Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Sweet Bird of Youth

Sweet Bird of Youth (1962)

“There is no place to retire to…when you retire from the movies. Except OBLIVION.”—Alexandra Del Lago

“If I’d just been OLD… but I wasn’t old. I just wasn’t young any more.”

“Your COME BACK. What happened? You just didn’t have it anymore?”

“Oh, I had it! I had the will…and the talent to go with it… But the CAMERA… The Camera doesn’t know how to LIE… There’s a thing, god help us. Called the Close-Up…”

“The camera dollies in… your FACE caught in the light blazing… Your terrible history screams while you SMILE…”

“And then before you know it comes the night of the Pageant…”

“Who’d you say she was? She’s Alexandra Del Lago. Who? I thought she was dead and buried…”

“After that... FLIGHT! Running away from that frightful COME BACK!”

Big Daddy


Big Daddy
Has Been Orpheus
Dramatic Monologue
The Gay Menagerie
How Grimly Do Petunias Pout
Night of the Iguana
Traumatic Eye
The Young Stonecutter
Simply Speechless

Big Daddy

“The dust of those
who have been
by Furies”
—Tennessee Williams,
Orpheus Descending

I had a séance with Big Daddy the other night, drinking a solitary toast to the great Southern poet, Tennessee Williams.

It was the eve of his 100th birthday—after his departure from his suite at the Elysee Hotel in New York in 1983.

“My dear, I need your help. Get me outta this goddamn hole, here in this dumpy Calvary Cemetery in gawdawful St. Louis, Missouri, will you?”

I was shocked, simply shocked—by this Voice from the past haunting me so. He’d ended up there, because of his brother Dakin Williams' insistence.

“I’ve long told my friends I wanted to be buried at sea down there in the Caribbean, the same place as the great poet Hart Crane, my dear.”

I had to grease some palms and pull some strings, but I managed to get Tennessee’s remains whisked away from stoggy Missouri and down to the Gulf.

And so, one lovely sunny day, on a tramp steamer not much different than the original Orizaba, I released Tennessee deep into the sea.

Unfortunately, I caught the hem of my mourning dress on a protruding hinge of the coffin. And down into the Blue Carib went I as well, sadly to say.

Has-Been Orpheus

“Now Orpheus, crawl,
O shamefaced fugitive,
crawl”—Tennessee Williams,
Orpheus Descending

I was the fugitive kind, there’s no doubt about it. I knew how to crawl, down there on my hands and knees. Crawling, bawling, falling, falling…

Everyday was a descent down into hell, Dante’s Inferno was nothing new to me. I did it alone each time, down through the magic liquid mirror.

Heurtebise ditched me a long time ago, leaving me in a cloud of dust and fumes. Pushing me outta his Rolls-Royce, out onto a dirty Vieux Carré curb.

The cry of “Brother!” such a sad, dreadful lament, down through the crummy centuries kept locked in the closet. Hidden in darkness, silently stranggled.

It’s a dangerous word, but the human tongue likes to wrap itself around it. And squeeze it tight to death. It’s inflamatory, it disturbs the str8t populace.

—for Kip Kierman

He was the kind of guy that don’t have legs, all his life always floatin on air. It’s true, that’s the way he was. He was light as a feather, pretty as a dove.

He was like Orpheus descending, falling down to earth. But he just kept fallin, and never landed anywhere. Invisible wings, keepin him up there?

Cocky camouflage, that’s what it was called. Hawks and eagles, they don’t catch guys like that. It takes a professional to get them, to woo them into bed.

You know how beauty, comes into a room. Too quickly, too boldly. That easily corruptible look, shadowy bedroom eyes that look away from you?

They squeeze into our world, thru entrances in space that we’ve never entered. Goodlooks worth dying for, a snowy gull that dips above a wreck…

The way light touches him, more flatteringly than the pic in my billfold. I’ve seen it on his living face, out there on a Provincetown beach. But Kip is gone…

I almost believed for a moment, in a well-ordered life living with him. Crossing the line, living a mannerly, settled life, married to the guy I loved.

I would’ve accepted everything, the coarse fibers of experience. Looking outta a high window, seeing sunlight cut shaft of light between tall buildings.

Feeling cold and pure and disassociated, beyond everything happening around me. But the dirty, uncompromising verb to be got me in the gutter.

Dramatic Monologue

After awhile I gave up on manifestos, trying to define everything intellectually. Undeterred, I lapsed deeper into self-pity and sentimental self-loathing.

I gave up on satire, just looking at the mirror was enough. It cracked, and I cracked up too. Like Miss Burton tied up in her hammock, Night of the Iguana.

Everything had been useless, the crummy treasure chest in my head. The one that stored up the vast
Anglo-Saxon wordhoard, it was utterly destroyed.

All I had left was unanswered letters. So many letters left unanswered, because there was only one letter. The one I kept writing, there inside my head.

The Gay Menagerie

I ended up as a character, as well as being the narrator of a dimly lit story. Not a very realistic story, but then after all it was a gay menagerie.

So much weepy melodrama, so many ridiculous True Confessions. How could such a long struggle to represent being gay, end up being so kitschy?

How Grimly Do Petunias Pout

How grimly do petunias pout, on things mostly unspeakable. For those dear creatures who lurk, there inside the closety academic grove.

Such sharp and moral eyes, such a big fuckin nose you’ve got Grandma. The better to eat you up after class, the Wolf says locking his office door.

Back then in the Sixties, str8ts ruled trouble Academe. With consummate disdain, they smirked at anything gay. Forget Miss Whitman, Crane or Stein.
They blushed down to their mincing toes, when men came into the Allen Hall tearoom. They fainted if they saw a stud, through the pissoir glory hole!
Night of the Iguana

Young iguanas are wanton, young iguanas are quick. Here in my hammock, Ava sings lullabies to me and the young iguanas dance.

I was going thru my heeby-jebbies—going thru the usual lush withdrawal and panic attacks. The shadows darkening the way, I regreted every day.

But young iguanas are foolish, so gay and blind in the sun. Only at night can one safely gaze, gaze and glance at their lovely nude behinds.

They laugh for no reason, except to shake their mirachis and wiggle their cute asses. Young iguanas are so gay, foolish and blind.

Traumatic Eye

I’ve got this traumatic eyeball, it ogles and stares at certain things that embarrass me. It’s right in the center of my forehead, where dirty pictures live.

Conceiving menace in certain young males, causing cries of alarm and sirens of desire. To whine and howl late at night, dialating me with fear.

This shameless and perverted eyeball, a dreadful Cyclops revealing the sordid truth of it all. My heart stripped of pride, my mind erect with penis envy.

It used to happen in the Bijou balcony, sometimes down on the dirty, Coca-Cola sticky floor. Then at the YMCA and even in the dorms late at night.

Surely that’s where enchantment lies, I mused. Beguiled by the Eye’s erstwhile errant ways. It loitered, it forgot, it taught me vagarant ways.

It still guides me even now, casting its evil spell on my weak-kneed ways. Looking back on my life, a long series of vagrant, vanished interludes.

The Young Stonecutter

The young stonecutter’s angles, so marvelous and graceful. All seven inches of him, lifting his uncut challice toward my worshipping lips.

Carving tombstones with compassion, his craftman’s hands taking pity for the dead. Feeling even more pity for the living, more than I ever dared for.

He always had that uplifted look, as tho some impalpable thing were inspiring him. I felt the same way, when he stood nude in the workshop.

The young stonecutter died, everytime he quietly lost it. Seven inches for seven angels, each angel I knelt in the rain and prayed for most fervently.

He was pale as a ghost, working inside the tombstone factory all day. I’d catch him after work, and take him home for dinner and a lay.

When he came and cried out, the angels held me back. Then none of them lifted a finger, when my lips slipped & sipped his slimy hard marble stomach.

And then I knew why, all the angels seemed to envy. How a young stonemason like him could create such stonework, and then get stoned at night with me.

The young stonecutter had his own angels, seven inches angled upward against his hard stomach. Hiding his face in the pillow, I could only taste him.

The angels stuck close to him tho, keeping their counsel down there in his pubic hair. Each evening coming to share, their mobile and vocal powers.

I could hear them at night, after he went to sleep. Quarreling over the date in harsh, falsetto voices, when they’d take him away to be with them.

But they would calm down and put contention away, once the delicate marble rose of the day was grasped in his strong hands, chistled and hammered.

His hands are callused and hard, they make me forget north or south. The veins on his arms are like vines in a vineyard, his eyes friendlier than words.

But often when we made love, I heard the angels lonely overhead. Struggling against the wind, calling me to hold the young stonecutter tighter and tighter.

Simply Speechless

I must confess it’s no speech or act of divine utterance from my lips and lisping tongue. It’s a gay enigma, like being struck by lightening playing golf.

