CUZ Editions

   book excerpts...
Weather by Richard Hell
Autobiography in Words by Susan Noel
WillieWorld by Maggie Dubris
Sitting Pretty by Michael DeCapite
Lassitudes of Fire by Will Patton
Chaldea by Nick Tosches
Love Poems by Rene Ricard
Poems I Guess I Wrote by Ron Padgett

from WEATHER by Richard Hell...


The whole city seemed
to optically snap
with the cool
brightness of the just-moist light
and air ricocheting
in pings and flapping planes from
surface of stone to
surface of stone around
and through the teeming
traffic flesh and pumped
out metal fumes and fresh
water widely below and
entering the underlooked
and overseeing sky.

The whole city seemed to
optically snap with the
cool bright
ness of the just moist
light and air ricocheting
in pings and flapping planes
widely below and crazed
with glee like squiggly arrows
of imagination fleeing
big Ma, the sky, to which
at the end of the day
they must return, bounced
from the hard world.


The whole city seemed to
optically snap with the
cool bright
ness of the just moist
light and air ricocheting
in pings and flapping planes
widely below and
--I can't seem
to say right what, wanting
to describe [depict show present] the rubble crumbling light and air
returning later
to their [nothing] [original (dis)appearance]
beginning in the sky which
I concluded [intuited accepted understood envisioned foresaw ascertained deduced]
would leave only
a chill on the paper
that would suddenly feel [palpitate breathe] like generous death.

The whole city seemed to
optically snap with the
cool bright
ness of the just moist
light and air ricocheting
in pings and flapping planes
widely below the
even wider sky, into
which, like broken chair legs, like
cubism, the deconstructed
pretty light and air is later
sucked backwards, leaving only
an empty chill on the paper.


from AUTOBIOGRAPHY IN WORDS by Susan Noel...

     1. In the beginning was the word. But right from the start it was complicated. I learned early (though that's just the first ghost of the conventional) that words could not be trusted to mean what they said. Then I came to depend on the slip. I'd not yet heard of le mot juste, but I had a sense, something less substantial than an idea, that the only justice to be found was in language.

drawing by Mette Madsen from AUTOBIOGRAPHY IN WORDS

     24. Overnight all the leaves have fallen, and now I have a direct line of vision into those windows. The past is reduced to a neighborhood, a place to which I have returned, but in which I no longer reside. I mean I'm no longer home. And I have no idea, as consequence, what to do with all these boxes. The present consists of someone else's detritus. Time is getting to be a bore. Isn't there an alternative? What about space? The failure of the other person is described as a lapse in memory, but this is a polite way of skirting the issue. The other person is wearing the pants. They are on the way out. I am on the way in, and down, and bending over to peer at the silliness of this permanent moment.

     33. "Be that as it may." This is perhaps my favorite phrase in the English language. Although it clusters together with a recognizable economy, each word seems to visit the other from a separate reality -- each carries its own culture, history, and implication. Together, they collaborate, and not uneasily, but it's a quiet chorus, decorous, indicating a space always slightly to one side of wherever one may be. It's an observant phrase, removed from the chafe of participation, heading away from opinion with a desire simply to be alone. It is not a phrase for the young.


from WILLIEWORLD by Maggie Dubris...

The hospital that I work for is the only hospital in the country to ever go into bankruptcy and then come back out of it again. Everyone is very proud of this for some reason. It was the first thing the personnel director told me when I came to apply for the job. I didn't know what I was supposed to say back, so I said, "Oh, really?" But the hospital is still what you might call financially embarrassed. None of the check cashing places will take our paychecks, and we're always getting cut off at the gas station. Actually, I don't mind the situation at all. It adds a lawless edge to things. There are always notes up on the bulletin board telling us what to steal for the day. Sometimes we develop a surplus. Right now, we have a surplus of backboards. What we do is we get all the backboards that other ambulances have brought in and left on patients, and we spray-paint them black. Then we stack them up by the side door. We also like to steal metal scoop stretchers. Our supervisor takes them and removes all the identifying numbers with paint stripper. It's kind of a hobby of his, I guess.

They say that time is a thief, but we are the ones who steal moments alone. And cross off days as if they were lovers, hanging against that yellow kitchen wall. It's like, one day the circus walks in to town. And keeps on walking to the sea, to drown . . .

What I dream of is a village. Built in stone and held in terror.
What I dream of is a satellite.
Thrown cold and white across the sky.
And when I take a walk, I see the blue air fill with shiny planes.
Tinged with shadow. Glazed in pink.
Tossed up against the breaking day.

