Monday, November 19, 2018

Homage to Quentin Crisp in advance of November 21st, the date in 1999 he died.

I’m never terribly aware of what day or date or sometimes even month it is I suppose because (in addition to not believing in ‘time’) I don't have a life which depends very much on knowing those sorts of specificities. So I'm not a little surprised and charmed at the synchronicity of my having come upon a piece I wrote about Quentin Crisp for Middlebury College's magazine 17 years ago, right as the date of the anniversary of his death, November 21 (1999), drew nigh. It made me think memory is biological. Which of course it is. It also made me want to YouTube it, which I now have.
I talk about all that in this video so I won't go on about it here. I will however add what I didn't say in the video which is that my dear friend and Middlebury College library archivist Joseph Watson found the piece for me (I couldn't find my copy); it was the photocopy he sent me in 2015 I came upon. I have become convinced Mr. Watson can chart the provenance of anything written down or published in any place and at any time in the history of our species and be as likely as anyone living to effect the placement of a pristine first edition of it in your hands. Thank you and a big MWAH! to Joseph for his unerring success in this realm. (text in photos below.)

Friday, November 16, 2018

What You’ve Thrown Away

Imaginary friends, discarded
once outgrown, upended
and forgotten by their blood-
and-flesh companions whom
they’d shown and who they
thought had also shown
a love which offered them so
unconditional a fit that it was
unimaginable they would ever
need a love additional to it.
But now these randomly
abandoned beings have begun
to find equivalently yearning
others of their kind. New
intimacies salve their burning
losses. Imagination glosses
its effects and predilections,
finds new ways to ride the bends
of its fluidities, affections
and desires. Floating past each
other on their river, they begin
to feel the quiver of a possibility
of love they’d thought was gone.
Might dreams love dreams?
Now they do. Which means
there may be hope for
what you’ve thrown away,
and therefore hope for you.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Her Heinous Sin

Sometimes I’ll see her wander in,
adorned in unfamiliar veils
and scarves and hat
and wonder where she possibly
could have acquired all of that.
I didn’t put them there,
and no one else has favored her
with his or her attention that I know of.
She’s long not had a flow of dough
to spend on anything. And what
accounts for all the flowering
of new appurtenances sprouting from
her skin I’d never seen sprout up before?
Whatever has afforded her return –
its what and why and when –
we can discern she’s ventured forth again

to test the air for more than temperature,
although how cold or warm it is,
is of surpassing interest: she seeks
whatever signs she can divine align
with hope – and if the world is genially
temperate to her today, might that, she
wonders, signify a welcome, bidding her
to stay? She wonders if the Cosmos ever
will forgive her for her heinous sin.
Or if it simply isn’t interested
at all in what befalls her.
So far it hasn’t been.

Friday, November 9, 2018

If She Isn’t Here

She doesn’t need dreams or boats.
She floats her schemes in breezes –
The mad zephyrs she wheedles out
From her despair and disgust over
what I have done when I’ve fussed
with her hair. She’s never touched
anything other than air – not our air,
but the air she creates in her secret
enclosure that I’ll never see,
although oh – how I wish it were
open to me! I’d love just a glimpse
of wherever she goes when she’s
gone to her lair. It’s from there she
irradiates out into space via thin leaky
streaks her response to the words
that the thing of me speaks, which
she hears all the time since I can’t
not intone what I type, while I type,
almost always in rhyme. She doesn’t
like rhyme, or anyway mine.
Each streak is a reflex – a burst
of aversion against the mistakes
I apparently cannot not make when
I write what I like in a verse –
which ignites her displeasure as well
as my own – further, curses my cause:
to regale her. She’s never not told me
I fail her. So why does she want me
at all? you might ask. My task,
and our bargain, are fearsomely clear.
If I do not draw her, she will not appear.
With what repercussions? Egregious,
my dear, and with no help from Jesus –
morbidly fatuous, fatally sly.
If she isn’t here, then neither am I.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

seven weekends past their prime

Did they plan to commit a mortal 
sin of calamitous crime? Or were 
they mere shenanigans that, 
seven weekends past their prime,
began devolving irredeemably 
into unpalatable slime, resolving 
then before they were themselves
disposed of to collude and frolic in 
and bollix up and spoil the arrival 
(and most probably survival) 
of some unsuspecting dummy
who had brung his hungry tummy
to be fed. Balsamic vinegar and
olive oil waiting waiting waiting for
somebody’s final piece of bread.
Soon we’ll all be dead, they said.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Affective Poesy