I’m victimized everytime I’m around him, but I simply don’t give up. I’m cross-eyed with wonder and pain, myriad petals of delusion confuse me.

Until at last I finish him off, my young strengthless Atlas drained dry down to the last squirt. Such a dark and moody look he gives me, now I know.

From then on I’m an exile, I’m in a foreign country every step I take. He speaks a foreign language, his taste is bitter-sweet and I want some more.

He doesn’t like my tongue up his asshole, and yet he sits on my face more and more. Thin hips mean and cruel, grapes of wrath legs more than I can endure?

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Baby Boy II


Archie is heading back to his bedroom. Baby Boy appears in a flimsy pink kimono with lavender flamingos on it. She makes a turn of the hallway crossing into the bathroom.

(We hear the shower go on.)

Archie: You don’t hear nothin I say! How do I catch your attention? What does a guy gotta do to get your attention, Baby Boy?

(On an abrupt impulse he suddenly enters the bathroom. Sounds of a struggle. Baby Boy shouts.)

Baby Boy: “Keep your hands off me! Keep your hands off…OFF!”

(Archie Lee comes out of the bathroom soaked wet. The shower is turned off. Baby Doll’s head comes out past the door.)

Baby Boy: “I’m gonna move to the Kotton King Motel, the very text time you try to break the agreement! The very next time!

Archie: You’re gonna go to town like that?

Baby Boy: Like what?

Archie: In that hustler outfit. Those awful bluejeans cutoffs. Hanging down off your ass. Down to your pubes in front. That shameless body T-shirt. Flaunting it! Advertising it! With your nice flat tummy so everybody can see it. But if I dare touch it, you with your modest nature, you start squawkin like some old fuckin hen!

Baby Boy: Yeah, but you’re sure doin all the squawkin, now, Archie Lee.

Archie: Why don’t cha just go nekkid and let the whole town see ya?

Baby Boy: Well, my Sugar Daddy before I met you, bought me anything I wanted. In fact, I bought my own trousseau when I hooked up with you AND paid for it with my Big Daddy’s insurance money. I just gotta wear these skintight clothes since you don’t get me nothin to wear. Either that or just go plain nekkid into town!

Archie: Aw, for christ sake, hell. Will ya git into th’ car?

(Their voices are echoed by the clucking, pecking chickens in the front yard.)

Baby Boy: Aint you gonna walk around over here to open the door for me like a gentleman?

Archie: What gentlemen? Nothing here but us dumb chicken clucking around this dumpy joint.

Baby Boy: I swear, my Big Daddy would turn over in his grave, if he heard the way you talk to me, Archie Lee.

Archie: If your goddamned Big Daddy flopped around in his grave as much as you say he does, he’d plow up all the graveyards from here to Biloxi! Now get in the goddamn car…

(Baby Boy is insulted by Archie Lee's talking to him that way. So, he whirls around on his expensive high heels and struts down the driveway. At the road he assumes a hitchhiker’s stance, sticking his thumb out and showin’ a little leg. A big slinky Cadillac shows up outta nowhere. It skids to a sudden stop and the door opens. A leering old chicken queen ogles out at Baby Boy. Archie comes running down the driveway, shouting obscenities at the nefarious interloper trying to pick up his Baby Boy doll. The queen in the Cadillac slams the door and takes off, plunging both Baby Boy and miffed Archie Lee in a huge dust-cloud of fumes and awful curses.


They are jolting down the road.

Archie: Baby Boy, y’know they’s no torture on earth to equal the sheer, unadulterated shame and torture that a cold-hearted boy like you can inflict on a man when you won’t let him even touch you??!!! No torture in heaven or hell can possibly compare with what you're doin to me, Baby Boy! What am I gonna fuckin do? What have I done to deserve this kind of unrequited love? Livin in a big old mansion, my cotton gin business gone to hell and 5 sets of furniture not paid for yet? Plus a Big Daddy loverboy who just won't put out? Oh Lordy, wonder I'm a goddamn wreck.

Baby Boy: You done bit off more than you can chew, Big Daddy.

Archie: Everybody knows what’s been goin on between us. Yestiddy on Main Street a man yelled at me, “Hey, Archie Lee, has y’boy outgrowed his baby boy crib yet? And then a bunch of other guyz at the bar just laughed and laughed, they done hee-hawed at me like I was a dumb fool! I had to fuckin blush and sulk my way down the street all because of you! And I’m a grown man, too!

(Baby Boy’s in the back seat, her beads, necklaces, tit-rings, nose-rings and earrings jingling like a circus pony’s harness.)

Baby Boy: Private humiliation can be just as painful, Archie Lee. Pull over here and get me an ice cream cone at the drug store.

Archie: Well, Baby Boy! You listen to me! I can tell you one thing for sure. You aint gonna be sleepin in no crib tomorrow night, Baby Boy Blue, cause we gonna be celebratin your birthday big time, little smartypants!

Baby Boy: If they move out those five complete sets of furniture from your lousy joint, I’m gonna still be sleepin in my crib cause the crib’s done been paid for. I’ll sleep in that goddamn crib – or I’ll sleep on top of Aunt Rose’s refrigerator. But I aint gonna be sleepin with you, that's the truth, Archie Lee Whine Puss!!

Archie: That reminds me. I’ve been meanin to talk to you about your stinkin old crazy Aunt Rose Comfort. I’m not in a position to feed and keep her skinny ass anymore… I'm gonna ship her off to the Home where she belongs. And then we're gonna get down to some serious business... you and me, sweetheart.

Baby Doll: Lookie here, Big Shot... the day Aunt Rose Comfort has to move outta that dumpy old mansion is the day I move out too!

Archie: C’mon, Baby Boy, honey, please don't talk to me that way. We just gotta dump all that extra baggage like your Aunt Rose Comfort… Aunt Rose can’t cook or clean or do nothin around the house… All she does is cackle like an old hen and scream her head off whenever the fuckin phone rings…

Baby Boy: If you don’t like Aunt Rose Comfort’s cookin, then get yourself some colored cook from town. She cooks okay, once a week or two. Her fried chicken is yummy... even though it's Colonel Sanders take-out. I can tell ya one thing, Archie Lee. I’m certainly not gonna cook for a fat old pig like you, money wouldn’t pay me…

(Archie leans back and whacks Baby Boy on the side of the head, backhanding him but good. And gets ready to do it again, if the wiseass kid opens his wiseass mouth again…)

Baby Boy: OUCH!!! Hey, cut that out!!!

Archie: Don’t you ever call me a big fat pig, you little male slut.

Baby Boy: “Well, why don’t cha get young and thin again, and maybe I’ll quit callin you a big fat PIG! What’s buggin you now, Archie Lee?

(Three moving vans rumbling past them outta town, heading toward Archie’s old dumpy mansion. Each big truck has big yellow lettering on the sides: IDEAL PAY AS YOU GO PLAN FURNITURE COMPANY).

Neither Archie or Baby Boy say anything. They just stare back at the trucks and then ahead, bouncing along in their ratty, beat-up Buick convertible.

Baby Doll: I’m gonna move to the Kotton King Motel. I’m going to move to the Kotton King Motel…

Archie: No you’re not, honey, you don’t got no money.

Baby Boy: I’m gonna get a job. The manager of the Kotton King Motel likes me, he’ll give me some kinda work.

Archie: What kinda job you think he’ll give you? Havin you give him a BLOWJOB, Miss Smarty Pants?

Baby Boy: I could curl hair in a beauty parlor or polish nails in a barbershop. I could be a roller-rink queen or a waitress on skates at the Root Beer Float Drive-In. I could...

Archie: Ah, shut up! Get real, kid. You’re just a dumb cluck and worthless as can be. That’s why you ended up with me. You didn't have nowhere else to go, when your former Sugar Daddy done kicked the bucket!

Baby Boy: Don't you talk about my Big Daddy, that way!

Archie: Jesus christ, did ya even put out for him at all? Or did ya just stall around like ya been doin with me, little Miss Pretty Pants?

Baby Boy: I could be a cashier at the Creole Casino in Pascagoula...

Archie: You can’t count change. You aint got no brains, kid.

(They stop to see Archie’s doctor. Archie needs some stronger sedatives. He also needs some Viagra for the big event coming up. He was couning down the hours and minutes and seconds, planning to have a real good time celebrating Baby Boy’s birthday… and his forthcoming honeymoon no matter what. That goddamn crib better have good fuckin springs, cause by the time they'd get back home just about all the furniture would be long gone. Archie Lee goes in for his appointment, while Baby Boy saunters past the goodlookin dentist leering at her. She pretties herself up like she be getting ready for an interview, then makes a phone call.)

