January 5 - 20

From: Gary
Date: January 5
Subject: 1/5

         my letters & your answers, having risen out of obscurity
like a column of air in the larynx, now sleep
folded in a book of poetry, some phantom
no less than human flesh
but beside it, as beside your glans the reddest flower
would look as gray as asphalt.
                                            It’s the book I open now, my
fingers blackened by our consonants, the present
devoured by our past, though I do think it’s funny
you asked me to send you
short lines,
inhabitable, when
the camellia is more like what I am
& didn’t you say you wanted me, do I have to make you
promise not to forget
we took our clothes off? Wake up your hands
my love, you are hard
to love. As hard, at least, as this pillow.
                                                         Wake up
I want to tell you something. Well, any-
thing, just so long it’s particular, & real. Descriptions
of burnt matches in the cherrywood incense boat, banal
pan across the tiny landscape of my nighttable
orange paperback copy of Browning’s Aurora Leigh
mostly empty bottle of Brooklyn Brown Ale, its gold & chocolate
label peeled off, wedge of half-eaten bagel in paper wrapper
your letters, photos & poems on the rug beside the bed
grains of sand, glass & paper bits everywhere
my cream colored phone, its cord trailing off into the other room
where Chris plays George Harrison’s "Dark Horse"
O it’s abysmal but I’ll suffer it knowing it’s temporary
life’s temporary too if you look at it like that
I prefer not to, I guess, like how I prefer
companionship, long romance, someone in particular to see
not merely memory.
                              Memory has nowhere to go. & how long
can I pour my heart out
while my hands shake, I know this is just a poem, but why
won’t you say anything, tonight I feel
swindled by words, like all our kisses replaced by my fist.
I want what I write to make you wet between your legs.
I don’t want to scour the dictionary
to find it. I want you here
in this poem, like the Indian on the American Spirit pack
like Elizabeth on the cover of her book
I am 36 years old, my wife who I loved because I didn’t yet love
you, won’t call me back. I want her to call me
so I can tell her I love you. "No one is ever innocent," "Those
who don’t feel pain never believe it’s felt," do you
want me to stop quoting? I can’t
look out the window from where I’m sitting. I can
reach the Mezcal B— brought me back from Mexico
I can see the collage poem C— sent me when I left her
for you, I can line up all the photographs of you
on the filthy rug & beat off, but my hands are cold & dry
it’d be barely tolerable & would go by too fast
& when it was over I’d still be here & you’d be there
"in my head
& on my page"
but what would I do with my cum-filled hand, not to mention
all my inexhaustible fears?
                                       A gust of wind sets off a car alarm
4 stories below on 6th Avenue, luck is
always for tomorrow, luck is for voyagers, & all the grass
in front of us. Everyone reading this poem will roll their eyes
but you.
                  What am I supposed to concentrate on now?
Drunkenness. Empty stomach. Some life to come.
I’m not consoled by this. It is a
                                                to be
                                                as indifferent as the sea,
                                                                                     to know love
as the end of all our imagining. There’s always something
to see, feel & smell. But I loved you as well
as you loved me.
                        Life without love is unimaginable.
                        Life in the movies is too clear.
                        Life bores men who think all morning.
                        Love means you never stop staring
                        at me, no matter how many girls
                        I spent adoring, & that I know who we are
                        when the weather’s out of hand.
                                                                        This book
a paper boat, filled with poems
increasingly specific.
                               Outside, it’s twenty degrees, inside
maybe 40. That’s not specific enough, your nipples
as red as raspberries, that’s closer
but obviously drunken sentiment, your pubic hair not sorrel
as much as I like saying the word, your cunt sweet
but who among your lovers hasn’t told you as much
I loved how you shivered against the palm of my hand
I want to smoke a cigarette but I don’t
I want my tongue inside you when I’m saying this
my lips full against you my tongue curled deep inside you
I imagine the pressure of wanting you to be your legs
squeezing my head as you come, but it’s not specific enough
it’s just that I can’t avoid it, I’m freezing, the radiator
hissed off hours ago, Chris paces the living room
no sound but some distant car alarm outside, blocks away
this isn’t a good poem the beer sits heavy in my belly
I want to feel your weight on me, my cock’s unreal in my hand
without you though the negatives disperse
my arms will fold when I’m done with this but no one will care
but you, no one will see me from this angle but you
& as morning’s early business opens
we again will open, I will open, & will think of you
open, having opened, my only lover,




From: Nada
Date: January 5
Subject: what is a man?

