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Elegy for Al / The Plastic Clown


photo by Eric Black Scriptonian Battles

In the early hours of July 18, Al-Gene Pennison III, aka The Plastic Clown, died, having fallen from a friend’s balcony.   A year ago, Al spoke about his funeral in a poem:

…at my funeral
(after everyone watches me burn)
I want an open bar
& dancing in the streets
my ashes in a golden vase
& I want everyone to get so drunk
that the urn gets lost
& a one-eyed, one-armed
toothless whore
steals the vase for its gold
but spills a spoonful
of my ashes
into her drink
and becomes healed
she grows back an eye
she grows back an arm
& all of her teeth
& her way up high
and firm little titties
fill back out
and she’s the best
and most prosperous whore
in the whole town

His friends had these words for him:

Clyde Richardson: His poetry, just like the soiree of illusions was a mirror for us all to witness the horrid banality of faking it through this jaded world.

Khloe Morris: Guess that he was honest, vulgar, and a true poet. ” your smile is my safety word” was my favorite line he had.

Amanda Renee: To me, al was something of a cross between John Updike and g.g. Allin. Brutally and often uncomfortably honest, al had a beautifully macabre rawness that was alternately easy to misunderstand and to relate to. I’ve had few friends who were as encouraging, entertaining, and flat out reckless. I feel privileged to have known him, and will miss him greatly.

Salvador Macias: He was a madman, a poet, a hermit, a pervert, a jester, a genius, and friend.

One more poem (because every poet should be the one to write their own elegy):

the Propaganda of Death’s Cartography (excerpt)
… But gather together yr philosophies & unwieldy puzzle pieces of truth
To throw on the fire that we share & feed the fire
with the Propaganda of Death’s Cartography
To battle the darkness that none of us can deny
we’ll  feed each other the bounty of the forest
& get drunk on its intoxicants
We’ll make suicide pacts while tending one anothers wounds
& Dismantle the disco ball of knowledge
& each carry a piece of mirror
To enjoy the distractions of narcissism
Argue about where the light comes from
&  the source of the river
We’ll enact blood rituals just to prove a point
& each do our best to protect one another from the darkness
But for me
I beg that you not dissuade me
From trying to believe
That as what I experience behind the wall of sleep
So also will my experience continue
Under the shroud of death
For if I am convinced that this encampment
On the edge of the wilderness is all that there is…
I will swim to the center of the river
& give myself to its currents


  1. if I knew you were gonna direct quote me, I would have been more, something.

  2. I first met Al sometime in the mid/late 90′s, later got to know him reasonably well when we were jointly involved in a failed performance venue/webcast venture in the early 2024′s. I cannot say with any certainty that I particularly liked him. I can say with absolute certainty that it didn’t matter.

    Al was brilliant, abrasive, caustic, and unfailingly observant. both his poetic gifts and his capacity for consumption of every substance known to man deserve to be described as “byronesque”. He is on the short list of performers I ever saw hold their own on the same stage as Rusted Shut.

    I would’ve liked to have seen both his life and his contributions continue. That both were cut short saddens, but does not surprise.

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