Baby Doll: Kotton King? This is Baby Boy McCorkle. I wanna reserve a room for tomorrow morning and I want to register under my maiden name, which is Baby Boy McCorkle. My daddy be Mister T-Bone McCorkle who passed away last summer when I got married and he was a very close personal friend of the manager of the Kotton King Motel – you now – what’s his name…

Baby Boy

for Tennessee Williams

A voluptuous boy, under twenty, is asleep on a bed, with the covers thrown off. This is young succulent Baby Boy McCorkle, Archie Lee’s virgin boyfriend. A sound is disturbing the kid’s sleep, an incessant, insane drilling sound, furtive as a hungry rat scratching, he stirs, it stops, he settles again, it starts again. Then he wakes, without moving, his back to the wall from which the sound comes.

Baby Boy is a little frightened of what sounds like a dirty ravenous rat in the woodwork and it still doesn’t sound like just a mere rat in the wainscoting. Then the kid gets a crafty look.

He gets up, as the awful drilling sound is continuing, and moves stealthily out of his room.

He comes out of his room and just as stealthily opens the door to an adjoining room and peeks in.

Astonished and smirky at what he sees.

Archie is crouched over a section of broken plaster in the crummy wall, enlarging a hole between exposed boards with a penknife. Unshaven, black jowled, in sweaty pajamas. On the bed table behind him is a half-empty bottle of liquor, and old alarm clock, ticking away, a magazine called “Dirty Chicken Dream Boats” and a tube of K-Y. After a moment he removes the knife and bends to peer through the enlarged hole.

Baby Boy: Archie Lee. You’re a fuckin mess.

He quickly gets up off his knees, pulling his pajamas up bashfully. And shamefaced.

Baby Boy: Y’know what they call people like you? Fuckin pervert Peeping Toms!!!

Archie: Come in here, Baby Boy, I wanna talk to you.

Baby Boy: I know what you’re gonna say, but you can fuckin save your breath.

Archie (interrupting): We made an agreement…

Baby Boy: You promised my Big Daddy that you’d leave me alone till I was ready for marriage…

Archie: Well?

Baby Boy: Well, I’m not ready for it yet…

Archie: And I’m going crazy…

Baby Boy: Well, you can just wait…

Archie: We made an agreement that when you was twenty years old we could be man and wife in more than just in name only.

Baby Boy: Well, I won’t be twenty till November the seventh…

Archie: Which is the day after tomorrow!!!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Poems for the Sewanee Review

Art deco murals on the downstairs walls of
Allen Hall long-time home of the
LSU English department

Poems for the
Sewanne Review

“Dear Blackbird” for Jane Springer

“River Road Nostalgia” for Jane Springer

"Brooding Civil War Memories" for Jane Springer
"Blackbird Blowjob" for Jane Springer
"View Carre Rough Trade" for Jane Springer
"Sebastian" for Jane Springer

Dear Blackbird
—for Jane Springer

Last night I sucked the darkness—
every mulatto inch of your body’s blackness
outta your mandingo trademark voodoo lips.

Not a sound from you all night long—
except at the very end when your Congolese
Thick river shot up my Zimbabwe nose.

My only thought was getting my whitey—
discontented Mapplethorpe lips on your
pouty African-American slightly huge root.

When I rimmed you and the abyss let go—
eclipsing both of us with stolen blackbird wings
I got what I wished for and then some.

River Road Nostalgia

Whenever I think about you now—
remembering how you never let me get
too close to you when you were naked.

The way you didn’t wanna trick with me—
just another dirty white boy who got off on
built guyz like you working in the cane field.

I couldn’t help myself tho and you knew it—
sweaty, shirtless, smirking at me so sharply
almost as sharp as your razorblade machete.

Parking my mother’s Cadillac convertible—
the one with the big ’59 erect phallic shark-fins
waiting to pick you up after work back then.

Your equine dimensions that just don’t quit—
south of campus down by the Mississippi levee
that’s where we park on jungle River Road.

That’s where you do your Negro séance—
your eyeballs rolled back, your muscles tense
blowing your brains outta the back of my head.

Blackbird Blowjob

I know you thought about ditchin me—
riding your loins, cleaved to your obscene
taut hips and what came at the end.

Spraining your neck sometimes bad—
jetting your straight black soul into me
but the money was too good to turn down.

Blackbird impetuous badboy rapture—
I was willing to hock my mother’s jewels
and steal from her bridge party lady friends.

Nothing but your boots on in the back seat—
disenfranchised from eyeballs to asshole
stoney blackbird wings flapping to get away.

Brooding Civil War Memories

Up and down the Mississippi riverbanks—
dozens of antebellum luxurious mansions
long oak-lined driveways leading up to
rich Delta Bourbon Plantation Homes…

My mother a DuBois descended queen—
so was I in my own way even tho I couldn’t
help it wanting to slum with Mandingo slaves.

So that I was the one ending up enslaved—
nothing’s worse than being a Dinge Queen
and ending up on the Slave block yourself.

Vieux Carré Rough Trade

“This artistic devotion—or obsession—
is certainly evident in the myriad
versions of Vieux Carré, a play begun
in 1939, during Williams’s first visit to
New Orleans, and revised—through
no fewer than ten different stages
of development.”—Robert Bray,
“A Reading of the Reading,” The
Tennessee Williams Annual Review

There are some guyz with god gone—
outta them with two upturned eyes like dice
rolling snake eyes when they lose it so nice.

There are some guyz who sinch their jeans—
with big black leather belts and who like to
piss on a guy like me down by the levee.

There are some guyz with god gone—
Man-wild, dick-crazy with enough strength
To keep me corpsed in his grip in the backseat.

Spit from his cruel mouth drooling into mine—
Making me forget my name, what year it was
Along with all the other hot guyz before him.

I’d often dreamed of lovin the holiness back—
Into his mean streak and blood-blitzed eyes
All the way down to his tight-curled toes.

But there’s no way he was gonna whimper—
Bending back in suspended animation lust
Making me take just what I fuckin deserved.


“If a horse
has something
of a man in him”
—Jane Springer,
Dear Blackbird

If a man has something of a horse in him—
down there where it counts ten or twelve inches
that’s what he insisted on pumping into me.

He played dumb a lot which is kinda hard when—
your animal intelligence is close to genius level
barefoot afterwards, his gait a swanky swag.

His big black flat nostrils always erect—
quivering all the time, smelling me, checking
me out, getting a good whiff of whitey stink.

He pitied me, looked down at me, smirked—
worse than any trailer park white trash whore
giving me a panic attack whenever he said no.

I looked at him like he was Godzilla’s boner—
a prehistoric lizard especially on mushrooms
superhuman without even knowing it.

Each time Old Man River gushes through him—
a rebirth of black love like Kilimanjaro coming
breaking the bank of Monte Carlo once again.

The scent of his damp armpits intoxicating—
His crooked bent veiny black manhood rooted
In the tight kinky triangle of his matted pubes.

Poems for the Southern Review

Art deco murals on the downstairs walls of
Allen Hall long-time home of the
LSU English department

Poems for The

Southern Review

Trickle Down Haiku for Jane Springer
Pretty As You Please" for Jane Springer
Donchaknow for John Hazard Wildman

“Trickle Down Haiku”
—for Jane Springer

Allen Hall tea room—
Forces appreciation
Of the slutty word

“Pretty As You Please”
—for Jane Springer

Pretty As You Please (adj.): I was simply smitten with young handsome Bad Boy DuBois, but he turned me down when I asked him for date. Because he told me I’d pegged the wrong man.

It turns out he's the bastard of rape—his mom Blanche DuBois and Stanley Kowalski his father, that rude muscular Pollack stud in “A Streetcar Named Desire.”

He was so “Pretty As You Please”—hanging around Allen Hall in his loafers, cruising all the girls. I’m not sure, but I hear he's hung like a Kentucky Derby racehorse. Oh please Lord Jesus—I'd simply die and go to heaven, if he’d just whisper the f-word in my ears tonight in bed.

I’ve seen him guzzle down a six-pack of JAX, playing Poker all weekend with all those dirty Creole and Cajun boyz in the bayou. He gets stoned and then even the alligators and skunks go runnin for their lives. I would too—straight to bed!!!

He’s no good—just like his father that Big Easy thug Stanley Kowalski. Poor Blanche DuBois—the things a Southern belle has to go through. All those long humid nights—down on River Road by the Mississippi.

If only I could nibble on his stinkin pig’s feel—and peal back that water moccasin uncut foreskin of his. Slick as shiny frog’s skin—I’d suck the juice outta his crawdaddy head all night long.

Talk about cat on a hot tin roof—stark naked and necking in Allen Hall!!! Behind locked doors—spread-eagled on my desk. Surrounded by jars of empty K-Y—workin another one outta him.

—for John Hazard Wildman

“I’m kinda, dontchaknow,” he said.

“I know,” I said. “I’m kinda that way myself.”

That’s how John Hazard Wildman and I got to know each other—back then in the early Sixties. There at that great Southern Institution of Napoleonic Law and Huey P. Long Skullduggery.

“You’re not from around here, sweetheart,” he said.

