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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

From the EC Chair

Diaries and Memoirs of the Strictly Fabolous

GiO outfits a life with wings in a sweeping epic of self & stories

Xaviera Hollander Recalls the Ecuadorian Blowjob of 2003 and Clyde's Reaction in these sizzling pages torn alive from her secret diary

Calliope Nicholas had (and has) an interesting life, filled with fascinating people; she looks with bemused but unsparing kindness on the passing parade and self-spectacle


In which ONE HUNDRED new books answer questions posed by the Corpse

ANOTHER SOUTH: EXPERIMENTAL WRITING IN THE SOUTH, edited by Bill Lavender; University of Alabama Press, 2003

Q: Will the other southerners dig this stuff?

A: "Who is worthy to open the book?
Bed of the dragon's rage
where lamentation was written"
(from The Bicameralization by Ralph  Adamo).

IN THE HUB OF THE FIERY FORCE: COLLECTED POEMS, 1934-2003,by Harold Norse; Thunder's Mouth Press, 2003

Q: What wisdom can we derive from this astonishing life of poetic practice?

A: "Stretched near Scotch purse we lay
talking until the motors died.
You turned and swore in the grass,
cursing the grandees who killed for gold at the mission trading posts.
You wanted to slay history's ghosts.
On a eucalyptus branch
a pelican sat. A porpoise nosed
the wave. We watched
hibiscus braid the coral wall,
mingling blood-red with bone-white.
Something you said made me keep still:
"Bitter is love words have to prove."
A Plane swooped down, a bayonet
aimed at our hearts. My nerves jammed.
Across the inlet palms shook.
Hunkered down on my haunches
I fondled a cross-barred Venus.
Body language said it all.
(The Bay, Key West, 1942)

SELECTED POEMS 1950-2000, by Nathaniel Tarn; Wesleyan University Press, 2002

Q: What is the anthropology of now?

A: "And I am become a land of ghosts
as a tree full of bird song but no birds
where the mist clings to branches like cotton and the wind drawls mourning
From  the other side, it was as if we had been calling for this, as if the weight of our need were such that it had magnetized the seas, and called a great pole to ourselves up from the place where the sun sets, and which we had named: the western gate, and had placed all our dreams there, in who knows what hands..."  (from La Traviata (11): The Last Illusion, 1975).

MIXED PLATE, NEW & SELECTED POEMS, by Faye Kicknosway; Wesleyan University Press, 2003

Q: How deep do the tangled roots of paradise reach?

A: " Christopher Columbus was a thief,
then he was a beggar.
Florida was a postcard to him.
That's as close as he got.
Jonah climbed in his window.
It was the size of a spoon.
He had a sailor's face,
ll weeds and sticks that wouldn't burn.
He asked Columbus to take it off of him.
But Columbus was made of ashes.
Thistles of light fell
and priests, like fat toys
from coloring books, came to Columbus
to ask him why.
He said it was because their map
had no exit.
But neither did his.
Green flies flooded his heart.
He put it in a biscuit tin
under his bed.
Geometry ate it, spitting in it first."
(Short Take 20)

THE MIDNIGHT, by Susan Howe; New Directions, 2003

Q: How often must the experiment be repeated?

A: "Often you must turn Uncle John's books around and upside down to read the clippings and other insertions pasted and carefully folded inside."

ONE BIRD ONE STONE, 108 AMERICAN ZEN STORIES, by Sean Murphy; Renaissance Books, 2002. (with some drawings by Keith Abbott).

Q: What is the sound of one turtle snapping?

A: "All right,' I accost Bob,who points his kitchen knife menacingly at me. ‘"I'll gladly bring you the temple treasures. But first, if you're such a master thief, show me how to catch one of the koi in these pond without getting your hands wet!'"

TRIP TO BORDEAUX, by Ludwig Harig, 1965, translated from German by Susan Benofsky; Burning Deck, 2003, No. 6 in the Dichten series edited by Rosmarie Waldrop.

Q: Will we have flashbacks?

