Thus Spake the Corpse: An Exquisite Corpse Reader 1988-1998: Volume 1: Poetry and Essays


Before suspending publication earlier this year, Andrei Codrescu's controversial and notorious anti-literary literary magazine Exquisite Corpse had become a primary site of engaged dialogue among the non, brain-dead everywhere. Founded in the 1980s on the belief that "American literature, poetry in particular, is sick from lack of public debate, " Codrescu's Corpse took its title from cadavre exquis, a form of collaboration once much practiced in Paris surrealist circles.


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Before suspending publication earlier this year, Andrei Codrescu's controversial and notorious anti-literary literary magazine Exquisite Corpse had become a primary site of engaged dialogue among the non, brain-dead everywhere. Founded in the 1980s on the belief that "American literature, poetry in particular, is sick from lack of public debate, " Codrescu's Corpse took its title from cadavre exquis, a form of collaboration once much practiced in Paris surrealist circles.

Rebellion, passion and black humo became the journal's trademarks. Anti-conformist polemic, poetics of assault, high-tone bohemianism, muckraking speculation, seditious attitudinizing and wandering reports from the front lines and back alleys of the culture jammed each issue, framed by elegant columns of top-flight new poetry.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The feisty, informal journal Exquisite Corpse gathered a remarkably loyal bohemian following over its 15 years of existence, ceasing paper publication in 1998. (It's now a frequently updated Web site). Founder, poet and NPR commentator Codrescu and co-conspirator Rosenthal offer up a large inventory of their favorite essays, diatribes, letters, responses and poems from the Corpse's last decade. Thus Spake opens with 142 pages of essays on political and literary topics: writers assail predictable targets (Ronald Reagan, Puritans, Wendell Berry), or else meditate on androgyny, sex before Clinton or poetic activism after Ginsberg. Along with the sometimes-ranting essays, the editors do well to include the often more reasonable letters of response. Objectivist poet Carl Rakosi reflects on the heyday of American Communism as he answers Eliot Weinberger's program-piece; Murat Nemet-Nejat, Clayton Eshleman and Ben Friedlander engage in vigorous debate about Edmond Jab s. The Corpse was well-feared among poets for its "Body Bag" section, comprising the editors' comments on submissions they had rejected. Thirty pages here reprint the Body Bag's famously sarcastic, sometimes elevated, remarks. The volume's weakest part is the poetry itself, 200 pages clogged with talky mediocrity. Strong work does turn up from Anselm Hollo, Hayden Carruth, Edmund Berrigan and Alice Notley (separately and in collaboration), and from the late Jim Gustafson and Elio Schneeman. But much of the rest of the verse here is neither sexy nor accomplished, a slapdash, too-generous roundup of popular styles from post-Beat to pre-slam eras. But the many diehard Corpse fans may not mind; thrill-seekers might even like it. (Oct.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781574231007
  • Publisher: Godine, David R. Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 7/28/1999
  • Pages: 417
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Andrei Codrescu

A poet, novelist, essayist, screenwriter, and commentator for NPR's All Things Considered, ANDREI CODRESCU is the MacCurdy Distinguished Professor of English at Louisiana State University and the editor of the literary journal Exquisite Corpse.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One


Scientific tests in poet-Chomskyan generative linguistics have demonstrated conclusively that beyond the splurge of consciousness we pass from a pure logic & phenomenology to physiology if we wish to maintain an equivalence between concept & remembered image, & within that shifting morphology the suprasegmental accuracy of represented metamorphosis may well be reduced via narratology by what Daniloff calls "the partially digested subjective." In lay terms, for the would-be artist:

    FORGET YOURSELF. Do not take yourself seriously, including Ideas, no matter how achingly ultimate they seem, nor how their cloudiness turns into a Noah's Flood of clarity.

