#22

Ryan A. Bunch
Laughter

Thursday nights only
the hopeful walk the streets.
Frosted by dim lights,
painted in the whitewash
of the moon
we moths wander,
skipping across the neon signs
that dot the street
leaving silent ripples
in the abandoned last sip
of cheap plastic cups,
offering promises
only the dead can keep.
While our mothers, fathers,
grandmothers and grandfathers,
children and even birds sleep,
we wander our black hole purgatory,
caught between Eden and the cubicle,
hoping the sun will
let go and drift into space
so that we can finally sleep naked
against the silk sheet of the stars.
And we send out our laughter
crashing against the shield
of the endless black sky
like prayers.

 

White Flowers

They sprout
like thin rolled
tongues, whistling
a familiar riff
from a free jazz tune
that you just can’t place.
You watched me
standing
on that square of grass
where I peeled
back the paper
of my skin
and let the seed
of that tumor
fall
until the leaves
and the petals
and my smile
turned black,
crumbled
and mixed with
the earth.

 

 

Secrets

It’s parked on Mulholland,
holding hands,
fingers tickling one another
like spiders legs.
Overlooking
the golden blanket of the city,
a mirror to the night sky,
Human hands twisted
each one of those bulbs, you say.
My heart twinkles
in the middle of Orion’s belt.
The warmth of venom spreads
through the web of my veins.
You clutch tighter,
whispering the heat
of your confessions
until the spider rests
and I can’t move my fingers
when you squeeze my hand.

 

 

I became a Healthy Young Drug Addict
Excerpt from
The Autobiography of Edie Sedgwick
As Told to
Greg Oguss

Morrison is as bratty as ever. It’s sort of sad really. He bums around with Drella, Pablo, Marilyn, Vincent, Jean-Michel, De Sade and the whole gang. But only when he can “handle” a crowd, he says. Frankly, I don’t know what half those people are doing up here. Jim isn’t much fun anymore. But he’s still a beautiful boy. He “likes” celibacy…so he claims. Although strictly confidentially, I’ve caught him throwing those…oh, you know, throwing those smoldering glances at a couple of newbies. Heath Ledger and this other dahling boy, Bradley Renfro. I’m told Heath and Bradley were quite famous movie stars before their…accidents. Though we’re not allowed any TV or radio so who can really say for certain? Personally, the last movie I can recall clearly is watching Bob and Bobby in Don’t Look Back. Oh god, they were so cute. But, at the same time, in a really sexual way, ya know? I mean, I could make love to Bobby for hours and hours, non-stop. Literally non-stop, gobble gobble gobble. I was consumed by this man. And Bob, he was very sweet to me. And special in his own way. But…not a lover, not a Casanova-type. Not like Bobby. Let me tell you, when Bobby left me, things got very bad. I became a very healthy young drug addict for a while there.
Laughter.
Sure I can laugh about it now. But for a few years there it wasn’t so funny.
***
The snow was everywhere, if I remember correctly. It was a week before Christmas and it was just like the whole city was covered in a big white fluffy blanket. Ha-ha. Chuckles and I had gotten up around, oh god, I don’t know, maybe one-ish? Chuckles, that’s Chuck Wein, my old Cambridge pal. He was living with me, just temporarily. In my apartment on East 64th Street. Back then he was the cutest thing you ever saw, let me tell you. A little button nose, his blonde hair always slicked back. Of course, I was still a brunette then. I hadn’t yet done the silver blonde dye-job to match Drella, which everybody went all gaga over. That came later so I’ll try to stick to the script. Ha-ha.
I took a few hours to get myself together and then we had a few madcap adventures in the cafes and at Abercrombie and Fitch and uh-oh then several policemen stuck their noses in and Chuckles was nearly arrested on a morals charge ha-ha but eventually we made it back to the apartment alive and in the end it was just another afternoon in the life of Edith Minturn Sedgwick.