A: "As we have showed you before, once matters had begun in the accustomed manner, the company clearly and at once saw that our preparing to rouse ourselves was wasted effort, for commonly when we had set our minds to rousing ourselves in the accustomed manner, what ensued thereon was the near immediate conclusion of the said rousing, notwithstanding whatever effort we might give ourselves. An attempt beforehand at rousing ourselves had already resulted in the said rousing's near immediate end, as commonly ensues in the accustomed manner following the attempt at rousing." (from The Hurly Burly) click to continue...

Jonny Diamond in "The Man Who Threw Poetry at a Raccoon in the Ceiling" answers two questions with one toss: what to do about raccoons (intelligent, fearless, attic-dwelling animals with great family values), and how to manage that feeling of metaphysical impotence raised by the reading of Rilke.

Melissa Weinstein protests the ubiquity of the reader and the surfeit of poets, using inside info, and an extremely surprising technique straight out of Cesanne

Anna Beskin is leaving New York and is sad. The Corpse know how she feels and likes her poetry

Aaron Petrovich has his person say "I am a stutter in the discourse of infinity," a definition arrived at from careful golemic construction using nouns and pronouns

Eric Torgersen manages an entire poet life en pointe (of line) and makes looking back a dubious pleasure

Bill Lavender works at the Poetry Art store and projects his thoughts into shapes that were once called "concrete poetry," but which have lightened up considerably since, and are now made of balsam and shed snakeskin

S. Beth Bishop tracks an "interloper in suburbia" and "the apparent patience of revolution" with poetry

Marthe Reed is in her poetick works "a flower calculus." Just look.

Liviu Georgescu produces what we initiates call "the Georgescu monad."

David Rachels pens an "Adulterous ABC: an Alphabet Primer for Adults," demonstrating to this musical ear that all scat is sex

John-Ivan Palmer, a Corpse reporter since the late 1980s, travels once again on behalf of our monopoly to bring us, this time, a throbbing inside account of the poetry underground today, a seemingly inexhaustible topic; recently we even saw a film on the Sundance Channel about the Australian Lesbian Poetry Underground. This thing has legs!

Daniel Y. Harris in "The Latecomer" redistributes poetick kulchur through hyper-reality gently, like a rain of unpaid bills, and discovers, in the end how to "breathe."

Kit Wienert brings up Rilke too, but instead of bashing raccoons with Rainer, he enlists him in an aphoristic army of advice to poets; from that fearsome line-up, we note the word "spank."

Miranda Joan Howe in "Mohammad X Goes Mex" raps something fierce; we believe –here at Corpse quarters—that Poetick Kulchur should not flee from every slam; stay for this one.

Christopher Robbins, Miranda's standup-poetry brother, asks the perfectly reasonable question, "Who among us will remain in glory after last night's reading?" which reminds the editor of the frightening vision contained in this line by Pat Nolan: "The chairs are on the table." Sooner or later.

Christian Prozak reminds the sophisticated roues of the Corpse that their rebel ancestors, Edward Sanders, J. Kerouac, LF Celine, and Mike Topp, can and will light flames of hellish truth and lyric liberation in every heart, still. (When did Mike Topp turn into an ancestor?)

Jonathan Kiefer reports from San Francisco's "Jack Miceline Place."

Peter Jay Shippy, terse, aphoristic, noh-like.

Dana Wilde notes, eruditely and at length, that Zen is here right now, equally at home in Miranda and in Prozak; he accomplishes this by carefully reading "Horse Medicine" by M.C. Dalley, Zen Rake.

Cye Johan SPECIAL! This is a book-length tour-de-force essay on Tom Bradley and "The Sam Edwine Pentateuch." This may be the longest piece ever published in the Cybercorpse, and the first appearance of a genre so strange we are turning away from naming it (and you know us, we'll name a tricolor bird newspaper hat "Kit," if you let us). Advice: read emphatically.