I sipped my mint julep, took another toke of the Mexican joint and leaned back in bed. “Well, it’s a long story.”

Isn’t that what happens, after a couple of people get intimate? John was my creative writing professor, there in the English Department. That’s how people die in hotel fires, according to Tennessee Williams.

It was like living in a Banana Republic, back then in the decadent Deep South delta bourbon atmosphere of Louisiana State University. A Thirties nostalgic ambience oozed from the campus architecture, just like I oozed and oozed because of all the exquisite sensuous humidity.

The Kingfish still ruled over the university and Baton Rouge the State Capitol. His presence clung and hung down from the Stadium, the Huey P. Long Fieldhouse, the tall stately art deco-streamline modern skyscraper capitol building—everything simply reeked with Thirties melancholic Gone Kennedy Camelot nostalgia.

Both JFK and Kingfish dead and gone—assassinated by the same old usual suspects and jealous assassins of The People Who Be. It was like living in a sad Mausoleum of the Living Dead back then in the early Sixties—with the Viet Nam War coming down. And other big changes—like integration of the university for the first time.

Gnarled, ancient Magnolia trees—standing there so well-hung with Spanish Moss in the putrid sweet honeysuckle evenings. With the sluggish, muddy Old Man Mississippi—slowly oozing nearby west of campus. So turgid and moody in now hurry—flowing all the way down to the decadent Big Easy, the oldest seaport on the Gulf of Mexico.

We made love again—there in that decaying bungalow of his on Highland Road south of campus. He was my favorite professor back then—ensconced there in Allen Hall on the Quad next to the library. He retired in 1968 and went back to Mobile, Alabama. He’d got his Ph.D. from Brown—he’d published many books on English Lit and a novel or two.

I called him “Hazard” back then—his middle name. Because back then being gay was rather hazardous. Most of the other English professors in Allen Hall were, of course, str8t and taught their classes that way. But it takes a truly gay guide to teach such Southern writers—as William Faulkner I soon found out.

Reading “Absalom, Absalom” and “Sanctuary”—propped up late at night in bed. The scandalous love affairs of Quentin, Bon the Beautiful and Popeye… There’s a reason why decadent southern literature—was so exquisitely decadent, my dear…

Friday, August 26, 2011

Fags of Fire Island

A New Recently Discovered Play: Fags of Fire Island (Adapted Memoirs of Tennessee Williams)
By Derek Dish

There's an explosive blowjob center to “Fags of Fire Island” - if only Mr. Williams would stoop to conquer.

The play is a faggy fictionalized remembrance of the summer of 1940, when Mr. Williams retreated to a Fire Island beach shack to contemplate his last failed Broadway debut which ultimately folded in its disastrous Broadway tryout.

In both her ''Memoirs'' and “Fags of Fire Island,'' Mr. Williams presents Kip as a saintly Nijinsky-esque icon - a skin-deep pin-up, not a person. On stage, Kip wears virginal white jockstrap and tirelessly rehearses his “Petrouchca pirouettes” exercises on August's face.

Though “Fags of Fire Island'' is partly about its hero's initiation into the Fire Island sexuality, it is principally preoccupied with his ill-fated crush on Kip, a Canadian draft-dodger and would-be dancer who recoils from this homosexual fling claiming that sex with Miss Williams is so exquisite that surely he’s going to end up gay.

It's no use pretending that the long dry spell in Tennessee Williams's career has ended with “Fags of Fire Island,'' his new play at Off-Off Broadway's Big Daddy Lane Theater.

This autobiographical drama - seemingly lifted directly from the pages of his 1975 ''Memoirs'' - falls right into the traps that have capsized all Miss Williams’ somewhat premature, ejaculatory predecessors.

Here again are the same old stylized ghostly hustlers, the same old sentimental vignettes, the same old watered-down appropriations from past triumphs and the same old “Suddenly, Last Summer” fag hag, chicken queen dramatizations.

Will Miss Williams ever despair of the endless exigencies of despairing? Endlessly disappearing and vanishing behind the dense clouds of her endless circumlocutionary theatrics?

Yet if “Fags of Fire Island'' arouses less-than-fond memories of Blanche DuBois putting the make on the paper boy in “A Streetcar Named Desire” or Sebastian Venable putting the make on all those cute street urchins on Spanish beaches in “Suddenly, Last Summer” - then surely it seems the playwright is back again writing about the same kind of protagonist she really knows – being a chicken queen.

Here we go again, one might say - stranded once more on the beach, waiting with the rest of everybody else for Tennessee Williams's imaginative tide once more to suck us in.

Unfortunately, director Denise Dominique fails to convince us that her version of the play about Kip, Williams’ erstwhile pretty boy lover, has any particularly new surprises in store for us.

Dominique’s Kip as the demure 20 years old one-time flame of the malevolent new bitchy version of Tennessee Williams - just isn’t very convincing, nor are any of the other puzzling cipher-esque characters.

Under Miss Dominique’s direction, the Big Daddy Repertory Company gives the play a piss-ant elegant airing. The sharp performances come from Quentin Crisp, a bit arch but credible as the no-nonsense quickly aging August, and from Taylor Lautner, in a salty turn as a hungry dancer who tempts August to put dibs on his junk.

The only calamity is the demure Quentin Crisp, who, despite rumors of her demise, tries her best as Kip's ill-written effeminate suitor, but fails to convince us that she is either a playwright, or a one-time flame of that pretty boy on the beach, other than as a brief flashback-figment-of-the-queen’s-imagination.

Queerty/drama critic SM Smarty Pants and his photoblogger assistant recently took the pink ferry from Sayville, New York to Fire Island this past weekend and got down in the legendary playwright’s tricking zone there on Pines beach. Where pop trio Dragonette (“Hello”) parties along with DJ Lee dagger of Bimbo Jones - for those gay weekend crowds of strapping lads in a frenzy. (Later that night, everyone bounced over to 236 Bay Walk before coming in from the hurricane.)

Also during Deep South Weekend: Steve Sidewalk introduced singer Kelsey to a crowd of sweaty boys at High Tea; Crystal Waters, Countess Luann and Kristine W performed; and DJ goddess Lina turned it out at her Twirlina residency at Sip N’Twirl.

The dialogue in “Fags on Fire Island” reaches a lively pitch only in a funny, knowing scene in which August negotiates with his Canadian draft-dodging cute hustler and his lovely fawning, skinflint girlfriend for the price of the goods & family jewels. Much as August admires the well-built young dancer, she drives a hard bargain as to what the kept boy contract will cost the old dame.

Kip's woman friend - who's dying of congenital diabetes - announces that she’s been able to get by on just one kidney because after all “I’ve managed to get by with only Kip’s single penis for such a long time, honey.”

Unfortunately, when she isn't playing bridge and gossiping about her memories, the playwright wastes energy on needless anecdotes and repackaged erotic love stories. A New York Times gangster-critic named Bugsy, no less, has been trashing Williams lately for playing the same old cabaret swan song for years now. A miffed Crisp, of course, knows how to play the offended Miss Shakespeare rather nicely.

As one character asks August early on, ''All you seem to do is talk around the subject, don’t you?'' This pointed question queers the evening far more persuasively than any creaky closet door could.

All of a sudden everything has to stop so we can hear some digressional, sound-alike monologues in the gay aether—coming from the unseen ghosts of Tallulah Bankhead and Norma Desmond, two Williams friends who otherwise don't figure in this play?

This old dramatic device just doesn't work anymore, feebly trying to recreate that famous ''double exposure'' effect, that refracting of the crummy past through the despicable present, that the playwright intends. Mannered and dizzy in execution, this once supposedly lyrical technique has steadily devolved since ''The Glass Menagerie'' to become the playwright's favorite detour tactic for snotty critics and bored audiences.

Posing now as a new born-again playwright-heroine butching it up as a surviving, selfish realist - as a spiritual cousin to Stanley Kowalski – seems rather doomed from the start. Since Miss Crisp has never played the role of a defenseless martyr to illusions. Her version of Miss Williams has found a potential means for turning all her many shocking dramatic conflicts inside out. At the very least, it sets the stage for a powerful exorcism of Sebastian-esque chicken-jailbait guilt and shame. Smirk.

But the Sebastian Venable exorcism never happens - because the playwright can’t seem to keep her mind on the action. Without an Elizabeth Taylor fag hag to center the scene around a translucent one-piece bathing suit for the boyz of Fire Island to ogle at, well then what’s the point of continuing the effort to bring stream-of-consciousness to the stage?

It’s as if when Williams says that ''life finally seems to all occur at one time,'' then why keep dimming the lights so that she can enter a tacky trance and leap into a saccharine flashback or crummy forward? What happened to right now—when Chicken Tuna of the Sea is wiggling right there on the hook?

