Sunday, October 26, 2008

Science Fiction

The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)
—for Michael Rennie

The day the earth stood still—that’s when one world ended—and another world began—I fell down on my knees—I fell in love with him—I fell in love with michael rennie!!!—oh honey the earth stood still—talk about klaatu barada nikto!!!—hmmm-hmmm—that fateful day the earth stood still—that’s the day the world ended for me—that’s the day my heart stood still along with everything else—that strange still afternoon I got to know mister klaatu!!!—suddenly we were stuck in that elevator—michael renee, patricia neal and me standing there in the dark—stuck in that dark moody elevator for a whole long hour—there in historic

picturesque downtown washington dc!!!—michael turned to patricia and asked her what time it was—he nodded and said something about gort—I had no idea the whole city had stopped still—all I knew was my heart felt so alien and strange—I’d never fallen in love with a handsome alien before—so tall and calm and debonair—no wonder hugh marlowe was jealous—miss marlowe was such a greedy thing—all she wanted was those lovely expensive intergalactic pearls—so there we were in the dark elevator all alone and nothing to do—good golly miss molly— what’s a girl to do?—patricia was scared but I wasn’t—I’d been in

worse predicaments—dark cramped spaces didn’t bother me—in fact it was all rather romantic and intimate—I kept feeling these strange vibes—emanating from michael rennie’s crotch—finally I couldn’t help myself any longer—I was weak and down there on my knees anyway—and michael didn’t say no—so I did what no other earthboy had done before—I went down on a visitor from outer space—it was truly an otherworldly experience—oh baby interstellar oral intercourse!!!—there’s nothing quite like it—poor patricia neal—oh how jealous she got there in the dark—fuming for a whole hour the poor thing—hearing it but not seeing it—

wanting it but afraid to reach out and let her fingers do the walking—oh she was so green with jealousy she glowed chartreuse in the dark!!!—I offered to share klaatu with her but she wasn’t into ménage-a-trois—although a nice slow fuck was just what she needed—I didn’t care though—I was curious about alien sex—so I took my time with klaatu—and klaatu took his time with me—he was curious about earthboys like me—he said there were worlds out there with nothing but boys living there—thousands of boy planets and ancient adolescent suns—ephebic cities that would make my eyes bulge—klaatu told me these things like they were

vacation spots he’d visit now and then—telling me someday I’d get to go there too—all of this somehow calmed me down in ways that I’d never known before—for so long I thought I was the only gay boy in the universe—the only gay boy in the beltway—it was so lonely feeling closeted and alone that way—and so to imagine vast worlds out there waiting for me—strange beautiful worlds full of boys in love with each other—delicate eden worlds with lavender moons and nipple-pink sunsets—the kind of moons and sunsets I dreamed about at night alone in bed—klaatu even told me about a special spaceship from a faraway spiral galaxy full of

intergalactic sugar daddies—cruising the milky way for cute guys just like me—all in good time klaatu assured me—the universe needed boys too he said—there was a vast yin-yang dwarf star sleeping deep inside me—someday it would wake up and go super-nova in a very strange way—it was timed right down to the split second of a chromosome minute—way into the future that was really here and now—except I just didn’t know it he said and smiled—klaatu said it the way he always said things—I don’t know how to describe it—it was more like a deja vu wink out of time—making me grateful for being there with him—for being

with him when he stopped the world—he said he stopped it just for me, baby boy—but I knew there were other reasons—I wasn’t the center of the universe—even though he made me feel that way—what a lucky coincidence I thought—klaatu choosing my rooming house to stay in for awhile—to get to know earth people and why we were having problems—how fitting that day that the whole world would stop around me—stopped dead in its tracks like never before—like that day that jar in tennessee stopped time—and gathered around it all the forest and fields and birds and me—turning the unruly sprawling country quotidian into a smooth

ancient vase of time—that was the day time stopped for me—that was the day time and space collapsed and oozed through a crack in the world egg—that was the day I fell in love with a man from another world—that was the day one world ended and another world began—if only klaatu would whisk me away from planet earth—maybe he’d make me immortal like him—surely klaatu and gort knew all about those secret intergalactic things—after all hadn’t gort brought klaatu back to life after he died—melting the brick wall with his laser beam—gently picking him up and taking him back to the ship—up into the spiral winding spaceship from

another world—wasn’t that how strange superscience worked?—resurrecting dead gods back again into time—by stopping the world and moving through them—through portals and quiet passageways—intersections older than rome—older than athens and brooklyn—from one side into the other—surely gort could do the same for me—michael rennie showing me the interior of the spaceship—so modern and streamlined and art deco inside—I wanted him to take me away from earth right then—both of us cruising the universe forever and ever—just think of all the good times we could have in the miraculous milky way!!!—and those

sullen moody magellanic cloudy galaxies—waiting way out there just for us—where super novas slowly expanded for millions of years—blowing spectral neon cloud stuff out into the emptiness of space and time—maybe even falling in love with some cute krell boy—like me near childhood’s end—those dark monsters of the id didn’t scare me—as long as klaatu was with me—getting to know just how forbidden that forbidden planet really could get—finding myself again and again—in the arms of strange boys from other worlds—but gort got jealous—it was just awful—ever been stalked by a butchy darth vader robot from a dark mean star?—

well, it wasn’t funny, honey—even if he was kinda slouchy and slow—that beam of his was pure murder—it wiped out my condo and couple of taxis—plus a dozen local sleazy beltway gay bars—it was just awful—potomac cyborg-sex sucks—the beltway got zapped bad!!!—everything stopped!!!—things that were invisible suddenly became visible—I could see this huge blue labyrinthine
swimming pool all around me—full of borges worlds within worlds—a fabulous mise en scene of many worlds all at once—klaatu telling me once that earth was very ancient—an ancient seaport millions of years old—complex as a nautilus shell forever

winding and wrapping downward into itself—it was all very mind-boggling for a little chicken like me—klaatu smiled and said it was okay—in a couple of thousand years I’d get used to it—then he’d come back and take me to a special garden of a thousand worlds—a sunken garden world like no other—where I’d meet a boy who was my doppelganger—a kid very ancient and asleep—waiting for me to show up—when I was mature enough to understand—the full immensity of the gift given to me—would become known to me then—and why I was on earth now as well—klaatu chiding gort and telling him to leave me alone—there were a dozen wars

going on inside earth at that very moment—klaatu and gort had business to take care of—the spaceship was really a portal vortex—klaatu said goodbye—telling me not to be scared—even though the sky would come crashing down—which it did when he left—days speeded up and went whizzing by—there was not time for the earth to stand still again for me—hormonal things crowded in on me—jaded guys in big spaceships way up there in orbit— began zooming over wal-mart and kentucky fried chicken—strange new martian ruins—announced in the daily headlines—ancient civilizations falling thru time-portals in my closet—oh dear

me lions and tigers and bears oh my!!!—there was no reason to get excited—multiple universes were familiar as fairy tales—then there was the rings of saturn motorcycle gang—those ruthless scorpio vandals of the void—there was no time for couch potato ennui anymore—no time for lazy-boy afternoons watching the sci-fi channel for fun—no time anymore for those nostalgic snake pit drive-in sci-fi movies out of the fifties—oh honey watch out for attack of the crab monsters!!!—oh dear me not the blob again!!!—oh baby, it’s not the thing!!!—and the creature from the black lagoon!!!—those long sultry summer bijou matinees!!!—up in the

red-velvet darkness—the brass-railing balcony with ronnie—letting me squeeze him tight—when bomba came sailing down—down thru the wild jungle forest—on long vines stretching from chicken heaven—swinging down into my waiting arms!!!—cruising sad lonely space-docks at night—cruising young sailorboys—cute butchy starship troopers—sullen adolescent sunsets—moody battleship galactica boyz…



“LET us go then, you and I,

when the evening is spread out against the sky

like a patient etherized upon a table”

—T. S. Eliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

I go out into the Snarksville evening—the inevitable loss of light, the coming night. Karmic and snarky retardo City of the Dead… The mantle worn soon passes on—to other Drag queens unstoppable. Each enraged and cursing like me— shaking my Knobby-tongued floppy myopic genitals. As the bell tolls—with the inevitable loss of me. My hallucinating obsequious prosodic mind—wasted sad windy egomaniacal smarmy songs in my ears… Droopy albino Snake Road—diverging into the freaky slug asshole sunset.

