sage advice from john giorno: “just say no to family values, and don’t quit your day job.”

John Giorno, friend of Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs, might be best remembered for something he did in San Francisco, way back in 1968. Giorno’s performer’s instincts led him to create DIAL-A-POEM, which was based on the premise that people would pick up their phones, dial a number and listen to pre-recorded poetry. And they did! DIAL-A-POEM proved to be the catalyst for the “dial-a-something” industry: Dial-A-Joke, Dial-A-Horoscope, Dial-A-Sports-Score, Dial-A-Recipe soon emerged, and the Suicide Hotline, Off-Track Betting, and Phone Sex enterprises followed in their wake.

 


Here’s Giorno’s best-known poem:

Just Say No To Family Values

On a day when
you’re walking
down the street
and you see
a hearse
with a coffin,
followed by
a flower car
and limos,
you know the day
is auspicious,
your plans are going to be
successful;
but on a day when
you see a bride and groom
and wedding party,
watch out,
be careful,
it might be a bad sign.

Just say no
to family values,
and don’t quit
your day job.

Drugs
are sacred
substances,
and some drugs
are very sacred substances,
please praise them
for somewhat liberating
the mind.

Tobacco
is a sacred substance
to some,
and even though you’ve
stopped smoking,
show a little respect.

Alcohol
is totally great,
let us celebrate
the glorious qualities
of booze,
and I had
a good time
being with you.

Just
do it,
just don’t
not do it,
just do it.

Christian
fundamentalists,
and fundamentalists
in general,
are viruses,
and they’re killing us,
multiplying
and mutating,
and they destroying us,
now, you know,
you got to give
strong medicine
to combat
a virus.

Who’s buying?
good acid,
I’m flying,
slipping
and sliding,
slurping
and slamming,
I’m sinking,
dipping
and dripping,
and squirting
inside you;
never
fast forward
a come shot;
milk, milk,
lemonade,
round the corner
where the chocolate’s made;
I love to see
your face
when you’re suffering.

Do it
with anybody
you want,
whatever
you want,
for as long as you want,
any place,
any place,
when it’s possible,
and try to be
safe;
in a situation where
you must abandon
yourself
completely
beyond all concepts.

Twat throat
and cigarette dew,
that floor
would ruin
a sponge mop,
she’s the queen
of great bliss;
light
in your heart,
flowing up
a crystal channel
into your eyes
and out
hooking
the world
with compassion.

Just
say
no
to family
values.

We don’t have to say No
to family values,
cause we never
think about them;
just
do it,
just make
love
and compassion.

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