If you’re feeling despair over the election of Cheetoh Hitler, we’ve got just what your soul needs, a 1977 poem from gay spiritualist James Broughton entitled, “Shaman Pslam”. Before you groan and go, “Oh great, a fucking poem?” know this — Broughton was a badass filmmaker who started making movies so he could “visualiuze his dreams”. He made 23 films and published almost as many books, all of them containing a nursery-rhyme exuberance that exuded intelligence and sexiness (his 1983 book Ecstasies will make you positively wet with joy and desire).
He lived through World War II, Nixon, the JFK assassination, the Vietnam War, the Reagan Administration and the AIDS epidemic. At age 60, he met the 25-year-old man who would become the love of his life and when Broughton died in May 1999, he died with champagne on his lips, in the house where he and Joel lived for 10 years. He is a badass and if you wanna learn more about him you should check out the 2013 documentary Big Joy: The Adventures of James Broughton (trailer below).
Anyway, Broughton’s “Shaman Pslam” is an amazing plea for love, imagination and courage that ends with the command:
Listen brothers listen
The alarms are too late
This is the hour for
Dare to take hold
Dare to take over
Be heroes of harmony
in bedfellow bIiss
Man must love man
or war is forever
Outnumber the hawks
Outdistance the angels
Love one another
It’s exactly the sort of advice we need against Trump and his cronies. Even better, the poem is just a little longer than the excerpt above — seriously, go read it; it has the encouragement you need to get out and keep the world bold, queer, and brave.
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