Last night at Project Issue, Joe Wenderoth read from Letters to Wendy’s and then performed collaboratively with Gibby Haynes from The Butthole Surfers. I’m not sure I understood the collaboration. Gibby sprawled on the floor and scratched music with his computer mouse (imagine Sponge Bob Square Pants run through a vocoder) to a backdrop of disturbing and taboo images (including Edison’s 1903 silent electrocution video of Topsy the elephant) while Wenderoth read poems from Sherwood Anderson’s New Selected. There was a lot of emphasis placed on Catholicism, blow-jobs, and the word dehiscence.
Dehiscence: The spontaneous opening at maturity of a plant structure, such as a fruit, anther, or sporangium, to release its contents.
Sometimes I feel like I’m not cool enough for experimental poetry or performance art. Sometimes I appreciate the straight-backed straight-forwardness of a chair being just a chair. I’m good at metaphor but bad at multi-media. This is because I’m bad at multi-tasking. I like my art modular, my relationships monogamous, my directions Map Quested. I’m a slow writer because I henpeck. My dehiscence, when it comes at all, isn’t so spontaneous. Lately it’s pre-planned—dehiscence with its timer set, dehiscence worked to death. I’m not sure what that says about my sporangium.
This Independence Day, I’d like to commit to my subconscious (“commit” in a less contractual, more spontaneous way?) and cut the apron strings to my inner critic. I think it might help to name her. I’m working next to a cereal box for Organic Kamut Flakes so let’s call her Arrowhead Mills. That seems appropriate. A mill processes raw materials into a finished product and an arrowhead, much like my inner critic, makes its sharp point felt.
I’m celebrating the 4th from my new Dumbo roof—PBR’s, a few friends, and dehiscent fireworks. Last night after the reading, The Bearded Whorl and I drove to Wendys and shared a Spicy Chicken Combo. That was a collaborative effort I could understand.
Old fang-in-the-boot trick. Five-chambered
asp. Pit organ and puff adder. Can live
in any medium save ice. Charmed by the flute
or the first thunderstorm in spring, drowsy
heart stirs from the cistern, the hibernaculum,
the wintering den of stars. Smells like the cucumber
served chilled on chipped Blue Willow. Her garden
of clings, sugars, snaps, and strings. Her creamy breasts
we called pillows and her bird legs and fat fingers
covered with diamonds from the mines in Africa.
The smell of cucumber…. Her mystery roses….
Heading out Bandera to picnic and pick corn,
the light so expert that for miles
you can tell a turkey vulture
from a hawk by the quiver in the wing.
Born on April Fools’, died on Ground Hog’s,
he pulls over not to piss but to blow away
any diamondback unlucky enough to be
on the road between San Antonio and Cotulla.
Squinting from the back of the pickup
into chrome and sun and shotgun confection,
my five boy cousins who love me more
than all of Texas and drink my spit
from a bottle of Big Red on a regular basis
know what the bejeweled and the gun-loading
have long since forgotten. And that is:
Snakes don’t die. They just play dead. The heart
exposed to so many scrapes, bruises, burns,
and bites sheds its skin, sprouts wings and flies,
becomes the two-for-one sparkler on
the Fourth of July, becomes what’s slung between
azure and cornfield: the horizon.