Tuesday, July 31, 2018

From Its Glittering Get-Go

If it had been up to me to conjure up –
decide – what body to devise to harbor
all the vast unprecedented strange
capacities of human mind the Cosmos
soon apparently would find it urgent
to incarnate and experimentally bestow
upon the blind and blundering morass
of squirming, leaping, flying, digging,
swimming, stomping, climbing, slinking,
fighting, stinking, frightened animals below,
I’d have worked assiduously to make
possible an apparatus which gave almost
no thought to the practicalities of living
on this fecund messily resistant planet:
this body would be beautiful with only
bare allowance for the need to eat
or fuck or defecate, defend or move
with any useful purpose on the Earth:
its remarkable potential for creation
would require it from birth to vault
into the realm of vision and through
dire ingenuity unparalleled so far
in the production of the sentient being,
make provision from the platform
of aesthetics for invention: take elegant
quick care of the inevitably tedious
necessities it had to heed to keep alive,
so that its thrust could be transcendence.
From the start, its heart would hold
the art of its ascendance: with one
lavishly insistent principle to which it
would and must entrust its destiny:
to manifest what it was here to breed:
a ravishment, a lovely uselessness, what
it was from its glittering get-go: de trop.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Circumspect, with Reason

Someone asks you how you are,
and how your weekend was.
You’re not sure how you’d put
just what you did or what you do,
or rather what your system does
when it is given what it asks for:
those unimaginable masks and tasks –
symbolic actualizations – revelation
of which would seem almost to be
psychic treason.  You’re circumspect,
with reason. There are subtleties
that season your experience, nuances
that cannot be explained, whose
unconstrained varieties of existential
introspection that enliven your
insatiably delectably hot predilection
for impermanence – investigating
limits of the firmament you thought
you had begun to understand the last
time you pursued this line of inquiry –
but left you knowing you required
rewiring the console through which
you could exercise your agency –
amassing better data from which
you’d be able to effect at last
the transmutation into ultimate
refinement of the essence of your
being. Hard to make that into chat.
“Is there anybody special? Anyone
you’re seeing?” they will proffer
with a naughty wink. Let them think
what they will think. Right now
you’re seeing them – wondering if
they’d be cushiony to sit on if you
reconfigured them into a chair.
Might be time again to dare.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

The Thing with Real Messiahs

If love were the solution, Stewart’s yellow pet Mithra-polos would
be its best purveyor; no other being could have undergone
the burning zap of the electrostatic radiance with which
Mithra-polos had had forever to contend; his beloved
steward Stewart had exactly one aim in his life, which
was to mount a war against the rest of everything. Except
Mithra-polos, who would not go away. Stewart knew the surname
of Mitropoulos – Dmitri with that appellation was conductor
of The New York Philharmonic right up to when Leonard Bernstein
took the reins and thunder and the light away from him:
but mostly Stewart liked Mitropoulos because he led his
orchestras not with baton but with his hands. Otherwise
the name had meaning for its Zoroastrian suggestiveness: hence
his having re-configured it to showcase Mithras: the God
for centuries who’d given Christianity a run: Stewart was
quite sure that Mithras would conduct his forces with his hands,
not with a wand, like that pretender Jesus would have done. But
Mithra-polos cared not at all about his steward’s mystical
peculiarities. It was his lot to love his steward Stewart and he did.
And does. Mithra-polos had even come to love the buzz of
Stewart’s enmity. And Stewart loved Mithra-polos because
it turns out, everyone must love what love is at least once
before they die. Did you know that was a rule? Mithra knew,
and knows. Having come back in the form of yellow pet, he knows
he is the real Messiah. Though no one else can know. That’s
the thing with real Messiahs. One never knows they’re here.
What then is the use of them? Who said they had to have a use?

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Maybe That’s the Deal

Absence ergo Presence! ‘Does this mean,’
Absence asked: ‘that I created Presence?
Apparently.’ Though he can’t perceive
himself, still Absence can’t conceive himself
without an opposite. Maybe that’s the deal.
Maybe something only comes from nothing.
Absence then would be its god! He had
these thoughts while sipping Absinthe.
Under its iconic sway, Absence wondered
hungrily what might comprise the size
and content of the rest of his relational array.
Wouldn’t everything existent be his kin?
What about Enthusiasm, that peculiarity so
very alien to him? Absence guessed by
contrast it had kinship with Dispassion. Why
not make a visit to Dispassion to discover
what it knew about the family? In an instant
Absence did so: sleekly slid himself beside
Dispassion, and calmly asked it if it ever
had begotten an Enthusiasm? Dispassion
didn’t answer. Either it was so dispassionate
it couldn’t raise the energy to think why it
should care, or hadn’t any clue that Absence,
being Absence, even had been there. Then,
as if on cue, Dispassion took the opportunity
to spew, ergo construe for Absence its first
view of giving birth to its abstractions: two
spasms shook Dispassion’s core which under-
took to serve up a galore of two Enthusiasms!
It fell to Absence then to welcome them:
‘Hooray! You made my day.’ But there’d
be no reply. And what would be the sense
in Absence bidding them goodbye? An oddity
begins to dawn. If God were Absence,
Absence, God – they’d never have been here.
You couldn’t even say that they were gone.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

