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Oh, mighty convention,
your solid structure is merely an illusion.
Your pillars are suspect,
and your foundation is weak and rotted,
like termite infested wood.

True, those around me
bend in your dominant presence,
but I bow to the presents
bestowed upon me by your evil twin.

Though I lack support
from my lemming like brethren,
I no longer pray at your altar.

I have smashed it to bits,
burned it on my pyre,
and blindfolded,
scattered the remains
over the face of the earth.

I will not seek sustenance at your breast,
for your nourishment poisons my soul.
I would rather cease to express
than drink from your polluted well.

By Robert Hunter

1940 Xmas evening with a full moon over town
Staggerlee met Billy DeLyon
and he blew that poor boy down
Do you know what he shot him for?
What do you make of that?
'Cause Billy DeLyon threw lucky dice,
won Staggerlee's Stetson hat

Baio, Baio, tell me how can this be?
You arrest the girls for turning tricks
but you're scared of Staggerlee
Staggerlee is a madman and he shot my Billy dead
Baio you go get him or give the job to me

Delia DeLyon, dear sweet Delia-D
How the hell can I arrest him
when he's twice as big as me?
Don't ask me to go downtown -
I wouldn't come back alive
Not only is that mother big but he packs a .45

Baio Delia said just give me a gun
He shot my Billy dead now I'm gonna see him hung
She waded to DeLyon's Club through Billy DeLyon's blood
Stepped up to Staggerlee at the bar
Said Buy me a gin fizz, love

As Staggerlee lit a cigarette
she shot him in the balls
Blew the smoke off her revolver,
had him dragged to city hall
Baio, Baio, see you hang him high
He shot my Billy dead and now he's got to die

Delia went a walking down on Singapore Street
A three-piece band on the corner played "Nearer, My God, to Thee"
but Delia whistled a different tune
...what tune could it be?

The song that woman sung was Look out Staggerlee
The song that Delia sung was Look out Staggerlee
The song that woman sung was Look out Staggerlee
The song that Delia sung was Look out Staggerlee

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The following comments are for "Crumbling Convention"
by Staggerlee

crumble mumble
well stag, you ponied up. so here's the poop.

I was hoping for a humdinger, not a hohummer.
first, you get a B- for first post.

your attempt at abstract slapping of a political party falls on its face.
why don't you just "Say" what you want to say instead of doing the enigma riddle mystery hooey you're attempting here? There is nothing new or original here that strikes at my heart. Give me meat son. Your first line-word, actually, makes me go to the ode mode, but degenerates into a self-serving half-ass attempt at a rant. Why not make a full-assed attempt at either a poem or a rant? Next, you come out with two weak similes in a piece chock full of metaphors. Bad form,Jason.
Come to think of it, your first line is weak and your last stanza could do without the last line as a closer. At least there would be a strong closing and some semblance of a little rhyme for those that are starved for such. I won't rate you today, you show promise, grasshopper. Let it all out, I know you can. I await you still with baited breath.

( Posted by: williamhill [Member] On: September 7, 2004 )

wow what a review by mr william, me, I liked it, but what do I know about similies and such, I loved the flow and the constant thought provoking. very nicely done....Bob;)

( Posted by: poetryman [Member] On: September 7, 2004 )

Staggerlee welcome. Not bad for a first effort, but it ain't great neither. Unlike williamhill, I think I get what you're saying about convention, from where I sit this has nothing to do with politics. Also I get and like the reference to the Isis-Osiris myth, but I'm a sucker for anythng having to do with mythology.

So, don't take the comments from williamhill above to heart. It seems he has some sort of agenda, although I have no clue what it is. Most people here at Lit don't jump all over you with those kind of comments when you post your first work. Hopefully, you'll be posting more here, and I look forward to checking out your work.

( Posted by: Odysseus [Member] On: September 7, 2004 )

Conventional reaction

Although I believe I understand what you intend with this piece, (jabs at conventional thought and art and how some follow the crowd like sheep and all that) however, it seems somewhat puffy-- and more than a bit overblown, in my opinion.

You were looking for a certain reaction and you are getting it, yes? I can see you chortling with glee at your own cleverness!



( Posted by: Serenem [Member] On: September 7, 2004 )

crumbling convention....
???? i can somewhat see where u were going with this....but it did nothing for me i am sorry to say. I do think you have potential. I was just looking for more your first time out considering all of the opinions that you have offered prior to this post, I guess I expected a revelation, as u seem to deem yourself of expert opinions.

( Posted by: CJHerlihy [Member] On: September 8, 2004 )

the tower
Reminds me of the Tower card in the Tarot. I liked the title and the "rage" as lilia calls it underlying. Some of it comes across a little pompous and immature in stanzas 2 and 3 though, which weakens the message. A bit like the speakers at the political conventions maybe? The last stanza is okay on it's own but the references here seem at odds with the structure you described and then dismantled. That might just be me. The lemming-like brethren quote has been used a lot too. Flow and format seemed to work though. cheers smithy.

( Posted by: smithy [Member] On: September 8, 2004 )

On the GOP Convention?

The concept of an intellectual rebel refusing the breast of a mother lemming is surrealistic, imaginative, nevertheless, it cancels the strength built up to that point.

"Though I lack support
from my lemming like brethren,
I no longer pray at your altar."

"brethren,..." wants to be followed by something logical like "I keep..." "My force..." "I choose" or better. Instead "Though" trips up on the "I no longer."

"sustenance at your breast," a term found on and the like.

