes some things that are against still aren’t punk — no matter what.

***

Seapunk: yay; steampunk: nay.

To each her own and Anarchy in the UK.

***

The first punk in my life was my grandfather. He was a Spanish Civil war refugee. And even though he used espadrilles, his scars and tattoo said it all.

***

Some would say that punk music is fast and strong.

***

The first time the word punk appears in print and with relation to music is in a 1976 Creem article that references Rudy “?” Martinez, part of the protopunk band ? and the Mysterians. They are Latino; the name of their band is pure Japanese sci-fi.

***

Alien is another way to refer to a foreigner. The immigrant as punk.

***

I remember the first time I saw a “proper” punk (already a contradiction in terms) when I was a little girl: it was London, the early 80s and I was on vacation with my parents. The feeling: awe. I hoped they might kidnap me. Though I worried that if they did, I might not understand their language. I was excited about spiked hair.

***

To declare war on the world!

***

Burroughs is a goddamn punk if you ask me, and I don’t mean because of his homosexuality.

***

Alien Kulture (1979–1981) was a British punk band with members of Pakistani origin.

***

Too drunk to fuck

***

Etow Oh Koam, an Algonquin-Mahican chief, accompanied three Mohawk chiefs to visit Queen Anne in England in 1710. They were popularly referred to as the Four Mohawk Kings. Those would be two good names for a punk band.

***

Nowadays punk is the name people give difference when they are too tired to think. So if someone’s too drunk to fuck but still does, would that qualify as a punk fuck?

***

Palmolive was the drummer for The Slits from 1976 up until she fought with Malcolm McLaren in 1978 and joined the Raincoats in 1979. She and Viv invited Ari Up, age 14, to make up The Slits. Palmolive’s real name was Paloma, of Spanish origin. Ari Up’s real name was Ariane, of German origin. Both had alien accents in the UK.

***

To be against ordinary language!

***

Speaking of punk names, ever think of Poly Styrene? I think some of the hottest sex to be had is while listening to X-Ray Specs.

***

In Mexico City a couple of years ago there was a famous fight that took place between Emos and Punks. But why did it all start, one wonders?

***

Is Glam Punk an oxymoron?

***

Remember the eighties kid TV show Punky Brewster about a little girl abandoned by both of her parents? All punks are orphans.

***

And Jesus died for somebody’s sins but not mine.

***

New Years chez Nina Hagen in LA: There were many amputees, who felt they had an extra limb, an appendix or excretion they had to cut out (in fact it was an arm, a leg or a regular finger). The whole thing might have qualified as punk.

***

And the children shall inherit the earth.

***

Freaks, Punks, Queers, Cunts — in the beginning were the words. And the words were made flesh. And the flesh was cut, marked, pierced, tattooed, inscribed all over and back to words again.

***

Urban jungle battles need Cherry Bombs.

***

We come crawling through these cracks, orphans, lobotomies; if you ask me what I want, I’ll tell you. I want everything. Whole rotten world come down and break. Let me spread my legs. (Cathy Acker, Pussy, King of the Pirates)

***

Punk is also: ashes from a fire that burns fast and strong.

About the Author

Gabriela Jauregui was born and raised in Mexico City is the author of a book of poems in English, Controlled Decay (Akashic, 2008), and two hybrid genre books, Leash Seeks lost Bitch (Song Cave 2015) and ManyFiestas (Gato Negro, 2017) as well as a book of short stories in Spanish (La memoria de las cosas, or The Memory of Things, 2015). Her critical and creative work has recently been published in Art Forum, Huizache Magazine, MAKE, and El País, amongst others. She is founding editor at Surplus Ediciones and has been named one of the 39 best Latin American authors under 39 by the Hay Festival’s Bogota39 list.

“A Tribe of Orphan Aliens Waging War on Language” is published here by permission of the author, Gabriela Jauregui. Copyright © Gabriela Jauregui 2018. All rights reserved.

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