(gary, a swallowing thing that gazes)

what is a man
an extension of skin
with hair in the bed
that reeks of difference

what is a man
but a swallowing thing
that gazes,
making decisions

he pulls back the curtain
to reveal a shivering/ sparrow’s
tiny carnelian/ legs

at the end of the day
there is always energy
like a boomerang.


tell that to fernando
the butterfly
he knows all about rapture



From: nada
Date: January 5
Subject: what is a woman?

what is a woman? a kind
of cock holder or sometimes
a sea urchin, a woman
is a blast of sea water
trickling out the mouth
of her lover, and in the
center of the heat
there is a blue flame
called sympathy. "sympathy"
is what lights up the
street that you walk
in, thinking of your cock
being held. being. held.
what is a woman but
a kind of internal refrain
constantly hummed so you
know you’re alert so what
is a woman, who inscribes
her organs for you
can only be this peculiar
abalone, the interior
shell nacreous but only
when you pry it.



From: Gary
Date: January 6
Subject: 1/6

Dear Nada,

"The key to thinking is
words. Words unlock the brain
so you can see." —Curtis Faville

                                                                        Love, if it’s anything
other than illusion of mind, is like
learning to read. My mouth is open, I’m naked & unashamed
though clumsy.
                        The moon will also go down.
                                                                  Here in a word is the window
through which I see it. Meanwhile,
Chris plays the Buzzcocks in the living room, I type this letter to you
letter by letter,
                      it seems silly, I’ve already forgotten
what it was supposed to be about,
                                                   I’m non-existent. Everything is.
Chris disagrees. One of us
can’t be wrong.
                       Still, if there’s a land which is the mind
love’s more than the atoms of dust which populate it.
                                                                             Do you
hear me? The faucet dripping
reminds me of you. Like you, I can’t hear
it from here.
                  I wish I wasn’t so lazy, I wish I had money, or
could quote Lorca from memory:

"Como las ondas concentricas
  sobre el agua,
  asi en mi corazon
  tus palabras."
                       The average reader won’t bother to look it up.
Because there’s a sense in which things are
as we say they are.
                             I would like to eat you. Like
a white wall. "Movie cream."
                                         Look at your little finger, the emptiness
of it’s like this letter once I know it’s in your hands.
                                                                         This poem
isn’t working is it, I sat through too much garbage
at the Church, & only the thought of you unzipping your Gene Simmons boots
& lying back on your futon
will inspire me tonight. Will you? If I write you
really wet porno?
                              "When wind comes, petals lightly
                              separate the overlay,
                              cream folded against cream."
                                                                         I know
you like subtlety. Pure moments
carried to a poised light patiently in love.
writes you a letter.
                            He’s kind of a junkie parrot
the kind who’d rather run his hand
down your leg than write you a sonnet, are you scared?
                                                                                 He’ll still
write you, if writing means your head on his shoulder
w/his tiny fingers between your legs.
                                                      He/I wants
that you/she has her lover (him ((me))).
                                                         Was fucking you
an avoidance of words? "Words" meaning
your clit might as well live
at the bottom of the deepest part
of the ocean.
                    I’m not sure if porno can be written by a person. Nada,
I want you to draw your knees apart
gently, & let the blood dry.
                                       Writing you, I begin to float.
I’m failing.
               Sexuality expressed within, not by,
the writing.
                Writing = riding.
                                        I would do anything
to fuck you again
like the only person I’ll ever fuck again, the written word
is porno cuz any written word is re-experiencable
there’s a faithfulness to porno,
                                             you have to be
faithful to it.
                  I want my words to open your legs.
                  I want to see you,





[Enclosed in a letter from Nada, early January]


a not-so-secret
secret. sublimely

cat physique
the first night

cats must feel
like what i felt

feline. sublimely





From: nada
Date: January 8
Subject: music of the spheres

ring around the orb
of emotional
truth: SATURN.
the night is more
cold. i prove
by gesture
what is hard
in words.
or the inverse.
am i crazy?
is starlight ludicrous?
"to meet a llama
of the opposite sex"
my orb
inside your orb;
yours inside mine.
you are my



From: Gary
Date: January 9
Subject: 1/9

What if all these nouns are stand-ins, losers
The alleged "real world" would
Humiliate, née Weaken
Similarly the belief we had in fabulous threads
& cigarettes, or have
Now that we’ve kissed each other
& imagine that makes us
What we tell ourselves we’ll never be.