Raymond Queneau co-signed our Exquisite Corpse lines; here, the cher maitre is englished by Daniela Hurezanu and Stephen Kessler

John Olson pays homage to Allen Ginsberg

THE Surre(gion)alist Manifesto & Other Writings
by Max Cafard
Price: $10.00 + $2.00 s/h

Translation and Her Retinue

Sergey Gandlevski translates America "aimlessly into the depths of Moscow," for his Russian self in "America of the Mind," translated by Philip Metres

Denisa Comanescu notes the explosion of translation and translation studies in the past two decades, and the central place that translation has had in the poetry of some poets who were also translators. What she doesn't say in her short essay is something we would like to challenge our contributors to think and write about, namely that modern and postmodern literature, particularly poetry, has been nothing but a meditation on translation (or not). This will be a theme for the next issue of the Corpse, so consider this a call to arms. (fr. Latin, armas, fr. TV, Armani)

Radu Doru Cosmin is a Romanian poet who writes in English, the lingua franca of Eastern Europeans raised on MTV and the Cartoon Network. There is an obvious New York School of poetry influence in his liberal use of his friends' names, proving once more the astonishing community-building warmth of that Pop-era phenomenon

Emmy Grant is the untranslated brainchild of Milajurko Vukadinovic who writes in six languages, including Romanian. Emmy's poems confront in Romanian questions having to do with immigration to America and the English language.

Haim Haskal writes with undiluted astonishment about the Bucharest of his youth where he has returned after 35 years. He's sincerely nauseated by the return of fascism and makes a good case for why Cosmin writes in English.

Attila Jozsef, Hungary's wonderful modern poet, is rendered into English again by Gabor G. Gyukics and Michael Castro. The Corpse is a great admirer of John Batki's translations of Joszef (we published some a few years ago), but we recognize the necessity of retranslating the great poets every decade. Each new translation reinfuses the poetry with living juice and provides us with a perfect mirror of our own zeitgeist.

Jeanine Shackleton practices the variety of translation we sometimes call "bureau reports," that is, she translates borders and Japan (for instance) into American verse.

Stoyan Valev's stories are translated from the Bulgarian by Mariana Zagorska and Nevena Pascaleva, and we are offering them here only partly for their inestimable worth; the other part is nostalgia for a certain kind of humanist (nee socialist) realist style that had its heart-quickening charms for the editor

John Verlenden continues here, in "Road to Damascus, Part III," the long and wondrous journey he has had the readers of the Corpse traveling since the mid-90s. If I was a New York publisher I would look back on John Verlenden's reports from Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East, and rush into print an elegant illustrated volume. Timely book, great sales guaranteed. Yes, you do need permission from us.

(Sponsored by the Office of Sport, Comedy, and Religion)

Gom Jabbar 's Hot New Mystical Balkan Dance Song! A World Corpse Exclusive!

Graham Catt celebrates the Filth & the Fury of Punk!

DINING WITH MUSICIANS: Paul Crime interviews Derek Joe Brockett & Buddy Blutpug - Special to the Corpse from Oaxaca, Mexico

Kaganof reviews the newest hot spot in Rape Town: Rafiki's

Miriam Seidel hides a rock'n roll dream inside a baseball Tale

John D. Bess X-rays the Ogre made by (his) musical culture

Join the Corpse email list to be notified when new issues are online:


Robert Creeley

By Andrei Codrescu

Bob Creeley’s birthday parties were legendary, but nobody in their right mind would get in a car with Bob for his traditional birthday drive. Not even anybody in Bolinas, California, in the mid-seventies when being in your “”right mind” was a matter of perspective. Which is why everyone laughed when Bob, his one good eye shining demonically, cast about for someone to drive with him from Bolinas to Stinson Beach and back, in honor of his 50-something birthday. Bob made his request about half way through the night, at a time when at least half the celebrants were safely beyond his reach, having curled up to snore on the beach or passed out on the floors that Bobbie was going to have a hell of a time restoring the next day or week. Bobbie Louise Hawkins, then Mrs. Creeley, was like a sturdy redwood in a storm at these events. Steadfast, heroic, hospitable, right there, but no man’s fool. And not all like a redwood, physically. More willowy, actually. Time, in those days, was also quite fluid. When Bob called for a driving companion, I was somewhat awake and I thought that it would be a great opportunity and honor for me, a young poet, to accompany the master on this unique journey. I felt chosen and utterly thrilled to get private time with the man who wrote, “I Know a Man,” a poem in which the line, “Drive, he sd,” famously occurs. Alright then. I climbed into the passenger seat of something I don’t quite remember, except that it was old and huge and made a lot of noise, and with Bob at the wheel we hurled ourselves into the California night on the twisty black ribbon flung above the Pacific Ocean with the stars swirling all over it. Soon after launch, I knew with sudden certainty that Bob’s one good eye was closed and that he was not using the brake after flooring the gas pedal. We flew at unimaginable speeds over loopy ridges and through the stars and I also knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that this was the death ride that, I later found out, was Bob’s annual defiance of nature and fate. I also found out that the few people who had accepted this ride in the past and survived, had become secretly phobic about cars and many of them quit driving. I found these things out much later, but for the moment all I saw was the flashing brilliance of foam riding the crest of waves hundreds of feet below us and the piercing coldness of stars throwing themselves at us as we threw ourselves at them. I tried to think: “cosmic embrace,” but it wasn’t a comforting hug, no matter what my strenuously acquired California beliefs dictated. Except for this regression to elemental fears, nothing came of my intimacy with the great man. Bob didn’t utter a word until our space vehicle thudded to a merciful stop in Stinson Beach. I tumbled out weak-kneed, still holding, it appears, a flask half-full of whiskey. I handed it to him: “Well, happy birthday, Bob!” He took a huge swig, then said, “Ready to go back?” “Well, actually,” I mumbled apologetically, “I think that I’ll stay in Stinson tonight… visit a friend.” Creeley grinned. He knew and didn’t think to blame me. I’d been willing to risk my life with him for at least half the trip and that was more than any of his enlightened friends had been willing to do. I had promise. I may have even been the poet I thought I was. At least, that’s what I think he thought. On subsequent occasions, we were better friends, and it became unnecessary to go to all that trouble to prove anything. There will be many memoirs written about the poet, who passed away at the age of 78 on March 30th 2005, and I will add some of my own in time. But for now, look at my knuckles: they are white just from remembering.


Gregory Braquet lets us see the true Lassie, then confesses that "love hurts." For such incomparable pairing, we've created a new corpse Division. (By the way, for those who know us not: the different Divisions of the Corpse have their offices in different buildings in different cities in the world, and are managed by anonymous litterateurs with a record.)

Robert Sward introduces us to "Shelby the Dog" in his new poem. Shelby is a philosopher, a bit Zen, and a teacher Lassie can use. Also appearing here is Laika, the space dog who (with Elvis) invented the Sixties.

Paul B. Hertneky, cool as a cucumber, regards his dog from a non-attachment perspective

Christine Hamm asks "Who has not wished her husband into a cat?," and nobody around here raised their hand. OK.

Judith Roche has mastered the Vulcan technique of Mind-Meld with lakes, lake creatures, angels, and also Raven and Coyote. In these poems, she drafts them for Good.

Colette LaBouff Atkinson delivers the animal heat and flurry of parrots, pigs, steers, sliced like time for the uses of words

Rebecca Lu Kiernen came into this division for "body temperature tentacles tickling flesh," sufficient reason it seemed to us to place her in the anti-anthropomorphic camp (sometimes we are wrong). But then, there are also "claw marks in the curtains." Who made them and why is a proper study for anti-anthropomorphic students.

Kenji Siratori needs no explanation; his work, "Reptilian," is just that. 

David Parker Jr. subtly explains how the rich kill the unborn, in "Art of the Egg."

New Economics of Late Capitalism
Urgent! Gathering Threat! Mel Gibson to the Courtesy Cross!


In the February 1987 number of Psychiatry, a journal for the trade held at least at the time in high esteem by not a few of my colleagues, there is a paper on the seemingly obscure yet nonetheless burningly relevant subject of intercourse with demons. 'Cacodemonomania', both the title of the paper , written by Salmons and Clarke and the term given to the practice, reviews the subject and even provides the reader with several case studies of more than passing interest. click here to continue...

The Economics of Giles Goodland: All we know is that it works

John Leary on the failure of negotiations due to overly advanced negotiating techniques

Sheila Raeschild deploys severe questions at personal consumption habits

Raheem M. Cash documents fund-raising techniques of public broadcasting in "Joie-de-Give."

Anil Olkin takes apart a soldier in order to identify the ideological organs

Michael Ricciardi probes the physics of the New Economics with home-made Language Tool

Dude Wallers reports on the inattention of young scientists unwittingly used as carriers of a radioactive alien species! A TRUE STORY.