Nobody knows why Jean-Paul stopped breathing. He just stopped breathing. So his heart stopped beating. It was daytime. The ambulance got there and he was lying against the wall. One of the store owners had soaked a rag with ammonia, and put it over his face to wake him up. But he didn't wake up. He just lay there with the rag on his face. And they got out of the ambulance and started kicking him. After awhile, they figured out that he wasn't breathing. But they didn't want to start CPR right away. Because they were just kicking him. So they got out the stretcher, and they put him on it, and they put it back in the back of the ambulance. Then they did CPR on him. Then they drove him to the hospital. At the hospital the doctors got his heart started. He was brain dead. So they took him off the respirator. But he was still breathing. So they took him out of the ICU and put him on a ward. They made him a No Code. My partner and I went up to visit him. His eyes were going blink blink blink. When I touched him he was so hot. As hot as tar. It was his brain burning up his body as it died.

On the black black sand. He can stand. He can sleep.
On the cold black beach. He can sleep. Beside the ocean.
In the cold cold wind. He can sleep. Beneath the sand.

Jean-Paul DiVersailles, take one giant step
back into the land of the living.
May I?
No you may not!


from SITTING PRETTY by Michael DeCapite...

       My old man and Lefty convene, the others mill around. They lean in, they move off...Paul's a few feet away, moon-faced, sitting apart. Mel, Nick, and Dino give him a wide berth.
        I wander off, there's plenty of time before the next race. I move through the loose crowd...I'm abstracted, hungover...the bar catches my eye...a drink?...or not...maybe?...too early...
        Back at the bench, Paul's talking about music--Mel has strayed too near and gotten caught. Paul asks him if he's heard Tangerine Dream.
        "Tangerine Dream, Paul?" He's looking at his program. "Is that a rock band or a dessert?"
        "Yeah, Tangerine Dream--Force Majeure. You'd like it, Mel."
        Mel's unsure. "Would I?"
        I sit down, get him off the hook. Paul turns to me...
        "Force Majeure? Tangerine Dream?"
        That does it.
        "Yeah, thanks. I've got that on LP and CD. The first side is all one song, eighteen minutes, it's an electronic symphony. And then side two. 'Cloudburst Flight' and 'Thru Metamorphic Rocks.'"
        "Yeah, I don't really--"
        "Nothing could be better than their music."
        He hums a few bars...And then he's off. Since I'm such a Tangerine Dream fan--what about Jean-Michel Jarre? Equinoxe? Or Jean-Luc Ponty, his electric violin? "The Struggle of the Turtle to the Sea." Sweeps you right along--into the waves--Majestic.
        The names come spilling out of him. Vangelis? A genius. Very serious, always frowning. How about Nektar? "Burn Out My Eyes"--in four parts, including "Void of Vision"..." Pupil of the Eye"... "Look Inside Yourself," and "Death of The Mind."
        I nod my head, I'd like to agree but he's lost me now.
        Lapidary? "And The Mage Disdains The Oracle." Their two-album set--with 3-D cover, long out of print--Execration of the Masses.
        "I bought two copies at a garage sale. Oh it's wonderful, it's like glory hallelujah. Get it, Danny."
        Outwardly he's deadpan, but he's talking fast. ELP--I must know them.
        "'Karn Evil No. 9.' Their music is classical. Keith Emerson's the mastermind behind it all. When he plays the piano the whole platform lifts up, right off the stage. And then it starts to spin! Revolve! He wears a seatbelt. He goes end over end--with a grand piano! He's just a blur! Doesn't miss a note."
        "Now Paul, does he only do that in concert, or does he do it in the studio too?"
        He looks over.
        "I don't know, I've got the live album, three-record set. But I'm gonna get the album Tarkus. I saw it once at Record Exchange, still sealed in shrink wrap, never opened, perfect mint condition. It was beautiful, the cover's a work of art--the painting of Tarkus? I cut that picture out of a book. Laminated it. I'd like to get a poster of that for my room, five or eight feet tall. If I had that...I'd listen to the record and stare at the poster."
        I remember the picture--he excites himself talking about it: Tarkus himself: part armadillo, part tank. Invincible. Roll on, big armadillo.
        "And the last movement--the finale. 'Aquatarkus.'"
        Part armadillo...part tank...part submarine.
        "Yeah Paul, I definitely remember that cover."
        That's all he needs, he's rolling now. Hawkwind's Hall of the Mountain Grill...Lothario's Peril--their first record--Memories of the Dugong--a hundred percent electronic...synthesizers, Moogs, mellotrons... Dybbuk--"Anamorphic Warlord"--all keyboards--layers and layers of them, all playing at warp speed...
        Lefty overhears him and leans over, lowering his voice.
        "Hey Paulie, whyncha give Danny a little break now, with these bands."
        "No, Lefty, it's fine"
        "Sorry Dad, yeah. Sorry Danny."
        Paul clams up. He shoots me a side glance, a little spooked...he's sorry he got us in trouble. I'd been ready to get up but now I can't. I stay put. Paul's alert...silenced...he's biding his time...another countdown. It's embarrassing. "So Paul, uh...What you been doing lately?"
        "The usual. Thanks."
        "Uh huh."
        We sit there a minute quiet.
        "Well I'm gonna bet this race. I'll see you in a bit."
        "See ya Danny."
        I leave him sitting there.


