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Manuscript - 1981

dirty poem

listening to ancient organ music
on the radio while
sitting at this machine and
drinking wine.

there is a letter from a girl
at Vassar
she writes that she is
doing a paper on me:
"Vulgar Literature."

and there is the usual
question: why do you
write?

I always seem to answer
that question in a different
way
each time it's asked,
only this time
it had been preceeded by
certain inferences
so I feel that the question is
phrased to mean:
why do you bother to
write?
when there are so many good
writers around?

well, like right now
I'm typing
and it's something
to do
while I'm drinking.
I don't have to
sit on a couch and
look at a wall.

I'm quite comfortable
right now
sitting in my shorts
with
nobody around.

to me
there's no agony
in writing
no loneliness.

I don't suffer
getting these words down
although you
may suffer reading them.

I don't think
there are
any good writers
around.

I am sent books
free
through the mail
supposedly written
by the premier writers
of our time.

when I have trouble
sleeping at night
I tell my girlfriend,
"please pass me
one of those books
written by
a master writer."

"which one?"
she asks.

"it doesn't matter,"
I tell her.

I begin reading.
I can't go more than
2 or 3 pages
before the heaviness
descends.

the book falls
to the floor and
I am barely able to
turn off the lamp.

as long as the world
is full of
great writers
I'll never have
insomnia.

I'm proud, though, that
my literature is considered
Vulgar Literature
by somebody at Vassar.

one of my 3 cats
just
puked on the floor
and I threw it
out into the
rain. (it's
raining.)

I lost $40
at the track
today
so I'm somewhat
bitter.

I've been playing
the horses for
43 years;
it's for the want
of anything
reasonable to
do.
(why don't you
paint? go to museums?
travel? take
EST?)

on the radio there's
more organ music
now.
I like it,
dark and heavy sounds
in the rain.

I can feel blood,
murder and madness
everywhere.

it's a fine night
filling this glass
again and again
with this
thick red wine.

some are good at
keeping shit stains
out of the toilet,
others at
polishing the mirrors
of their vanity.
some are good at
double-shifting
on the upgrade, others
at
sucking dick.

as drippings from
thin minds
spill from their tongues

I type.

    
Slouching Toward Nirvana - 2005

vulgar poem

listening to medieval organ music
on the radio while
sitting at this machine.

there is a letter from a girl
at Vassar
at my elbow.
she writes that she is
doing a paper on me:
"Vulgar Literature."

she remarks that
most serious
writers are not so
terribly vulgar
and then comes the usual
question: why do you
write like you
do?

I always try to answer
that question a different
way
each time it's asked,
only this time the question
had been prefaced by a
certain assumption
so that there was
a second implied question:
why are you so
vulgar
when most serious
writers are
not?

well, right now
I'm sitting here typing
my poems
and it's something
to do in the
evening
rather than just
laying on the couch and
looking at the wall.

I'm quite comfortable
quite pleased
right now
sitting in my shorts
with
nobody around.
I like that.

to me
there's no agony
no struggle
as I write
no loneliness and
no vulgarity
that I know of.

I don't suffer
serious artistic cramps
getting these words down
although you
may suffer reading them.

and I really don't think
there are that
many good writers around
right now,
serious or not.

I am sent countless books
unasked
through the mail
written
by the supposed premier
writers of our time.

when I have trouble going
to sleep at night
I tell my girlfriend,
"please pass me
one of those books
written by
a Master."

"which one?"
she asks.

"it doesn't matter,"
I tell her.

I begin reading.
I can't get through more
than 2 or 3 pages
before the weariness
descends.

the book falls
to the floor and
I am barely able to
reach over and
turn off the lamp.

as long as the world
is full of so many
serious writers
I'll never have
insomnia.

I'm proud, however, that
my work is considered to be
"Vulgar Literature"
by some lady at Vassar!

not to change the
subject but
one of my 3 cats
just
puked on the floor
and I had to put it
out into the
rain.

and I won $400
at the track
today
so I'm somewhat
pleased.
(I've been playing
the horses for
43 years:
it's for the want
of anything else
reasonable to
do.)

(so why don't I
paint instead? go to museums?
travel? take a cooking
class? clean up my
act?)

on the radio there's
more organ music
now.
I like it,
dark and heavy sounds
like the rain.

I can feel blood,
murder and madness swirling
everywhere.

it's a fine night
filling this glass
again and again
with
thick
red
wine.

some are good at
cleaning the shit stains
out of the toilet;
others at
polishing the mirror
of their own vanity;
many are expert
at composing inoffensive
verse
or
sucking dick.

but while the drippings from
their thin minds
spill from their tongue

I'll continue to
type.