Exquisite Corpse - Issue 4
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by Becky Byrkit

What Blessed Anarchy Devolved of the Modern Stage

The Chorus is in my room.
The Chorus doesn't want anything. It ate earlier. And,

Ah, the Chorus knows the difference between "being" thirsty and
"Wanting" a drink. All right? But thanks. I can't call the Chorus a

Taxi. It doesn't really feel like sleeping with me
Even though It's kind of tired. The Chorus might give me the wrong

Impression, since sometimes it's easy for The Chorus to express
Itself sexually even though The Chorus has simpler, or subtler, more

Important needs, in a way, if I can understand that.
If that's all right. Nothing personal or whatever. Sure. The Chorus has lost

Its mind. The Chorus is the polis. The Chorus
Is one tongue, the civil tongue. Was one tongue. The Chorus is sick

Of civilization. The Chorus thinks It's fat now. Oh
No, you look fantastic, Chorus! Fuck

You, sings The Chorus, smiling sadly. It accepts a little fresh
Wine from a jam jar after all, crossing Its legs in something like

Unison. The Chorus counts, you know. The Chorus is a "counter." The
Chorus brushes Its hair like a dervish, fearing Aftershocks more than the Quake.

The Chorus in Its Strophe sings: Did I remember to turn off the oven? The
Chorus dances, Antistrophe: Shit, probably, but maybe not. Let's go home and

Check. Again. A doctor asks The Chorus, Do you hear voices that are not there?
The Chorus replies, No, Doctor. Christ. The Chorus rolls Its eyes at Itself.

The Chorus whispers, Later. The Chorus
Pays a fucking fortune. Shit! The Chorus never worried about a Fish

In Its Hand and a Fire in Its Future before. The Chorus
Shakes the red hail out. The Chorus seals Its mouth. I

Tuck blankets over forty feet of
Snoring Chorus on my couch.

Suite: Mary

IX. Naps: The Call of the Wild, Part One

I believe I have become turned on

I believe there is not one single characteristic of a man who explodes in his pants because he suddenly hears a fantastically high-pitched sound that does not implicate love, all love, in its fullest symphony and at its most incontrovertible

I believe love is "real"

I really believe

I believe by March the Dominant Primordial Beast will be declared another phosphorescent wave and curvature answer of the earth and innermost ear to lick back to

I believe in the Toil of the itinerant Eavesdropper and you, the listening audience, those of you tuned in at home, and those of you drivin down the causeway at this hour

I believe in the Trace of the Totally Beloved Enemy, the drama and hypnosis by that which we stare at our entire lives, by the appalling friendships among heterosexual men and women that could not be more perfect no matter how it may be improved upon

I believe in the Trail of Dirt, old Porter Wagoner records, and Swanson's Hungry Man Three-piece with Brownie that leads us to a warm and immaculate upstairs apartment with a black guitar

I believe our air is obscene and ecstatic with song

I believe you

I believe I have become turned on

VIII. Smut

(I don't know what you are, I don't know what you are but I want you so much, my body is a hollow hollow blush without you and without you and waves phosphorescent and innermost ear of you I don't know what you are)

(women, black as virile pearl, black as virile pearl light light at the moistening lip of the sea and lick back to it as the sun drops, since they've yanked their scarleted bodies out of wasted blue blue jeans and lick back to it and strappy black sandals in favor of a kind of fast, anointed naked ebony rampart and lick back to it, black as virile pearl)

(they comb cigarette smoke from the tangling, stand open as they comb cigarette smoke from the tangling, stand as a wind stands and breathe as a breast breathes and I don't know what you are)

(a man who knows his legs will deepen into the emulsified earth will trust the way his body sinks inside another body, and a man a man who knows a man who knows his legs will deepen into the emulsified earth, a man who knows his legs will deepen deepen into the emulsified earth will trust trust the way his body sinks sinks inside inside another body, and is held, another body holds him)

(a woman gathers glass the color of crimson things inside her and she carries carries glass on and on and in on the skincovered part of herself that beats and she gathers gathers glass)

(a woman gathers rhythms, in formations long beyond horizons, rhythms the curvature curvature answer answer in formations long beyond the curvature answer of the earth is like a lumen, to women the curvature answer is the call, the eddy, the astronaut seashell the echo and fan of the wave, I don't know what you are, the the depression the the instrumental ruby reach and and and circulation circulation circulation)