Kip is sexually inexperienced but he’s desperate for money – so that August can just about try any scheme, however manipulative and brutish, and could very well succeed in her effort to use, exploit and violate her precious prey. (Are the tough verbs uttered by Kip truly the playwright's own? Such rude hustler lingo and slutty slang certainly are sexually provocative and suggestive.)

When leering Tennessee Williams’ first attempts to put the make on getting the young dancer in her bedroom finally come down, the playwright's tone is embarrassingly tres breathy and much too Marilyn Monroe-esque. Instead the propositioning comes out like an overly sweet Miss Havisham’s enticement of a dumb naïve Pip - sheltered by an outdated Dickens romanticism.

Soon Miss Williams’ dialog tilts toward bitterness, once she comes to realize that Kip is no naïve, innocent Pip outta “Great Expectations.” Which puts Miss Williams into an old-fashioned déjà vu swoon full of the usual self-recriminations of a bitter old queen.

Kip Kierman

Kip Kierman

“I lean over him in the night and
memorize the geography of his
body with my hands.”
—Tennessee Williams
Letter to Donald Windham

A mere dab…

A tiny oozelette…

A nonchalant dribble…

A forceful jizz-jet facial…

A long drawn-out douchbag special…

These are the ways I miss you so, dear Kip…

Your strong muscular dancer’s legs wrapped around my neck…

The strangled pirouette your penis does there nude on the beach…

Your tight, soft testicles getting tighter as we do a tango in the surf…

A wayward wastrel’s bowlegged pair of legs after making too much love…

Mariachi dancing boy like Ava Gardner’s cute Peppe and Pedro…

Your louche lordly lizard, the iguana of your uncut Mexican night…

All the different ways to perform “Petrouchca” on my bruised lips…

How can it be you’ve abandoned me for a wealthy Sugar Mama?

Your kept boy proclivity to be pampered by a wealthy benefactress?

Your fear I'm such a good lover that I'm turning you into a homosexual?

Wasn’t I generous enough being your Fire Island gay Big Daddy?

I wasn’t trying to turn you queer, I wanted you to stay str8t dear Kip…

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Sebastian, Mon Amour


“He comes to us in sections,
scaring us a little at a time,
like a movie monster too
horrible to be shown all
as once.”—Vito Russo,
The Celluloid Closet


A monster sacré—
Sacrificial like Jesus Christ
A profane version, of course.

A human actor’s face—
Too gauche to be a young god
A boyish Sebastian instead.

Miss Vidal constantly—
Arguing with the Jesuit censor
Adapting “Suddenly, Last Summer.”

No cute Sebastian’s face—
Allowed on the Silver Screen
Simply too obscene, my dears.

Don’t ask, don’t tell, don’t see—
That old closety song goes
Driving Miss Vidal simply nuts.

“Suddenly” much too sudden—
Liz as Sebastian’s chic procurer
Her see-thru bathing suit shocking!

Hustling the young jail bait—
There on the tourist boy-beach
Cabeza de Lobo Oh La La!!!

Mankiewicz’s 1959 shocker—
Voluptuous Liz in her see-thru
Revealing white bathing suit.

Cathy the brand-new Fag Hag—
Bitter Violet Venable left out of
Williams’ faggy dramaturgy.

Sebastian’s gay seduction—
Of the cannibal boyz of Cabeza
Luring them with Liz’s nude flesh.

Permitting Sebastian to be—
A part of the pearly str8t tableau
Of young male desire & sacrifice.


My dear, if only his—
Garçonnière could talk:
Sebastian’s private studio.

Sickly, pill-popping aesthete—
Sullen and paranoid with his
Only friends being “fag hags.”

Violet Venable his first one—
Then Catherine Holly next,
Beautiful, big-breasted cousin.

Who was more the fag?—
Sebastian or Montgomery Cliff?
Only Liz Taylor knows for sure.

Sebastian Venable—
His misshapen sexuality
Profoundly troubling toe str8ts.

He’s a hybrid creation—
Of ancient mythology both
Intolerable and troublant.

Liz as queer bait—
Suddenly jerking cute bad boyz
Into young male flesh awareness.

Queer bait for jail bait—
Sebastian gets the str8t ones
On the beach of Cabeza de Lobo.

The only voice-over is his—
Inside Sebastian’s head as he
Sucks off chicken heterosexuals.

Liz as his muy macho lure—
A homosexual recruitment device
For getting the young good stuff.

Liz’s flashback dialog—
Mankiewicz’s favorite mode:
Sebastian’s to-die-for boyz.

Tantalizing suspense—
The story of what happened
Suddenly that last summer.

Whispering Sebastian’s secrets—
To Montgomery Cliff slowly
Dissolves lisping into flashbacks.

The nun’s surveillance—
At St. Mary’s asylum with rules
Against Liz smoking cigarettes.

Liz puts it out in the palm—
The clinging nun as censorship
Like with Williams’ “Baby Doll.”

Slowly bit by bit—
Liz reveals to Cliff line by line,
Letting the flashback images flow.

So that we want to know too—
The play’s enigmatic narrative
Now the film’s cinematography.

Moving slowly but surely—
From epistemology of the closet
To describe gay pornography.

“I can’t wear that,” Liz says—
“I’d be nude as a Jay-Bird!!!”
But she wore it anyway…

A one-piece bathing suit—
Water making it transparent
He dragged Liz into the water.

She came out all wet—
Looking totally naked with all
The boyz pawing the fence…

Feasting their hungry eyes—
“Suddenly” brutally becoming erect
Bulging in their skimpy suits.

Sebastian’s homoerotic tableau—
His psychic wiliness provoking
The spectacle of young male sex.

The queer fugitive’s mode—
Getting off on cheap thrills using
Liz’s body for his fleeting pleasure.

Nights down on the beach—
Flashback blowjobs slipping off
The edge of the movie screen…

Anonymous young men—
Chicken beefcake poses suddenly
Diabolically-possessed jailbait.

Such queer straight bait—
Getting off on Cabeza de Lobo
Sebastian sucking them dry.

A surge of protuberances—
Liz’s shame his kitschy insignia
“Suddenly” adolescent cum!!!

At night on the beach—
No annoying public visibility
Just Liz’s forbidden allure…

Her phantom nudity—
Enough to turn on the whole
Transubstantiation mystery…

The typical blowjob scenario—
Fantasy fellatio generating its
Own str8t young male excitement.

A young male grateful and—
Not caring whether it’s woman
Or man’s lips bestowing it at night.

Taking advantage of Sebastian’s—
Faggot cocksucker lips and money
Ogling at Liz’s big American tits.

The Cabeza de Lobo beach—
Like Fire Island a gay getaway
For young damp translucent males.


How could such a lovely—
Exquisitely innocent embodiment
Of beauty end up lobotomized?

All of her instinctive—
Physical charm and grace reduced
To disgusting blithering nothingness?

Surely Tennessee Williams—
Thought of himself ending up into
The same damned-to death setup?

Sharing on the stage and screen—
Far more than the anxious-making
Images of handsome young men?

If Williams had been the one—
Viciously lobotomized like Liz or his
Sister, then life would be pure hell.

Wasn’t Williams actually Sebastian?—
Both with gnarly Violet Venable mothers
Bent on lobotomizing any competition?

All of Williams’ physical pleasures—
His plays and Hollywood movies the
Nervous retelling of what could’ve been?

Letting the world know the secret—
His masculine psychic castration that
Might have happened to him instead?

No hot-and-bothered romances—
Castrated/lobotomized before desire
Mock-heroic, dangerous, paranoid?

Ending up creatively morphed—
Sebastian’s invisibility there on the
Catholic censored Silver Screen?

No Marlon Brando animality—
No Montgomery Cliff sensibility
No Blanche DuBois gay fantasy?

All of being who he’d become—
“Suddenly” not Summer but instead
Locked inside a Coffin-Closet?

Everything taken for granted—
Kip and all his other young lovers
Lobotomized, cut-out of his heart?

Not just brain-dead puzzlement—
But a deep sad prefrontal resentment
Full of tragic rage for his sister…

Who could’ve been himself?—
Done in the same way Violet Venable
Doing in Liz in “Suddenly, Last Summer.”

Consider such striking paradoxes—
Contradicting our gay common senses
And ask ourselves, what if it was us?

Even the youngest kid—
In the movie audience would’ve got it
The paranoid point right away pronto.

Don’t ask, don’t think—
Lobotomizing the gay psyche simply
Keeps us Sebastian boyz dead.

“Suddenly” queer desire—
Unbridles the bait paradox by
Telling us something that’s not…

Behind the fantasmatics—
Liz’s flesh used to bait youngmen
Male flesh revealed instead.

Sebastian’s same-sex indecency—
No more than a hand, a pair of legs,
A pair of Cabeza de Lobo lips…

Such flashback obviousness—
Liz’s body releasing the male genie
Magic lamp granting fag wishes.

And so we approach now—
Without censorship Sebastian’s
Homosexual “murder” climax.