    Become a beakful of mud with hands & ears & eyes, a mouth to drink coffee with, & memory. No more. It's amazing how difficult & deceptive the task of divorcing care & self is. We are all aware, with a sort of painful, gay laughter suspended in boredom, how artists inferior to or more naive than ourselves display everywhere, blatantly but unknowingly, a childish need to put themselves in a good light. Even when they're putting themselves down, they're semiconsciously crying out for adoration. It's this distraction that makes most art less thrilling than a dying squirrel.

    We, as mature artists, feel we have transcended ego-taint in our work. But in fact the entire world-interface of anyone in every tiny detail is interwoven with piranha swarms of image need.

    Children carry this like another few inches of transparent flesh. Then it sinks in, & the more adult we become the more it's part of our Very Fiber. It takes a thousand guises, emerges under masks of unvarying virtue.

    "My heart reaches out to these poor people. They're figurines of Sorrow. Let's go home."

    "I know a place of peace & beauty, faraway, some day."

    "I adore her. That's all that matters."

    These poor objects of love don't get to exist, except as puppets of mealy-mouthed fingers. What exists is falsified pastels of the self sloshing all available receptors.

    OR: "Sittin' in the kitchen." All of my poems begin with these four words. & I stole them from my friend Richard. Too beautiful to think up. By means of them, I constantly wish to image forth these things, about myself:

    1. I'm direct, no-nonsense.

    2. I'm a keen observer ("sittin'").

    3. I'm colloquial, folksy, colorful, down-home. Sittin' in the kitchen.

    4. I'm economical, with words & life.

    5. I'm musical.

    6. I'm in tune with the warm, feminine center of things. Sittin' in the kitchen.

    7. I'm humorous.

    8. & I'm hungry.

Well! This winds up to be watered-down Br'er Rabbit. Desperation patches on blue hollow.—Could be worse. Art's inconvenient.

    Artists have studied out positions wherein they can have a little fun with their backs to the wall; dance about with kitchen doors glued to their shoulders blades. Their whole deal is to be a step ahead of laughter, play The Fool via planned obsolescence. A total idiot, whether the condition be natural or gained by means of much study, as in the religions, can't do things, which is what artists do. That is, things. Purity never moves.

    You might, at this point, go half-blind by feeling your face light up, not too much but just right, at the prospect of compromise, but that's just a bad word. Forget it. Unless it's a matter of multidimensional interexisting spheres. Unworldliness, which is what compromise leads to, is just a Gothic happy-face of zombie-white sentimentality. Black Hole of sugar. An artist has to be integral but nonrepeating, all-of-a-piece like a starfish.

    Artists are like unpredictable Wall Street pirates who hack around with some genuine pigiron but protect, inside, this snow white egg-shaped synapse town of beautiful retardism so it's unhurt by the gorgeously cruel world & yet functions in every string of their Thing, sometimes. This is getting hard to picture, which may be because it's all wrong. It's certainly hard to do. Artists whine a lot, but they seek novel whines.

    You really need a 3-D computer screen for this, & that's why nobody ever digs the graphics well enough to get a further insight. Meanwhile, this tender, icy synapse-egg is maintained, in terms of ordinary hydraulics, & functions like a thermostat. Its humanoid shell is both more & less human than the average, depending on what "human" means.

    All language emits the metallic stench of statement. The statement is invariably the person of the statement-maker. So you might as well just start playing around, & play hard. This is nobility.

    Charity is a cheap shot. It's as if by throwing 86 cents on the ground you have a brick. Or by saying "Brick" you become one. The magic of names is much more expensive. You may become electrically connected to a brick by forgetting the name. You may become electrically connected to a poem by keeping the name & forgetting what it means. You may pick up a brick & throw it. At me. I need the attention. But don't worry, because all these insights are perfectly sound.

    These insights are boiled in a selfless hot ether, painstakingly plucked from the wisdom surrounding decades of sincerity, & dressed in a clever motley.

I have a dream.

