To celebrate the publication of my book DEVIANT PROPULSION (Soft Skull, 2006) I offered 18 people the following: For the price of the book I will carry their copy with me 24 hours, to meditate with it, argue with the world with it, LIVE THE DAY WITH IT, then write on the few blank pages in the back of the book about the day. THIS BLOG will contain those journal entries from all 18 copies of the book. The 18 slots have been filled, but I'm writing them slowly, as writing something in which you only get one draft is a challenge I want to take seriously. (SCROLL DOWN to read the entries)
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(12/06/06) for Chris Gullo. The soft glow of the nuclear power plant is almost (dare I say it?) romantic tonight. I'm in the country visiting my mother who just mixed us some cocktails and is looking for the cards so we can play Gin Rummy. "And we have real gin too" she says, laughing. I had to get out of the city, the death of kari edwards drove me out here. She never knew this, but the transsexual in the title poem of my book was her. She asked me once who it was and I ignored the question because admitting it was her would expose Magdalena's crush as well as my own. Crush. Who first called a crush a crush? What was going on? I'm never sure if a crush is supposed to be painful or not, I mean it sounds so playful, and if you're in too much pain maybe it's something else then? My mother says I would have been named Tara if I had been born a girl. Everyone should ask their mothers what name they would have been given if they had been born the other sex. In fact let's start a tradition of doing this. I want to write poems to Tara, or maybe AS Tara, the girl I almost was. My mother saw an albino deer in the mountains recently. None of the men believed her until one of them caught a glimpse of it while fishing. "Then of course they believed me because a man saw it too. FUCKING MEN! I can't believe you're gay, how can you stand it? If I was a man I'd get a sex change and become a lesbian!" That's what kari edwards did, and suddenly my mother wanted to know more. I've had many crushes on transsexuals. I'm drawn to their unique power of standing in many different worlds at once. It started with the drag queen XEROX PLUS who did the most amazing Janis Joplin. I was 19 and my boyfriend Angel would sell coke at the clubs while I watched the shows. One night XEROX PLUS was on, REALLY ON, doing Janis's "Maybe." WOW! When the song was over I told him how fantastic he was and he yelled at me, pointing to a woman at the bar, "THAT'S MY GIRLFRIEND YOU LITTLE FAGGOT!" This HUGE dyke Sarah came up to him, yelling at him with her body pressed menacingly against his, instructing him to leave and never come back! He was afraid of Sarah because everyone was afraid of Sarah, including Angel who acted like no one bugged him. Sarah hated Angel, and warned me he was trouble, but I was 19 and he drove a motorcycle and had an endless supply of drugs and parties, what can I say? But yeah, it was WEIRD being called a faggot by a straight drag queen in a gay bar. It seems funny now, but a gay bar is one of the few places in the world we queers feel enveloped in safety. I mean, it shocked me at the time, and made me SO angry that he brought that hatred into our haven! Am I interested in having a sex change my mother wants to know, and I tell her no. I am happy as I am, and feel fortunate for that. Looking out the car window earlier today, seeing the green tips of the winter wheat bristle their emerald carpet for miles and miles I was thinking about how long it has taken me to feel okay. The world will surprise you everyday if you let it, so please, let's let it! Like the little shop down the road from my mother with the sign, "GRAVE COVERS AND MIXED NUTS." Sounds odd, but sure enough one day my mother saw a woman in the cemetery eating a bag of nuts. Combinations of everything are waiting, JUST WAITING for us! Food, gender, language, so much to imagine! Wish I could see the white deer. Dreaming the white deer tonight might be nice, with kari edwards riding it. Yeah, I hope I dream the beast my mother saw before any of the men. "HERE! Look at the newspaper!" my mother instructs. What is it I ask? "The obituary column, READ IT! All the women die in the hospital! All the men die at home, surrounded by Loved ones! What kind of fucking world is this anyway!?" My mother discovers secrets of life from the obituary column. And kari edwards came to Earth to combine the fields, her very body her laboratory to examine us all into new frontiers. Thanks for the courage, we've been needing it more than we realized! Thanks so much. And I miss you.
