Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Book Girls

Book Girls

"So be a girly man
Sing a a gurly song"
—Charles Bernstein
"The Ballad of the Girly Man,"
Girly Man

There’s not a girl alive who doesn’t like books. I felt that way myself all the time in a manner that greatly resembled Great Expectations. Sucking, swirling me downward like a whirlpool of passion without any reality curbs, vying nonchalantly against the Channel 13 tacky television logic of predigested str8t gobbledygook and sensing with inadequate yearnings the desire to be a Young Man of Great Expectations, the élan of enhanced literacy induced by the classic True Confession novels, helping me to endure the stoic ruins of Midwestern Realism within the grim Kansas stoicism of small town existence, the work-release dystopia program offered to me by the Emporia Gazette each day, provoking my abject prostrate subjection to the Red State Republican Conservative party line, the prairie cynicism with its depressing mumbo-jumbo propaganda back then as well as now, reminiscent of the fading floral patterns on the walls of William Allen White’s dumpy sandstone mansion on Exchange Street, over past Commercial and up from the aging Carnegie Library, with me expecting hardly anything very surprising or radically incendiary in my boring day-to-day denouement of one stupid day leaking slowly into another, I mean the nerve of the Kansas City Star or Wichita Eagle or the New Yorker to even suggest that there was anything beyond my mother’s macaroni and cheese every night, sitting there on her sofa smoking her Kent cigarettes and doing her crossword puzzle with a can of Coors & the TV on, it’s a wonder I ever got starting reading back then at all, but I did by paying careful attention to the underlined (in red!) important passages of Lady Chatterley’s Lover that I found in my mother’s chester-drawers, where she kept the most amazing revolving library of the VFW Lady’s Book Club there hidden for her own private readings a vast cornucopia of forbidden sexual literature kept circulating avidly by all the ladies of that chic cosmopolitan VFW nightclub on Commercial Street, there in that very same drawer where my butchy Olpe-born down-to-earth stepfather kept his packages of Trojan prophylactics readily available for lewd Saturday nights, although his reading library tended more to louche Tijuana Bibles with gauche pornographic cartoons of Dagwood with a boner which I simply abhorred, since I was much more hoity-toity and literary-esque like my dearest mother, from whom I had developed Great Literary Expectations slowly moving on from Lady Chatterley’s Lover to Fanny Hill and Tropic of Cancer and Peyton Place, all rather dog-eared ratty booze-stained underlined versions which of course were banned in America at the time, leaving me with a sense of immediate sexual seductiveness and lurid forbidden expectations, knowing that there was this “Absolutely No Trespassing” sign hanging there in Mommy Dearest’s bedroom, beckoning me like some snaky Tree of Forbidden Knowledge, with lurid hints of some kind of Forbidden Fruit luring me on to my first clumsy adolescent romantic encounters in louche Lowther Junior High School gym showers and locker-room down in the evil basement, the steamy abode of young Arnold Lopez the Santa Fe Romeo, Gary Ace-in-the-Hole the well-endowed Valentino who later became my S/M nitrous oxide dentist, as well as Ronnie All Mine the Elvis the Pelvis teenage idol of my American Bandstand mad infatuations, the young hoodlum with the greasy slick-backed Ducktail bouffant who I followed home from school like a dog every day, all of whom caused increasingly more excruciating Great Expectations through all those early formative years, especially across the street at the YMCA where Mr. Bowie the gay gym teacher made us go swimming in the pool nude everyday, ogling to his queer heart’s content the exquisite lineup of nude Adonis skinny youth who were made to one-at-a-time walk the deliciously revealing plank of the springy diving-board, trying unsuccessfully to not show their obvious hardons, and yet in front of everybody else having their erect cock-a-doodle-doo’s flopping up & down as they jumped or dived off the nefariously nervous jerking diving board’s launch into oblivion, gratefully hiding their embarrassments in the gurgling depths of the pool, all of which simply kept adding even more adolescent Angst to my desperate & growing sense of queerest Great Expectations, surely the best of initiations into the cocky cosmopolitan sophistication that waited for me in the Kansas City Baths and Lavender Cinemas and Queer Nightclubs beckoning to me like Sirens of the Sixties, the pale skinny little naïve Pip that I was, an extremely unripe plum yet to be plucked, but mysteriously being guided by the Literary Muse of Charles Dickens and D. H. Lawrence, guided out of my compy closety little cocoon of Chicken Little into the fatal femme fatale world of Chicken Noir Literature that was waiting for me like Linda Darnell in that classic 1945 film “Fallen Angel” leading to my long awaited Novel of delirious downfall and even more sullen expectations…

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