January 21-27, 2002: Kenneth Clark and Adam Cushman

week of January 21-27, 2002

Kenneth Clark and Adam Cushman


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Kenneth Clark

Bio (auto)

.resides in Athens, Georgia after growing up in New Orleans, Louisiana A Texan by birth and prone to much travelling (residual side effects of a childhood criss-crossing the states), he finds solace in movement and writes poems that are intentionally rift with contradictions, subtle disagreements, and elements in opposition his work may be viewed online @ quantifier.org/~ken/

The following work is Copyright © 2002, and owned by Kenneth Clark and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

repair in four movements

1 antiphony

“let’s remember we’ve failed
before–” i’ve drifted to sleep
your breath behind my ear
yesterday morning i spied you
leave the shower, water bead
on the vanilla of skin, glint
in trap of pubis, unknowingly
i witnessed a coy but faint
smile across your face
echo my own, hidden behind
cave of blankets that shelter
night-songs from sordid pasts

i know i want a clean fight
against the odds of failure
this time–sidestep entendre
& poltergeists for something
akin to confession, or
let’s agree the future
wasn’t the past

2 forgiveness as virtue

i’ve pictures of objects collected tumbled
end over end in bathtub the faucet a drip
on books louder than screams she’d levy
against me in crash of night-time

the ex- broke into my home and threw
everything i own into a pile of scissors & spite
–the shower cold running two hours

took this as an opportunity for buddhism
and forsaking possessions, equanimity
and sorry sorry sorry keep the spoils
of war & divorce, i’ll chant never again
never again never again

3 liquor for blood

here along
train tracks that drag like rusted
scars across athens what’s evident

as i walk for downtown a whistle
on my tongue, your ear an instrument
hearing the song above din of bartenders

barflies and bargirls slipped to bathroom
for disappearing acts of love by lust
while we traded verses via tongue

our breath comingled as lovers
who share secrets known only
to drifters & gypsies

4 coffee in cafes downtown

we’ll remember for everyone
lest they forget that love with
-out risk doesn’t exist; or lust
spent on bar tabs still costs
the coin of time; that today
when we get coffee and you ask
what i think of, it will be your
body and mine waking while beyond
the window leaves tumble clasped
together across the yard as travellers
which never part in bluster of winds
who do more help than harm

on high

i prayed this morning
the first time since childhood
or what’s washed over me, the make-believe
ended, all ache akin to anger subsided

each time love reached omega i’ve sworn it was a mistake
and in faux self-immolation would drink myself alight
with gin or bourbon on fire from the inside

i never combusted but collapsed
and scratched my way back up
beer by beer, girl by girl
i knew from the beginning
love meant loss
of something

but after the last caesura of lacklove, laziness
and long nights of lonely lonely bike rides
home, tranquility spoke to me the way mythic
goddesses whispered in the hero’s ear

“what’s lost was never had, so let go
and begin again”

when i awoke, my bicycle sideswiped, legs unsturdy
beneath me, the car only tail lights in the night
venus sat below high clouds, her voice
contained aphonous undertones
beneath our bedthings—


along the road

along the rainy highway you let me slip a curious hand under cotton
along the two-lanes of southern georgia we sat locked eye to eager eye
along your neck i kissed the road swerved under us by its own volition

let speeding cars overtake us! let lights force us to stop, paused
let your socked feet on the dash, my eyes glued to the rise & fall of belly
let me trace the lines along your panties, your lips, back to graceful neck

& never regret this happened–i remember us in athens on the porch embraced
& never silence desire, or your wants on road trips, the answer’s always yes
& never forget i miss you during work days, and busy myself with your things

put your head against me, we’ll count mile markers under hurried breath
put your hands on me, we’ll pull over a moment to catch our wind & smoke
put That Which Gives against That Which Takes, the highway blind to our games

i’m only here for you, arrived by accident or delivery dependent on perspective
i’m only wanting us, my lover don’t you see when we’re in the mirror morning-time
i’m only staring at you, head to toe, and back again and back again.