Lenore Weiss took these "Tech Notes" while observing a struggle between her computer and her nostalgic poetry. There is no clear-cut winner and the Corpse isn't taking sides.

Dale Barrigar, Michael Antonucci, and Garyn Cycholl have ganged up to produce a tri-cornered battering ram which is slamming the nation's Kulchur Gate as we speak

Joseph Rogers on job creation, in "A Place Made for Doers," a place quite unlike any other

Antonio Hopson on the economics of a garage, "The Butler Garage."

A.C. Boyer on the position of farmers vizavis the Question of Language; her "Eros, Chaos, Logos" letter could have ended in the "Poetick Kulchur" section because she does not present a cogent formula for farming now; as it is, it's all sod and letters, but the scent of spring earth is powerfully in here; we call this "mud lettrisme," which is an economy.

Kane X. Faucher has something against "reality television," a phenomenon he believes has out-deleuzed Deleuze. We are not so sure, being virtual producers ourselves


Melissa Sarat paints the life force in the heart-breaking world of animal and vegetal forms; her works actually breathe, they have a pulse!


Alice Henderson, new paintings, Cafe Brazil 2004: Henderson's new work catches New Orleans in its magical and perennial state of half-sleepy reverie.

August Highland is the creator of monumental-scale visual poetic works, some as large as 122"x122". These visual works (called "Exhibition Literature") are on display at Alphanumeric Labs. Alphanumeric Labs has been featured in virtual museums in New York and Italy. Audio artists around the world are collaborating with Highland by producing audio tracks to accompany the online exhibition of the works in a multimedia presentation. Gallery shows and public performances of these works are scheduled for 2004 in both the USA and Europe.

The Making and Unmaking of Person

Willie Smith is back! In stories and letters! Dracula meets Jesus this time, and there is a cannibal and wet nurse in Willie's entourage. We are celebrating the Seattle master's return by declaring May 1st (the Quintessential Drudges' Day) Willie Smith Day.

Lee Ann Mortensen demonstrates how lovers create one another

Joe Camhi examines the life-long effects of a father's advice to his son "to bust holes." The resulting filial mess is half-conscious and that's progress!

Jason Stella's character's been hurt but good by "a good Jesuit education," but still has enough strength to call forth righteous anger. Required reading for waiting in line to see Mel Gibson's snuff flick.

Kevin P. Keating: a Jesuit education, continued. "There are consequences in this life and the next."

Emily Kruse examines woman self at mid-point; terribly sobering, and so true.

Gadi Dechter explicates how "jewish girls" are made. Not in a day.

Kathryn Simmonds' cyclopic poetry eyeball records pop culture as it attempts to construct a safe inner self. Is it possible? We are not sure Ms. Simmonds knows, attracted equally by Mickey Rooney and the "smells of peaches."

William Starr Moake details the destruction of a person by the Tropics. Dengue fever and memory loss are part of it, but love for a native could work to ameliorate, if not arrest the condition.

Clive Matson's radical erasure of self

Joanna Hooste on smoke and forgetting

Brent Nathaniel Bechtel unrolls himself first like an atlas map, then a dymaxyon map.

Geoffrey Cruickshank-Hagenbuckle has a number of assistants, Richard Fiction and Grackle among them, who are charged with probing certain unspeakable (and personal) urban micro-cultures.

Utahna Faith bathes in the violet beauty of a pop icon ("Martini Girl"), then lends her a wrenching cri-de-coeur ("To The Other"), only to re-enter the world contemplative and crepuscular ("After Happening Upon a Saved Postcard…)

Kelly Jean White makes a visceral sculpture of the family world, using oozy stuff like toothpaste, paint, and feces. She is an MD, she knows exactly the hygiene required, but there are unsterilizable portions of the psyche that fly like questions.

Sean Kilpatrick portrays the Domina Complainorum unraveling

Cristina Hanganu Bresch rolls out the scroll of "the men who ever were," in a lyrical list worthy of Villon

Beatriz Hausner's "The Ideal Man Poems" examine the creature at the seams, as it were, even those lost by Bresch

Roberto Tocalino's protagonist's erection has become a problem as he leads tours through Italy. Using his erection as a pointer to the blackboard of his own psychology, he illuminates the source of his priapism. Surprise! Read the story and find out what this stubborn erection discovers!