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(11/23/06) for Mary Kalyna. Sharing food with others is beautiful, seeing everyone's choices for creating their bodies. From plate to eye, fingernail, lung, semen and egg and everyone's knuckles and brains made from food. Beans and greens into muscle and blood. Eating is a bizarre thing, but everything's a little bizarre if you tilt your head at it just right. Saying HELLO to a carrot is saying HELLO to your friend's future body before she eats it. Life is normal, to chew a leaf, or noodle, and swallow. I Love to share food, but today I'm fasting. This is my Thanksgiving Day Fast for Peace, something I thought of the other day while watching the news, STUNNED (because I refuse to be NUMBED) by the escalating horror in Iraq. There were new car bombs and orphans, and I get angry because it's always narrated from a clean, safe newsroom in America. I want the camera to take us there, give us a minute to really be there. Instead they pacify and protect us from the blood-soaked streets of Baghdad. WHY SHOULD WE BE TREATED WITH SUCH SENSITIVITY!? We paid for the bullets and DESERVE to see what we're doing to the world. Let's see it. I want to see it. Instead of books and food, my tax dollars bought suffering for bodies, and I am very sad about this. While watching DEATH on the news they cut to commercial where everyone's ecstatic for THANKSGIVING DAY, telling you where to buy your turkey (as though turkeys were also happy to die for us) and don't forget your stuffing and yams. Everyone looked so happy in the commercial which is why I started SCREAMING at the television! "FUCK THANKSGIVING! FUCK IT! FUCK IT! FUCK IT!" I will not celebrate Thanksgiving until we're out of Iraq. We're used to sharing food, it's normal, eating our bodies into being. We're also used to tuning some things out in order to hear some other things. If you hear everything at once it will turn to noise. Right? Don't you think? When I was a kid the teacher put quotation marks around the word "invaded" on the blackboard when writing about how we "invaded" the "Indian territories." I asked about those quotation marks, and she explained that we can't really say "invaded" because the "Indians" didn't believe in owning land, so it was impossible to "invade" someone if they didn't have a "real" government, or "real" structure like the "American settlers." She meant every word of this. SHE MEANT EVERY WORD OF THIS! It STILL makes me angry all these years later! Telling kids such lies! Thanksgiving Day was created to celebrate the feast the Wampanoag tribe brought Whitey when Whitey couldn't take care of itself and almost starved. The Wampanoag had no idea of the impending systematic genocidal slaughter Whitey was about to unleash, shitting and clawing it's White ASS across the country! And now, more than a century after destroying the Native Americans, we INVADED (not "invaded") Iraq to also occupy, rob, and slaughter. FUCK Thanksgiving Day! REAL THANKS is saying NO to celebrating our death machine! Just sit still with me today America, and think about Iraq. Think about the terrible fear in everyone's lives over there. Think, think, think, know it is real, the fear and the suffering, it is very real. When the Wyeth exhibit was at the Philadelphia Museum of Art recently I heard a tour guide tell a group, "After 911 abstraction could no longer speak to our world. Pollock -- for instance -- could not speak to us after 911, but Wyeth can." I looked at one of the people standing near me and asked, "Do you really buy that crap?" He shrugged and followed the group to the next room. Wow. WOW! I marched myself across the museum to where Jackson Pollock's painting hung, and I stared and stared, and I nodded, YES YOU DO ANSWER ME! YES YOU DO! YES YOU DO! YES YOU DO! Abstraction is where the world REALLY LIVES! Stare into Pollock's painting, remembering he painted after Hiroshima, after Nagasaki, after the Holocaust. Tell me he doesn't answer THAT, tell me he doesn't see THAT, and THAT being THIS WORLD, this world of you, of me, and how we tear one another to shreds. Are you Iraqi? Are you American? Are you? Or can abstraction take us home past the borders?
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(11/13/06) for Jessica White. Some people go to the gym, I dwell on death. My death muscle can lift 500 pounds. It's this that gives me the daily miracles. I'm not depressed anymore than most people. In fact this focus serves the opposite of depression. How do I make this clear in our culture of youthful devotion that the smell of everything breaking down fuels my momentum? November's falling leaves have been the remarkable world's answer to itself for centuries, and for centuries some have listened, some have refused, but all have succumbed regardless. There's rich bounty in each molecular reaction from the blow and blast of the furnace of the WILL getting excited for the morning the evening knows will rub away. I've been convinced for so long I won't grow old that I can't wait to see if I will. The idea of dying the gray hairs I find on my head seems like giving too much to the refusal of the morning as well as the evening. Please stop insisting we be lost lost LOST out here in life, not feeling the dying we do. There are friends who have lied about me to themselves, but others know me. Hello liars and other friends. And hello Jessica, new friend. The chords in your neck share the melancholic human transmutations when you read your poems, you can say I'm full of shit, but I've heard it. Beautiful, and I've thought, HOLY FUCK this Jessica White has got the shit that chases the Living Dead off the dance floor! It's only the living who understand death who can really dance. Clarity is not always stuck on light. Some days I think FUCK the light's fabled goodness, a symptom of fear, born in the dark. One of my favorite Philadelphia drag queens is Needles Jones, and no one stares death in the face quite as well. Last year Needles had a stroke and almost died. When people see her still partying hard they shout, "NEEDLES!? WHAT ARE YOU DOING!? YOU ALMOST DIED!" She laughs, "ALMOST DOESN'T COUNT HONEY!" Last night I saw her sing at BAR NOIR in her matted blond wig and cocktail dress, belting out the words, "SPEEDING THROUGH THE RED LIGHTS OF LIFE! I'M SPEEDING THROUGH THE RED LIGHTS OF LIFE!" Some