Gargoyle 22/23
cover photo of Louise Brooks
publication date 12/17/1983

Table of Contents


William Levy 
• Letter From Amsterdam

Paul Metcalf Interview

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


Eleanor E. Crockett 

Cigarette Girl

Give me back my cigarette girl
Cigarette girl, cigarette girl
I don’t like this vending machine

Give me back my cigarette girl

Give me back my candy girl
I don’t like this vending machine
It won’t wink, it can’t think
Give me back my cigarette girl

(Send in the manicurist too please)

Amy Gerstler

Perpetual Honeymoon

Mother promised I wouldn’t feel homesick
this trip. She crossed her heart. But her
vows don’t matter anymore. My bridegroom
snores on the train. I want him to love
me always. The luggage rack rattles. His
head rocks side to side, looks lifeless,
but I won’t panic and wake him. I’ll think
about my wedding, those moments I remember:
guests’ hair sequined with confetti, my
sweet niece singing hymns, her eyebrows
plucked thin as italics. Then waltzing
couples cleared us a path. The ladies’
jewelry glittered like lights along a pier.
I entered the bridal suite on the stroke
of twelve, draped over my husband’s arm,
next to his light suit jacket. There were
foil wrapped chocolates on our pillows.
Not a soul heard me call out, felled by
his soft karate. The phrase “Flight from
Egypt” popped into my head while I focused
my eyes on the whitewashed ceiling. Perhaps
the pastor said it, or I opened the blue
book at bedside to the verse where exiled
Israelites begin forgetting their ancestors.
It’s a sad passage. Strange sights stuck
in my mind superimpose themselves over
rustic greenery blurring by: his dilated
eyes at night as he snips my panties with
nail scissors; and a photo of a drowned
girl, her limbs landed gracefully, as if
she’d planned it that way.

Paul Grillo

The Roland Kirk Story

The mystery pipes have a voice like tobacco
Like turquoise mist in the trees
On the other side of silence
Where it’s raining a whole restaurant of tophats
And a cache of slinky maple breezes
Are trimming the small-change lamps of the blind

Move on over give the traveler room
Watch the working girls count the keys to their war-chests
And the bus drivers toy with their centerfold hearts

Let the Friday Nite nightfall fall on its knees
Burn a blue & rose tattoo through the roof
Break out umbrellas over the El tracks
Wrap the basement belly in a kerosene sheet

The fat old root doctor flies from his perch
On thin black silk threads
Taking seven giant tongue-in-cheek steps
Through the rebuilt ghost towns of Buttermilk Bend
Magnified a billion times
Like a plexiglass teardrop melting over the corner
In the green groves of Pluto
Three times a breath

Rodger Kamenetz

Changing Names


for A. Steiu (Andrei Codrescu)

I hereby change my name
from Rodger Kamenetz
to fill in the blank
What’s in a name?
Nothing more than
you put into it
The roses in my name
have all wilted
but the touch of Celia’s breath
would revive them at once 

Who is Celia?
Who is Laura?
Who is Beatrice?
Who is Sylvia
that all the swains do commend her?
We make up names
to save innocent girls
from our drunken praise
so they may marry
rich men, not poets
and have many servants
one of whom, the maid
will find, locked
in a secret diary
the secret poems
addressed to the secret lady
with the secret name
and the secret number
of kisses, thirty thousand
all in a row
from Catullus to Petrarch to now

I’ll change my name
to something, anything
but Rodger Kamenetz
My name’s odd conjunction
splays me across time-
Rodger, the Celtic warrior,
he who carries a mighty spear
in the midst of battle-
okay, at least it’s not Dick
or Peter but the resonance
is close: I see a drunken
hairy brute with a spear
as long as a laundry pole
and thick as a baseball bat
haft set in mud
his heels have dug
a jug of mead half-tipped
at his side and arrows
mudballs, rocks and stones
thick in the air
One meaty hand fingers
forelock and beer-soaked
beard: Rodger!

Then there’s Kamenetz
Ellis Island wisecrack
Kamenetz: a name that roars
like thunder across the bay . . .
No, Kamenetz, a name so hard
to pronounce and easy to misspell
tangled in miles of cable
twisted through coves of ears
punched into guts of demented
computers and spat out:

Really, it’s not even Kamenetz
but Kam-yen-yetz, the Russian e
greased by a sliding y
or so three big bears of Russian
bibliographers told me
at the Columbia Library
Slavic section linking
arms on their way
to the union meeting
singing the Internationale
they hailed me, “Come
tovarisch Kam-yen-yetz!”

