Poets and writers drink more intensely. Smoke more intensely. Worship God more intensely. Poets and writers fuck more intensely. Poets and writers give more willingly-- spilling the alphabetical marrow of their souls out into the albino sonogram of hope that is the page, hoping some stranger whom he or she has never before met turns to his crafted syllables in time of dire need and somehow finds solace, finds laughter finds a friend.
As the last night of December blankets the world in
a crisp sheet of beckoning white, frost engendering doilyesque patterns of
brittle mosaic across the stationary canvas of settled windshields, thedistillated tint of encroaching winter
darkness, empty and unfurling and everywhere at the same time arrives like an
explosive splattering of ink trickling across the stillness of five p.m. when
the last hint of lavender sloppily leaks into the peach cream filled sunset
aerially puddled in the overhead compartment of the West, a swansong solstice
of hope eclipsing the carousel-shaped cogs of the now defunct Mayan calendar,
the evergreen scent of pines, mingled with the sight of illuminated holiday wicks
while everywhere breath escaping like a convict from lips, from the prison of
On this the last night of 2012,
one week after the gentle passing of another Christmas, bartering the baggage
of the last year for the promise of the shepherding glory of what is to come,
granting unbidden birth to the morning pink
eye-lidded yawn of 2013, the green g-mail chat bullet of the planet still
galatcically tethered and cosmically buoyed around the winking bulb of the
nearest day star socketed inside the inscrutable fabric of the universe itself.
The genesis of a new slate of incumbent January snow melting in tandem
following the platter of stale new years eve confetti and exclamatory
countdowns en masse that would make even the stoic collective chins of NASA
salute in anticipation over the toppling descent of integers pregnant with the
pocked sound of champagne hiccupping free from its emerald esophagus followed
by a ricochet of corks followed by dry kisses and embraces and a round of old
acquaintances being forgotten followed by the (interior writhing) realization of
age and the fractured ineluctability of death, the cathartic gut-dripping
insight that the allotted dash of seconds granted to us as a gift to thrive and
to create and to love and to give all on the fallow scalp of this planet--this
viable arboretum of intelligence and life--and that you are here optically
indulging in the phonetics of this experiment of pulse and breath--that you are
here, wading knee-high through this experience of existence, this time, this
place, the joy, the sorrow---somehow you are (for however tersely) a part of
this global collective waltz--that you are part of this tear drop trickling
down the cheekbones of the planet called humanity and that your voice, your
persona, your song, indeed, carries with it the most fragrant chorus sprinkled
with significance and wonder.
The gift of a dairy goat represents a lasting, meaningful
way you have chosen to help a little boy or girl on the other side of the
Goats thrive in extreme climates and on poor, dry land by
eating grass and leaves. The gift of a dairy goat can supply a family with up
to several quarts of nutritious milk a day - a ton of milk a year. Extra milk
can be sold or used to make cheese, butter or yogurt. Families use goat dip
“manure” to fertilize gardens as well as goat urine as a natural organic hand
sanitizer assisting to quell the spread of bacteria-related infections in third
Goats often have two or three kids a year making it easy
for GREEN AID recipients to pass on the gift of a goat to another family in
need. This formidable investment allows our partners to lift themselves out of
poverty by starting small dairies that earn money for food, health care and
education. As stated in the Huffington Chronicle, Zembla native-born Knarp
Samtsirhc, recounts how, due to the aegis of a donated Goat one Christmas
morning, she was able to pull herself out from a prostitution ring at a young
age and via the international sale of Organic Goat hand lotions listed on-line,
was capable of achieving a scholarship to attend the prestigious Mozambique
school of the Mortuary sciences. She now works as a cocktail stewardess.
Thank you for helping
a family this holiday season with the gift of a goat!!!!
As part of this gift you will receive
annual pictures of your goat in various stages of maturation. Your goat will be
named after you in a village cleansing ceremony conducted by ex-jazz legend
turned Zembla priest Deknup Neeb Ev’uoy, where the sacred Sage of Illumination
will be lit and smoked as your goat will receive the traditional Zemblan
blessing of fecundity. Since the donation of your goat was made under the
altruistic Double-Dee repayment program, GREEN AID will send you caricatured
pictures of your goat dressed up in iconic outfits i.e., donned in a pastel
bonnet as Mary from Mary had a little lamb, attired in a black suit and
sunglasses making “This look good” a la Will Smith from MEN IN BLACK 2, or
sporting a listless perm and dated blouse idling over a plate of forgotten veal
the words I’LL HAVE WHAT SHE’S HAVING flitted across the bottom of the page, a
parody from the U.S hit movie ‘When Harry Met Sally.’ Gift-donor recipientBetheseda Nicole Nelson, a sophomore from
Tallahassee state, noted in a recent facebook profile status update that she
loves hanging up the caricatured vignettes of ‘Boobles’because it makes her dorm room look, “Oh so
cute,” granting her living quarters that
“down home fresh from the farm” feeling boys’ love.
