Supermarket in California


“What thoughts I have of 
you tonight, Walt Whitman”
Allen Ginsberg
A Supermarket in California 

“think of Ginsberg’s A Supermarket 
in California, for instance—a revision 
that, come to think of it, gets us past 
the avant-garde/mainstream, or post-
avant/School of Quietude, faultline 
that has troubled our thinking on 
poetry for so long.”—Barrett Watten, 
“Entry 06: Sylvia Plath’s Collage” 


What thoughts I have of you tonight—
Walt Whitman, as I cruise down the aisles 

Under the neon lights with a headache—
Self-consciously thinking of my hungry fatigue 

Shopping for images, cruising the supermarket—
Dreaming of the cute pouty grocery boys!

What peach-fuzz and penis penumbras!—
Old queens shopping at night! Aisles full of fags!  

Queering the avocados, fondling the tomatoes!—
And you, García Lorca, going down on zucchini?

I saw you, Walt Whitman, boyless & lonely—
Poking among the cold meats in the locker 

Eyeing the grocery boys like I’m doing now—
Asking things like: How’s your pork chops, baby?   

“What price is your big banana, cute Angel?”—
As I wander along with other moiling queens 

Followed in my imagination by the store dick—
Tailing me down the open corridors of Safeway 

Such fancy-tasting artichokes, my dear—
Possessing every tender chicken delicacy

Where are we going now, Walt Whitman?—
Which way does our beard point tonight?

I touch your book & dream of your odyssey—
You & Miss Ginsberg here in the supermarket 

We stroll all night through the solitary aisles—
Dreaming of the lost America of love past due

When will it finally arrive, my fellow lonely Poet—
Ah, dear father, graybeard, lonely old teacher?

What America did you have in mind back then—
When lilacs last in your dooryard bloom’d?

And the great star early droop’d down in the—
In the great western sky of the night

As I mourn’d, yet shall mourn with each—
Ever-returning spring, trinity sure to bring

Lilac blooming perennial and drooping star—
Thinking of him who Charon took away

Now here I am in a CA supermarket—
Lost in aisles full of black water’d Lethe?



Garish chrome-tittie Cadillac—
Sleek Americana Land Cruiser

Gimme back the Fifties again—
Detroit before the Denouement

Gimme back the Sleek Fins—
That Marilyn Monroe Plush Gush

Gimme back the Good Times—
The Cadillac Consciousness

Hating the South



Hating The South
Deep South Siberia
The Old South
The Golden Eye
Pulp Fiction
Miss Lawrence
The Critics
Queer Theory
Tennessee Williams
Southern Gothic
Roman Spring Of Mrs. Stone


“I don’t hate the 
South: I don’t hate it”
—William Faulkner
Absalom, Absalom

Faulkner hated the South—
And so did Carson McCullers

She said she’d go back—
To Georgia for one thing

To refresh her sense—
Of Southern Gothic Horror


The Deep South was an—
Intellectual Siberia

That’s why McCullers moved—
From Savannah to NYC

To study writing at—
Columbia University

After she got married—
They moved to Fayetteville

North Carolina during—
The Great Depression

Fort Brag the hell-hole—
Of the Golden Eye


The Old South was—
Bad Seed for McCullers

She hated Fayetteville—
Its dreary Dixie ambience

Living in its backwater—
Literary wasteland

Seedy white trash—
Dismal Southern Gothic

Absorbing every detail—
For her two novels

The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter—
And Reflections in a Golden Eye


“Reflected from my golden eye
The dullard knows he is mad”
—T. S. Eliot,  “Lines for an Old Man”

