Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Greetings from Frontbutt, New Jersey

1. Alphonse Galway met Phoebe Slur at a reading in which they were both featured speakers. She was the only women under 60 in attendance, and wore a tight black jersey with the words Bone is bad printed on it in Chiller font. 2. He knew who she was, she did not know who he was, which was surprising. 3. They were both supposed to read for 20 minutes: he read for 18 and she read for 46. 4. Among the poems she read were “I’d Like to Pop Your Earhole,” “licorice, lavish, loutish”. 5. Among the poems he read were “1971” “1980” and “First Year.” 6. Alphonse had just won a chapbook contest for his thin volume of confessional verse which he wanted to entitle Greetings From Frontbutt, New Jersey, but which the publisher wanted to call 1971. Alphonse thought he could probably live with that. 7. Phoebe had earlier that year published an actual book of poems from an actual New York publishing house (no names but its initials were FSG) called Getting the Hang of It. Her poems consisted of transcriptions of letters she’d received from a man on death row in Houston. The letters were heavily pornographic and she had used a black laundry pen to censor the dirtiest words. 8. Alphonse’s favorite poets were John Donne, Andrew Marvell and Robert Lowell, Phoebe’s were Alicia Ostriker, Mina Loy, Cesar Vallejo and Amiri Baraka. 9. Alphonse couldn’t take his eyes off Phoebe: she had a flat steel stud in her upper lip and food in the corner of her mouth.

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