In addition, GREEN AID will automatically
enter your name into a raffle to have your face featured as “Mama” on Mama Myrtle’s organic brand fertilizer, the
manure that gives your early-rising crops the late-night munchies. Last years
winner, Gladys Dillinger of Ayekup, IA
stated that she felt, “pickled pink, yet humbled-toed” to have her visage
adorning the cover of so many packages at the local co-op, and was honored when
she was asked to be a Guest Judge at the annual Ayekup 4-H whittling
competition. “I sure do know how that goat must feel over there in Zembla when
he arrives to that poor, famished third world family,” Gladys noted, holding
what was suppose to be a whittled White House, which looked more like a
miniature oak urinal. “To bring happiness and joy to so many in need—the
feeling is just overwhelming and life-altering. It’s what the give- a-goat
program is all about.”
To redeem your Holiday Goat that will
change the lives of many less fortunate this holiday season visit Green Aid Gratuities on-line at
email@example.com and type in the listed information where it says
MILK MY GOAT INTO REALITY:
..Thinks that the highlight of the world cataclysmically capitulating into a wink of ontological nothingness on Dec. 21st is that (judging by the neon pink bulb circumferenced around the following calendar square) my hot Mayan girlfriend purportedly is scheduled to have her period on Dec. 22nd...TRUST ME!!...faux-Armageddon is nothin' compared to the tampon-hurling wrath of a menstruating Mesoamerican..Holy Q'uq'umatz!!!
All this talk about Mitt Romney and Mormonism espousing good
ol’ fashioned family values reminds me of that time I was a sophomore in
college and went on a good ol’ fashioned illicit-caffeinated fueled panty raid
at the Bethany dorm at Brigham Young University and came back with a Binder
full of Temple Garment (I commandeered a Mission bicycle and narrowly escaped
the unscathed clutches of the Mormon police, pedaling into the neon-animated sunset of the Utah
desertin a tumbleweed fury of botched
KINGDOM COME brochures).
...Flaring autumnal botanical stalk of life screaming (occluding) casa DVB like an amoxicillin-addled Phoneix.. (photo taken by my cool, sexy neighbor down the street Kirbie Holland, ie, chop-chop ie 'pain-in-me-phuckin' butt-butt, ie, smiles....
Writing fiction is a lot getting drunk off the draught of the keyboard (Home Row Happy Hour) and then squeezing your heart into an empty gin bottle and hurling it as far as you possibly can into an ocean of unknown variables. You don’t know what sort of current your script will get caught in; how large the tidal wave will be. You have no clue how many seasons your heart will spend bobbing up and down, succumbing to the sloshes of nature, the indifference of mankind, the boiled insouciance of an accelerated society whose paws have more and more freely adapted to the rectangular scepter of the remote control and less and less to the tattered lapels of a book jacket. You have no clue what foreign shore will be privy to your psychedelic scribbles or if your heart will even wash up in the hands of an appreciable audience at all.
All you have (intrinsically, I think) is the joy of composition. The moment when that blank slate of the computer screen is gradually dotted with syllables and motion—the inward paradoxical feeling of having somehow, magically, traveled simply by sitting on your ass for eight for hours straight and tapping out crunches into a stream of jittery alphabetical shapes. You have that feeling of feeling less alone in the world, the feeling of connecting with something inexplicably spiritual. The feeling of devising a story, of living out that story through composition and in giving that story (and not caring, in a way, if the story ever quote unquote “makes-it”—in the immortal gothic cadenza’s of Black Sabbath “Give it all and ask for no return/and very soon you’ll see and you’ll begin to learn/ that it’s alright—yeah it’s alright” ).
2. If you didn't write, what would you do?
3. Your favorite writing quote?
There’s a quote by Anne Sexton I read when I was in high school from a letter she wrote to a burgeoning writer I’m really fond of, a poetic Polonius urging an unfledged literary Laertes to, “Get to work man, and let the publishing come in its own time even if its 15 years from now. No matter. Fight for the poem. Put your energy into it. Force discipline into madness. Push for the stars or at least go back and push one poem all the way up there. I did it, why not you?” There’s another really well anthologized quote from Heart of Darkness which I used to have pierced over my writer’s desk where the narrator comments, “No I don’t like work…no man does, but I like what’s in the work. The chance to find yourself.” There’s a book on atomic positivism the size of a Sunday school bulletin by Ludwig Wittgenstein entitled, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus that just destroys me with metaphysical maxims like “The single thing proves over and over to be unimportant but the possibility of every single thing show us something about the nature of the world.” and, “If eternity is understood not by endless temporal duration but by timelessness then he who lives in the moment lives eternally.” Of course David Foster Wallace’s 1993 contemporary fiction
Dalkey achieve interview with Larry McCaffery where he talks about, “Fiction is what it’s like to be a complete
and sentient fuckin’ human being vs. a rather sophisticated mammal.” just
disintegrated every cell of my anatomy when first perused. Somewhere Michael
Chabon has a great quote about if you want to learn to be a fiction writer you
must learn, “to sit on your ass,” and
although it’s not hip to reference there’s a quote from Loius L’amour’s
autobiography EDUCATION OF A WANDERING MAN (the book Chris McCandless was
reading at the time of his demise) goading the reader to “Start writing no matter about what. The water does not flow until the
faucet is turned on.”
