Rust Belter Kenneth Patchen, born in Niles, Ohio, in 1911, is one of America’s greatest, if unknown, poets. Author Henry Miller wrote about him this way:
The silence which emanates from him is black. He puts one on tenterhooks. It breeds hysteria. Of course he is shy. And no matter how long he lives he will never become urbane. He is American through and through, and Americans, despite their talkiness, are fundamentally silent creatures. They talk in order to conceal their innate reticence. It is only in moments of deep intimacy that they break loose. Patchen is typical. Then finally he does open his mouth it is to release a hot flood of words. His emotion tears loose in clots.
Here’s Patchen tearing loose in clots in a poem entitled Let Us Have Madness:
Let us have madness openly.
0 men Of my generation.
Let us follow
The footsteps of this slaughtered age:
See it trail across Time’s dim land
Into the closed house of eternity
With the noise that dying has,
With the face that dead things wear–
nor ever say
We wanted more; we looked to find
An open door, an utter deed of love,
Transforming day’s evil darkness;
but We found extended hell and fog Upon the earth,
and within the head
A rotting bog of lean huge graves.