from LASSITUDES OF FIRE by Will Patton...

        I would like to be able to pray. Just like a simple human. Just like simple religion like when I was a boy.
        The name of my book is called Old Man in the Forest. The name of the book is The Lost Hills of Caladon. It opens on a man coming up over a crest, he sees mountains and a little smoky town in a valley. He smiles. There are clues left all through out the book which indicate a genuine treasure map to gold (a secret) which is actually buried in a certain part of the United States of America.


        18th century manuscript. I've got the paper rolls of prophecy and cant find a way to put them back. I've stolen the inner rolls of prophecy accidentally.
       Keld Croc
       Dog Sham
       Han Kittly
       ooof Ahm
       KITE STA

        And now a fleshly arm curves out gallantly, or should I say elegantly, and a nose for a wart with a mole for hair, Krist the steam is boining my inney's Cap'n. And don you forget alla a matter with stew, Boing! Boooingg! Boooooooooooooooing!

        Meanwhile people in flowered shirts argue loudly about traffic incidents and frisk one another. The sun beats down without respite. I feel the loss of a friend. My only companions are now children. I hulk above them like a Martian, getting fatter and fatter. The sun will not stop its incessant shining, nary a cloud in sight. This is the time firing squads are set up against grey walls.
        At the top of the hill we rest. I've been in this afternoon before. I know that animal which is at the edge of the field. Standing still, and with a knowledge of me as well. I had read about this in some heiroglyphics written on a rock in Utah. It had also been intimated at in a letter from some vague acquaintance. Then dogs start barking. I spoke to someone long distance. The music got sadder. I didn't recognize anybody anymore. You know the story.
        And I'm tempted to forget. I'm tempted to forget by a candlelit darkness wherein some sweet beauty reads me dumb stories from thick red quilts, and I just keep stragglin back up the night road like a lazy hound dog forgetting to dedicate all fire to the cold-eyed Lord I owe my life to.
        The earth starts quaking and I wake up. Too numb to care.
        Lord forgive me it appears as if I have fallen into the hands of mine enemies, while I shyly nodded and shuffled, they gained a certain power. No it's not true but I am afraid.

        I live at the foot of Blue Mountain. I love you.
        I saw two dead coyotes.

        And yesterday a moose which could have been mistaken for a crazy misfit cripple donkey.

        The books in my two black book cases, equal me. They=me. The invention of my person is contained in two small black book cases not quite full.

        I feel enormous affection for my bedside clock.

        I'm in Venice, California waiting out death in this dive of a hotel just off the promenade of lost souls.
        Sun's beating through the screen of my balcony as I sit writing in the shadows. Haze covers the rooftops, into the distance, with a poison aura.
        You really can't swim in the ocean anymore, people who do grow fungus in their stomach.

drawing by Will Patton from LASSITUDES OF FIRE

        Many is the black dog running along the side streets of Venice.
        All the people I've ever known walk by beneath my window, walk by as caricatures of themselves. As if a portion of their being had broken off and landed as a distorted ghost walking slowly with no direction and kind of awkwardly, sadly along the alleys of Venice. I recognize my friends but don't know them.

        Can't remember my dreams. There's rain clouds moving in but no rain. I wish I knew someone to write a love letter to. Someone I never had to see.


from CHALDEA and I DIG GIRLS by Nick Tosches...


Louie remembered what the Coptic guy said:
If you bring forth what is within you,
what you bring forth will save you.
If you do not bring forth what is within you,
what you do not bring forth will destroy you.