Hermaphroditic easy poet—with my foot in the door once… Into the maniacal afterglow now. Hairball oral delightful Snarksville waits for me—a cauldron of unholy Loves in the seething twilight. He’s done now—say the circus carnies… Labyrinthine screams—I’ve heard them. My secret cranium—Liquefied tramps turning the key. As I meander—down thru dark back-alleys and back streets. When I go down on—slutty stony smarmy Snarksville? Meandering—thru her difficulties & tacky allusions… Her not so gentle snarky Night…

"Mrs. Eliot put on her hat.

This had stitched on it the

rather garish purple and

green dust-jacket of Eliot’s

play, with the letter-print—


very prominent round the rim.”

—Stephen Spender, T. S. Eliot

Love mon amour… Vivienne has hers—while I have mine… Young dirty sailors… Down by the Thames… I’d love to murder her… but I don’t want to lose my British citizenship. Living death makes—Modern marriage spiritually an Ash Wednesday—every Dead day and night… Between man & wife—a shadow sometimes falls… That other One who she once was—suddenly getting even. Knowing I wasn’t in love with her anymore—but with Sailors & fishermen instead… unpleasant divorces—full of guilt and remorse. Plaguing Snarksville and the Cathedral... She likes walking down the Street—persistently being rude for no reason at all… With her garish hat—all purple and greenish. It was meant to humiliate me—before strangers… It’s how she slowly gets her revenge—one snarky slice at a time then another… Spender tells this story—about my wife leaving the Hairdresser once… Complaining about me… How people stared—as if she were Sylvia Plath. And me Big Daddy—so mean & cruel. And what really happened—poetry can’t tell. Love on the wings of a Dove—sometimes ends up inside an oven… Sometimes love dies—a thousand cuts at a time… Tiresome ménage a trois marriages—they can be very difficult... Very down and dirty but—they also produce Poetry… Everybody knows about—Sylvia Plath & Ted Hughes… The same with me and Vivien…

“The seas of experience

So immediate and steep

Are suddenly still…”

—T. S. Eliot,


A literary renaissance envisioned—by Miss Matthiessen from Miss Whitman to the ‘50s… The best minds, my dear, of how many generations—squelched and smothered by the fucking Waste Land… Personal wastelands—the kind we’ve all lived thru. Day-to-day & hour-to-hour. Slinking our way thru life… Matthiessen and I—measuring out our lives with coffee spoons. F. O. Matthiessen jumping to his Death—from the twelfth-story window of Boston Hotel Manger… It was April Fools Day 1950—the shock waves reverberated. All the way from Harvard—to the haughty HUAC Beltway… So much for the Renaisance—America moving, then standing still…. But here’s another weird thing—the “still moment” isn’t just a horizontal motion-motionless thing. It works vertically too—in fact maybe a vertical falling. Instead of being still—more veridical and frightening is the other way. Like 12 floors down… It gets rather Dante-esque fast—but then that’s another story… F. O. pasted me up—on the way going down. Something clicked inside me. It felt like my train was moving—instead of the one next to me. I knew it was an illusion—but still it was so real I did a double-take. There I was sitting still—yet I was moving at the same time. The “still moment”—a mere illusion. It was a trip back to Snarksville—after a brief stay in New York City… My train was almost ready to leave—while this other train was moving. The illusion was so strange and deep—so immediate and steep. Suddenly moving—suddenly still. You may say what you will—but I was terrified. There’s nothing else quite like it—sitting in a train compartment alone. Moving somewhere—moving nowhere fast. Sometimes I have the same weird sensation—gliding along the city streets at night. The garrulous waves of Snarksville life—shrinking back and dividing. A thousand incidents—vexed and debated. This is the hour—for which I’ve waited. This is the ultimate snarky hour—when I’m going nowhere fast…

Snark compresses descriptions—

so tightly that you have to give them

time to unfold in your mind…”

—Waldo Lydecker

What I mean by that is—the prime importance is snarky facts. A realistic presentation—of carefully observed tacky details. (It shouldn’t be forgotten that the title of my first book was “Addison Dewitt and the Copacabana School of Dramatic Art,” Sunset Boulevard Press). I stick close to Dewitt’s conviction—“We all come into this world with our little egos equipped with individual horns. If we don't blow them, who else will?” I wake up each snarky morning saying to myself—what Waldo Lydecker says in his bathtub: “How singularly innocent I look this morning.” Lydecker will always be the Queen of Snark—as far as I’m concerned. Like him, I'm not kind—I'm vicious. It's the secret of my success and snarky charm. Snark, my dear, is an Artform. Snark is being born in a extremely rustic community like Snarksville—where good manners are unknown and everybody suffers from the same common carney delusion. The delusion that the world is full of rubes—and only carney intelligentsia know how to get ahead. In business, religion, politics—and other forms of uncivilized smarmy conduct. To know that is one thing—to write about it is another.I’m quick to seize upon anything that improves my dreary mind or elegant appearance. Snarksville has the necessary innate in-breeding—to achieve in my judgment what tacky taste and snarky behavior is really all about. I selected Lola—to be my Laura. I got a better hairdresser for her. I taught her what clothes were more becoming to her. Through me, Lola met everyone—the rich and famous and the infamous too. Her youth and beauty, her poise and charm of manner—captivated everybody in Snarksville. She had warmth, vitality. Lola had authentic magnetism—especially with wooden nickels. Wherever we went, she stood out. Men admired her; women envied her. She became as famous as my walking stick—and my white carnation. The great aim is being accurate, precise and definite. The World of Snark—demands nothing less, nothing more. I’m always preoccupied in finding the exact “snarky” word. I’m preoccupied with the sharp visual discoveries of modern snarky photography—from masters like Warhol to Mapplethorpe. Mapplethorpe’s “Man in Polyester Suit,” for example—what could be more absolutely exquisitely “snarky” as that? Can you imagine being in a Manhattan elevator—and having that happen to you? Mapplethorpe compresses his tackiness so tightly—that you have to give it time to unfold in your mind… My gawd, what a young snarky animal—is it really AWOL? The simple impression of snarky details… That brief gesture that perceives and reveals Snarkdom—in all its snarky acutely revelatory details … Miss James, Miss Eliot & Miss Hawthorne—concerned with catching its finely-tuned rude inarticulate gestures. Auden sensing it’s action—so deeply subtextual… The value of Big Apple snark—beyond mere Prufrockian rankling. Pealing that Peach nicely—the ability to see Life beyond the camp Lie… The value of the subtle snarky sympathy—sympathy with simple Leaves of Grass male adhesiveness. Like Walt Whitman when lilacs last in the dooryard bloomed—going down on Peter Doyle… The value of Snarkification—seeing all lifestyles as somewhat smarmy and tacky. It does wonders—for one’s ego. It’s better than Miss Lonelyhearts—better than Our Lady of Guadalupe. Better than Miss Havisham lesbian solitude and tenderness—like Emily Dickinson there in her Amherst conservatory… The value of snarky specificity—comes out in concrete images like Dante in the Sixteenth Canto of the Purgatorio… Those running stags—around my silver tea tray… Confounding the actual—with the fanciful… Madame Sosostris’ playing-cards—all those kings and queens. And her son Sebastian Sosostris—the cute nefarious Jack in her loaded deck.

