dorian gray is gay (and edward larson betrayed us all)

dorian gray as portrayed by hurd hatfield in the 1945 movie

dorian gray as portrayed by hurd hatfield in the 1945 movie

I’m re-reading The Picture of Dorian Gray, which I do every so often. In a scant few pages are packed philosophy and idolatry, a cautionary tale, a revelation of adoration, an abundance of clever wordplay, all wrapped up in gorgeous prose.

The book also was infamously used as evidence against Oscar Wilde during his trials. Using books as legal stichomancy is disreputable; but if certain passages were selected to condemn him, others can be pulled to defend him, and perhaps all artists.

In the story, Basil Hallward tells Lord Henry Wotton that he doesn’t want to show his painting of Dorian Gray at an exhibition because he’s put too much of himself into it. Basil says he has unintentionally revealed his artistic and personal worshipful admiration of Dorian, things he especially doesn’t want Dorian to know. If others were to see it, “…the world might guess it; and I will not bare my soul to their shallow, prying eyes. My heart shall never be put under their microscope.”

Basil goes on to say that artists should put nothing of their own lives into their work, and that art should not be treated as a form of autobiography. But of course we all do to some extent. Wilde did, too.

In order to create something beautiful and meaningful, revelations will occur. Some things can be cleverly concealed with a bit of creative manipulation, but artists will uncover parts of themselves, it’s inevitable. And, it’s intentional. Artists want to generate stories as experienced through their personal lenses. They create the path, and we navigate using our own perception. Neither has complete control of the exchange, and that’s what makes art beautiful, and imperative to human experience.

Those who hold nothing back willingly subject themselves to scrutiny, but the audience has the responsibility to scrutinize with the expectation of no absolutes, and refrain from censorship and misapplications. Without the synergetic relationship between art and audience, there can be no meaningful exchange.

As for those who try to use art against the artist, against others, and for dogmatic gain, they reveal an ugly image not of the artist, but of themselves. An idiot extracts what they please to uphold their own beliefs; a philosopher takes the opportunity to question beliefs. Why pander to ignorance, even to save judgement? At times, there may be little solace in knowing your own heart and head, but there is great dignity. In the end, that is what Wilde exemplified, and it has made him a champion as well as an artist.

prurient poppers: poetic prose

john clare, painted by william hilton in 1820

john clare, painted by william hilton 1820

Poet John Clare (1793-1864) was committed to asylums for the last 24 years of his life, diagnosed with insanity caused by an addiction to poetical prosing. So naturally, I’m quite fond of him.

He was definitely depressed, with no money, six or seven kids to feed, and a powerful thirst. He also claimed he was Shakespeare and Lord Byron, so the diagnosis perhaps wasn’t incorrect, but the suggested cause is ridiculous. He wasn’t thought to be much in his own time, but later (because of course it’s always later), when his original work was restored to him, he became considered an important poet of the 19th century.

He’s one of those nature-loving romantics and big on rhyme, though he gets extra points for using odd, archaic, dialectic words, like rhyming lost with tost. I don’t even know what context he’s using, because he “lives with shadows tost” could simply be tossed, or the Gaelic word for silent, or a sort of Latin-y, French-y mash-up meaning early or soon, or the Polish definition, toast. Tossed shadows, silent shadows, early shadows, shadows of toast. It’s probably not that last one, though I’d like to think so.

He reminds me of an ersatz Thomas Hardian Jude, a poor, moderately literate romantic who dared to reach for things considered outside his wheelhouse. In fact, his work was edited, dumbed down to appeal to the ladies who lunch crowd, who had adopted him as their pet. His “slang,” saucy expressions and political statements were considered more than could be accepted from a common poet. Was, in fact, what made him common. He was allowed to have humble origins, that’s partly why he was such a charming little bauble pass around. He wasn’t allowed to express his experiences, because that’s not charming, it’s untidy. This censorship could be what kept him from receiving the recognition he was due in his own time, and is perhaps what pushed him over the edge. Unable to publicly reveal himself in his writing, he began to babble out loud, and sealed his fate by spewing things such as, “Why, they have cut off my head and picked out all the letters in the alphabet. All the vowels and all the consonants, and brought them out through my ears!” Madness? Sounds like poetry to me.

Prose is communication, poetry is art.

I came across that opinion quite a while ago, and have been pondering it off and on ever since. I think it’s a load of tost. Once again, someone tries to banish prose to the realm of conventional transmission, negating any attempt to experiment with sentences as a means of something more than directing the way down a straightforward path from point A to point B. Circuitous routes – that’s something we’re not supposed to attempt. Remain staid, remain undemanding, remain obscure. “Why, they have cut off my head and picked out all the letters in the alphabet. All the vowels and all the consonants, and brought them out through my ears!” Poetical prosing. It’s dangerous stuff, it’ll drive you insane.

Personally, I enjoy a little insanity.

“a way a lone a last a loved a long the riverrun, past Eve and Adam’s, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs.” What a fantastic playground that creates!

“imagination is not to avoid reality, nor is it a description nor an evocation of objects or situations, it is to say that poetry does not tamper with the world but moves it—It affirms reality most powerfully and therefore, since reality needs no personal support but exists free from human action, as proven by science in the indestructibility of matter and of force, it creates a new object, a play, a dance which is not a mirror up to nature but—.” But what? But what, but what, but what? Go ahead, finish that sentence in any way you choose—the author left it up to you.