I mean, y'know what I mean? I mean, I've been making choices here, forsaking my food and exercise, on the basis of a perfect crystal of goodness, which you didn't realize. But now it's time to reveal this as a personal essay. But don't worry, I know what I'm doing. Don't worry. It's not that I can't practice what I preach & forget myself. I can. I just don't want to right now, because I'm willing to sacrifice my dignity for your edification, & besides I have another, perfect dignity just below the one I'm tossing away now.

    Actually, what I'm doing, in a sense, is cunningly bucking the tide of your latest perception of the intentional fallacy's borders by jumping right into it. Know what I mean? Like, the intentional fallacy's where sincerity makes liars of us all. You know, declaration runs us stone-blind. But if you just turn around & get double sincere, then you fool the system because you use something that got blocked off, which is good (sincerity, y'know), but you're outside too so you don't partake of its preachy crap. It's kinda like the camp appreciation of "White Christmas" jingling back into a yellow haze. So, anyway, that's what I'm doing.

    Sure, I'm not the first, I'm just in the breeze. Opposites are alike, uh-huh, but it's the twist of the knife that cuts the mustard. I really know what I'm doing. But doesn't this make you just a trifle nauseous? When I say that? Sure, & I know that. That's what I'm doing. & the way I stay on top of your nausea is this: by telling you about it! I know what you're thinking. Like sticking the bridal pair on top of the wedding cake. What can you do (don't tell me)? Like, chattering like an idiot savant in the five-&-dime. Stupidity has its beauty (which gets old because it's so damn eternal), but when you get into off-stupid, like falling off a rope, you're approaching sub-stupid. Aha, the alpha state. Right? But when lad tell you this, I mean, it falls right into Ezra Pound, &, y'know, rhythm can go anywhere. The whole purpose is to get into what you know. Basic chatter.

Let's take a breath. An attractive version of knowledge, poetically now, would be in the field of ranching tips, or community finance. Textural acts as beautiful as cellular fission, slicing then from now. But all these varieties of barbwire fence & Brooklyn Dodger candy bars are attempts to paint yourself up so as to resemble the off-white solidity of a hospital bed. Yes. I wanna cut right through that. I was born, & I'm twice-divorced but it wasn't my fault. In fact, in the last analysis, these divorces were all a beautiful adventure. I've actually extracted gristle, from fake wood, in a living graph that whispers "beautiful adventure," like a telephone line to your dream's bathroom, because I'm a bloody beautiful guy. My hand would be steadier castrating a pig, but that, & the breakfast afterwards, & the old beige farmhouse, are all categorized by now. True truth lies in what's ordinarily swept under the bridge & called "pettiness," really curved light when you just take a minute of your time & look at it.

So, articulation never builds its own floor. You might as well give that up. I mean, history is nice if you just want to be a sideshow type like Metternich.—But let me tell you some more about myself.

I'm idealistic in a sort of golden way that I cherish because of its sheer nobility, but I'm also vividly colorful & as realistic as a brown bear, in a very attractive total melange. I understand everything. The fact that I haven't attracted an unruly cadre of slavish cognoscenti, or even one fan, is simply due to the fact that I'm ultra-subtle & ahead of my time, & I pad beautiful lost trails in my lone-wolf sorta way.

    I'm also very youthful & vigorous, basically, but at the same time old & wise, not to mention "in the middle," which is very balanced & good. I'm even sorta crippled & not crippled, like Lord Byron, depending on my mood. I mean, it's totally real, & I can back it up, but if you were to ask me about it, which nobody ever does, I'd answer in a kindly but objective manner which certainly wouldn't exceed 3 or 4 hours, include some medical terms. I've been very heroic about it & I never speak of it, because all I care about is positive things. It's very interesting though. Also I'd like to mention frankly that I'm good in bed, take my word for it, I'm referring to fucking y'know—at least I used to be before being melodramatically "mugged" by my tragic illness, which had nothing to do with drinking. Nothing goes to my head. My shit has a rather pleasant farm aroma.

