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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!