Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A Distant Episode

A Distant Episode

“The September sunsets
were at their reddest”
—Paul Bowles, “A Distant
Episode,” The Delicate Prey

I decided to return—To Aïm Tadouirt after being Away for ten long years I’d been there for 3 days—Long enough to fall in love With some of the village boys Hassan Ramani’s cafe—Had been my rendezvous For my heavenly delights

As my chauffeur drove—Me down the dusty road Into the deep canyon Orange blossoms, pepper—Sun-baked excrement and The smell of rotten fruit Mixed with the musky—Scent of endless ozone and The smell of Moghrebi boys

I lived for this instant—Closing my eyes happily that distant past returning "Vous êtes gêologue?”—the chauffeur asked looking at me thru his rearview mirror “A geologist, heavens no!—I’m a linguist and I’m studying Young cute Moghrebi boys”

“There are no boys here—there are no languages only dialects of gangster thugs”—Exactly, I making a study—of young gangster Moghrebi hoodlums and their love-life.”“Keep on going south”—the chauffeur scornfully said and I noted his disapproval

“You’ll find some boys here—you never dreamed of before but they murder guys like you” The decrepit limousine—Bumped its way along the Rocky dusty road some more Indignantly he dumped me—At the Grand Hotel Saharien Driving off with a mean sneer

I was used to such treatment—But I had this superior attitude Imbued with Cultural Imperialism I was visiting Aïm Tadouirt—More for pleasure than intellect My colleagues didn’t need to know A young gazelle took my luggage—Up the stairs and to my room I paid him generously for his time

Dabbing my sticky lips—I put on my tuxedo and weaved My way to Hassan Ramani’s café The insolent qaouanji wiped off—The table and I ordered some tea —And made necessary inquiries “Hassan Ramani is deceased”—the qaouanji said leaving me ridiculously feeling lonely

Soon the qaouanji returned—I left him an enormous tip for The tea and I curiously inquired “Tell me, do you still sell—handsome young boys like Hassan Ramani once did?” The qaouanji sneered—“The Reguibat have boys but they’re very sullen, dangerous”

“Just my type” I said—sipping my tea and letting him see my nice fat billfold “I like them so much—I want to make a collection of them, I’ll pay rather nicely” “Khamstache” he said—Jerking his left hand obscenely Three times in quick succession

“Never, how about ten”—we quibbled some more and finally I agreed to fifteen “Wait in your room tonight—I’ll bring some Moghrebi boys To you for your delectations” Later the qaouanji came by—With a youth whose face was Covered by a dirty burnous

“Agh!” I smelled a sweet—black odor of rotten meat in the air of my hotel room Odor of human excrement— so strong I almost vomited clung to the Moghrebi youth But his stench was canceled—By another even stronger odor The gagging smell of smegma

The strange aromatic odor—Of a queer cheesy Arab boy as He began smoking a cigarette I paid the qaouanji and—Locked the door to calm my Nchaioui-induced erotic nerves The boy shoved a Sebsi—In my face and I thought He was going to Kif me!

Then he slipped down—His wide serouelles trousers It was unbelievably huge! Thick as a Safsaf tree—An enormous Eucalyptus My Mektoub had arrived! My destiny was here—Hermetically sealed inside This rabid Reguibat Root!

A deranged boy—Possessed by a holy Penis A Mejdoub piece of meat! Sweet Jam of Majoun—Seminal Manly Paste of Kouffa Tart Prickly Pear Basket! Fqih Foreskinned Djellaba—Djinn Khoya Brother of Night Guennaoui Dance of the Dead!

It doesn’t take very long—The Reguibat boy soon turns Me into a mute captive clown I descend thru dialects—Thru French, Arabic, Berber, Tifinagh into Babbling Idiocy So much for my haughty—Western Linguistics Mind A desert fool now forever

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Pages From Cold Point

Pages From Cold Point

“For a boy of sixteen
Racky has an extraordinary
innocence of vision.”
—Paul Bowles,
“Pages From Cold Point,”
The Delicate Prey

Not so innocent—
not so innocent at all
actually, my dear

My exile to Cuba—
had got my father off
the hook at Cold Point

But dearest daddy was—
actually the innocent one
and certainly not me

Thanks to my gay—
Uncle Charlie who got
me off fairly early

I was no longer—
the dumb innocent type
that’s for sure, honey

My poor naïve father—
thought everybody knew
that I was the fag

And certainly not him—
a retired queen bee there
at lovely Cold Point

Au contraire, my dear—
everybody read his beads
a longtime ago

I got to know—
all the cute island boys
much too much

Both my father—
and Uncle Charlie were
queer as 3-dollar bills

But I was much too—
out of the closet and
exposed both of us

The Island just—
wasn’t ready for both
of us raving faggots!

How embarrassing—
both gay father and son
pillaging all the youth!

It was bad enough—
Me sucking off Peter
The young cute houseboy

Swimming in the nude—
down there on the beach
at Saint Ives Cove

But I’d been cruising—
all the young men over
there in Orange Walk too

I had this thing for—
young handsome Carib cock
nice big dark meat!

An unforgivable sin—
and yet I knew early on
I was a Dinge Queen!

Cold Point was like—
a powerful drug like some
sullen Afro-Aphrodisiac!

I was addicted to it—
just goofing around the island
no school just sucking dick

The only solution was—
to ship me off to Havana
and get me off the island

My mother’s estate—
was put into a trust and
I ended up there in Cuba

My father got me—
an apartment and bought me
a nice new convertible

I had plenty of dough—
and lots of new boyfriends
Havana back then was hot!

I fell for handsome Claudio—
with all his nice white teeth
and his Vendado cute smile

And so we ended up—
me doing Havana while my
dearest daddy did Cold Point

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Serpent's Eye

The Serpent's Eye

“As fascinating as
the serpent’s eye”
—Paul Bowles
The Spider’s House

The Aissoua snake-charmers—
In Marrakech valued the old
Hunter of Snakes

Ahmed was his son—
Who succeeded him there
In Taroudant

He made the same trip—
Into the vast desert to
The Home of the Serpents

Snakes are like people—
You have to get to know them
And then they’re your friends

But it was more—
That just that as the boy
Allal had learned

The satisfaction felt—
Turning into a Snake was
A dark hidden mystery

An unforgivable Stain—
Blotting out everything

Touching everything—
That the Snakes touched
Seeing thru the Serpent’s Eye

Ahmed had learned—
From the old Snake Dealer
That Kif paste was his Master

Letting oneself be—
Taken over completely by
The majoun magic

The boy understood—
What Allal hadn’t done
To be wary of Snakes

The state of pure evil—
Feeling one’s head inside
The head of a Snake

Without a thought—
Accepting the eye and the
Snake being together

Scales fell from his—
Human eyes as his eyes
Became the Serpent’s gaze

He saw as a Snake sees—
Felt the undulating strength
Of his slithy stealthy loins