I Remember Joe As Well

an outgrowth of previous poem & drawing Sextember: this is the same drawing but very much more worked on and over, finished; and the poem was completely unexpected. But then everything is, isn't it. (vid 'explains' - it's maybe a good one to imbibe, one of my better vid outings.)
Since neither you nor I remember – therefore
can’t retain the barest sensory recall – of nearly
fifty years ago, yet sit here with each other anyway
for reasons we don’t know – unfathomable but not silly
or ridiculous – since now we are the phantoms of each
other’s tossed experience, not of then but now,
somehow the light surrounding us attains to shadowed
tints and rinses of another life, neither yours nor mine
nor ours – but a life we are invited to investigate –
as if we both had made a date to do it: a life that will
requite vicariously anyway: precariously too, I’ll bet.
And yet. I think I feel requited. No. I spoke, I always
speak, too soon. My life has lain, my life is lying fallow,
plain and plainly fed with little. Rhymes with spittle.
Have you ever used your tongue to kiss? Oh, I’m sorry,
that’s amiss as well. I’m plainly under someone’s spell.
Maybe it’s the life we haven’t looked at yet. The light
surrounding us attains to the organic rich fluidity
of body stains like blood and semen, urine and saliva,
sweat, pus and feces, bile maybe too, but there I go again,
disgusting you, and speaking of the Great Untoward.
Let’s go forward. Yes, I know, I rhyme the easy rhymes.
They’re never clever. Time and Grime and I’m
the last beginning that was possible. Did you play softball
when you were a boy? I never knew exactly what an inning
was. I lied, though, no, I didn’t never use my tongue
to kiss. I used my tongue to kiss your lips, then slipped it in,
then slid it south. You seemed to welcome it, then punched
me in the mouth. I loved the taste of my own blood,
its history would have you in it. You welcomed it, you know.
Tell me your name, Steven. What? Your name is Joe?
Yes, well, I remember Joe as well.

Regina and Rex Rated R (Part 2 of Salve Regina…)

Rex with Vagina,
Regina with Pecs that
She Flexes had vexed their
flushed followers flashing too
much of their flesh to the public,
yet not enough neck, to neck!
Rex né Regina, Regina née Rex
had their neck therefore aptly
inflected suggestively: teasing
out shadows that spiced the effects
of their having beribboned their crotch
and a tit just a bit, so their body more
modestly might fit a flick with an R,
not a X – although they were soon more
than sure with no less an allure than
they’d had when they’d been very bad,
judging now, anyway, by the forest
of tented up trousers and WOWZA’s
brought forth in the loud horny crowd,
which they found quite as easy
to rouse as they did doing sleazy.
Being good could raise wood, as it
should! And it would.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Salve Regina! Ave Rex! Ave Omni Genus!

Who’s that fairy god with breasts?
Or fairy goddess with a beard?
Weird. Is he hiding a vagina?
Has she tucked a penis
of prodigious size somewhere
tight between her thighs?
What yearning’s burning in
that crotch? Whose gender
bender would you rather watch,
whom would you prefer?
A him who can’t be catalogued,
a brand new kind of her?
So far the Mystery’s ignored.
No one knows yet when you
climb on it, it flies. Its tender
sword is out of sight. But that’s
all right. Doesn’t care. The dare’s
still there. Its hard-on never dies.
Salve Regina! Ave Rex! Ave Omnis
Genus (with or without penis)!
Render unto Sex whatever gender
it elects to find delectable, buck
ass bare or in disguise – what it
is and ever shall be: a surprise.

Saturday, July 21, 2018


Back when we were hippie angels,
and too many men resembled Christ,
(the white one with a beard) when we faked
that we were comfortable being naked with
each other – do you recall the nights that
filled that 1969 September in Vermont
in which you came to me to come with me,
stripped and took my clothes off too, held me
and enlisted me to hold you and to kiss you
while you cried and we decided not to speak
of it, despite how many times the light
went out when you returned another night
and then another and another, vexed
and tender, coming, going, coming, coming,
rendering the month I adolescently renamed
Sextember the only month before or since
that matters in my life? Do you remember
that bright anguished lie? Neither do I.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Whatever Always Wrongly Steals the Heart

