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Uncollected Works #1

Of all of the pieces collected here, only the "Author's Note" appears in a book by Jim Carroll. The "Author's Note" appears only in the original 1978 edition of The Basketball Diaries. The others are published only in magazines.

From a Diary

Adventures in Poetry 2 (July 1968)

January 26, 1963
Today was the big game against Orlando's Furniture and we beat the living shit out of them. We were drinking all morning and didn't think we had a chance, but the minute the game started we noticed that any shot we took seemed to go in so we won the championship of the league by about 20 points. I got 43 points and tied some record. We waited around after the game for our trophies but the prick from the Long Beach Chamber of Commerce came over and explained to us that the trophies were for the winners of the regular season, and not for the winners of the playoffs, so Orlando's got the trophies instead of us. They beat us during the regular season.

Author's Note

The Basketball Diaries (first edition)
Tombouctou, 1978

Just to clear a few matters up pertaining to these

I was 12 yrs. Old when I began writing it down,

It continued until I was 15 nearing 16.

"Did it all really happen to you?" I get that one put
to me often. Well . . .

To answer that simply, they are as much fiction
as biography. They were as much made up as

They were lived out. It all happened. None of it
happened. It was me. Now it's you.

"Nothing is true; Everything is permitted."

Hassan Sabah



I notice that cops are often tense
Often awkward people

in getting off buses cops don't wait
for the green light to indicate the door is open
leaving them pounding on it
and disturbing my nod

cops lack imagination.
who that carries a gun so close to his thigh
possesses imagination?

how can cops
with their awkwardness
and feeble imagination
even begin to think of themselves as good sex partners?

you would laugh
at a cop in bed.

cops are paranoid
they jitter as they walk
they don't breathe air easily

realizing my basic freedom
I breathe the air quire easily
as I walk to places where I see less cops.

Some people seem to like cops
I, for one, do not dig these mother fuckers.

Catholics on Dope

Little Caesar 4 (Nov. 1977)

There is a fathomless light
blasting from the wound

I want to lay the dream against it

before it disappears

Though I have no comfort to give . . .

My stone tongue drips the poison moss.

But my fingers long for the wound
they peel back the slit flesh like petal from rose

And sink deep . . . the blood curls
like white Papal smoke under my finger nails

They lace the wound
with a love not shared

man to man . . . woman to woman
woman to man I

Long for the wound . . .
"To make it right . . ."

To shoot this scum
back under the earth.


My Pale Skin

Long Shot 2 (1983)

You walk your heart savagely
Along the beach, like a pet
abused by the trivia of passion
and the blistered claws of a sun
caged in its zenith, losing
ambition day by day. At your heel
It turned sand bleached white

Like an albino toad, a sick
pumping agate. Dogs follow

Cautiously for what you have.

It curls in the quick fog
Off the lagoon, dragging
a curtain of salt sting.

It insists to you.
It risks any exposure
In time, finally resting
As my feet take the waves, it braces
Its tubes to my wrist like a watch,
Its pulse lighting digits of severed blood,
smaller than a landlord's practiced tears.

All poems © 1968, 1969, 1977, 1983 by Jim Carroll


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