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Exquisite CorpseExquisite Corpse
Issue 10 - A Journal of Letters and Life
Eight Poems
by Gordon Massman

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Sewed two cat heads onto my chest for breasts, black, whiskered,
one chartreuse, one amber eyed, mouths fixed in terror-grimace
(decapitated them alive, naturally); fixed a pig snout into my crotch
for cock, raw, red, jagged, but eternally erect; coconut shell pieces
for kneecaps. hairy but tough and sexy; casava skins for butt en-
hancement, smooth, pettable, delicious, pale; slivered banana peel
for hair, long curvy strips with a lilt like a soccer star; the cat
stomachs doubled as moccasins and the pig gut made a fine scrot-
um wrapped round two whole hazelnuts, hanging. Needed a new
heart and decided the ripe red plum, so pried my cavity with a sur-
geon's vise and stuffed it in, veiny, glutted, sugary-sweet, dripping
deep red streaks mosquitoes could swill on sweltering moonless af-
ternoons; a scooped-out lemon rhind for bladder and blown out egg
shell for chin, the kind I smeared Paas over on Easter and called it
art, beaming like a watt; bathed in compost to the crown, stuck
on pheasant and buzzard feathers to ready myself for she for whom
I am cooking shrimp Mozambique with coconut milk, cayenne pep-
per, and Rachmaninoff, she whom by my creole-smooth telephone
voice accepted my invitation sight unseen--the Personals, you know--
and who I am positive will be wearing for playful aperitif thong pan-
ties with the window I've seen in nudy magazines. Decided from
ear lobes, to dangle one live goldfish each by needle holes punched
through gossamer fins, a touch, an accessory as Paloma Picasso
would declare, with a smattering of close-to-surface-blood wrist
cologne. I have such a beautiful clean-angled house, roomy, high-
ceilinged, everything squared, spacious, shiny, flat, lacquered, and
wide, and I inside, part ichthyologically glittering, part vegetatively
glammed, mythological, nightmarish, a creature no woman could refuse.


Left eye, right eye; left eye, right eye; see the
world jump; left eye sees a beautiful man; right
eye a man being dragged by the arms; left eye
a man with youthful locks; right eye a man
with head blown off; left eye a man sitting at
a table; right eye a man with ground beef be-
tween his shoulders; left eye a man bringing on
the soup; right eye gore stringing out a neck;
left eye a man backing down the drive; right
eye a man swinging between two soldiers; left
eye a man choosing a grapefruit; right eye
tanks powering through smoke; left eye a coin
between two fingers; right eye a hole between
two wings; left eye ecstasy; right eye God; left
eye two grandparents, a child and a dad; right
eye two legs, a torso, and air; left eye capital-
ism and fascism mashed together, right eye a
man shorn off at the deltoids; left eye a church
steeple climbing the sky, right eye a church
with its nipples blown out; left eye a wife; right
eye a widow; left eye a dog strutting with
its master, right eye a dog slurping blood pie,
(I imagine it burrowing into my face, swallow-
ing the meat). Left eye a smile ceased at the
larynx, right eye a smile gaping with sky;
left eye, right eye, left eye, right eye, the world
jumping across my nose, when I open them
together: an alphabet soup of horror and love.

Double double toil and trouble the cow jumped
over the moon and up they tumbled down the
hill and what a sweet boy am I, oh my, and what
a sweet boy am I. What would love be but a bucket
of nails if not for a bushel of hammers? he cried,
the hankie outflung as if he sung from the corner
of the edge of the hive. I love her, I love her,
and SuperGlue can glue up the pieces so that I
am a pretty round egg, again, so that I am a pretty
round egg. So let me pucker and fuck her and
fuck her, and paint my lips blueberry blue, for
she is a dream and a sofa and chair and several
large hook buttons, she is my pantry, my tantra,
my dancer, my pater su casa sublime, all blonde
and beatific, blue-green-rust-brown eyed,
smelling quite frankly of chives. I must not not
have her, must not post-dispossess her, must
mix her with lettuce and ham, oh my mother, my
dyspeptic father, may hell bite you like a fly for
I am her I, her eye, and her aye, the better to see
you with my girl, the better to smell you up close,
the better to eat you, the better to treat you, the
better to dissolve you the Host, my God, my
Mary, my Nefertiti, my most whom I drape in
pearls, and cover in yolk, and bathe in a bathtub
of milk, my myrrh, my liverwurst, my frankincense
pie who went squealing all the way home with
a basket of cherries, with a basket of berries,
with a basket of hands, heads, and thighs, who
jumped in my lap with my shaft at half mast
which rose like a bone through the rye higher
and higher to the height of a man eating jam.
Image by Burnell Yow and the Digital Exquisite Corpse Project