In what beast's eye or auguring sky
does its--mortality's--direst wrath, reflected, lie?
(Augustus, near dark, asked the seer-boy)
In the eye, clove-brown, of Caesar, for,
having grasped for wife the world, for chattel
all its plenty, he forfeits more to death's
manumission than any other man, or beast,
or fish, or fowl, or crawling thing.
And in the sky, golden-rose, that precedes
dusk in the first harvest-days, for, showing
us paradise, it leads us only to the season
of the dead, and leaves us aching for what,
for us, beneath the gods, can never be.
(the boy said)
(Augustus said)
--but in the eye of the marsh-bird, the crane,
and in the sky of any hour of the nones
of April, which was never anything but bad.
These are facts, not conceits. Look at them and know
that truth is farther than wonder, but before us


Some guys go for the brazeer region,
Some guys, they like the Greek,
Some gents prefer the delta of Venus;
To each man his meat.
Me, I'm sort of a blow-job guy,
I never stick it in below.


       That night, he was all fucked up, his gums were bleeding, he didn't know it. He got blood all over what's-her-name's tit. In the morning, she saw it. Told him how excited it made her, seeing it there, af if he'd bit her open, clawed her. She had him bite her hard then while she jerked off. Harder, she said, harder. Him biting her, sinking his teeth into her, his mouth parched, filled with the metallic taste of his own caked blood, and his tongue swollen, coated with the bilious scum of booze and smoke, and him dying for a drink, sick and shaking, tasting her blood and hearing her like something from hell and something from heaven at once. And she never spoke of it or asked him to do it again. Julie. Yeah. That was around the time of all those J's. Two Julies. Janet. Judy. Sometimes he got confused.
       Yeah. Grecian Formula. They even had that spray-paint shit now for the baldies.


from LOVE POEMS by Rene Ricard with drawings by Robert Hawkins...

drawing by Robert Hawkins from LOVE POEMS

for Hank

And so is my heart a crash pad
A transient hotel or a men's shelter
There when convenient, a form of welfare
Better than the street in winter for
A hot bath, no fleas, a slow
Blow-job with appropriate drugs
"I love you" the token charge?

My husband panhandles
I'm 40 he's just turned 27
Quiet, soft spoken, unanimously
considered elegant, superstitious,
Gentle, affectionate, caressing.
His cock is enormous, uncut, and
Spectacularly formed. Such weight, it still
Curves upward when erect. After IV years
He blows me now--deeply and sensitive to the feeling
I don't believe him when he says I'm the
Only one he sucks off. It's too easy
To make money. Hard to believe
Someone can tell you they love you
w/ conviction, make love undreamed of... and
Then steal, by now 5 typewriters and
Countless watches, when my money runs out
For even an hour. He's so strung out
He can panhandle $10 in an hour--
His approach must be so attractive. And
Convincing. What does he tell them?
"I love you" when he panhandles in my bed.

drawing by Robert Hawkins from LOVE POEMS


from POEMS I GUESS I WROTE by Ron Padgett with drawings by George Schneeman...


Why am I making myself
do and be things that I don't really want to?
Because I have an idea of what I should be doing and/or
I don't have an idea of what I really want to be and/or do.
And/or both. I seem to be very and/or,
with an urge to flex everything until it loses
what I secretly feel to be its false polarity.
E.g., there is such a thing as good and
such a thing as evil, it's just
that they aren't opposites.
Am I a good person? Yes, after
a certain point, and no, after another.
Deep down I'm just down there, a kind of gurgling
black Jell-o that doesn't have any idea
of what's going on up here. Up here
I have on a baseball cap and have
a vague desire to fix the real closet door.

drawing by George Schneeman from POEMS I GUESS I WROTE


Let's change the subject. In the hills an occasional noise
rises--shotgun here, blood-curdling shriek there, hey
nonny nonny, and the voices of children, two boys
lost, weird, homeless, starving, about to be
eaten by a big black bear! O muse avert thine eyes!
(I will look for you.) The bear approaches
on his hind legs, so shaggy they are
and smelly, and waves his forepaws in the air as if
he were erasing the blackboard on which
our fate is written, and the boys have hair
standing up on their heads, and the trees lean back
as far as trees can lean and not fall down, they
hate that hair! And I do too! (Muse, don't look yet.)
But then a man comes through the woods
with comb and scissors--it's barber Tom, come
to give those boys a haircut and the bear one too,
if it wants, and it does, and all three share
in this tonsorial moment of ecstasy, hair
falling softly on the forest floor.


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