most significant literary quote, the quote that I received when I was sixteen while reading copious
amounts of Eliot and acting like I was the Peach pit of the Prufrockian fool
comes from the fourth couplet of Walt Whitman’s long poem I Sing the Body
Electric.When I was in high school the
highlight was coming home after classes brewing a pot of coffee and just
looking out my bedroom window lost in the spangled drape of a
zinfandel-flavored autumn at dusk, leaves the color of bruised cranberry and light-copper
skirting beneath the alleyway below while I sat at my desk, flagellating wisps
of fresh ink across the albino topography of each page. Every afternoon while
writing I would pause and listen to THE WRITER’S ALMANAC which for me, is
indispensible, listening as Garrison Keillor’s plosive vowels whisper like an
illegitimate zephyr across the airwaves. Even though it’s been eighteen years I
can still tell you that the sun looked like a mandarin nerf-ball orb as light
stretched in elongated planks and spluttered prisms across the wall my old
bedroom and time seemed to stop and Garrison recited this poem. I won’t quote
the whole thing here (it’s an individual experience) but it starts out with the
phrase, “I have perceived that to be with
those I like is enough…”
Wait, you wanted quote singular.
Your favorite non-writing quote?
I have a crinkled rejection slip from the New Yorker
pinned like a botched homecoming boutonnière above my writing desk at my mom’s
house. It reads as follows: “Play with
words, not with yourself, Mr. Von Behren.”
5. What vegetable do you hate to eat and
The first poem I wrote for Miss Mooney in third
grade was a five-seven-five haiku about Rutabagas. It went like this:
you want to eat it, babe?
What are three elements that you need to mention in order to tell someone your
most embarrassing moment?
There was a
lot of alcohol and a lot of public nudity and (what the hell) lets throw in an
elderly nun in a wheelchair brandishing an oxygen tank and clutching a rosary
in the fashion of flailed Mardi Gras beads ….it only gets better…
Why did you decide to read for Dirty Laundry Lit: Hungover?
Boy, the story would have to convene about eight
years ago when poet laureate Billy Collins was reading at the University where
I worked and I was hanging out with a young poet named Lindsay Gail, who is
hummeled-cheek and buxom and whose northern hemisphere looks like it was
poetically purloined from the logo’d stem of a St. Pauli’s girl emblem.
reading I approached the poet laureate and tried to say something witty about
lanyards and he completely ignored me all the while ogling Lindsay Gail’s
cleavage. Finally I grabbed Lindsay Gail
by her wrist and said something to the poet like, “We’re formative young poets.
Who do have to sleep with to get published?” Collins continued to ignore me
before I inquired again and he annoyingly swatted back, ““Why don’t you just go
to Breadloaf. They call it Bedloaf.”
summer (2004) I fell salivatingly in love with this classy older married woman
and wrote 300,000 words and blew my wrists out like an overtly-plugged amp in a
teenage garage band.Fast-forward eight
years to last summer. I had just gotten rejected from a semi-prestigious
literary magazine and it was one of those desultory,
missives. The healthiest advice I’ve ever received about publishing is that
when someone says “no,” you mentally supplant the word “no,” with the word
“next,” so the fear of rejection in completely reneged, but for some reason
instead of mentally hearing the word “next,” I heard a lot of internal swearing
followed the by the word game and by the word on. I mostly write long-crazy
novels and give a couple poetry readings a month but I wanted to start
hammering away at the windshield of the page again and just tie the reader up
to the linguistic bedpost of each sentence, Odysseus voluntarily trussed to the
totemic strip-pole mast of ecstatic longing unable to defer from emotionally
ejaculating into the cradle of his cod-piece (or whatever they wore back then)
with every forbidden sip of the Sirens refrain.
Sometimes when you feel the need to be heard you
scratch and howl even though it seems like no one is paying attention to you at
the time and I started copying and pasting and then splattering seasoned blog
entries from eight years (about a fourth of my lifetime) ago into the fair
forehead of ye olde Facebook status update rectangle everyday. They were all
stories that were each about 2,000 words long scribed solely for the
velvet-haired “muse” creation I was in love with all those years ago. Via the
magnetic mire of incestuous social-networking conduitsI ended up befriending fellow,
“Bedloafians,” one being a dear poetic brother from Vermont named Larry Bradley
(whose first name is that of my favorite Uncle and last is that of the
University which fired me). It was through poet Larry Bradley that I met the
refulgent gazelle-eyed sensuous scribe Natashia Deon who invited me to recite
my poetic tithes at Dirty Laundry Lit at a time when I direly needed validation
for my craft.
That said I’m honored to be a part of Dirty Laundry
Lit. Honored to be a part of Natashia’s vision attesting to the narrative
potency of the human condition evinced through the linguistic medium of words.
Honored to hang out with writers of exceptional glory I admire.
If you could have any two people in the world, dead or alive, to show up to
this reading, who would it be and why?
You. I want to read just for you. And you. I harbor
a hardcore second-person pronoun fetish.
Where did you grow up? If more than one place, where would you call your
I’m extremely proud to
be an Illinois writer. It’s the state that gave birth to Hemingway, Carl
Sandburg, Nelson Algren, Mike Royko, Studs Turkel, but I’d argue that in the
last fifteen years alone thirty percent of the authors deemed contemporary and
significant who will be read and taught 100 years from now have roots in this
George Saunders, who I
had the privilege of introducing at a book store before he was well known, was
born in Chicago and is just pure south side blood. Dave Eggers grew up in the
‘burbs and attended one of those high schools you always see featured in John
Hughes films where beanie clad members of the school bridge club are always
making pacts over lunch trays to lose their virginity by Arbor Day. Richard
Powers ( Galatea 2.2!!!) grew up near Chicago and teaches at U of I.Jonathan Franzen was born in a suburb of St.
