Opening of Purple magazine's publication of first chapter of Hell's novel-in-progress...



           t was March and the weather was like a pornographic high-fashion magazine. But Raw's Café was a gutter derelict in it. The room was see-through brown broken by a debris of battered tables and cluttered walls. There was a little clearing in the far corner where a stalk of microphone stood leaning thinly.
           David felt affection for the poor poets, his family. He thought he probably liked them more than anyone else did. He was popular for that.
           Tonight's reader was Tom Bennett. Tom was a filthy drug addict who was too smart for his own good. His face was like a monkey's carved from a blond-wood door-stop wedge, he was going bald, and he wore reddish whiskers that looked like froth scum. He never stopped talking and he considered himself a Buddhist. Whatever, he was in his element at Raw's this night, and it was heartening. He was a messenger and David was mentally gorging on it. "God made everything from nothing, but the nothing shows through."
           David played a favorite mental trick for enjoying poetry readings and imagined the reader had died long ago.

           The reading ended and everyone drank on and the room got noisier. People went out into the air and smoked grass together and came back. David saw the kid. He planned to find him but hadn't gotten around to it when he sensed the attention shifting in the crowd. The kid'd gone up to three different poets in the room and told each what he thought of him. He told Bill Miller, "I read your latest book and all I can say is that your only virtue is its own punishment." He told someone else that he'd "ruined frivolity for a generation." Then he gave each of the poets hand-copied examples of a new poem and told them that they could suck his cock for $20. He arrived at David, and just as David realized who he was the kid introduced himself. He was the boy who'd sent him a letter a few weeks before. The letter had read:
Mr. Parsons! Sir!

I write to you most humbly, most presumptuously. I am no one except that I am a poet. And it is because I am a poet that I eat up your books. And that is why I write and enclose the pages you find here. I hope that you will respond to them.

I'm going nuts in this nowhere. Used to be I could twist in my misery and big time lusts, sweating, and the breezes of these suburban streets would cool me a little, the fruity sunsets would bring me something, as would old literature, but now I know too much! One must always move on. (It is not important to live.) I'm rotting here! I will come to New York. Especially since I know of you.

Do you know what I mean that I am no one except that I am a poet? I will explain so that you cannot misunderstand. I do not want to be anyone. I have nothing to protect! I want to see and be seen through. I am given to see and I see aloud. It is necessary that "I," that cowardly imposition, be discarded, in order that nothing interfere, that nothing interrupt, that nothing pollute what speaks. It isn't pretty! But it is poetry and all we know of... of.... I know you know what I mean.

Have mercy on me.

Your admiring little bro,

T.
           David had written back and told the kid he should come to New York and to call him when he got there.
           "I am drunk," the boy said.
           "Yeah?"
           He lowered his voice again. "Come outside and walk with me."
           They left the party behind and the air outside was a nice surprise. The presents kept coming, piling up around them as they walked. David got breathless and aroused.
           T. told him his big ideas. He said honestly there were only two or three poets and that he himself was first among the living, with the possible exception of David, though David was in danger of going slack. He talked of how the literary was sacred but the literary was shit. That the poets' poor knowledge must be advanced in life for poetry to be worthy of its name. That the poem is everything, but incidental--it's shit and come, it's tracks and mirrors, hair, snot, ricocheting beams. It's nothing, but it's all we get and if we will be receptive it's the thing itself, the nothing itself, and what else is there to desire, want, have, be, and it only follows from delerium, which is just ordinary life. "No big deal," he said, and it was true--David'd heard it before (though he hadn't seen it)--, "You want to kiss me, don't you." He reached for David's crotch.
           They'd stopped and T. was shuffling David back towards a dark building wall on East 3rd Street. David's heartbeat was out of control. He was taller than him and he grabbed his ruffled head and bumped his mouth on his. They almost fell over but the wall got there just in time. The mouth was a scooped-out thing that felt unreal; David couldn't adjust, he was still too apart from him, but he wanted to feel his cock through his pants and when he did that it went really real for a moment before they separated again.
           David just wanted to run his finger along the crack of his ass, and T. let him turn him to the wall and do that. He reached under and T.'s cock had gotten harder and he squeezed its base through his pants. T. gave him charge of himself there for a moment, and he took advantage of it by pulling his shoulder to turn him, kissing him once again, and it felt closer to a kiss. He started them walking back along the the street. He wasn't going to hurry or let T. think he was at his mercy. It was better to stretch it out anyway.
           "So how does it feel to be a faggot," T. asked.
           "What? ...So far, so good."



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