His Third Eye opened up—
His forehead divided down
The middle into two faces

His pupils narrowed—
His forked tongue pulsed
He felt the Snake’s heartbeat

His skin merged into—
Scales shifting in shadows
Separated by sleekness

Snaking thru Snake-skin—
His pupils insistently
Dilating & going vertical

He stared into blackness—
Felt the polished sides of
His new stealthy body

The Snake that was him—
Slid slowly down down his hips
Down along his legs

Ahmed's legs got longer—
And more lanky as he
Elongated with a rush

He felt the pull—
Of the darkness within
And was swallowed by it

The polished surfaces—
Of his slit eyes on both sides
Of his pointed sleek head

He uncoiled himself—
From the hairy monstrous
Creature he’d been before

Streamlined, sleek—
The strangeness of the cool
Crystalline moonlight

He slithered further down—
His snaky thighs rejoicing
His new sense of freedom

It was different than—
Anything he imagined
Perfectly writhing smoothly

Skin of Snake—
His foreskin sliding back
To reveal his Snakehood

Caressing his nude belly—
Veins weaving up past his
Bellybutton to his nipples

Feeling his erect tits—
And everything else about
Him undulating obscenely

The voice of the muezzin—
Floating out over the city
Marrakech City of Majoun

Ahmed above in a Trance—
Breathing hard as he became
The Snake far down below

He was seeing thru—
The eyes of a Snake now
No longer thru his own

He could feel himself—
Down between his legs as
He became King Cobra

The Snake Charmers—
In Marrakech secretly
Worshipped him nightly

He was Snake now—
Pipe-smoke and Kif-paste
Had transformed him

The Snake undressed him—
Stretched him out on a mat
Naked and erect

No doubt the Snake—
Was familiar with the way
A boy strokes himself

Ahmed’s brown body—
The Snake’s stony yellow eyes
Knew what each wanted

Ahmed crawled into himself—
Feeling the wiggling veins
Of his new Snake Torso

The coming of daylight—
The Snake’s bruised head
Lost in stained seguia pubes

Squirming back into—
Himself after sinking his
Fangs deep into his mind

Draining the Snake dry—
Of its engorged Poison
Turning himself inside-out

Ahmed becoming again—
A young Snake Hunter like
His wise ancient father

Allal the Snake Boy

Allal the Snake Boy

“He formed a thorough
hatred for the people of
the town, who never
allowed him to forget
that he was a son of sin,
—Paul Bowles, “Allal,”
A Distant Episode:
The Selected Stories

The story was pretty cheesy. Not very scary at all. But what should one expect from a book of short stories entitled: “The Campfire Collection: Ghosts, Beasts, and Things That Go Bump in the Night.”

Later I found “Allal” in Bowles’ “The Selected Stories” sharing the pages with that simply exquisitely scandalous & subtly sophisticated gay short story “Pages From Cold Point,” about a father who slowly comes to the understanding that his young son is gay like he is. In fact, even more gay…

The thought occurred to me that what an interesting short story “Allal” could have become if Bowles had approached it in the same shamelessly seductive and suggestive manner as he did with “Pages From Cold Point.”

The original “Allal” story is about this chicken who gets high and turns into a snake. He’s somewhat of a social outcast having been born out of wedlock to a 14-year-old girl who gets abandoned by her lover when she predictably becomes pregnant.

The girl keeps working at the hotel where she got pregnant but abandons the boy soon afterwards. The boy grows up at the hotel working in the kitchen for an old childless couple who raise him.

The town treats him rather shabbily. They call him a son of sin, meskhot—one of the damned. Without a mother or father, born into this world totally and completely alone.

The boy Allal is an outsider very much like Racky the young protagonist of “Pages From Cold Point.” There isn’t that much difference between being young and queer and being young and a snake in many people’s mind and that’s what I liked about both stories. Except “Allal” needed a little more development along gay plots lines, I thought to myself.

Both boys eventually get caught, of course. Racky gets criticized by the servants, the islanders and the local sheriff for putting the make on all the boys and even some of the men on the island after his father retires and his wife dies. His solution is to fly the boy to Havana, buy him a new convertible and set up a trust for him with his mother’s estate.

Allal isn’t so lucky. After living with it, worshipping it, getting this big black snake loaded on kiff-paste and then becoming it—Allal the boy-snake unfortunately gets caught and can’t wiggle back into its hole in time.

He’s vulnerable and doesn’t have time to change back out of being the Other and back into his human body again in time. Instead he gets his head cut off by some irate townspeople and his leftover human body without its decapitated snake-soul ends up screaming in an insane asylum.

Surely, I said to myself, Bowles’ writerly pal Mrabet had to have come up with that kind of Edgar Allan Poe melodramatic kiff-storyline? Either that or maybe Mrabet and Bowles got loaded and didn’t have time to finish the story off more smoothly like “Letter from Cold Point”?

But I couldn’t find anywhere any footnote or acknowledgement that “Allal” was a Bowles-Mrabet collaboration. Actually it reads like a Bowles-Poe collaboration—going back to when Paul’s mother read Poe mystery tales to him as his boyhood bedtime stories. Many critics have commented on the gothic supernatural aspect of Bowles’ fiction.

But who knows? The story still sounds like one of the Bowles-Mrabet translation collaborations they were good at—one of those over-the top kiffed stories that Mohammed Mrabet dictated to Bowles after they both kept smoking the pipe much too much late at night?

The Slithering Sky

The Slithering Sky

“He awoke,
opened his eyes.”
—Paul Bowles
The Sheltering Sky

The Slithering Sky 1

Sometimes it returns—
the slithering sky sickness
haunting me at night

The evening is heavy—
with young hustlers cruising
the rapacious streets

The back alleyways—
the spider webs of silence
the sky is screaming

The same dark mountains—
stark and aloof telling me that
I need go to the bars

Sometimes there’s only—
one dark alleyway up there
in the sky above my head

The Slithering Sky 2

At midnight it rains—
the boys hide in the cafes
it’s idiot time again

I need help sometimes—
dozens of young hoodlums
have perished for me

Cute hairy tarantulas—
with scorpions in their pants
sharks and stagnant writers

Sickness comes at night—
for me barbed wire lips
constant sightless eyes

The Slithering Sky 3

The wind comes down—
thru the cold mountain passes
he who stops is lost

Blessed be the night—
when the dark angels come out
the roofs wet with sweat

I’m undergoing changes—
my mind has frayed ends
the sky in slithering

I’m a screamy queen—
beyond the point of no return
simply disgusting

The Slithering Sky 4

The gods are moody—
I really can’t blame them
but I’ll sleep thru it

The curtains shuddering—
like windmills in the warm rain
sadness sweeps over me

I shall meet a beggar—
walking down a road in the
provinces who’ll be my lover

His curly hair glistens—
his feet wet from the rain
smokestack in the wilderness

Even the gods perhaps—
undergo changes sometimes
when they get bored or moody

The Slithering Sky 5

Crickets sing in my head—
isn’t that what they’re
supposed to do?

My cheeks are where—
Ahmed kisses them and
chews them at night

The lake in where—
my lover throws me
after we make love

My lips are where—
I bleed all night long
when he bites me

The dead of night—
is where I claw his back
down to his tight ass

Will my lips ever—
tell what my eyes saw
night after night?

