Saturday, October 30, 2021

Even Trust is Fleeting by Jesse Ogbeide


Even Trust is Fleeting 

By Jesse Ogbeide

Mid-July, as I listen to the gentle sound of rain,
I relapse into memory, as a girl begins to tell a story of another man —
how he loves to dance in rose petals,
and adorn his body with paint and jewels,
each time he is in communion with solitude.
Tell me.
Does it break you too?
when secrets you leave on cleaved tongues,
return to remind the body of treason,
frigid and more intense than it once seemed?
and you can hear my heart pressed down by sorrow,
you can see how it leaves my body like a fountain — a stone,
unraveling into tears,
and failing to remember that it once had a language.
Outside, I am given a name synonymous to a farce,
and as I walk through the sole path of my home,
I become a lush ground blooming slowly toward sadness,
patient; till I ripen into a strain,
distant from healing.
You may ponder, why I choose to be quiet despite this chaos,
to let grief take me by the wrist and convoy me into oblivion,
I am weary.
Of shaping into faces just to please,
becoming foreign, to the same hands that bring love to the table.
So here; in this delirium,
all I can do is to hope,
that at the end of this wild breaking,
my blood may still be pure enough to season flowers.

Thursday, October 28, 2021

Biographies / Dennis Cooper

Dennis Cooper

Dennis Cooper


"It’s a stylized version of a really boring world where nothing ever happens. There’s no momentum in the book at all except for the meeting of these different people. Just like a drift … like drifting. The characters are in school. I have them in school because it’s a set pattern of school-home, school-home, and sleep. A kind of mechanical going back and forth. The characters are always trying to overcome the banality and terror of the world they live in by constructing some sort of mental world, the main character, George especially. Disneyland is his idea of what perfection is, a place where everything, every emotion is stylized in order to be entertaining. Nothing really hurts, nothing’s really scary, and everything’s fed into you. The drugs he takes function in the same way. It’s as though these characters—even the murderers—are each trying to transcend a life in which nothing happens. All of them are trying to discover some kind of sensation. They’re attempting to find it in all these different ways; they link together because they see in each other the opportunity to feel something. I tried to construct the book so that it had a blankness, like you said, but there is also a … compression. The characters are trying to force something into their lives by doing these extreme things … criminal and perverse. And the way I made the book, in a kind of overly rigorous structure, for example, in stanzaic paragraphs that are always the same length, is an attempt to force some sort of beauty and rigor into their world."

Dennis Cooper on Closer

Dennis Cooper, 1989
Photo by James Hamilton

Poet, novelist, and short story writer Dennis Cooper was born in Pasadena, California. He grew up in Southern California and was educated at Pasadena City College and Pitzer College. Cooper’s early influences include French avant-garde poetry and novels and the films of Robert Bresson. In his work, he engages the limits of the body, and of speech, in response to the pressure of desire. In a 2011 Paris Review interview with Ira Silverberg, Cooper stated, “I’m as interested by what sex can’t give you as by what it can. I don’t see lust as a dumbing-down process. Most people fear confusion, but I think confusion is the truth and I seek it out. … My goal is to try to articulate what my characters wish to express during sex but can’t and to depict the way language is compromised by sex, as realistically as I can.”
Dennis Cooper - Interview for Hilda Magazine


His poetry collections include The Dream Police: Selected Poems 1969-1993 (1995) and The Weaklings (2008). He is the author of numerous books of prose, including the novels Frisk (1991, one of five novels making up the George Miles Cycle), The Sluts (2005), and The Marbled Swarm (2011); the short story collections Wrong (1992) and Ugly Man (2009); the nonfiction volumes All Ears: Criticism, Essays, and Obituaries (1999) and Smothered in Hugs: Essays, Interviews, Feedback, and Obituaries (2010); and the collaborative projects Dennis: Story-Song (2006, with Don Waters and various artists) and Jerk/Through Their Tears (2011, with Gisele Vienne, Peter Rehberg, and Jonathan Capdevielle).

