Gargoyle 22/23cover photo of Louise Brookspublication date 12/17/1983
Jaimy Gordon Interview• providence-baroque_-here-comes-jaimy-gordon
William Levy • Letter From Amsterdam
Paul Metcalf Interview• paul-metcalf-on-craft-heritage-selection
George Myers Jr. Interview• flexing-the-imagination-with-george-myers-jr• Culture & Anarch
Richard Peabody • Notes from the Bell Tower (editorial)
William F. Ryan • Maurice Girodias: Perils of the Princely Pornographer
Laurel Speer• Interview• The Survival of Fiction: New Novels vs. New York
D. E. Steward Interview• against-myopia_-the-dedication-of-d.-e.-steward
Eleanor E. Crockett
Give me back my cigarette girlCigarette girl, cigarette girlI don’t like this vending machine
Give me back my cigarette girl
Give me back my candy girlI don’t like this vending machineIt won’t wink, it can’t thinkGive me back my cigarette girl
(Send in the manicurist too please)
Mother promised I wouldn’t feel homesickthis trip. She crossed her heart. But hervows don’t matter anymore. My bridegroomsnores on the train. I want him to loveme always. The luggage rack rattles. Hishead rocks side to side, looks lifeless,but I won’t panic and wake him. I’ll thinkabout my wedding, those moments I remember:guests’ hair sequined with confetti, mysweet niece singing hymns, her eyebrowsplucked thin as italics. Then waltzingcouples cleared us a path. The ladies’jewelry glittered like lights along a pier.I entered the bridal suite on the strokeof twelve, draped over my husband’s arm,next to his light suit jacket. There werefoil wrapped chocolates on our pillows.Not a soul heard me call out, felled byhis soft karate. The phrase “Flight fromEgypt” popped into my head while I focusedmy eyes on the whitewashed ceiling. Perhapsthe pastor said it, or I opened the bluebook at bedside to the verse where exiledIsraelites begin forgetting their ancestors.It’s a sad passage. Strange sights stuckin my mind superimpose themselves overrustic greenery blurring by: his dilatedeyes at night as he snips my panties withnail scissors; and a photo of a drownedgirl, her limbs landed gracefully, as ifshe’d planned it that way.
The mystery pipes have a voice like tobaccoLike turquoise mist in the treesOn the other side of silenceWhere it’s raining a whole restaurant of tophatsAnd a cache of slinky maple breezesAre trimming the small-change lamps of the blind
Move on over give the traveler roomWatch the working girls count the keys to their war-chestsAnd the bus drivers toy with their centerfold hearts
Let the Friday Nite nightfall fall on its kneesBurn a blue & rose tattoo through the roofBreak out umbrellas over the El tracksWrap the basement belly in a kerosene sheet
The fat old root doctor flies from his perchOn thin black silk threadsTaking seven giant tongue-in-cheek stepsThrough the rebuilt ghost towns of Buttermilk BendMagnified a billion timesLike a plexiglass teardrop melting over the cornerIn the green groves of PlutoThree times a breath
for A. Steiu (Andrei Codrescu)
I hereby change my namefrom Rodger Kamenetzto fill in the blankWhat’s in a name?Nothing more thanyou put into itThe roses in my namehave all wiltedbut the touch of Celia’s breathwould revive them at once
Who is Celia?Who is Laura?Who is Beatrice?Who is Sylviathat all the swains do commend her?We make up namesto save innocent girlsfrom our drunken praiseso they may marryrich men, not poetsand have many servantsone of whom, the maidwill find, lockedin a secret diarythe secret poemsaddressed to the secret ladywith the secret nameand the secret numberof kisses, thirty thousandall in a rowfrom Catullus to Petrarch to now
I’ll change my nameto something, anythingbut Rodger KamenetzMy name’s odd conjunctionsplays me across time-Rodger, the Celtic warrior,he who carries a mighty spearin the midst of battle-okay, at least it’s not Dickor Peter but the resonanceis close: I see a drunkenhairy brute with a spearas long as a laundry poleand thick as a baseball bathaft set in mudhis heels have duga jug of mead half-tippedat his side and arrowsmudballs, rocks and stonesthick in the airOne meaty hand fingersforelock and beer-soakedbeard: Rodger!
