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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 New Economics of Late Capitalism

Poems on Leaving New York
by Anna Beskin

I am leaving

My reason for noticing what I am noticing is
elementary -
I am leaving
A junky of revelations,
It is as transparent as
Something transparent.
So like a long relationship ending I look at New York
through the eyes of the old and the wise; well wiser.
Following the script, I say that I will always love
But it is time to part.
Both parties will benefit from the separation
I shutter with the acknowledgement that it will be
better off without me
That's one more bitter, disenchanted person out -
making room for the new, the hungry, the ones who
still believe in the hype of "NEW YORK CITY"! capital
letters! flashing lights! fireworks!
Every child must one day leave the flock and find
another - even if to return one day fully ready to
resume the place once loathed.
I am leaving my little village with no more than debt
and a little going away party,
a mommy and daddy who are sad for me to go but that is
New York shoots no fireworks for the abandoners, the
ones who no longer want to fight. We are parting as
friends. "Thank you";. "No, no, thank you" and that
is the anticlimactic end!

Daily Hope

Do not write something boring I plead with my boring
Write something abstract and terribly interesting.
Write absolutely anything that does not involve the
minute details of an already minute life.
Write about colors and shapes and ideas -ideas that
you might have had but let slip through your sweaty
little fingers.
They appear in a blaze of insight and disappear, with
not nearly as much gusto.

They slink into thin air and dissipate
I sometimes think that if I could contain one in a jar
with enough holes in the cap to let them breath or
a brain if only I had one
I could do so much with them -even if it's just to
decorate as wallpaper on my cerebral computer - but it
is too late for that.
They are gone.
And I am left just as empty as I started and just as
predictably boring.

Swimming to the Deep

I wave to strangers whom I have known
for years and ask absentmindedly
how they've been.
I know nothing besides bare facts about their lives,
they've gone out with, who they've had sex with and
so on. Once
in a while we swim out to foreign territory
and have a conversation so deep, I drown
in its beauty for months to follow. But that is rare

and always
winds up leading to something inconsequential
like who they've gone out with, who they've had
sex with.


It is unnatural for people to be crammed in so tightly
with others; to travel in long metallic snakes
underground and still be as isolated as they would be
if on a deserted island. One can get lost here and
not find oneself ever, but rely on other people's less
than informed hypothesis about who they are as well as
who they should be. It is unnatural for people to
scurry about like rats for the sheer privilege of
telling someone "that's right, that silver Lexus
outside is mine". We agree to the rules of the game

merely by agreeing to participate in it. We agree to
participate in it merely by going along, by not
stopping dead in our tracks when we first learn about
the feudal system in our History class and yell at the
top of our lungs "nothing has changed! The lower
classes are still the serfs and the upper class our
lords and masters. We still toil day and night for
the privilege of owning our own land, our own
possessions, our own life" But of course now we get
wonderful, life benefiting programs, such as 401K
plans, transit checks, and sometimes the Union. It is
unnatural for people to live like this.

I'm Over Here!

I am an addict
TV is my drug,
makes me dumb,
makes me feel without actually participating -
A singer on Good Morning America performs while people
behind the glass are waving like maniacs
Look at me! Look at me! I've done nothing but stand
behind someone who actually put themselves out there -
Hey! Hey! Why is the camera panning away? Hey!

I find myself

It is a scary thing to find yourself in a foreign
body, saying things that are foreign to you
as far as you knew you,
as far as anyone knows anyone
even living on the inside
Yet that is precisely where I have found myself on
this very occasion - foreign territory
I look down at what I suppose are "my breasts" and
think, "Are these my breasts? These suckers are huge."
I find myself whining about whining with no control to
stop it
I surprise myself with
myself by saying out loud "please don't leave me, I'm
so scaaaaaared." Pity me
oh pity me. I run to the closest mirror to inspect my
but don't see it there - someone else stares back at

and so I continue to laugh
hysterically because I now see the truth - I don't
exist, I am a mirage
like everything else and
like everything else I am constantly changing -
find yourself and die immediately because half a
millisecond later you will find yourself again,
only different


He thinks that I am a good writer. Really? Well,
fuck you too! Couldn't I come down with a more
socially accepted disease?

Cold Water

Accidentally spilled cold water right on my crotch
I let it sit there while watching it absorb into my
Then felt it absorbing through my underwear.
I let it keep going.
Flowing through my pubic hair, cold water -
I am in Florida,
in September and
I am suddenly cold


It is presumptuous of you to assume
That just because you found my keys
That you "found my keys"
You cannot find what does not exist!
Bolted from inside
Glass walls!
All there, nothing to hide
See through on all sides
Can't come in
Sorry, closed.
Mesmerizing, isn't it baby?
Go, just try, and go
Go, go, go!
Almost out of New York
Just one more bridge!
One more toll!
Make that call to the snake that made you fake
Because you were so afraid to let him down,

Let you down
By giving a reason to not; like;
If you follow someone else you will never see
anything new.
"What does it feel like to be the prettiest girl
in this place?"
"What does it feel like to have the dumbest pick-up
OK; maybe that was a little too much
Such was the evening,
Careening off the cliff in my firebird
Need time to sift
Through all the shit in the back seat
Where I learned how to treat others.
Never used the word 'lover'
'Till I stopped having them
Amazing what one can find on that back seat
No matter how many times one tries to delete
Free oneself of the old.
"Baby, roll up the window; I'm cold"
Bloody tired,
Wired, at the same time.
Aah, the dangers of mixing drugs
Tricking the mind
You will find in me only what you seek
Only what you need
I will feed your appetite,
For a while, and then,
Well then
Do what I do,
Think of a good explanation,
A reason for the overwhelming sensation
To run,
And then go!
Go, go, go, baby!
almost out of New York,
Just one more bridge!
One more toll!
I say to myself