“e io senti' chiavar l'uscio di sotto

a l'orribile torre”—

Dante, Inferno, XXXIII, 46

Such snarky card games people play, my dears… And the fairies—what will the smarmy servants say… And what do the fairies actually do? That’s the American moment—the dramatic correlate between us and snarky consumerism… The gay sensibility—going beyond merely Poetic misconception of Miss Pound’s ho-hum snarky Cantos… Beyond Miss Swinburne—and Miss Spencer to Madame Donne… Beyond Shakespeare and those lovely snarky Dark Lady sonnets… The Making of snarky sensibility—what could be more trivial and yet more important? Surely more significant than a bunch of accidental inauthentic and tragic queens… Fuck facile idealization—make that Abercrombie & Fitch butt-crack real, baby… Think in terms of snarky suburban images—that Fuse emotion and thought at the local mall… Describing real snarky action, my dears—like Charles Baudelaire and Rémy de Gourmont would do. Like Rimbaud stretching out—nude in some Snarksville motel. Such a voluptuously cute Ardennais Snarkette—a Frenchy Princess Volupine herself. Arthur’s snarky blue-veined philistine prick—cute as Jean Verdenal my Hyacinth Boy. Standing nude at the top of the Staircase—with that fugitive resentment in look in his Sebastianesque blue eyes… How contemporaneous the baroque décor—Verlaine so despicable in the Snarksville Holiday Inn.

It’s truly snarky Surrealist hell—seeing Rimbaud that adolescent pushy youth. Flaunt his body so lewdly—even worse than a A&F catalog. Look at him up there in the window of the Snarksville shopping mall—such Brazen snarky bare-ass youngmale beauty. Plump down there like a fig’s plump fruit—downwind the smell of Dante’s Dramatic stairway down to hell… What could be more snarky—than that smirky hint of divine male Innocence and mystery. Hinted at so alluringly—suggested by sullen adolescent Abercrombiesque anatomies? Cute teenage Saint Sebastian—for sale in the mall? Up there on the walls—sacrificed like what’s his name. What could be more voyeuristically ogling—than such Beauty revealed to tacky lurking queer minions moiling in the ugly malls? This is precisely the snarky image—I’m suggesting and discussing my dears. Incorporating the crepuscular Spirit of American capitalism—like selling cars like Marilyn Monroe’s big tits. Those stylish garish fins so Shamelessly snarky back then—driving around in my skanky Fifties pink Cadillac… Stylishly snarky and immediately greedy—doing the trick rather neatly… Be specific and snarky—go to the Snarksville Costco or your local tacky Mall… Wallow in the purgatorial Elegance of the bourgeois Moment—let your Enchantment with Evil be suggestive and rude. Let the sensuous human Zit on the Zeitgeist’s big Ass— seduce you into costly slutty smarm, beauty & luxury…

Don’t be vague about it—be Vogue, my dear. Pick something nice—like that Huge leering Abercrombie boy with his butt-crack hanging out… The finely-defined definiteness of Suburban Snark—there’s nothing quite like it if you see it my way. Matched with the way all decent decadents see it—will you pay for it? Of course you will—only Snark can produce the indefiniteness of suggestion necessary… Why just the other day—the cops in Virginia confiscated tons of those butt-crack poster Images from all the local Abercrombie & Fitch stores… That’s how snarky suggestion works—the very hint of Obsession breeding bonds of Smarm everywhere. Such an exquisite terrifying escapelessness… After all, my dears—what could be more snarky? Than the flaunted butt-crack—of a model male beauty? A bunch of them on the hoof—like a herd of wild ponies? Totally real and beautiful—with all the class & style of gone Wild West Abercrombiesque…

There’s a word inside words—swaddled in smarmy darkness & tacky Depraved juvescense. It’s the Year of the Young Rat isn’t it—surely I must ask Madame de Tornquist for advice? She and Madame Sosostris—are waiting in the next room. I have them read my beads daily—it’s all quite legit, my dears. It’s all done with smoke & mirrors—with what’s her name’s “queer objective correlate.” Snark breeds and broods—there’s no end to how much it promulgates itself… Pick an exact snarky detail—let that picture carry its own connotations. Make it as Consciously concrete as possible… If you do it right, my dears—clearly clicking your ruby slippers just so… Then surely there’ll be no ho-hum hocus-pocus—even Miss Morris’ “The Nymph’s Song to Hylas” has snarky possibilities. Forget all that Wizard of Oz baloney—stick close to the Wicked Witch… Remember Marvell’s snarky little ditty: “The Nymphs got snarky—when nude Hylas got haughty.” In your struggle getting beyond Madame Prufrock—try to do it elegantly like Miss Dante with Her smarmy Inferno… It takes a lot of snarky Weltschmertz—mocking yourself mercilessly. Ditch all that supercilious cultivated Ersatz fastidiousness—replace it with stunningly immediate Snarky articulateness… Please don’t be bashful or shy—Project yourself thru the usual tacky Personae. Thru your own smarmy Sweeney—thru your own Snarksville Waste Land so Miss Mockingbird tres unique… Don’t be repulsed by vulgarity—look at me here tonight crusing alluring Snarksville night… Didn’t let it pass you up, my dears—your gift for snarky Loquaciousness. Be bored and disillusioned with yourself—it will improve your Dramatic lyric intensity. All this requires the hard precision—of a Diamond tiara, honey. Plus the Steely edge your Fräulein luger—there in your rhinestone purse.

“Madame Sosostris—

famous clairvoyante…”

—T. S. Eliot,

The Waste Land

Get a snarky Boyfriend first—he’ll want a Ring. A wedding ring for his Finger—plus lots of loot. The more he smirks the better. That way each Night—with the moon oozing down thru your condo skylights. You’ll have plenty off time—to get to know Love & wipe that smirk off his cute face. Imitation of Life is full of fake sapphires—falling down with the credits of Lana Turner’s Imitation of Life (1959). Let Troy Donahue faint—hiding his face in your mulatto arms. It’s okay to pass—just be careful of Speaking in Tongues. Never tell a Spastic Falling Angel—more than he needs to know. Falling down into your arms—like Lana Turner’s Prince of Darkness… Stop at nothing—let them break your smarmy heart. Let them try—you’ll learn Snark better that way. If Troy hollers—don’t let him go. Be around Him—when he falls… Cross-eyed teen Telepath are hot—when they lose it. When they can’t help it—that’s the best kind of faggy frisson. They’re all in love with themselves—the more the better for you. His name is Sebastian Sosostris—sullen Son of the famous Clairvoyante. Don’t you just hate it—when Badboys are bad? When they lose it all—Channeling their best your way? Getting to know them—and their intimate Never-Never Land?

"Eliot was Felix, of course:

fussy, clerkish, conservative

in both politics and religion,

so somber that as a young

man he sometimes dabbed

his face with powder to make

himself look even grayer."