Butterglory. Orson Welles. Can of Bud
While you sleep I think of
Tornadoes, piss off everyone important
& flail, but refuse to fail. "You." Only
Words, not even human breath, hey
Ever notice there’s always more non-smokers
Than intervals in which to smoke?
It’s the world, not me, that’s been unfaithful.

To you. & through you back home, stripped
To my underwear & Beny Moré’s "Francisco
Guayabal." I admit
I have no ideas about "objects," nor
Hope to. Save you. Where all that passes
Is time, this time might as well be Beny Moré
Any mere speck
In our hands, in which "Beny Moré," etc., depend.

It’s always time to go to bed
With you. On Earth
& lying coeval beside you, I see a look
On your face, like
"Let me sit on yours." It’s okay if we do it
To Beny Moré, he’s as sophisticated as we are
Ourselves, though he’s older, dead
Actually. Sleeping, we only pretend to be

Other names. You demand too much from me
For instance grace & incomparable
Beauty, my face frightens you, the roof
Is safer, I should’ve kissed you
There, where at least the view’d distract.
Four flights above Brooklyn
It doesn’t matter the stairwell reeks of mold
They’re steps which climb a steeper goal.



From: nada
Date: January 10
Subject: doesn’t just …

doesn’t just pop up out of nowhere

seduced by bits, by
gangly blue
utterance, into
these linked heads’ pleasant
deforming. if i see your
face every day will i
become a cartoon?

the bird picks bugs
off the rhinoceros.

my chest is open to the
cool air, steaming, even
without you fixedly
staring down. forever
is a glib word but not
without a certain charm
alarm my little body
shivers to (your little
body). as-yet unborn
cats flex their furless
paws in amniotic fluid.
do you know what a
"charm box" is? when i
see you again, i’ll tell you



From: Gary
Date: January 10
Subject: Lines written while you sleep

Tires roll wetly through last night’s snow I read
"Thank you for bringing your states of mind"
in a book I’ll keep in my head like
the winter sky a cloud sunk in the pale urban landscape
it makes me a bit claustrophobic though the light
warms the room which is good cuz the radiator’s dead
hasn’t hissed or pinged since early last night
I open another book & read "Exactly because the air is
made still and heavy by carbons" & slow down I even think
a thought through to its logical conclusion before
closing the book to look out the window & stare
into equally blank sky imagine every human eye awake in New York
the light grows dim snow begins to fall I feel you
turn in your sleep adjust your heartbeat to this
my typing which is anyway all I have of you today whatever
I allow myself to write down, did I
mention how outside people scattered on the street look up
envious of us as I am envious of you your arm-encircled waist
maybe I wish to resemble only my lover’s lover
so I write you excessively as he would write to you
"no thoughts future dreams nor even empty after glow now"
I might be dying now but wouldn’t even know
it’s just winter makes me morbid tho the thought of love keeps
me from pursuing that thought opening another book
"On which the step of that I have denied
Descends in silver to his proper bride" thank you Elinor Wylie
Atlantic Bell can unplug my phone & I can rest in pieces



From: Nada
Date: January 11
Subject: internet — a sonnet

internet — a sonnet (after EBB)

when first ye fingers to the keyboard set
to call me in the darkness of my room
and plunged through head and heart, to mourning womb
the language of your love, though we’d not "met"
i heard the hard disk whirring, and a net
of silver fell upon my solo skin.
no, the net protruded from within
for to be caught is something that we let
happen, fate allowing. now i recall
a clumsy sonnet’s (written long ago)
entrapment metaphor for love, and all
my teacher said was "leave off old forms, no —
don’t write like this," but still, though dumb and small
i offer this to you, so that you’ll know.


