artless and offensive
this exciting fourth Halfcircle journal is out. it contains some extremely rude, artless and unpoetic poems by me, including a poem called ‘FUCK YOU ED DORN’. i was moved to write this poem after reading this interview between CAConrad and Dale Smith, and thereby finding out that my previous romantic conception of the gunmetal awesome poet daddy of Gunslinger who i’d gone completely waltzing tango amour crazy and inspired over as an undergrad, holding his hand through many arid and/or inky landscapes like a talisman of gung-ho intellectual bohemian handsomeoutlaw confounded lyric, was a real mortal who had written some phenomenally un-thought-through and extreme and offensive and hard and posturing poems about gay people, disabled people, poor people, and people with AIDS. i felt like a total dumbass for not knowing this, and it made me feel dirty and like i wanted to spit. so i wrote the poem ‘FUCK YOU ED DORN’, and read it at a December 2011 reading in Oakland, CA, and when i read it there some of the audience were pleased with my expectoration, although one person came up to me afterwards and said they thought it was offensive that i had read that poem, and would be offensive to people who had been friends with Dorn, and that Dorn was right after all, if you sleep around you DO get nasty diseases. i didn’t continue the argument, part of me wishes i had and part of me doesn’t want to stir the particles, and part of me wants to have pointed out that whether or not fucking around leads to diseases, the at least initial problem with the Dorn poem is its notion that promiscuity is somehow the same as homosexuality. but i didn’t go there in the personal flesh. my friend Justin Katko, a wonderful poet and Dorn scholar, very matter-of-factly told me that his main beef with ‘FUCK YOU ED DORN’ was about the fact that it was just a bad poem. this is all fine and good. i agree that it is a bad poem. i agree that the poem would be offensive to those who knew Dorn in his lifetime. i also think that this is a case of the king’s two bodies: Ed Dorn the poet whose work will exist in the aether of poetry for as long as people carry him in their hearts (and they will, always, or at least until the aliens come), and Ed Dorn the real person who had the real feelings and the real body and affected the real lives of the real people that really loved him. but there is also the matter of the poem ‘Aid(e) Memoire’ existing now as a permanent fuck-you to anyone who is gay, anyone who has AIDS, anyone who knows anyone who has AIDS, or who died of AIDS, or who has been the victim of stupid assumptions about gayness, or who has known someone who has been the victim of stupid assumptions about gayness, or who just generally wants to expand their consciousness and/or mind beyond the stupid easy deductions that it is easy (and sometimes fun) to make about difference from the safety of exclusivity and privacy. all to say that my bad poem ‘FUCK YOU ED DORN’ is the equal and opposite reaction to an equally bad poem ‘Aid(e) Memoire’, which is basically just physics, and now it’s out in the world, and that’s just how it is. a stupid balm on balmy stupidity. or, as i put it to Justin, my poem is unfortunate, but much less so than rampant homophobia. and/or, morality is tantamount to stupidity.
there’s also a poem in there called ‘ALTHUSSER NEEDS TO EAT SOME ICE-CREAM & SHUT UP’, but that’s another story.
[UPDATE: fakedaniels has posted one of Dorn’s poems from ‘Abhorrences’ if you wanna know what sort o thing we’re dealing with here.]