people were horrified as she threw her drink back at the microphone and lit a cigarette. Is it casual suicide like they think? To me it's a tremendous honor to see someone, at this dark hour of our human evolution saying FUCK YOU, THIS IS MY LIFE, I'M NOT BOTHERING ANYONE, I'M LIVING THE WAY I WANT TO LIVE, SO FUCK YOU! I bow to Needles Jones, who is truly afraid of NOTHING AND NO ONE! I begged her to write another play for us, her plays are SO GOOD! She liked the idea. She's at a place most human beings never get to in life, and we need more writing out of her, to get that message she has for us. I hope she writes it, I can't wait to see what she writes! She's the living, making her death known. I'm in awe. I have just as much awe for the dead who make themselves known to the living. Recently I participated in a celebration for Allen Ginsberg at St. Mark's Poetry Project. The reading was in the huge sanctuary, hundreds of people in the audience, and a dozen or so of us to go on stage and read his amazing poems. After the reading we all spontaneously stood and roared with applause to the empty microphone for Ginsberg's spirit, and this went on for about five solid minutes, this invocation. Wow. Then many of us went up to the balcony where wine and food was waiting. I was leaning on the railing with Ben Malkin and pointed back down to the sanctuary below, and we watched as an enormous cloud of incense from the DAY OF THE DEAD celebration next door entered the room and filled the area where we had just THUNDEROUSLY invited Ginsberg's spirit to the microphone. We looked at each other with such a smile of the Otherly. It filled the whole room, this massive BILLOW, rising up and over the balcony railings. That was so fucking pretty, that pretty smoke coming to shake hands, HELLO, HELLO, you could FEEL IT, and we weren't high, we were sober. Very sober. Touching the smoke was touching the life the death brings. A body of smoke coming to deal with the things the words fail. HELLO, HELLO, touch this right now, don't wait!
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(10/27/06) for Frank Sherlock. I would be agoraphobic if I could afford it. But I'd meet you once in a while for a beer Frank. Our city has been invaded and occupied by the horrid rich, making landlords the happiest it seems. The New York Times referred to Philadelphia as "blue collar kitsch," BLUE COLLAR KITSCH!? FUCK THE NEW YORK TIMES THIS OUR LIVES! Why don't they ever reply to my hate mail Frank? You and I have been friends for fifteen years now, and that amazing friendship and poetry are the same to me, inseparable. But I still can't believe you thought I went to New Mexico for a sex change. Man, don't you think I trust Philadelphia doctors? I'm not getting a sex change though because I'm a gender they don't have the parts for yet. Unless of course they could replace my genitals with a mini bar or toaster oven, I LOVE RYE TOAST! Speaking of rye toast I'm glad a bunch of us went to the diner the other day to celebrate my Philadelphia anniversary. That was so beautiful having a meal with friends in the same spot where I had my first meal in Philly EXACTLY half my life ago. What was up with that poetry reading earlier in the day though? The embarrassed poet showing us how she made clothes for the naked statues in the anthology out of yellow post-it notes, as though it was cute. Someone did say, "Ah, that's sweet," and I almost LOST IT, meaning angry, meaning what kind of artist censors another artist? Trust me, I understand how I set myself up for disappointment, expecting artists to be open and alive, but I WILL NOT trust an artist who apologizes for art! That anthology she filled with paper clothes for the naked statues was Surrealist Love Poems. Does she have ANY IDEA how pissed off Breton would be, hearing her read his poems after covering up the nipples, cocks and cunts!? Who needs Breton's anger, we can get there just fine without him! To NOT be angry in America, 2006, is to be subdued, duped, or high all the time. I want a crystal ring to my anger, a healthy inhalation of the stuff. Ian Keenan emailed me about Pennsylvania Green Party candidate Carl Romanelli being forcibly removed from the ballot by a pack of vicious lawyers and judges to squelch YET AGAIN that alternative voice so many of us seek, and NEED! Another election fixed? When writing to Green Party staff in Philadelphia and elsewhere, everyone confirmed the worst, in fact the more I read the worse the news became, meaning it's a nationwide epidemic with this mid-term so-called election. Going to work after reading such information is hard on the nerves and Soul, working retail for a bunch of rich creeps. Like this guy who said to me, peeling a hundred dollar bill off a roll of hundreds, "Once you break a hundred it's all over." I said, "Yeah, I know what you mean man, I feel the same way when I break a ten." He seemed confused by the pile of shit he found himself standing in, unsure what to do for a moment. Then he glared and called me a "SMARTASS" while walking away. What the FUCK did he expect me to say? Why would he think I know what it means to have a fist of hundred dollar bills? I wish I believed in redemption and divine justice like my grandma did. I wish I could believe in karma like some of my friends do. What I do believe in is a terrible thing to believe, but part of it includes hope. As awful as things are I'm not interested in serving Doom. Our friend Mary Kalyna says that when we went to hear Hugo Chavez speak in New York we went for a MUCH NEEDED political-spiritual recharge! Thank you Mary for reminding me, I'm needing the reminder tonight. We all need the reminder, don't we? Get brave and stay brave together! With us on that van ride to see Chavez speak was Michael Berg, a man who lost his son in Iraq. Look at Michael Berg now, HE'S SO BRAVE, running for congress in Delaware on the Green Party ticket. The other day when they barred him from the debates he defiantly walked onto the stage. The moderator said, "I'm asking you, Mr. Berg, to please leave the stage. If you want to make a spectacle of yourself, I understand that, but we're ready to start." Berg replied, "I think you're making a spectacle of democracy." I bow to Michael Berg's courage. And every week I look at my pay stub, see the taxes taken out, and imagine the machine guns it helps buy.