Stephen Brynes examines the archetype of "the wandering Jew," as it comes to life inside a young man of the post-Nixon era. The Jew as human prototype or posthuman is essential to the story of "the making and unmaking of persons," and such, "it" or "its story" must wander. Anyway, Byrnes' guy has a voice, I kid you not.

Kris Broughton shines a cruel searchlight over the frayable web of political correctness in Atlanta. It's a satire, but trapped in it like stunned fish are our tippy toes.

Stacey Abbott is "thinking about folks and how we're really the same," but in the process discovers some oedipal-sized lumps that make her generous conclusion more of a "hot coal" than she cares to admit

Amber Decker goes to the person before she is even born and addresses some well-seasoned wary advice in the general direction of the innocent. Then she complains about a guy who abandoned her in New York in February. We understand, really we do.

Pete Sniegowski's character, Dirk the Lech, may very well be the guy who abandoned Amber Decker's heroine in New York, in February. He's an unspeakable worm whose lack of finesse leads to an all-too-ordinary meanness, alas.

Aimee LaBrie's guy, on the other hand, has all the qualities that might have made Dirk the Lech into an interesting human being. (He wouldn't have been "Dirk the Lech' then, but Aimee's ultrasensitive person, "Anthony LaFleur," let's say.) Aimee, or her lyric spokeswoman, does wish that Anthony had some Dirk in him, because as things stand nothing else will.

Cedar Pruitt addresses herself to that eminent witness and collaborator in the making and unmaking of persons, The Therapist. This is one of the many things she has to say to her therapist: "Maureen, your thoughts are as pure as snow." Sure. And the Pope is not Polish.

Mark Spitzer is the pseudonym of a writerly fury unleashed on earth by the Great God Perspiration. In this fragment from an abandoned novel, persons of literary origin act in the real world without any excuses. None of them are either Dirks or Anthonys, but they compensate by singing, shrieking, and annoying readers who REALLY like birds.

Chuck Terzella arrives on the scene just in time to infuse the scene with regret at the passing of sadistic nuns who once instilled discipline in children like no one else. Nuns, it seems, have gone soft. So has everything about persons, except the making and unmaking of them.

Jeremy Martin warns us of the dangers of time travel when put to any use other than the preventive assassination of baby Hitler. He then generously informs us that the future will end tomorrow. And he doesn't mean a measly revolution but the great full stop! So there's no need to stock up on candles.

The Corpse Reads Classics

Robert Casella knows his Greeks; they guide him; he gets up to Christos, then stops, wisely.

Dennis DiClaudio revisits the case of Hypatia

Kevin McLellan transcribes certain oracles, from Sicily to Jamaica Plain, concerning homosexuality

Frank Eannarino revisits Genesis for a poetic treatise on "the evolution of panspermia." We are not sure what he's after, but the sounds pleased us

Julie Keitges dips her lyric pail into the Renaissance and comes up with a noble English serial killer; not the classics, exactly, but we are selling this one to the History Channel

David Schwartz asks "Where Does Midrash Derive?" and then proceeds to answer like a rabbi on acid

Peter Rabbit wrote this Christmas poem to justify his hanging-by-a-thin-thread Catholic faith; once more, the reader (and Peter) can thank the Mother of God for not losing the flock. Oh, and the Holy Ghost, too.

Maureen Thorson saltimbanques in these "Deux Poemes di Cirque," by first merrygorounding autour Max Ernst, then presenting Calamity Jane (on pense) on her whistlestop campaign tour. Surrealist classics, quoi?