p.s. i think entrapment comes up as a metaphor in sonnets because i feel trapped in the form, at least when stuck to as strictly as this. i’ve never tried to write them in the bernadette or ted styles tho i LOVE those poems. rodefer was the teacher. it was before i swerved into avant-gardism i wrote that older sonnet (not that this one is any less clumsy), something about running through a maze of love, the final bad couplet, "although due to my love i’m trapped and mad/ it is that very madness makes me glad." oh dear.

p.p.s. here’s an epigraph from EBB herself:

(Elizabeth to Robert, on the anniversary of his first letter to her, January 10, 1846)

Shall I tell you? — it seems to me, to myself, that no man was ever before to any woman what you are to me — the fulness must be in proportion, you know, to the vacancy.. & only I know what was behind..the long wilderness without the footstep … without the blossoming rose … and the capacity for happiness, like a black gaping hole, before this silver flooding.

(i found this after i wrote the net of silver line above)

p.p.s. hey did you know these two were into bibliomancy and oracles too? check out what Robert says:

(Robert to Elizabeth, February 11,1846)

Yesterday morning as I turned to look for a book, an old fancy seized me to try the "sortes" and dip into the first page of the first I chanced upon, for my fortune; I said "what will be the event of my love for Her" — in so many words — and my book turned out to be — "Cerutti’s Italian Grammar" a propitious source of information.. the best to be hoped, what could it prove but some assurance that you were in the Dative Case, or I, not in the ablative absolute? [ … ] Well, I ventured - and what did I find? This — which I copy from the book now — "If we love in the other world as we do in this, I shall love thee to eternity" = from "Promiscuous Exercises," to be translated into Italian, at the end.



From: Gary
Date: January 11
Subject: weekend letter

Dear Nada,

it’s 11:30 Friday night, it snowed tonight, the cars are covered with it, the sidewalks, & the roofs. It’s beautiful outside right now, like Minneapolis, I wish I was curled up with a glass of hot apple cider.

I think only one thought conclusively, I love you, I totally want you Nada Gordon, it’s kinda unconscionable, don’t you think, like where’s my real life, don’t I have other things to do but write you, where otherwise might my energy go, I could be working on a new cartoon, getting a better job, I could be picking out my new wardrobe, I could be making new friends, I could be doing anything, but no, no, here I am, I write you because it’s the only way I know how to prove my devotion, & it’s more than that, I’d rather write you than do anything else, even though I know I’ll die someday and you’ll die someday, we’ll both die, and then where will we be, it doesn’t matter, the truth is if we fuck this up we’re gonna haunt each other endlessly, do you want that, can you live with that, I can’t, I love your friends for telling you this is It, I wish my friends were so loving, I wish my friends were equally generous, I wish my friends could see, oh you never told me by the way, what does Andrea think of this, does she think it’s true love does she think it’s viable does she think you’re crazy & irresponsible, baby I’m tired & I want you to hold me, how come you’re not here & holding me, how come I’m alone when I know who you are, when I know you exist, how come we’re apart, it isn’t fair, it isn’t, we’re not supposed to be apart, isn’t that obvious, don’t answer that with reason, it won’t work, my whole being won’t be swayed by reason, Nada, every cell in my body knows you’re out there, knows you’ve been here, what are you waiting for, sideburns? Less furrowed brow-on-a-man? You want better shoulders than these, these are mine, my love, meaning they’re yours, do you really imagine better shoulders will hold you, do you really imagine any other man writing you like this, do you imagine any other voice in your ear but mine, or any in mine but yours, will you ever be able to caress other legs but mine & imagine you’re loved, imagine you love, o I don’t care who else you ever see, I don’t care who you flirt with, I know, Nada, I’ve ruined you, spoiled you, & will continue to, will love you more intensely than any future suitor, give it up, it’s hopeless, even this letter is only the beginning, is nothing, finally, tell me in all sincerity you’ve ever been loved so completely, tell me any other man has this passionately wanted you, tell me you were ever this wet before or will be, when actually everybody else anybody else will only ever be stepping into our footsteps, cartoon suitors, please tell me you love me, please tell me I’m not alone, aren’t you lonely in Japan without me, aren’t you missing something, like the most important person in your life, baby I want you to be happy I wanna make you happy but you’re thousands of miles away & I know only one thing will convince you, one thing already has, baby please don’t forget ever ever forget what it was like, don’t stop imagining what it will be like, together, I love you my soft light, my single monkey, are your hands open or closed when you sleep?