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(10/20/06) for John Mercuri Dooley. Can you still call it superstition when three palm readers have told you the same news? When I was in Albuquerque for a class in healing herbs for a few months I would go to Santa Fe and read tarot at the psychic fairs and cafes. Money is hard to come by in Philadelphia, but in Albuquerque it was especially tough. One afternoon I traded a tarot reading for a palm reading, and I don't remember the woman's name but she wanted to know if I REALLY WANTED TO KNOW what she saw. Yes, don't be ridiculous I said, YES! She said I would die in my early 40's, which didn't bug me at the time because I was 28 and didn't really trust her. It felt like a bad trade, her fast food meat breath yawning over my palm's short Life Line. Are you sure that's not the Heart Line? I could deal with a short Heart Line. No, my Heart Line and Love Line covered the hand, just deal with it she said. Everyone down there had their own special way of telling you to deal with it, something I look back on with a sharp nod, a resolve of black paint. Okay. And 2 more palm readers gave me the same news years later, the same exact news. There's much to do and I'm annoyed at having to waste so much of my time at stupid FUCKING jobs to pay the rent and keep living. Keep living. There are old men all over the city of Philadelphia, and I'm sure it's the same where you live? They're in the parks, in the Laundromats, in the same places every single time you see them. Routine seems comfortable, maybe after decades of working every day? What an awful STUPID idea this world is, getting people to DO THINGS for money, keep DOING things DOING things STUPID MINDLESS things! Human lives endlessly offered to fulfill someone's greed. Who could these old men have been? If I grow old I hope to be an old man who walks to a different spot every day, gathering other old men with me as I go, writing poems together. I'm annoyed at HOW THINGS TURNED OUT with human beings that has brought so many old men to this ridiculous state of passive breath. Why aren't you writing a poem? Why aren't you painting? Why aren't you protesting the war? And here I am turning 40 wondering WHAT THE FUCK they meant by dead in early 40's!? 44? 44 is early 40's, not exactly half way. And there really is so much to do. You know this, I don't have to tell you, do I? I want to open The Philadelphia Poetry Hotel, a place where poor and working class poets can move to and have low rent, like I did when I moved here in 1986, when no one wanted to be here, and I only needed a part time job to pay the bills. This city taught me how to write poems! No JOKE! It's another way of saying this city taught me to Love the world. Even my angry poems are Love poems, at least I want them to be Love poems right now. I want others to have their own Love in Philadelphia, their own poems, but the city's so expensive now, even I can't afford to just have one full time job, plus read tarot cards on the side to silly old rich bitches I instruct to NOT wear their furs around me! I'm tired of them asking if their husbands are cheating, that's all they fucking care about. When I see the rich I REALLY GET the whole pitchforks and torches at the gates in olden days OH YES! There's very little time, and I don't even want to sleep, sleep is such an annoyance, such a waste. I put sleep to work by doing dream therapy with crystal infused water, which has led to me having astral projections, which has become a series of poems, but at least sleep doesn't feel like lost time anymore. And YES I PLAY THE LOTTERY, you bet I do! It's probably the only thing I have in common with my white trash family, and YES I play the same fucking numbers, you bet! And I'm going to win. And I'm going to open the hotel, and then I'm going to go to the fucking plastic surgeon and have him lengthen my fucking Life Line once and for all! What a bunch of bullshit palm reading is! But I still believe it, until I make it to 45. Wish me luck, I'm seriously asking you to wish me luck.
