By Henry Rollins

2/17/85 I'm going to get tattooed tomorrow. I like getting tattoos. They seal off my pores from the world. It's like a coat to put on. You are showing less and less of yourself. Giving less of yourself to them. Less for them, more for you. This is good. Most people don't like tattoos. They say stupid things like, "Won't you regret that in 20 years?" I'd regret a wife and kids more, thanks. Tattoos are permanent. They stay on for life. They make you say something. I am no longer a Caucasian. No. My skin is white, black, green, red, purple, yellow, etc. I am a minority.

--from "Hallucinations of Grandeur"

A Letter I Wrote to Nick Cave but Forgot to Send

Nick, Hi. I don't know when or if this will ever get to you but I just thought I'd write anyhow. I am sitting in a most depressing hovel in some Mexican district of S.A. So far on this "jaunt," 46 shows in 46-47 days. I feel a bit worn out. . . . 34-35 shows still on the schedule. I need a break. We drove all night to get here and I have slept 1-2 hours. I will have to find sleep somewhere. I broke a knuckle on some dude's head in St. Louis, makes writing hard at times. . . .

--11-7-84, San Antonio, Texas


The sun is dying

Lying on its side

One eye open

Every day

The sun dies

It commits suicide

Drowns itself

In the sea

Every morning

The sun rises

It tears across the sky

Just to show 'em

I aspire to that

To give


And die every night

And then

To be given the chance

To die again




And rising again

Just to show 'em

Sitting on the Front Porch of 3819 Beecher St.

Whenever I am in my home town, I am reminded of my father. I might have breathed the same air he had just a day before. I can feel him, I can feel his breathing. I can feel his heart beat. I think of the discipline, the instruction, the things he said. The fear and anguish and hatred. I walk on the same streets as he does. His foot prints glow in the dark. He got me good and it makes me want to kill.

Night Air

The sound I feel the most is the still, night air, only broken by the song of a bird somewhere up in a tree. Have you ever been out there, swallowed up in that inky night air? The smell of the trees and lawns and streets, I feel the best when I'm there, alone, I am always alone there. My mind's knots can come untied, I can close my eyes, let out a breath and my life as I know it (a journey of torment) becomes more exacting, my eyes dull and my head hangs, drunk on night air.

--from "Two Thirteen Sixty One"

Reprinted, unless noted, from "Polio Flesh," copyright 1985 by Henry Rollins. "Hallucinations of Grandeur" copyright 1986 by Henry Rollins. "Two Thirteen Sixty One" copyright 1985 by Henry Rollins. Reprinted by permission of Illiterati Press.

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