    Don't misunderstand me & crowd around wanting to touch me & suck my brains, I really don't have much time, but that's all part of it. Y'know I have a lot of courage, y'know, to stand up here & talk like a Beautiful Fool (but not the specious kind) so you all can learn to find happiness in your lives.

    Am I happy myself? Oh yes, yet in a way that includes deeply post-up-to-date gut sorrow.

    However, my delicate sense of modesty, resembling in many ways the italianate shapeliness of ultimate light & shadow, draws me away from this frank discussion. Back to art, not that this only seeming digression wasn't, in its blend (but not blend in the homogeneous sense) of outrage & buried euclidishness, a vegetarian spaceship looking down on the postmodern. It was.

    Art, it has been amply demonstrated, is the justification, in flipped hindsight, of civilization. Might as well try it. It's almost as pretty as everything else. Now. You're gonna have ego "problems." So just deny them! Present-day psychology has amassed just enough knowledge that its recommendations are all ass-backwards. It's like the discovery of pus.— Oh wow, it's real, let's turn the whole body into this stuff! Forget that. They're at that stage where you act free by precepts, the quivering light-green edge of age 13. The only thing that saves hipness is the breathtaking beauty of its lies. Here are my recommendations. Let your need to wallow in self-pity (which is just another chemical) emerge in convoluted petty ways that really make people work to halfway pigeonhole because they're so simple. That's it! You lay eggs on people's hands while they're holding on to something. Simplicity itches to become complex. I could just spit on the floor & tell you about geranium seeds &/or artificial colors but you're probably not ready for that. You've got a wire through your throat. Nothing is what we think it is: a big zilch. Can't tell where it's coming from. Take my "word" for it.

    So back to forgetting self in art, you realize of course that my apparent trumpeting of self is in fact a real trumpet, golden brass & spit & bell-motion, much more self-transcendent than the pretensions of Objectivism, since I knowingly cast myself into the perspective of a whiff of comic figure, which in turn is pure atoms.

    Forget yourself in art. Exceptions prove the rule because they're like weird faces that pop & swirl up when you're not looking. You may think you know this, but it's dumb of you to think like that. I've discovered that to be so, like a diamond. I discovered it in Western Springs, Illinois, on a roller-coaster hall of mirrors, the very first day. I was the center of the universe then, thinking about sex with a package of hot dogs. Going Hey bop a lula boppa spiffety bam dee bop a lula bop a libbidy-do.

    Thank you.


Proposal to the National Endowment for the Humanities
for a Working Class Revolution


The Party is requesting $978,150 in support from the National Endowment for the Humanities for a new initiative designed to serve a broad constituency including serfs, workers, plebeians, wage-laborers and the wretched poor. The goal of the revolution is to identify class antagonisms and foster the class consciousness of the oppressed currently under-represented by the State. If this pilot program is successful, the Party would like to continue the Revolution until the State is overthrown or funding is eliminated.


To say the Emperor has no clothes is to pander to bourgeois culture which is, after all, mere training to act as a machine; however, to rephrase this in the language of class conflict: the old boy is buck-ass naked.

    The need for a workers' revolution is part of the larger historical picture which foresees the inevitable decline of late capitalism or K-Martification. Everywhere the exploited masses are made to scurry to the ever-receding beacon of the Blue Light Special while the tottering bourgeoisie crouches precariously on its well-larded haunches, sucking the sweet syrupy life-blood of a seemingly endless supply of Slush Puppies and feeding the masses the cold crushed ice. The opportunity of a revolution will unite the fettered masses and forcibly imprison the bourgeoisie into the Betty Ford Clinic of History.