Do you know something I never told you, I’ve always loved that you call this a drug, it is, like being filled with white light & comforting warmth. I’m feeling that now, I’ve switched positions, I’ve closed my doors & tacked up the blue blanket-thing, I’m lying on my stomach on the bed with my laptop on the floor, two pillows beneath my chest, I’m rubbing my erection into the bed, softly, I just remembered that, when I was young, that’s what I would do, even though my stepbrother showed us all how to masturbate, I never did that, I would lie in bed on my stomach and move my hips, move them until I came, which you know, initially was just this feeling, this spasm, this whole body tingling, but without any release of sperm, that came later, not much later, but later. Can I concentrate on anything now but being with you?

O the sun is directly on me now, it’s delightful. I can barely see the screen though, but that’s okay, I don’t need to really see what I’m writing. In fact, it’s best, imagine typing me with your eyes closed, I’m doing that now, not looking, the sun warm against my eyelids, and having to remember where I am just from knowing what my hands have done oh it’s kind of erotic typing you like this eyes closed lying on my stomach lemme unzip my jeans ohhhh that felt good & my nose right now is kinda right in my blanket i’m imagining your brown housecoat why did I find that so sexy cuz you were in it definitely but also the coat itself it was so warm maybe so comfortable it was furry oh you were like a brown cat in it that’s why I love you my brown kitten wanna rub your tummy now wanna smell your hair & skin I wanna lie with you in the sun and hold each other until we’re sweating because I wanna taste you oh please please nada next time no deodorant I wanna be able to lick your underarms I wanna taste you there & smell you, oh I can feel my heartbeat accelerating it’s at that moment I wanna take your hands in mine it’s then I wanna stare into your eyes both of us naked and sit with you on the futon maybe drape our legs such that our genitals are close without touching and just our slender fingers interlocked, curling around each other, constantly moving like baby eels at the ends of our hands, tongues with fingerprints, I feel so strong lying in the sun my heart’s racing now throbbing against my ribcage I wanted to write you some porno but this isn’t porno really not what I had in mind I was gonna write you some noun-filled erotic scenario, sort of like yours though mine would have been less imaginative, I liked yours, the nettles ohhh delicious detail, animal breath, riding with your legs around the leopard’s haunches, anyway my feet are cold I wanna get them warm somehow why isn’t the sun falling on them, I’ve just lifted my legs they feel warmer now the sun must be on them, you are the sun nada, the sun is you, I’m imagining your energy with the help of the sun’s, & just opened my legs, am suddenly conscious of my asshole, like how you described the leopard’s asshole, I’m waving my legs back & forth in the air, look at what you’ve reduced me to, I can’t be with you now so I’m doing this, you can’t be with me now so I’m describing this, it’s kind of agonizing & embarrassingly silly but what other erotic pleasures can I offer you now just this ludicrous stream of consciousness while I lie here erect & without you, but also with you, the sun is so harsh my baby it feels great but I really can’t see anything, my eyes are tearing up and all I can see is red, am I seeing the blood in my eyelids or is it the color light through the flesh makes i’m conscious of my breathing, steady but a bit rapid, I’m aware also of my hair for some reason, like the warmth is making it grow, oh that’s weird and I can feel the back of my throat too a bit scratchy still like I still have a cold okay suddenly I want to change positions I wanna lie back, I’ve now moved, the pillows are against the wall & I’m sitting upright, my legs stretched out before me, the laptop on my forelegs, my jeans undone, open, imagine a V & my erection just inside that, peeking out, and what I’m trying to do now, I’m pausing between typing, taking hold of my penis & trying to imagine what it’s like for you when you hold it, what this thing feels like to you, so much of the other person, so much mine, is this why we concentrate on genitals, generally, above & beyond the obvious reason, but because they are so much the other person, your pussy so much you, & is that maybe why I wanted when I was with you to bury my head between your legs so often, why I loved being there, why I loved how you tasted, yeah but also how you shuddered when I licked you, and those little noises you made, almost like you were crying, how you sound when you’re crying, but slightly different, your whole being shuddering, now, I’m so erect if you could see me it would look sort of like this