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(10/05/06) for Ange Mlinko. The brain assimilates regular sounds, chewing, jackhammers, laughter, slander, faggot, dyke, faggot, dyke. The Philadelphia School Board is deciding whether to make October Gay & Lesbian History Month, and in doing so asked that polls be taken. POLLS!? Did LBJ conduct polls in Alabama and Mississippi, asking folks how they felt about Civil Rights issues first? NO! Nor should he have! When you know what's right you don't ask permission! When you KNOW how many teens are killing themselves, when you know the level of suffering, polls are not an option. Local TV 10 said it was the MOST number of calls they ever received for a poll. Over 70% were opposed, no big surprise. Of course they think it's a bad idea! THAT'S WHY Gay & Lesbian HISTORY Month is important! PEOPLE JUST DON'T KNOW WHO WE ARE! One person wrote, "It's one thing to promote tolerance, but quite another to promote a lifestyle." JESUS FUCKING CHRIST! It's NOT Gay & Lesbian LIFESTYLE Month you fucking cracker FUCK! It's HISTORY month! Gay & Lesbian HISTORY MONTH! Who in the FUCK is opposed to their kids learning HISTORY!? Maybe if kids spent more time learning history they would KNOW who Henry Kissinger is, for instance. And in knowing who Henry Kissinger is they too might be concerned that he is spending A LOT OF TIME in the White House these days visiting with our latest war president. Let's not forget, Kissinger is the man who said "We lost Vietnam because we lost our Will." What the FUCK does that mean by the way?!!! Lost our WILL to do what!? Drop MORE NAPALM!? What a PIECE OF SHIT Kissinger is! WHY DON'T KIDS KNOW WHAT A PIECE OF SHIT KISSINGER IS!? He's been at the White House a lot lately, meeting with Bush who, LO AND BEHOLD, comes up with a speech the other day in which he HAS THE NERVE TO SAY, "The party of FDR, the party of Truman, has become the party of Cut and Run!" Hmm, sounds like Kissigner's "We lost Vietnam because we lost our Will." Hmm, don't you think? The brain assimilates regular sounds, car honks, barks, bombs, screams, a president's well-trained, sincerest tone. 800 human beings are killed every week in Iraq. 800 human beings, I repeat, are killed every week in Iraq. Do you pay your taxes? I pay my taxes. We pay our taxes, don't we? Our dollar bills flying over the ocean, turning into bullets somewhere along the way, hitting someone in the head, and they're down. We're all down. We're all complicit in this evil, and are down. We must be able to come to terms with our broken hearts. We must be able to admit how much this bothers us. America has the largest number of sleeping pills sold in local pharmacies. America wants to sleep one way or the other. America keeps looking for newer, better sleeping pills. There's always a new one, then there's always a newer one, a better one. Help us sleep, we ask. It's a difficult thing, sleep, when so much death is done in our names, with our money. And everywhere I go everyone's always trying to prove that they know how to have fun. That they know how to party. "It's okay, it's okay," I say, "The terrible things that happen to others really DO affect your heart, you don't have to try so hard to hide it." If I vomit in your direction will you move the party across the hall? I'm only sorry that I don't know how to be sorry about it anymore. Which is saying I lost something? Yes, yes, but it was good to lose it. The brain assimilates regular sounds. What are the regular sounds in your home? What are the regular sounds in the homes of Baghdad? What? What? What? Keep asking with me please.
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(9/26/06) for Corina Copp. The times the sky looks like a painting helps me absorb paintings better, and I'm not talking paintings of clouds I'm talking ROTHKO, which some days is a cloud the battlefields of the Soul welcomes, and rains down, floods guns and soothes a few screamers. Or creates a screaming, a new one, the one we'll all finally HEAR and all finally respond to -- there IT is -- here we are -- what do we do? -- we'll figure it out -- we'll figure it out -- okay, let's do that. "when i do not write / i am experiencing / something i will write about later." --Kathryn L. Pringle (Kate). Magdalena and Kate were married yesterday at San Francisco's city hall. I took a couple dozen pictures of them filling out their forms, waiting for their number to be called. After $42 the certificate printed out. Before I even left Philadelphia, Maggie said the most important photograph for me to take would be of she and Kate holding their certificate in front of the Harvey Milk statue. We walked around city hall in search of his statue. No one knew where it was, every office kept sending us to another office. We wanted to share this beautiful union with our queer martyr, like Christians do with their martyr Jesus. Finally in the basement office of Building Control we found out there is no Harvey Milk statue, and never has been one. Maggie was sure of it though. She saw it, once, somewhere, at city hall. The three of us looking for her imaginary statue was lovely, my own mind imagining him twelve feet tall, bending down, touching our most immediate, external chakras as we approached, and I couldn't wait to see him. We settled for the Abraham Lincoln statue, another American homo martyr, but we wanted Harvey Milk, we wanted the missing one, the one still hidden in uncarved stone. Maggie and Kate were beautiful, even when Kate was grumpy because she wanted lunch and was tired of me saying Pose here, Kiss here, Just one more picture, How about you putting the certificate on the step and you rest your faces on either side of it while facing each other? Suzanne Stein joined us later for dinner. At one point I mentioned needing to see the ROTHKO at the SFMOMA, and she very generously offered tickets to the museum, which is where I am right now, writing this. THANK YOU SUZANNE! Before the museum opened I prepared myself with chunks of dark chocolate and hot chocolate for the altered state I was seeking, to see and feel the returning fins. Rothko reverses my evolution with #14, 1960. I hate the descriptive sign beside the painting. What a bunch of bullshit that is! Telling us how certain colors will burst forward when looking at it, etc., etc., and I wish now that I hadn't read it, it's fucking with my chocolate high. More than once I tried to encourage others to NOT read the sign, to step back and look at it on their own. Fine, look at me like I'm crazy! All I want is for everyone in here to LOOK AT THIS painting without the assistance of the so-called "expert" who wrote the stupid sign. I'm so sick of experts. But more than experts I'm sick of people seeking the advice of experts. "Oh, please TELL ME what this painting means, my mind's too feeble to understand without you!" I want to cover the sign with my own, "IGNORE THIS NONSENSE AND BE BURNED ALIVE ON YOUR OWN TERMS!" Why do we go to museums? Why do we bother with paintings if we're just going to be led around by our noses? Where is the expert who tells us we're our own experts at how we feel about this world? How does it taste? What do you see when you give yourself a chance to see on your own? Can you feel your own creative juices? How does THAT taste? Are we delicious? Are we delicious yet and breaking down the door together? I'm ready to break it the fuck down, with you! Are you ready? Can we do this now?