Writing in Bed

Writing in Bed

He yawned.
There was no
air in the room.”
—Paul Bowles
The Sheltering sky

Writing in Bed

I forgot the dream—
but I’ll remember it later
or it will remember me

Here I am yawning—
all stretched out in my bed
like Miss Marcel Proust

It’s free writing this way—
just a notebook and ballpoint
Tangier touch and go

I can’t seem to wake up—
too much swank Madame Bowles
hashish & long hookah nights

Writing in Bed 2

For some reason—
I thought it was necessary
To kill off my loverboy

Getting rid of him—
Rather than the male protagonist
Who was supposedly me

I’d already been thru—
Risky open heart surgery
One death experience was enough

No thanks I said—
To Bernardo Bertolucci—
I’d rather be Debra Winger

Writing in Bed 3

Everything depended on—
The vast Sahara desert and
Handsome young Ahmed

Actually I killed him off—
Every night in bed if you
Like know what I mean

He was very good at it—
He felt strongly impelled
To survive each homicide

Such counterfeit deaths—
Had many narrative possibilities
Imposed on my writings

Writing in Bed 4

I’d never written—
A sarcastic novel before
As surreal as this one

It was like “Cold Point”—
Ahmed young enough to be
My troublesome truant son

It was like “Allal”—
The Snake Boy story about
This kid who goes reptoid

Like “The Delicate Prey”—
That SM story in the desert
Buried up to his neck

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Paul Bowles

Paul Bowles

The Surrealist Technique

“I decided to use a
surrealistic technique”
—Paul Bowles, An Interview
with Daniel Halpern

Every work suggests—
its own method, each novel’s
been done differently

Under different—
circumstances and using
different kinds of methods

I got the idea for the—
Sheltering Sky riding on a
Fifth Avenue bus one day

I was going uptown from—
Tenth Street when I decided
the point of view I’d take

It would be a work—
in which the narrator was
omniscient above me

I would write it consciously—
up to a certain point, and after
that let it take its own course

There’s this little Kafka quote—
at the beginning of the third section
about how the storyline would go

“From a certain point onward—
there’s no longer any turning back:
that’s the point that must be reached.”

This seemed important to me—
and when I got to that point beyond
which there’s no turning back…

That’s when I decided to use—
a surrealistic technique—simply writing
without any thought of what I’d written

Without any awareness of—
what I was writing, or intention of
what I as going to write next

without knowing how—
I was going to finish the novel
And that’s exactly what I did

Gay Surrealist Notes

Paul Bowles signing prints
of his photographs, Tangier,
1990 (Simon Bischoff)

Gay Surrealist Notes


“I personally
am content to see
everything in the
process of decay”
—Paul Bowles,
Pages from Cold Point

I expressed sympathy—
for the surrealist notion of
shocking the bourgeoisie out

of its complacency by—
dredging up the raw material
of the unconscious & exposing it

Norman Mailer's apocalyptic—
assessment of my work places it
in this current of literary terrorism

But like one of my characters—
I claim that writing is merely
a form of personal therapy

I don't like the things—
I write about, it's a kind of
exorcism that's all

It doesn't mean that—
I approve of what goes on in
the pages of my book, God forbid


“What can go wrong
is always much more
interesting than what
goes right.”—Paul Bowles

If I am here now—
it's only because I was
still here when I realized it

The extent to which—
the world has worsened, and
that I no longer want to travel

In defense of Tangiers—
I can say that so far it has
been touched by fewer things

The negative aspects of—
contemporary civilization that
most cities of its size have

More important than that—
I relish the idea that in the
night, all around me in my sleep

Sorcery is burrowing its way—
invisible tunnels in every direction
from thousands of senders outward

To thousands of unsuspecting—
recipients, spells being cast
poison running its course

Souls are being dispossessed—
parasitic pseudo consciousness lurking
in unguarded recesses of the mind


"I sent it out to Doubleday
and they refused it. They said,
'We asked for a novel.' They didn't
consider it a novel. I had to give
back my advance. My agent told me
later they called the editor on the
carpet for having refused the book
only after they saw that it was
selling fast. It only had to do with
sales. They didn't bother to read it."
—Paul Bowles

The immense domed sky—
of the Sahara dominates my books
it's a sheltering thing

I often have the sensation—
when I look at it that it's a solid
thing up there, protecting us

Protecting us from what?—
from what's behind it that's
lurking, gazing down at us humans

As we're dying in the desert—
we see the sky cracking open and
it's not very pretty what we see

It's a rather convincing and—
harrowing evocation of death that
I wouldn't wish on anybody

Tolstoy's Ivan Ilyich looks—
into the void beyond and what does
the poor man see hiding there?

From there the novel follows —
Port's wife, Kit (who people in
Tangier will assure you is Jane)

As she moves thru the Sahara—
fleeing the memory of her adultery
with Port's friend Turner

Pursuing the primitive—
and the unknown, surrendering herself
to a Bedouin who rapes her

Finally leaving her reason behind—
the desert becomes like Conrad's jungle
and Eliot's wasteland landscape

Emblematic of a world—
in which individuals are radically
isolated from one another



A young man—Ahmed. Smiling radiant eyes, endowed with “animal eroticism.” Is that the word for it? Moving toward—the limits of being human. Becoming animal—becoming scorpion, becoming serpent? How could I write about him—would he flee my writing? Escape from me? Stammering—I make language stammer with wonder, I'd rather have language that stammers like the speech of a young idiot savant. Writing thru him—writing in a language not of my own tongue? Traveling—traveling across the desert toward what? For Bowles—the desert was his surreal illumination opening up. For Rimbaud writing—became a calligraphy of silence, his sad solitude, escaping the Parnassus pricks back in Paris. Writing with the phrase “and then”—rather than the constant cloying Western idiom of “because." Writing not because of anything, but rather letting Ahmed turn me more & more into the young erotic animal that is him next to me in bed...

Blood of the Poet

Blood of the Poet

The blood of the poet—
Comes & oozes slowly
Like a young man dying

Sluggishly & thick—
There’s no end to it
Until the last oozelette

The blood of the poet—
Is a nocturnal emission
Coming suddenly at night

Adolescents like Rimbaud—
Make the best surrealists
Premature ejaculations

The blood of the poet—
Is both an Illumination
And a Season in Hell

Contrary to Breton—
The Bunghole works just
As fine as the Pussy

Les enfants terribles

Les enfants terribles

Like Miss Cocteau—
I was infatuated with a
Pierre Dargelos youth

He was just as rude—
And totally male as the
One Cocteau fell in love with

Our relationship was rudely—
Consummated exquisitely
With shameless rough trade

He bruised me really bad—
My tits, my tongue, my neck
My ass, especially my lips

And when he banged me—
I didn’t see stars instead
It was Pennies from Heaven

Here She Is

issue 1, volume 1
April 1927

Here She Is
—for Paul Bowles

“immense et raisonné
dérèglement de tous
les sens”—Arthur Rimbaud

Here she is—
She doesn’t mind
When we come by

She has no mind—
It’s hard to believe
But she’s a voyant

Things are that way—
Words are like dust
Motes floating in air

She lapses into—
Forgetfulness and
Lets the wind blow

Surrealism is her—
Nom de plume when
She’s doing poetry

Miss Breton—
Taught Miss Bowles
Je est un autre

Too Late

Too Late

is too late”
—Paul Bowles
“Elegy,” Thicket
of Spring: 1926-1969

It’s much too late—
Ahmos ZuBolton is dead
My black poet friend

It’s the same with—
Handsome young Benjie Fontaine
Big Easy lover

Everything ends up—
Unbecomingly tardy
If you wait too long

Cocky with that male flaw
Lost comeliness

It’s always too late—
Unbecomingly tres chic
When it comes to love

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Black Adonis

Black Adonis

Once upon a time—
I fell in love with this young
Black Adonis kid

He moved in with me—
In my desert getaway
Down there in Palm Springs

Neither one of us—
Ever looked back after that
When he came I died

Seconds (2012)

Seconds (2012)

Doctor in Operating Room: Relax, old friend.
[aside to a medical assistant]
Doctor in Operating Room: Cranial drill.