Louis—but on the Illinois side. Jennifer Egan lived in Chicago as well Being a
young impressionable novelist and knowing that David Foster Wallace finished
proofing the galleys for Infinite Jest in my same area code was just
tremendously important to me when I was nineteen years old and just getting out
of that perfunctory Kerouac-induced “Look ma, no punctuation, say something Zen
that is seemingly profound,” mandatory male writer phase.
The town I live in is called Peoria and it’s pretty
much the genital wart of the Midwest. All of the sociological flotsam and
jetsam sifts down the muddy eddies of the Illinois River and just gets stuck
here. It’s the birthplace of Richard Pryor and the hometown where comedian Sam
Kinison entered puberty. It’s inexplicably referenced as a footnote to
Ginsberg’s Howl as “Holy Peoria,” and is the setting of DFW’s swan song epistle
to corporate tedium THE PALE KING.
It’s a town (or city circa maybe half-a million if
you include environs) that’s a working-class wet dream stranded on a hilly
bluff with a lots of old money and beautiful old houses that were built by
bootleggers in the prohibition era. It’s the home of Bradley University, where
state poet laureate and friend Kevin Stein teaches, and the home of the late
journalistic legend the great Rick Baker andalmost monthly there will still be poetry readings where fifty people
show up. I have a dear friend, poet Kyle Devalk who is always reading poems on
the top of overturned garbage cans or vacant church steps.
What I love
about living here is that, few places on the planet I have observed where the
quilt of disparate social-stratums seemingly overlap each other. As a writer
you are sort of born wearing an ontological periscope like a spelunkering cap
at all times as you sift through this chasm of life called reality. You observe
compassion in a different way. You observe poverty in a different way. You feel the pulse of love and the pangs of
hurt with more intensity and with escalating vigor because that’s your job.
Parts of P-town are extremely ghettoey. The high
school I attended had the lowest ISAT scores in the state and the highest
teenage pregnancy rate in the nation. Parts are extremely opulent and yuppie.
Down the river it looks like William Faulkner country and there is more white
trash than you could bag up with a twist tie.
People get stuck here. I sauntered into my best
friend from high school a few weeks back whom I hadn’t seen in fifteen years
and he told me he had been arrested 52 times and then he lifted up his shirt to
show me the welts where he had been stabbed on his front porch a few months
earlier and then he started rapping and he started doing spontaneous things
with language that I just can’t do even though I write my ass off every day.
But perhaps what I love most about living here is
that if I am having a bad day I can get in my dilapidated BMW and in five minutes
just be out driving across desolate country roads and chasing the tangerine
splash of the sunset and looking at barns. That’s all I want to do when I start
selling books is just refurbish a barn and write eight hours a day and brew my
own mead and can my own vegetables and, every Saturday night, smoke my pipe
while listening to Prairie Home Companion.
Not a bad life indeed.
One word to describe your childhood hometown?
Remember those confetti
vignettes collectively culled from the scrapbooks of childhood when you first
discovered books and you were involved in summer reading programs at the
library downtown in the summer and you were wearing shorts and you could feel
the air conditioner rattle and hush and
purr against the bare whiteness of your legs and that girl you harbored a
hard-core crush on, the red headed girl with freckles who is taller than you
who always sits in front of you with her back extremely straight and whose
northern limbs elevate like an exclamatory mark every time she knows the answer
in math class and who always colors between the lines and who somehow, perhaps
by divine providence or happenstance, you saunter into her at the library at
the check out counter while you are ferrying a pagoda of young adult tomes by
CS Lewis and Franklin W. Dixon and various Newbery award lauding scholars and you
become embarrassed because your mom is next to you and you are wearing really
thick glasses that look like abandon
television sets which you just got a few weeks earlier and, even though
everyone in your family wears glasses and your mom tells you that they make you
look handsome you still refrain from looking at her directly but can tell from
the semi-dampness of her hair that she just went swimming that morning and the
stalk of her entire anatomy smells like chlorine dappled with hints of sunshine
and you try notto feel maladroit and
intellectually deficient as your moms talk and you notice that she is checking
out books at a higher Accelerated Reader caliber than the ones you are
currently checking out andyou say
goodbye really quickly while looking down as if to verify that your shoes are
properly velcroed and at night, when you read with a flash light under the dome
of your EMPIRE STRIKES BACKsheets and
try as hard as you can you cannot stop thinking about the red headed girl in
the library check out line and how, every sentence you read still from time to
time, moving your lips in warbled static, carries with it the fragrant scent of
sunshine and chlorine.
