“The Preacher’s Daughter” — Victoria Kennefick


“The Preacher’s Daughter”


Victoria Kennefick

We drink too much pineapple rum, straight from the bottle,
bitch about the red-haired girl, the fetish model,
a preacher’s daughter with a thing for unreasonable shoes.

From her faded patchwork quilt, bleeding
hearts, we watched her mutate into a PVC Alice Liddell.
How did she manage in seven-inch patent heels?

She was tall as wheat — or the ceiling was low.
Cradling a mewing ginger-ball, she kissed the mirror
where their confederate-blue eyes

matched. Three scars began to scab on her arm,
deep big-cat scrawls she told us she cut herself
because it’s art and her clients like her

that way. We followed her clip-clop down
the rabbit hole; me, to hear tales of her running track
in those shoes; you, to see her white skin even paler

under lights. Back in your dorm room, I am static.
You pay to watch her pixelated Snow White online;
complain her constant chatter ruined it, or her, for you.

“wishes for sons” — Lucille Clifton

“wishes for sons”


Lucille Clifton

i wish them cramps.
i wish them a strange town
and the last tampon.
i wish them no 7-11.

i wish them one week early
and wearing a white skirt.
i wish them one week late.

later i wish them hot flashes
and clots like you
wouldn’t believe. let the
flashes come when they
meet someone special.
let the clots come
when they want to.

let them think they have accepted
arrogance in the universe,
then bring them to gynecologists
not unlike themselves.

“Two Guys Get out of a Car” — Richard Brautigan

“Seven Stages of Man” — Diane Kruchkow

Police cannot suppress | Emily Dickinson

“The Mob within the Heart”


Emily Dickinson

The mob within the heart
Police cannot suppress
The riot given at the first
Is authorized as peace

Uncertified of scene
Or signified of sound
But growing like a hurricane
In a congenial ground.

“Square” — A.R. Ammons

“Ode to Failure” — Allen Ginsberg

“The Answer” — Jim Carroll

“Snakes” — Tom Clark

“Sugar” — Gertrude Stein



Gertrude Stein

A violent luck and a whole sample and even then quiet.

Water is squeezing, water is almost squeezing on lard. Water, water is a mountain and it is selected and it is so practical that there is no use in money. A mind under is exact and so it is necessary to have a mouth and eye glasses.

A question of sudden rises and more time than awfulness is so easy and shady. There is precisely that noise.

A peck a small piece not privately overseen, not at all not a slice, not at all crestfallen and open, not at all mounting and chaining and evenly surpassing, all the bidding comes to tea.

A separation is not tightly in worsted and sauce, it is so kept well and sectionally.

Put it in the stew, put it to shame. A little slight shadow and a solid fine furnace.

The teasing is tender and trying and thoughtful.

The line which sets sprinkling to be a remedy is beside the best cold.

A puzzle, a monster puzzle, a heavy choking, a neglected Tuesday.

Wet crossing and a likeness, any likeness, a likeness has blisters, it has that and teeth, it has the staggering blindly and a little green, any little green is ordinary.

One, two and one, two, nine, second and five and that.

A blaze, a search in between, a cow, only any wet place, only this tune.

Cut a gas jet uglier and then pierce pierce in between the next and negligence. Choose the rate to pay and pet pet very much. A collection of all around, a signal poison, a lack of languor and more hurts at ease.

A white bird, a colored mine, a mixed orange, a dog.

Cuddling comes in continuing a change.

A piece of separate outstanding rushing is so blind with open delicacy.

A canoe is orderly. A period is solemn. A cow is accepted.

A nice old chain is widening, it is absent, it is laid by.

William Carlos Williams’ anecdote on meeting T.S. Eliot / by Allen Ginsberg / as told to Bockris-Wylie

W.C. Williams anecdote meeting T.S. Eliot


Allen Ginsberg

as told to Bockris-Wylie

Note: This isn’t an article deliberately written nor an interview untouched. It’s conversation transcribed, edited punctuated and condensed by interviewers. The words are mine but the style of transcription – timing, context, punctuation, tone – is mostly by Bockris–Wiley handiwork.

Allen Ginsberg

6 February 74

I never met Eliot, I just saw him reading at the Y once. Marianne Moore was in the audience and I remember him saying, “and now I have a request from somebody to read Dry Salvages, a request which is in command, coming from so distinguished a poet as Miss Moore, as it does.” Very elegant! And then he read some poems written thirty years before.

