Aug 142017
 

Credit: Ebru Yildiz

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These two poems are excerpts from Wayne Koestenbaum‘s forthcoming book, Camp Marmalade, to be published in February 2018 by Nightboat Books. Camp Marmalade is the sequel to The Pink Trance Notebooks, which Nightboat published in 2015. Both The Pink Trance Notebooks and Camp Marmalade consist of notebooks — chains of aphorisms, linguistic tidbits, aleatory ruminations, lyric or narrative fragments…
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#20 [thick book on mother-shelf pinnacled me o’er Tums]

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……………………..good morning,
punctuated self—

_________

Lee Krasner proves it—stay
awake to the redemptive glyph

_________

………….scrutinized first chapter
and thought every statement dead wrong
except chartreuse and neon orange

________

……………………..cough
hurts right lung—even when I don’t
cough, the right lung has a lumpy
vanilla crunch feeling—in my arteries too

_________

………….M said Faerie
Queene is boring but thick book of it
on mother-shelf pinnacled me o’er
Tums—

_________

………….Hans Bellmer
receives hate mail USPS
grab bag of slain doll parts

_________

………….irenic
or oneiric gabbing
like 4-H club for gay hoofers
and Oona O’Neill
will be there and Nicole Kidman
good Nicole not bad Nicole
like moon Nicole versus Apollo Nicole—
but moon isn’t versus Apollo

_________

………….what is the
Harlequin Romance equivalent of
“friends, Romans, countrymen”?

_________

………….obtuse
is an ob word like obscene or
oblate or obsequy—

_________

……………………..to stretch
one’s loins across the public domain—

_________

……………………..why
do shrinks even when off-duty
refuse warmth and ebullience?
or do I specialize
in non-ebullient shrinks?

_________

use her talky head to block
the blinding sun

_________

tidbit was dead woman’s word, we
shared tidbit and also transcendent
and now she’s dead and I never told
her we shared tidbit and transcendent

_________  

………….seeing I Never
Sang for My Father with my mother
long ago in a movie theater—

_________

be glad you never sang
for your father

_________

………….trying to prove that I
was Jewish despite ignorance
of the covenant—

_________

……………………..I saw a disgruntled
bride in flipflops lift her wedding dress
and walk at rush hour past Penn Station—

_________

stretched out like her dead
nurse mother whose
malted milk taste I still can’t fathom

_________

………….mother whose car
we wrecked in stop-and-go traffic
en route to Richard III or The Oresteia 

_________

……………………..reaching
toward narrative but not necessarily
approving of the reach

_________

which Kafka was I glad to meet
in Mykonos dream?

_________

or a Massenet opera that might
not exist like La Bouillabaisse—
a long river cutting through Manon
a good river advocating conversion
to frivolity—

_________

reunion cakewalk for retiring
kindergarten teacher who
expresses recognition when seeing me—

_________

……………………..rose glow
reflected on dull warehouse, blue
sky shined flat and pink by emigration
of rival color—

_________

sped up from pink extrojection,
wanting to subdue him in a scenario
of erotic torture based on my thinness
and his fatness—

_________

woman who ran a French
restaurant in St. Croix—
I envied her boozy
leathery ease—motorcycle—finality—

_________

writing on a paper napkin
a few un-causal enlightenment
nouns, like junk, hazard,
dumbness, Dillinger,
sexpot, dysfunction

_________

………….two hours of giddy
threshold consciousness—

_________

a few stunned lyrics
to signalize my stupor

_________

again the hilly outline’s Pompeii
lump as the Jew hears it—
“the Jew” means not a
generality but a specific listener
who actually likes sex
and told me so

_________

………….unless I’m this Jew, too,
doublecrossing the earlier,
spread-out, novel Jew—

_________

………….stiff box for requested pearl
granted but lost, a pearl I didn’t
understand though I craved it
as girl-sign under night-cover
of boy-dawn

_________

everyone has a nadir, a
Nadja—even Nadja has a Nadja

_________

………….I spoke about
the solidity of nouns,
a U in the regarded
eggy or jizzy corner

_________

………….my throat
is not my own, it has become
a colony of national interests

_________

………….green soot posing
as lake cover

_________

………….cream of spinach
soup, my mother’s body when she suspected
food poisoning or experienced its greeny
symptoms—

_________

………….indiscreet
revelation about her ex—
I love triangulating
via unwise confessions

_________

……………………..my lips
logical except when I teach
my baby sister the art of shoplifting—

_________

Miltonic or Latinate relation to sideburn
length and thickness, George
Burns and Robert Burns and
Raymond Burr and Burl Ives—

___________

…………………………………leave Burl
off the list of treasured burns

_________

Blythe Danner isn’t burly

_________

……………………..Morton Feldman
was once my mother’s friend—
is that fact her property?