11. Wanna add something? Please do.
As a dangling coda
(shhhh!!!) is that when Natashia first contacted me I didn’t open up her e-mail
because she looks, in an almost Secret Sharer kinda way, almost exactly like my
friend Shawn. About a block from where I live there are all of these seedy
writer bars kinda ol’ school blue-collar Cannery Row type taverns you can still
smoke in that look like something Eugene O’Neil might stumble out of after
three days of consecutive imbibing with a draft of Ice Man Cometh tucked under
his arm. One of these bars is called the Getaway and the first time I slipped
inside Shawn was stationed behind the bar and when I ordered a beer she lifted
her top as if playing a rendition of Simon says. Before she placed the sudsy
libation in front of me she hiked up the frayed hem of her denim skirt like a
flower in spring by the railroad tracks and after I told Shawn she just made a
patron for life she asked me if I could do legal work for her. So when I first
saw that Natashia had contacted me I refrained from opening the e-mail because
I figured it was a Shawn-pseudonym soliciting funds.
...and oh, since you have a hard time making
yer lover come, you should come to DIRTY LAUNDRY LITgala of joy on Oct 6th. The stage
is going to explode into bouquets of light leaving the audience hedonistically
--all questions interrogated by (push-cart prize princess) Diva Natashia Deon...whose fragrant poetic pulse inspires us all...
She sat on the lip of my bed as I played to her this song, her boots skimming up past the stalks of her kneecaps, sprouting up into the ashen stems of her thighs, a veiled skirted hem swaying in sensuous cadences inches below her torso, part of a self-contained outfit with black straps etching up past the topography her shoulder blades before sprinting down, criss-crossing her spine, X marking the spot of her deeply poetic heart from behind. She wore a vignette of what looked like a Betty Boop methed-out china doll on her shirt. She would later tell me that she chose that particular outfit because she realized then that, if we embraced, "The boots were staying on," that the goth-naughty -well-read- voodoo-doll-baby-catholic girl raiments were staying in place, taming the itching orchestrations of my lecherous finger tips by a simple assurance of her smile.
The night before we sat together in the poetry reading of Keith Ratzliffe. I had a beer and talked to the poet at the reception. We had the same creative writing class and although I was envious of her innate abilities to fuel the English language with an ardor and imagery that has seldom, I still fucking believe to this day, been matched (I was a green daschund cheeked Salieri to the magic of her Mozart) but every time I was shrouded in the presence of her breath I felt in awe.
Outside the entrance to her dorm I told her that I needed to tell her something important and when she smiled I told her that I thought she was gorgeous and then I picked her up and twirled her around and we embraced but still there was no kiss.
That afternoon I kidnapped her after our creative writing class. We dissipated into the carpet of leaves banking the sidewalks as we discussed writing and art and movies and life. Somehow we traipsed though the geometry of the west bluff and found ourselves on the doorsteps to the only house I have ever known. As I tried to kiss her lips folded into a dinner napkin and she handed me a missive and requested that I read it before the possibility of anything romantic exploded.
As I fell inside the orifice of her lips, riding the life boat of her tongue into the sweet oblivion and electric spontaneity of post adolescent amour. Both of our eyes closed at the same time. It was terse, spontaneous like a child pirouetting in front of a water fountain perching his lips at the rail of continuous fluid in search of wet nourishment.
I remember this song was played on that day, now exactly a decade andfour skittering years ago. For some reason I wanted this brilliant Penelope scribe to listen to the shattering chords of the opening hymn like an introit to something that might have been yet never was--the way a glass chandelier snapping into triangles of ice, realizing that this crystallize emotional Armageddon droping like an end of the world avalanche inside the nest of your chest was transpiring in both darkness and in light somehow above and below you both simultaneously waiting with the gestation of pregnant goddess carrying in her womb the magic and molecules of something incubating, something fighting, something waiting to peck into the planet and hatch and breathe.
I asked her if she liked the song and she said it was ok. She was a PJ harvey Courtney Love sorta lass. She wasn't into the moribund New Wave alternative anthems that had shepherded me like a maudlin metronome through the nihilistic teenage perils of youth.
We left my bedroom and walked back to campus that autumn, our hands forming one solitary bouquet of fingers--a tugging orb buoyed in the scent of a new found connection. She told me that today was her parents' wedding anniversary. We walked next to the house where she would live in a years time and where our rapport would end in heart-fraught-with-splinters-and-thorns fashion but for that moment, the plainsong of her smile pushing through the hyphen of her lips made me feel that the end of the world and the world to come had somehow lapsed without me knowing and that this sheet of time currently was disintegrating into a sea of random quarks and neurons and that all that existed was the sight of her eyes, the scent of her body and the newness found in the interior cusp of her warm palm squeezed tightly in mine.
… I want to detassel your body from the petite husk of your attire using only the grasp of my teeth and hint of my tongue, slough your remnants from the hanger of your limbs one by one, watch as your clothes tumble and form a puddle of fabric below the sheet music sheets stalks of your shin, kiss the part of yer neck where you’ve never been kissed before, lick the petals of your eyes as if welcoming the childhood of spring, leave Christmas morning footprints on the winter of your forehead.
I want to lose my palms in the autumnal stream of your hair, and tug it back as if trying to reel a stage curtain north into the operatic production that is your smile. Suck on the cherry ring pop flavor of your lips, pinch at you, bite at you, rape and pluck invisible holiday ornaments off the evergreen limbs at the end o time.
I want to spend a still-life snippet of eternity looking at you naked before I christen my lips around the globe of your forehead, coddle the first trimester curve of your earlobe with the locomotive breath, the exhaust from the engine of my body.
I want cup the topography of your breast around the calloused dactyls of my fingers. I want to suck at the pinch of your bosom as if trying to tap the keg of the harvest moon.
