Two playing Batman… y Robin? Cowboys
and Indians have their roots. These days it
makes you famous. You are a B-school
dropout / software developer. Steal an idea,
steal a mind / steal more / steal friendship
over the code. (God I’m so over the code.) I
want it clear and natural. Like a playback / a
funk playback. You are a Primadonna / of
course you are up inside. You have knives in
your bandana, a miniskirt of waste weapons
to play with. As defined in the dictionary.
You get nasty at parties / something you do
Sex or cartoon? That’s a tough one. Cereal-
box epithets no good the milk truly sour
Ezra Pound / Richie Cunningham. Who’ll
elope with Fonzie on a motorbike? Jump the
shark? Gidget / Veronica / blue-hair
Madonna. Restful in front unwash your face
all gunk and grimy. Who came on you? I
hope you’ll want to make these moments in-
between truly wicked. But I don’t have the
right subtext. Your mascara is a running mix
of arms and arm-wrestling hurting you so
bad I need a bar to break the stereotypes. So
wet your lips and smile—
To purify the dialect of the tribe…
Dear Lucy, Luciferina, what does it mean if
you come back to me after 35 minutes, 35
seconds, or 500 days? I drove 2000 miles &
then I drove 2000 miles backwards—across
the deserts and across the midlands and the
wetlands. I saw you in a Sante Fe Gospel, an
Aztec librarian. I watched you stack rocks
on a hillside in Texas-Oklahoma. And in
Memphis, there was a pyramid. I miss you
now that I am back home among the ways of
my people. Now that my wing bones are
growing back, dollar bills in the hollows of
my ribcage. I don’t want to be prettified. But
sooner or later, I won’t have anyone else.
Would you like to wear my pyjamas? You
are quiet, you have more skin, you don’t
want to cover it? What can I tell you that
you don’t know? My Life is funny. You
were a lamb/furnace when we met; I was the
stiff wings of a baby goat. You thought
about me more than you wanted. Now that is
all body and scar tissue. Go ahead and ask
me something. (I might have something, if it
weren’t for all these puzzles and ballgames.)
I’ve learned a new theory: in your eye a
blood vessel can just pop and then you walk
around with a bloody eye for a few days.
That doesn’t make you a hieroglyph.
Well first of all there is the Atman, which is
there—a sort of divine/semi-divine thing,
incorruptible; the corruptible down-river
there/not there where Ulysses hides.
Ulysses, counterpart to the real. He stands
at the river and prepares to swim. And the
river, it is prepared to become steam.
Because, all around (them) the crowd is
yelling, Fusion. And they are saying, Play
here. Or they are saying, Leave us. But the
Atman, he isn’t decided by what they say.
He is decided by what he thinks. He is, right
now, thinking of someone he is willing to
die for. And he isn’t that person. He is
thinking that you probably aren’t either.
And neither is Ulysses, that scoundrel.
But now it is your turn. Standing tiny, with
your remote control extended, wax-on wax-
off, if you can break X number of boards
with your bare hands or open a beer-bottle
with your teeth, you win a car. Now the
interview can begin. The interview steers
clear of your qualifications—what your vitae
taught you, or how you learned to be a
good, productive person. Instead, they will
want to know only when did you swallow the
nicotine? Or how old was the girl? And what
did you say that you did with her? All these
things were never so hot to you. Because
this is everything that you went for. This is
what you must lie down with, you must be
absolutely sure. And absolutely quiet.
The highway project was stalled. In spite
of the money, in spite of the New Year.
The engines were stopped. People just sat
on their seats watching. “Just put it in the
pile with our other attempts,” said the man
in the black hat, which was another way
of saying what the people had just said.
Then the sun went by or the sun went by.
Meanwhile, nothing looked as good as you
did. People, when they looked at you they
said, “Alors, this is my beautiful attempt,
my dollar.” (They couldn’t decide which
one you were.) They pointed at you and
held you up to the light. They covered
you in the ground. If they couldn’t see
you, then they pointed at the sky.
I see your love in a gold mine. I hear you
more and more. Crows in the wood.
Castles. Why do you still want me? (Why
do I still want you?) Here is a twenty,
here is a thirty dollar bill for the pizza-
man. When the delivery comes—just give
it to him. Or: buy me some fries, buy me
a soda. I’m going places. (All of them.)
I’m three pennies twisted in your sides.
I’m one and altogether. I have a night-
barrier. I have promised. Where have
the highwaymen put my shirt? (Why—
are you one of them?) There are two sides
to everything. The most important thing
to remember is: I fixed you up, I put you
in a dark suit. I wanted you to make it.
Artlessly vague. You’re a cynic.
Dream-doll in your pigtails and
freckles, eye-liner and high-goth black
lipstick (lipstick) you dress like an adult
version of yourself. And I–I’m an
adult version of myself too. Mannequin-
man, accordion man, ostrich man with
bionic suit and power tie. Now we’re
both actual, paying customers. The
waitress, when she sees us she says, let
me begin by saying how nice it is to
meet you. She brings us our plates. She
hums into her apron, humming how
much, how much will they give me?
To paraphrase: the menu. Stuck under
the dandelion’s right foot. Houseling the
glands and teeth and hair (and teenage
wisdom) within us until the breath went
out of us; we became human. Didn’t you
feel it: swimming alone in the porch-
light, camped out under the trees? Now
there is an eerie glow where our eyes
used to be. Now we’re zombies; now
we’ve no heads. The real thought of a
therapist isn’t helpful. Houdini? That
park is thick with liars. And they are
more brutish, more than happy to give
us answers. No No. No No No.