—Charles McGrath

NYTimes 1/27/2008

Sebastian’s hair… He turns on the radio—he caresses his fine butt in front of the mirror. His vanity requires much better responses—than merely his right hand. His bold stare—as if he’s always on some young selfish guest… Vivienne picks him up—goes down on him in the living room. Later pacing her room—she congratulates herself. She does him—just to make me jealous. She rarely succeeds anymore—except in driving me to the bars. Alone smoothing her ass—the young man has flushed and made her feel indifferent. After assaulting her once—on the living room sofa. His exploring hands—getting no resistance from her or me… Sebastian is just as bored as Vivienne and me—as he stares at me desultorily while he fucks her… As she looks up at the ceiling—smoking a cigarette. So many young men—doing it in front of me… All of them aware I’m an impotent fairy—a victimized voyeur of my heartless wife. Later Vivienne yawns—“Well now that’s done.” She seems glad it’s over… Allowing the thought of the sofa to fade—with its young man so Carbuncular svelte & smarmy… I give her a final snarky kiss—patronizingly groping my way up the unlit stairs…“But my dear” she says—but I ignore her as usual. Being married to Vivienne—is like being blind Tiresias living in 2 worlds… Yes, even I who’ve sat—by the walls of Thebes and wept… Vivienne carries on—there’s hardly anything I can do about it, my dear. Except try some lavender maybe chartreuse eye-shadow—for tonight’s drag makeup trolling of the bars... If anything—the powder-room is for me not her. Looking young & gay—it’s difficult business…

“while thy presence dispels—

our vain hesitations”

—T. S. Eliot, “Ode,”

Snarksville Poems

My future—Snarksville took it away from me… I will always be Past tense—more past than present. The future—all those years after losing Verdenal. So much love back then—cruel youthful ambitions springing April erect… My thoughts are snarky now—nothing could be more snarky than my Snarksville past… It didn’t give me any wisdom—nor strength turning their sons to lovers… I bestowed and lavished all my hopes—on those more importunate years. My vain hesitations and fears—waiting in the snarky shadows. Snarksville was never my home—only the temporary bastion of carney bluebloods.

“Panthers rising from lairs—

In forests thinkening below”

—T. S. Eliot, “Circe’s Palace”

Snarksville Poems

Snarksville queen bee—pretending to be calm… Calm, cool and collected—snarky Snarkette goddess me. Lovely Snarksville—full of snarky lies… Pensive in my House of Usher—up on brooding Snark Hill… Under the staircase—sluggish pythons sleep… The parrot, the pretty boyz, the good ship Lollypop—the best that money buys. All the cute young Snarksville guttersnipes—up and down the cruisey staircase… They tiptoe in the night—except cute Johnny Eck. He takes the elevator—with a knife between his teeth. He shows me lurid Maria Baclanova pics—on his tacky cellphone. Gone her days of Trapeze Queen fame & fortune. Now Maria grovels in the sawdust—cross-eyed clucking Chicken Woman. Fallen Angel there—amidst the rubes, the carneys and the freaks… Look closely—it’s me…

“in my best mode oblique”

—T. S. Eliot, “Nocturne”

Snarksville PoemsS

narksville is male oblique—uncourteously smarmy… The moon’s frenzied Eyeball—ogling thru my iced-over window… The perfect climax—pretending I’m Juliet… Letting the conversation fail—letting my swoon sink… Getting rid of Romeo afterwards—the sooner the better. There’s a snarky mess to clean up—fuck it I’ll do it later. After all I’ve been fucked to death—after that what does anything matter? Isn’t that what Snarksville does best—making me grovel for two-way Romeos? Poor Maria, Lola and Juliet—what we girls have to go thru…

“One of my marionettes is dead”

—T. S. Eliot, “Humoresque,”

Snarksville Poems

Snarksville denouement—it’s over with. For whom the bell tolls—my Oscar up there on the mantelpiece. Why am I so sacrilegiously contemptuous—of Snarksville’s snappiest fashion plates? They’re the sexiest men alive—comic, dull, with lovely grimaces like common rapists… The kind of faces—you’d want to smother with a pillow. Snarksville USA—how can I possibly forget you? Your ungainly unmanly marionettes—the way they twist inside me? Jumping out like Jack in the Box surprises—when I least expect it? Their faces unfolding like snarky accordions—falling down the stairs like gone Mr. Slinkys?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

In Cold Blood (1967)

In Cold Blood

Time—who needed a tornado to get to the land of oz when all i needed was a game of bridge every saturday night, some nice ice tea & dreams of murder 1959 with me strangling “dick” hickcock in bed night after night… i got to play dorothy of course with my ruby slippers and constant amazed look of wonderment when cute handsome “dick” hickcock came to murder me in my dreams at night with his lopsided handsome face and snarky smirk that just wouldn’t quit all the way until they hung him & the rope jerked his neck one last nodded so knowingly when madame haynes said this or miss reeble said that or mister mosher opined about his fictitious knighthood and adventures in paris and rome—all of which i took very seriously as if i were embedded in a mysterious tableaux vivant with two lovely witches of the east and west along with the charming wizard of oz himself while first in black and white then technicolor but before all that sitting in the living room there on constitution street sipping some ice tea with the 3 small town intelligentsia who liked me & cultivated me like a decadent orchid because i could discuss the new yorker and knew how to laugh properly at the shrewd cosmopolitan cartoons and looming grim presbyterian church so very weird & full of déjà vu years later seeing it up there on the screen that same way each time replaying 1967 all over again with truman capote reading that nytimes tidbit about some kansas murder— then before you know it he’s on the santa fe super chief with harper lee mosher the astute town historian along with miss reeble who ran the tombstone business and mrs. haynes the owner of haynes’ hardware where the two clutter murderers bought their rope to make their fame and fortune in lovely holcomb ks in capote’s cold blood— the scene as they drive by the granada my doppelganger boyfriends— they’re still living back in athens that little college town—along comes the laidback eisenhower fifties mise-en-scene with hwy 50 and santa fe connecting the sleepy little town with the big world out there—playing bridge with me

Friday, October 24, 2008

Bride of the Monster!!!

Ministry of Fear

Ruby Slippers

Ruby Slippers

Baby boomer class. what kind of brave new world this time? how about starting from scratch? a kinder gentler 1984? private pension funds? the same filmscript everywhere? those retirement funds are all that’s left? what better way to get rid of our middle class. the argentino-americano-euro-sino ones. our bourgeois time. so here’s my snarky ed wood jr. filmscript. palin is potus. it’s barracuda time usa. like argentine president cristina fernandez de kirchner announcing plans to to nationalize—the barracuda strikes back (2008) = coup. how about the bitch of oz (2008) = “honey, i’m back!” so many dystopian filmscripts, so little game-time left. any dummy can do it, even me: like ruby slippers diva does the beltway (2008). the alaskan evita (2008) = putsch. full of dystopian endgame movies….when you're living a movie as bad as jailbait or bride of the's easy to play ed woods i wonder what's going to happen after the election? the blogosphere i hope—it continues since the politics will? of course, i could be wrong, ruby slippers may rule?


our esteemed new poet laureate refugee

“i am practically…the invisible man.”
—jorge luis borges, the craft of verse

they say there’s a point of no return that goes unnoticed most of the time—like that voyage on the medea—a tramp steamer from nyc to port-au-prince—a scrubby little cargo-ship peddling the sullen sea—another ship of fools for you & me—full of toffs and tarts—sauve qui peut—life a comedy—a comedy of errors—i laughed & laughed until i cried—it was a more tacky tragedy then i expected—there aboard the dumpy medea—aboard the sleek elba—ships full of practical jokers like me—online journey to the extreme point of comedy…

the hotel trianon was getting dumpy—the bougainvillea needed cutting back—the palms were leaning down too close—“will you get me another mint julep, please?”—there i was reclining in a wicker chaise lounge thinking about nothing—my mind so very elsewhere that hot humid night—i felt deader than a doornail—i was way down there in the deep end of the pool—the verandah stretching on either side of me—this luxury-hotel for papa doc and the haiti élite—such a nice vacation spot for disillusioned tourist connoisseurs like me…

later on of course—there was little to balance the fear and boredom—even the trianon soufflé au grand marnier lost its appeal—the drums went silent—the singing stopped—the boungan boy spoke in tongues—older than creole—older than latin—older than fox-news—tall lean darby jones’ eyes turned up—so high only the whites showed—he was carrefour my mother’s lover—standing nude there at the crossroads—in the middle of the cane field at night—my mother took a Zombie lover—my mother walked with a zombie—zombie love put her in a deep trace—they kept her in a dark tower—by an ancient garden fountain—my father was a zombie—haiti was my home…