Dennis Cooper Interviewed in Paris (American Suburb X exclusive)
In 1976, Cooper founded Little Caesar Magazine and in 1978, Little Caesar Press. From 1979 to 1983, he served as director of programming for the Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center in Venice Beach, California. He has served as the editor of the Little House on the Bowery series for Akashic Books.
Cooper was the first American writer to be awarded France’s Prix Sade. He lives in Los Angeles and Paris.


Dennis Cooper / Chaperos / Sadomasoquismo internauta
Dennis Cooper / Todos los males, el mal
Dennis Cooper / El creep entre nosotros
Dennis Cooper / “Si pudiese sintetizar lo que hago en un Tweet, no seguiría escribiendo novelas”
Dennis Cooper / Chaperos / Prólogo de Juan Bonilla
Dennis Cooper / El ‘escritor más peligroso de los EE UU’ publica una novela con gifs animados
Google rapta la nueva novela de Dennis Cooper
Dennis Cooper / Lo peor

Dennis Cooper / El muerto
Dennis Cooper / Niña
Dennis Cooper / Hacha
Dennis Cooper / El cerdo

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Dennis Cooper / After School, Street Football, Eighth Grade


After School, Street Football, Eighth Grade

Their jeans sparkled, cut off
way above the knee, and my
friends and I would watch them
from my porch, books of poems
lost in our laps, eyes wide as
tropical fish behind our glasses.

Their football flashed from hand
to hand, tennis shoes gripped
the asphalt, sweat's spotlight on
their strong backs. We would
dream of hugging them, and crouch
later in weird rooms, and come.

Once their ball fell our way
so two of them came over, hands
on their hips, asking us to
throw it to them, which Arthur did,
badly, and they chased it back.
One turned to yell, “Thanks”

and we dreamed of his long
teeth in our necks. We
wanted them to wander over,
place deep wet underarms to
our lips, and then their white
asses, then those loud mouths.

One day one guy was very tired,
didn't move fast enough,
so a car hit him and he sprawled
fifty feet away, sexy, but he was
dead, blood like lipstick, then
those great boys stood together

on the sidewalk and we joined them,
mixing in like one big friendship
to the cops, who asked if we were,
and those boys were too sad to counter.
We'd known his name, Tim, and how
he'd turned to thank us nicely

but now he was under a sheet
anonymous as God, the big boys crying,
spitting words, and we stunned
like intellectuals get, our high
voices soft as the tinkling of a
chandelier on a ceiling too high to see.

Monday, October 25, 2021

Three poemas by Youngyu Chen


by youngyu chen




We are mothering ourselves. We are articulating solace for each other. We are trying


to not fall in love. Write love poems


to not fall in love.


The faultline between the language of feeling and the language of catastrophe? We find

it. Our common language. Our white world. We are trying


to write close to it. Even closer. Closeness


changes. Every poem was once impossible.


Medieval torture devices. Phalansteries. That’s when it mattered. That’s when you

wrote it.


Your father’s car speeds up the mountain like an unsent letter and you see someone



in your dream when he is still alive outside it, watching Kurosawa for you. Aliveness


changes. The kind


of violence that can be taken back. The room


where someone not deadly realized they could care for you and didn’t. Or did. Now you

imagine it emptied. The kitchen


without a sink, windswept, glazed emerald-gold.


You could picture solace only by bright walls, you said. By, not in. A nearness.


We were listening to Arca together.


We were dreaming about an apartment in the Mesozoic. A meadow on Neptune.


Thinking. This relationship. Between the cold pomegranates on the table and the

porcelain bowl that couldn’t break apart one morning. Solace. I


wanted islands instead of worlds. I wanted a new kind of ice. One to hold on to, lying

in bed at noon. Bitter citrus grafting


like lightning onto my neck so I could be orchards as well. As well


as seeds


of thunderstorms.


What’s the point of time if we’re never out of it, knocking at your door, in landfall, in

someone else’s house.


I wanted we, in the second person. I wanted unimaginable solace, in the second person.


I wanted terrifying friends


to love me. You,


carrying away gorgeous bags of treasure every time we meet. Deadlight. Clearly we

were not who we were. Clearly we were not dead. We were not


mistaken. I wanted to look exactly like you.


(after Jenny Hval)






I dreamt of my poems grinding your poems into nothingness. I dreamt I read a poem by

you every day for a year and no one I love died that year. The phone


was ringing. The envelope smelled like wild horses. You were about to send it.


