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Gary Sullivan

Three poems

Dear Nada,
I’ve extricated myself from you to be here now & write to you
is this ironic disingenuous nostalgic or is our life
on earth & in letters like the apparently
two-edged mobius strip
coterminous & in that way as how lovers idealize relationship?
                ‘lonely w/out you (or worse)
                 l o n e l y   w  /  y o u ‘
                                 endless variation
                           movement piled up
                          concrete brick sky
                                             upper limit
L*U*C*I*D & R*A*R*E
lower limit ‘You can’t build a house
             inside a house"
                   No respect for convention
                   laws of composition
                                        Poems as fine
                   as your small white breasts
                   common as air in a bowl
                          [web of sensual detail]
                                   sleep (5-1/2 hours)
          [Note: Na Castelloza was from Auvergne, a noble lady,
     wife of Turc de Mairona. But she loved N’Arman de Breon
     & made up songs about him. She was a lady very gay &
     very accomplished & very beautiful. And here written
     down is a bastardization of one of her songs.]
           God knows we’ve had our fill of love
     but the more we fuck
     the worse my writing goes
     & so I sat up all night, drinking & smoking
     worrying this poem which I think has already
     gone on too long
                      Poetry! just once
     before I die I’d like to write
     a poem that isn’t too long overwrought clumsy failed
           The coffee machine at work was broken
     I fixed it this morning
     but there’s not a trace of joy or pride in my face
     Soon, I’ll be in my grave poemless & who’ll be to blame?
                             / |
      ___________          /   |
     |           |       /     |
     |  |||||||  |     /  [Language, if you’d shown con-
     |    = =    |   /     sideration, meekness, candor
     |  < o o >  | /       & humanity I’d have loved YOU
     |   \ U /   |         w/out hesitation, but you
     |    \~/    |         were mean, & sly & villainous]
     |  __(o)__  |
     | |  / \  | |                      *
     | =FAILURE= |
     | collected |             Love has nothing to do
     |   poems   |                w/civilization
     | 1990-1999 |
     |___________|                      *
           [cheap attempt               You awake yet?
      to capitalize
      on failure]                       *
                                          Answer me!
                                G a r y

Dear Nada,
             Brilliant wind conflicts the absorb I set sail against
red & golden coated people to obey their legs
move away from each other scoot thru bodega aisles
where I tonight skill not efficient to render
a mistake to write I’m walking lovelorn idiot savant while
you intelligently sleep effulgent head against mundane pillow
except for the beautiful brown messages you send
there’d be no Brooklyn no bodega no aisles eccentric flutter
wads of string to hold up my head
                                  divinely sick to stomach
black swaths of buildings beneath the white collect
                                                    some bird
appears washed against the window
as I am hurried by
shaken by another woman how proud I was of your tousled hair
as I lay beside you
                  maybe I just take everything too seriously
I can’t go home there’s too much light the worm
from Brenda’s mezcal floats in urine in the toilet bowl
I guess we’re off to see 200 Cigarettes
& walk out half an hour later demand our money back I did like
watching Courtney Love pretend to get drunk
it’s not that I don’t like being an audience to others
drunk I’ve never been afraid to watch anything but tonight
all the animal wants is you
                            not possible to say I love you
without smoking or where’s the hand lotion
who was it said we can’t say anything however unexaggerated
at least something’s going on what causes this
                                               if I continue
fixating on nothing I’m bound to say everything to you
the streetlamp curves above me like an invitation
if only I had the time & inclination to observe all the parts
there’d be none left
                   or will our days overexamined be over easy
will we repeat everything like a bad poem someone
who wants too badly to write a good poem writes
I write in a feeble attempt to hide my fear Jimmy Reed
incongruently prominent on my sleeve I wanna be loved but
   by only
you because I never had--
                          it’s merely poverty
poem placed at the feet of a steady stream of gray figures
breathing through the nose & mouth
angel warm
           hush hush
shut your mouth Ange slides into the seat next to me
I forget what I’ve ordered what I’ve said it’s all a wash
finding form for the tolling of the sea & we
so seldom look on love that it seems heinous not my line
it’s just I’ll become anyone for you
                                     Alles ist Elend und Wucht
Ange imagines I’m listening well I am but I’m also writing you
she’ll read this later wonder if I really was it’s history
dust I write to charm you & therefore
never cease will wear my sleeves inside out insomniac slosh
mambo yo yo how many don’t ask if your mouth is dry
it’s two months since you kissed me I forget to breathe
& am too easily grabbed by the throat my cock
an anecdote’s flickering lights others get hung up on
nervous thinking of the last clench of light
is it merely pornographic to write you every time I beat off
am I whorish an exhibitionist should I seek medicinal
dogma’s hopeful blossoming spew or stare at blanks
pre-matin forgetting how we writhed in 69 my nose in your ass
to be gone from the world
                          poem as portable as a bedpan
heading the wrong direction or at least as unavailable as you
suppose next time we stare at each other
w/out longing sweat-covered subway cancellation ill-repute
unimpressed by Big Apple gunshot mutilation the parade
of continents beneath airplane wing
                                    at least I’m fulsome
tonight my heart not like a penis someone’s stepped on
on their way to see other people what’s
worth saying worth saving any train passage locally I acquire
not enough shut-eye your lips the last I’ve kissed
how can I sleep tonight faceless w/out you while you shake
in the snow
            or is that optimistic cliche
                                         I don’t know
shit! not even your soaked panties have arrived
why didn’t you FedEx them as I asked
                                     I’m home now pantiless
Tito Rodriguez makes-to-nod my head but he’s not as brazen
as you you dirty girl I’m indulgent but not insane
I’m pompous a man we’re neither of us
young I fear when we finally sink we’re done
drug induced or not come
& fuck me already otherwise I might as well live in L.A.
I wanna spank every word your face has caught upon
O be the flattered bomb that thru subway-wind plummets cohere
spermily not to this my marooned & throttled catastrophe
but to me like a shovel strikes an amber bottle really
take me above gravity below sunlight & the shining birds
fuck me like soy Cubano y tu ‘Bronx tambourine"
w/out dirt or ‘face fallen like a waffle’ sink yr fangs
in my flesh w/beautiful subtitles no one will read
my hand’s in my pocket it’s not Pierre Reverdy but Mr. Wilson
I adjust no one who reads this will ever shake my hand again
hardly matters I seek only a paranormal licentiousness
of waste
         know what I mean
                          get on the fucking plane already
1,000 palm trees wag in my otherwise empty mind
it’s lightning outside Chris just got home meaning I can’t
jack off comfortably authority’s dicta
creeps towards--equinox yeah whatever big fucking deal
mambo mambo mambo yo yo no one listens but you
Tito Rodriguez is dead the heart’s enemies
in mutton sleeves beg us think about it or at least
be physically together before we fuck again
indulgence confusion pilfering
the richness of the earth is ours
it’s okay with me your breath will fill
this otherwise empty fog like a balloon