I fell in love with this guy in college. He was a gymnast with a body built like a brick-shithouse. He dropped outta school—I followed him to San Francisco.

His str8t friends didn’t like me much. They pretty much had my number. They invited me over to their apartment one night—to watch a scary Halloween movie.

They had plans for me—to scare me outta town. And get rid of me—to keep me from hanging around my lover boy all the time. They spiked my drink with acid—and got me stoned outta my mind.


That stormy dark night—there was this movie on TV. Rock Hudson in “Seconds” (1966). A real mind-fuck horror flick—about this guy who gets reborn in another body. Plus he gets stuck with a new Malibu personality and lifestyle. None of which works.

Frankenheimer puts the screws on the guy—it’s a classic black & white horror flick. Rock Hudson gets this “second” chance deal—at both living a new life. And dying a real death this time around—not just a fake one.

Naturally, it fucked me up real good—plenty of psychedelic horror, stoned neo-noir dread and acid melodrama snaking thru every inch of my body.

Naturally, I couldn't help it. My whole life went flashing backwards thru this weird, morose, meandering, melodramatic, nightmarish sit-com. All the things I didn’t do right—all the things I’d done that went wrong. Not exactly nostalgic.

The years I’d spent trying to do all the things I was told were important—that I was supposed to do! Things! Not people... or meaning. Just things. And San Francisco was the same.

I blamed it on myself all over again. I’d made the same decisions for myself all over. Again and again. They were the same mistakes, really. All that got played back in my brain.

It was supposed to be different this time. But it wasn’t. It was going to be different from now on I thought. But it was the same. All over again. At least that was the psychedelic paranoia I had.

It was just like Rock Hudson. Even if I had a new face and a new name. I'd do the same thing all over again. Nothing was going to be any different. I suppose you know what I mean. Life’s a dead end street.

His str8t friends laughed and sneered at me. Their faces were even more grotesque and leering than before. Back before I wasn’t even stoned. They were str8t and ugly. And ugly wasn’t skin-deep—it went all the way to the bone.

"I have the distinct impression,” I said to them. “That I have been subjected to a humiliating and obscene exposure—possibly under the influence of drugs. It’s added to the various other unpleasant experiences of this evening, and although as I say, I should be very snappish with you on this score, I am not even curious about you anymore.”

I got up and left—walking down the steep hill from Pacific Heights. I could smell the eucalyptus trees blooming—old Victorian bay-windows smiled down at me. The Golden Gate off to the west—the cool Pacific breezes in the evening. I caught a bus down there in Japantown—took the next flight outta SF.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Paul's Case

Paul's Case

“Paul dropped back
into the immense
design of things.”
—Willa Cather,
Paul’s Case, A Study
in Temperament

I woke up the next—
morning with a painful
throbbing in my head

I’d thrown myself—
across the bed without
undressing and fell

Fell deeply asleep—
and had slept with my shoes on
my limbs and hands heavy

My tongue and throat—
were simply parched and burnt
that’s when it happened

I’d had one of those—
fateful attacks of simply
awful clear-headedness

They occurred when I—
was physically exhausted and
my nerves were just shot

I lay still and closed—
my eyes and let the tide
of things wash over me

I’d swish into the—
dining-room with my dizzy
mind losing myself again

The equally swishy—
music heightening my nelly
remembrance of things

My gay elasticity—
for claiming the moment
came back to him again

The band played on—
the glare and glitter of it
dancing around me

All the tres chic—
scenic accessories with
their old potency

And for one last time—
I’d show myself that I
could still play the game

I’d finish the facade—
Splendidly with lovely class
Why should I care?

I doubted everything—
Cordelia Street and all
my closeted past life

For the first time I—
drank my wine recklessly
was I not, after all, gay?

One of the lucky ones—
born to be despicable
yet still proudly myself?

I drummed nervously—
in accompaniment to the
Pagliacci music

And looked about me
telling himself over and over
that it was all paid for

The swell of the music—
the chill sweetness of my wine
hadn’t I done it wisely?

I might have caught an—
overnight flight to Paris
to avoid their clutches

But gay Paris was—
after all a bit too gay
and too far away

If I had to choose—
over again, I would do
the same thing again

I looked affectionately—
around the dining-room
now gilded with soft mist

Ah, I’d paid indeed!—
Paid in cash for all of it
New York had been fun

I’d spent the $100,000 and—
knew now, more than ever
that money was everything

the luring balcony—
that stood between all I
loathed and all I wanted

It was winding down—
I thought to myself after
a glorious time in New York

My mind was a medley—
of irrelevant things and
irrelevant feelings

When the right moment—
finally came, I jumped over
the railing into air

As I fell, the folly—
of my haste occurred to him
with merciless clearness

The vastness of what—
I’d left undone flashed by me
clearer than ever before

Blue Adriatic sky—
yellow of Algerian sands
sunsets by the Seine

Thru the air, going down—
immeasurably far and fast
my limbs gently relaxed

Then, because the—
movie-making mechanism
had been crushed forever

Things flashed into black—
and I dropped back into the
immense design of things

Paul's Case II

Paul's Case

“He burnt like a
faggot in a tempest”
—Willa Cather,
Paul’s Case, A Study
in Temperament

Life was a lie—
but I was quite accustomed
to lying thru my teeth

I found it, indeed—
indispensable for
overcoming friction

Rancor & the usual—
evinced str8t aggrievedness
that’s usually the case

Gay impertinence—
among my offences named
yet that’s scarcely it

It’s impossible—
to put into words the real
cause of my trouble

A sort of hysterically—
defiant manner & contempt
which all knew I felt for them

And I seemingly—
didn’t make the least effort
to conceal my distain

If they’d touch me—
I’d start back with a shudder
thrust myself violently away

People were offended—
hurt and embarrassed as if
I’d insulted them

I had this physical—
aversion to everyone
men and women alike

People felt my—
bad attitude was symbolized
by my shrug and flippantly

Smiling, my pale lips—
parted over my white teeth
my lips continually twitching

I had this habit of—
seemingly raising my eyebrows
contemptuously and irritatingly

My only sign of discomfort—
a nervous trembling of my
nostrils like I smelled shit

I was always smiling—
always glancing around me
seemingly at all the cute boys

I’d be watching them—
and trying to detect something
obscene in their looks

My sordid bad attitude—
was usually attributed to
insolence or "smartness"

"I don't know," I said—
"I didn't mean to be
polite or impolite, either.”

“I guess it's the sort—
of way I have of saying
things, regardless."