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(9/23/06) for Dottie Lasky. San Francisco, Haight Street, where sexy Anton LaVey used to walk his pet lion. Tonight the fog rides the wind at street-light level, white shapes zipping through the frame of light, apparitions, lovers, food. I want to climb a pole and meet it head-on, mouth open, fog in the mouth, I want fog in my mouth, to never stop knowing how delicious this world can be. Last night I read with my friend Magdalena Zurawski at SPT for the very generous Elizabeth Treadwell. Are those readings recorded? There's a man in a booth at the back of the room which feels like -- you know -- SOMETHING is going on, BUT I would LOVE to listen again to Magdalena's sex chapter, to where the room's gasps and laughter came in. When I heard her read this in Philadelphia we were tense and breathless through the sex and the wound -- Is this hurting her? Is this her pleasure? The laughter last night was a strange comfort, and I was sitting next to Kate thinking WE LOVE YOU poet, novelist, whatever you're calling yourself these days! Very good time later on too, drinking with this city's marvelous bunch of poets! Magdalena and I both drank entirely too much. Her whiskeys put her out till the bartender shook her awake. After my fifth martini I forgot this is San Francisco instead of Philadelphia and lit a cigarette to the exclamation of several voices around me, including the bartender, who had just about had enough of us. I put it out in my martini and declared there can't be a law against drinking tobacco, then threw the drink back, laughing. Stupid fun. If I had a video camera I would record this fog tonight, hours and hours of it whipping past the lights. Have you ever loved an element as much? I want to climb the pole, undo my pants and suck fog inside me, my sphincter, my gulping, fog-swallowing sphincter. Earlier tonight I was on the Haunted Haight Tour with Magdalena, Kate, and Elise. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS TOUR! Jim Jones lived here, and signed the cement sidewalk, dated 1976. Another block later we stood where a young man was killed in front of Janis Joplin's apartment. A residual haunting can still be heard of his heavy boots running to where his blood soaked the street corner. Then there's the garage where Charles Manson once lived. And then the house where the ghost of a little girl hides CDs in the freezer, and hates the photographs of other children, which the residents can never find again. They buy her dolls, and keep them on a shelf for her. Levi Strauss & Company was excited when Potter's Field was dug up because the century-old graves revealed hundreds of skeletons with their Levi jeans completely intact. Capitalist SCUM marketing on the memories of men too poor for proper burials! But can you believe city officials MADE Anton LaVey give his lion to the city zoo, saying it was too dangerous to walk in the streets? Who had to deliver that message? There's a curse bearer for sure. "Don't kill the messenger" not just an expression. Hmm, and I wonder if LaVey went to the zoo to share raw steak with his lion friend? While on the haunted tour I saw two more examples of my favorite graffiti in this city: fig. All lower case, the "g" such a flourish it reminds me of squid. Figs and squid, two of my favorite things on Earth. Magdalena says squid tastes delicious, but I prefer squid swimming, shooting ink out the ass. I would LOVE to shoot ink out the ass! The THINGS I would do if I could to THAT! The guide on our haunted tour was a gorgeous barrel of a man whose talk of Quantum Entanglement turned me on like few men can do! GRR HE'S HOT! I wanted to take him back to Jim Jones's house and make out on the sidewalk, our cheeks pressed to the cement signature. And later I would use my newfound squid super powers and blow ink out the ass, spelling on the street, "I'M NOT EXACTLY SURE BUT I THINK I'M IN LOVE WITH YOU BEAUTIFUL HAUNTED HAIGHT TOUR GUIDE SIR!" I would LOVE to have sex in Charles Manson's garage (yet another seemingly unrealistic goal to manifest) HOO-RAH!