Hunter S. Thompson 1937-2005
Hunter S. Thompson 1937-2005


Hunter took his own life on the 20th of February 2005.  We remember fondly a night in the late 90s when we hung out with him at Lucky's on St. Charles Avenue in New Orleans. Hunter wore an impeccable suit and drank whiskey all night, explicating complex mystery in a gravelly unitone of which we understood little but loved it all. Present also were Amy Carter and Doug Brinkley. As the night wore on, we flirted with Amy and played pool with Doug. Now and then we snuck back looks at a ramrod straight Hunter holding on to his whiskey glass, looking both wise and wisttful. We thought it best not to disturb his equilibrium with any sudden moves. Exquisite Corpse published on the front page a superb rant at the media written by Hunter in the 1950s as a letter to the editor of Time Magazine. The tone of acid amusement and bracing veracity was already pure vintage Dr. Gonzo. This text was part of the letter collection Doug Brinkley edited and later published. There are a million Hunter. S. Thompson stories being told as we scribble this, and they'll doubtlessly swell his lore and the legend. Here, at the Corpse, we applaud his life and his courage in ending it. Like those of his contemporaries we mentioned in the headline, Hunter will go on making life bigger and livelier. He played, inspired, suffered, and showed us how writing is done.

- The Corpse


Scandal! Dr. Jamey Hecht takes our beloved contributor Danuta Borchardt to task for her breaching of the fiction-nonfiction border in her notorious Corpse piece on Harvard molecular biologist Donald C. Wiley; Danuta Borchardt responds; the Editor responds. A farrago brews!

Sean Foxfire aims a furious lament at the Corpse for the absence of the now-mythic Body Bag. The Editor responds.

Zachary George moves to New Orleans and lodges complaint with Corpse

The Book of (Demotic) Revelations and (Common-Sense) Epiphanies


Among Washington insiders, rumors have circulated for years about a secret conservative plan to crush liberal opposition and assume full control of American politics. In the late 1960s, according to legend, a handful of young conservatives calling themselves "The Famous Five" came up with the key ideas and the overall strategy of such a plan, won support for it from powerful corporate interests, and set in motion the train of events that has led to the election of Ronald Reagan, the advent of a Republican majority in the House of Representatives, and the triumphs of George W. Bush.

Until now, "The Plan" has been merely a rumor. In the late 1980s,  young conservatives spent hours reverently speculating about it over drinks at "The Sign of the Indian King" on M Street, while across town frustrated young liberals in the think tanks around Dupont Circle darkly attributed every conservative victory to this mythic document.

By the mid-1990s, the myth started to fade as each succeeding triumph of the conservative movement made it increasingly improbable that any group, however brilliant, could have planed the whole campaign. Eventually people referred to "The Plan"  as one might refer to the Ark or to the gunman on the grassy knoll: intriguing but fantastical.

Indeed, the very idea of such a plan probably would have evaporated from political consciousness had not the Board of Directors of the National Enterprise Initiative commissioned a distinguished American historian to write an informal history of that organization for the 35th anniversary of its founding. Two years later, and for reasons we may never fully understand, the historian and the Board fell into bitter dispute. The Board paid the historian the advance stipulated in their contractual agreement and severed all relations with him.

Subsequently, and by means I may not divulge, a draft of the historian's  book, titled "The Plan": How Five Young Patriots Engineered the Rescue of America, found its way into my hands,  along with interview transcripts, official correspondence, and related documentary materials.  The excerpts from his materials that follow put before the public for the first time undisputable proof of the existence of "The Plan" and tell the remarkable story of the conservative capture of American culture and politics.  (For reasons which will become sufficiently obvious, if they are not already, the names of all personages in this account, including the name of the historian,  have been changed.)

A more complete version of "The Plan," with my more extensive notes and annotations, will be published next year. - Editor

Special to the Corpse!
Coming Attraction: The Passion of the Buddha?

It's rumored that Mel Gibson has been hired to do for Buddhism what he's done for Christianity. His next film will be The Passion of the Buddha. Do you know the story? The Buddha's end also came through a sacrifice. A lavish banquet was prepared for him but one of the dishes was contaminated. Knowing this, and having consideration for his host and companions, the Buddha chose to eat the poisonous food and leave the wholesome dishes for the rest of the assembly. What followed is rather harrowing—but imagine the vast cinematic possibilities. Twelve hours of vomiting, diarrhea, excruciating pain, and intestinal bleeding. Though the scriptures remain discretely reticent on this subject, there was no doubt abundant and painful gas. In short, the stuff that Mel Gibson movies are made of.