Tell me the curtain in front of our window has burnt off again and people are watching

us from the street. Turn


on the light in the castle and close their eyes. We don’t know.


And that not knowing loves us. A walk by the Seine. A wall covered in jewels and

rose powder. The poem


keeps getting longer the longer we read.


Part of being-in-relation always belongs to other relations. To cursed futures, rare earth

metals, tremblement. Which is why


I want mine to explode. Be


unreadable with me. Unwritable. Be almost unlivable. Faces flat on the kitchen floor at

dawn. Do not let even one


single image of tenderness go to waste.


In every house we lived together the floorboards are rotting, rippling. Ethics


means this poem is possible even if it isn’t innocent. Even if we were. Unless you were



you were crouching by the bathroom’s sharpened mirror. You were impossible,


bitter, biting your tongue. You were cutting out my favourite words from the common

language until the language ended. We eat castles in thin slices, remembrance.

After resistance is


fabulation. Is being


meticulous. The GREAT BITTER LOVE. I would have loved you. I would have

loved to you.


(for + after the letters between Ingeborg Bachmann and Paul Celan, 1948-1967)






Who has not asked himself at some time or other: am I a monster or is this what it means to be a person?


Wrote Clarice Lispector.


I was scanning her book for you. I was tearing it apart in the photocopier.


S visits me in Boston. In the poem we write, trading lines, I ask her about the hail in

Tuscany. Knowing she was never there. What

were you like when you were young? This winter I drive to New York and the city is not there.


Meaning, there is literally not a single building there, not a single archive, a single

frozen shutter, I stay

all week in V’s empty apartment in Queens. When I walk past her mirror my face


keeps reflecting in front of me. Like something I could catch. Those are the moments

when I can feel something dissolving

inside me, something important, something that becomes even more important as it

dissolves. A constellation,


of flashes. Those



are years as well. Years I give to you.


This year, all year, never have I wanted more to wear necklaces inside necklaces. Never

have I wanted more to just think and study on the windy carpet. Never

have I been less able to.

Thinking, since we are in a room with four walls, does this mean each wall is a chamber

of the heart. Does this mean it’s not a nightmare. All year


I was thinking of J’s apartment back in Ithaca. But filled with rainforest and Christmas

lights. Satin blouses. We can barely see it but everyone they love

is climbing through the trees. We will not catch any of them. Like snow on the sun, at

night. Like, I wanted to explain to J: it isn’t


an image of disappearance. Of sleeping alone in the kitchen window. I would not

imagine disappearance in a single


place you love.


A, who I loved so long ago, texts me all of a sudden. I miss you. It’s been two years. It’s

been a kind of reaching. The spaceship we once talked about, from SOLARIS, flooding with hail, has been crashing



through every draft of every text he’s ever sent. Like


a reason.


Will we ever live in a house together. Will we ever shower each other upside-down, radiant with hurry? Will we?, Will we ever?, though I know this is the only thing the word “house”


could ever mean. I was looking for you. You. Not


the you of this poem. Not any of the yous of the poem. The you I sneak away with while

the poem descends into underworlds, eating pollen and seams. Hailstorm,

while I stare at my own face in the mirrors of friends, trying to map out the part

for the moon and the part for the bonfires. La Luna e i Falò. The part for life and the

part for the secret life. For world and for loneliness. Katabasis — it’s taken me


so long to put this poem together. You wouldn’t believe me. I’m trying


so hard to look for you without using you at all. Using


only the positions and momentums of all the other people I love, not the rain pouring

through their joint collar like


two doors into the dream.


It’s an arid season. It’s an overland. It’s not a nightmare. It’s not a memory. Which



means it’s real. You can touch it when I look away. I can see how the dark folds in half

beside you. It’s a different texture. A different shirt I have to sew through. The diagonal light,


in vertical furrows. Of course I can barely remember your face


before I remember your face.


 is a poet based in Cambridge, MA, where they are studying for a PhD in Film and Visual Studies at Harvard. Recent work has appeared in journals including NASHVILLE REVIEW and POETRY NORTHWEST. They were born in Beijing and grew up in East Tennessee

MAY 2021