And from floor gas jets flames rise and lick her ass, spontaneously,
without warning, like a demon seed in control, scorching flesh whim-
sically, tittering I suspect in chambers below, her ass and body parts
charred, blistered, black, in various stages of disregard, the devil in
her floorboards, car chassis, concrete grocery store cellar, shooting
through tubes, by adjusting dials flicking up flames making her jump.
From nowhere tongues; skin sizzles such that she runs, stumbles,
and gets up with grains pressed to face while fire races along endless
flutes blown by Him, Oz-like, Beelzebub-esque; she yelps like a psy-
chotic at tortures none perceive, husband, father, son, friends, none
but God clenched within, and so she weeps at the twittering bird-rich
sun knowing the soles of feet will burn like fire crawling struck match
sticks, and so she constricts--sucks in bulk, exhales big, tucks knees
--attempting to occupy the tiniest space, to disappear, but old St. Luci-
fer's got laser crosshairs and pulses napalm through fiber optic sheets
like a booster vaccine, and, a kid, she screams, arm limp, sulphur in
brain, incomprehensible to all, such suffering, who command her with
opulent white house, good husband, and positive intent, to shut her
psychosomatic mouth and open her blood to the one who slaves for
the pantry and fence worshiping the very stains on her underpants. And
from gas jets they lick fusing her disks, petrifying her joints, searing
her face into a hive of white heads pin-point size; and walls of fire no
one observes block her retreat like a Hollywood set herding her left,
right like successive blades of a guillotine cutting her off into a smaller
and smaller disempowering, insurmountable, authoritarian box known
as middle-age, unexplored, shame-sickened sexuality in the suburbs.


He wanted to seduce her; she was ready as a Gobi.
She could no more drop her ocean of love, suck and
lick, than eat potting soil. He wanted her panting
and she'd rather curl foetally in a mental ward.
Exasperation overtook him, floodlike, leaving bitter-
ness at existence; she refused his advances, repulsed
by what all males want, furious at vivid images of
future lovemaking fueled by past experiences--
but smiled deceptively (she performing fellatio, he
cunnilingus; she lashed to posters, he teasing; she
playing sado-masochism, presenting herself--all men
are sleaze). He was ravenous and she so ripe he
could taste her plum, but she flinched to her basal
ganglia, rage-imprinted. He perceived the futility
though her beauty stunned; the ostracism though she
electrified. The wrapping does not reveal the prize,
he mused; she is barely alive, yet he who is burning
appears almost dead, what irony. But then he
grasped the key to love's mystery: something about
powerlessness, something about iron, it all coalesced
into clarity, like a night sky of stars after putting
on glasses. Tragic that she can not release, he
thought, masturbating, crashing against her storm
wall like surf. Finally months later after cracking
the door less than a sliver and she worsening
and probably permanently clotted, he backed off,
resigned to failure--primitive failure and animal
frustration--slowly shutting off the spigot of ropy
desire. Now, the ball hemato-blasting a new day,
he is out there again, alone, nicked and blotchy
furred looking for action on Neurosis Boulevard.