She hated the South—
Scorning its grotesqueries

Hardly admiring it—
She satirized it instead

She had the Eye of a—
Giant proud Peacock

One with a Golden Eye—
Reflecting all the Ugliness

All the Gothic horror of—
Decadent Dixie Deep South


Miss Fadiman the critic—
The New Yorker queen bee

Trashed the novel as—
As a D. H. Lawrence rip-off

The queer “Prussian Officer”—
Meets Southern Guignol Noir

His wife as muzzy-minded—
Nymphomaniac slut

Plus a Filipino gay houseboy—
A cuckoo lady next door

A Dixie Denouement—
Rape, queens, bestiality

Ho-hum, the usual Faulkner—
“Sanctuary” pulp fiction


“The Prussian Officer” found—
Parallels in McCullers novella

The usual repressed sexuality—
The boring, lonely military life

Miss Brando has her own—
Young handsome horsy orderly

An enlisted man played by—
Construction worker Robert Forster

He works in the base stable—
Taking care of the horses

He rides nude in the woods—
On a horse to forget things

The ogling Brando a typical—
Uptight str8t closet-case


The macabre critics—
Couldn’t help opining

Obsessed with then 
Usual obsessions

 Pressed to put their—
Straight moral spin 

On the literary merits—
On McCullers’ novella

So easy for them—
Douchebag male sexists


Even today the—
Esteemed QT queens

Like David Halperin—
In “How To Be Gay”

Plagiarizing divas—
Like Mildred Pierce

Belittling drag queens—
As too feminist satirical

Trashing McCullers—
For festooning fags

With contrived—
Nutty aberrations

And gothic gruesome—
Deep South whatever


“Spiritual isolation
is the basis of most
of my themes”
—Carson McCullers

This grand guignol—
Little Puppet Show

This masquerade—
She saw all around her

The mortgaged heart—
That rules us all

Incapable of returning—
Or receiving love

We’re all grotesqueries—
Spiritually isolated


The antebellum South kept—
Spitting out these queens

Like Tennessee Williams—
And Carson McCullers

Beguiled and battered—
They clung together

Mentors and Fag-hags—
Helping each other survive

Many ocean summers—
They spent together

Typing and sharing—
Talking and dreaming


Tennessee Williams wrote—
A New Directions preface 

For McCullers’ “Reflections”—
Reassessing the novel

Years had gone by—
New altitudes prevailed

The old critical altitudes—
Toward gay subjects

Adultery and morality—
And homosexuality

Moral condemnation—
The old critical attitudes

It wasn’t Deep South—
Str8t Truth anymore

It was New South Goth—
McCullers’ golden eye


Imbued with a new sense of—
Southern Gothic literature

Williams wrote a novel—
Similar to the Golden Eye

Later a Vivien Leigh film—
Set in Rome not Big Easy

An aging actress falls madly—
In love with an Italian youth

Pimped by a dyke gigolo—
Coy Contessa Lotte Lenya

Full of ennui and boredom—
Like Brando in “Reflections”

A twin of Carson McCullers’—
Macabre gay masterpiece

Carson McCullers



It takes one—
To know one, honey

Being a Bitch Goddess, that is—
Just ask Plath or Bette Davis

“What a dump!” Bette sneers—
“Fasten your seatbelts, dears”

But McCullers does it better—
With that Southern Gothic twist

"Reflections in a Golden Eye"—
Truly a Southern Gothic Horror


Carson McCullers—
Would go back to Georgia

To refresh herself—
With Southern Gothic Horror

Reflections in a Golden Eye—
Naked boy riding a horse

The young soldier voyeur—
Ogling Brando’s slutty wife

Brando ogling the Stud—
Liz sleeping there in bed

Ending up dead because—
Brando wanted him instead

The Filipino fag—
Painting the Golden Eye


Speaking of Bitch Goddesses—
I simply can’t understand

Why in the world didn't—
Miss Capote choose Carson?

Carson McCullers to go—
With him back to Kansas?

To write In Cold Blood—
In that dumpy Gothic hole?

A fag hag, my dears—
To keep him company

Most probably though—
Because Carson McCullers 

Such a cynical Southern—
Gothic Bitch Queen like him

Helping to grease the path—
For his bitchy Nonfiction Novel


Zorro David the sensitive—
Filipino fag Anacleto

Perhaps the real Caliban—
Or was she Ariel, my dears?

A fag in the flick—
Only made Things worse

Besides adultery, bestiality—
Now a nelly queen gone amok

The Catholic Legion of Decency—
Gets their Special Premier

They simply aren’t ready—
It’s worse than “Baby Doll”!!!