Cabeza de Lobo lobotomy—
Tennessee’s perhaps lesbian sister
Blanche DuBois Lesbos as well?

The kindness of strangers—
A gang of cages-aux-folles twits
Lame plumage and tiara crest.

Dark lines of death—
An elderly polite Heurtebise doctor
As insane asylum chauffeur.

“Homosexual panic”?—
How does a playwright resolve
His own Night of the Iguana?

Tied up in a hammock—
Mariachi Mexican boys dancing
Ava Gardner cooing swan songs?


This Sebastian sketch—
So sparse, its minimalist details
Hinging on a one-act play.

To see one’s Lobo paranoia—
Persevering over its prefrontal
Lobotomized boyhood flashbacks.

To see Gore Vidal adapting—
That word “Suddenly” into a new
“Suddenly” kind of fresco…

Frisson, fiction, seamlessly—
Juncture of crossbreeding plays
And films into new queer venues?

Tennessee’s gender itself—
As a gay male rendered eerily
As surreal literal Autobiography?

Surely it wasn’t very easy—
Or very comforting to see a new
Neo-narrative version of one’s story?

Having already put distance—
Between one’s homo-panic & desires
Versus his lobotomy close-call?

Ending up worse than Minnelli’s—
“Tea and Sympathy” film version of
Tom Lee’s gay “coming out” affair?

The death of St. Sebastian—
The Death of a Thousand Gay Cuts
The death of Tennessee’s sister…

Such a “close call” to near-death—
Almost losing all sense of queerdom
Sexual identity and being a writer…

“Suddenly, Last Summer”—
As the reenactment of the nightmare
Grotesque surgical façade.

All squeezed into one act—
Lasting only 40 minutes in performance
Amplified into excruciating 2-hour film…

Violet Venable the old witch—
Katherine Hepburn dramatizing
Tennessee’s brutal shrewish mother.

Subjecting her own daughter—
Lobotomized martyrdom like Liz
Do my faggy eyes deceive me?

This recurring traumatic trope—
Castrated Brick, enraged Stanley,
Dying Sebastian, Orpheus descending?

Liz supposedly cured by Cliff—
A single line for each screen scene
In that insufferably hot London studio.

Mankiewicz wanting to ditch Cliff—
Too strung out on pills and booze
But Liz insisting on Cliff’s role…

Tennessee’s identification—
With Sebastian with all the same
Gay pathogenic side-effects.

Did Tennessee have the—
Premonition of knowing that his
Psyche would be ever whole again?

Do corporal manifestos—
Whether on stage or film treat
The symptoms of his Lobo-pain?

Or does memory retrieved—
Have a lower priority then merely
Dr. Cukrowicz’ license to heal?

How does one get around—
The “prefrontal lobotomy” drama
“Suddenly, Last Summer” flashback?

Would some truth-serum help?—
Injection giving access to truth,
Would hypnosis relieve anxiety?

Does psychomancy work?—
When it comes to “talk therapy”
Show and tell dramaturgy?

Can we related to such a story—
Find ourselves sharing the simple act
Of having our brains cut, disconnected?

Is it a deep-down sickness—
Is it a fresh show of force to undo
The unconscious Cathy cathexis?

How to counteract sad relapses—
A literal backsliding, a déjà vu sliding
Off the wagon of str8t sobriety?

Tennessee lifting himself—
Into a standing position on the stage
Opposite himself in the audience.

Can any music track salute—
The achievement within oneself
Projecting oneself on stage or screen?

Simultaneously becoming oneself—
Both str8t and crooked all the way
From eyeballs to anus once again?

“Suddenly” may be too sudden—
Perhaps advanced sexuality has its
Problems no playwright can resolve?

Did Tennessee Williams expect—
Catharsis to clinch things up nicely
Offering him a “No Exit” way out?

Is “Suddenly” relevant to all this—
Beyond the force of St. Sebastian
A tribute to SM wishful thinking?

The troubling performance—
Then waiting for the NYTimes reviews
Like Williams and Kazan did?

Liberating yourself like Liz—
Talking your way outta Lobotomy
Thru Cliff’s Cukrowicz so wise?

Better left to the professionals?—
Forgetting sway of romance & revenge
Do we delight in Lobo-horrors?

“Suddenly” it’s all over—
Str8t or gay or bisexual young Eros
We return to polite solitude?

Solicitude becomes indifference—
A last & not least Sebastian-esque
Reason for feeling unlucky in love?


“Suddenly, Last Summer”—
Becoming an object of some interest
A film crit obsession of mine.

The Sebastian image saturating—
The Renaissance with endless portraits,
Representations of homo-desire.

Yukio Mishima has an orgasm—
Gazing admiringly at young Sebastian
Tied-up, pierced by sharp arrows.

Invisible Sebastian Venable—
Yet nothing stops the immense gay
Semiotic enrichment that happens.

“Suddenly” without noticing—
Explicit erotic male images
Addressing homo-paranoid eyeballs.

Seeing through Tennessee Williams—
The prefrontal lobotomy fears he had
His sister needlessly subjected to.

The same with electro-shock voodoo—
Doing in James Whale and Sylvia Plath
Plus how many other innocent victims?

The castration and sacrifice—
This Sebastian-esque lobotomizing of
Homosexual desires into nothingness.

Making me realize perhaps—
How as well as why “Suddenly”
Opens up gay oeuvres for us all.

Sebastian Venable poses—
In the Garçonnière of our minds
Modern mythopoetic perspective.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Miss Cocteau / Miss Williams

Miss Cocteau / Miss Williams

"Poets don't draw.
They untie handwriting
and then knot it up again
in a different way"
—Jean Cocteau, Drawings vi

Miss Cocteau—
Belle Époque Parisian queen
Unties Streetcar Named Desire
Knots it up in a different way.

Black belly dancers—
Naked from the waist up
Gyrating in background as
Stanley rapes Blanche!!!

Miss Williams—
Deep South Dixie queen
Simply shocked, my dear!!!
By such crudities…

Cocteau and Williams—
Akin mostly to Orpheus
Via his human Vulnerability
Both creepy and fragile.

Gay poètes maudits—
Hated by each generation
Str8t Surrealists in France
Str8t Jesus Freaks in USA

Such is Orphée’s fate—
Stoned by str8t Maenads
Echoing Eurydice’s warning
We are the cursed gay poets.

Dark Muses weave for us—
Wreaths of pubes & laurels
Thornier than young thorns
Manly moist moustaches!

Ask the child idiot—
Village Orpheus descending
The chain-gang dogs chasing
The runaway god to his death.

We are the Fugitive Kind—
We flee the annoyed Breeders
Trapped in their Buñuel Hell
By Exterminating Angels.

Cocteau’s myths slither—
They slither, slide like snakes
Raymond Radiguet dies young
Descends like Orphée down.

Radiguet as Heurtebise—
Coming back for Cocteau thru
A liquid mirror driving a sleek
Luxury Rolls Royce convertible.

The Prince of Death—
Speaks to Cocteau thru an
Avant-garde radio transmitting
Automatic surreal messages.

Cocteau and his chauffeur—
Cruise the Left Bank Paris
Cruising late at night in the
Saint-Germain-des-Prés dark.

“The boyz sing with claws”—
The young hustlers, prostitutes
Become immortal when they
Lose it & die in Cocteau’s arms.

Squirting young Orphée—
Juicy lobs onto the windshield
Dying profusely in red leather
Rolls Royce smooth backseats.

Cocteau’s terrible crimes—
Taking advantage of young teenage
Jouissance and penetrating a chicken
Universe where he didn’t belong…

Miss Williams plots Orpheus—
In a more Southern genteel way
“I don’t know nothin about babies”
But that’s just a cotton-pickin lie.

The boyz of Cavafy know—
And so do the View Carre hustlers,
Mardi Gras young men at Lafitte’s,
They all know Miss Williams well.

Orpheus myths come & go—
Like pretty boyz of Michelangelo
Like Caravaggio young cocks
Roman Springs of Mrs. Stone…

Miss Williams & Miss Cocteau—
Living Lies always telling the truth:
Being gay is a lie for Str8ts but
For fags it’s Long Live the Queen!

Young French Creole Cajun cum—
Delta Bourbon bad boyz in bayous
Call me a vain nauseous Verlaine
Sucking off sullen moody Rimbauds.

Those young men back then—
My own “Streetcars Named Desire”
I met Tennessee Williams once
A lonely dark New Orleans bar.

He recited for me a poem—
The “Night of the Iguana” dirge:
“How calmly does the olive branch
Observe the sky begin to blanche”

A sad, melancholy Southern man—
His sweet, musical drawl enchanting
Evoking how many dark angels above
Us in that Canal Street dirty dive?

“How calmly does the olive branch
Observe the sky begin to blanch
Without a cry, without a prayer
With no betrayal of despair”

For me Orphée obscures—
The zenith of his life above
By how far he descends down
Into the mud & muck of today.