(we shudder we shudder we so so shudder so, when we set our mouths on the wet and mysterious darkness of one another we fall into the wave and mysterious darkness in the manner of men and women in awe who aspire to penetrate one another then we set our mouths on the wet and mysterious darkness of one another and close our eyes and touch and touch ourselves and touch ourselves to remind ourselves of touching each other and remember remember remember and prepare like a prayer, a handful of glass held, a naked ebony rampart, a body sunk into the emulsified earth like like like a prayer)

(I don't know what you are and waves and innermost ear of you I don't know what you are but I want you so much, my body is a hollow hollow blush without you without you and the waves waves phosphorescent and innermost innermost innnermost ear of you)

VII. The Totally Beloved Enemy

(Right On!)


Neitzsche? um, said one time that you could totally
measure the, um, status of a man by, like,

checking out his asshole enemies or whatever?
And we're like defined as much by

our like totally gay enemies as by our like totally Best!
friends and as much by our, like,

negatives as by our, um, positives? Just as much as the,
um, opposition between, you

know, like characters in a like, novel creates the DRAMA!,
so a person's like fuckhead enemies give like

to the story of his or her like life or whatever?
Dude, enemies are totally dangerous because they totally

consume like energy and attention and shit. It's also like
totally possible to become like hypnotized by the

thing we totally hate and stare at it for our like
whole life
. The, like, boo-foo energies of


shitloads of societies and, um, individuals? are like
totally exhausted by like hot and cold fucking warfare or

whatever. Like when being all against becomes all like
more important than being all with or for, you know?

The enemy has all like destroyed the rockin independence
of your like total personality. And the dude who all "defines

his, like, existence" as a battle against communists, or blacks, or
whites, or like, the Establishment or whatever? or Jews, or

women, or abortionists, or like, um --
Arabs! whatever! forms a, um,

totally negative, like identity that totally indentures him
or her to his or her like dorkwad enemy or whatever! You

know??? And a, like, totally bad enemy like destroys freedom or
whatever and a good enemy provides the, like, I forget, the um

"loving combat" dealiebobber that we can all, like, totally
put to the test thus, you know, refine our fucking, like, values or

whatever. Dude, one way we totally penetrate conflict is
by totally making our ward like holy wars? and our butthead


enemies the like butthead enemies of God and shit? I mean
a nation declares, um, "Gott mit uns" or

Whatever? which means, like, "In God We Trust" like
on the American quarter of a, um,

dollar and everything? and pronounces all its
enemies all atheistic barbarians who threaten

the foundations of civilization and whatever? Which is all
good but when we see our, like, enemies who have all, like, Three

Musketeers for Brains? as like fallible human beings
driven by, like, self-interest like ourselves or

whatever, warfare becomes all more, like, humane.
A matter of totally conflicting interest and shit but

whatever. I am too totally
sober I swear! Right on!

VI. Naps: The Call of the Wild, Part Two

I believe I have become turned on

I believe the Call of the Wild is a bigass blue sky on a hotass blue day

I believe the Call of the Wild is the epiphany of hypnotized addicts and angels: the bleat of us who had begun as social or occasional imbibers of the Wild who matriculated to drunkenness, shooting smack, crossing the borders for cigarettes and unpardonable behavior, dependence on potentially lethal mixtures of chemicals or heavy machinery with the Wild, and who have since survived due to institutionalization of intimacy, the undereducated apothecary's meted little brown worm kisses and the one long fuck of the month like any other utterly American memory of the Wild

I believe the Call of the Wild is a Love of the Wild, a love of playing the gitfiddle in your apartment all day on the B side of your longplaying life and digging on Powerpop records with Saint Cecilia

(Remember caves we made out in so hard, glass formed in our underwear?)

(I remember it really well)

I believe in Mary's beautiful black and hollow body

(I believe I have become turned on)



The definition of dirt includes gossip as well as earth.