Adam Cushman

Bio (auto)

My name is Adam Cushman and I am a writer/poet/filmmaker/husband/father living in Venice and longing for the country I have written eight screenplays and a volume of poetry In 1998 I graduated from the University of Miami with a degree in English and Film My aspirations are to remain a decent, happy human being and try to pour on the positive whenever possible

The following work is Copyright © 2002, and owned by Adam Cushman and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

Anesthesia: Big Mac

American flag Mexican vendor
Stranded with pushcart on Santa Monica Blvd Sullen bored and spirit broken
Tells of the atrocities

He doesn’t want to be there
But survival has made his thick skin thicker

Two cars honk in near collision
A silver Mercedes with an old Nellie
Her orange hair swollen in a hive
Nellie doesn’t really realize she’s flipped off
The Systems Manager in the Peach Cabriolet
Almost an exclamation of her crown
She feels nothing but contempt for him and his numbers
For a minute minute – She’s pale with violence
Eyes narrowed, jaws flexed
Dentures grinding in all their tan friction and next
She almost wishes he were dead
From a horrible disease
Or hunting accident
But she sees in her rear-view
That American flags sell like Hot Dogs just behind

Nellie recalls the sounds of steel wings
Slamming into civilized concrete walls with abandon

Nellie comes two thoughts shy of a U-Turn
She will later tell her husband Herve,
“I came very very close to buying one.”

It’s the least she could do she resolves
As a Spearmint Camry juts out in front of her
Racing for first place at the stoplight
With the sleepy gray dove sheltered in the yellow
And Nellie slams on her leather horn instead

Nellie doesn’t know how she should feel
But wishes to God someone would tell her.

Three-hundred yards Northwest
Bob sits in a four-hundred and seventy-two-dollar chair
With his hands folded to his chin in an isosceles triangle
Bob enjoys managerial assertions
Bob has no qualms with the fluorescent lights overhead
Bob has 2.3 kids
And Bob’s wife is, “okay looking”
She’s, “not bad, not bad”
Says a devilish slap on the back from his friend Phil
The ad guy from upstairs
Bob’s third child was a nine pounder
Bob always smokes cigars after his wife births
Bob was bothered by the bluster of the Big Apple bombings
But is glad to be back at work
Bob is content with the aspects of his job
He’s got a damn good pension coming
Bob looks forward to a little r and r
Once a year in Fiji
Bob frowns with laughter come those Sundays
When the cycle resets

A sure shot bing bang zoom
Spiral plummet downward
Lands you in a corner table of the Coffee Bean

Turtle loves coffee bean and thinks Starbucks tastes like piss
Turtle wishes people would admit it
As he scowls at thoughts of homogeneity
But Coffee Bean is the best place goin’
Turtle’s from Lansing, Michigan come round for a stab at “the biz”
He’s no Walt Whitman but his dad Bert swears Turtle’s got a sure shot
If he applies those young legs and hustles
Turtle hates the aspects of his job
Turtle has little love for those like Bob
Turtle comes to this same table daily and reads from Kerouac
Sometimes Turtle wishes he were Beat
The generation, come whirling round for another gone pass
As Turtle watches the best minds of his generation sit on their ass
Turtle was appalled
By the base behavior and devilish doings of the morally morose in Manhattan
(He wrote that)
When the second plane hit he all but wept from helplessness and horror
Turtle meant to give blood but didn’t have time really
So instead, he wrote a eulogy in free verse
Sipped a double Vanilla Latte
Read another challenging chapter of Big Sur
And went back to the mailroom at the Agency
Turtle doesn’t think it’s such a lucrative gig
But Bert believes Turtle, “oughtta make his bones.”

And bulleted back in Burbank
Ben muses over a Turkey Burger and the latest natural disaster spec called:
“Tidal Wave!”

Ben was preparing for a pitch meeting when the news came in from the East

Ben wondered if the meeting was still appropriate
Since then “the biz” has slowed down to gauge the climate, but
Ben has Lexus payments and mouths to feed
And knows Americans love the movies
Bin Laden bred Blockbuster nights but the collective asses need new seats

Ben thinks that maybe what America needs is a nice campy romance
Something familiar to make everyone go:

Yeah, that’s working
America needs the settling smile of Tom Hanks
America needs Sandy Bulloch to fall in love
So that everyone knows that all is really well and stuff
America needs Julia, Meg and Mel
So they can see that life is wonderful and fair after all
America needs Stevie Spielberg
And the soothing sounds of John Williams
To satisfy their separate souls

A POV shot of the plane
Cut to a wide Slo Mo
Cut to the numerous knowing faces on board
Cut to a tiny hand clinging to a teddy bear
Dissolve to the American Flag for five minutes
Fade to black
Ben can smell summer box office in the fall.

