The Crawling Eyeball

The Crawling Eye (1958)

“coming out of the movie theater
the world the world is bright too
bright gnomic present tense tensile
everything happening at once the
world is full of its own mute history
the fatality of reflection the fatality
of nature the fatality of mute history
remaining mute reaching out to its
object even as it slips away”
—Joan Retallack, “Present Tensed,”
Memoir, Sausalito: The Post-Apollo
Press, 2004.

It’s hard being a Crawling Eye—
Especially in high school—especially
When—you’re Telepathic—like
Janet Munroe—in this cool but
Somewhat thrilling British sci-fi
Horror flick The Crawling Eye—
almost as good as Jean Cocteau’s
les Enfants Terribles (1950)—
perhaps as seductive as Bernardo
Bertolucci’s The Dreamers (2004)
with Michael Pitt, Eva Green, Louis
Garrel—yet almost as cynical as
The Basketball Diaries (1995)—
or snarky as Killer Klowns from
Outer Space (1988).

My Crawling Eyeball—oozing its
way out of the Granada on my
weak knees—with my dumbed-down
awkward teenage cineaste brain—
so overly impressionable &
wanting to know the Present
Tense even more—the sense that
Everything was happening at once—
back there in the balcony of the
old Granada film palace—standing
there beneath the bright blinking
red blue green orange lavender
Light bulbs of the garish marquee—
Knowing it was just the same or
Even worse—outside beneath the
Flashing Flashing—too Bright too
Bright—Marquee of the Moment—
the sense that I was always getting
caught up in this same intensely
ogling Voyeurisme moment—

The Saturday matinee moment—
present-tensed and gnomic—with
its own sad mute history—that
it somehow lived thru me & had
always been there—somehow the
fatality of me being reflective—
me being a avid moviegoer like
I was—unknowingly while I did
A movie—each time stepping
out of the Granada—realizing
then what I really truly was—

An excruciatingly bulgy bug-eyed
Eyeball—bloodshot & tense with
The Moviegoer’s Third Eye—the
Eye of the Present Tense—running
Thru me—I wasn’t simply your
Normal ogling Eyeball—not your
Usual couch-potato Eyeball—I
Was indeed something alien and
Creepy and rude—I was a Big
Crawling Eyeball—always wanting
To Ogle some more—at the most
Ugly Thing in the Whole World…

I wish I had Forest Tucker—to help
Me save humanity—from that ghastly
Alien invasion—but who cared about
Humanity?—I didn’t—I was caught
Up in my own atmospheric gothic
Horror sci-fi thriller-chiller—written
By Ace screenwriter Jimmy Sangster—
Based on the spine-tingling teleplay
“The Trollenberg Terror”—about a
Horrible monster loose in the
Hallways and louche gym lockers—

Who’d stop the Monster’s awful
Murderous rampage?—popping the
Heads off its victims—hiding
Behind tacky lips of wantonness—
Don’t ask don’t tell—way back
Then in 1958—when all of us
were ruled by the evil nefarious
Pheromone Planet—rude skanky
creepazoid creatures crawling
across the surface of the Earth—
Crawling Eyeballs from Hell!!!

I don’t remember it beginning—
Suddenly I was in the middle of
My moody Adolescence—at the
Mercy of my Throbbing Third Eye—
Feeling it turn me—into The Boy
With X-Ray Eyes—The Incredible
Two-Headed Transplant—The
Thing from Another World—The
Monster from Outer Space—Zontar
The Zit from Venus—The Fiend
Without a Face—The Bride of
the Teenage Monster!!!

My ogling Crawling Eyeball—
It took over my whole existence—
Forcing me into a shameless &
Jaundiced view of the world—
Making me realize that some
Had it just as bad as me—we
of the Constantly Ogling Eyeball—
Straining gawking ogling at the
crummy world—it was all so gross
& grotesque—day after tacky day—
seeing the jocks & other guyz in
the Hallways stare & gawk at the
Cute chicks—constantly checking
Them out—undressing them so
rudely with their simply shameless
Ogling Bulging Bloodshot Eyeballs—
As if they couldn’t get enough of
The Female Physique—nice legs
Nice tits nice nipples nice hair—

Their young male Eyeballs with
Tacky tentacles—luridly cruising
Anything that moved—up & down
Dark staircases—slithering down
lonely hallways—lurking moodily in
Maudlin classrooms—hanging around
louche lockers—dancing at the YMCA
On weekends—it was just awful—
How the Invasion of the Eyeballs
Took over dumpy little Snarksville—
Such a ghastly alien coup de tat—
I loved every minute of it!!!

I had a couple of creepy crawly
Eyeball boyfriends—we got together
At lunch hour—gossiping about the
Latest juicy Eyeball Encounter of
The Touchy Troublesome kind—our
young decadent Weimar cabaret
psychic sensibility & campy
Eyeballs not missing a Trick—
how we could read each other’s
vapid minds—like evil truant
Children of The Village of the
Damned—we the cognoscenti
Cruisers of choice chicken cuisine—
We knew what was what and
What was really happening in
town—we were the deep dark
ugly little secret—the Eyeballs
who knew the scummy truth—
feeling the snarky edge to the
gauche greedy gaudy daily

The avant garde knows—
how we flowed with the usual
greedy murderous daily tacky
rampage—the dummy Eyeballs
with low IQ’s—the creepazoid
guyz with extra-big Tentacles—
their suction-cup long lanky
legs around our necks—our
skanky lips going for their cute
Venusian goodies—while me &
my oracular boyfriends—hung
Around in the wings—all the time
In the world—to play Devil Girl
From Mars—Queens of the Galaxy—
Teenagers from Outer Space—
Succulent Daughters of Dracula—
Uranus Needs Earthboyz—there
The Showers, the Pool & later on
When we got Wheels, letting our
Ogling Eyeballs Do the Walking—
All night long at the Snake Pit
Drive In—those delirious shameful
Six-pack Sexploitation Weekends…
The Night of the Crawling Eyeballs…

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