My teachers in despair—
there was something about
me none of them understood

“That smile of his comes—
not from insolence, there's
something haunting about him”

My white, blue-veined face—
it was drawn and wrinkled like
an old man's about the eyes

My lips twitching even—
in my sleep, my face stiff with
nervous frozen tension

Whistling the soldiers' chorus—
from "Faust," looking wildly around,
writhing in my light-heartedness

It wasn’t that movies—
meant anything in particular
to me except for one thing

That first sigh of relief—
when the movie started
up there on the Silver Screen

Something that struggled—
like the Genius in the bottle
found by the Arab fisherman

I felt a sudden zest of life—
the screen dancing before my
eyes and the Cineplex blazing

Unimaginable splendor—
when Marlene Dietrich comes on
closing my eyes, giving it away

That peculiar stimulus—
such personages always have
Within Bijou walls

Paul's Case III

Paul's Case III

“the plot of all dramas,
the text of all romances,
the nerve-stuff of all
sensations was whirling
about him like snow-flakes”
—Willa Cather,
Paul’s Case, A Study
in Temperament

Improvised fictions—
tripping me up, old film palaces
Instead of horrible yellow wall-paper

I never went up—
Cordelia Street without
a shudder of loathing

I approached it to-night—
with the nerveless sense of defeat,
the hopeless feeling of sinking

Sinking back forever—
into ugliness and commonness
that always had been home

The moment I turned into—
Cordelia Street I felt dark waters
closing above my head

After each of these orgies
of living—I experienced all the
physical depression of a debauch

The loathing of respectable—
beds, common food, a house
penetrated by kitchen odors

A shuddering repulsion—
for my flavorless, colorless every-day
existence, a morbid desire to escape

Several of my teachers—
had a theory that my imagination had
been perverted by garish fiction

But the truth was that I—
scarcely ever read at all and I was
never tempted by the usual dirty novels

How could books either tempt—
or corrupt my youthful mind, since
I was already tres decadent & perverted

I got what I wanted much more—
quickly from movies, any sort of movies
from film noir to tacky romantic tear-jerkers

All I needed was a spark—
that indescribable thrill that made
my imagination master of my senses

I had no desire to be a movie star—
I felt no necessity to do any of those
Hollywood things that moviegoers do

All I wanted was to lose myself—
There in the darkness, floating on a wave,
carried away blue league after blue league

After a night beneath the silver screen—
I found the school-room even more than ever
repulsive, depressing, demeaning to me

The bare floors and naked walls—
the tacky men who were never stylish
never violets in their button-holes

The women with their dull gowns—
shrill voices, and pitiful seriousness
about prepositions that govern the dative

I couldn’t bear to have other pupils—
think for a moment that I took these
boring, bourgeois people seriously

I had to convey to them—
that I considered it all trivial and
nothing more than a sick joke, anyway

They were hard-working women—
most of them supporting indigent husbands
or riffraff brothers or ne'er-do-well sons

And they laughed rather bitterly-
at having stirred me up to such fervid
and florid rather gay inventions

They agreed with the faculty—
and with my poor troubled stupid father
that mine was a bad case indeed

It was a little after one o'clock—
when I drove up to the Waldorf,
registering from Washington

When the lovely flowers came—
I put them hastily into a vase of water
and then tumbled into a nice hot bath

Presently I came out of—
my white bath-room, resplendent in my
new silk underwear with my plush red robe

The snow was whirling outside—
I put the violets and jonquils on the
taboret beside the couch and sighed

I threw myself down—
covering myself with a Roman blanket
and smoked a fat joint

It had been wonderfully simple—
virtually determined and merely a matter
seizing the moment as mine

The only thing surprising—
was my own courage, realizing well enough
that I’d always been tormented by fear

A sort of apprehensive dread that—
the meshes of all the lies I’d told were
closing in around me at last

Claustrophobically pulling the—
muscles of my body tighter and tighter
until now when I finally broke through

I couldn’t remember the time—
when I hadn’t been dreading something
even when I was just a naïve little boy

It was always there behind me—
or in front of me or on either side of me
always shadowing my every thought

The dark place I dared not look
something in the attic or closet seemed
always to be watching me, smirking at me

I’d done things that weren’t pretty—
pretty to watch, pretty to live through
or pretty to be seen by hypocritical others

But now I had a curious sense of relief—
as though I’d at last thrown down the
gay gauntlet to the thing in the closet

Yet it was but a day since I’d been—
sulking back on Cordelia Street and
stealing the Denny & Carson's deposits

There was over $100,000 stolen—
My shocked father repaying the theft
The whole town saying “I told you so.”

I spent more than an hour dressing—
watching every stage of my toilet so very
carefully in the huge expensive mirror

Everything was quite perfect—
I was now exactly the kind of boy that
I’d always wanted to be: a rich one

Violets, roses, carnations, lilies of the valley—
somehow vastly just as lovely and alluring
as me blossoming unnaturally in New York

The Park itself below was a wonderful—
stage winter-piece, around me the glaring
affirmation of my omnipotence and wealth

I gazed into the mirror at myself—
drawing my shoulders together in a
spasm of realization of what I’d done

I was burning like a faggot in a tempest—
the only way I could have ever gone all
the way and finally become myself

I went down to dinner with the
music of the orchestra floating up
the elevator shaft to greet him

My head whirled as I stepped into—
the thronged corridor and he sank back
into one of the chairs to get my breath

This certainly wasn’t the first time—
I’d steered my queenly self through
treacherous stormy str8t waters

Let there be lights, camera, action—
it was like a bewildering technicolor movie
so intense that I almost wasn’t able to stand it

For a moment these were own people—
as I went slowly about the corridors & thru the
writing-rooms, smoking-rooms, reception-rooms

As though I were exploring the—
chambers of an enchanted palace, built and
peopled for only for me alone

When I reached the dining-room—
I sat down at a table near a window with
flowers, white linen, many-colored wine glasses

The gay toilettes of the women—
the low popping of corks, the undulating
repetitions of the orchestra’s "Blue Danube"

It all flooded me like a dream—
bewildering in its radiance with the rosy tinge
of champagne was added to make it perfect

That cold, precious, bubbling stuff—
that creamed and foamed in my glass
were there any honest men in the world at all?

This was what all the world—
was fighting for, I realized and this
surely was what all the struggle was about

I doubted the reality of my past—
had I ever known a tacky Cordelia Street
a place of fagged-out business men?

Cordelia Street belonged to another—
time and country and all I wanted to do was
sit here night after night, not remembering

Looking pensively over the shimmering—
textures and slowly twirling the stem of my
glass, had it not always been this way?

I wasn’t the least abashed or lonely—
I had no special desire to meet or to know
any of these pageant wealthy people

All I demanded was the right to cruise—
and conjecture, to watch the exquisite chic
Metropolitan movie unfold around me

My new surroundings explained me—
nobody questioned my gayness which I wore
passively, nobody around to humiliate me

His dearest pleasure was the—
gray winter twilight in my sitting-room
the quiet enjoyment of my flowers

My stylish clothes, my wide divan—
My cigarettes, my sense of power and being
for a time when so at peace with myself

The mere release from the usual—
the necessity of petty lying, lying every day
and every night, my self-respect restored

I had never lied for pleasure—
even at school, but rather to be noticed
and admired, to assert my difference

I felt a good deal more manly—
even more queenly as well, now that
there was no need for boastful pretensions

Now I could simply "dress the part"—
remorse didn’t occur, my golden days went
by without a shadow, as perfect as can be

The gray monotony stretched behind me—
the hopeless, unrelieved years, the tacky
yellow-papered room, the damp dish-towels

Then it all rushed back on me—
with a sickening vividness, the sinking
sensation that the movie was over

Sweat broke out on my face—
I sprang to my feet, looking around me
the self-conscious mirror winked at me

The morning papers had my picture—
I suddenly lost my childish belief in
miracles which would surely save me

There came upon me one of those—
fateful attacks of clear-headedness that
never occurred except when I felt doomed

I was physically exhausted and my nerves—
Hung loose down from my haggard face until
I closed my eyes and jumped from the balcony

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Sapphira and the Slave Boy

Model Mayhem

Sapphira and the Slave Boy (2012)

A movie of jealousy set in pre-Civil War Virginia.
Based on Willa Cather’s last novel


Sapphira Dodderidge Colbert, a middle-aged white woman, dying of dropsy. Having married at the late age of 24, she has accepted as her husband a man she considers socially beneath her, and now this friction dominates the marriage. She is an Episcopalian. She has inherited her slaves from her father and believes thoroughly in the institution of slavery.