We call for immediate and staggering action! There can be no substitute. To this end, the Party has developed a highly explosive Seminar and Study Program to launch emergent revolutionaries into the rhetorical melée. The aim is to link some of the most incendiary and well-paid scholars in Revolutionary Studies with bona fide lumpen proletariats. (This is not to recapitulate the false dichotomy between physical and cultural work but simply to recognize that some workers—the oppressed mechanic, for instance—crank wrenches, while others—the embattled professorate—wrench cranks.) In a series of really strident colloquia, the seminar group will focus their attention on several volatile issues including the relation of intellectual capital to monetary capital and consequent salary hikes among academics, the rise of the intelligentsia to senior-level bureaucratic posts, and the need for these posts to garner private incentives such as mobile phones, private physical fitness trainers and off-shore banking. And, if there is time, we will also discuss strategies for mobilizing the slumbering populace—no obstacle is so great that it can't be theorized!

    Within the program year, or directly following it, we foresee issuing a highly provocative monograph or series of white papers (the format to be determined in trenchant debate) which might fan the flames of revolution and uncover the need for new funding to support additional seminar groups, thinktanks and round tables around the colonized globe. In subsequent program years, and in keeping with our commitment to involve the workers at every level, we will issue highly inflammatory rhetoric in class-specific mediums: fortune cookies, box tops, food stamps, beer labels, as well as condom and feminine hygiene packaging. (This carries the additional benefit of creating a synergistic link between revolutionaries and the guild masters who produce and are alienated from these fine products.)


If we are to use the master's tools to take apart the master's house, we must never forget the spiralling costs of hardware and building supplies. Thus it is the goal of the Party to support all insurgents at all stages of their intellectual and financial development. And we will continue to identify emergent revolutionaries in an attempt to make them more profoundly aware of the grant cycle and the full range of support available through matching honoraria, Fulbrights, pledge drives and celebrity golf tournaments.

    The Party respectfully and earnestly requests the National Endowment for the Humanities to become its partner in this revolution and lurk in ambush against the brutal capitalist stooge.



Translated by Kirby Olson

Nothing is more ordinary today than political poetry. It developed during the war clandestinely, and now it proposes to survive.

    I would like to articulate a first principle.

    There is no possible human being who should not have put themselves to the test, who deserves not to try, or who could not have done so happily.

    I have before me an unpublished poem from the insurrection: everything that the rage for liberty causes in the head of an eighteen-year-old cries out in these verses: We will throw our heads to the corners of the outer limits, they say. The remainder is of a fiery inspiration. It has such a true violence, I cannot help myself from rejoicing.

    That said, I cannot see any reason not to underline a second principle: which touches in particular on this war.

    This war is being fought against a system of life of which the literature of propaganda is the key. The fate of fascism is slavery: among others the idea is to reduce literature to mere usefulness. What does useful literature signify other than to treat human beings as raw matter? For this sad work, in fact, literature is necessary.

    This does not mean the condemnation of any genre more than the party line, the orders from above. I only write authentically on one condition: to not give a damn for anything or anybody, to stomp on my orders with both feet.

    That which spoils the game, which makes a writer weak is the concern that he should be useful.

    Every woman and man should be useful to her or his pals, but becomes disgusting if there is nothing in her or him above Utility.

    The fall into utility, through shame, when divine liberty, uselessness, has a bad conscience, is the beginning of a desertion. The field is left free to the clowns of propaganda ...

    Why not accuse in these circumstances the place from which every truth springs, the fact that literature in a fundamental fashion refuses to be useful. Being the expression of man, of the essential part of mankind, it cannot be useful, in that man, or at least what is essential in him, cannot be reduced to utility. Sometimes a writer falls, tired of solitude, letting his voice mix with the mob's. However he cries with theirs if he wishes, if he only can—whether he does it through fatigue, through self-disgust, it is still only a poison to him, but he communicates to others this poison: fear of liberty, need for servitude! His true task is the opposite: to reveal in solitude the intangible part that no one can ever enslave. A single political goal corresponds with his essence: the writer can only engage in the struggle for liberty, announcing the free part of ourselves that cannot be defined by formulas, but only through the emotion and poetry of harrowing works. Instead of fighting for it, the writer should use liberty, incarnate as a minimum every liberty in whatever it is that he or she says. Often it is this liberty which destroys him: it is this which makes it the difficult. But it is this that he is obliged to love, this proud and fierce liberty, hardy and limitless, which sometimes leads to death, which even loves death. It is this that the true writer teaches—through the authenticity of his writings—the refusal of servility (and especially the hatred of propaganda). It is for that reason that he refuses to go along with the mob and that he meets death in solitude.