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(9/20/06) for Eileen Tabios. New York City to see Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez at Cooper Union. My friend Mary Kalyna and her comrades at The Global Women's Strike gave me a ticket. So few tickets, and so many others I know who would want to be here. In line for security check there's a man who has a Masters degree in "postwar reconstruction." What kind of class was that? "Before we learn reconstruction we must first learn how cities are destroyed. Let's examine some of our most recent atrocities shall we?" Did his father congratulate him at graduation, "Good pick son, you'll always have work!" The imagination wills you to sickness in little degrees, trying to determine the vultures from the other carnivores. SUDDENLY Carol Mirakove appears! Why the fuck can't Carol get in!? Can't we sneak her in? But the secret service are tearing everyone's bags apart. Carol and Jen Benka were at the UN protesting. They saw a great protest sign, "Would someone please give George W. Bush a blow job so we can impeach him?" It's good to laugh about one's dictator with friends. Why can't poets open for presidents? Carol would set the fucking room on fire reading her book MEDIATED! Can Carol and I fake conjoined twins to get in? It would be fun trying. Ticket 100296 with Chavez's smiling face big as a pinky print. They make me trade the ticket for a tag and safety pin: INVITADOS. We're handed bundles and T-shirts and flags. Someone hands me an English translation of the Venezuelan constitution, "Thank you," "No, thank YOU," she says emphatically. Harry Belefonte walks out with Chavez and the room is on its feet chanting, "CHAVEZ! AMIGO! EL PUEBLO ESTA CONTIGO!" (CHAVEZ! FRIEND! THE PEOPLE ARE WITH YOU!) Chavez walks onstage and points to the large banner of Abraham Lincoln and Francisco de Miranda. The quote from Miranda reads, "We must remember that we are fighting liberty and that all free men must be valiant, generous and humanitarian; only the cowards are (slaves), cruel, greedy and corrupted." Chavez thanks The Global Women's Strike for their hard work, and Mary and the others jump up with their banner of support. He thanks others, including a contingent of rabbis with buttons, "A JEW NOT A ZIONIST." The youngest rabbi runs a giant bouquet to the stage, which the police shift and block. Chavez roars into his criticism of the UN, how wrong it all is as a system. That it should be a round table of debates, not speeches. He mocks world leaders showing up for photo-opts, says, "SMILE! SMILE while every 3 seconds a child starves to death! THIS IS MADNESS!" He calls Bush the smell of "SULFUR" and continues to refer to the smell all around him. Sulfur, the Sulfur. The crowd erupts, "BUSH! ESCUCHA! EL PUEBLO ESTA EN LUCHA!" (BUSH! LISTEN! THE PEOPLE ARE FIGHTING!) He tells us that Fox News asked him why he is an enemy of the US. He says, "NO! I AM NOT! I am a friend of your people, the workers, the women, the students, they all have profound traditions we respect and cherish! It's your government I detest because I am an enemy of injustice!" The crowd erupts again, "CHAVEZ! AMIGO!" He tells us investigations have proven the attempted coup of his government was designed and carried out from within the Pentagon. He throws Cindy Sheehan a kiss, yells "AMIGO!" He says it is time to bring George Walker Bush to international court on charges of genocide, that this MUST BE DONE! Smell of sulfur, do you smell the sulfur he asks? He demands that the UN insist a country's budget use no more than 3% for military spending. He tells us when Mark Twain saw what the US was doing to Puerto Rico he wrote, "I AM ANTI IMPERIALIST!" And that Twain insisted the American flag's stars be replaced with skull and cross bones, the white stripes made black. Mary is almost trampled getting Chavez to sign her copy of the constitution. I shake his hand with hundreds of others, and think about how he wants Cooper Union to build a sister school in Venezuela, to make a free exchange of ideas. We need to share the truth to fight the smell of the Sulfur he says. Can you smell the Sulfur?
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(9/15/06) for Clayton Banes. Football players who make good with the ball jump off their feet and meet a teammate in the air to slam HEART CHAKRAS together. Can we get a close-up of their impact, frozen, to see this delicious transference of heart power? Ah, yeah, it's melting chocolate for the soul. Men elevating the solar plexus in the air to stamp hearts together is the work of The Sublime. I'm ready to slam heart chakras with this Philadelphia oak tree RIGHT NOW! My ear to its bark. Where's its heart beat? Can't hear it. I want to connect, want to connect, want to connect with YOU oak tree! I'm out here to write in your book Clayton, and of course books are made from hearts of trees (which explains the oak hiding its pulse). I needed a break from typing poems for the queer anthology Tim Peterson is publishing, in particular the very long "G-9" by Tim Dlugos. Typing this poet's risks of Love, for LIFE with AIDS, dying, but living, got me crying, fits of crying with little control. And I Love the poem even more now, but just the same fear sitting down to type it. Clicking out 14 pages got me thinking of my old boyfriend Tommy my friend Elizabeth didn't want me to date, afraid I'd "catch his AIDS." My friend Jen yelled at her "You stupid BITCH!" when she showed up to interrupt our first date at Jameson Cafe. Everyone meant well, but they had no idea how our skin felt together, hearts PRESSED, so, just, so. When Tommy broke up with me it was like someone walking into the woods to be alone at the end. His boss at the used bookstore told me he was dead and I did acid with my neighbor, but wandered home in the middle of tripping an evil trip to be alone in my own wooded patch, trying three