April 16, 2009

Karyna McGlynn

MY 3RD 9AM APPOINTMENT WITH THE UNIVERSITY’S WRITER-IN-RESIDENCE

“A few years back,” he says, “I was badly blocked. I couldn’t write a goddamn thing to save my life. So, Allen calls me up (Allen Ginsberg that is—good friend of mine, great poet) and he says, ‘Michael, what you need is to get out into nature, lose yourself there, get naked in it.’ And I said, ‘Okay Allen, I’ll do that.’ Donald was always telling me you had to humor the man sometimes (Donald Hall that is—good friend of mine, great poet). So I went to this isolated cabin in Big Sur that Allen had stayed at with Lawrence and Denise (Ferlinghetti and Levertov that is—good friends of mine, great poets, good friends of mine). Denise once spent the summer at my house and I’m sure there was something between us, but I was married at the time and she was older and converting to Catholicism, and we were joking around one night and she said she thought I was “too short” and—heh-hehthat was really funny, and—I don’t know—the timing was just FUCKED UP! … but great poet, great poet … I ended up publishing a limited edition chapbook by her that’s selling on e-Bay now for five-hundred and thirty-seven dollars, so you know … And Lawrence too, you know? What a decent human being … Mr. “Coney Island of the Mind,” Mr. “My Dog Peed on a Policeman’s Leg.” I mean, how counter-cultural can one guy GET? Always dancing around like: ‘Hi, I’m Lawrence Ferlinghetti and I started City Lights Bookstore! Woo-woo-woo! Hi, I’m Lawrence Fucking FUCK-HEAD Ferlinghetti. Come on, Denise! You don’t really want to stay with this guy, do you? He’s too short, and he’s always walking around with a BONER for you in his stupid pleated PANTS!’ … Anyway, I went to the cabin and all I brought with me was a notebook, a pen, and collection of erotic verse by the ancient Chinese Poet, Li Po (… good friend of mine, great poet). And I wandered through the wilderness for days until I came to a clearing in the first heat of morning with the fog quickly dissipating and it was so goddamn beautiful I just had to take off all my clothes! And I frolicked nude through the virgin field and was moved to recite part of a poem by Adrienne Rich: ‘When to her lute Corinna sings neither words nor music are her own; only the LONG HAIR dripping down her CHEEK, only the song of a silken negligee on her THIGH. Poised, trembling, and unsatisfied, dew dripping from your secret inner VAULT. The ruddy MOUNTAINS of your BREASTS melting under my touch. OPEN sweet Lotus! OPEN for ME!’ … Well, I’m paraphrasing now, but anyway, when I had finished reciting the poem, I stopped, and looked down, and lying at my feet was a steer’s skull, and I picked it up, and the heft felt good in my palms, and it was bleached by the sun and warm to the touch. And that was the moment when I tasted my first skull! You can’t know what it’s like—the life that surges through you, Miss McGlynn, when you first put your tongue to the BONE, but I’ll tell you this: My writer’s block? Gone! And when I told Allen about it (Allen Ginsberg that is—good friend of mine, great poet, great poet), he said, ‘Yup, that happened to me, too, Michael, that happened to me, too.’ So … Miss McGlynn, you wanted to see me about something?”

from Rattle #27, Summer 2007
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