First Published in Combat, 1944

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Corpse Readers, Take Heart 13
Lecture 21
Revolutionary Proposal 26
Is Literature Useful? 27
The Revolution at St. Mark's Church 29
Rakosi to Weinberger 37
The Wider Education of Students: Cadavers, Composition, and the Press 40
So Long, Rodgers and Hart 44
Letters 46
Nan and Warren 51
J. Edgar Hoover and Julius Lulley 53
J. Hillman on J. Edgar: Food & Fingerprints 54
Secrets 55
What I Learned from TV 58
The American Male 60
Hermaphrodite, Mon Amour 62
Twenty Seven in a Row or a Blow 66
American Princess 67
Two by Edouard Roditi 68
Abbott on Roditi 70
My Abortion 70
Masturbation as Social Revolution 73
Was Narcissus a Narcissist?: An Alternative Reading of the Ancient Myth 74
Genesis of a Quip 75
Smokers in the Hands of an Angry God 76
The Luddite Devolution 83
Prose on Nisbet 94
The Surre(gion)alist Manifesto 96
Questions of Accent 105
Pop or Not 119
Jabes Upheld 120
How Dare This Turk 123
More Falls the Accent 124
Post Modernism 127
Report from the Seattle Post-Structuralist Conference 129
Dysfic Manifesto 131
On the Language of Creation 133
Poetics & Poetry
Not a Form At All But a State of Mind 143
from How on Earth 148
Anselm the Great 150
O, Sexton! Oh Shelley, O Sappho! O, Goethe, O, Schiller! 152
Wine Not 154
California State of Mind 155
Common Cold 156
Bluebirdness 156
Free Advice 157
Penultimate Sublime 157
The Miserable Student 158
Goodbye 159
Karl Marx's Eyes 160
Work is Speech 162
Pendant Eros 163
Peasant Literature 165
In Defense of American Peasants (And in Reply to Gerald Burns) 166
Detail of Delights or Small Snapshots Inside the Big Picture (On Reading Gerald Burns) 171
Rhyme 173
The Day I Was Dead 173
The Old Man's Lament 174
The Sufis 174
Carrots 174
Visiting James Laughlin, or The Bus to Nude Erections 175
Sirventes on a Sad Occurrence 179
Ships Passing in the Night 182
Country Epitaphs 183
The Irish Boy 183
Once Upon a Time 184
Episode 184
A Closet Named Love 184
Separate Windows 185
Rome in the Age of Justinian 185
from Metropolitan Corridor 186
Letter #6 187
Home Alone 188
A Vision for You 190
Alice Gaines Played the Harp 191
The Operation 192
Our Holocaust 193
Between Shit & Shinola 195
Armed Humanitarians 197
Fever Vortex #666 198
White Bread Blues 199
My Father 200
If You Really Want To Work 201
Wanted: Frycook 203
Eyeglasses 204
Memos From Big Joy 205
I Sleep With Elegies 207
Thinking About Death 207
James Broughton, The Love Guru 208
The Broughton Fountain 222
Lucky Trees 224
God 226
February 227
New York City Public Library Lions 227
Higher Authority 228
Radical Comma 228
Theory Sonnet 229
Princess Bride 229
Rub on a Thigh 230
Fuck Me 231
The Sex Life of Politicians 232
Tits 234
Senryu 235
The Future of Vaginas and Penises 235
I Probably Would've Made a Good Little Nazi 236
Jan Erik 236
Pastiche of My Subjectivity 238
Thank You 239
The Aroma of Angels 241
The Sweetness of Life 241
Some Names of Venus from Lempriere's Classical Dictionary 242
Bodybuilder 243