John Huston later wrote—
He liked McCullers’ novel

The way she wrote—
Such calm cool detachment

Her Understanding of the—
Various Novella’s characters 

Recording them with dignity—
Rather than just Str8t Reportage

No moral indignation—
No bourgeois condensation

Perhaps McCullers invented—
Truman Capote’s style first?

The Nonfiction Novel—
Actually Gay Reportage, my dears!


The Fag in the movie—
Actually he’s Ariel

Through his Eyes—
Nature becomes Voyeurisme

The gay Filipino paints—
He has the Golden Eye

He’s the fey Ariel—
Ahead of his time

Robert Forster as Caliban—
Riding the horse nude

Equus can be so very exciting—
Don’t you think my dears?


Later the New Yorker—
Praised Huston’s techniques

Precursor to Queer Cinema—
His “radically unrealistic” style

Outrageous scenes piled—
One on top of the other

Laughing at the antics—
Of McCullers’ hoary characters

Liz Taylor the Slut—
Pretentious junior harridan

Compared with Miss Brando—
The gay murderous mad Majorette


Miss Shakespeare, my dear—
Updating antebellum Southern Goth?

Miss Huston as Prospero—
In a modern day Tempest flick?

Disaffected Magician Diva—
Carson McCullers as fey Ariel

Marlon Brando as moody Caliban—
Jilted as well as cuckolded 

Taylor as pampered Miranda—
No wonder the Critics were shocked!

Huston making fun of their—
Repressed, quaint, naïve Sexuality


Such a cinematic Tempest—
Seemingly So stupid now, my dears

Bare-backed and bare-assed—
How the Public Eye ogled so

Huston using his Golden Eye—
Making all the critics hostage Voyeurs

Both Huston and McCullers—
Their Sardonic ghastly humor

Here Cease more questions—
Thou art inclined to Sleep

Give up the old Way—
See now through the Bolder Eye

We’re ready now, my dears—
Approach, my Ariel, come…
    —the Tempest, Act I, II

The Anatomy of Wit


—for John Lyly

It is Wit, yes Wit, my dears—
That maketh us Ladies of Leisure 

That maketh the poor Rich—
The base-born into the tres-Noble

The mere Subject into a Sovereign—
The Peon into a gracious Queen Bee

The Deformed into the Beautiful—
The Sick Whole, the Weak Strong

The most Miserable into—
The Most Happy and the Most Gay


I try to be Gaceful and Witty—
Just like that Queen John Lyly

I try to illustrate Intellectual Fashions—
And favorite Themes of Renaissance Society

Can there be Wit in today’s England?—
Can Prince Harry possibly be my Pomopdour? 

Can I be Artificial and Mannered like—
Back then when it was so Gay, my dears?

Highly Artificial and Mannered in Style—
Tres Moderne and Petite Pallace of Pettie?

The plots so Unimportant & Existing merely—
As Conversations, Discourses and Letters? 

Mostly concerning the Subject of Love—
As in George Pettie's "A Petite Pallace of Pettie” 

My Pleasure in Tacky Sermon Literature—
And all those Boring, Closeted Vatican tracts

Perfecting the Distinctive Rhetorical Devices—
On which the Gay Style will be Perfected


There are two principal and peculiar gifts—
In the nature of man: Knowledge and Reason

The one Commandeth, my dears—
And the Other obeyeth down on her knees

These things neither the—
Whirling Wheel of Fortune can change

Nor the deceitful cavillings of worldlings—
Separate, nor sickness abate, nor age abolish


Is it not far better to abhor Heteronormatives—
By the remembrance of their Tacky Faults?

After all my dears, the Repentance of thine—
Own Follies surely can’t compare to the Straights?


Can any treasure in this transitory pilgrimmage—
Be of more value than a treasured gay friend? 

In whose bosom thou mayest sleep secure—
Without fear, whom thou mayest make Partner?

All thy secrets without suspicion of Fraud—
Partaker of all thy Misfortune without Mistrust

Who will account thy Bale his Bane—
Thy Mishap his Misery and Sympathy?

The Pricking of thy Finger—
The Piercing of your Heart?


How Frantic are those Lovers carried away—
With the gay glissening of the fine Face? 

