James Dennis "Jim" Carroll (August 1, 1949 – September 11, 2009) was an American author, poet, autobiographer, and punk musician. Carroll was best known for his 1978 autobiographical work The Basketball Diaries, which was made into the 1995 film of the same name, starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Carroll. Carroll was born to a working-class family of Irish descent, and grew up on New York's Lower East Side, and when he was about eleven (in the sixth grade) his family moved north to Inwood in Upper Manhattan where he attended Good Shepherd School. He was taught by the LaSalle Christian Brothers, and his brother in the sixth grade noted that he could write and encouraged him to do so. In fall 1963, he entered public school, but was soon awarded a scholarship to the elite Trinity School. He attended Trinity from 1964-1968. Apart from being interested in writing, Carroll was an all-star basketball player throughout his grade school and high school career. He entered the "Biddy League" at age 13 and participated in the National High School All Star Game in 1966. During this time, Carroll was living a double life as a heroin addict who prostituted himself to afford his habit but he was also writing poems and attending poetry workshops at St. Mark's Poetry Project. He briefly attended Wagner College and Columbia University.)
8 Fragments For Kurt Cobain
Genius is not a generous thing
In return it charges more interest than any amount of royalties can cover
And it resents fame
With bitter vengeance
Pills and powdres only placate it awhile
Then it puts you in a place where the planet's poles reverse
Where the currents of electricity shift
Your Body becomes a magnet and pulls to it despair and rotten teeth,
Cheese whiz and guns
Whose triggers are shaped tenderly into a false lust
In timeless illusion
The guitar claws kept tightening, I guess on your heart stem.
The loops of feedback and distortion, threaded right thru
Lucifer's wisdom teeth, and never stopped their reverbrating
In your mind
And from the stage
All the faces out front seemed so hungry
With an unbearably wholesome misunderstanding
From where they sat, you seemed so far up there
High and live and diving
And instead you were swamp crawling
Until you tasted the Earth's own blood
And chatted with the Buzzing-eyed insects that heroin breeds
You should have talked more with the monkey
He's always willing to negotiate
I'm still paying him off...
The greater the money and fame
The slower the Pendulum of fortune swings
Your will could have sped it up...
But you left that in a plane
Because it wouldn't pass customs and immigration
Here's synchronicity for you:
Your music's tape was inside my walkman
When my best friend from summer camp
Called with the news about you
I listened them...
It was all there!
Your music kept cutting deeper and deeper valleys of sound
Less and less light
Until you hit solid rock
The drill bit broke
and the valley became
A thin crevice, impassible in time,
As time itself stopped.
And the walls became cages of brilliant notes
That's how diamonds are made
And that's WHERE it sometimes all collapses
Down in on you
Then I translated your muttered lyrics
And the phrases were curious:
Like "incognito libido"
And "Chalk Skin Bending"
The words kept getting smaller and smaller
Separated from their music
Each letter spilled out into a cartridge
Which fit only in the barrel of a gun
And you shoved the barrel in as far as possible
Because that's where the pain came from
That's where the demons were digging
The world outside was blank
Its every cause was just a continuation
Of another unsolved effect
Didn't the thought that you would never write another song
Another feverish line or riff
Make you think twice?
That's what I don't understand
Because it's kept me alive, above any wounds
If only you hadn't swallowed yourself into a coma in Roma...
You could have gone to Florence
And looked into the eyes of Bellinni or Rafael's Portraits
Perhaps inside them
You could have found a threshold back to beauty's arms
Where it all began...
No matter that you felt betrayed by her
That is always the cost
As Frank said,
Of a young artist's remorseless passion
Which starts out as a kiss
And follows like a curse