Better yet, however
Seem to recall
Was fixing to remember
That it occurred to Linus Lewellen
On his brown Venice Beach sofa
Kept crisp from college
And after eighteen days of Jones Soda, Papa Johns,
Marlboro Milds and an eighth of God’s Green Gift
That he’s been glued to the media manure
Since the morning of the massacre

Eyes dull, heavy, lined red in crackles
Breath gone stank from abandon
Feral from frequent forgetfulness

Linus thinks the incidents are not good
He pledged ten bucks to the victim’s families
And felt really confident about his character for almost an hour
Linus likes CNN but thinks Channel 6 is better
Because Channel 6 shows more visuals
Linus has grown addicted to the images of planes and crumbling concrete
Linus wishes they would show more horrifying footage
On Channel 39 they showed the musical Oliver!
And Linus considered himself lucky
To be reviewing the situation from afar
Linus is positive that Bin Laden looks just like Fagin
Tomorrow Linus plans to paste a magazine cut out of the American Flag on his door
To show support and help the cause.

A scramble East, two blocks South, a quick drive North and a plunge Westward
Finds Tiffanay making banners with zeal and zest
Tiffanay’s like, a volunteer and posts advertisements for war and relief
In like, totally public places
This whole compassion thing is like, so her
Tiffanay’s not trying to be trendy or anything
(Although being nice to be people and stuff is like, so in right now)
No way
Tiffanay thinks like
What if it were her Mom in there?
But that’s a downer and like, too weird to think about
The thing is
Tiffanay will say in a conspiring whisper
Leaning in toward anyone who, like, cares…
“I’m a really spiritual person.”

Tiffanay is like, so spiritual

Tiffanay has a ‘Free Tibet’ sticker on the back of her Red Miata okay

Tiffanay like even went to Power Yoga a couple of times and was like, really into it

Tiffanay’s Vegan 
But like, kinda cheated at Koo Koo Roo yesterday and stuff

If Tiffanay were like, in a room with one of the hijackers
She wouldn’t like, want to kill them or anything
No way
She’s all about reaching in cause it’s all about what’s inside and stuff
Tiffanay would be all
“Don’t you get it?
We’re like, all one alright?
So you’re like, only killing yourself Don’t you get it?”
Unlike Turtle
Tiffanay was even gonna give blood tonight
And is so not into needles
But tonight’s Friends night
And Jenna and Megan like, come over every week to watch it.

Smack dab in the middle a some place down the road a ways
Murdoch’s lunchin’ some eggs his wife Sally done cooked
An’ thinking, as he sets aside the gristle from his chops
That we oughtta go on an’ drop the big un

Bible commands an eye for an eye
That means it’s killin’time
Murdoch’s a big believer in them commandments
Bill a Rights too

Problem is, America’s gone dumb from tittie feedin’ their young
Only formula fed is fit fur fightin’
Fur bein’ soldiers in the core

Murdoch’s got all kinds a Constituency Theories
Like how them Columbians is secretly runnin’ things in the workplace
“They make the damn coffee.”
Murdoch thinks without them bean bandts
Ain’t no one gonna get up outta bed

Murdoch knew it were the A-Rabs soon as the news done hit

Murdoch wishes he was in one a them damn planes went down

He’d a started snappin’ them brown bastards necks like twigs
Up an’ saved a whole lotta folks an’ finished his peanuts too

Murdoch voted for George W an’ thinks he’s doin’ one hell of a job

If Murdoch were the President
He’d have the head of every sand bathin’ bastard in the en-tire world on a lance
An’ anyone who knew ‘em, liked ‘em, hell, said “hello” to ‘em in passin’

Murdoch’s addicted to the sound of silverware scrapin’ ‘gainst glass plates
Can’t bear to be without it

But it don’t matter if Murdoch were bunkin’ up in the White House or not
‘Cause there was fixin’ to be some changes ‘round here
Some big un’s.

Let’s be the one’s to come back around again
Borne from the bluster
Stuck for hours on Santa Monica Blvd Think of the ocean and see a puddle of delight
Hear the puffy rumbling of crunchy waves annihilate the certain shore
Smell Beethoven’s Sonata of your choice as horns blare in silence
Through the false pale angst
Gaze with your hands to the adjacent driver as if he were a mirror

Smirk genuinely
And quickly
Before he sees

Taste the air to the right
And listen a few blocks down
Past all the Benz’s and Beamer’s
Where a fine Mexican gentleman
Wearing a T Shirt that says, “Kill, Kill, Kill…”
Sells plastic Flags of America in pushcarts

Manuel thinks today was long, but nothing like yesterday
Yesterday he sold ten flags, today seventeen
Manuel starts to suspect the novelty wearing off
But hopes not because he’s just trying to make ends meet
To Sustain like all of us
And he can’t help it if the gringo’s are so predictable
And Manuel is sustaining
One flag at a time

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