Wayne Koestenbaum

#11 [slaughter ball]
#16 [a pear blue green slivered near brown]

 

#11 [slaughter ball]

 

 

            I promised him
an ode, “Jared
stubble in parfumerie”

 

_________

 

 

            enjoy the bumps
obstructing cognition—


 

_________

 

 

            two or three
roses beautiful because
they are separate from
each other—separated
roses are more beautiful
than joined roses


 

_________

 

 

            she’d never
heard of sugar snap
peas—I explained
sugar snap peas in detail


 

_________

 

 

imbibe straight male
narcissism, see how
it tastes and sounds


 

________

 

             Elaine
Stritch died yesterday,
89—see mother once more
before she turns 84


 

________

 

 

hooked on Cheops


 

_________

 

 

my hand lit up and
crammed into you


 

_________

 

           

             or Schoenberg’s
waxed bikini line
redux, trilling like Romeo


 

_________

 

 

             nonstop
Otello storm clouds,
his fat unshaved
chops sucking storied
lollipop


 

_________

 

 

             nose of
96-year-old blind
mother of anyone,
a face moving
into early dementia


 

_________

 

 

dementia at
96 isn’t early


 

_________

 

 

I like the word “stipple”
I say at lunch


 

_________

 

 

common for sons
to be sued for defamation
of character—I have
thrice been tried


 

_________

 

 

aunt whose last shame
before death is witnessing
the mayo bologna fight


 

_________

 

           

no pee coming from Fed Ex
man at urinal, I linger
by sink and allow silence
to blossom so his pee-
shyness can grow audible—


 

_________

 

 

maybe upper middle
class dad will smother
the baby—


 

_________

 

 

            your near-
death experience
involved a wall
of grape hyacinths


 

_________

 

 

identification with crying
baby but also a wild
wish to stop the crying
by stopping the baby’s
existence


 

_________

 

 

vielleicht the baby
is a future war
criminal


 

_________

 

 

her name is Aurore
Clément—she
plays the mother in
Chabrol’s Bridesmaid


 

_________

 

 

I added Venetian
red which is really
brown to create an
illusion of ground
beneath a car


 

_________

 

 

added ultramarine blue
above the car and
accidentally effaced
purple coneflower stems


 

_________

 

 

            then dragged
a pencil through
pink to retrieve
lost lines of two
figures coitally embroiled


 

_________

 

 

            and now I
see a rhubarb-colored
dodge ball (slaughter ball?)
balanced between two
mustard lines—


 

_________

 

 

skillfulness abides in
seemingly random and
unthought decisions—


 

_________

 

 

            deliberation,
if it occurs, must
itself be spontaneous—


 

_________

 

 

            I won’t
ask him to pose—
asking involves
a level of abjection
even I am incapable
of descending to—


 

_________

 

                       

            though
deciding I won’t ask
fills me with teen
despair—father’s
fullness reigning
over me with titanic
indomitability—


 

________

 

 

             my recourse
to code situates
me as Satan, not
major-domo Satan but
Satan’s little helper
with an apron and
thimble and food
processor for slicing
carrots on the bias—


 

__________

 

 

            Josep
Pla’s anti-Semitic description
of Jewish necks—


 

_________

 

 

caught having sex with a
guy at 17, pants opened,
dicks out, taunted for
a year


 

_________

 

 

            an edible
crawling tortoise
we ran over and couldn’t
eat the murdered meat


 

________

 

 

wanton destructiveness
toward my private
property—


 

_________

 

 

            a problem
for five decades, these
objective unlyrical statements


 

_________

 

 

maybe gradually caress
his arm to receive
touch backward


 

_________

 

 

scarf by Vera a status
symbol in Coral Gables
or towns that yearn
to be Coral Gables


 

_________

 

 

cross out a big area
with bilge and then
write on top of the bilge


 

_________

 

 

             headed
toward hell, saying
please to hell as I approach
its ambiguous gate—
or is hell a river?


 

_________

 

 

            in the Hill
Korwa tribe’s drawings,
an alphabet wordlessly
emerges


 

_________

 

 

a non-gay-seeming
man was holding hands
with a gay-seeming man near
the ragtag pharmacy

 

 

 

#16 [a pear blue green slivered near brown]

 

the death books I haven’t read

 

_________

 

 

my trumpet teacher is dead and I
don’t want a lesson from his son,
a cougher

 

_________

 

 

“we are so alike”
my grandfather said
in his erotic inscription

 

_________

 

 

            a recorded
clinical voice like silent
Nazimova’s Salomé

 

 

_________

 

 

             saying “data”
with a Frank O’Hara accent

 

_________

 

 

            the painting
has a frog in its throat

 

_________

 

 

in the elevator mirror my
jaw looked swollen

 

_________

 

 

            at 13 she
sang in Cavalleria Rusticana—
debut dreamt or real?

 

_________

 

 

I almost fainted
from imprudent diet pills

 

_________

 

 

draw the grapes on his
arm—I want hair
to compose a proposal

 

_________

 

 

begin to see any pelvis
as a covered wagon

 

_________

 

 

and start to wonder how
genitals discern destination—
why each groin seems
to contain two genders

 

_________

 

 

             to write in
the midst of a sexy demon-
stration on the subway

 

_________

 

 

            wondering why the
man’s knees are crossed,
legs and hands forming
a triangle like elongated Bruckner
phrase if Lenny Bernstein
were wearing a nightie

 

_________

 

 

                        we caress
on the street and I say
to the horse I am an
exhibitionist, not the black
glasses of Roman Polanski

 

_________

 

 

             mouth of
a man who resembles
John Coplans

 

_________

 

 

            perceiving
myself as a body by dis-
covering how to unearth
outlines beneath gesso,
digging a B pencil into
wet surfaces—

 

_________

 

 

he recommends a blending
brush, Richter’s secret

 

_________

 

 

the year argyle
(sweater, socks)
tried to change
my life and failed

 

________

 

 

            he is praying,
not stroking himself—
the two activities in civic
space interchangeable

 

________

 

 

clad legs signal the return
to a depressed world-view

 

_________

 

 

oil paint feels better when
it lands on top of oil paint
like brother-brother incest,
randy pallbearers

 

_________

 

 

Gandhi, Pavlova, Pavel
Tchelitchew, Paul Cadmus,
Bellini, which Bellini,
both Bellinis, the abstract
coven

 

_________

 

 

            Jewish coven of
meddlesome Castevets
in Rosemary’s Baby, seen
from Mia’s paranoid
or perspicacious vantage

 

_________

 

 

to close my eyes and then
discover purple shoes
Hieronymus Bosch painted

 

_________

 

 

sickle moon a pear blue
green slivered near brown—
 

_________

 

 

            adjectival
slot is where lust
can roost

 

_________

 

 

the world at 7:30 is
trepanned dusk
mitigated by pink

 

________

 

 

lozenge pointillism, penis-ism
vs. pointillism—your points
are sticks or rods, like
saffron threads in plastic box
or like a sapphire
needle and the foam bed
the stylus rests its unworthy
napping head upon

 

 

 

Wayne Koestenbaum wrote these.