The Beauty whereof so Parched with the—
Summer's blaze and Cool of the Winter's Blast

Which is of so short Continuance—
That it Fadeth before one Perceive it Flourish


My dear coy Neapolitan Ladies of Leisure—
Let us Discuss the Queenly Qualities of Mind

And whether the Composition of the Man—
Is more worthy of our astute Attention

Time hath weaned us from Mommy Dearest—
And Age rid us from our Father's Correction 


Lucilla, considering her father's reaction in—
Abandoning her fiance Philanthus for Euphues

A sharp Sore hath a short cure, my dear—
The fickle Fervency of Men is Commonplace

It may be hard won without Trial—
But be of great Faith, they are so Fickle

Alas, my dears, what Truth can be—
Found in a mere One Night Stand even now?

What could be more like the Wind than—
Our own ever fleeting Plighted Perjury 

When We and They hoist sail?


“Why Rita Hayworth?”
—Suzanne Jill Levine
“Puns: The Untranslatable”
The Subversive Muse: Translating 
Latin American Fiction

When Batista fell—
And Cuba Butched it up

Vast flotillas of drag—
Queens fled, my dear

Some to NYC—
Others to Miami

Miss Puig did—
The Spider Woman

Miss Sarduy did—
The Cobra Woman

It was all so—
Latino-esque gay 

Baroque bricoleur—
Boys in the Band

Homo homage—
Burlesque subversive

Carried away, honey—
So Caravaggesque

Satirical burlesque—
Chiaroscuro Camp

Macaronic mariconettes—
Queer iconographies

Miss gay Metonymy—
Meets Fag Grotesque

So let’s do Drag—
But not overdo it, dears

Some voodoo Abracadabra—
A little rococo Swish

It’s so tres grammatical—
Madame Onomatopoeia 

Those Dwarf gigolos—
So trashy transvestite

Contessa this and—
The Contessa that

Senora and Senoritas—
Our Ladies of Guadalupe

Precocious and Presumptuous—
So Elegant yet so Vulgar

Such Recherché here—
Such Pomposity there

Nothing like Miss Velázquez—
To Hapsburg camp it up

Tacky Translations—
Quickening Castanets

Daring Defilements—
Dumas-esque Melodramatics

Miss Musketeers—
Seminal Swordsmanship

Touché Avant-garde—
Miss Breton so very touchy

Euphuistic Homoeroticism—
Such Eager Euphemisms

Swinging Swinburne Swine—
Pouty Venuses in the Pigsty


Young Tyrone Power—
Naked in the moonlight

Nothing but a cape—
There in the bullring

Cute macho kid—
His strong uncut sword

Soon becoming Spain’s—
New romantic matador

But Rita Hayworth—
Seduces young Tyrone

He becomes the Bull—
Betrayed by her guitar


But why Rita Hayworth—
Who in it she betrays?

Tyrone Power, of course—
And his loving faithful wife

But Rita Hayworth—
Betrays herself most of all

She’s really Margarita Cassino—
Daughter of a Spanish dancer

Are we moviegoers betrayed—
By Tyrone’s infidelities?

Hardly, my dears, don’t be naive—
We’d like to suck off Tyrone too


The pretty wicked Actress—
Rita’s power to castrate men

Patriarchal powerless—
Male Victimhood so appealing

So that Manuel Puig learns—
To play the Betrayal Game

Manipulator of Words—
And fictional Realities

Heterosexuality Betrayed—
Empowering queer Miss Puig

Hollywood popular flicks—
Making gay Latino possible


“The chiaroscuro technique”
—Suzanne Jill Levine
“Between Textures: Petit Ensemble 
Caravaggesque,” The Subversive Muse: 
Translating Latin American Fiction

The betrayer in betrayed—
I know it happened to me

Like Berto’s unsent letter—
I have a confession to make

I was in love with my young—
Kid brother when we grew up

He felt betrayed by me—
Being his fag cocksucking brother

Queer for his precocious penis—
Betraying him with my queer lips

I betrayed myself just like Rita—
Down there on my bruised knees

Baroque Bricoleur Boyfriends—
Caravaggesque Petit Pricks