I want to slurp at the placid piano key ivory of your fingertips. I want you to feel the stiff exclamatory
mark of flesh rising as if in applause at the sight of your body.
I want the enjoined tips hands to form an overlapping starfish I want you to lead me into that place where y our body is yours, that moist cove of creativity, the color of your name.
I want the Gravity of our bodies to fall into each other like apocalyptic meteor slamming against the crust of your flesh, neck tilting back nodding in prayer as if trying to blossom and push through the linear slant of time.
I want to enter your body the same way the blink of my sight enters the confetti syllables of your first name. Kick over the indentation of the C into the aerie mattress of eternity, watch as your limbs , manacled and pinned by my wrist as the lower-case third vowel first personal-pronoun digs its fleshy scepter into spurs into the boomerang of a scrambled ‘r’—I want to blow easter bubbles into the southern hemisphere of your body of a scrambled eee-are-eye.
Just to be.
I want to fuck you with you on top of me, a steeple of one solitary flesh. I want to bite into parts of your body that reminds you of incest. I want to feel like you are trying to saddle and tame a feral long-haired uncaged entity who just can’t refrain from biting into you with the rip of his skyline of his torso.
I want to fuck the treble cleff time signature of your body as if I am reading classical music, get lost in the dynamics of your lips, the wild elevating allegro of yer limbs, the temp of your breath.
I want to release myself in a moonbeam rail of ecstasy between the bridge of your loins, I want to feel the slight tide of your body brush against the coast of my torso in lapsing tempo like a toddler entering the ocean for the first time, feeling the wetness and the salt of the planet lost in the feeling of a wished for flood.
I want to watch the bouquet of your Fingertips come like a boutonniere of fireworks pinned against the navy blue dusk of a mid summer sky.
I want the pebbles of our accumulated sweat to be a scent that has never been sniffed at before, kiss the perfume of your body with the quill of my lips and just spend a lifetime quietly and hushly looking at you with your eyes closed, lost in my own reflection mirrored in the gloss of post-coital your forehead and somehow tell you quietly with my eyes oh lover, I am yours……..
I’d pick you up after work toting a cup of coffee and a silo-thermos of pissing hot cider and a backpack, buckling my arms around the lithe contours of yer gentle waist, hoisting every fiber of your anatomy up in the air christening steeple fashion like some sort of metaphysical torch the moment my eyesight saunters across the scent of your body, holding you close upon greeting you, dipping my nose and forehead into the porcelain stump of your neck prior to inhaling like a toddler pirouetting on his toes seeking liquid sustenance at a park fountain, kissing the glossy cheekbones heralding your countenance one molecule at a time before opening the car door in the fashion of the wing, lassoing my right arm (tight) around you, harnessing the steering wheel with my left knuckled palm while my right arm stolidly remains shrouded about the stem of your torso, reeling you in close to me as we listen to music (Neil Young/Lucinda Williams/Counting Crows) perfect driving music as we blast out into the feral prairie meandering meadows still-life savanna glory of the Illinois country side, early October, breezing through fallow fields of checkered chess-board dun splayed quilt like fashion acres upon acres of harvested stalks the color of gold resembling truncated exclamatory marks, the two us, chasing the drooling tendrils of the dripping western sun, noting the chilled pink and frigid azure splattered over head as if in poetic panorama as we wend north through trumpeting glades and sallow-eyed hollows, pausing occasionally in a duet of deference every time we pass the aching menstruating crimson of a wayward barn, our fingers clasping forming a conch of flesh, igniting each other with a subtle squeeze. Perhaps it would be like this: We would arrive in the nylon-tint of dusk parking in the upper dells, myself, telling you how much this park phucking means to me, telling you all about my first encounter with the nesty foliage of unalloyed wilderness that is Mattheissen State Park , telling you in detail how I first found myself at this metaphysical mecca of the chest all alone what (shit) fourteen years ago, lost, desultorily driving down country roads one day battered after class, chain smoking, lost in the ghastly windshield welkin outline of my visage feeling like a total failure in all things literary—in all things life, Finding myself alone in the leafy merkin of Matheissen three hours later, early November, the trees resembling chiropractic boughs, doffed leaves, my feet shuffling across a confetti shards of stain glass fractals, ferrying a copy of LEAVES OF GRASS and ON THE ROAD tucked under my arm like a military flag configured into a pyramid after taps, and a notebook to chronicle my thoughts, inky lacerations welted into the page with indelible intent, with each scratch, tryin’ to chisel out everything stowed inside the crater of my chest, trying to make sense of the transient sneeze of time.
I would tell you (as we tramp in tandem to a spot in the park near the Vermillion river, isolated, beginning to constitute camp, pitching our tent, gathering twigs for a fire, myself, popping open a beer (something stouty and earthy)..I would tell you about that day fourteen years ago when I was all alone in the park even though it was a perfect autumnal day, when the park was there for me with open arms at a time I felt like there was no one on the planet who wanted to hold me. I would tell you how I ran wild with deer that day (a bevy of twelve) scurrying across the staticky brush off the beaten bath, across hidden dells and drizzling autumnal glens, the asthmatic cough of a thick autumnal gale unbidden and lost in a fury of leaves, and how (Lost) I somehow found myself that day. I would tell you how that park somehow became a harbinger, (my self-proclaimed creative vagina) a place I go to when I feel I have nowhere left to go in the planet, a sanctuary and somehow every time I leave the park something ( usually life altering) transpires upon my emotional egress. The time I found myself in the park shortly after falling in love (in early January) the park delicately latticed in a half-foot of snow, showing my new found bride every formidable facet while the park itself resembled a wedding cake, snow untrammeled and serene.
