Hmmmm. I’m thinking somehow back to DS 1, “It’s the thought they thought / they could do it made Henry wicked & away.” So for me at the moment, it’s the nerve of B. to put this out there in the first place makes me want to just turn around and shrink away. DS 4 (“Filling her compact & delicious body / with chicken paprika,” etc.), one of the oft-anthologized Dream Songs, is considered by somebody, I read somewhere, a masterpiece, not because of the content of the poem so much but because of its context. The fact that the poem exists at all is the genius of it. Probably 93 needs to be regarded through the same lens. Well—meh. Eh. Pfff. Having to write about this one reminds of when I was a kid, probably about 6 years old, and on a Saturday afternoon some kid on our block dropped a worm down the back of another kid’s shirt—the ultimate indignity, understand, nothing was worse—and the victim started screaming and crying and ran off howling. His mother heard the commotion and rushed out, asked me what was going on, I told her, and she went furious and threw the piss-sodden diaper she was holding at me. It came up short, hit the sidewalk, and slid toward me leaving a dark, wet-stained streak across the cement, and lodged under the toe of my shoe. It’s this bizarre, too-vivid snapshot memory I have rattling around in my brain pan, looking down at that ridiculous diaper under my shoe thinking, what just happened here? An adult woman just threw a diaper at me. Why did she throw it at me?
It was actually a bold move for that kid to apply the worm. It wasn’t bullying. We had been talking about it all summer, daring each other, dangling worms over each other’s heads, discussing in great seriousness, then in jokes and exaggerated disgust, what the significance would be to drop a worm down somebody’s back, until the very idea of it swelled into an unthinkable, unspeakable act of nasty-ass courageousness. Mark Stege, the older troublemaker kid across the street, who I was officially never allowed to be seen with, eventually stepped up and accomplished it. Victim and perpetrator both ran off. Yeah, and I was the one who had the diaper thrown at him for it.
This poem is unbelievable. Weak, sick, in the hospital, pathetic, the “beauty id off duty” (clever enough and ridiculous enough line), thinking back to stronger days and a woman with whom he had had a day’s worth of sex, then followed her to where she worked, ending with that image of her “white rear bare in the air.” It’s so absurd it makes me laugh at how uncomfortable it makes me, but yeah, he wrote it. It’s either an act of nasty-ass courageousness, or he just doesn’t give a rat’s.
Somebody please just throw a diaper at me and get it over with.