Friday, March 25, 2011

The Politics of Reading Faulkner

The Politics of Reading Faulkner

Reading Faulkner

“an attenuated form of
sibling incest in which
taboos or race, region,
and class are defied”
—Karl Zender, “The Politics
of Incest,” Faulkner and
the politics of Reading

like the gym story—
the way the deep south entered
my imagination

triggering my id—
with domestic anecdotes
there in my closet

faulkner’s novels came—
creeping into me thru the
politics of reading

an old gay barber—
at the air base by the pool
the officer’s club

sensing i was gay—
my father stationed down there
in louisiana

shreveport way up north—
in redneck territory
unlike new orleans

cutting my hair and—
telling this story of
a baton rouge gay

they murdered this fag—
throwing him off the big bridge
into the mississippi

naturally I freaked—
gay murder stories weren’t my
cup of tea back then

then in baton rouge—
there on campus next story
the gay queer gym coach one

the one about the—
guy going down on the young
young janitor kid

that’s how southern lit—
with its storytelling ways
told me gay folk tales…

after that it was—
miss faulkner’s turn reading me
like me reading her

we’d have séances—
like quentin & shreve there in
the cold harvard dorms

then absalom, absalom
entering the past

faulkner retelling—
quentin’s story just for me
bon & henry’s too

knowing that I was—
tres gay like quentin compson
hots for dalton ames

knowing that I was—
into miscegenal love
like buck & billy

knowing that I had—
a mulatto kid brother
like charles bon

a writer’s oeuvre—
a lifelong writing project
of storytelling

writers change with time—
faulkner’s despair grew deeper
he mourned the deep south

attack or praise it—
“I don’t hate the South”
love it or hate it…

the tragedy of—
male psychic power &

the déclassé jim bond—
judith sutpen as victim
roth’s young black lover

the white male psyche—
the whole male-dominated
social order still…

Writing Faulkner

“the chinks and cracks
of masculinity, the fissures
of male identity and
the repression of phallic
—Terresa De Laurentis,
“Feminism and Faulkner,”
Faulkner Journal 4 1999

he could write again—
he began listening to
benjy, quentin, caddy

they spoke to him late—
in the rowan oaks darkness
sipping his whiskey

a delta autumn—
calmness helped him write again
rereading himself

i’ve been there as well—
reading my family ledgers
like ike in the dark

they told a story—
like young roth edmund’s story
about his lover

she came to the camp—
tennie jim’s granddaughter
there with all the men

isaac with his own—
troubled miscegenal past
his own dinge ledgers

the old blood story—
the l.q.c. mccaslin curse
running thru them all

the incest motif—
imagined by miss shelley
“laon and cythna”

“siblinghood” bleeding—
into dinge brotherhood, sex
there in tiger town

Living Faulkner

“Old man,” she said,
“have you lived so long
and forgotten so much
that you don’t remember
anything you ever knew
or even heard about love?”
—William Faulkner,
Go Down, Moses

i was like isaac—
i was like jacob wrestling
with young dark angels

getting into bon—
sexual racial taboos
delta male bonding

zender mentions how—
absalom written during
popular front heydays

the freudian left—
pushing against fascism
spanish civil war

faulkner donating—
absalom manuscript for
auction to raise dough

against the nazis—
for the spanish loyalists
(see blotner’s bio)

me in tigertown—
during the Vietnam war
living with two blacks

the gay hippie left—
my answer to postwar angst
war economy

fascism back then—
iraq, libya, afghan now
the same old story

the same old story—
nothing really has changed much—
tragic male psyche

storytelling it—
thru all his gothic novels
delta noir despair

faulkner writing it—
male imperialism
does it ever end?

No comments:

Post a Comment