Henry Colbert, a middle-aged white man, a miller and a Lutheran. He is tolerant of his bitter wife, but lives an essentially separate life, residing at his mill. Henry has developed qualms about slavery, mostly on religious grounds, but believes that the Colbert slaves are his wife's property.

Rachel Colbert Blake, a white widow in her 30s and a Baptist. As a child, she was her mother's least favorite daughter, which caused her to seek out the company of a neighbor, Mrs. Bywaters, who was an abolitionist. Rachel now also opposes slavery, and eventually aids Tyrone in his escape.

Tyrone, a mulatto slave in his late teens, the son of Till and a white man believed to be one of Henry Colbert's brothers or a Cuban painter who once stayed at the estate. His quiet ways make him Henry's favorite, which, along with overheard gossip, causes Sapphira to falsely assume that the two are having intimate relations.

Till, a black slave in her 40s or 50s. She was orphaned as a child when her mother's dress caught fire, causing her death. She was put in the care of Mrs. Meacham, a white woman who became her surrogate mother and teacher. She was eventually sold to Sapphira as a lady's maid. Raped by a white man, she has one son, Tyrone, and is then married off to Uncle Jeff.

Fat Lizzie, a black slave and the household cook. She is a gossip and the primary source of Tyrone's troubles. She is the mother of Bluebell, a Prissy-type slave on the estate.

Old Jezebel, the oldest slave on the estate, she came to America in the 1780s and dies half-way through the book.

Uncle Jeff, a black slave and Till's husband. He is described as a capon-man, which either means he has been castrated or has erectile dysfunction. Sapphira marries Till to him because she does not want her lady's maid pregnant.

Rev. Fairhead, a white Baptist minister and an abolitionist

Mrs. Bywaters, a white woman, postmistress and an abolitionist

Martin Colbert, a white man and Henry's nephew. A morally bankrupt man, whose amusing conversation charms Sapphira and annoys Henry. He makes threatening advances towards Tyrone, suggesting on multiple occasions that he intends to rape him. He is the primary cause of Tyrone’s flight. He later dies during the Civil War fighting for the Confederate cause.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Behind the State Capitol

Behind the State Capitol

“is it jazz, or late night
musing by the harbor?”
—John Wieners, “gardenias,”
Behind the State Capitol

Art deco murder—
Back during the Depression
They shot the Kingfish

It was just awful—
A Thirties Depression Era
Mississippi murder!

Thirty years later—
They almost did the same thing
To Poor Little Ole Me!

I picked up this Trick—
Downtown at the Mocambo
The local gay bar

We drove down the Street—
Behind the State Capitol
I got down on my knees

Right there amidst—
The Roses & Bougainvillea
In the Smelly Darkness

In the bushy shadows—
Where I’d tricked so many
Other times with hustlers

Hustlers, sailors and—
Cute young bus station pickups
The usual white-trash

Doing butchy rough trade—
Deep in the Delta darkness
Next to Huey’s Tombstone

That’s where he Shot me—
Shot my Baby Lips real good
An Exquisite Wad

I’d been had before—
Rolled and robbed by young Toughies
Man-handled by Thugs

But it was kinda like—
Down in the Big Easy during
Mardi Gras hot times

Looming up in the Night—
The phallic State Capitol
Of Louisiana looked down!

Big Art Deco Dick—
De Kingfish’s giant Cock
Streamline Moderne Prick!

So many juicy times—
Young Mississippi blowjobs
Sleek Skyscraper Spluge!

They’d shot Huey P. Long—
The Governor of the State
They done shot my Baby!

That’s what He did—
Did to me behind the State
Capitol that Saturday night!

Then before I could—
Even swallow the Kid’s Wad
Ka-Bang! I saw Stars!!!

He banged me real good—
Up the side of my pretty head
With a mean blackjack!

He took my billfold—
My rings, my watch and all
The clothes off my back!

There I was naked—
Bruised and dazed in the shameful
Humid Southern Night!

What’s a Girl to do?—
What’s a modest mild-mannered
Cocksucker gonna do?

So I got down on—
My humble collegiate knees
“Lordy! Lordy!” I prayed!

“Save me Oh Kingfish!”—
I beseeched The Big Kingfish
What else could I do?

The State Capitol—
In all its Southern Glory
Took pity on me

It leaned down real low—
Feeling sorry for foolish me
And granted my wish

Some gay friends of mine—
Cruising the Kingfish Park
Got me back to campus

A pair of black eyes—
Gimpy limp, nelly bruised knee
Were my just reward

So Young and Foolish then—
What a Stupid Queen I was
Doing the down-low then

Even so next weekend—
There I was again tricking
Behind the State Capitol…

Monday, February 20, 2012

An Invisible Man

Picasso Mask Les Demoiselles d'Avignon

An Invisible Man
—for Ralph Ellison

“I am the poet—
of Negro lovers”
—John Wieners,
“First Poem After Silence
Since Thanksgiving,”
Selected Poems

There, I’m saying—What I couldn’t say earlier In the story “The Birthmark” Constantly reminded—In that story by the fact that I was born with a Negro penis It’s as strangely as if—I had this Serpent thing Coiled up inside my crotch

In my Abercrombie &—Fitch shorts down there A Negro life of its own Lurking down there—My tattoo of shame and Birthmark of Negritude Then uncoiling itself—Down the side of my leg Wanting to get off

Rebelling against—My whitey ass and Whitey view of things The head resting—Nonchalantly down there Outta sight, outta mind Ashamed of it—Feeling guilty about it Wanting to hide it

I couldn’t help it—I was just born that way What could I do about it? When I masturbated—Like all guys do growing up It wasn’t like Vanilla sex I had this Congolese cock—Squirting Jizz outta me It wasn’t whitey getting off

I had this big problem—Ten inches of Mulatto meat Turning me inside out It made me feel down—And dirty when I did the Down low on myself But what could I do—When I had to get off like Any young man’s gotta do?

It was no big deal for me—Passing as a white guy like High yellow octoroon guys do Everybody’s mulatto now—Tinged with a little dab of African American dinge African-Samoan hot guys—Riding the busses and light-rail Downtown sitting beside me

Somali cute boys cruising—Outside Garfield High school Hunky no longer skinny Young African kings—Melding and morphing with Whitey chicken into gods Just like Faulkner said—Absalom, Absalom albino Family tree in the making

The curse of slavery—Dixie’s savage denouement Delta Bourbon bigotry Karmic carnality flowing—Ironically thru my whitey veins My trailer trash heritage Haunting me down here—As surely as Black Genesis Going Down on Moses

An surely as young Sutpen—Going down on Bon the Beautiful Down there at Ole Miss As surely as Temple Drake—Going down on Popeye & Red In Miss Reba’s Memphis Whorehouse As surely as me standing—Nude in front of the mirror No longer an Invisible Man

Sunday, February 19, 2012

An Invisible Man II

Picasso Mask Les Demoiselles d'Avignon

An Invisible Man II
for Coleman Dowell

What can I say that—
I haven’t already said
About this Birthmark
Of mine that I’ve had
To live with all the time
Since I was a kid?

