An old paper Faber Colossus—
A Leaving Las Vegas—
A People One Knows—
Now an Infinite Jest—
we’re gonna need a bigger shelf.
Watch a VHS film about Sylvia Plath. (Forgive nobody.)
This place is haunted by pale teens in overcoats
with bags under their eyes
searching for long sad books.
A dabble in Benjamin leads
to six poems by Baudelaire
and a thought for Camus.
Now Richard Vaughan and Kath Mulherin.
Daniel Jones. Brat X.
Al Purdy (assisted).
Death by drowning:
Woolf by wading
Spalding Gray by leaping in.
Or booze, drugs and guns:
Hemingway in Idaho and Kurt—poor Kurt
in those sad Converse One Stars,
wrecked, at home in suburban Seattle.
O’ poor Kurt. Poor Richard
Manuel—now who will sing “Whispering Pines”?
Don’t let’s get started on the musicians before a brief remembrance
of Richard Outram’s own Tolstoyan ending, or—look!—
up, up—Trout Fishing in America—poor Richard Brautigan—
“He created his own Kool-Aid reality and was able to illuminate himself by it.”
Get me that small stool
I need to reach the top shelf.
(With a line from the Richard Brautigan story “The Kool-Aid Wino.”)