     In either situation the people inform the superstar
he or she is radiating, and incontrovertibly blowing
It. Oh, the people say, there goes Dickie

The Penguin Boy, flippering fags at the crack park, maybe
the one the cops were looking for, hell: he
Was the one all the people were after once. Walk
On, sweet pea. Let's go get

You that hamburger you
Told your grandma you love
So much. Let's just go goddam and get it.
Newspapers rolled like Portuguese

Cigarettes pummel the old
Nazi's rosebushes. Beer-hungry
Bicycle racers hock
Schwag. The chauffeur who rigged

The whole killing jimmies
The pilot light yet remains freezing. Aggravated prostitutes
Huddle by bus stops, protecting their raggedy
Transfers. Dickie the Penguin Boy

Stands featherlessly
And delivers his
Autobiography into the earth.

     When I was an orphan genius, I skipped
Thirteen grades then got kicked
Out of college for crying. I just wanted to
sing to some
Body. I believed light disembogued
From my center and seeded like grass for

The people to Keep On. I was an Artist, and Jesus
Wore his watch for once.
I flapped into
The Freak Show front office that first day
And handed the guy there the window sign. Look no further
My friend, said I. I am your Penguin

Boy. At that point I guess you could say I began to
Overassemble my world. I lived
In a scholarship of beautiful accidents

Like myself. I perpetually

Worshipped thus was worshipped perpetually for
Worshipping. My
Face was on all the flyers.

See Dickie the Penguin Boy Whittle a Six-Pack and Flipper-Bash
Grown Men in Golf Shorts!
An ordinary man or woman couldn't in three hundred lifetimes

Imagine the sex or the language of sex or the sexual transfigurations there.

Like any Freak Show though family came
First. I was forced to flip out
Of the nest, I guess. I got

     The toiletpaper handmodel gig and my spots
Penetrated the Super Bowl. I went on the road. I lipsynched
My vows in my wedding to Iman's

Hermaphrodite cousin, Loretta. We broke it off in Ojai.
I drummed

With a band called the Cattle in Tucson (but the front man
Was a little too grumpy for me. He was nice though. A real

Penguin Boy's man. Sexy
In ways that said "
Right on" to me. I don't know. He called his guitar
"Mary." He held her.

There was something good about her.

... anyway) Things changed

Or I noticed a change, or a time came when changing things were
Beginning to get noticeable to me. Again, I don't know. I felt stowed.

Enveloped by amplification,

Famous with desire and regret as only a Penguin
Boy could regret desire, and be famous for it;

When the light shone upon me I simply pulled on myself.
Too many outdoor concerts.

See Dickie the Penguin Boy
Hover Over the Stage
With His Fist Around His Odd Evolution!

     My heart resplended, soaring peacelessly aloft
Over the wave of the crowds in splendidaform. A landfill of happening,
Everybody reading it,
Just like Christmas light culture in February. Just

Like the memorability factor

Of suicide in the middle of a perfectly fine life, spent

With fabulously successful sets of lungs and other, better, ideas and things
To do you know the ones who love you

Celebrity meant nothing to the natural world

Thus meant everything to the people. I bagged it. I flapped for the right to Life.

And to the people --

Suddenly less a sensation of progress than a party of forget and
Indistinguishable idolatry. Sub terrestrial strength.
Gorgeous brown
Chaos. Orgies of tangles of worms. I was sorry.

Everybody's like, Oh, our Dickie!
Everybody was
prevailing everywhere.

So much prevailing. Getting it on, getting it out. Man, I was
Falling from the earth.
I flapped off of all of the stages and a few final presidents

Flew across moshpits to kiss me. I fell to distransmigration.
You can find the south pole of your soul. You can fall.
It's about what you want.
I didn't know what I wanted.

I fell.
     The people got out of bed in the morning and spread the Entertainment Section across the streets
And lawns like Torahs at a Home Depot sale.

They walked to work and fucked each other over like before.

They slid their lonely eyes across me without seashells .
And that hurt, I will admit it, but.

I'd flip a pick across the strings of a beautiful hollow body if I could.
But I am ever your Penguin
Boy. I am a
drumming man!

Wondrous Life!

Cries Dickie. Football
Heroes nose and ouzi tenderly
Out of the window. Sentimental

Pigeon-feeders sabotage window spikes and pepper their baggies
With blastcaps. The Pepsi Generation
Blows dog. Going home, Dickie the

Penguin Boy spoons dirt in little hills all over the dirt --

     Including the excellent accident of celebrity on the musical earth.

