Billy Corgan Blinks With Fists

by Jenny, Executive Editor

4/2 - Richard Siken Tells Me We'll Never Get Used To It, by Po, EIC
4/3 - William Carlos Williams: This Is Just To Say, by Layah, CD
4/4 - We Are All Writers On the Same Dreadful Typewriter 
as Allen Ginsberg, by Jenny, EE
4/5 - Pablo Neruda and the Quest for Surrender, by Elie, ME
4/6 - Let's Shake the Dust, Anis Mojgani, by Layah, CD
4/11 - Terrence Hayes, Kanye West, and How to Get Through Winter, 
by Elie, ME
4/12 - Sylvia Plath Died Before I Had Time, by Po, EIC 
4/16 - Billy Corgan Blinks With Fists, by Jenny, EE 

I fell in love with the lyrics of the Smashing Pumpkins and Zwan before I ever opened Billy Corgan’s book of 57 poems entitled Blinking With Fists. The lyrics of the Smashing Pumpkins especially brought me to the book. Expecting the poetry to be full of the slick, cold, futuristic lyrics of doomsday and emptiness found within the Smashing Pumpkins’ albums, I was surprised by the warmth and nostalgia of the imagery.

[Cover art by Yelena Yemchuck]

In all my personal copies of books I underline and dates passages I find relevant at the time, as well as annotate. Flipping through my copy of this book again today, I see annotations of “childhood,” “shame,” “guilt,” and “innocence.” Knowing Corgan’s personal background and stuggles as a child has allowed me to view Blinking With Fists almost as an allegory for the rite of passage out of childhood, or out of any time-constrained situation really. Since I began reading the book of poems during late 2008, I’ve found the rite of passage he illustrates to follow me through mine.


The river runs foul
from the gates where my father once stood
down to the apple trees
from mirror to the gutter
we run streaks of stardust
and funny dumb dreams of shattered warmth
happiness is nothing but a smile

I detect her here in the warm night air
I move silent, I do not wish to be seen

The river runs south Thru ghettos
and starched neighborhood squares
And everywhere the dogs howl I don’t even trust the hum of my own voice here
My own impermanence haunts me
But this thought alone relieves the pressure
From the mirrors to the gutters done
Gutter tongued, my heart speaks to the silence in me
Let me walk alone, home
As the dead stoplights wave good night

– “The River Runs Fowl”

Although not all of the poetry in Blinking With Fists mirrors this style, there is a definitive cutaway from Corgan’s lyrics to his poetry. His words are much more honest and undisguised on the white page than in sound. Revisiting this book of poetry this past fall represented my search again for this organic style. At the time, I viewed the world in light of the Tao, which I was studying, and I came across Corgan’s piece “Zen Poem,” which I thought was very fitting. I found yellow highlighted passages dating  2008 and 2009, and those tones and phrases have haunted with me for awhile:


“thought/ the open flower
thought/ the humming scream
thought/ the traffic light
thought is communion”

– “Zen Poem”

[Corgan, 2009]



  1. […] to Get Through Winter, by Elie, ME 4/12 – Sylvia Plath Died Before I Had Time, by Po, EIC  4/16 – Billy Corgan Blinks With Fists, by Jenny, EE 4/17 – Andrea Gibson Just Takes Me, by Po, EIC  4/18 – Famous Like Naomi Shihab […]

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LANDFILLS is a grassroots literary, arts and culture online collective based in Chicago. All work is original, except the featured images that accompany text posts (which are blatantly stolen from Complaints should be directed to Po via Twitter.
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