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The Exquisite Corpse - A Journal of Letters and Life
Edited by Andrei Codrescu
ec chair poetick kultur anti-amthropomorphism
gallery zounds the making and unmaking of person
new economics of late capitalism
diaries and memoirs translation and her retinue
working class sweat
the corpse reads classics letters the book of revelations and epiphanies
the making and unmaking of person
The Corpse Reads Classics

by Kevin McLellan

I. 1501 B.C. Arcadia

Dear Mother,

You fled upon sight of my cloven hooves
my horns, and I wish you'd acknowledged me
not as half-man half-goat, but as your son.

I'll always be lonely and must teach others
through loneliness, the value of love that you
would have taught me if you yourself had been taught.

Now I make love to transients, young men
and when they go, and they always do, I feel lonelier
and this is when I lie on my back, gaze into the galaxy

and play my flute that fills the dark with sorrow.

II. 1983, New Hampshire

In nylon athletic shorts, Brian
rests his chin on his knees.
Brian's scrotum rests on the vinyl seat.

From across the school bus aisle
he sees me looking at him.
I look out the window; No! ; at his reflection.

III. March 7th, 1999, New Hampshire

Snowstorm. Night-driving. In front of me
a field mouse crossed the road. A mile later
yet another mouse: surely not the same mouse?

IV. 1347, Sicily

Rodents, and vomiting sailors with inflamed lymph nodes
disembark the merchant ship -- the living ones, that is.

V. 1989, San Francisco

Valencia Street. A bar. I gawk at a man-boy:
Neanderthaloid-faced and with Mohawk --
victim of evolutionary delay and blue hair dye.

He notices me looking away, looking to find
his reflection in the window overlooking the street.
New Hampshire didn't prepare me for this.

He approaches. Compliments my looks.
Asks if he can walk me home. Asks if
I'll invite him in. Asks if;and I say, yes, yes, yes

since I want to be taken back 50,000 years.

VI. 1985, Dr. Paul Cameron

Unless we get medically lucky, one of the options discussed
will be the extermination of homosexuals.

VII. 1500 B.C., Arcadia

While Apollo coaxes Pan to reveal the art of prophecy, Pan drops his flute.

VIII. March 8th, 1999

In the Chevy's back seat, the he-goat stands still -- except when I turn corners, accelerate, brake, or turn the radio dial. Ike's temperature remains below average, he shivers uncontrollably, and has ongoing respiratory problems; Ike's half the size of his twin brother Abe. To determine the condition of his thyroid, to see if Caprine Arthritic-Encephalitis can be ruled out, the vet withdraws blood.

IX. Leviticus 16:15

Then shall he kill the goat of the sin offering,
That is for the people, and bring the blood
Within the vale, and do with that blood
As he did with the blood of the bullock
And sprinkle it upon the mercy seat
And before the mercy seat.

X. 1989, San Francisco

Outside the HIV clinic, a MUNI train
with "C.I.AIDS" spray painted on its side.
Inside, I wait to hear my name called.

Kevin; Kevin McLellan please.

Swollen lymph nodes. Sore vesicular eruptions.
Interrogation of sexual history. Blood withdrawal.

Results will take a couple weeks.

XI. 1348, Lyon

Rodents to fleas to people, from person to person -
people so panicked and preoccupied
with losing their own lives
have little time to think of others.
Hoping to flush out disease, corpses and those
too weak to resist are cast into the Rhône.

XII. March 9th, 1999

This morning I found a field mouse floating in the goat's drinking bucket.

XIII. March 10th, 1999

Questions on Ike's behavior. How to insert needle between skin and muscle demonstration. He'll need 3 antibiotic injections a day, every day. Ike as a kid contracted CAE from mother's milk.

XIV. 1001 B.C., Greece

Dionysius kills a goat
because he believes they absorb
disease and evil in the world.

XV. 1489 B.C., Sparta

Apollo and Hyacinthus undress, rub olive oil all over
their already bronzed bodies.

XVI. 1989, San Francisco

Thank God! the results came back negative.

XVII. Genesis 20: 24-25

Then the Lord rained upon Sodom
And upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire
From the Lord out of heaven;
And he overthrew those cities and all the plain
And all the inhabitants of the cities,
And that which grew upon the ground.

XVIII. March 12th, 1999

When I kneel to give Ike his antibiotic injection, Abe humps me. Abe wastes his seeds of life
as goats do, as homosexuals are said to.

XIX. 1994, Pat Robertson

The concept, the word for homosexual behavior is sodomy.
IT is repugnant. People have understood that IT is wrong.
Now in America, not only is IT happening, IT is getting civil rights
protection in the law; and these people;

XX. March 13th, 1999

I found a dead mouse in the grain this morning.
By its tail, I throw it onto the frozen stream adjacent to the goat's pasture.

XXI. 1989, New Hampshire

Brian careened his Miata underneath an 18-wheeler.

You see, Brian's father found Brian in bed
with Brian's best buddy,
claimed he would kill Brian if it ever happened again.

XXII. 1349, Dover

The English Channel's surf churns the shingled shore;
generals and soldiers return from France, disembark
the ship sick. King Edward III commands more generals
and soldiers set sail to continue the war with France.

XXIII. April 12th, 1999

The unleashed goats roam in the yard. Ike returns to his stanchion. Field mice move in sudden bursts under an interrogating sky. Abe eats Hyacinth.

XXIV. March 22nd, 2001, Jamaica Plain, MA.

It's the recent you-are-positive news.

It's yesterday's rain bringing the pond to the brink.

It's the path, submerged in some places, around the pond.

It's tomorrow's forecast.





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