Let’s bare our imperfections and asymmetries
and take them on a rowdy roustabout and gaudy
promenade today. Exalt their faults: exhort
the lot of them en masse to say, to explicate,
expatiate upon, and otherwise convey without
apology the etiology of the mistakes they will not
argue that each makes, why they’re completely
accurately held to be bizarre (because they are):
what’s induced the wart that grows upon the nose,
disease that rots the petals off the startled daisy.
Then audition them for a revival of “Girl Crazy.”
Let ‘em fret about who gets the Ethel Merman role,
the one who’ll make us gape, the star, the apogee,
the single essence equally assembled from ungodly
talent and unbridled art, whatever always wrongly
steals the heart. Make the loser take that part.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

The Thing

How do we account for it or her?
All she had to do was stick her nose
outside for the inevitable to occur.
All sentient beings noticed and arose,
became her entourage, adoring
but respectful of her patent need
for space – their hushed imploring
faces silently adhering to a creed
belonging to a faith they’d breathed
in from her like a sacred atmospheric
breeze – which lent new life that seethed
as if into the primal stage of stratospheric
orgasm that sex with god or goddess
is proposed on evidence to be. But what
exactly was she doing to effect this 
deluge of response? Was she shut
or open to the importuning eyes 
that could not not embrace her, whole?
Was her ineluctable divinity, disguise? -
or a blessèd incarnation of the Soul? -
or the divisive dissonant deception 
so inherent in her unplumbed mystery
that human psyches lacked perception
to investigate the sordid history
of this phenomenon of demi-god
whose virtue they began to disbelieve -
this fake, now a likely demon of the sod
not the celestial ether: how could she relieve
their existential agony, assuage 
their ache to be released? She’d spilled her
falsity herself : tainted blood! So in a rage -
deserved? we cannot know - they killed her.
Where or what we wonder is the moral?
What are we here or there for?
(Oh, make it soar all vast and choral!)
You’re the thing that you prepare for.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Some Smarter Thing’s Problem

I once wondered why dreams
rarely blundered into my
night’s somnolent view.
Now I see they arrive in the day!
They’re in the drawings I draw.
They’re not in my poems:
poetry drives, by my lights,
into being: it endlessly aims
at our seeing its sense.
But drawings and dreams
are more bumbling and dense
and far dumber than poems.
They’re a who-knows-what
running amok. Some Power
That Was at the drawing board

long ago let them come in:
allowed unavowed, unavowable
sins (if they’re sins) to kick
pencil and pen around
paper to be what a dream is:
opaque, overwrought,
a mistake. Some, without
protest, reside in the crow’s
nest right outside my window,
where sometimes I lob them,
to make them not mine but
some smarter thing’s problem.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

More July Mornings Than Not

More July
than not
arrive with certainty and grace.
When a July morning is enjoined
to encase itself in the oppressive
heat of a midsummer day, it loses
but not
Brutal obliviousness is a strength –
an eruptive card in Nature’s pack,
and ineluctably shows up many
more times than once.
neither holds
nor is swayed
by the card for too long, but seems
to like to keep it long enough
to trouble. Troubling foments
visionary imagination.
all in
gain edges out loss. Awareness
becomes at once preternaturally
wide and focused. A wild card
of improbability always awaits it.
takes on
the bristle of excitement. ‘Trouble’
adds interest and beauty. Ergo grace
returns even to hot July, sometimes.
Grace has a sense of duty.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Ad Hoc Perfection

Perfection easily achieves itself:
it happens everywhere. You’ve
only to discern its terms to catch it
sending out another rare array
of light and shadow to becalm
another compositionally edgy
contretemps, effect a new détente
to lend a deft insouciant aplomb
to a banana peel or Snickers candy
wrapper, prematurely fallen leaves,
a standpipe bolted as if wedded to
a metal-banded bouquet casket (both

in harmonies of soft red) which hosts
the ghosts of flowers. Perfection never
cowers, knows no terror as it blithely
rids itself of any chance of error
in the service of incarnating the fleet
complete ideal. It illimitably follows
its inimitable laws: then gently,
briefly pauses to apprise us
it is time to seal the deal with
stunned ingenuous applause –
before, as all ad hoc perfection
does when it is dying, it withdraws.


Premise, Upshot, Corollary. (Hang On for the Ride.)