“you have no rouge or lipstick?”—the purser said no—“you must kiss me at the foot of the gangway”—why me the purser said—“an evening of riotous abandon”—can you manage your skirt i asked—“of course, old man—this isn’t the first time”—we went down the gangway arm in arm—“i was never a modest woman”—he did look more beautiful without his moustache…

“i played boadicea once—lord mountbatten herself in the audience”—i lifted my leg his skirt was caught—“does deceiving peron again count as resistance?”—i shrugged not knowing what to say—where was evita when you needed her?—we were nearing the venezuelan embassy—“where are you taking me?”—buenos aires was quiet as a cemetery—dead as a port-au-prince night of the living dead—i rang the buzzer—the ambassador answered the door—he was wearing a skimpy puce kimono—never had i seen him so less than immaculate—“this is borges,” i said—“he needs asylum”—the ambassador looked amazed—“luis?” martha asked—standing at the top of the stairs—“my dear,” the ambassador said—“may i introduce our esteemed new poet laureate refugee…”


pinochet noir

“ i can’t find my passport.”
—adrienne rich, “usonian journals,”
the school among the ruins

i once saw general pinochet
in his dracula cape—aboard
the esmeralda when they
tortured us. they stripped
us naked—hosed us down
with saltwater on deck. the
sailors and marines were
young, faceless, grinning.
they were just following
orders—don’t they always?
then they drugged me—
dumped me off a helicopter.
as i fell down into the
pacific ocean—i thought
of hart crane. the white
upturned eyes—greedy
sharks waiting with baited
breath. american pirate
movie—except i didn’t
get to walk the plank. i
was just a baby-boomer
poet—way back then in
1973. i lived with my lover—
in downtown santiago. then
i found myself in al-gharib—
with awful electrodes again.
the same young soldiers
shamelessly leering at me—
getting off on my pain.
somebody told me i was
lucky—just to be alive.
even though i ended up
dumb & speechless—
in a wheelchair for life.
i can’t find my passport—
where am i anyway?
planet pinochet? night
of the living dead?
gulag archipelago?

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Argentina Today
For nnyhav

[quote author=Beppo link=topic=36.msg28778#msg28778 date=1188943312]
Midway in our life's journey, I went astray [/quote]

Sounds familiar…

[quote author=elportenito1 link=topic=36.msg28900#msg28900 date=1188999015] Peron didn't take power, he was VOTED as president in normal democratic elections [/quote]

Sounds familiar…probably rigged.

[quote author=martinbeck3 link=topic=36.msg28962#msg28962 date=1189012767]
It was strange -living in the days of the Junta [/quote]

Yeah, well, here we go…

[quote author=nnyhav link=topic=36.msg28936#msg28936 date=1189007248] I suppose I could have narrowed it down with [i]ophioleogenously[/i], but t'other seemed more euphonic.

Ah, déjà vu…

“The Wheel fell to the Cross (in Runic crosses the two enemy emblems coexist, intertwined), but the secret battle between John and Aurelian continued”—Borges, “The Theologians,” Fictions, 203

[quote author=nnyhav link=topic=36.msg28958#msg28958 date=1189012410]
pugey—elport's Inferno cite answered your question best, but not wrt Borges: [/quote]

“Shortly after the coup, the new head of government, General Jorge Videla, invited Borges to lunch…

“One such work entitled Cosmogonias appeared in September 1976. This luxurious volume contains only six poems by Borges (of which four had appeared in previous collections) Each poem is accompanied by sumptuous illustrations done by a well-known Argentinean artist. This is the ultimate coffee table book, the supreme object in the cult of Borges…”

“In addition to deluxe editions, the cult of Borges has spawned a new subgenre which might be called paraliterary or hagiographic works "on" or "with Borges." An entire shelf could be filled with all the "interviews," "talks," and "dialogues" in which he has recently participated…”

“To those who are familiar with his writings, Borges's transformation into a public personality is of supreme irony. As he once noted, "My opinions have no importance. Only my works matter." This is not false modesty on the author's part. He considers the details of his life to be without interest. Like Henry James or Flaubert, Borges has defined his existence in terms of two activities: reading and writing…”

“Borges's protagonists tend to be shadowy figures. Their creator is interested in their works rather than in their origins, background, or psychological motivation. Thus while their ideas are presented in a concrete fashion, they are nearly nonexistent as men…”

“In numerous poems, essays, and short stories he suggests that the notion of individual personality is but an illusion fostered by an equally false notion of linear time. At other intersections of space and time an individual may be totally different--even the opposite--of what he appears to be now…”

[quote author=martinbeck3 link=topic=36.msg28962#msg28962 date=1189012767]
“If you went to the Cosmos Cinema (artistic films club ) you could be arrested. We tried not to laugh too loud in the street because then police could ask you for your *cedula* -papers- and start asking questions trying to see what you were laughing about!”

Sounds eerily familiar…

[quote author=nnyhav link=topic=36.msg28958#msg28958 date=1189012410]
pugey—elport's Inferno cite answered your question best, but not wrt Borges: [/quote]

“Thus in The Other Death the coward dies as a hero on the battlefield; in The Circular Ruins the dreamer is an invention of someone else; in Pierre Menard, Author of 'Don Quijote' the reader is the creator of the work of art.”

“In Pierre Menard the notion of interchangeable identities receives its fullest and most complex elaboration. Menard is a contemporary French man of letters who sets out to compose two chapters of Don Quijote. His aim is not to copy but to invent them…That is to say, in the act of reading, Menard develops the implications of Cervantes's text, thereby transforming the Spaniards work into a kind of "palimpsest" in which traces of Menard's future are visible...”

“In this paradoxical manner, Borges underscores the importance of the reader in the creative process. Like the author, the reader actively participates in the elaboration of the work of art…”

“For this reason, in the preface to his first collection of poems published in 1923 (Fervor de Buenos Aires) Borges apologized to his reader for having "usurped" his verses and said, "it is but a trivial and fortuitous circumstance that you are the reader of these exercises and I am the author…”

“If the reader is such an important element in the creative process, if (as is the case of Pierre Menard and Cervantes) reader and author are fused, then an author's name and the details of his life ultimately do not matter…”

"The fact that when I am writing I am stressing certain peculiarities of mind and omitting others has led me to think of Jorge Luis Borges as a creature of fancy. This suspicion is strengthened by the existence of so many articles and studies that deal with him…"

“In a famous passage entitled, "Borges and I," he even suggests that the other Borges, "the one whom things happen to," has preempted his very existence…”

“And that is the paradox underlying the current cult of Borges in Argentina…”

“…the principle of "biographical invisibility"

[quote author=martinbeck3 link=topic=36.msg28965#msg28965 date=1189013290]
BOQUITA, an avatar is who you are in the web. Like your *double*. [/quote]

I picked up and opened my copy of Edwin Williamson’s Borges: A Life. I hadn’t read it yet—but now I must. The chapter I opened to was “Borges Against Peron (1950-1955) with page 311 beginning “The paranoia that imbues “The Waiting” reflects the rising tension in Argentina at the time…”

My Double said: “It’s already happening again…”

[quote author=nnyhav link=topic=36.msg28958#msg28958 date=1189012410]
pugey—elport's Inferno cite answered your question best, but not wrt Borges: [/quote]

“In addition to falsifying his image, the cult of Borges has taken on certain ideological overtones…”

“It now provides indirect justification for the present government in Argentina. Borges's support of the military regime of Videla seems to be founded upon his intense dislike of Videla's predecessor, Juan Peron. This dislike began in the 1940s even before Peron became President for the first time. A liberal who had favored the Spanish Republic, Borges objected to Peron's fascistic policies and in particular to his support of Nazi Germany. When Peron became President, he demoted Borges from his post as municipal librarian to the rank of poultry inspector. He even imprisoned the writer's mother and sister…”