The Function of Art 244
Genealogy 245
Famous For Fifteen Minutes 245
The Opposite of Gravity is Humor 246
Death Trip 247
Flaubert's Kitchen 247
Favorite Color 247
What Do Books Say? 248
Police Story 248
The Seven Deadly Sins 248
Why I Write 249
Voice of the World 250
Boat 250
The Evidence Was Slight 251
Impulse and Nothingness 251
The Water Dog 253
Farewell to Texas Poem 257
July 4th, 1994 258
In the Black Forest before the Birth of Rilke 258
The First Date 259
She Said It 259
Betrayal 260
Hayden Carruth: The Babe Ruth of Poetry 261
from The Heniad
Feathered Friends 264
The Darkling Chicken 265
A Study in Aesthetics 266
Crazy Bill to the Bishop 266
Berthold Brecht Enters Heaven 267
Against Science Fiction 268
Golf 269
When Will Uncle Vania Take the Train to Moscow? 270
From His Hotel Room in Paris 270
Legacy 272
Waiting for the Communists 274
Post Masturbatio 275
Academic 276
Joe 276
Old Photo 278
Artificial Light 278
Time 279
My Hypertrophic Devotion 279
Sonar 280
Picking Kronos' Pockets 280
Scum & Slime 281
Sucking Mud 283
Ctesias 285
Herodotus 285
Xenophon 285
Lucian 286
Angel-Skate 286
Pregnant Saint 287
Hermaphroditismus Genitalis 288
Somewhere Over the Rainbow 290
On the Line 291
Ramming Speed 291
In The Dream of Love 292
Poetry Lives 293
Brick Tea 294
In Time 294
Poem 295
Poverty 296
Erotics 297
On the Premises 297
They 299
the swirl of your hands 300
three poems past midnight 301
Plug-ugly and Multifarious 302
Cute is Better Than Bitter 303
Some of the Things I Told Her 305
Permanent Face 307
Time's Ma 308
How the Word "Coox" Came to Represent Beelzebub 309
Borrowed Sleep 311
Flipping Through 312
Rim 313
The Rose of Sharon 313
Longing 315
Myself Contains Multitudes 315
Closing Time 315
Condo, Condom, Condemnation 316
In My Boozy Loneliness 318
Tampons in Space 319
Dromedary 319
The Martini Clinic 320
Living the Lie 321
Play and The Continual Present 322
Punk Rock 322
Not Fucking: A Complex System 323
This is a Thank You to That Fat Bouncer God Who Threw Me Out When at Eighteen I Tried to Enter the Suicide House Forever 324
The River 327
Dream 1812 328
The Right Thing To Do or Not To Do 329
Schizophrenia 331
Mercy 331
On Crucifixion 332
On Women 332
On Food 332
On Kerouac 332
On Contraceptives 332
Hal's Mom 333
Mom & Dad 333
All in the Family 334
My Mother 335
The Body Bag & Riffs & Tiffs in the Corpse
The Best of the Body Bag 347
Burns Raps Bag 379
Burn Burns 380
Aquinas Again 381
Body Bag, Cont 381
Corpse, The Devil 381
New Math 382
Neo-Hoodoo Support 382
Word Balloons: Petroleum Fumes 383
The Innuendo Is Reality, or, Unmodern Observations on Definition 384
Thank You for Letting Us Look at Your Work 385
Feets Do Your Stuff! 386
The Sonnet Lives 389
Letter from New Heaven 391
Dark Concerns 392
On Scofield's Challenge 393
Editor Rapped, Poetry Upheld 393
Report from the Field 394
Not Another Fucking Poetry Reading 395
What American Mags Won't Print 396
Pub Puke Poetry 398
The Late Word 399
Sober at Last 400
Contributor Notes 403
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