Premise: Writing writes writing.
Upshot: There's no such thing as a writer.
Corollary: There may be no such thing as a self either.
(okay, so, this is something I just poured out on a thread in a poetry forum where I post my stuff to a gorgeously smart and funny and accomplished young poet-man who seems to like the greater part of my stuff and whose stuff I very clearly like and who, by my lights, which do not incline to what I understand is other people's common sense, pretty much always responds to a poem as if a poet had written it - in the case of the one under scrutiny here, that would be a Guy Kettelhack. But as I trundle on, not just through poetry, but through everything, I just can't see that connection anymore. .
Anyway, chew on the indigestible edges of this expostulation if you feel like it (they'll at least exercise jaw muscles), and/or kick it in its virtual butt and "try to go on", as Quentin Crisp was fond of saying (say, on difficult occasions like his birthday, which was the same day as Christmas) "as if nothing unpleasant were happening."
I'm sticking in some kaleidograms of my humanoids because, oh I don't know, that seemed like the thing to do.) Here goes:

IN SOME WAYS, dare I say what I think about one of my own poems (I generally daren't because I simply don't know anything about them while they're happening and after they're done; that's not being coy, I really don't) is that any poem that comes out of me, but especially one which sounds like a manifesto, like this one, http://guykettelhack.blogspot.com/…/…/toomany-questions.html is shouting that it is writing itself: the "I" in it (as in the work of Miss Dickinson to whom I can't not run for guidance and cover when I use the first person) has truly nothing important to do with "Guy," the "I" I'm not quite idiot enough to deny as I wield strategy in the Real World, is a provisional construct, useful, say, when you have to show your photo ID to someone to get something or get in somewhere: then I'm fine being Guy Blake Kettelhack, do with "me" what you will. But a poem utterly completely writes itself. The moment the cyber finger touches cyberspace to form words for it, it's taken the reins completely, makes all the decisions, becomes outrageous or perverse or bland or funny in ways that, apart presumably from drawing from the lexicon of verbal toys I can't not provide it (to which it responds also by finding words not IN that lexicon). It has nothing past the superficial to do with the rest of the me tagging along because it happens to know how to type. 
So you see, for example, 'my' (putative Guy Blake Kettelhack's) insistence in this poem on "getting an answer" is fundamentally detached in any of the ways that count from the Guy who shows his photo ID to get into NYU to give a talk on Quentin Crisp (which I did for a Duke U. prof friend of mine who a couple weeks ago brought his Dukies to New York to freak 'em out, as part of which mission he had me talk to them about whatever it was I talked about) or who signs that name on a credit card bill or whatever else one does publicly as oneself - so far from the 'poet' or the 'artist' or the 'violinist' or the sexual shenanigannist that when the poet/artist/violinist/sexter is doing his thing he is conscious of having no identity resembling the signature signer. The writing does not (in any writing) reveal "Guy's" opinions. Partly for the simplest of reasons: I have none that I know of, except, maybe, I don't like lima beans or eating animal organs which dispense excreta. I have no beliefs or ideologies other than the ones I've come stamped with by my culture and the subtle trickery of English grammar, which because adjectives almost always come before a noun, and the subject takes a predicate and you don't dangle prepositions and you keep your verb tenses straight make you think in a certain linear way that somebody Chinese would regard as bizarre and childish. In other words, there is no me.
That's not to say that I don't become inflamed at what might be seen sometimes equally as aesthetic as moral assault or injury ("truth is beauty" such as we each name it) but I never make what I think would be the mistake of signing on to a homogenized smoothed out 'unity' of a statement which purports to speak for me, because when I read it, it never really does. I have responses not opinions. If to someone else's eye they describe a temperament or a series of what turn out to be predictable proclivities (I really never like lima beans) then so be it. But there are immediacies to me, not the substance of codicils. (By the way, I'm not bragging here. I don't think this is the right or noble way to be. Indeed I imagine I may appalled more than a few of you. It just appears to be what I can't not be.)
So how do I talk about what allegedly is 'my' poem because the words of it came thru Guy's body? I talk about it as if I hadn't written it. Because in the way that matters, I haven't. 
Writing is never bald confession to me. It may appear to be arterial or hormonal or spinal, as made of you as your flesh, bone and blood. But even when it seems as if that's what it always is, and maybe by some measure should always seem to be, it can only have been even a little "true" in the way we may want it to be for the exact breath of a moment it took form. Mostly what I'm saying is, what may in the moment flood completely out of what I fleetingly regard as a wellspring of 'me,' as soon as it finds expression, diction, syntax it separates itself from the amorphous sea it came from and crawls out like an arthropod to live its autonomous life. I may feel a sort of familiarity when I see it, but otherwise it's as different from 'me' as anything which isn't immediate and going on right now in me will be two seconds after I've expressed it. Maybe this sounds perverse, but it comes as close as I'm able right now to come to delineating the lineaments of 'self' as it sieves itself through language to pretend it's who wrote it. Writing is never the writer. The writer is never the writing.
But the thing that juices me up most from what you wrote [the poet/gentleman to whom the heart of what you just read was aimed on our poetry forum] with such liberal verve is: "it's our party dammit!" Oh yes, oh yes, oh yes. That's the ticket to get you on the soul train.