N a p a l m†† H e a l t h†† S p a :†† R e p o r t†† 2 0 1 3 :†† S p e c i a l†† E d i t i o n

L o n g ††P o e m†† M a s t e r p i e c e s†† o f†† t h e†† P o s t b e a t s

 

 

EILEEN MYLES

 

Eileen Myles

 

 

Basic August

 

Summer is endurable

you suggest &

I picked it up off

a wall in Cambridge

today or better

when the chlorine

drips from my

hair down my

back & the

five birds in

New York start to sing.

 

Brooklyn is just a

ride away. Iím hungry

again! While the ponytail

drips down my back &

I pull on the black

shirt thatís wet from

the pool, but so

what, itís August and

the six birds in

New York sing back.

 

I wish I could

pull a devil mask over

my face. To be in-

visible & assertive,

to scare the hell

out of you. When

you pat my hand

take me all wrong,

make me squirm.

When I feel myself

falling backwards

in my skull

Iíd rather race

outside, red &

heavy browed &

scare your thoughts

your pity to

kingdom come.

Iíd laugh.

 

Or I have learned from

novels that you can

stare right through a

person. All the midriffs

of men I have bored

through this summer

in the sweaty subway

which is like

an intestine. I make

the beady eyes vanish

by boring through

like a train

or skipping upstairs.

 

You have never

wanted anything

I chide myself

as I am walking

through the tunnel.

Does anyone

ever ďchooseĒ

life. The ambitious

ones who get

in with both

their sneakers

soaking wet &

their big fangs

wanting all. Privately

I whistle, privately

Iím private. Do we

pound our fists down

like this and go

now, now I must

have for I am

truly here, Mankind!

 

Is Life perhaps

just another thing

that men own,

like the world

so not having

a greedy antenna

hanging between

my legs I donít

know how to

insert myself

powerfully in

anythingís

path. It is

mine tonight,

and shut the

feeling out,

like a light

and in

the dark, get.

 

I like summer

cause itís

just so hot.

Thereís no excuse

for such an incessant

daily lack of

relief. The daily

woman with

her breast hanging

out and her

pussy in the

middle of

everything

bundled up

private. For I

must go to

work tonight

and in this

idle unfanned

hour Iíll sing

my song. Destinyís

woman at last

in her chair.

 

If you saw

my heart hanging

out like the

devil face

grinning & pumping

away sweating

blood & grimacing

going ow ow

ow! Kind of

a furless

pussy, my heart.

 

My mother

tells me I am not

her son, my

sister says

that was not my

crime, being foolish

scaring the

mother with

the ugly daughter

mask, hands like

worms reaching

out to the

mother who

has just been

stone so

long that

how could

the mother

bear the

daughter, but

she did

the beautiful

ugly one

of summer

nights. Hungry

like this snake

of a city

reduced to

living stone.

 

Can you describe

in two syllables

the real

condition of

woman. Like hell!!

Would you

strike

your mother

with a stick

call her

bitch, witch

would you

beat her

till she

bled real

water from

her mouth.

 

The woman

made so many

men afraid,

her incredible

power & smarts.

They froze.

So one guy

said letís tell

her sheís

incredibly

ugly, her

power, her

strength

her sexuality,

life coming

right out

of her loins,

letís call

it pussy

letís give

her a hysterectomy

letís tell her

itís so uncool

for girls

to be strong

letís tell

her sheís

really ugly.

 

Fear freezes

me daily even

in this heat.

I pay a

bill I feel

better. I live

along. I get

ten bucks in

the mail. Heigh

dee ho. If

I could have

any wish

since Iím happening

since Iím really

seeing here

since I do

& listen. I believe

all the women

could be strong

& stand up &

lock hands

& bond. We

could save

ourselves

we could save everyone

we could be

here tonight

& I am.

 

Iíve got a

lot of good

ideas but not

one that

will get me

through

August.

 

OK, I admit

it. Iím a

devil-worshipper.

In a tourist

trap in Salem

Mass my sister

& my lover &

I did

a little dance

on a round

red circle

marked w/

names like

Beelzebub

& Company.

 

I have

the most

interesting

pattern of bouncing

shadow leaves

on my wall

at night. Through

a grid of

shadow window

gate, I

the grown child

wait for

sleep to

overtake me.