Then there’s KamenetzEllis Island wisecrackKamenetz: a name that roarslike thunder across the bay . . .No, Kamenetz, a name so hardto pronounce and easy to misspelltangled in miles of cabletwisted through coves of earspunched into guts of dementedcomputers and spat out:KavanetKabinetsKamenettyKamentzKa-menn-etzKamenetaKamentezKramentzKramenetzKanenetzKastanetsKostalenetzKatzensteinKamenhammerKatzenjammerCockadoodledoo!
Really, it’s not even Kamenetzbut Kam-yen-yetz, the Russian egreased by a sliding yor so three big bears of Russianbibliographers told meat the Columbia LibrarySlavic section linkingarms on their wayto the union meetingsinging the Internationalethey hailed me, “Cometovarisch Kam-yen-yetz!”
Cities of grim slaughterI mean Kamenetzes, little townsin Poland, Latvia, the Ukrainecramped shtetlsKamenetz from Russian kamenmeaning stone and etzmakes it little, little stones(and Rodger, a mighty spear)mismatch of sexual equipmentbut more likely a quarry townKamenetz–gravel
Cities of grim slaughterJews without last namesjust David son of SamuelIt’s the old storychange your nameto mark a memoryto mark the moment:when her son was bornSarah laughed,Yitzhak, she laughed, IsaacAbram became AbrahamJacob, Israel“he who struggles with God”struggling still
I hereby change my namefrom Rodger Kamenetzto idle-speculator-daydreaming-the-new-syntax-that-will-release-names-from-dread-history-and-send-them-spinning-an-echolaha-of-nonsense
I want a name as common as dirta name like a mantraas Walt Whitman hypnotized himselfchanting Walt Whitman Walt WhitmanWalt Whitman, who heard the seawhispering death death deathand right, I hear no seawhispering Rodger . . .hear no trains clacking byKamenetz Kamenetz Kamenetz . . .every little breeze seems to whisperthe sound of one hand clappingand the nightjar that keeps meawake all summer with her lustdoesn’t crack her throat on Kamenetzbut whips poor will to death
I don’t want to change my nameI want my name changedI want it inhabited by forceI want it to mean somethingI want a name to matchhow dissatisfied I feelwhenever names don’t make itOh Sammy RosenstockI want a name as tragicand magical as yourswhen you changed itto Tristan TzaraRumanian for lost lands . . .I want a change as surgicaland sure as yoursManuel Rabinowitzwhen you erased the middle westand the middle classwith a single strokeand became Man RayAnd you Pablo Nerudawhat was your namebefore you borrowedthat dead Czech poet’s?So thoroughly you succeededwe have lost it . . .As for you, Ezra Poundsome people are just born lucky . . .
I hereby throw my nameinto your earsI want you to digest itinto something subtleas alcohol dissolves skyretrieving blueI want you to takethe seeds in my nameand cultivate themI want you to groomthat drunken lout, Rodgerand that scared immigrant, Kamenetzand blend them into a single namecourageous and empty as a shout!
Lifting their pale legs cornered by sleep,the Spiders come alive.Flimsy as hairnets,they roll from the crotch of the wall,clinging downsideup to the ceiling.
Though they would pop like pimples,their delicate blond rumps careless of tragedy,I will not kill them.
Some sleep in the sun like old men,lost in a time of when.Some, newborn stalk past the cutting board,their fuzzy courage set on seasons outside this kitchen.
These I watch, in their stilted carriage,as they move toward the shine of the window.One light limb over another they noonwalkon its green reflection till the full sunmakes them warm and invisible.
I think they have passed through a rift as thinas a baby’s vein,but at night I see them again,round as popcorn,waiting.
When he made love to Mitchumhe’d wear his lineman’s beltand say “Dude,” “Bohunk,” and “Mack,”in a bass voice.