If I get it right, there is a pre-exisiting grudge in the relationship between the individual vs. the fanatical crowd,
then it moves into a sentiment of Abrahamic-like destruction of idol-worship? The logical direction would be into a world of self-assertion, character development, strength. Instead, it goes into a tantrum of a .

I am glad that the ever-patient lemming-like crowds at have been loving enough so as to comfort this syndrome...I'm also an accepting kind of a lemming ;-]
I stopped profiling avatars. Too busy...Too kind...VodkanIdo...

See how many reads? See how many words per content? Can we follow you?

( Posted by: teflon [Member] On: September 9, 2004 )

I Have To...
Agree with the majority...

For all the nay saying you have dropped everywhere, I expected a whole lot more from your offerings...

Very dissappointing...

Claire says it best I think, try from the heart, intelegencia is not your gig...

Liked the topic though, I may not agree with it... but the topic, though not original, was what brought me here... It's content was, as williamhill said "a hohummer"

Need that meat, and from the heart...

( Posted by: daprdan [Member] On: September 16, 2004 )

Wow Claire & Daprdan, Williamhill and others
Thanks for all the comments folks. It seems that I won't be able to get legitimate feedback from writers who are apparently still smarting from my comments on their work. Too bad, I had hoped it would be different here. I have so much to say about all of this but I'll just briefly comment. I find it somewhat amazing that Claire and Daprdan have sized me up already after just one poem, and surmised that intelligencia is "not my gig." How presumptuous. And williamhill has not so much as a clue. Oh well. I'll try to soldier on.

( Posted by: Staggerlee [Member] On: September 21, 2004 )

Disputes and Disagrees
I don't think this is as bad as some have made it out to be. Yes, it's overblown, but that's pretty consistent with the subject matter, with the theme and tenor of this sort of thing, anyway. Were you to use meek and mild language, or even just hedge a little toward neutrality, some of the force would be lost. So I don't fault you for a little bombast here.

What I think others have missed, too, is that despite the noted bombast, you seem ambivalent here. You're blindfolded, after all, and have rejected obedience to convention in favour of obedience to its "evil twin," which may not be much better.

So the ideas expressed here are less simple-minded and reactionary than they might seem to be on a superficial read. There's more going on here, a more mature perspective, if we pay attention to the words and their assembly.

What also struck me was the ritualistic, prayer-like structure in which the poem is set. One could read this as a concession -- perhaps the rejection of convention and the destruction of its trappings can be as unthinking as convention itself. Though, having nothing but contempt for most conventions myself, I don't want to believe that!

Anyway, in my opinion, this poem deserves a second look. And I do suspect that some of the negativity it has drawn has much more to do with your (let's face it) less-than-tactful commentary on the work of others, than with the quality of this poem. Even if these other writers sincerely tried not to let the resentment generated by those comments interfere with their assessment of your poem, of course it will colour their perceptions to some degree. That's just how it goes.

It's okay to dislike a poem, but you need to take greater care in crafting negative responses if you wish to avoid stirring up unnecessary resentment, my friend. Be constructive, and aim criticisms at the poems themselves instead of their writers.

My assessment: good poem, and I'll seek out more of your work.

( Posted by: Viper9 [Member] On: September 21, 2004 )

ya reap what ya sow
you know you could actually say this poem is about a woman who you feel is unclean, I don't know but it wasn't that bad, much as I hate to admit it....lmao

( Posted by: poetryman [Member] On: September 21, 2004 )

I see you still only have 2 poems on site. I was waiting for more to comment. I hope you are not planning on leaving lit. Is that what you had meant in "I'll try to soldier on"?

I read both your poems and I do lean towards "The Gambler" since, personally I like it better.
I read this one several times over. Each time I found something different in it that I liked.

In remembering that poetry is an individual write, something we do for ourselves as expressing whatever we do so wish I respect your subject matter in this poem....By the way don't take critisisms or rating to heart.

You rated me I think and also commented on maybe one of my poems. Doesn't matter to me how you did, if you did not attack me as a person. I write for me, if others like it then that is a bonus, if others can learn from my experiences, then I have shared myself the way I wish to.

What matters is a writer choses his own work to submit, for his/hers own personal reasons. A lot of poetry stems from self experiences, some painful.

I liked this one ok, but I don't rate anything below an 8. A great friend of mine told me, you are already rated by the number of views you have on your work, and surely that is enough for me.

Your spelling and punctuation is great, I agree with some of the things Viper has stated, of the theme being consistent.

Keep submitting and hang in here...I just really like your other one better...and I am waiting and hoping to see more of you Staggerlee...

Darlene ~

( Posted by: Dareva [Member] On: September 21, 2004 )

The baio poem is better than Convenion. As always, impressionism conquers rhetoric.

( Posted by: Teflon [Member] On: September 22, 2004 )


I liked this poem, to me it tells of an individual who thinks he is the only one with the good sense to see that 'everybody' else is stupid and just follow like lemmings, and bend to the will of the conventions that lead them.

It makes me wonder when the subject of your poem will realise that other people will probably see him as a jumped up little 'know it all' who thinks he is the only person with a brain.

To draw people into your poetry this way is a gift. I love it when a poet can 'get inside a character' and write like this. You have achieved this superbly.

Well Done,


( Posted by: ivordavies [Member] On: September 22, 2004 )

Very Honest Staggerlee
Writing from your gut is always best. Honesty is to be praised. Sometimes you gotta use some finesse. I like this poem. Good write. Well written.

( Posted by: DieBaronHobskewward [Member] On: September 22, 2004 )

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