When the bullets zinged off institutional walls into the con queso pot or hotdog bin;
when the plastics exploded in the parking garage sending truck pieces whizzing like
satellites, when the size 38D breast swallowed a .9mm slug down the back of its eso-
phogus and out the other side wide as an elephant's trunk; when the teeter totter, the
tether ball, and concrete box sprung mangled pomegranates of human blood matted
with hair and rainbow entrails; when the wife's face stuck to the pillow with the smok-
ing black hole and the bedsheet underneath; when 8 ft. up every faux drywall dripped
ruby red struggle marks, and below one such edifice slumped two soaked bundles,
father and son, with sticky notes straightpinned to each: "revenge"; when among the
copper and turquoise river-rush and blunt nosed fish in white-gold sun-needles and
moon-dark threads, current-rolled like a broken Ken, the environmentalist's head;
when howitzers inside the wild horses' chests blew them into hamburger in a New
Mexican field, banquet for birds; when a shovel discovered a pretty Herzegovinian
mound to be a fresh blister of skulls; when a razor sharp stretch of Jasper, Texas,
asphalt tore off chunks of blue-black skin and apocalyptic gore dragged by rope be-
hind a confederate truck, like hanging living spitwads on a rural classroom ceiling,
or plastering storm-strewn newspaper on a chain link fence; when what terrified the
crows from a Wyoming corn field banquet was a bludgeoned and naked homosexual;
and finally, when in the janitor's bathroom the cackling police officers plunged the
toilet of a Haitian prisoner's anus with the handle of a plumber's helper I slid into her
slippery flesh and she arched up to deepen the thrust and we both tore out heavy
clay scoops of air with our sharp cry and moaning throat simultaneously as if two
Earths collided, spewed upward and intermixed forming a new harmonious planet.


First I prepare the face with a warm wash rag by soaping off every grain
of make-up, not one speck of lipstick, eyeliner, mascara, pancake base;
then Witch Hazel-saturated cotton balls deep in eye creases, ear canals,
folds and seams until they blacken like baseballs; I have already washed
the hair, squeezed it free, toweled it dry, blown it with air, brushed it
to sheen (I prefer raven black), and tied it off to expose the neck. Here
vulnerability drips like rose petal tears and my tongue pulls to lick the
white alabaster and gold tones, but I restrain my animal lust, treat her with
utmost dignity. Next, I wash fingers free of Revlon, soil, and earthly
dust till soft pouches of blood under cuticles shine like plums oozing yet
contained in transparent skin. I swab between the fingers, brush the
nails, and delicately rub in circular fashion along the grooves of print
whorls. I have already slipped off in suds the wedding ring and placed it
like a crown upon a pure linen towel alongside her gold Seiko and heir-
loom hair brush. Similarly, I have cleansed her teeth, submerging the
floss under the gum, flicking free food bits and plaque such that blood
strives to ooze small red pearls which with tissue I swipe from inside
her soft crevasse until like sap they shut off at the insignificant irritation
tap. Then I remove blouse and bra and employ alcohol to swab the aure-
olas, each individual hair round the lunar flow, under the globes where
salt lines appear pushing them up and over with hands guaranteeing ster-
ility, and again I repress the centrifugally pulling suck of my open lips
in exchange for the parabola of decency which few human males pos-
sess in the presence of inert nude femininity. Then I pull down the pant-
ies as if popping from the oven a done cherry tart, slip them past ankles
folding them acceptably like some kind of soft crab, but this time I
trade the fire of alcohol for soapy terrycloth, running it up carefully after
folding it round with a gentle release her coarse springy hair, like oiling
the blueblack steel of a Remington gunbarrel, then pat it dry till all
beads dissolve and the engorged red vulva glows like cataract covered
with fern. Slowly with spatula palms under buttocks I turn her and in-
to her pores push impregnated frankincense, ambergris, and myrrh un-
til the globes resemble moonlit isinglass, almost platinum, almost gold.
And now, omitting here detail of the few remaining ceremonials, she is
ready: pure nakedness, pure the aforementioned vulnerability, pure mag-
nificence, every arm hair sparkling, every vein standing, every plate and
shield saddle-soap softened. Efficiently, I take exactly what I need from
the tray--nothing more, nothing less--having already, between the bath
and the instruments switched on a CD (I have always enjoyed the passion
of Rachmaninoff), and in the gray, her body still posteriorly positioned,
with a votive candle haloing her head facing northeast, I begin to partake.


I put the cat on my head, belly down, rump forward, legs
and tail dangling, like hair. Now I am young again, black-
maned; thick wavy locks parting in the wind; a pink-tummied
baby delivered on my head. I stand, walk, the cat still there
purring and riding my shiny, chrome dome. If you see a
man on the street with a cat on his head know that he is
not insane but resurrected in the Jesus of his days, a sharp,
shrewd face on the other side of lunacy as the stock market,
capitalism, gluttony, lies, the whole American empire crumbles.

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