Number Four Is Heroin

If God made anything better, He saved it for Himself.

-- Charles Mingus

No one knows more about the music I am into than I. Heavy bees,
Listening, and the

Stupefied copper of color
Can all just thrust their humid

And mobilized buzz into the aching amber hammock of my
Heart. Please. I have the wings of an escalator on. I am a rising man. When

God wakes, rubbing out of his snooze on the thirtyninth afternoon
The rain is raining. The rain is raining hard. I get up. I get on down. Another

Day my own sharp body, electric
With jazz in guitar stores, stops.

Every note I deliver disengaged from its chord
Hovers, soaked, in its own honey ochre over

The salted city, and sails the musical, flat sea of myself.
This beautiful mess of mainline I've made is mine.

Hell, I can't believe it. He saved me for Himself. Is it time?

III. The Radio You

(Mentholated Cigarettes) 

You know, you got the look of a very acoustic
angel about to light a spirited American mother

                    up from the butt of a red hot
another. You're out smokin

your heart across concrete today,

                    in a sweet incandescent
city, sporting a squint
underlining a whole heaven packed
with elegant addicts. Bigass blue

sky on a hotass blue day, diamonds

               in the asphalt:
and that's your street and those
are your pigeons and neon and windows

and bums and stuff. Hi! I'm just happy
to stand around riffin on nothin

with you in the parking lot, Sparky.
You're all radio this morning, meditating

               on Saint Cecilia, mint
with affection for the Martin Mary black
with beautiful frets, and

awaiting you like a Titian, nude at the San C.
There she lies. It is about a country
of music, isn't it? Yes, it is.

               Me, I
was just home, with a big leg half
off a hammock, rocking there; radio
a wire out of my reticent

windscreen, half-attached, buttered
with bug guts. My ass

makes like a macramé
metronome, in disheveling jute and set

to go into another original number
all together. The cops will be pulling me over. They

               want me, baby. In fact nobody
wants me but the cops. Well, except for you,
smoking across the park

like a danke shein whether
you appreciate them fuckin tourists nodding out doped
in your call-it-home greasyspoon

booth by the wild cold cooler, or not.

               I dig you and your subsequent
atmosphere, cowpoke. The radio you and your
handle on the microwaves sit in the heat
of my innermost ear, mouthing the moment.
You can swing yourself into a gorgeous life past the one

you got so gorgeous in and keep happening just

               like that, like a day exaggerating itself
to the tune and at the speed of our asking. The whole
town's gone stupid from summer. Thank

God. It's so great.

Me, I am listening.
I am dialed in to you. I am listening.

II. California Girls, by Brian Wilson

Well, East Coast girls are hip: I really
Dig those styles they wear! And the southern girls with the "way"
They "talk:"

                         (they knock me out when I'm down there)

The midwest "farmer's daughters" really
Make you feel all right. And the northern girls with the way
They kiss:

                         (they keep their boyfriends warm at night)

I wish they all could be fuckin California Girls

The west coast has the sunshine and the girls
All get so tan. I dig a French bikini on Hawaiian
Island Dolls,

                         (by a palm tree in the sand)

I've been all around this great, big world -- and I've seen
kinds of girls. Yeah, but I couldn't wait to get back to
The States, back to the cutest girls in the world ...


it: I wish they all could be California girls

(repeat until you bring the sea to yourself -- BB)

handle on the microwaves sit in the heat
of my innermost ear, mouthing the moment.
You can swing yourself into a gorgeous life past the one

you got so gorgeous in and keep happening just

               like that, like a day exaggerating itself
to the tune and at the speed of our asking. The whole
town's gone stupid from summer. Thank

God. It's so great.

Me, I am listening.
I am dialed in to you. I am listening.

I. Mary

at the San Carlos


I remember when both once and first
I lay your body across
My body and swept your sound
In long verberations into the ceiling below
For the hurting men
And the unblossomable people

And the lewd lead of mornings I'd hear you long, and gone.

You forgave yourself for your sheer
Inability to make some body
Indifferent to you. What is wise
And is your answer

               Is the first and best and most
Distant note I know.
You love me. So you go.

Publications: Zealand

Email: reveka@x-treme.gr

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