I wasn’t particularly—A homosexual Exhibitionist Showing off at the YMCA I didn’t have much—Trouble getting a blowjob When I needed it though In the showers—In the sauna & steam bath When I needed it bad I got propositioned—By all sorts of older men Intrigued with my birthmark

It added a certain aura—
Of forbidden love to the
Usual tricks at the Y

I had pasty white skin—Some of the guyz thought I was a pink-eyed albino Instead of just a plain—Vanilla white guy who just Happened to be different Things got different tho—My freshman year at LSU When I lived in the dorm My roommate caught me—Beating off after class one Afternoon in bed once

Once, maybe twice—
Actually a lot of times
College made me nervous

It was in the mid-Sixties—And Integration was slowly Happening on campus It started off real slow—With 15 black guys there On academic scholarships Later of course—Half the football team Was like African-American But in 1965 LSU—Was still pretty much Deeply segregated They even closed—The Huey P. Long Pool To keep it that way

“There’s nothing wrong—
With a country where a
Negro can own a Cadillac.”

That’s was this esteemed—And well-known tenured History full professor said. I looked around class—Everybody was nodding their Heads all so very knowingly It made me nervous—Because my roommate Was joking with me “Is you white or black?”—he’d say to me coming back to the dorm early I’d be masturbating—My big 10-inch piece of Dinge Birthmark meat…Naturally word got—Around the dormitory Floor about my condition Most of the guyz—Just shrugged sayin that Integration was “in” now I got cruised a lot—In the showers like back In the high school gym

Some of the guyz—
Wanted to see it all the
Way and suck me off

Business majors—Gave me money and Engineers measured it My sophomore year—I moved off campus to The Tiger Town ghetto By then I was smoking—Weed and getting to know My better half—my dick Black guyz were putting—The hit on me and checking Me out real good in bed It was the best—Of both worlds and I got Turned on by Literature

Faulkner was the only—
Writer back then who wrote
Dinge Lit like a professional

Absalom, Absalom—The Sound & The Fury and Popeye’s Sanctuary Half of me was Bon—Bon the Beautiful Sutpen Who went to Ole Miss Getting revenge for—His Haitian exiled mother Eulalia of the Big Easy Ending up in bed—With his own half-brother Henry Sutpen the fag

With Quentin Compson—
Seancing his way back to
Those Plantation days

Those days & nights—When Going Down on Moses Entered the Ledgers Brotherly love mixed—With incestuous miscegeny Right up my alley

An Invisible Man III

Picasso Mask Les Demoiselles d'Avignon

An Invisible Man III
for Coleman Dowell

It’s much easier—
To recognize somebody
Lying than when they’re
Telling the truth

I could say that—I’m possessed of my own Faculties and say: “I am dead.” It’s plainly a lie—But if I say instead “I am alive” that’s Just as improbable Everything is creamed—With lies and embarrassing Deceits but most queens Just simply shrug Queens have excuses—Itself on the grounds that Everybody lies especially Gay writers

I’ve always thought tho—
I could get away with it
Even tho I’m no writer

The eye of God peers—For me thru a bathroom’s Leering glory hole Persistently—Unpleasantly Voyeurismo The “mind’s eye” poking Thru lavatory walls Mainly when I’m bored Masturbating & waiting With nothing to do I don’t feel guilty—And nobody else did Especially in Allen Hall Second floor English Dept

My prize-winning essay—
With its overuse of “vivid”
Describing the Dinge in my
So-called life. Enamored

With a man named LeRoi Who burned with male Machismo all of which Was extremely “vivid” The distillation of his—Dinge nobility I pretended To tell in my gay novel: “Sinful Sanctuary” based On that pulp fiction thriller Of William Faulkner who Like me was full of lies It seemed like I was— Receiving communiqués For the dearly departed Delta bourbon dead but Then it was probably my Overly vivid Dixie Belle Queenly imagination

The theory is that—
The first person present
Tense has a life of its own
Which makes up lies to
Entertain itself like we
Do when we’re dreaming

Dreaming has all the—Candor and deceit that A bored queen has for Entertaining herself or Rather MYSELF, please Forgive me A discrete wish—Is almost always it Seems granted by One’s Fairy Godmother, A great example being A mea culpa on a nice Greek pedestal usually In the guise of some Third person entity, One’s own surrealistic Wish-fulfillment like A svelte cute hustler Or monstrous alter ego

I came to the conclusion—
That my birthmark was
The Root of All Evil that it
Lived in all Strangeness
Disguised as the Familiar

It was the distillation—Of some kind of truly Disingenuous Deity who Decided to take permanent Form and being down in Between my legs This eliding of Whitey—And bestowing my prick With all the quirks and Romanticizing gifts of Well-endowed Negritude Was surely a cruel joke Perpetuated by the Gods Birthmarks are common—They’re a dime a dozen People have them all over Their bodies, foreheads, Thighs, chests, stomachs But I had one on my dick

They say Beauty is only—
Skin-deep while Dinge
Goes all the way to the
Fucking Bone and that’s
Exactly what happened
To me changing my life
Every black inch of it

Motherly miscegeny—Was the gnarly root of My Family Tree problem, Her genealogy included Her Caucasian mother And a handsome black Chicago nightclub jazz Saxophonist by the name Of LeRoi Jones Esquire That’s why I called—My errant Erotic Penis By the name of LeRoi: “LeRoi Jones Esquire”— My true black & blue Saxophone heritage All the way from the Deep dark African Chicago Black Ghetto
Windy City Sound End

I was proud of my—
Dinge Dick Inheritance
And showed it off in
The showers at school
Just to amaze and make
Envious the whole
Goddamn Wrestling Team
As well as the queer Coach
Who gave me a Letter for my
Butchy leather letter-jacket

I strutted down the—Hallways letting the girlz Zoom in on my succulently Tight bluejeans bulge and My phone was always like Ringing on weekends for Racy rendezvous dates in The back of my mommy’s Baby blue Cadillac convertible I suppose it was arrogant—And unbecoming of me to Take advantage of my dinge Birthmark and to be overly Proud of my Negro nobility, But I couldn’t help it and Leroi Jones couldn’t help it Either, moiling around down There with nothing to do

Could a different person—
Have done differently than
Me applying his learning
Differently, more wisely?
A Buddhist, for example,
Pouring over tomes of
Eastern Wisdom and then
Sitting on it for weeks
And weeks of zazen doing
Dinge meditation calmly?

But knowing what—I knew intuitively and Perhaps with psychic Pathological precision, I couldn’t help but feel My skin crawling with Memories that even The Buddha would have A hard time contemplating.