with a stronger than usual appeal to listen to the video (which, heaven save us, even has a postscript), since this poem feels like it marks new territory for me and I couldn’t seem to not need to say stuff to somebody about it. So if you can bear being that somebody, I’d like it a lot.
Two days ago I took a crash course in Affective
Poesy and I think I’ve got the knack of it at last.
Affective Poesy requires forty-five lines separated
Into five nine-line stanzas. Visually any line
Should seem about the same length of Another.
Each line’s first word Flush left is in the upper case,
And never lower. You can however Govern whether
Other Nouns and Verbs and Parts of Speech be
Crowned in upper-case as Well. Content mostly
Will not much Engage: protecting you against what
You had Very badly Feared, and at other Private
Moments hoped, might Spell your Destiny: to dash
Into an under-handed, under-fucking-standing
Of the under-Fucking-taking of the care and
Application of a Pearly quantity of Sickeningly
Slick Pellucid fluid of the human male, a true spin
Through the famous halls of Montezuma, and an
Amplitude of everything that fails: and falls to Seeing
That another otherness be Gently excised from the
Room to be politely Shown the Door, sent out to
Implore The rest of any- and of Everything in this
Rapacious Urgency to learn what it had not Yet
Learned: to do Without the glory Promised it But not
Delivered By Saint Anna Plume-de-Lune From whom
We Thought you’d learned sufficiently the reason
For the Ogling Mumbah turning his Attention far
From what he’d thought that he Was here to bless,
Confess – when at that Unrepentant Moment you
Said Yes, you’d fill the Coffers of each strange new
Tent raised in the jungles and the deserts which
Appeared to Harbor organized talk therapy for all
The endlessly Repentant winners at casino coin
Machines. The beans and rice of it! To think there
Was a way to live That didn’t strategize to make
You Do what you were sure you had To Do to live!
To think! To think at all becomes a kinky slinky
Correlating uppity capacity to render an acute
Neurosis, like a flaccid acidosis of the spirit Veering
To and fro between, among the psyche’s Three
Presiding Needs to please itself too well. Nothing
Ever breaks that spell. Some say it quells Their
Rheumatiz quite well. Some say it’s hell. Some
Say it’s an inordinate attempt to Be: to pre-Select
To go-and-see. I think it’s all affective poesy. You
should try your Hand at it. It’s meant the world to me.

Sunday, November 4, 2018


Endlessly wordy, verbose, way too long –
lengthy, discursive, protractedly rambling,
gambling with losing the audience’s last
capacities for the abuses to which their sore
psyches and ears had been rawly subjected,
shredded and strained to a murderous brink.
How dare I think it would be a success to
proliferate in this thick slick mix – this prolix
excess! Wasn’t it what I’d been taught to do?
When my ovum split into its hells and its
heaven – thirty-seven-point-two trillion cells?
How could anyone bred with that provenance

do fuck-all anything other than spew?
The first thing I was, and the first thing I knew,
was an overkill spill from the one to the few
to the more than I ever could call into view –
which yet somehow collectively came to be
Singular Me, as a similar slew became Singular
You. What can you do if you’re made of
a substance like that, but to find and to empty
the ark on Mount Ararat – sort through,
investigate every last gopher and bat – match
every tit with its tat: then take in the whole,
and see if what you had assembled was Soul.

Yes, Those.

You can’t know much about effects
of something you refuse to undergo.
Although to Kant, to undergo it merely
to experience the unfamiliar would be
ill-advised without a logical hypothesis
that well and truly led you to the Good.
Although I think the Good is so much
wood and kindling to give fuel to fire
when it’s cold. Bad burns just as well.
You can refuse or no, or rather yes,
you can walk in and find out what
the heaven or the hell awaits you is,
without, I think, disrupting cosmic fizz;
in fact, it adds to cosmic fizz, and you
are made of cosmic fizz so you’re already
in the know. But if you fuse with or refuse
or re-amuse yourself with it again, don’t
fret: you’ll come out smelling like a rose.
Or toes. Or quantities of what you’re
thinking of that you think no one
knows you’re thinking of. Yes, those.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Beyond Belief

Chimeras and archetypes, iconic interlopers, fantasies,
projections of our most ferociously unspeakable desires
burning in inevitable fires of resistance to them: there,
we think, for clarity. Some loves we only know through
others’ hatred of them: opposites define, it’s often said.
But oh, to find these things in bed, as in a dream of them
or as an awkward actuality, a “real” attempt to pummel
Word until it’s turned into complaining Flesh, battered
and unbeautiful at best. Our synapses seem fixed on
these depictions of ambivalence, perhaps as some believe
because of a divine decree that an imbalance be redressed –
that blessings cannot come except through war which pits
each able virtue we have got against the hot destruction
of our fiercest lusts and truest terrors. If so, it all ends
badly – riddled with ineptitude and error which do little
but provide a tangled super-imposition of meticulously
outlined and ridiculously meaningless extrusions,
streaming out like blind, benignly amiable snakes into
a chaos which, when we imagine we are able to regard it
from a distance far enough above to get the larger view,
seems overall to be a pleasant symmetry, a composition

wherein nothing is awry. To which, my God, if such there be,
is this your answer to our Why? Flatulently uninventive
and haphazard, bored: face it, Lord. I mean, Oh fucking my.
Unless, my silly un-ingenious and imperfect God, you’re us.
And we keep making all this frantic fuss because we like it.
It’s like a punch. Some say it isn’t punch until you spike it.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Good, They Said, But Dark, Quite Dark

The book was good, they said, but dark, quite dark.
Indeed before the man had left the park where
they had given him the thing, the sky began to ring
with black and realized itself as if the Book had
painted it, as if to warn him what it had in store
for him, the heavy load it bore that he would have
to help to bear, and how its story took no prisoners –
in fact, left nothing breathing anywhere. The black
in back of him began to wisp off tendrils of itself,
like coal smoke, gasps of charcoal exhalation streaking
through the yellow air, presaging despair, attempting
to regain its proper place, its only habitable space,
which was the Book. Power emanated from the tome,
repulsing him, engulfing him, revealing its intent
to govern him irruptively as soon as he reached home.
He gathered this from what he felt but also what they’d
told him about how the Book could be expected to
proceed. We wondered, why’d they give it to him then?
We’re glad that we recalled what never had remotely
gladdened us before. He’d never learned to read.