“Edie, will you answer it already?” Chuckles was yelling at me, primping in front of the bathroom mirror with a new tie and a pair of cufflinks I’d gotten him a few hours earlier on our shopping spree.
The phone was on its sixth or seventh ring but it was probably Don-Don just calling to double-check that we were actually going to show for dinner at L’Aventura that night and wanting to know would we be there around 8ish like we’d promised? I was playing with Wallow on the sofa and reading the first chapter of War and Peace for the zillionth time. Donald had given the book to me not long after I’d met him at Cambridge. Always the studious Henry Higgins-type trying to cultivate poor Eliza Doolittle Sedgwick…
“It’s just Donald!” I yelled back at Chuck, squeezing Wallow’s neck playfully. “Or Eddie!” Eddie Hennessey was another regular dinner companion and part of our Cambridge crowd. Eddie was a laugh-riot. He was also a faggot. Like most homosexuals, Eddie was a little high-strung. And if you stood him up once, he’d never let you forget it. But I loved Eddie anyway.
“You are impossible, Edie,” Chuckles was shaking his head at me, coming out of the bathroom and heading for the phone, blonde hair tightly slicked back, freshly ironed white dress shirt unbuttoned, showing his hairless chest underneath. No muscle tone, but not a hint of flab either. Chuckles was the best-looking boy I knew then. But he was yet another faggot friend of mine.
As Chuck’s hand reached for the receiver, I got a sudden premonition that I should answer it myself. So I hurled my beloved Wallow at him, and the stuffed rhino hit him smack in his hairless chest.
“Edith, what the–?”
Wallow hit the floor before Chuckles could catch him.
I was already up off the couch in a flash and grabbing the phone.
“Hello?” I said into the receiver, with practiced nonchalance.
“Uh, yeah, hi. Edie? Edie Sedgwick? Is this Edie, man?” a scratchy high-pitched and kind of girl-ish sounding-voice asked me. Although it definitely belonged to a boy. A boy who couldn’t’ve been much older than me, I would’ve guessed.
“Speaking,” I told him, in a voice that displayed all of the Katherine Branson School manners I kept in reserve for special occasions. My blood was rushing to my head and my intuition was telling me this Might Be That Special Someone.
Pause.
“And,” I prodded him, “Who am I’m speaking with?”
“Oh, yeah, sure,” he laughed, then coughed. “I don’t mean to bother ya like this. I’m not into strangers myself. I’m a folk singer. Bob Dylan. I got some records. Been travellin’ around doin’ these protest gigs, but…” He trailed off.
I was going to say something idiotic like “I like your music.” But he quickly added, “I’m living in the Village” and then asked if he could have a date “sometime.” He was very polite about it. Which was nice.
“Okay, when?” I asked, always the aggressor.
That stumped poor Bob. He mumbled some utter nonsense which was frankly too beyond my comprehension. So I put the boy out of his misery by offering, “Well, how about tonight, then?”
At this, Chuckles shot me a look from the sofa, where he was still making himself look beautiful for what was now shaping up to be a night on the town for the boys because Edie was again playing Miss Spontaneous and entertaining offers as usual. I shot him a look right back and continued conversing with Mr. Dylan.
“Ah, tonight?” Bob asked.
“I’m sorry, did you have a previous engagement?” I said, “apologizing” for my forthrightness. Knowing full well he didn’t have a fucking thing planned for that evening more important than a date with Edie Sedgwick.
He said, No problem. Assuring me he could get out of a dinner with his manager. Some guy named Grossman. I liked that name. A rich Jew businessman named “Gross-Man.” It was too perfect. Later on, I wouldn’t find Albert Grossman’s name funny. But that night, I would get to meet Bob and I would get to meet Bobby. Everything would be just too grandtastic. I was 21 and the girl everybody in New York wanted to meet.
I came to the city to see what I could see…
Bob told me to meet him at the Kettle of Fish, a bar he liked on MacDougal Street in the Village. Which sounded thrilling. We hung up and I dialed a car service to charter a limo for the night. Then I apologized to Chuckles and asked him one question.
“Who’s Bob Dylan?”

 

 


Touchless
John Vizzini

What melodies do
Bedsprings know
Anyway

What they lack in tune
Is made up for
In rhythm
I guess

I don’t even sleep in a bed
Let alone …
Instead

I tiredly slave and toil
With six old pals of mine
Sleek slender steel
Who know their tunes and melodies
Until

There is nothing left of my fingertips
That seem to endure
But still remain
Touchless

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