_________

………….we have in common
a predilection for killing plants—
no ability to keep a plant
alive—that’s an exaggeration—
three roses in her sideyard, maybe more

_________

………….Carlotta my unmet
unphotographed step-grandmother,
to designate her with regal sobriquet

_________

another green succulent
covering a pond
surface with scum

_________

………….skim the nitwit
coating off my tongue

_________

………….Thoreau died at 44,
killed by Apollo

_________

………….you have to be killed
by someone, might as well
be killed by Apollo

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§

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#15 [imprisoned within Busby Berkeley or the ethereal phlox]

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………….I draw butt
well because butt is elementary

_________

we say nautical because
we want to avoid naughty

_________

imprecise speech stovepipes
our position and we come
to love the stove
and its scarred pedigree

_________

immoral penis is the obvious
place to juxtapose somno-
fascist and dewlap?
figuration and abstract bagel?

_________

is Tachisme a movement
celebrating rough clumsy
texture—why sigh again like
Ophelia or her supporters?

_________

dipping into Frigidaire
we praise the book and
know its contours are
orderly, governed by proxy
and whim in lower region

_________

the sick mental wife drops
glove, and law helps,
law is recourse
when stents bloom, if bloom
squeezes his daffodils
or the ethereal phlox

_______

he pretends to know my sex
and photos it—

_________

………….1940 is she ten and
reading Black Beauty
watching Waterloo Bridge
Vivien Leigh?

_________

………….1958 I’m reading
Marjorie Morningstar, sending
emails to Leigh’s agent

_________

………….because syntax
has credibility and purse-like
we see syntax and can predict
its maneuvers and love
and forgive them in advance

_________

………….stones receive
sunlight, small
like teen friend dick-bush still
remembered

_________

lichen too has an unconscious—

_________

………….but his face
is so improbably handsome I
could die, his hair so phenomenal
I might need to do something radical—

_________

putting on lipstick
I wrote about fashion
classics in the Catskills

_________

………….he holds
himself like a hamburger,
hep to the hemisphere, an ass
presented to the camera
unconventionally

_________

………….Lauren Bacall
was Jewish and she died and I
really hope she doesn’t
show up because that would hold
a certain amount of bliss
in its pocket

_________

………….seersucker
yellow dream mother was
coherent, and the coherence fell
away like the difference
between ages 83 and 89—

_________

he treats me suddenly
with knife voice
edge shattering
Brünnhilde upon me

_________

………….the leaf of
when she thought I was her
favorite son and I leaned
upon her knee or its in-
dentation like A Star Is Born
oceanic suicide

_________

like a handsome guy in
basement doing laundry
and refusing to recognize me—

_________

my mother’s draught
of raw egg, raw beef blood
and onion—to ease
the ache of being
a girl in that household

_________

men were attracted to me
because of my big hips
she said

_________

cup with Sudek facets—
specialize in simple
forms and render them clearly—

_________

syntax contains only a few
available slots, capitalize
on each

_________

………….I called
my mother and she resorted,
bless her, to polite formula

_________

the recourse was mah-jongg,
the caregivers were three

_________

he sees me as evil but has
no prosecutor with whom
to share his verdict—

_________

………….it boils down to
a strange narcoleptic
cult of seriousness, to
be considered evil
by a quorum

_________

a consciousness defined by
the status (washed, unwashed)
of a coffee pot or a
cock (cut, uncut)—

_________

carving out a piece of
my Nachtigall stomach

_________

………….an eye imprisoned
within Busby Berkeley
corollas

_________

………….find
eros in blankness,
then behold his blotches—
don’t cry, he survives his
blotches and neither splices
nor censors them—

—Wayne Koestenbaum

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Wayne Koestenbaum has published eighteen books of poetry, criticism, and fiction, including Notes on Glaze, The Pink Trance Notebooks, My 1980s & Other Essays, Hotel Theory, Best-Selling Jewish Porn Films, Andy Warhol, Humiliation, Jackie Under My Skin, and The Queen’s Throat (a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist).  He has had solo exhibitions of his paintings at White Columns (New York), 356 Mission (L.A.), and the University of Kentucky Art Museum. His first piano/vocal record, Lounge Act, was issued by Ugly Duckling Presse Records this year. He is a Distinguished Professor of English, Comparative Literature, and French at the CUNY Graduate Center in New York City.

 

 

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