\ | /

with the \ / things being my jeans, where the zipper is, opened, and my cock erect between them, oh it’s amazing to think you held this, what is that like anyway I kinda want you to describe that for me, it must be kind of thrilling, especially knowing that this has grown for you, that it’s me responding to you, it was undescribably thrilling when you told me "look at what you’ve done to me," and then opened your legs & guided my fingers there with your hand or was it just with how you looked at me to feel how moist you were, remembering that I have to hold myself very hard, have to squeeze myself, & agitate the head of my cock just slightly, my heart’s really pounding right now my love, oh you are my monkey, I want my monkey-cat-bird wrapped around me now, I want to sit here like this, my back on pillows against the wall, legs outstretched, fully erect, & have you climb on top of me Nada, your legs straddling me, & oh ewww, would you let me kiss & lick your chin, your neck, your shoulders, & blow on you everywhere, Nada maybe it’s the distance we are from each other or maybe it’s the strength of the sun on me maybe it’s that you told me you liked this and maybe it’s having talked with you last night & felt so completely with you it’s all these things probably but I want really bad to lie you back with your head falling back over the edge of the futon, & with scarves tie each of your wrists to the wooden frame with your arms outstretched, & then your ankles too, opening your legs widely (your pubic hairs would really glisten in this light you know, uhhhnnnn), & securing your ankles to the wooden frame as well, oh and I know what I’d do first my darling, I’d kiss you from your belly to your pubes, then would begin to lick you slowly just how you like it, lapping you like a kitten at its milk dish, & I’d ask you to tell me when you felt like you were close to coming, meanwhile I’d be masturbating, and when you told me you were close I’d stop licking you, I wouldn’t let you come, instead I’d raise up on my knees over you, so you could watch as I came, as though the energy had been transferred directly to me, nada i’m coming as I write this, I can feel it ohhhh fuck ... mmmmmmmmmmmmm I can imagine it spraying all across your body, from your legs, through your pubic hair, across your belly, dribbling onto your nipples, oh do you know how much cum I just released? wow, my boxers are soaked, I can feel it dribbling between my legs, lightly tickling my scrotum. Urrrgh. Oh, but no it wouldn’t be over yet, I’d follow the trail of my sperm with my tongue, & either that’d annoy you or it’d feel good, you’d let me know, & if it annoyed you maybe I’d lean back down between your legs & continue to lick you until you began to shudder, & would then continue to explore the rest of your body with my tongue, with my fingers, to tease you, to worship you, you could tell me anything you wanted & maybe I’d grant it, but maybe I wouldn’t, some things I’d do for you, other things I’d start to do, but would trail off, taking the story elsewhere, & you’d never know, & you couldn’t get free, unless you really wanted to, or you grew bored, in which case you’d tell me, but I’m thinking you probably wouldn’t be bored, you like how lightly my hair falls on your belly, huh, & how my breath feels against your skin, & that I marvel at your breathing, your beating heart, oh, I’d write a poem in Henna the length of your body, lines going up your legs, around your belly button, what would I write, well it would be a sacramental poem I think, & something as lusciously detailed as you, as intricate as my love for you, & as long, oh, oh, oh

big love,




From: nada
Date: January 13
Subject: phone sex

--after milton--

indeflourishing alone, my belly
imbranded with your elonging
adust with your handprint

your gaze azurn,
moistered cataphracts
all conglobed in plenipotent

imparadised, we phone, concoctive,
even after jaculation.

if you will be my conflagrant
i will be your paranymph

all myrrhine in my arborous mewings,
completely glibbed by you,
then enslumbered
in nocent elamping —

wholly, perfectly



From: Nada
Date: January 13
Subject: porno

The leopard comes on stage walking erect to do his strip show. He’s holding his tail in one of his front paws, sniffing it like Bill’s cigar. He has the face of a cartoon leopard, like Tigger, like Tony the Tiger, like Sher Khan. One notices his mouth, the two puffy whiskered flaps of his upper "lip", his seductive eyes (see Baudelaire on this, languid and profound, containing the universe). He is swinging his narrow hips side to side, side to side, and lets his tail go too to swing it in the opposite direction, to create momentum. He runs his front paws down the sides of his body — he is beautiful, one wants to wear him. He strokes himself behind his ears, then down over his neck and upper legs, which he then holds out in openness as he sways. Oh. His penis begins to emerge from where it hides inside him. It is pink, glistening. The barbs are not visible. His hips start to go back and forth and around in circles too. He puts his front paws above his head and snaps his equivalent of fingers, then turns around completely to wave his tail sharply back and forth at the audience, his big feline asshole perfectly obvious, and below it two fuzzy golden testicles the women in the audience can barely resist running up to caress.