A second story commencing—
A gay chronicle no longer gold
A bargaining with death & mold
A final plummeting into the gutter.

An intercourse designed—
For boyz of a golden kind
Whose native primal jizz is
Both obscene & divinely thick.

Rotten like a ripe fruit—
Fallen down from the branch
With a little wiggle and a cry
Without a prayer and full of
Both betrayal and despair.

Oh boyish Orphée courage—
Could you not as well select
A second place to dwell inside
This frightened heart of me?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Gay Filmic Fiction II

Gay Filmic Fiction II

Reinventing a new kind of noir, cynical film critic along the lines of Waldo Lydecker in “Laura” (1944) or Addison DeWitt in “All About Eve” (1950)—both Clifton Webb and George Sanders as bitchy Medusa-like movie monster critics quite up to “going down” with the “Titanic” (1953) or posing as the Saran of Gaza in “Samson and Delilah” (1949):

Sebastian Venable
Waldo Lydecker
Addison De Witt

Sebastian Venable

Sebastian Venable

“Sebastian said, Truth is the
bottom of a bottomless well.”
—Violet Venable, Suddenly
Last Summer

Waldo Lydecker: How singularly innocent I look this morning.

Addison DeWitt: Hardly, my dear. Your face looks like a dead animal act.

Waldo Lydecker: Ah, charming to the last, my dear witty DeWitt.

(Waldo Lydecker pauses, lounging in his bathtub, composing his latest review for the New York Times)

Addison DeWitt: You can just put that poison pen down for a little bit, honey. Something has suddenly come to my urgent attention.

Waldo Lydecker: How can there be anything suddenly urgent to your failing drama critic career, my dear Addison. You’re a failure, let’s face it.

Addison DeWitt: What do you take me for?

Waldo Lydecker: I don't know that I'd take you for anything...

Addison DeWitt: Sebastian Venable showed up last night. He’s come out of the closet.

Waldo Lydecker: How tragic. He should’ve stayed invisible.

Addison DeWitt: He’s actually rather goodlooking.

Waldo Lydecker: My dear, either you were born in an extremely rustic community, where good manners are unknown, or you suffer from a common gay delusion that the mere fact of being gay exempts you from the rules of civilized conduct.

Addison DeWitt: That lovely old Madame Violet Sebastian witch, his mother, is all upset. Sebastian is blowing the cover off Violet’s fag-hag image of him being a closeted Poet.

Waldo Lydecker: I simply cannot stand morons like you any longer. If you don't don’t get out of my bathroom this instant I shall run amok.

Addison DeWitt: Come now, my dear. Everybody knows you and Sebastian were passionate lovers there for awhile.

Waldo Lydecker: I shall never forget the weekend Sebastian went invisible. A silver sun burned through the sky like a huge magnifying glass. It was the hottest Sunday in my recollection. I felt as if I were the only human being left in New York. For with Sebastian’s sudden, horrible invisibility, I was alone. I, Waldo Lydecker, was the only one who really knew him, and I had just begun to write Sebastian's story when…

Addison DeWitt: Save the sob story, Waldo. I’ve heard it a million times. Violet Venable having Sebastian lobotomized and all that. So Sebastian couldn’t be such a fag anymore.

Waldo Lydecker: Pass me that martini, will you, my dear. It’s so upsetting thinking about poor Sebastian Venable again that way.

Addison DeWitt: Still in love with him, I see.

Waldo Lydecker: Have you ever been in love?

Addison DeWitt: Eve Harrington once got a decent review outta me…

Waldo Lydecker: Sebastian was quick to seize upon anything that would improve his mind or his appearance. Sebastian had innate breeding, but he deferred to my judgment and taste. I selected a more attractive wardrobe for him. I taught him what clothes were more becoming to him. Through me, he met everyone: The famous and the infamous. His youth and beauty, his poise and charm of manner captivated them all. He had warmth, vitality. He had authentic magnetism. Wherever we went, he stood out. Men fell in love him; women envied him. Sebastian became infamous for his male beauty—as well as his forbidden desires. I did everything I could to please him—down there on my hands and knees.

Addison DeWitt: By stooping so low you only degraded yourself...

Waldo Lydecker: If you come a little bit closer, my dear Addison, I’ll simply drown you right here and now in this sudsy little bathtub, sweetheart.

Waldo Lydecker

Waldo Lydecker

Waldo Lydecker: Well, detective. Your goon squad already grilled me this morning. Why are you bothering me now?

Mark McPherson: Quite a lavish joint you’ve got here Lydecker.

Waldo Lydecker: It's lavish, but I call it home

Mark McPherson: Busy in the bathtub as usual?

Waldo Lydecker: I always do all my reviews bathing, my dear detective. It helps me get in the mood for being Caligula and giving thumbs down on to all the usual films and plays that simply bore me to death.

Mark McPherson: I suppose you’ve heard about that dame Violet Venable?

Waldo Lydecker: I’m truly shocked. I thought I knew Violet Venable better than that, but apparently not...

Mark McPherson: Yeah, dames are always pulling a switch on you.

Waldo Lydecker: I hope she died with a simply beautiful, lovely smile on her face. Violet Venable certainly has been through so very much terrible tragedy and heartache since Sebastian was lobotomized, the poor dear.

Mark McPherson: When a dame gets killed, she doesn't worry about how she looks.

Waldo Lydecker: Will you stop calling her a dame?

Mark McPherson: I guess the old dame was not only Sebastian’s mother, but also his helpful low-life fag hag as well. But then with your all-knowing background I’m sure you already knew all about that.

Waldo Lydecker: In Violet's case as well as mine, our self-absorption has been completely justified. I have never discovered any other subject quite so worthy of my attention as myself. Violet felt the same way, so did Sebastian.

Mark McPherson: I've gotta say, for a charming, intelligent old dame, she certainly surrounded herself with a remarkable collection of dumb dopes and flaming fags.

Waldo Lydecker: You’re so kind, detective. Not a vicious bone in your body. It's the secret of your charm?

Mark McPherson: Just doing my job, Lydecker.

Waldo Lydecker: And I’m a suspect?

Mark McPherson: I suspect no one, and I suspect everyone.

Waldo Lydecker: (Yawn........)

Mark McPherson: This morning when my men came here to tell you that Violet Venable was dead, you didn't seem shocked at all.

Waldo Lydecker: How can I possibly forgive Violet? After all, she had my loving companion, Sebastian, her own dearly beloved son—coldly and savagely lobotomized behind my back. Without a word of warning. Silencing Sebastian's sweet eternal voice of Orphée forever…

Mark McPherson: Orphée? Isn’t that some Greek dame? Some kinda drag act outta Greek mythology or something?

Waldo Lydecker: My dear, McPherson. Surely you’re not that ignorant?

Mark McPherson: Forget it, it’s all Greek to me. I’ve met a lotta con-artists in my racket—they’re all smooth characters with the same old crummy alibis. You've heard one alibi, you've heard 'em all.

Waldo Lydecker: I’ve sure, my dear dectective, you've got better things to do rather than watch me bathe. You surely need to investigate some of the other seedy suspects, like Vincent Price and Judith Anderson…

Mark McPherson: Yeah, you’re probably right. I’ll let you get back to playing with yourself in the bathtub.

Addison DeWitt

Addison DeWitt

Addison DeWitt: Nice camouflage stunt, my dear Sebastian. Making them all think you’ve been tragically lobotomized—when actually you’ve only been playing dumb.

Sebastian Venable: I had to do it, Addison dearest. Violet had turned into the most awful shrew. I couldn’t use her to lure all the cute young jailbait anymore—I’d switched over to Elizabeth Taylor. Venice was looking up—Taromina was simply fabulous!

Addison DeWitt: You should be utterly, completely ashamed of yourself, my dear Sebastian. But then, that’s why I find you so enchantingly À rebours and decadent I suppose.

Sebastian Venable: I can’t help myself…

Addison DeWitt: Here you are. You look eighteen. You looked eighteen twenty years ago, you’ll look eighteen twenty years from now. I simply hate you.

Sebastian Venable: It’s the Venice youth I crave—and the cute Taromina ones. If nothing else, it’s their gawking eyes and innocence... It flows like waves of love pouring over the footlights into my very soul.

Addison DeWitt: Ah yes, that’s what disturbed poor Violet so. You were getting too much of the good stuff…and she was left forlorn and loveless.

Sebastian Venable: What can I say? Young jailbait needs to be wooed—and Elizabeth Taylor did it so well. She’d get the upper half and I’d get the…

Addison DeWitt: Shame on you Sebastian. Poor Waldo Lydecker is simply distraught losing you—he was right in the middle of a magnum opus about you and your prodigious proclivities for young Orphée-esque “talking heads.”