 

In my

devil dance

I began

to look at

the world. On

14th Street

steam pouring

up out of

the street,

steam-pipes

says Sue

thatís why

14th Streetís

so bad,

bumpy, or

else she

paused while

we looked.

Itís the gates

of hell.

 

Down Christopher

Street where

gayness is going

strong, screaming

drunken but

the pouring of

red-faced

horny souls

down the

street to

the river

where itís also

black & hispanic

& we walk

out on a

Pier, I keep

wondering if

itís okay for

David to be

down here

w/ a woman.

I usually do

this in the day

I explain

remember the

day that

Tim showed

me & Jane

the innards

of the fallen

down pier

building where

everyone stumbled

at dawn looking

for one more

blow job

I suppose.

 

I been

here, after

I chased

or actually

stumbled after

a girl at

Armageddon,

a club, or

saw you

plunge into

an icy

January Hudson

unlike now

inhaling Davidís

cigarettes

watching Maxwell

house, not

even sighing.

When itís time

to move

we both

know.

 

You the goddess

of 1988 take me

especial places.

Through burgeoning

Union Square

where I left

my bike &

you criticize

the way I

walk reminisce

about Larry

and you

teach me

about going

slow, each

foot, solid

on the ground

feel it first,

head up, a little

tilted, shoulder

back, clench

your pussy

lift your

butt, let

your shoulders

sway, arms

high. We

should be

in rhythm

itís how

you walk

with a

person. Are

you ruining

me as we

approach our

2nd year

together &

Iím comfortably

in training

to be right

for you

or us, though

I like the

way I

walk alone,

the love

affair

I never

share but

you with

the itsy

bitsy light

of Gramercy

Park itís

great we

still kiss

at corners

in recognition

of trees &

the good

air they

exude. Hot-ter

tomorrow,

a Korean

man assures

his friend.

 

Friday night

we take

our walk.

The streets

ďDom Perignon

KhaddafyĒóyou

reminisce

about heroin.

Jean Michel

died this

week. Under

thirty. I

havenít

failed to

be walking

breathing poor,

the fashion

ensemble into

the artichoke

sculpture junk-yard

of Gas-station,

2 Boots is

closed so

we walk to

the hat &

talk about

Zoe who

lives near

here, &

share this

pork with

orange thatís

just sensational.

Iím either

in Mexico

or Italy

the unmitigating

heat. Saturday

we stayed

in your

house w/the

air conditioner

on. I came

out from the

movies on

Friday night

my bicycle

was gone.

 

By the

time we

got to Cooper

Square we

found two,

one for fifteen

purple w/footbrakes

you paid,

a thirty-five

dollar one

came fully sprayed

3 gears all

good. Do you

have the

money. Get

them get

them. An argument

began while you

were getting

change, the

guy was drunk

Russian, he

was talking

about his

mother which

attracted other

drunks, boys

with tall

beers in

bags. You returned

with a vanilla

coke & we

rode to

the park. A

puerto rican

boy in a

sleeveless

blue shirt was

being lead

away by

the cops

already

in hand-cuffs

his mother

fat in an orange

dress, crying

had to be

pulled away

as they stuffed

him in a squad

car. She didnít

want him to

have a record.

He didnít do

anything everyone

said, he was

so good

looking you

said. He

was. This

is in Tompkins

Square Park.

We saw busloads

of cops at

5th ave, earlier.

Now they were

here. All the

young politicos

in the park

chose to move

when the cops

wedged them

in along

with us on

our new

bikes. Hey,

there were

people with

cards saying

they were

someone

or other. I

always think

the Village Voice.

Lots of cameras.

One little cop

who looked like

Benjamin, you

know, the one

who played

Ghandi, said

whatís a nice

girl like

you doing

in a place

like this. I

live here. We

both turned

away. I was

separated

from you.

There was a

fat white cop

who was real

sweaty, we

were all sweaty

and he had

a billy club

and he had

this very uncomfortable

ďdare meĒ face

on like a

grammar school

nun. I began

to feel scared.

We dispersed. Pol-

iticos kept

turning on us.

What are you

doing here w/

those bikes. They

live here too!

 

Out on the street

the cops followed

us outóan

organization of

blue. The street

sang ďGo home

Go Home!