One actually does — me, I think, and as I do so he turns his head to me in lust and irritation. I hear a low growl in his throat. And as he bends toward me I think, this is the end, I am dead now, but he just nuzzles my neck. I shiver in delight. He feels so warm, and is licking me behind my ear. I have forgotten I am on stage, I am so spellbound, my eyes are closed and I can smell him, sweetly meaty fur and whiff of urine. I run my hands over his variegated coat, the smooth way, and I lose myself … until I find I have mounted his back, my legs around his haunches, my head just next to his. His whole body is purring me, I almost come. He lies down and encloses me in his front paws. My eyes are still closed as he roughly licks my face and I am slightly sickened by his animal breath but also drugged. I reach down to feel his penis, about which I am curious, as it is so new to me. I start from the tip downwards, it is slimier than a human penis, and slimmer. When I touch it he stretches out all his limbs and starts to shake a little. He bites me lightly on the neck. I move my fingers now from the shaft upwards to the tip. My hand is in excruciating pain from the little barbs, like I had grasped nettles. I howl. Frightened, the leopard gets up and cowers against the red velvet curtain at the back of the stage. I am crestfallen, and frustrated: "what have I done? I’ve blown it." I lift my skirt, put my hand in to collect some moisture, and hold out my hand to him. He comes slowly towards me, I notice the rolling of his muscles. He sniffs my hand, licks it. Our eyes lock. We are in love.




From: Gary
Date: January 15
Subject: 1/15

Dear Nada,

we are the golden eternity in mortal animate form
& so desire love, abandoned

would condemn us. There is no elevator
in that shaft, the wind howls
in the stairwell, someone left the front door open

I regain consciousness slowly. To drink I
                                                            must bow
                                                            before you
                                                            or drink
                                                            until I fall
down, o the thin hair in the small of your back.
As if the mind were a poem (it isn’t) & as useless

as the concept of eternity. Rome apple. Summer
squash. Jewish rye. Thank you
o thank you iced window, lights

twinkling in perturbed atmosphere
"occasional ugliness" "nobility" "earthly mould"

I’d love anyone who’d call the sky shredded
who’d call to tell me that much. I’m here
now, why haven’t you
called me tonight?
                           The wind comes up

as though balancing on two legs.
                                                 I want
to say more, say
broke my neck, a dead crane, a
failure. There are three matches left in this book.
I read. Leonardo da Vinci’s earliest memory was
he was lying in his cradle when a vulture came down
& "opened my mouth with its tail, struck
me many times with its tail against my lips."
Freud dismissed it as fantasy.
                                             Whatever rips
the mind apart survives, keeps us
if not sane, aroused.
                               My hair is not exactly kempt.
Earlier, I beat off looking at the photos
you sent.
               Am I supposed
               to make a joke of it? It’s Martin Luther
                                                   today, he’d be 70
                                                            O, no
I’ve run out of money. When I
beat off, I did try to imagine it was you
but I still need to know
a lot of things, though
as long as fate permits, I’ll go
on beating off.
                     I have no political conscience
it’s too cold, the radiator’s pitiless
& so’s romance. Sorry, not my
heart requited by the fact of its own existence. If I
could stumble back out this door, beneath
the jet trails’ frozen thick scalloped edges
or the work of the day drilled into asphalt
well, probably I would, but probably
                                                   I’ll just lay
my head down on the pillow
yellow & stained, love
                                 "the only subject, the rest
                                  requiring form,"




[Written by Nada on the back of a postcard, sent late January.]


we do our
love in a clear, veined bubble in the
mind vacuumed shut by a horrible flower that is really
a sea mammal out of whose belly a listless man gazes at a rat in a
plastic tube before the invasion of plastic. the others are loving or riding huge birds (swoosh of feathers on human skin) or loving giant blueberries which may be skulls or lava or pregnant. the man on the mallard, whose balls are on the mallard starts to kiss the "nubian." the mallard looks idiot-wicked. a 1/2 submerged guy presses his pretty erection beneath a red ball. how do
you love an owl? why are the tiny swallows courting? why does the
magpie think only of filigree? why are you looking
at me that way? i realize i’m inflatable



From: Gary
Date: January 20
Subject: 1/20

Dear Nada,

                        "A quiet, a very quiet place
                         With camellias in bloom."