Somehow I doubt whether many Buddhists would find this drama very compelling. However, there may be among them a few naive souls with a pathologically morbid fear of being reincarnated as a slug who might think it could do them some good. If the film materializes, we will certainly investigate this question carefully. Meanwhile, we will be content to take a look at Gibson's first stab at a passion story. click here to continue

Jim Harrison rages epic and lyric across the telly-ravaged American mind, remembering things once real now poofed away by "fascist Disneyland." A great writer and a stubbornly real man, Harrison can't bear to see the meltdown of everything into hyperreal pudding. It's not nostalgia, it's a violent recall of the ancient gods.

Dawn Baude asks, in perfect contretemps to Harrison, "Why would I waste my beautiful mind on that?" ironically quoting Barbara Bush on something, maybe the recent war. The source of both poets' anger is in this recent war, but the ripples go far and wide, deep and high.

Shauna Rogan in "For Bernardine Dohrn and Future Meteorologists" seems to collage the voices of angry revolutionary women (or is it just one voice?) to make the case for a new language of protest

Lawrence Millman reviews Saddam Hussein's fiction in "Deconstructing Saddam"

Gary Sloan calls reasonably for rabid theocrats to quit quoting old American presidents for their agenda of overthrowing the secular state

Willis Barnstone goes to another universal for his straw of pure insight, namely "Time," something that we, here at the Corpse, have abolished. Still, what can we do about it? As the great translator of "The New Covenant" and the "Gnostic Gospels" says, "I can always spot the damage he has done." Not to your poetry, cher maitre.

Ramon Arjona is a mystic and a visionary, but no less demotic for the flight-hours he puts in.

Dale Depweg makes "a modest proposal for offsetting the federal deficit" and it's not about eating people (alas!), it's actually sensible! It should be tried! It will work!

Michael Rerick has culled a number of "alien abduction" reports specially for the Corpse, to aid us in our work of identifying which of our current leaders are aliens; so far, we have discovered that all those bearing one-syllable names denoting a place or thing–- Bush, Grove, Rice, Gates, etc – are indeed aliens whose names were chosen for mnemonic ease.

Paul Krassner revisits the perennial argument between marijuana and cigarettes. He quotes Dr. West, from the Betty Ford Center: "Alcoholics eventually die from lung cancer more often than from alcohol-related causes."

Terry Stokes has allotted his Christian neighbors and the unforgettable Annie Goldberg to his poetry-hours

Rebecca Weaver, plainly astonished at the consciousness of non-city people, discusses (respectfully) the possible co-ordinates of their home planets

Ariel Beller sings the ballad of Forrest Moon, a man with a direct line to God.

Curtis Rama speaks words in flames on several locations on 9/12, including NYC, locus of the national wound

Working Class Sweat & The DTs

William Pitt Root takes no prisoners while he trashes the rich with a kind of manly anger we haven't seen in this magazine since Mark Spitzer went to Kansas

Jim Hazard's prose fumes like a steel-mill smokestack in this midwestern epic of night shift realism

Michael K. White's extremely scary report from the angry gut of the proletariat

Al Frank writes from heart-breaking universe of the struggling (artsy and love-starved) young

John L. Sheppard's "Gimpy" gets fired and has an instant vision of a better life

April MacIntyre is a corporate crisis PR specialist, and her story of panic at SilverLake, "an artsy, eastern Los Angeles community," is no fairy-tale.

Dan Campbell serves the working class by revealing just how much plastic there actually is in the mind of the CEO; also, he respects what $10 represents (not like some of our readers)

Chris Semansky generates the perfect Recommendation Letter, then pens a "Self-Portrait Pending Approval," proving that he's fully hipped to the hell machine

Doren Robbins sings (in two stories) the tragic predicament of an employed (maybe) salad-eater who explores sexuality (maybe) and white-collar crime (certainly) for purely emotional reasons.

Benjamin Ikenson's father coming home from work

Stashu Kapinski is "an amalgam of voices from the Lawrenceville neighborhood in Pittsburgh… unemployed steel workers, chronic drunks, disenfranchised immigrants…"

Jonathan Lyons scores one for "The Graveyarders." We do know how weird the world looks when you're pulling that graveyard shift; it's how the Corpse is born, every time.

Damien Thompson makes an argument against "Hangovers" (no argument here), from the point of view of a poor drudge who must work the next day. ‘Nuf said.




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