Movie Bound to be Made of My Life

When thinking who I would
Cast to play 'me' in the movie
bound to be made of my life -
I don't know;
She's not famous yet;
Not before the movie
bound to be made of my life -
"Welcome to my humble abode"
I say to the man who has no business being there
Feel free to unload -
And when you have relieved your sorrows
When you find that it's easier to breathe,
Please; feel free to leave

So Much Easier to Watch

Just not supposed to be,
Pity poor peasant
'Cause men ain't never supposed to cry.
Just not supposed to be;
How convenient to think that everything
happens for a reason,
How convenient indeed,
Feed that darn ol' desire to explain away the scary
Carry the old to the end,
Do what is expected because the transcript
of life is filling up fast
With red circles and squares
Little stars and dots,
Instead of letters;
'Cause this ain't the obvious transmitter,
it's the honest one.
"Makes you stronger"
No! Makes the nights longer
Toss, turn, lie perpendicular on the Kings
size bed
Just cause I can.
And how nice to not ask permission any more -
"Why run for the train?
There is another one just like it on the way"
The wisdom of subway safety warnings
Where are the prophet's words?
Cleaned up with the graffiti off the walls
While the last of the marathoners run past,
He lights another cigar,
So much easier to watch, ain't it

Bed Time Story

"Ouch, ouch, my head",
said the monster to the cat.
"You see last night I met a rat,
He took me to his flat
On the Upper East Side
And ; well; today all I do is cry
And then the cat asked,
"Why oh why did you get so high?
You know, you could die?
Look your nose is bleeding,
Promise me to remember this feeling
Look in the mirror and remember what you're seeing
Bags under your eyes,
And all over your face,
Lies, lies, lies.
And then the monster began to cry,
And wail and yell and sigh
Asking the cat, "Why?"
"Why, do I hurt myself all the time,
why can't I just accept what's mine.
Maybe I should go relax a bit,
Go for a walk in the street,
See my friend the rat,
In his Upper East Side flat.


I should be more serious, she said
If she only knew how delirious I could get
If she only knew about the drugs
Late nights caressing the coffee mugs,
Chain smoking,
Working on not choking
The need I feel to relieve
All that I have inside
If she only knew
That I write not to hide
But to climb higher than expected
When I was starring
Into her disappointed face
With absolutely no trace
Of trust in my ability to survive,
Thrive and dive into

All that grabs my attention,
Kisses the temptation,
And tickles the unused attention
Of an overactive kid.
Same mother,
Same father,
The start was equally good,
Far from perfection
I still find the reaction
Of my sister very strange
Pardon the perceived control
Of the doll that never lived,
How can I claim to feel restricted
When I never even existed
Outside of her head.

Bob Dylan Homage
The New York times are a changing
And there's no use crying, or trying to pretend it
ain't happening
'cause you'd like it to stay the same

I hate umbrellas
An ineffective shield from the inevitable
I'd rather get wet
Wet like jumping into a pool not like caught in a
drizzle wet
Wet like the time when I was fourteen and we walked
for hours in the rain without a purpose just out of
sheer delight of being alive wet
Wet like our clothes got when we walked into the
shower fully clothed because we were too shy to strip
under the fluorescent lighting wet
Wet like how I got when the hottest guy in school went
down on me for the first time wet.
Wet like how everything in my room got after we were
flooded wet
Wet like that time upstate I stood outside smoking
weed while people rode by in the cars with their
children's future, watching them, watching me, wet
Wet like the kiss when the only one I ever gave my
whole self to, gave himself to me wet
Wet like the time in the summer when I walked home in
the rain wearing a white tank top with a white bra

underneath and didn't give a fuck wet
Wet like the time I felt dehydrated after all those
tears disappeared into his navy blue shirt wet
Wet like when he lifted up my face from his chest and
kissed my eyes so gently I wanted to die right then
because I knew that I could never be so loved ever
again wet
I'd rather get wet


A simple look you threw my way hit me on my right
but I don't blame your
caution, I blame your eyes,
deceptive in their
eagerness, left me
flailing my arms trying to focus on the cobra, but not
so much that the
ground would be my
Heaven or Hell
just a friend,
kind to a fallen stranger,
light and stable all together a
mirage for the hopeful
opium for the
poor and hungry
questioning the
reasons for their
tame out of exhaustion
unable to move.
venom filled hearts beat faster and steadier
you are my beautiful orchard, my
zebra in the sea

Better Than the Obvious

My brain like me is dirty.
Cluttered with last months bills and unfinished
Which lie in wait for the inevitable
Strong wind to huff and puff

To blow apart the petty and the honest;
Because I pray to God that they are not the same.
That I am better than the obvious.
That I'm better than him and her and him and her.
But all I could think of when she was telling me about
her grandfather's death was that I had to pee.
That I had something in my eye
And how much I regretted wearing a thong.
There are no Swiss Alps around to save me now.
There are no struggles beyond the ones I create,
There are no shiny sidewalks that no one else would
There is only that beautiful cherry tree
In the forefront of my ugly house
A reminder of the important things in life.
I smile to it every morning on my way to self-enforced
And wish that I could stand there all day and
understand more.
Instead my dirty brain nudges me forward
Into constant motion,
Too fast to stop without a crash of some sort.
There is no soft sand of a beach in Nice around to
soften the blow,
Only wind, which hardly lets itself be known.




home archives submit black market comrads hot sites search ec chair peotick kultur anti-amthropomorphism
new economics of late capitalism gallery zounds the making and unmaking of person
diaries and memoirs translation and her retinue
the book of revelations and epiphanies working class sweat
the making and unmaking of person the corpse reads classics letters

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