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extreme sport poet rips the lips

Death of a Skateboard published in Thrasher Skateboard Magazine, April 1988 (click to enlarge).


Inspired by Jim Carroll's Basketball diaries, I started writing skateboard poetry with the goal of being published. Because of my febel dyslexic writing skills, I wrote over and over again. First in a notebook, then on a computer found in the garbage. I did not know what I was doing.

My first published work was Assorted White Blinding Headaches in a skateboard 'zine called Rip the Lip in Minnosota (see pages and writing below). Then Death of a Skateboard appeared in Thrasher Magazine in 1986 (see pages above and writing below). Getting published was a major accompishment for me, the dyslexic-riddled extreme sport poet. I was now ripping both mouth and cement lips. Then, Death of a Skateboard was published in Thrasher Skateboard Magazine in 1988, yes! (The poem is reprinted below.)

Seeing one's work published is exciting, but nothing compaired to the rush of performing it. After seeing the movie Poetry In Motion (which featured a segment on Jim Carrol), I started focusing my efforts on performing spoken word.


Rit the Lip #2, Minneapolis, 1986 (click to enlarge).


Death of a Skateboard

k k k k K K KKKKKKKrrrrrrraaaaaaakkkkkkkKKKKKKK ! ! ! ! ! !
My board wrenches apart with a cry,
as it tries to hold itself together with all its might --
splinters hanging out like intestines from a bleeding hernia.
I have killed it.

Like a karate expert,
I dealt the deadly blow with soft shoes,
rupturing seven plys of rock-hard birch and maple.
bonded together under hundreds of pounds of heat and pressure.

My head reels with a intoxicating mixture of pride and regret.

Feeling bad,
like losing an old friend
who helped fight off rabid dogs in the street,
and rescued you from saintly police
in the underground purgatory of Penn Station;

Yet exhilarated,
in the knowledge that you pushed it too far --
and then some.

I have killed my skateboard.
And I will kill again.

by TJ Richter

© April 13, 1986 Theodore J. Richter


Assorted White Blinding Headaches

The word is out. Motorists gorge the highway in one massive metal tumor. Families stranded in overheated cars stare at graffiti scrawled on overpass walls by enlightened skateboarders. RUSH HOUR EVACUATION !!! The gravity of the words hit like microscopic dirt clods exploding in the frontal lobes of the brain: DUH !!! DUH !!! DUH !!!

Meanwhile the skaters (who by day skate upside down in underground sewer pipes; cruise the streets at night under huge halogen street lights that burn the retina like a cigarette) beat the heat (and the G) in more ways than one, exit the melt down via storm drain shouting: DUH !!! DUH !!! DUH !!!

In general White Punks on Hope free the G on skateboards, BMX bikes, and skis. The fortunate ones impersonate astronauts and dive into the sun. Others jump off of buildings -- skyscrapers; in search of the Eternal Fall that leads to the center of the earth. Where they sleeplessly consult the souls of Newton, Einstein, and Bore. But the quantum leap only leads to the sound of temples exploding on to concrete: DUH !!! DUH !!! DUH !!!

(Still others remain, gravitrons weighing on their shoulders like bowling balls, vertebrae bent in question marks, at war with gravity for the rest of their lives.)

White upper class American housewives become disenchanted, consume mass quantities of male hormones, cultivate mustaches -- single eyebrows, then divorce their husbands and kids (pores fill with pus, enlarge and burst). They remarry socially upward moving workmen and reproduce continually until the workman's mind rips blue like jagged metal. He sells the car, mortgages the house, takes the bus to Atlantic City and puts it all on one number -- loses, and fades away into the infinite social continuum. Meanwhile the housewives go on welfare do drugs and worship the devil. The kids remain locked together in a single room, at each others throats, T.V. set blaring, frying their minds like an electro-magnetic shock to the brain or a gold fish in a microwave. They stumble outside, nervous systems stunted by mismatched genes, stuttering: duh, duh, duh.

They grow up to be frail sullen embryo men, who upon receiving S.A.T.'s, immediately contract white blinding headaches and rush out of the gymnasium screaming: DUH !!! DUH !!! DUH !!! They run about aimlessly like laboratory rats driven mad from to many bells and mazes, until guidance councilors talk them back to their senses and they return to graduate directly to the nearest factory, broken down old men before they are able to vote.

Nobody knew the aliens had landed. The trial dragged on and on, for as soon as the prosecution practically proved the defendant (handsome white upper class male, mid-thirties) guilty, new evidence would be introduced which invalidated all previous evidence while unquestionably proving the defendant innocent. Finally after much difficulty, the prosecution rest ("When you come right down to it, all of these criminals have deeply repressed suicidal tendencies, so by executing them you are actually giving them what they want." says the double-doctorate psychologist as he is thrown out of court: DUH !!! DUH !!! DUH !!! ). The jury deliberate for weeks and weeks before reaching a verdict. All is quiet and the judge addresses the defendant. "You have been found by a jury of your peers, to be guilty of first degree murder. Do you you have any thing to say before sentencing?" "Yes" says the alien shedding its disguise like a gypsy mouth. (All of the witness and court observers follow suit.) "You and your constituents have been found guilty of judgement." The aliens then proceed to destroy the judge, the jury, the court house -- and themselves. Thermo-nuclear missiles orbit the globe like cobwebs, the explosions echo Noiselessly into the boundless: DUH !!! DUH !!! DUH !!!

by TJ Richter

© 1985 Theodore J. Richter

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