doors until my key took. I curled up and cried, waking in sticky vomit. Pain is so exhausting, Love being at fault. Love is guilty of turning off, as well as turning on, one chakra at a time. Hey, Clayton, I think I hear the tree's heart finally, yeah, there it is. I'm always ready for my heart chakra to be POUNCED open, pried open, whispered open, whatever it takes! At the gay bookstore I worked with Gilbert while he was in the police academy. He was their best student, which is why we didn't get along. He became Philadelphia's first openly gay cop, in the newspapers, on TV. I didn't like him but feared for him. Was it a month or two months later he shot himself in the head with his service revolver? The Philadelphia Gay News said he was respected and missed by his fellow officers. When Rita Odessa told me the REAL story of Gilbert enduring daily, brutal assaults from every cop in the precinct I rented the Harvey Milk documentary JUST TO FASTFORWARD to see the cop cars on fire. BURN PIG BURN! "Satan is just another cop to stay ahead of" my mother said. Maybe I need to find a cop and slam our hearts together. How would he react? Suck this dark world red, the lies in the gay newspaper, as Rita says, as I realize, to continue making bridges with city hall. When homophobia and suicide are traded for gay republican award ceremonies, are the bridges you're making really just tunnels? And do you call those tunnels burrows when they don't reach the other side? If your parents are racist, but accept you, do you accept their racism for their acceptance? Trade HELL on earth, it's like living, when you live, sometimes, isn't it? Are you alive? Are you compromised, deleted by increments of real live choices? I want to avenge the silence that annihilates this song. Did someone pull the jukebox plug? Does the bartender who is really a cop have a secret button back there under the beer tap? I'm going to FUCKING SCREAM if that song isn't turned back on! Okay, or maybe press my heart to the oak tree outside. There's always that. Love is always that close. That sounds corny, but is very TRUE! Love's the last thing we should fear, and even then....
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(9/10/06) for Jason Zuzga. Thanks Jason for being part of this project. It was great meeting you last night with my good friend Frank Sherlock at DOOBIES. What you plan to study at Penn sounds fascinating, and please let me know what you think of Bartram's Garden, especially now that you have Jonathan Williams's book An Ear In Bartram's Tree (hope the garden's Franklinia is still in bloom). I want to fill as much of this blank space in the back of the book, so no paragraph breaks. 9/10/06 is where I WANT to start this project because I DON'T REMEMBER September 10, 2001. Do you? The incalculable loss of that following day MAKES us remember with great, terrible sadness. But I am LIVING in September 10th 2006, taking a deep breath here, on the sidewalk, writing in your book next to an assembly of tiny red ants taking apart a hunk of coffee cake someone dropped. After you left the bar last night Frank was talking about the LOSS activism suffered after 9/11, meaning, as he said, that among many other things, the brave and tireless energy against globalization shifted to antiwar, and Frank NEEDS to write this Love letter to us about this loss, because we NEED that Love letter, everyone, to stop losing, so, much. This morning's beauty is welcome as I just finished watching vice president Dick Cheney on MEET THE PRESS. Not once, but twice he said that pulling out of Iraq will give the impression to the terrorists that Americans can't "stomach" war. Cheney and Bush already give the impression they can't "stomach" Love between two women or two men. No pussy-pussy, penis-penis for Batman and Robin. Cheney should send his self-hating lesbian daughter to the battlefield, see how his stomach holds up with the other parents praying every single fucking night of their lives to BRING THEM HOME alive. Especially since he didn't mind asking her to help his reelection campaign, in effect asking her to support THE MOST openly homophobic American government since Ronald Reagan. Dick Cheney's heart is in bad shape, literally, and it's no wonder. How can a heart withstand the PRESSURE of sitting in front of Tim Russert's very pointed questions without blinking? If the mind will not give itself to sanity, won't the heart balance the injustice by breaking apart a little at a time? Mr. vice president, where are the ants taking this coffee cake? Will they reassemble it in an underground chamber? Can we dig it up, find it whole again? Dunk it in coffee while walking to the museum? Mr. vice president, what color were your undergarments this morning as you sat there TELLING US yet again that Saddam Hussein was a threat? Were they blue? As blue as Krishna's skin? Ah, your cock held in the color of great oceans having come to have their way with history. Dear Mr. vice president must we be anointed with the salt and cream of your ejaculations for our epiphanies to rise and defend your mistakes with you? Will you help us Love war as much as you hate Love? We need your superior arguments orbiting the heart attack wards of America. Are we coming full circle with our history of tyrannical mischief and murder? My boyfriend Rich insists I shove my fist up his ass, and this is what we come to understand as our most poignant and deserved pleasure. When the ants tear me apart in the grass, find the queen's lair, dig me up, wake me wholly reformed and Reformed. Welcome to Philadelphia Jason, where the owners of slaves once assumed sanity's position with declaration, father, father, tool in bag. I have no stomach for war, call me a faggot and win a prize.
(NOTE: Frank Sherlock wrote that Love letter to us, click RIGHT HERE RIGHT NOW!)
(NOTE: Frank Sherlock wrote that Love letter to us, click RIGHT HERE RIGHT NOW!)