“When the Peronists were again elected in 1973, he called it a "government of scoundrels." In an interview with a Brazilian newspaper in 1975 he said: "When I think of the cases of torture [in Argentina] I have the impression that my country is disintegrating morally as well as economically." In March 1976, when a friend informed him that Isabela Peron had been overthrown, Borges embraced him and wept. When he met Videla, he thanked him for "having liberated the country from the infamy which we bore…”

“Borges hated Peron because he was a demagogue who practiced torture and suppressed civil liberties. And yet, he has now become a staunch supporter of a regime which is not substantially different. One can only conclude that he no longer espouses those principles of democracy which Peron threatened to destroy thirty years ago. In fact, when he was in Chile last year to receive that country's highest medal he said: "In and of itself a dictatorship doesn't seem reprehensible, one has to consider the particular circumstances. In itself empires don't seem to be wrong. The Roman Empire and the British Empire did a lot of good…”

[quote author=martinbeck3 link=topic=36.msg28962#msg28962 date=1189012767]
It was strange -living in the days of the Junta…You always had the feeling that you had made something wrong that would make somebody important mad and you would be punished…

“It is difficult to reconcile this image of Borges, spokesman for military dictatorships such as that of Videla or even Pinochet, with that of the Borges who wrote Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius, the story of a group of scholars who invent a planet…”

“They elaborate all of the aspects of life on Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius—its philosophical system, languages, ethics, and customs—Tlon becomes "real"…”

“Implicit in Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis, Tertius and in many of his stories is Borges's belief that the universe is incomprehensible. Any efforts to order experience are ultimately revealed to be false and inadequate. His skepticism extends to the realm of politics...”

“If that is the case, then he has betrayed those ideals which have infused all of his works. One can only conclude that the other Borges, the public figure, has taken over at last. Years ago the author himself foresaw this possibility: "little by little I am giving over everything to him, though I am quite aware of his perverse custom of falsifying and magnifying things..."

“In spite of his awareness of this danger, Borges has allowed his namesake to enter the political arena, where he now plays a key role in the propaganda apparatus of the Videla government. It is indeed to be regretted that he has become that government's most prestigious spokesman for the status quo, for it is a status quo built upon the destruction of democratic institutions and the repeated violation of human rights…”

“An example of this was seen in May 1976, when Borges met with Videla. Three other writers were present: Ernesto Sibato, Leonardo Castellani, and Horacio Esteban Ratti, President of the Writer's Union (SADE).”

“Because he objected to their presence, Borges undermined the potential power of public opinion which the Writer's Union had hoped to muster. In this instance, as a "living monument of national letters," he gave tacit approval to the regime's repressive policies…”

“Abroad, potential critics of the regime may be disarmed--after all, a government which has the support of Jorge Luis Borges can't be all that bad.”

[quote author=nnyhav link=topic=36.msg28890#msg28890 date=1188994603]
de gustibus non disputatum [/quote]

After reading Katherine Singer Kovac’s “Borges on the Right” essay in The Boston Review, I stopped dead in my tracks. This business of the Other is serious business—when the Other is appropriated, commandeered and subverted by TPTB for their own nefarious purposes. I looked behind my chair, I looked under my bed, I even looked in my closet. This Other of mine that I’ve been cultivating—this literary doppelganger of mine. I know he’s reacting to what I’ve just read—that he knows better than me what I’m writing now is getting close to him…

[quote author=elportenito1 link=topic=36.msg28900#msg28900 date=1188999015] Borges had in himself that confluence of contradictions which teared apart the country to this day. [/quote]

“It would be nice to say that Graham Greene just appeared one day in Yonda, the leprosy settlement in the Equateur Province of the then Belgian Congo where I was the doctor, stepping off the gangway of the bishop’s riverboat as Querry does in A Burnt-Out Case…”

“We tried to protect Greene from people’s curiosity. The most obvious nuisances were those who wanted his opinion on some manuscript they had in a drawer. The number of people in a colonial town looking for a publisher is amazing…”

“The settlement at Yonda was beginning to encroach on the equatorial forest, whose edges unfolded like huge green cliffs.
The great trees with their roots like the ribs of ships…”

“I believe that Greene was surprised by what he found in Yonda. Here disease rather than sin took precedence…”



“Los artificios y candor del hombre”
—Jorge Luis Borges,
“El golem”

already you can see—the tragic setting
each thing here—in its appointed place
the broadsword—the ash destined for dido
the coin—ready for belisarius
why do you weep—searching in lazy
bronze old hexameters—gone old empires?
when 7 feet of dirt—waits for you
a slow rush of blood—Argentina
watches you now—the mirror of death
dreaming you up—spitting in your face
all your crummy dayz—so bourgeois
goodbye middle class—it was the house
by the street—you grew up in
but now peron, evita—Argentina
wants it back—again


“Ya puedes ver el trágico escenario
Y cada coso en el lugar debido;
La espada y la ceniza para Dido
Y la monedo para Belisario”
—Jorge Luis Borges,
"A quien ya no es joven"


“Already you can see the tragic setting
And each thing there in its appointed place;
The broadsword and the ash destined for Dido,
The coin ready for Belisarius”
—Jorge Luis Borges, “To One No Longer Young”

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Decadent American Literature

Billy the Kid

“Emily Dickinson is my
emblematical Concord River.”
—Susan Howe, My Emily Dickinson

Billy the Kid—Rio Grande punk
Isn’t it funny how—pulp fiction
Luridly Wild West—makes heroes
Latches onto—the poetic imagination
Young gangsters—the purple sage!

The ghost thing—Jack Spicer said
Heurtebise the driver—listening to
Each Dis abyss downward—Cocteau’s radio

Inactive—looming over the veldt
Desert New Mexico—Billy the Kid


Billy the Kid

When you think of me—

WHo once took lonesome walks with you

FrIendless pensive Wild West Kid of these

StaTes that Bards ages hence will call Hip

CreaM of the Crop, my New Mexico Dude

PortrAits of you in all my Leaves of Grass

CounteNance of Peter Doyle who knows!!!


Seed text = WHITMAN
Source text = Calamus poems from Leaves of Grass (1860)

Calamus #10

“You bards of ages hence! when you refer to me, mind not so much my poems, Nor speak of me that I prophesied of The States, and led them the way of their Glories; But come, I will take you down underneath this impassive exterior -- I will tell you what to say of me: Publish my name and hang up my picture as that of the tenderest lover, The friend, the lover's portrait, of whom his friend, his lover, was fondest, Who was not proud of his songs, but of measureless ocean of love within him -- and freely poured it forth, Who often walked lonesome walks, thinking of his dear friends, his lovers, Who pensive, away from one he loved, often lay sleepless and dissatisfied at night, Who knew too well the sick, sick dread lest the one he loved might secretly be indifferent to him, The friend, the lover's portrait, of whom his friend, his lover, was fondest, Who was not proud of his songs, but of measureless ocean of love within him—and freely poured it forth, Who often walked lonesome walks, thinking of his dear friends, his lovers, Who pensive, away from one he loved, often lay sleepless and dissatisfied at night, Who knew too well the sick, sick dread lest the one he loved might secretly be indifferent to him…”

Decadent American Literature

The Captivity of Daniel Boone Junior

“This is a crime story.”
—Susan Howe, “The Captivity and
Restoration of Mr. Mary Rowlandson,”
Birthmark: Unsettling the Wilderness
in American Literary History

captivity narratives—
after first-person accounts
throughout eighteenth and
nineteenth century frontier
american literature…

daniel boone came tumbling—
down into the american trail with
the smell of death in his nostrils
and the sound of indians wailing
for their dead young braves…

daniel boone junior—
only 17-years-old when he was
captured by the shawnee indians
and fell in love with the young
handsome chief blackfish…

this is a crime story—
in a large and violent america
with kentucky as the edge of
virginia opening up westward
thru the indian nations…

captivity narratives—
after first-person accounts
throughout eighteenth and
nineteenth century frontier
american literature…

daniel boone tumbling—
daniel boone tumbling—
daniel boone tumbling—
daniel boone tumbling—
daniel boone tumbling—
down into the american trail
the smell of death in his nostrils
and the sound of women wailing
for their dead young lovers...