Hotel Wentley Poems

Michael McClure, Philip Lamantia,
John Wieners, David Meltzer
San Francisco 1958

Hotel Wentley Poems
—for John Wieners

A poem for dead poets

“And yet, we
must remember”
—John Wieners,
“A poem for early risers,”
Hotel Wentley Poems

For the poets then—
Like Wieners, McClure,
Lamantia & Meltzer

They’re done with us—
We’re done with them
They’re gone now

They’re defused after—
Tricking they’re out of it
The young hustlers

But their poems—
Like their upturned faces
Still gazing at us

Hotel Wentley Poems

Michael McClure, Philip Lamantia,
John Wieners, David Meltzer
San Francisco 1958

Hotel Wentley Poems
—for John Wieners

A poem for early risers

“For me now the new”
—John Wieners,
“A poem for early risers,”
Hotel Wentley Poems

San Francisco hustlers—
The heart where men
Are afraid to go now

I throw up—
Possessed by a
Fear of death

I slipped down—
His shorts got
His lizard off

Most men—
Are tainted now
Some aren’t tho

Creamy cum—
Used to nourish
Guys like me

Clotting kid—
Mother nature’s
Lack of innocence

Hotel Wentley Poems

Michael McClure, Philip Lamantia,
John Wieners, David Meltzer
San Francisco 1958

Hotel Wentley Poems
—for John Wieners

A poem for coffee shops

“Well we can go
into the queer bars”
—John Wieners,
“A poem for cocksuckers,”
Hotel Wentley Poems

Well I go—
Into coffee shops
Read poetry

Sing along like
A black mama
Juke box blues

Fairies still—
Giggle here
Lacquered nails

I’ve got a—
Dinge lover
Strong as nails

River runs—
Dry but he
Don’t for sure

He makes—
My eyes bulge
Way down there

I don’t—
Despair with
Him around

Hotel Wentley Poems

Michael McClure, Philip Lamantia,
John Wieners, David Meltzer
San Francisco 1958

Hotel Wentley Poems
—for John Wieners

A poem for chicken

“Let blond hair burn
on the back of his neck”
—John Wieners,
“A poem for the old man,”
Hotel Wentley Poems

Cluck in—
My bathtub
Closet too

Men lie to me—
But chicken are
Even worse

It’s a savage—
Chicken coup
Scene out there

Aint untainted
Much anymore

Bus station—
Pickups are
Pretty safe

Fresh into—
The big city
Virus free?

Hotel Wentley Poems

Michael McClure, Philip Lamantia,
John Wieners, David Meltzer
San Francisco 1958

Hotel Wentley Poems
—for John Wieners

A poem for movie goers

“I walk down a long
passage way with a
red door waiting open”
—John Wieners,
“A poem for museum goers,”
Hotel Wentley Poems

I go to a—
Movie bored
And lonely

It’s one of—
Those Edvard Munch
Horror movies

I check out—
The john but
Nobody’s there

I go upstairs—
The balcony full
Of old whores

I open my—
Mouth like Munch
And Scream

Young lovers—
In the shadows
Making out

Squirming up
Against the walls

Octopus eyes—
Sushi lips squish
Up the aisles

I open my—
Mouth like Munch
And Scream

An old queen-
Sleeps off her
Drunk binge

Bette Davis—
On the screen
“What a dump!”

Lovers paw—
Each other
I begin to weep

Cyprus trees—
Spanish Moss
Dracula sucks

I open my—
Mouth like Munch
And Scream

Hotel Wentley Poems

Michael McClure, Philip Lamantia,
John Wieners, David Meltzer
San Francisco 1958

Hotel Wentley Poems
for John Wieners

A poem for hustlers

“I shall be placed
on probation”
—John Wieners,
“A poem for vipers,”
Hotel Wentley Poems

Old age—
Bereft of any

Behind the—
State Capitol
I cruise youth

Mean hustlers—
Hang out and
Beat me up

What’s an—
Old queen like
Me to do?

Wilde beestes—
No place for a
Lady like me

Spluged by—
Ugly smegma
Scented boyz

The sun—
Never rises now
Where I go

Eyes, young vipers
Who know

My face—
Has gone stale
Already dead

Looking away—
More than
Cruising anymore

What would—
The Kingfish say
About me now?

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Senate Apartments II

The Senate Apartments II
—for Coleman Dowell

Male memory—Undid me, did me in Did me down and dirty Assuredly it led me—To the edge of poetic Profluent precipices

Violet gent quills—Foreskin fountain fondue Making up for lost-time The first time I met you—A sudden warmth a thaw Unrestrained deformity love Like murder held back—By an upstream blocked The sin submerges itself

A prolonged stillness—Approximating death even then Before the car crash What are the chances—That words just fall outta Thin air into our laps? Why are some of us—Receptive to full-blown Seen and syntax? What are the chances—That language is just a Perpetual-motion mobile?

A string of words—Smoothing out the motions That seem to make things move? I’m temped to Say—That I make the Selections Of work on a page But it’s more like—Pretending to know what’s On the other side of the moon The smell of your clothes—your tough lean jerky body Sleeping late in bed

Your svelte carnality—Streamline moderne male beauty At the Senate Apartments Your intuitive recognition—And instinctive rejection Of my queer art deco eye Your later car crash—Thus making you a young sailor Home from the Land of the Dead The Senate as a Sinking Ship—A harbor of ferries Coming home

Freighters unloading themselves The only enemy being—Winter and rough weather Icy streets and highways A patch work of quilts—Around us palms, pyramids Art deco Egypto zigzags Watery Beginnings—Surrounded by Nile deserts Heat mirages of Sphinxes

A warm reeky kitchen—Steeped in pork, coffee, yeast smells For a hungry night prowler like me The care with which the architects—In the lathe and plaster and glass blocks Joining genders, jewelry, style Morphing the morbid past—Streamlining the moon’s high tide Amatory to Aphrodite again

A mysterious effeminizing—The night squeezing the Wisteria Billy the Kid into young King Tut A dread troubling ambuscading—A fear of losing it within the walls A gentle moth’s sewing room Only youths and soft heartaches—Give tenacity to the illusion that That power of the poem could become Visible at will

The Senate sometimes a Ship—Cartouche with storm, other times Hanging suspended like a wax carving A secret door to Pharaoh’s tomb—Sometimes feeling Magician’s stillness Pulse of young students in bed The Senate lays suspended—Within the glassy globe of time Fused eternity of land and sea

Floating like a life raft—Off the coast of Wherever In the Great Sea of Tranquility À trois with bulky buboes—The size of lovers groins and axilla Enjoying Saturday night nuances Was it your distillate darkness—Strength of night’s untapped source That corrupted me so much with love?

Gone my Beatrice boyfriend?—All these years without you A long drawn out no-return trip to Elba I search for you in the past again—The corridors of language thru the spectrum Of worms and words and maimed tattoos I’ve struggled with your tongue—Halfway down my throat all the way Down to my curled toes

I saved you and yet you did me in—Your words, your smile, delivered in The heat of the moment by moonlight I became witness to reborn love—The simple days after your car crash Nursing your ass back to consciousness The specter of the oldest murder—Hanging in the air around me much
More than just literary hearsay

It was more like “hidden bait”—The love of Cain for his brother Abel East of Eden tasting the Forbidden Fruit The Biblicist past restoring distrust once again—Devoting myself to bringing you back to life Only to indulge in forbidden Love once again? Our bodies knit together with the same—

Sperm and slime tainted all over again My lips gemmed with pearls of your cum The only anecdote to—The irreversibility of history—The faculty of forgiveness this time around This time around Coughenour’s tragic Abel—To my simpering cloying Cain envy and East of Eden serpentine sexual jealousy Hardly pearls of wisdom even before swine—Spouting these pretentious and demeaning Snotty tidbits of Slimy Supposed Scholarship—sitting here alone in the Senate penthouse tonight