To Fiery Jack (first letter)

Fiery Jack.
A Fall song gave you the name. I knew it was you from the first time I heard it. You’ve been appearing in my peripheral vision since childhood. Before I had a sense of the world, any sense at all, I’d wonder how you could become what you are:
My face is slack
And kidneys burn
In the small of my back
Will never learn
Well I’m not going back
To the slow life
Because every step is a drag
And pieces of kite
Of materials you never catch
Come up for a snatch
Up from hell
Once in a while
Cause I am Jack
From a burning ring
My face is slack
And I think think think
I just think think think
Too fast to write
Too fast to work
Just burn burn burn
I sat and drank
While my dreams decay
I’m 45
Cause I am Jack
From a burning ring
And my face is slack
And I think think think
I just drink drink drink
Too fast to write
Too fast to work
I just burn burn burn
I eat hot dogs
I live on pies
I’m 45
Cause I am Jack
And I think think think
Just think think think
Too fast to write
Too fast to work
Just burn burn burn
And put down left-wing tirades
and the musical trade
End free trade
I say eat this grenade
Gonna eat this grenade
Cause I am Jack
Some man from the docks
They are smart
Their brains are half
They never end
Just follow trends
But I am Jack
From a burning ring
My face is slack
And I think think think
Just think think think
Too fast to write
Too fast to work
I just burn burn burn
I am Jack
And put down left-wing tirades
and the musical trade
End all free trade
I said eat this grenade
I said eat this grenade
End all free trade
I said eat this grenade
Listening to that band for the first time was like exploring the moon — impossibly alien and generic at the same time — an anonymous b-movie full of profound insights you can’t remember the next day. They locked in on working class martyrdom, being trapped while knowing you’re not lazy or stupid, doing what you do by yourself, in your own way, no teachers or money, no institutional framework, no market models.
The band conjured up an ugly-intense game of chicken. The players were art students who hated art students, intellectuals who hated intellectuals, savants who refused to ever acknowledge a need for validation (and expected no cultural capital in this). The band presented a one act tragedy that might never end. The band generated legions of pint swilling misanthropes who knew better than to be so disturbingly conservative but thought it would be the most effective means of alienating pretenders (their self-centred conviction always increasing with drunken courage).
Hey! Dickhead!
Hey! Dickhead!
The band conveyed all this.
The singer was like you (sort of) but remained an observer. He was a creator despite himself. That was clear. He was a resuscitator, a curator of the unfashionably marginal. He remade you untouchable — beyond reproach while impossible to bear. I was almost convinced (dangling at the top of a fence I still can’t get down from) that there might be no other way of going through this hard slog, this change of centuries — not with your dignity intact, not with your sense of self remaining your own.
I watched and listened over the years (more than 25 of them now) as the postulations became enactments and the first person narratives became confessionals. Hurtful rejections occurred with increasing frequency. I read about depraved instances of self-destruction.
I see now that you possessed him. The seeming inevitability of it all (in hindsight) makes me want to cry.
jeremy