      Dear Nada,

Harvey Pekar urges R. Crumb to cash in goads You like money
don’tcha? tho Crumb’s oblivious
eyes fastened on sneering Amazon Jewess in black boots
I can never have her he trembles we like to imagine
anything fulfills us if it doesn’t really save
the odd genius smitten by fractals complex systems
would Dante have written the Comedy if he’d loved Beatrice
      the object of desire isn’t muse unless elusive all’s
courtship we talk ourselves into our out of
pride keeps us from throwing ourselves at the feet
of every beautiful stranger O
you’re more lovely than Cher I thought
when I first saw you that you sneered at me may be
why I’ve written you so passionately
      why I drink alone tonight instead of bar hopping w/Ange
Brenda or Laurie tho all the stars are like
little fish Courtney Love says people think she drove Kurt
to suicide because the sky was all violets she’s
the one with no soul O kill me pills no one cares
mythology what the dead or elusive lover reduces us to
that or money I have nothing Chris loans me for cigarettes
      I wanna be with you tear your dress off during ordinary
conversation I hope I don’t have to go through this ever
again it’s impossible to make clear in a poem in charcoal
ochre sinew atom blue as the screen these words pop up on
pieces of web glisten to inner spider overpilled evolve in
push of light blurred to gold ache as I ache someday you will
Chris pokes his head thru to tell me Jesse The Body Ventura
      apologized for saying drunken Irish responsible for St. Paul’s
confusing streets dumb fucking Viking if I were to lay out
the city now it’d be in the shape of you I guess
that would be confusing maybe we’re all drunk maybe we’re
all Irish I mail all my drunken blueprints
of uninhabitable cities to you & we both wake up alone
maybe we’re just gutless
      undressed look the same talk the same fuck like anybody else
everybody fucks it’s not remarkable why mention it
it’s not even discussible groupable into words I really want
what you taste and smell and think as you read this
all for nothing human mental hope
delicate viands the cure of this going & coming world’s woe
mind tricked into believing or dead forever & ever & ever
      am I what am I going on peacefully at your feet
caring not for ideas yellow palm leaves waving
no trees nothing to break it the surf dull & lifeless
but continuing I don’t want to hurt you
guilty only of trying to think of the next sentence
it could be sweet as your forehead as accidental
or whole as certain light shimmers
      against oceanic tides rare Egyptian emerald-agate tiara
a prayer in the form of a poem
copulating in the empty library of my brain other than I
whatever that is maybe inability
learned from other men merely in poverty’s pall boulevards
their hard-earned monies non-crucial & w/out hope
formality merely a way of life
      what if Crumb leapt at her I improvise any dream your own
a walk on broken bits as broken as tonight how can it
feel this wrong broken the fast of hands
I’d sell out in a minute but nobody’s buying the milk
of the sun I’m scared I guess that’s distance
or will become in mingled frame of mind shivered along lines
of sight each time my heart is broken
      & tired of anyone’s cracker gun barrel Big Town laughing
love, love, love to ignore me like a record player
like a French word like the bridge all dreary music
reaches for why in your white pants do you play such dreary
music I’m in love with you & nothing else has happened
did you really want this world if it really is what it is
& that’s all it is & belongs to everybody
      how wily silence abiding perfectly no question of being
alive tree trunks sunk in the grass there is
another world with people you are not arguing with in life
fallen upon myself my starving Irish ancestry
not private final one I forget every emotion I ever had
it could be sweet not meticulous or habit ‘I wish I were
a bird & not held down to anything in particular"

Gary Sullivan

Gary Sullivan is the editor of readme magazine at

His home page is

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