It was nice to hear him read them in person, but it was very diplomatic, he was too stiff, or much locked in a single image, it would have been interesting if he had had a little bit of Dali’s element of Surprise. I remember I told Robert Duncan when we (Orlovsky & Kerouac) were going to go and see Dali, and Duncan very sweetly said, “Please give him my respects, and say that he has always enchanted us as the genius of surprise.”

So it would have been interesting to see Eliot pulling out some element of surprise, like coming on the stage half–naked, wearing a grape fig haircut, or coming on dressed like a bishop or some kind of pope in drag, or in an 18th-century courtiers costume, or –improvising a poem right there on the stage. Something really astounding – would have been another Eliot.

Williams had a bony-nosed dislike of Eliot, characterized by Williams statement “Eliot was such a great genius he set American poetry back thirty years.”

What really pissed Williams off, Williams once told me, they met once, (and they’ve been rivals for the aesthetic affections of Pound) — and Williams said that Eliot was introduced to him: “Oh, Dr. Williams, how marvelous to meet you. I read many of your characters, you should write more of them. I do admire the characters you’ve done.” By characters he meant the old english form, it’s an outline of a person, a social picture sketch, character of the happy warrior, etc.

Williams said, “Why that son of a bitch! I’ve never heard . . . Completely patronizing!” I think Williams objection was that Eliot was trying to interpret Williams efforts in terms of English traditionalism — Eliot’s forms and formulas and terminalogic categories – rather than acknowledge the specific thing Williams was trying to do, which was to write something uncategorically American, raw eared and Rutherford-eyed

(That’s the only meeting they ever had apparently. And I don’t think it’s been recorded anywhere.)

This text was published in The World #29, April 1974. “Bockris-Wylie” refers to a writing partnership between Victor Brockis (whose Lou Reed biography is good trashy fun) and Andrew Wylie, who later became a powerful literary agent (I have gotten multiple takedown notices from the Wylie Agency in the past.

I have done my best to replicate the original typography of The World’s piece, including their complete disrespect of the possessive apostrophe.

“Oysters” — Anne Sexton



Anne Sexton

Oysters we ate,
sweet blue babies,
twelve eyes looked up at me,
running with lemon and Tabasco.
I was afraid to eat this father-food
and Father laughed and
drank down his martini,
clear as tears.
It was a soft medicine
that came from the sea into my mouth,
moist and plump.
I swallowed.
It went down like a large pudding.
Then I ate one o’clock and two o’clock.
Then I laughed and then we laughed
and let me take note –
there was a death,
the death of childhood
there at the Union Oyster House
for I was fifteen
and eating oysters
and the child was defeated.
The woman won.

“Run the Red Lights” — Ed Skoog

“Run the Red Lights”


Ed Skoog

When my mother sent me for cigarettes
I’d buy a candy bar too, sign her name
to the book, and walk out with the green-
and-white carton, Virginia Slims 100s,
under my arm, the chocolate already gone.
Sugar, my god! like newspaper cartoon 
panels spread out on the kitchen table
where I’d pretend to smoke, imitating her.
After the corner store closed we made our groceries
at Dillon’s, joined the impersonal. A villain
snatched her purse there when I was away at college
and on the phone she told me, excitedly,
how Topeka police chased the culprit, and she named
each street, each intersection and landmark,
the whole adventure, just for her. 
I’m grateful now to the sedentary house
though I’ve grown as large on candy as John Candy. 
My older brothers left home and our meals stayed
the same, a skillet high with beef Stroganoff,
pot roast in broth, chili con carne,
cheese sandwiches with mayo, flocks of fried chicken. 
Then the whole house went on a diet of cold
tofu cubes, a broken disk of lemon in a water glass,
cottage cheese measured onto lettuce,
and then back to London broil the next night,
no questions asked—lovely. We were emotions
without form, and I carry it with me, 
not just in frame, arm and jowl and belly,
but here in the intergalactic space of written
thought, the infinite stage where we come
talk to each other. Sugar makes me curious.
After Katrina, I took the diet where you eat meat,
and lost almost a hundred pounds from a surfeit
of bacon, sautéed pork medallions, beef & lamb.
The weight fell away like a knight’s armor
after a joust. I bought shirts at a regular store.
I played softball and ran bases, bounded them,
as if on a new, more forgiving planet. And
I went crazy, evened out, broke down again,
inconsolable at the finale of Six Feet Under,
tears for my mother, postponed, and more
torrented for delay. Opening the book of grief
requires you read all the way to the end,
every time. Driving to work, I stopped
bewildered at a gas station, paid cash for two
Snickers providing more salvation
than I have ever known from religion’s acres.
I write about the West and the South and home,
their tenderness and trouble and the weird spirits
breaking the best days. Still I find myself down
by the river at twilight. On the bridge deliberate-
seeming people walk by like victorious aliens,
past the consequential palaces lit as before,
the faces turning in their rotisseries. 
In profile, my mother looked like Alex Chilton,
lead singer of the Box Tops, and then Big Star. 
I used to see Chilton around New Orleans, 
in line at the grocery store, walking down Esplanade.
My mother also had a solo career, playing
solitaire and watching her own TV in the kitchen
and dying before everyone else. Dying, Chilton
urged his wife to run the red lights, his last words,
and when I had to leave my mother in the hospital
that was hard, and then again at the funeral
I set a marble under her folded hands, 
don’t know why. It’s been ten years.
Ten fingers, the closed eye of each knuckle,
each nail its years’ fullest day moon.
Which shed the other? My scar from opening
a window, such force to move the wood frame,
so little to shatter glass it held. To be held so
again. Ten years, so forty seasons, eight endings
and beginnings, well, always a gust in them
which is the sigh of how she would note leaf and bird.
One hand to hold the coffee cup, one the cigarette. 
The red ember she became at midnight. Red light. Eye. 

