Resurgence of Punk: A New Kind of Anarchy.
For Ahmaud Arbery
“Jesus died for somebody’s sins, but not mine.” ~ Patti Smith, ‘Gloria’
I want you to remember one thing. We take care of each other, not the government. We, the community of worker bees, build the honeycomb hexagon cities. Burrowing through the concrete tunnels like ants carrying 10 times our weight.
Have you ever watched a colony of ants take over the porch post? Something you once thought sturdy overrun now with a being you deemed insignificant enough to step on?
Have you ever seen a hoard of teenagers who skipped school to take over the Great Lawn and scream out the lyrics to their favorite songs? Did you ever know a tidal wave to rise up on land? Did you ever fear the rush of humanity that would drown you if you didn’t quickly grab hold of the movement?
“Sheena is a punk rocker now.” ~ The Ramones
Punk rock is many things, but what stands out to me is this nihilistic rebellion against the future society mapped out for us. There is, as the Sex Pistols put it, no future, at least not the one the older generations wanted for us. We create our own, make our own rules.
Now especially, in this time of social upheaval, all-time high unemployment rates, police brutality, economic inequality, we are seeing a resurgence of the combat-boot-busting kicks that stormed in with the seventies and eighties and never left.
Quickly we moved past the free-love condition of the sixties, where we smoked a lot of pot, tripped out on LSD and kidded ourselves into believing love could save us all. This is not the moment to look away and numb out, this is Whitman’s barbaric yawp for revolution. Punk is a call for direct action. As direct as the assault of cigarette smoke on a hot August evening on the fire escapes and tar beaches of 78th street.
Here amid quarantine, the high-rises sing. It’s like the closest thing one can get to a choir of angels exalting. We are our own saviors. We make our own church in the venue halls, the pulpit a stage shellacked with beer and ash. The coffer our door fee, and the benediction received the walls rattling with bass.
I wish I could’ve known CBGB but I do know The Saint. I also know that we, the community, rallied around with the little we had to keep it reverberating with our hymns for many years to come. We did not need your government bailout.
You see, Punk is a movement that says we’d rather live outside your society and make our own. We sin differently and that scares you. Because who else but punk fucks could love as hard as we do?
This is the new anarchy. A community built on truth, free press, and dignity. We see the doors you try and hide behind and we’re kicking them down. Infesting the streets like rats in the alleyways. We’re the snarl and the guttural growl of youth. We’re done protesting and we never needed your prayers. We have moved past sticking flowers in the barrels of your guns.
We’ve got shotgun hearts, and we come barreling through your chain-links demanding justice.