Bodily Functions

This one. This one, this one, this one. I have stanzas and half-stanzas and semi-stanzas and absolute brain farts all over the page on either side of this one. Gerard has an essay titled The Arrival in which he talks about not only the work involved in really writing a poem, but the way a writer can be consumed by it. The way it works and more importantly the way it doesn’t work. The fact that you cannot, as he says “pound out “Howl” in a weekend on a diet of meth.” In other words, it takes a while.

I have a few that went that way. Cavity is one. Cut is another, so is The Whole Sky, All at Once. Tons of time poured into those, and they all still need work (Cavity in particular is a weird experimental thing that I almost hate). The one I’m putting up here today is just one stanza that looked complete in the middle of a general muddle, and I have to post it just so I can break its hold for a minute and get up out of this chair.


God has taken from us the sun
which loving was too much like firefly July,
watching our brother kiss the girl
we knew we were too little to love
but loved with cloying loyalty anyway.
A name in a notebook
and the little electric leavings
of her path across our sky.

3 thoughts on “Bodily Functions”

  1. WELL… YES…. yeah but still, yes, even so, sometimes you find drugs lurking around the edges of Howl, Naked Lunch, or On the Road…
    “By the end of 1944, Kerouac had split with Parker and was spending most of his time with Burroughs and Vollmer at the apartment they now shared on 115th Street, soon to be joined by Ginsberg. Vickie Russell, who roomed with one of Burroughs’s junkie friends, introduced Benzedrine Inhalers to the 115th Street circle one day in 1945, when Burroughs and Kerouac dropped by her place looking for drugs. They all caught a taxi to search for heroin dealers near Times Square, and on the way she produced three inhalers, cracked them open, and fed each the contents of a whole tube. “I got so high, with her, on Benzedrine,” Kerouac recalled, “that I didn’t know where I was, and I said, ‘Are we in St. Petersburg, Russia?’ […] She says: ‘You’re buzzing, ba-by!’ We get in the [subway] train […] and we’re all standing, holding onto the straps, talking and you know we are all buzzing and she’s explaining to us what it is to be high and all the time we are digging everybody in the car, with all those bright lights, and she’s telling us how to dig them.”


  2. All of which is to say that I have, on some occasions, very much in the past mind you, and not saying its would be okay kosher for anyone else but still saying not that there’s anything wrong with it I have been known to use a very very moderate dosage of some drugs to sort of kick a stuck poem loose. But only in extremis or in the middle of an afternoon. Whichever comes first.


    1. The drugs and the creativity – certainly a tried and true relationship. Not exclusively necessary, and not always effective, but as traction for spinning wheels, it’s not without merit.


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