Or the water—what does it have to do to
be safe? When it lies down with you when
you see your reflection, and—you
want to see it. She says, you can’t catch
cancer from other people, but I don’t
trust them. Then, I felt overlooked. I felt
drugged. I felt like my insides were
cooking. Now, after all these years, how
do I find myself all tiny again, all seated
at the table, at the table with my baby-
doll St. Agnes Moorehead, St. Agnes
Moorehead? (And they have a tear.)
St Agnes? The left eye is a little bigger,
or the right one. And the kohl doesn’t
help. She begins to wonder if she’ll be
gone by the first scene. And sometimes
she is gone. Into the first-class cabin,
into the cabin, into the sleeping-car of
whatever vehicle they happen to be on.
She doesn’t reach for her vehicles. Of
course the water is a vehicle: there is
The Pride billowing : The Pride. She
says, I don’t want you to see me like
this. I don’t want you to see me.
Brother, the bus ticket is fading
and the night is bestial. In my hand
the beer bottle breaks, taking my
blood to heaven. There is pretty
sunshine there, even the negative
shimmers in quick gold, the gold
coming from so many dreams.
The boy who resembles my father.
He draws a face–it’s open, it’s mine.
I confess: I think that we have been
holding hands all along. Let us
go sit. Tonight, the elephants
leave the story, the record-players
leave the sky.
Time, it’s time. We left elaborate
instructions for them. The car
on the edge of a quarry, the keys
inside. The swimmer, underwater.
And this poor fellow on the bridge,
lying. He has a lava future to sell.
A Mesozoic. Paleolithic. Hiding
under the lizard: lizard-skin, lizard-
pelt, lizard-penis. He cannot picture
the exact moment, exactly locate
the moment she drops her shawl
for the dandelion, for the road.
But he says the water is spotted
with dark berries, with thorns.
Wind chimes, praise god, I’m re-learning to
shoot outside the warehouse full of
dynamite. In my vest, in my pocket, blood
from the still-open wound. I’m re-learning to
shoot from the hip, from the gut, from the
upper-class penthouse apartment of my lady
friend. She lets me use her window while
she makes ‘Significant Art.’ We reclaim the
night, and she only asks that I don’t miss.
But what I really like is the way my body is
healing, how the scars are pouring their own
sand, smoothing the welts. Soon, I’ll be able
to step back into the daytime, out of the
staircase into a dirty street. I’ll raise my gun
left-handed. I’ll be your mirror image.
Tamarinds to remind you of Oscar night:
those wet rocks, slick pods. It was a good
performance. I jumped up on the ledge
screaming I want to eat you! When in fact I
only wanted to hear you say it: Yes, Yes. I
wanted to be inside you, upside-down–and
later, when I was, I tasted your legs. I said
they were the most delicious feelings. I
couldn’t control them–nobody could. I saw
that those legs would take you through a
desert one day, to the edge of a continent. I
saw that the mermaids would sing. And that
you might listen to their song: This land is
bitter. This land is sour. But that’s what we
love about it.
One day I will fall out of the sky
into your oven. I will say to you
Betty Crocker, you better cook me.
Cover me in vegetables and disgusting
sauce. Put a white apple in my mouth.
I will lick it like a newborn.
Because, I am like that. I am not
your innuendo or ear infection
or even a carrier of this disease. I am
the beast who talks. [& sometimes wills.]
So shoot me. Cook me. Beat me with
your mallet. Things are shaggy in here
and I am not afraid to say so.
I don’t know, George. It’s like I’ve
been saying about the last century:
an abnormal amount of wet. It’s
like we had to evolve a certain je ne
sais quoi–a blade–to cut the sponge
from the kelp. To shake it loose.
To clench it. In the end it didn’t
taste so good. Perhaps that’s my bad.
I didn’t make the meat, I know,
au jus. But we live in a bloody age
and I like you a little, still. So bite down
on my finger, once more. And remember–
I am not going to do this again.
Acquiesce is a scab that won’t heal
and when she picks it that’s when
the world starts to come home.
Norman Bates isn’t just a taxidermist–
he’s using living models! And of course
we know about the girl in the upstairs
room. Such a prim thing, such a
slim thing. Betelg—. So Sally made him
breakfast, made him neat, gave him
breast-perception, recognition, writing-
time. Adjunct Professor, she wrote letters
to Allure, to Seventeen, to Cosmopolitan,
made him Promise to use Pam. She was
clipping the coupons; it was going swell.
But then Oh what a damn thing–Four
and Twenty blackbirds baked in a pie.
Lizzie Borden’s Condensed Milk
Much more than in the Boston papers
the gasoline-soaked rag was lining the
edifice; nearby, a smoldering pack of
matches ignited by a rose. Forty-three
cents dropped in a ditch. Squalor
over the burning yachts. And tenements
which refused to go up with the high-
rises. The birds were not the first birds
to protest–just the first to sit on the wire.
(And maybe the first to shit on cars.)
Meanwhile the majority of Caseys
had struck out. So, yes. She would,
if anyone asked, bring the axe to the
ball-game. O sincere curve, o malingering
splitter. She always kept a cool reserve
of water near.