Go home!Ē

The cops were

mad they

wanted to

fight. A skinny

young man

wore a pig

nose & a

Florida cop

uniform. I

think I saw

a girl get

clubbed. Iím

waiting for

the worst

but I

always feel

bored. The

most exciting

violence I

ever saw

was at

high school

dances.

 

But Basic August

just for now

is a private

demonstration

the writing

on the wall

the teeshirt

says:† Free Kelly Michaels.[1]

 

Kellyís father

comes in and

feels her

breasts. This

is appropriate

behavior in

the families

of devil-

worshippers. There

are leagues

of parents in

America dedicated

to getting the

devil worshippers

out of the

day care centers.

Itís obvious.

Either women

should just

stay home

& take care

of the kids

or else the

corporations

should do

the day-care.

They will

give the

kids to

the corporations

early. Give

the kids

to the corporation

not the

devil-worshippers.

The corporations

can stamp

the child

early. On

her wrist

or in her

heart.

 

Kelly Michaels

made the kids

spread out

in star shapes.

Little naked

white kids

in New

Jersey

worshipping

the devil by

making these

weird patterns

in the music

room upstairs.

Oh she

would drip

menstrual

blood on

the kids &

shit on them.

She made

them clean

it up, the

three or

four year

olds. There is

a very clear

case against

Kelly Michaels

and not

much in

her defense.

No one came

forward for

her because

you know

everyone would

probably think

that you

were a devil worshipper

too if you

said she was

okay & youíd

never work

in the child

care field

again. I

see lots of

people who

look like

her all the

time in

the street.

I think

sheís sending

messages out.

I think

she needs

help. There

were no

character wit-

nesses because

well she

lived with

a girl

and if that

came out

everyone would

know sheís

a child molester

because the

two words

lesbian and

child molester

are pretty

synonymous.

This would come

out in

court.

 

She has

that witchy

little face,

she wears

those

little witch

gloves with

the open

part. She

complained

about

the pay &

poems

were found

on her notebook

cover which

were very

incriminating

which

confirmed

her crimes

she committed

against the

little boys

and girls

who are

now permanently

damaged. They

will see movies

forever of

her big

bloody tampax

dripping on

their faces

during naps.

Who could

forget the

smell of

her

shit.

 

Letís burn

Kelly

Michaels.

Artsy

creepy

degenerate

probably only

rumored

dyke. Probably

a bisexual.

Too young

to know

better. Very

popular w/

the kids

actually.

They say she

also picked

up a tree

& a car

and played

with a

childís private

parts under-

neath. There

are known

warning signs

if your

child has

been hurt.

Plus they

were given

an anatomical

model, &

if the

kids

play with

the dick

& the

tittie

well somethingís

amiss. And

no kid

knows

about

a clit.

They have

not yet

been intro-

duced

to its

major

pleasure.

They just

think itís

a piece

of gum.

 

Kill

that

murderous

bitch

Kelly Michaels

who was

lead

through

the prison

in front

of all

the men

who scanned

her in

silence

a witch

in shackles.

 

She might

fly free

one of

these

nights &

her &

I can

talk.

Kelly can

I show

you

my poems.

 

I know

you didnít

do it.

 

 

 

†[ďBasic Augustď was originally published in Eileen Mylesí Not Me, Semiotext(e), 1991. Reprinted by permission of the author.]

 

 

Eileen Myles (born 1949) is an American poet and writer who has produced more than twenty volumes of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, libretti, plays, and performance pieces. Myles moved from Boston to New York in 1974 "to be a poet." She quickly became part of a group of younger poets surrounding St. Markís Poetry Project. In 1984 Myles was hired as the artistic director of St. Mark's Poetry Project. During her tenure she performed "An American Poem" for the first time at P.S. 122. In this poem, Myles fictionalizes her identity and claims to be a "Kennedy", catapulting her into a position to comfortably address politics in her work. Since then "An American Poem" has been filmed and shown in film festivals all over the world, screening in New York and other major cities. She has been named ďthe rock star of modern poetryĒ by BUST Magazine and ďa cult figure to a generation of post-punk female writer-performers,Ē by Holland Cotter of the New York Times.



[1] In 1988 Kelly Michaels, a former day-care teacher in New Jersey was convicted of child-abuse and sentenced to 46 years in prison.