I would tell you about the time I let my hair down and skinny dipped in the arteries of the Vermillion river not far from the Oglesby bridge (same exact spot mentioned in the children’s book ON MY HONOR) and, looking up, sprouting from the limestone crags near the far end of the park, I saw a cross emerging up from the earth like something out of a pop-up book, and how, slithering on my jeans, I scaled the precipitous rocky banks of the river nearing the cross, seeing a Virgin Mary candle tithed at the bottom of the cross in vigil like fashion and the words JESUS across the center plank and then seeing the date JULY 6th 2002 (My 25th birthday!!!!) seemingly inscrutably scrawled down the southern latitudinal plank and, upon further scrutiny, discerning that the cross was a homage to a purported Hispanic lad (i.e., Jesus=Hey-Zeus) who had died at that locale and how I sloughed my sweater and tied it around the tree in deference and offered a Baha’i prayer for the departed in his name.
I would tell about the time I found myself at the park with my friend (Now DUKE professor) Kris Weberg and how we monopolized all afternoon off the beaten path conversing about James Joyce and Don Delillo (lil’ prick purloined my first edition copy of WHITE NOISE) and Wittgenstein and Morrissey and folk music (ah the legendary Ani Difranco-Gilean Welsch-Greg Brown show at the Madison theatre in March 2000) and art and longing and how the moment I arrived home I was offered a job (that night) at Bradley University library where I would work (either as a student manager or as a supervisor après graduation) for the swaggering bulk of the next decade.
I would tell you about the time I found myself (inexplicably) at the helm of the park and how less than a month later my father (who had been healthy) would be gone.
I would tell you all this as we would set up camp I’d begin to quote poems.
I’d quote to you WH Auden’s “As I walked out this evening.” Eliot’s perfunctory Prufrock (how I used to traipse up and down Moss Avenue in high school smoking cigarillo’s and adorned in a blazer lost in the globe of illuminated Street lamps thinking about the evening be spread “half-deserted streets/restless nights in one night cheap hotels.” I would quote to you Shakespeare’s “The time of year thou mayest in me behold/ when autumn leaves or none or few do hang.” I’d quote Rumi. I’d quote passages from Wittgenstein’s Tractatus-Logico Philosophicus (‘nother germinal read,) about how the single thing proves over and over to be unimportant but the possibility shows us something about the nature of the world and, “..If eternity is understood not by endless temporal duration but by TIMELESSNESS then he who lives in the moment lives eternally” (sounds like a good name for a blog).
I’d quote to you Whitman (perfect poet laureate for Mattheissen):
WHEN I peruse the conquer’d fame of heroes, and the victories of mighty generals, I do not envy the generals, Nor the President in his Presidency, nor the rich in his great house; But when I hear of the brotherhood of lovers, how it was with them, How through life, through dangers, odium, unchanging, long and long, Through youth, and through middle and old age, how unfaltering, how affectionate and faithful they were, Then I am pensive—I hastily walk away, fill’d with the bitterest envy.
I would tell you about the music I adore. How I am somewhat of an Opera buff (Cecelia Bartoli baby!!!) How one of the highlights of my week is Sunday morning, reading the New York times, making ma’melettes (ie, man omelets, lathered in hot sauce and grazed cheese) while listening to BACH in my solitude phucking loud. I would tell you how I went to school in the Southside for most of my life until college and was kinda a thug (god ol’ topography) and just listened to copious amounts of Gangsta rap and how I think the moment I truly became a writer was when I first heard NWA’s “ALWAYS INTO SOMETHING.” (esp. the stanza when DRE talks about always feeling like a motherfucking failure b/c all he feels like is just a statistic of his zip code). I would tell you how I think the most brilliant band that never made it was FREUDIAN PRESS (they were pretty much ONE WORLD’S house band in the poetic patchouli and hapless hemp of the mid-90’’s )and how local leprechaun-bearded folk singer Dave McDonald (he owns and founded the academy of fretted Instruments on WATER street) is one of my best friends’ and how a fairytale song he wrote called MERRY MONDAY HAPPENSTANCE was the only thing I could think about when my father was on his death bed.
I can tell you how in high school (Moribund Manual) I was seemingly fucked-up (ie, I carved the word ‘POET’ horizontally down my chest) and how my best friends were Morrissey and Tori Amos and ironically, get this- I actually purchased LITTLE EARTHQUAKES from the old co-op in Campus Town in late winter 1992 on THE DAY IT CAME OUT on a fluke but then didn’t listen to it for like six months until I randomly had it playing in my bedroom freshman year that autumn and I was sitting at my writing desk in my bedroom on Sherman avenue and the song WINTER skated out is icicle-laced chimes across the speakers and time stood still.
I’d tell you about the song that had undoubtedly (unabashedly) meant the most to me for nearly all of your lifetime has been GUNS-N-ROSES emotional epic “Estranged” (even though the video admittedly sucks).
