RAY BREMSER MEMORIAL
COLUMN SEVENTY-FOUR, AUGUST 1, 2002
(Copyright © 2002 Al Aronowitz)
POEMS OF MADNESS
(Adapted from Tom Clark's drawing for the cover of the WATER ROW PRESS edition of POEMS OF MADNESS & ANGEL)
[POEMS OF MADNESS was originally published in 1965 by PAPER BOOK GALLERY and reprinted by WATER ROW PRESS, PO Box 438, Sudbury, MA 01776. These excerpts from POEMS OF MADNESS appears here with the permission of Jeffrey Weinberg, publisher of WATER ROW PRESS and literary executor of the poet's estate.]
used to sit often composing the manuscript
never denouncing and therefore not to be written
without preparation for trial.
sit contemplating unobvious thoughts without poetry,
being the poet of adequate life
on broken brick steps full of contractions
of piles and pimply sores from the stone
and syphilis-eyed hypochondria sleep-thinking germs
and I caught my first cold fifteen histories ago
in the maggoty festering garbage-can alley
back of my mother's rear room.
used to sit dreaming the dreams of accomplishment
marching in questionable cadences down to the foot
of the Harborside Terminal
into the emptying carrying cars of Spry and Colgate
Mullers outgoing spaghetti and infinite
the black-balled parolees and broken-backed
spics, Italian laborers, Polacks and sweaty
old terminal boss,
whose unknotted tie and left-wide-agape collar
was motive enough to imagine the noose.
I was ten I discovered the poet and quick
circulated great novels of spy and adventure
and killer police, whose murderous face
I didn't at first grasp
until I discovered a cop humping some young
indiscernable girl in the park.
addressed him with delicate fits from her lips
which turned ghostly and blue and the dress tore away
and he popped with a joy every cop in New Jersey recalls.
then I have hated what passes as law
and the ten-year-old grew but the poet did not
and the novels fell off into idiot poems
and madness and sight of my city,
the city of squares and the city of Pharisees
all mobbed into a mass of the lewdest advertisement,
tight demin levis - buck shoes for the silent
and cardigan jitterbug jackets with saddle stitched pockets
of rubber ...
I've never been ready for trial.
Carole Fugate has!
Sweet youngest ever martyr
City killer high accomplishment "
"in her peaceful, pensive, elemental face
the Virgin Mary ended indecision
and elected to abide
in every sinew's whore-mastered inch
of Charlie's sweet
and favored yards of flesh.
did he do it to you? Whispering
or 'little sister'? What of your idiot's eyes?
Now it is more than Charlie's, sweet "
now it is every lecherous penis
legality has - every sensuous
prick of old righteousness! Lord, how they're prodding,
those moot prosecutors!
In love with your lips and in love with your belly's
white warmth, 0 human - 0 animal "heavenly
screwed little girl - in love with your crying's pure
succulent salt of the heart - hot heart of the murderess "
heart of the victim, whispering 'love' and whispering
and the minor-thief's heart in my own hunting skin
corresponds to your sexual lips of immaculate
in your mouth, eat your tears, taste your difficult
city envisions your breast beneath which
is the heart that addresses itself,
and the answers?
it wasn't odd
when I went
into the streets
and out of my home,
so long out of sorts -
was I out of my mind, too,
with the dread melancholy
stuck edgewise into my brain
and into my guts,
only man-guts, not pig-iron
but twisted and flanged
and eroded with rust?
I had to walk
and I walked, way outward
onto the unfamiliar street
where people are not always people -
I. took in my hand
in my coat and conjoined
a pistol, in case -
to decide things
the dreary, unfluctuables pinioned me
stiff-columned into my shoes. The trigger-taut
sinewous spindle stood me up clotheslessly still
to suffer the bearable whipping of fingers
over the mutable flesh -
sonofabitching flac "
the criminal shots, were
pinned, like medals of thievery,
onto my breast;
and my waxworkwings
found Icarus's pool;
and I'm here now,
is sometimes the way our necessity balks
at a curve, to be tried.
To be taken in dubious custody, chained
to a chair in the precinct called lst
and allowed the due processes up to the neck
of the fist and the shattering bludgeoning hard?-
rubber hose of an arm's length.
and answer and hate
for the acne-nervousness paused on the face
and the please-leave-me-alone in the watery eyes
that were blue turning black from the law's
dark insensible glare "
whose brute badges of courage and bravery stare,
because Hart Crane might have had one of the heads
that was cracked by the graces
of nightstick and sailor Bayonne!
their foolish pomposity walks in the streets!