                                    —Shinkichi Takahashi, "Cat"

Ruffled in January, people open each eye
as the day lurches the world that lights
                Many things are better unnaturally lit
like rooftops, a fist before it slants.
I want to continue gently.
                                     I equals soft harmless
bulb January tenders softer. Wave-blurred
light nape never exposed.
                                     Poem stroked as fur
no better than fur’s silent thought. Waves
of snow screwed in cold metal faucet.
disk, dusk a deep trickle.
Wet inside.
                  For verve, outside. Outside, it’s
all you. Outside you, some light
unsurpassed in beauty this January day.
                                                            My life
snuffed likewise by people it warms, cold
people on steps at dawn.
                                     Sky equals
the better to eat what your legs
sweep free, leaning, like a house in January.
topples white castlework, the voice
of a car goes by.
                         Brooklyn all lit up, its plumbing
frozen like a song no longer played, duped
by selfish expert to office.
                                     In January’s pointless
building I am always wearing our tie, I learn
nothing to eat, & shrink from it.
                                              I don’t believe
we change the world by insisting. I call it
shy, focus on unstable objects.
                                              Their winter
pauses, as if it’s pavement. Slightly,
unless light, I know you,




From: Nada
Date: January 20
Subject: How do I love thee? III

i love thee because thou asketh of me
artful proof of love and provideth
same, i love thee because thou art perfect,
or flawed, or neither, or both. i love thee
because thou art an always open faucet,
for me. for me. i love thee for thy quaint ways,
thy courtly vigor in a crabbed world. i love thee
for thy littleness and slang, and for the breath that rides
like frantic lovers to thy brain. i love thy very tongue’s
constructions. i love thee because
thou dilateth my pupils, maketh
my tongue spout water, my loins to flutter.
i love thee because thy gaze is the liveliest
thermometer of our dual being, i love thee
as i love the goldest light in this room
i shall never see again. i love thee as i love
the red numbers on my phone that count
the minutes i have cooed with thee. i love thee
as i love thine own room, the quilt that laurie gaveth thee
on the bed on which we lay, stroking. i love thee as i love
            as composition.             is healing.



[Sent as a letter from Nada, late January.]

dear gary —

i wish i had your skin today, or at least some clearer semblance
of my own, this eruption just below the nostril a reminder
of my "emergency." it was somewhat cruel, don’t you think,
to send me such gleeful pictures of you, as if to say
                                                                            "i’m thriving" while
my face breaks out into sponges
over the tokyo skyline
                                    i look up at the shinjuku towers,
the imperial palace, all of shitamachi, and feel suddenly huge,
            having eaten mackerel in miso and drunk hoji-cha. yes, gary,


i feel heavy in my clothes, the same ones i wore to the mona lisa, as if
that day i was i, or you you, instead of a couple of smaller-than-life
standup figures pulled out of the dumpster of failed romance
paolo and francesca are still cartwheel-copulating their way through limbo

                        or was it hell? remind me. "sweetheart"
                                    comes from OE "sweetard" orig. meaning
                                                dullard or dotard, but if this
foolish it’s only as the pastiche of you i find myself becoming, like the only
boyfriend i’ll ever imitate again.
                                                why a vulnerable bruised peach today?
                                                with bloodshot eyes
                                                                              gary i’ve got nothing
but trump cards for you, not hidden, spread
            out on the table, my thumb
that grips the notebook is throbbing with the blood i — oh! —
somehow find in my veins
which may as well be yours
along with the all the rest of me.
                                                it’s too late to call you
                                                and beg you to make me laugh
                                                or jerk off in my ear

                        but everytime i hear a string instrument
                        i start going CUCKOO …

                                                   my cool heart
                            i’m gone
                                            should i care?
(swinging around lamppost)