I would tell you all this as our senses olfactory acclimate to the damp clover piquant fern/muddy moss of Mattheissen, a fire dancing in dervish flickers in front us, a banner of lavender pinned in the directions of the sun slipping out of our collective vision in a plateau of pressing gold. I’d cook for you (re-heat rather, over the fire) my signature (beer saturated) Sweet potato stew. I’d hold you close. I then tell you about the status quo of my heart. I would tell you about how (the last nine months) I hurt all the fucking time. I would tell you about the classy married women who lives in Switzerland (she’s American but she has money) who the last decade of my life has more or less evolved around and how I used to write her a long love letter every day for all of two years.
I will tell you about that refulgent day five years ago where she (surprisingly) showed up unannounced at my doorstep in autumn and how it was the best day of my life and how the first time we really made out was on a picnic table in the lower level of Bradley park (her on top of me like a lid) and ironically, it was at the same area of Bradley Park where (in the in the winter tundra circa 2004, with snow) I first started writing a poem for her called LOOK FOR ME UNDER YOUR BOOTSTRAPS. I’ll normally revise a poem close to nine or ten (more like 60— fuck those writers in town who scribble out one-draft drivel and deem it art ) times and then let it sit and come back to it and (even more ironic/mystic) that poem when it came to me, for the first year at least, was originally called SIMON (like Simon says, only it was called SIMON) the color of your last name.
I would tell you how the next day I went back to Bradley park and felt a peace I had never felt before and found her cigarette butts (menthol) on the ground and placed them in my mouth sucking on them like communion wafers just so I could taste the romantic residue of her lips once again.
I would tell you how later that night at work (Bradley Library, third shift) I got an e-mail from her claiming that her (rich-as- fuck/doesn’t work/asswad) husband she married when she was your age (she’s 38 now) wouldn’t like what happened between us. I would tell you how I went crazy. My body started shaking. My heart began reverberating seismically out of control. I had trouble breathing. My thighs buckled (which is the sign of a heart attack) and I couldn’t walk up stairs.
I phoned the campus police for help. When they found me I was lying supine, face up paralyzed on Bradley quad. I had no voluntary control of my arms or my legs (was literally paralyzed in love) my arms stiff ( I just couldn’t move them hard as I try, although ironically I still had my wit—when they hooked me up to the machines at the hospital I inquired if EKG stood for Eternal Keg of Guinness). I would tell you this before quoting Walt Whitman again:
SOMETIMES with one I love, I fill myself with rage, for fear I effuse unreturn’d love; But now I think there is no unreturn’d love—the pay is certain, one way or another; (I loved a certain person ardently, and my love was not return’d; Yet out of that, I have written these songs.)
I would then thank you for listening and thank you for always supporting our local readings. I would then tell you how much I cherish our rapport. I would tell you how much I enjoy being next to you. I would tell you that at the last poetry reading even though I was sitting next to my girlfriend at the time, I couldn’t keep my fucking eyes off you and how I found my hand errantly gravitating in the direction of yer skirt, a clamp to a bell. I would squeeze your hand and lead you to the banks of the Vermillion. I then would kiss every part of you.
….this is how it would be:
The two of us draped beneath the winged penumbra of the prairie moon basking overhead, undressing each others flesh as if opening cupboards, buttons plopping in the fashion of skipped pebbles, zippers reeling south in purred metallic yawn, DNA helix being unfurled, my cock, launching out from between the albino hymnal pages of my thighs, a telescope of flesh saluting in yer direction, the kid waving his hand in the back of the classroom aching to answer the professors query.
How I would hoist you up and cradle you in my arms, naked, my cock pressed against the lower curvature of your anatomy like pillar, carrying you like a child into the direction of the river, leading your hand to my body, grappling the southern scroll of my virility like a diploma, myself, alighting the planks of your legs around my waist, kissing you slowly and deeply at first, as I grab your wrist holding the aesthetic ache of my libidinous desire and tell you to put me inside of you, entering you tightly at first and slowly. Our bodies forming an unknown integer of limbs and longing, as you scrape at the back of my hair and tell me to go slow and deep like a fairy tale, a chandelier of stars jisming above us, myself lost in the constellations of your eyes. How the shadows our enjoined limbs cast across the riverbank would resemble a lighthouse and how I would then lead you back to shore, arraying your limbs down like a table on all fours, pressing you body down, fucking you like I am trying to saddle and tame a feral animal, our bodies, a conjoined cocoon waiting to be hatched in a fit of scratches and sighs, kissing the lower hemisphere of your neck once again, tittering, telling you that I am going to come. Asking you if you want me to pull out and aim dousing the smooth pasture of your back with a rivulet of the nocturnal jam.
And perhaps in that moment you would tell me not to pull out of your body. You would tell me that you are close. You would tell me not to sop as your body tightened and squeezed and how, you would start speaking in unknown tongue before you come, are body, as one, howling beneath the moon, sharing a filched pocket of pilfered eternity for one pocket of what is conceived as time.
And how that night, my arms would remain devoutly buckled around you close and occasionally you would feel my lips kissing your forehead like a petal in medias blossom, closing your eyes, the sound of a waterfall in the near distance lulling us into avenues of wished-for sleep.