He’d insert his thumbs into his beltand stride that fragrant asshole walkstrode so well by mechanics and cowboys.
He’d arrange his tools one by one-the clawhammer, the phillips screw driver,the stapler . . . until he’d formedan abstract Mitchum on the pearlysheets. A couple of bolts for nipples,a link of silver chain for a penis.
He’d chant sweet macho nothingsinto the coupling-wrenchand grind his wet body over the coldrasp, in ecstasy. He’d pinch his testeswith a pliers: “Mitchum. Mitchum. Mitchum.”
Anthony Sobin • The Calculation
David Spicer• This Poem Again
J. C. Todd • Circus Child
Under the maples beside the houseis moss, andthe child cuts roads through itwith a rough stick.The paint is chipped on his metal cars.There is little yellow lefton the long Lincoln. Thechild has a jar of cicada hulls.The child has an insect zoo in jars. Hefeeds them linden leaves andgrass. And by the porch foundationshe says, “I am not your brother.I was born on Mars.” Andhe loves the glint of mica inthe cool stones.
23.iii.80Rooseveltfor E.S.D. Hutchins
The glass bead strands drippedover the hat brim like noodles.The woman said she would like to takeme home: I looked like the child on her calendarwith the duck. When she turned away I crushedseveral hair nets, committed little murderswith stick pins. I was happy,happy as the little rubyhat and glove set. Happy in the mirror.I punched crisp dressesin the racks, jammed my head in and out.The woman said to my mother:He shouldn’t have left you.
After the hats, after groceriesmy mother and I sat in the pickup.Nobody’s birthday but we had our party.It snowed. We said white holes, white saints,white birds. My mother said stray nurses.Stray nurses! What a couple of gals!All white snow on the windshield,snow on the road all the way homewhere we took our hats outonce a week and then put them backlike birds in a white cagelike cakes in cake boxeslike nobody’s business.
Hugh Walthall • Otiose Bones • hunki-dori
I had ratherexpected to die way before Christmas.
Love is all around us.There is plenty to eat and drink.
All predictions come true.Pleasure, now, is acute pleasure.
The weather is invincible.That you remember my name amazes me John.
The Fault in others is real.Be wealthy, and be discrete.
I need a subject to object to my-Excuse me, an object to subject to my scrutiny.
Great-grand mother’s brother crossed the river, killingtwenty men at dawn.
Interest accrues.Accept no substitute for aggression.
I am King of Greece.Pity me and bring oranges.
Michael Brondoli • Borrowing
Rickie Bruce • Three
Frank Gatling • from U. S. Head
Don Skiles • Miss America
Moki • 3 photos
Dave Morice • cartoon
V. V. Rankine • 3 sculptures
Book Reviews by Karren L. Alenier, Frank Allen, Jolie Barbiere, Maxine Combs, Doug Crowell, Charlotte Fallenius, Mary Elizabeth Ford, Maryl Jo Fox, Kenneth Funsten, Marie Giblin, Amanda Glass, Barbara Goldberg, Karla M. Hammond, William D. Hunt, Lane Jennings, Sonya E. Keene, Richard H. King, Timothy Klinger, Joseph Keppler, Christine Lahey-Dolega, Edward C. Lynskey, Joe Marusiak, Lois Mathieu-Grace, Susan Lloyd McGarry, Louis McKee, George Myers Jr., A.L. Nielsen, Kurt Nimmo, Richard Peabody, Robert Peters, Miriam Sagan, David Sheridan, Laurel Speer, Jeffrey D. Talmadge, Kenneth Warren, Afaa Michael Weaver, Gail White, and Thaddeus Ziokowski
#22/23. Pub date: 12/17/1983Launch at Quill & Brush Gallery, Bethesda, MD.A poetry reading by Eric Baizer, Maxine Clair, John Elsberg, Bill Holland, Lane Jennings, Gretchen Johnsen, Dan Johnson, Damon Norko, Sibbie O’Sulivan, Carlo Parcelli, David Sheridan, and Hugh Walthall.