At the Hoboken wharves and the West New York Hills,
over Palisade plumage of rock and the Fort Lee
nest of the eagle - Washington Bridge Riviera "?
doubtful escape on the harlotted Hudson Expressways!
thing I found in the handcuffs was this:
Great fear of the law!
of my own Jersey Cityite's farce
gone beyond the impossible truss
of a sentence too large
to impress any boy with its complex
sign the confession of monsterous crime
I will sign
I will sign
I will sign
I WILL SIGN! ##
* * *
BLUES FOR BONNIE - TAKE 1, JANUARY 1960
blues broke out in a gallery,
on 9th street..."
avenue ... 43rd street."
"hell - it's hell's kitchen again."
bonnie in Washington
waiting for march
bringing glad tidings.
"of 9th avenue?"
on via flamina piazza
masticating a ruddy pizza
off to Riker a foodery...
(i dig food - soup.)
(if i dont get straight quick
the fuzz ll bust me sure
as i reek o reefer.
Rio Rita - that's as far as i'm
... i would eat the food
instead, oney this stud
along side me pounces eyeball
gawks as if to say,
"high as rat-shit."
and 2 fried eggs in my plate
the same thing.
how do you eat
and which one first?
peter out, slip away, do a go "
politely tip my hat and split is
oney thing - likewise.
that is what you might call
a hubbalubba drum, hellofa biff-bam hallabaloo
(fontainebleu in the
"you gotta drink yo drink
and get yo that thunk..."
the girl wanneda get waid,
i know a chick collects em,
oney the greatest tho ...
out of work 4 months ...
agent calls, "herry?"
... and so on, or
ie: daddy moody, baptist,
little abraham, age 5, getting
baptized in the muddy Mississippi.
daddy moody get the lil boy
by the belt ... sticks him in
the river - pulls him out and
looks brimstone and fire on his face...
"does yo believe?"
and so on till
- and I BELIEVES YO TRYIN TA DROWN ME...
TRYIN TA DROWN ME...
hyar hyar yok, i said,
and split that scene also -
some idea when i'm stoned
people trying to make me
laugh myself dead ... this
works with my wife also, too...
instance: a game
they played high and by and
phenomenanonymous ... and
phenomena who? phenomenayou.
to a common phenominator,
james fenomenimore cooper.
or to, now want
to, explain what is
(the first funk we're familiar with
is our own, provided for us by glands
thru the olfactory nerves
enveloped by that precipitous lump
of the face called proboscus.)
otherwise, what is funk?
"well now, dad, " the
goatee on the wall sd, "it
goatee was, of course, a-
breviated. weird Boo!
anyway, funk is when
thelonious monk peeps
above the bamboo shades
to see the piana setting there,
bald and bold ... monk looks at it,
while the bass run and the drummer
bugs him with the cymbal ... 6 days sleepless ...
monk looks ... perfectly zonked and
loafing on the stool ... he looks
and the bass and drummer meet
like flys making it on the mid-air,
attracting, (at least,) the ears
of monk, who lifts his hands
and lets them fall on the keys in
commentary; with whut's funk.
the intellectual explains for an hour
the asymmetrical underlying connotations
and multimillion minor philosophical edicts and
principles involved in Sartre's considerable
system of phenomenological ontology to
the big colored-feller, high on pot
on the nod, listening - who con-
siders ... thinks a bit,
and that's a funk.
funk is easily personified immemorially in
see Charlie Haydn,
rarely Miles and
never the Boston
Pops ... hardly
is exemplified in speech.
ie: let's eat.
let's split. (when you're bugged.)
let's cop. (when you're just high enuf to want more.)
let's score. (when you're not high.)
let's ball. (when you're not bugged.)
"you jus don know."
"what don i know?"
"how good them bacon
and them eggs is..."
that kind of camping
i dont object to
unless it's kept within reason.
JONES: on funk
...but them colored guys
with the big dicks ...
those wicker-baskets would make
pissed your pants again, huh,
(2 lines, canceled...)
whap whap whap whap whap
whap ... do you believe me
a.b. blowing mouth and roi
snickering, white yakkin, yakkity
glee - me too - me high.
grasshoppers - cummings
driving us to Maryland or
the grave, and it makes me no mind
as long as there's beer ...
(here ... here ... )
cummings sd-does like...
when your thots
course not." i spat
and we took off, jus like that.
a dam near dozzen stoned
maniacs and rode the island
on the Baltimore Thruway
80 miles per hour... slow.
that was the last time
we were all together in Washington.
and the first ... heralded in behind
Prokoffiev and herded out by
daughter's mothers, drags and the police.
(i later returned and married bonnie
frazer, angel of God and witching
devil to the core ...
to hell with Zarathustra,
cecil taylor says - skiddy - WHAM,
going thelonius a better.
the marijuana eater,
blind, crawling on the floor,
catching fibrous vibrations and
acoustics off the wood and
thinking he's slick, digging
my wife's full-lotus, sitting
in panties - thighs like you
never seen them before, or ever
will see since ...
in the blues ...
connieving blue and
GOD GAVE ME TO BONNIE
THAT'S COOL ENUF FOR ME... ##
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