this is a crime story—
in a large and violent america
with kentucky as the edge of
vrginia opening up westward
thru the indian nations…

appalachia—amorphous hidden space
looking back with retro-narrative now
at how voice once controlled & connected
the truant love between races, between
native american indians and white trash
immigrants sweeping westward for fur,
game, hunting, fishing, trapping, then
young boone falling for chief blackfish…

often captive narratives tell the story
about families, friends and others
blaming the victim for what happened,
not trusting their redskin ways anymore,
but who had forsaken who back then?
who was this young daniel boone junior?
god’s text & boone’s text were opposite—
counterpoint, shelter, manly love that
essentially replaces scripture as closure,
hunger has no end, the old grid fails…

“this is a crime story”—
the american wild west is a large and
violent wilderness place, too large for
most euro-dialogs: “1677—I used to
remember the time, when I would go
to sleep quietly without workings in
my thoughts, whole nights together,
but now it is otherwise with me. I’m
all eyes at night—wide-open, always
alert, my thoughts worried, trying
to remember things past…”

daniel “james” boone junior—
kidnapped unwillingly (?) into the
vast uncharted Shawnee territory
and unmapped geography of North
america—an author letting himself
be pulled away into an alt version of
himself, a kentucky doppelganger,
a kentucky kid deeply in love…

young boone didn’t need to count
sheep to go to sleep, that counter-
memory was out the window, now
he was deep inside a theater of
total alienation, stammering to
himself as english left him and
shawnee words of atonement
unleashed in him the dialectical
tension between what the french
wanted—trade and coexistence,
compared with what we ended
up with & which haunts us…

the young male narrative then—
was narrating something more
like conversion than captivity,
the wilderness wasn’t wilderness
to the indians—it was their home
and the other that which was
outside yet inside them all—
holding everything together, the
wild place every human knew
as the mirror that spoke to them…

“he came to me one night—
with a basket of horse-liver. i
was so starved, give me a piece,
i said. what, says the young
indian, you can eat horse-liver?
i told him i would try, if he gave
me some, which he did, and i
ate it raw, the blood around my
mouth, yet it was savory for the
hungry soul every bitter thing is
sweet when you’re hungry, and
i sat there, blood on my lips,
savoring the taste of raw
horse-liver, later god’s seal
of ratification spilling from
my lips through my father’s
pen, but that’s when captivity
spoke, which back then was
impossible, just war-hoops
and a cute guy holding me
tight in the darkness…

these skidding stanzas—
with their idiosyncratic syntax
refusing closure, closed form,
a different line was needed
then and now, remembering
now shifts the ground beneath
me, my knees grow weak and
i become savage again, slave
and servant to the wild land,
back to the privileged moment
immediately followed by the
ancient immediacy again and
again, the deer slayer in me,
my deerskin moccasins, my
bracelets, necklaces, earrings,
nose-rings, tit-rings, heathen
gods showing their power over
me—a thing too hard for me—
splitting me in two, the way
of two spirits, the third man…

blackfish chose me—
adopted me, gave me what
was his and what wasn’t, to
revive in me the hopes he
had for rapprochement of the
tribes and now white eyes,
reviving in me the wild one,
teaching me how to forget
the old ways & learn the even
more ancient ways of the earth
the forest the streams and the
renewal of the seasons, the
little things being on the move,
the earth gathering around me,
giving giving giving to me if
only I’d give love back to it,
so that samson’s riddle could
be solved, the great promise
of romans 8.28, that out of
the eater comes forth meat,
and the sweetness out of
the strong…

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Decadent American Literature

Unreliable Narrators

“I was the shadow of the waxwing slain
By the false azure in the windowpane”
—Vladimir Nabokov, Pale Fire

Yes, folks, this is the one & only way to overcome the heartache, disillusionment and depression that comes from Unreliable Narrators.

Buy a pair of these marvelous X-Ray Glasses right away before the Election—and you’ll be able to see the Truth, the Hole Truth & Nothing but the Truth as far as your Favorite Politicians are concerned.

These X-Ray Glasses work well with Literature as well!!! Get rid of those pesky no-good unreliable narrators like James Frey with his fake druggie biography A Million Little Pieces.

The same with uppity Vladimir Nabokov and his nefarious sick creations like lying cheating Humbert Humbert taking advantage of that poor young innocent little Lolita!!!

Better yet save time & money from having to pick sides between 2 unreliable narrators—like Professor Shade and Professor Kinbote. One writes bad poetry about life & death while the other says she’s an exiled queen from Zembla!!!

Shade says “Today I'm sixty-one. Waxwings are berry-pecking. A cicada sings.” But we know he’s lying thru his teeth—Shade doesn’t even exist does he? One quick look thru these X-Ray Glasses—and sure enough it’s all a figment of that Zembla Queen’s sick imagination.

The X-Ray Glasses come highly recommended by Elportinito who sayz they work very nicely on the beach on weekends—as well as at work. These glasses come with a one-year ogle-free guarantee—no matter how bad a voyeur you are!!!

But these X-Ray Glasses are especially helpful for literary critics in The New York Times and Academe—those on the constant lookout for writers who steal their work & ideas from other authors' books, refusing to shed light on their own pallid glow imitations—compared with the heat and blazing light that a Shakespeare radiates over the landscape of English literature.

“In fact the title Shade lifts from Shakespeare also puts a highly ironic twist on the whole practice of purloining another's phrase, since it wittily steals from Timon's denunciation against universal thievery. Even that self-deprecatory "some moondrop title" (a moondrop, Webster's Second notes, is "a liquid of magical potency, supposed to be shed by the moon") subtly echoes Timon's image, and like the whole passage from which the title comes, harks back to the images of reflection that open the poem.” —Brian Boyd, The New York Times

Decadent American Literature

Captive Narratives

“Can't say as ever I was
lost, but I was bewildered
once for three days.

—Daniel Boone

North America—gendered gay
Native Americans—calling it
The Double Way—my dear

Berdache boyz—heaven forbid
Rednecks aghast—dykes on bikes
How to restore—distorted love?

I’m straying—scattering myself
A sense of—American wilderness

How many—Billy Budd boyz?
Done in by—crummy Claggarts?
Closet-cases—know the type?

How many—captive stories?
Who survived—who didn’t?
Born again—gay or straight?

Young Daniel Boone Junior—
Captured by the Shawnee
Fell in love with Blackfish*

*Daniel “James” Boone Junior (17-years-old) and his men were taken to Blackfish's town of Chillicothe where they were made to run the gauntlet. As was their custom, the Shawnees adopted some of the prisoners into the tribe to replace fallen warriors; the remainder were taken to Hamilton in Detroit. Boone was adopted into a Shawnee family at Chillicothe, perhaps into the family of Chief Blackfish himself, and given the name Sheltowee ("Big Turtle").

Decadent American Literature

The Textual Wilderness

“The antinomian controversy
was the primordial struggle
of North American literary
expression.” —Susan Howe,
The Birth-Mark

North America—gendered feminine
Poetry banished—by Cotton Mather
That MA Bay Colony—old queen

Text is always—being tamed
Tamed for—textual production
Tamed for—aesthetic consumption

Tamed like—Emily Dickinson exiled
Deep in the stacks—away from readers
Beinecke Library—Princeton New Jersey

Prisoner of Zenda—Rare Book Rooms
Editors like Johnson and Franklin
Magnalia Christi—americana

Anne Hutchinson—exiled too
Mary Rowlandson—Sylva Plath
Captive narratives—lost in time

Monday, October 20, 2008

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Jail Bait (1954)

Snark Film Criticism

Jail Bait (1954)—file this in your secret-flix “Angora File”:

It’s a youtube beefcake flick with Steve Reeves—doing a strip show routine for Lyle Talbot in Ed Woods’ Jail Bait. It’s an intensely smarmy, skanky cheap Grade B ‘50s detective melodrama—right up my fag noir retro-snark crummy Ed Woods puke genre alley.