“Paul Delvaux: The Village of the Mermaids” — Lisel Mueller

“Paul Delvaux: The Village of the Mermaids


Lisel Mueller

Who is that man in black, walking
away from us into the distance?
The painter, they say, took a long time
finding his vision of the world.

The mermaids, if that is what they are
under their full-length skirts,
sit facing each other
all down the street, more of an alley,
in front of their gray row houses.
They all look the same, like a fair-haired
order of nuns, or like prostitutes
with chaste, identical faces.
How calm they are, with their vacant eyes,
their hands in laps that betray nothing.
Only one has scales on her dusky dress.

It is 1942; it is Europe,
and nothing fits. The one familiar figure
is the man in black approaching the sea,
and he is small and walking away from us.

Warm, capable | Keats

This living hand, now warm and capable”

John Keats

This living hand, now warm and capable
Of earnest grasping, would, if it were cold
And in the icy silence of the tomb,
So haunt thy days and chill thy dreaming nights
That thou would wish thine own heart dry of blood
So in my veins red life might stream again,
And thou be conscience-calm’d–see here it is–
I hold it towards you.

“Entry in an Unknown Hand” — Franz Wright 

“Entry in an Unknown Hand”


Franz Wright

And still nothing happens. I am not arrested.
By some inexplicable oversight

nobody jeers when I walk down the street.

I have been allowed to go on living in this
room. I am not asked to explain my presence

What posthypnotic suggestions were made; and
are any left unexecuted?

Why am I so distressed at the thought of taking
certain jobs?

They are absolutely shameless at the bank——
You’d think my name meant nothing to them. Non-
chalantly they hand me the sum I’ve requested,

but I know them. It’s like this everywhere——

they think they are going to surprise me: I,
who do nothing but wait.

Once I answered the phone, and the caller hung up——
very clever.

They think that they can scare me.

I am always scared.

And how much courage it requires to get up in the
morning and dress yourself. Nobody congratulates

At no point in the day may I fall to my knees and
refuse to go on, it’s not done.

I go on

dodging cars that jump the curb to crush my hip,

accompanied by abrupt bursts of black-and-white
laughter and applause,

past a million unlighted windows, peered out at
by the retired and their aged attack-dogs—

toward my place,

the one at the end of the counter,

the scalpel on the napkin.


“Blueprints and Others” — John Ashberry

“Blueprints and Others”
John Ashberry

The man across the street seems happy,
or pleased. Sometimes a porter evades the grounds.
After you play a lot with the military
you are my own best customer.
I’ve done five of that.
Make my halloween. Ask me not to say it.
The old man wants to see you — now.
That’s all right, but find your own.
Do you want to stop using these?
Last winning people told me to sit on the urinal.
Do not put on others what you can put on yourself.
How to be in the city my loved one.
Men in underwear    …    A biography field
like where we live in the mountains,
a falling. Yes I know you have.
Troves of merchandise, you know, “boomer buzz.”
Hillbilly sculptures of the outside.
(They won’t see anybody.)