Sebastian Venable: Yes, my dear. Especially for the sullen, pouty, moody Dargelos uncut ones…

Addison DeWitt: You’re just impossible, Sebastian.

Sebastian Venable: Funny business, being a poet. The young things you drop along the way—as you ascend the Orphée ladder higher and higher. You forget you'll need them again when you get back to being human. That's one career all poets have in common, whether we like it or not: being a demimonde . Sooner or later, we've got to work at it, no matter how many other careers we've had or wanted. And in the last analysis, nothing's any good unless you can look up just before bed or waking up in the morning—and there he is. Without that, you're not a poet. You're something with an Olympus provincial office or a book full of old clippings, but you're not a poet. Slow curtain, the end.

Addison DeWitt: Surely though, Sebastian, youth and poetry aren’t everything?

Sebastian Venable: It’s such an unbelievable story—with the bloodhounds snapping at my rear end.

Addison DeWitt: Is it possible, even conceivable, that you've confused me with that gang of backward youth you play tricks on, that you have the same contempt for me as you have for them?

Sebastian Venable: I'm sure you mean something by that, DeWitt, but I don't know what?

Addison DeWitt: Look closely, Sebastian. It's time you did. I am Addison DeWitt. I am nobody's fool, least of all yours.

Sebastian Venable: I never intended you to be.

Addison DeWitt: Yes you did, and you still do.

Sebastian Venable: I still don't know what you're getting at, but right now I want to take my nap. It's important...

Addison DeWitt: It's important right now that we talk, killer to killer.

Sebastian Venable: Queen to queen?

Addison DeWitt: Not with me, you're no queen. You're stepping way up in class.

Sebastian Venable: Addison, will you please say what you have to say, plainly and distinctly, and then get out, so I can take my nap?

Addison DeWitt: Very well - plainly and distinctly - though I consider it unnecessary because you know as well as I do what I'm going to say: You can’t be chicken forever, sooner or later you’ve got to grow up.

Sebastian Venable: What do you mean by that?

Addison DeWitt: Your days of Venetian cruising are over, my dear.

Sebastian Venable: What does that have to do with it?

Addison DeWitt: Everything, because after tonight, you will belong to me.

Sebastian Venable: Belong? To you? I can't believe my ears!

Addison DeWitt: What a dull cliché.

Sebastian Venable: Belong to you - why, that sounds medieval, something out of some str8t melodrama!

Addison DeWitt: So does the history of the world for the past twenty years. I don't enjoy putting it as bluntly as this. Frankly, I'd hoped that somehow you would have known, that you would have taken it for granted that you and I...

Sebastian Venable: Taken it for granted that you and I... [laughs]

Addison DeWitt: [slaps him] Now, remember, as long as you live, never to laugh at me – laugh at anything or anyone else, but never at me.

Sebastian Venable: Get out!

Addison DeWitt: You're too short for that gesture. Besides, it went out with Norma Desmond…

Sebastian Venable: [faints]

Addison DeWitt: Well done! I can see your career rise in the east like the sun.

Sebastian Venable: [faints again]

Addison DeWitt: You're maudlin and full of self-pity. You're magnificent!

Sebastian Venable: I'll admit I may have seen better days, but I'm still not to be had for the price of a cocktail, like a salted peanut.

Addison DeWitt: How about calling it a night?

Sebastian Venable: And you, pose as a critic? A situation pregnant with possibilities and all you can think of is everybody go to sleep.

Addison DeWitt: [voiceover] Sebastian Venable is a star of the theater. He made his first stage appearance at the age of four as Puck in Midsummer Night's Dream. He played the fairy and entered, quite unexpectedly, stark naked. He’s been a star ever since. Sebastian is a great star, a true star. He never was or will be anything less or anything else.

Sebastian Venable: I detest cheap sentiment.

Addison DeWitt: Too bad, we're gonna miss the third act. They're gonna play it offstage.

Sebastian Venable: Shall we get married in New York City?

Addison DeWitt: That I should want you at all suddenly strikes me as the height of improbability. But that in itself is probably the reason: You're an improbable person, Sebastian, and so am I. We have that in common. Also our contempt for humanity and inability to love and be loved, insatiable ambition, and talent. We deserve each other.

Sebastian Venable: Why do they always look like unhappy rabbits?

Addison DeWitt: My name is Addison DeWitt. My native habitat is the theater. In it I toil not, neither do I spin. I am a critic and commentator. I am essential to the theater.

Summer and Smoke

Summer and Smoke
—for Tennessee Williams

“You’re younger than most of them are.”

Alma checks out Earl Holliman. They just happen to meet by the Fountain. He’s a traveling salesman.

“You’re not so fat,” she says.

Holliman is young and goodlooking. He acts the part of a naïve—and yet not so naïve young goodlooking traveling salesman. He’s somewhat embarrassed—yet flattered at the same time by Alma’s attention. Such a high-class local lady—showing him any attention at all that way.

“And the Delta is your territory?”

Holliman nods yes, sticking his hands in his pockets.

“Yes, ma’am. From Peabody Lobby to Catfish Row in Vicksburg.”

Holliman’s out grown his suit—the sleeves and trousers are too short for him. In many ways he’s just an ignorant young rube—just the opposite of John the now too sophisticated doctor.

Alma sits down on the bench next to the Fountain. Wisps of Spanish Moss are waving in the breeze back & forth behind her. The park at night is tres surrealistic—the bridge and trees are twisted and dream-like.

The summer moonlight adds to the seemingly unreal situation Alma finds herself in—unreal in the sense that Alma is propositioning the young salesman now. With her eyes—with her voice. Something she’d never do—or even think of doing in the past.

Alma’s no longer the spiritual virgin anymore though—now she says yes where before she said no. She wanted to have sex with John the doctor now—but instead it’s his turn to be a saint. Reformed by tragic events and more mature now, the playboy doctor’s son has now become a serious doctor himself.

After being rejected by John her great unrequited love—and finding their positions reversed, Alma feels suddenly nervous and depressed. Will she flip out and go crazy like her mad mother, Una Merkel?

Whatever going to happen—Alma feels free of her inhibitions now. The little white pills that John has prescribed for her—they help to relax and release her pent-up feelings about what’s happened to her.

“The life of a traveling sales man is interesting,” Alma says. “But lonely.”

That’s when the proverbial train whistle proclaims itself at just the right Hollywood moment—whistling away in the background of the lonely night. Underscoring Alma’s remarks on loneliness.

Earl Holliman feels even more self-conscious—being given such complete attention by Alma. He doesn’t know what to say—he looks down at his feet, shuffles them, acts embarrassed. Yet actually he’s rather more than just pleased with Alma’s attention.

“You’re sure right about that. Hotel bedrooms are lonely,” Holliman says.

“All rooms are lonely…with only one person,” Alma says.

Holliman looks at Alma. Alma yawns. He asks her if she’s tired.

“No, I just took a little white pill because I was so nervous.”

“What are you nervous about?”

“I won an argument this afternoon.”

“That’s nothin to get nervous about. You oughtta get nervous if you lost one.”

“It wasn’t an argument I wanted to win.”

Holliman shrugs. “I’m nervous too.”

“Really? Why?”

“This is my first sellin job and I’m kinda scared not makin good I guess.”

“Take one of my pills,” Alma suggests. “You’d be surprised how infinitely merciful they are.”

Holliman takes one of the pills, gets some water from the fountain, takes it—then looks up at the statue and says “Thanks, angel.”

The public park encloses them—there in the little town of Glorious Hill. That’s where the fountain stands with its stone angel— gracefully crouching with its wings lifted behind it and her hands held together.

Water flows from the base of the statue—it’s a public drinking fountain. The statue broods over the park—and for Alma it has the usual symbolic meanings and gestures. Perhaps Eternity—or something along those lines.

Holliman sits down on the bench next to Alma. “Mucho gusto,” he says, thanking Alma. They’re closer together now, getting to know each other.

Holliman gets friendly, feeling the pill. “What’s people do in this town anyway?” he asks Alma.

She tells him about Moonlight Casino on the lake. How gay it is, so very gay. Dancing, gambling…and lots of making love.

“What are we sittin around here for?” Holliman says, standing up. “Let’s go! Just tell me where to get the nearest taxi?”

Alma smiles. “Down by the corner,” she says.

Holliman helps Alma up from the bench. They head for the bridge to go to the Moonlight Casino.

Alma pauses a moment, turns around to gaze up at the hands of the statue standing there in the garden. It’s as if the angel is blowing the night breeze, the wind in the trees—the waving Spanish moss toward Alma.

Giving her a new chance to move beyond her once-closeted, beyond her once sadly unrequited love—beyond her once dead-end restrained existence.

A chance encounter with another lonely person—leading them to something there at the Moonlight Casino by the lake. Both of them moving up over the bridge—together towards something.

Whatever it is—there in the summer moonlight and smoke waiting for them.