Original Works – Bohemians! O, Bohemians!

This was an assigned imitation poem. I chose “Pioneers! O, Pioneers!” as my inspiration. Which if you have not listened to or read you should do that right now. Stop reading this, google it, and then come back and read mine. That’s an order.

What’s coolest about this poem is that back in March I was with my sister Camille Dupree at the Will Mclean Festival. She was performing at a couple of the smaller tents, mostly covers. She had one original song under her belt (Ocean’s Daughter, you can download it here). We hammered this one out in a couple hours.

Writing Bohemians for Will Fest

It’s beautiful transferred over to music. If you want to hear it you’ll have to come see her play live. For now, enjoy the original (due to the great computer crash of 2011) imitation poem.

Bohemians! O Bohemians!
by Noel Russell
after Pioneers! O Pioneers! by Walt Whitman

Come my pale faced, skinny hipsters,
Create your own way in this phony world.
Have you your headphones? Have you your sharp-edged tongues?
Bohemians! O bohemians!

We must not loiter here.
We must not avoid forward movement, or growing up and facing duties.
We the youthful sinewy races, yet not on us can they depend.
Bohemians! O bohemians!

O we youths, we ironic youths,
so, entitled, full of angst, full of confusion and complaint.
I have known you, ironic youths, seen you complaining about the World,
Bohemians! O bohemians!

Have you noticed,
the failure of criticizing to transmute the world around us?
The task left to us is more than superficial,
Bohemians! O bohemians!

We must shed the past behind us,
set out to make an actual difference, a more reasonable world.
The task that is set is not easy. A task full of sweat and of toil,
Bohemians! O bohemians!

Work, yes, work.
Not the jaded observation of a younger generation.
Not either the immature evasion, but pain, and sweat, and earning.
Bohemians! O bohemians!

We the youth with no limitations,
We with resources all available, water, wind, and electric,
We with skyscrapers and cars with largest engines,
Bohemians! O bohemians!

Responsibility is ours.
This blue globe, our wondrous planet, Mother Earth, our home,
Will only last if we can change fast,
Bohemians! O bohemians!

East coast, west coast, and the mainland between,
Spanning the globe, the mountains, valleys
Lakes and rivers, cities, suburbs, malls and places filled with coffee beans,
Bohemians! O bohemians!

O resistless restless race!
O beloved race in all! O my breast aches with tender love for all!
O I mourn and yet exult, I am rapt with love for all,
Bohemians! O bohemians!

This is our chance, we cannot miss this!
We must change, not to miss this, we are lost if we miss this,
(raise your hands all),
Raise your hands and help us change this, pain, disease, the loss that is this,
Bohemians! O bohemians!

See, my peers, my absent self-absorbed peers,
Evil swarms the earth, crosses man-made borders,
Oppresses the weak and helpless, the millions crying for a change,
Bohemians! O bohemians!

On and on they are overtaken,
all their graves quickly filled by pestilence, disease, famine,
warlords, drug-lords, rulers, and dictators.
Bohemians! O bohemians!

All the pulses of the world
Attempt to sync, to find consistent rhythm, yet division and ignorance abide.
We the rootless, restless souls can help them. Go out to meet them in stride.
Bohemians! O bohemians!

Give them our excess,
Train our selves to use less. Use abstinence from the mainstream
to reinforce simplicity, to end the war for oil, and learn living green.
Bohemians! O bohemians!

Forgo the superficial renunciation.
Shake off the chains of culture that distract us with who said what
on this or that social networking site. Live beyond the ironic window of the web,
Bohemians! O bohemians!

All the hapless silent lovers,
All the prisoners in the prisons, all the righteous and the wicked,
All the joyous, all the sorrowing, all the living, all the dying,
Bohemians! O bohemians!

I too have felt the disdain, as well the burden.
They’ve left me wandering, staggering, wondering,
with a few trite answers, and passionate pontifications,
Bohemians! O bohemians!

We are small specks in a grand scheme,
time stretches out on either side of our existence,
planets all around with us spin, it’s easy to pretend,
Bohemians! O bohemians!

that we have a futile existence,
are not much more than the Borg, focus on mismatched clothing
is the only way to escape the boredom, until we’re surrounded by pine boards.
Bohemians! O bohemians!

O we children of the West!
Our privilege, our wealth, and waste condemn us!
Even in our pretense of humility, we are more the damned!
Bohemians! O bohemians!

Singers, artists, and believers,
(cannot rest, their voices the only truth in this land),
call to us, challenge our complacent inactivity, infiltrate and command us,
Bohemians! O bohemians!

Not to wait ,
nor depend on someone else to lead us, someone else to teach us.
Not to waste this precious time we have, no longer feed our own egos!
Bohemians! O bohemians!

The days ahead will be lean.
We, pretentious, faking outcasts, will discover the true meaning,
of empty bellies, and painful cots, no choice in clothes or when to rest.
Bohemians! O bohemians!

One day I hope they marvel
at how we’ve changed, and what we’ve changed.
Blessing the earth with our reduced impact instead of hurting.
Bohemians! O bohemians!

The day will come, with a redefinition of quo for status,
and with good habits built for hard work we’ll continue the pattern,
passing on hope for future generations, re-christening the mainstream.
Bohemians! O bohemians!


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