For a more upbeat gay campy version, please see this little youtube tidbit “Jail Bait: Fashion Show” sung to the tune of “I Wanna Be Loved by You” by Marilyn Monroe (1959).

Camp is okay—but snark is better. I prefer to ferret out the more subversive subtexts in movies like Jail Bait—such as the early surrealists did with The Shanghai Gesture (1941):

“In its anguished abandon poetic thought comes up against the object, the external and internal becomes confused, the screen separating them, furiously lacerated, goes by the board. Everything encourages the belief that the objectification of desire has taken place.” —Paul Hammond, The Surrealist Group: Data Toward the Irrational Enlargement of a Film: The Shanghai Gesture, The Shadow and Its Shadow: Surrealist Writing on the Cinema (1991)

By a simple strategy of poetic thought—the movie, freed of its bourgeois characteristics, begins to assume the multiple reflection of the perceptible Snarky world, is set, not in its disorientated linear narrative, but in the jaded decaying decadent male ruins of reality. Snark filmography suffers—if it is a Bijou balcony, from the haughty indifference of plush red-velvet curtains, rising or falling before a screen, gripping the seaweed bouquet abandoned by the cormorant, and will perhaps eventually show up again at The Egyptian Theater no longer just a dream.

Never has the “I call a snark a snark” mentality been invested with so much derisory impudence for us as today. Snark surrealism seizes on actors like Steve Reeves, drawing enrichment from secret aspects of these films.

The Surrealists asked questions like: “What is Poppy’s perversion?”

Surrealist answers were given: “Clasping an octopus between stocking and thigh. Stretched free-length on a gaming table, she detaches pearl after pearl from her necklace. She has no sexual perversions, simply an intense sensuality. Sodomy is a self-confessed, mildly masochistic by nature. Purposeless masturbation.”

These poetic snarky surrealist can be applied to other films such as Jail Bait (1954). The Snarkette critic must begin with his or her own sullen murky moody shocked personal impression first. Then the shock produced by the encounter of the movie-as-object and the moviegoer-as-subject— begins to reveal and snarkify its hidden hustler beauties.

The first part of this process, the subjective snarky surrealist form of criticism, holds considerable interest—not so much as criticism but as a means of personal Snarkosphere intelligence. It’s like the practice to transcribing dreams on waking up. Surrealist youtube clips and filmic snarkery texts are important for improving comprehensive cineaste IQ. For example, last night I got somewhat bored so I put the skanky little suggestive Jail Bait strip scene into slow-mo reverse—so it looks like Reeves is stripping rather than just lurching into the scene putting his shirt on.

Excruciatingly the slower the slow-mo—the more sexy the strip scene gets. I’ve always thought the snaky subtext in this snarky little scene simply reeked with transgressive queer cinematic possibilities—but it wasn’t until I ran it backwards in slow-mo silently with Lyle Talbot’s leering puffy face and pursed obsequious quivering lips that realized how faggy this exquisite Ed Woods tableaux vivant jewel actually was. There in the middle of Jail Bait—the Pearl of Beefcake Desire.

Further snarky Fifties / Sixties film research.

Steve Reeves Tribute

Kimbar of the Jungle Series

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Snarky Art Criticism

Young Daniel Boone Junior

[The idea of appropriating Kent Monkman’s transgressive artwork from an 18th & 19th century Canadian Anglo POV into an early American Anglo POV intrigues me. Beginning with Monkman’s Daniel Boone painting, I moved into some other paintings with a snark art crit point of view in mind. Cleaving images has similarities to cleave poetics.]

“Painting was, at the time,
a crucial accompaniment
to the project of convincing
Native people of the supposed
savagery of their ways. Indeed,
even the ability of the white
colonists to render landscapes
and figures so articulately in
pigment was evidence of their
superior sophistication and the
powers they possessed.”
—David Liss, “Kent Monkman:
Miss Chief's Return,” Canadian Art

“Last June, Monkman was invited
to bring Miss Chief Share Eagle
Testickle's Travelling Gallery and
European Male Emporium to
Compton Verney, a museum in
Warwickshire, England, for a
performance in a group show co-
curated by Richard William Hill,
formerly a curator at the Art Gallery
of Ontario. In this project, colonial
roles and gender expectations are
reversed, as white men (actors hired
by the artist) become the subjects
of ethnological study by the cross-
gendered Monkman/Miss Chief, who
arrives at the doors of the museum
splendidly decked out in drag and
on horseback. This is part of a series
of performances Monkman calls
Colonial Art Space Interventions,
the most notorious of which took
place at the McMichael Canadian
Art Collection in Kleinburg, Ontario,
in August, 2004, and was amusingly
titled Group of Seven Inches.”
—David Liss, “Kent Monkman:

Miss Chief's Return,” Canadian Art

“Developed from the immediately
preceding Prayer Language paintings,
these works are also densely overlaid
with text, in English this time—racist
and violent passages from pulp
westerns and gay porn stories from
the Internet that fetishize Aboriginal
men. For Monkman this combination
takes aim at the Group of Seven's
colonialist chauvinism and its by-now
notorious exclusion of women from
the tight-knit circle. The layering of
image and text is literally reflective
of the complex layering of power,
eroticism, morality and xenophobia
at the root of our Canadian identity.”
—David Liss, “Kent Monkman:
Miss Chief's Return,” Canadian Art

“Taking these notions further, Monkman
developed his current and best-known
work, the series of paintings he refers
to interchangeably as The Moral
Landscape or Eros and Empire. The
works tell a mythological tragic
gay love story, conceived as a
metaphor for the entwined histories
of and relationships between white
settlers and Native people. By
adapting the painterly conventions
of romantic 19th-century landscape
and by (con)fusing fact and fiction,
Monkman is liberated to project his
own stories upon the landscapes
that were the sites of contact and
—David Liss, “Kent Monkman:
Miss Chief's Return,” Canadian Art

“Through the invention of his own
entertaining allegories—mischievously
rich in the blending of fact and fiction,
role reversals, gender- and genre-
bending, ironic stereotypes, humor,
horror and challenges to the accepted
canon—Monkman reinvigorates our
engagement with difficult questions
about who we all are and how we got
here. He reminds us that documented
history is subjective and that large and
significant amounts of it remain untold,
unspoken and obliterated.”
—David Liss, “Kent Monkman:
Miss Chief's Return,” Canadian Art

“It is doubtful that Kent Monkman believes
any of his cajoling will change the dominant
reading of history. However, he makes us
aware of the damaging effects of marginalization
and oppression, and of the multiplicity of stories
and truths that need to be acknowledged and
included in the dialogue. There is a hopeful
aspect to the work. In the lower left corner
of The Impending Storm, Miss Chief Share
Eagle Testickle and a white man with blond
hair have just disembarked from a canoe.
Fleeing the ominous storm clouds that
threaten the journey, they are running off,
away from the central narrative, arm in arm,
—David Liss, “Kent Monkman:
Miss Chief's Return,” Canadian Art

“Prior to colonization, queer identity (known in Native communities as Two-Spirit in honor of the existence of both the male and female spirit in one body) was widely accepted among many different North American tribes, although this fact has been virtually eliminated from historical renderings of the period. Through his humorous and provoking interventions, Monkman reclaims that history and, using Foucault's concept of sexuality as a site of cultural power, insists on the existence and continued survival of queer Native identities.”
—Kerry Swanson, “The Noble Savage Was a Drag Queen: Hybridity and Transformation in Kent Monkman's Performance and Visual Art Interventions,” e-misférica