http://www.albany.edu/offcourse
 
 

Rynn Williams, speaking about Allen Ginsberg Kaddish:

The way to look at this is to see it not as this heavy autobiographical thing, but as an opportunity to revel in language. The big Yes. This kind of writing calls for you to be extremely vulnerable, but instead of saying Oh no I canít do it, say yes, try it, make it fearless as you would in a journal. An opportunity to sing. You might use subject matter that youíd normally run screaming from, but use it as a chance to open yourself to Gís freedom. Ginsberg doesnít let everything in, he doesnít let in his own problems for the most part, and heís smart enough to know you donít need 30 pages about a lobotomy either. He just said to himself: Iím not going to say no, Iím not going to worry if I use the same word 30 times in a sentence. Also, thereís this quality of sketching, little images that he gives you but doesnít necessarily fill them out. Tips: moves around a lot, allows himself not to complete things, loves language, doesnít have to explain, has the confidence to write this way and not worry about whoís reading it.

 

A DOOR OPENS

Saturday afternoon rainbow street fair in Chelsea-
first sign of summer, mesh shirts and royal abs,
and I pass the Rawhide bar: bare folded muscle arms
on a bare chest, smell of vented smoke and raw beer,
a sign up for 7:30 Go-Go Men-New York Magazine

proclaims NEW GAY MECCA; I think of you back then,
seventies rampage-twirling newfound disco delirium,
mirrored balls, sweat, poppers, leather G string-
vast untapped explosions of chest, mouth,
anonymous cock-I think of you, Dad,

Navy virgin until 25, your brief naive marriage
in a chantilly punchbowl, then unbound
from wife and child, from choir halitosis, from Baptists,
two-bedroom dinner party silver patterns
and the sanctity of white buttered broccoli-

Emancipation! a floor-through walk-up and
long tan limbs nightly, orchids by the bucketful,
House Beautiful Plexiglas chrome double-suede,
Rigaud candles, mounted antelope heads,
a daughter on overnight appointments only.

Our mornings were at Schraftís for sanitary Corn Flakes,
high school sandwiches wrapped in deli paper
despite the zebra bedspread and neon hip-huggers
open to fourth button down, the sheer organza playground-
and nights, you at Anvil, me in the East Village, anonymous

stall fucks, gold glory riot of thrust and blow, fishnet
confetti, busboys and bus station spring chicken, eyeliner
mink handcuffs, shower of semen. Finally cutting
the knotted, bloody chord-cut loose from Bible School
you could dance in magenta sequins until morning!

Camp classic black-and-white Mildred Pierce
heroines in chignon pumps-Now Voyager-
reaching about in the dark, the anonymous
hand through the wall hole --
all this-before the new cancer,

Paul shriveling limbs and pharmaceuticals,
trips to the New Mexico carrot juice enema shrine,
Michele curled sick in the shadow
of an East Side light bulb broom closet,
Jimmy surrounded by calla lilies.

Who marks the pale forehead with ash? Velvet ropes
are released and the censer sways. Reprieved,
consoling the death of others, searching no more,
youíre out of it all and still beautiful in the early eighties.
Survivor-no lesions, no slat-counting ribs,

only the funnel-virtue of work, stock option
real estate hand job, weekend commuter EZ pass,
Long Island two-car suburban sagging poolside
and me out of college and safely in AA
church basements drinking Styrofoam coffee.

Yet it comes back in summer-
flash of bare-chested thump,
the occasional breath of holy sweat
triple-X. A pierced nipple door opens.
Oh miraculous dark room beyond.


 


 

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