Cities of grim slaughter
I mean Kamenetzes, little towns
in Poland, Latvia, the Ukraine
cramped shtetls
Kamenetz from Russian kamen
meaning stone and etz
makes it little, little stones
(and Rodger, a mighty spear)
mismatch of sexual equipment
but more likely a quarry town

Cities of grim slaughter
Jews without last names
just David son of Samuel
It’s the old story
change your name
to mark a memory
to mark the moment:
when her son was born
Sarah laughed,
Yitzhak, she laughed, Isaac
Abram became Abraham
Jacob, Israel
“he who struggles with God”
struggling still

I hereby change my name
from Rodger Kamenetz
to idle-speculator-daydreaming-

I want a name as common as dirt
a name like a mantra
as Walt Whitman hypnotized himself
chanting Walt Whitman Walt Whitman
Walt Whitman, who heard the sea
whispering death death death
and right, I hear no sea
whispering Rodger . . .
hear no trains clacking by
Kamenetz Kamenetz Kamenetz . . .
every little breeze seems to whisper
the sound of one hand clapping
and the nightjar that keeps me
awake all summer with her lust
doesn’t crack her throat on Kamenetz
but whips poor will to death

I don’t want to change my name
I want my name changed
I want it inhabited by force
I want it to mean something
I want a name to match
how dissatisfied I feel
whenever names don’t make it
Oh Sammy Rosenstock
I want a name as tragic
and magical as yours
when you changed it
to Tristan Tzara
Rumanian for lost lands . . .
I want a change as surgical
and sure as yours
Manuel Rabinowitz
when you erased the middle west
and the middle class
with a single stroke
and became Man Ray
And you Pablo Neruda
what was your name
before you borrowed
that dead Czech poet’s?
So thoroughly you succeeded
we have lost it . . .
As for you, Ezra Pound
some people are just born lucky . . .

I hereby throw my name
into your ears
I want you to digest it
into something subtle
as alcohol dissolves sky
retrieving blue
I want you to take
the seeds in my name
and cultivate them
I want you to groom
that drunken lout, Rodger
and that scared immigrant, Kamenetz
and blend them into a single name
courageous and empty as a shout!

Sibbie O’Sullivan 

Spring Spiders

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 noonwalk
on its green reflection till the full sun
makes them warm and invisible.

I think they have passed through a rift as thin
as a baby’s vein,
but at night I see them again,
round as popcorn,

Robert Peters

Sweet Macho Nothings

When he made love to Mitchum
he’d wear his lineman’s belt
and say “Dude,” “Bohunk,” and “Mack,”
in a bass voice.

He’d insert his thumbs into his belt
and stride that fragrant asshole walk
strode 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 formed
an abstract Mitchum on the pearly
sheets. A couple of bolts for nipples,
a link of silver chain for a penis.

He’d chant sweet macho nothings
into the coupling-wrench
and grind his wet body over the cold
rasp, in ecstasy. He’d pinch his testes
with a pliers: “Mitchum. Mitchum. Mitchum.”

Anthony Sobin
The Calculation

David Spicer
• This Poem Again

J. C. Todd 
Circus Child

Rod Tulloss


Under the maples beside the house
is moss, and
the child cuts roads through it
with a rough stick.
The paint is chipped on his metal cars.
There is little yellow left
on the long Lincoln. The
child has a jar of cicada hulls.
The child has an insect zoo in jars. He
feeds them linden leaves and
grass. And by the porch foundations
he says, “I am not your brother.
I was born on Mars.” And
he loves the glint of mica in
the cool stones.

for E.S.D. Hutchins


Lee Upton 

Barbara’s Story

The glass bead strands dripped
over the hat brim like noodles.
The woman said she would like to take
me home: I looked like the child on her calendar
with the duck. When she turned away I crushed
several hair nets, committed little murders
with stick pins. I was happy,
happy as the little ruby
hat and glove set. Happy in the mirror.
I punched crisp dresses
in the racks, jammed my head in and out.
The woman said to my mother:
He shouldn’t have left you.

After the hats, after groceries
my 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 home
where we took our hats out
once a week and then put them back
like birds in a white cage
like cakes in cake boxes
like nobody’s business.

Hugh Walthall 
Otiose Bones
• hunki-dori


I had rather
expected 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, killing
twenty 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 

Frank Gatling 
from U. S. Head

Don Skiles 
• Miss America

• 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: 12/17/1983
Launch 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.