“I can feel the heat closing in, feel them out there making their moves, setting up their devil doll stool pigeons, crooning over my spoon and dropper I throw away at Washington Square Station, vault a turnstile and two flights down the iron stairs, catch an uptown A train…” Well that’s candidly evocative, yes?

“Morning. Frozen rime lusters the grass; the sun, round as an orange and orange as hot-weather moons, balances on the horizon, burnishes the silvered winter woods.” That’s lovely, that is.

If this demonstrates an addiction to poetical prosing, I willingly commit myself.

Quotation 1 from “Finnegans Wake” by James Joyce Quotation 2 from “Spring And All” by William Carlos Williams Quotation 3 from “Naked Lunch” by William S. Burroughs Quotation 4 from “Winter Woods” by Truman Capote

i sing the body electric

Whitman-leavesofgrassI recently watched a wonderful biography of Walt Whitman (American Masters). I knew beforehand about the significance of his lifelong work, Leaves of Grass, but I didn’t know anything about Whitman outside of what he presented through his poetry. He is the inspirational icon we all need, and this is why.

He came from a lower middleclass background, with little to inspire hope for something more. His father had big dreams, but became more and more bitter and unbalanced as he continually failed to fulfil them. He wasn’t a good example of perseverance and grace in the face of setbacks. But it didn’t discourage Walt. He maintained his own visions of success, incredibly lofty ones.

As a young man, he marched into the middle of New York with the idea of changing the world through his poetry. What? Really? Who the hell thinks they have the ability, much less the opportunity, to change the world through verse? Walt did. And though it took a lot longer than he had hoped, he did end up making a huge impact. Perhaps not world-changing, but certainly inspiring and thought provoking and incredibly forward thinking.

His first edition of Leaves of Grass was a small collection of poems, self published, with an irreverent full body sketch of Whitman in plain clothes and an almost cocky stance as the first visual. It was a “here I am” presentation that went directly opposite of the usual portraits of poets in their best clothes, and looking dignified in a cameo sort of way. It was a proper warning for what the reader could expect.

His poems gave the same full exposure to the workings of the human animal, mind, body, and spirit. There especially was a great focus on the body, the beauty of its functions, and how cleverly bodies fit together to precisely express what it is to be emotional, sensual, physical. And he didn’t hold back on claiming the same sensations, the same achievements of physical fulfilment between a man and a man. Whoa. In 1855, that took some great big balls. But if anyone was packing, it was the poet of the people, Walt Whitman.

The sheer force of the sensual experiences that he put forth – sensual in every possible connotation – brought tears to my eyes. Because how does a person live so boldly, so all-embracing, so fully engaged with the world? It would tear me apart to attempt such a thing. But his full-on embrace was the driving force behind his belief that he could be the Great American Poet, that he could put an end to the ills of mankind, including slavery, through his words. That he could so beautifully express love in all its varieties, and the sensuality of the grass beneath our feet, and the sky above our heads, and how fortunate we are to be surrounded by innumerable opportunities to engage our senses.

If that isn’t the world-changing model of how we should grab on and experience life – not just as observers, but as wholly committed participants… why finish that thought? It unequivocally is.

talking about stories for boys: vienna to prague, 1926

trainIt may seem odd, but part of my inspiration for Vienna to Prague, 1926 is the writing of P.G. Wodehouse. I’ve talked about Wodehouse before. He’s one of my very favorite authors, certainly in my top 10. How this man can turn a phrase! It’s sublime. He writes about the silliest of silly upper crust Englishmen (and women) of the 20s and 30s, and that’s where I grab hold.

Roland is such a guy, though he’s showing his darker side in this story. This isn’t the happy-go-lucky oblivion of a Wodehouse character, this is the underbelly – the sex, drugs and jazz that doesn’t surface in Wodehouse’s work. Truth be told, it’s the language of Wodehouse I’m paying tribute to – not with finesse or elegance, merely with a few nods to his phraseology.

I see Roland as one of those ultra privileged, old money lads who hasn’t a clue – or a care – about others. He’s young, beautiful, his family is powerful, his knowledge of the world rather sheltered and confined to prep schools, universities that act more as boy’s clubs, and parties, parties, parties. He meets Henry Robert Jenkins on a train, and his first inclination is contempt.

Henry is middle class, married with two kids, and very closeted. The encounter with Roland is a bit of a mindblower, upending his world. The question is, will he ultimately benefit from this brief but provocative encounter?

I love stories set in the 20s and 30s, but always in the back of my mind are questions about the realities of life at that time. Gay men were in danger – legal, scandalous, ruinous danger. But there were also friendships, clubs, and loving and successful relationships going on behind closed doors. So which one will have a shot at true love when all is said and done?

Oh, no no! I don’t tell you. It’s more fun if you decide.

stories for boys anthology out this friday!

stories for boysMy short story collection, Stories for Boys, is available Friday, April 19.

Looks campy, doesn’t it? I had in mind a campfire theme and while this ended up a few yards away from what I had envisioned, I’m happy with the release and hope everyone has s’more. Yeah, I went there!

Now, I know I had said earlier that I was going to talk about these stories on this blog leading up to the release, and I lied. But I have every intention of doing so (ad nauseam, most likely), and I’ll begin with a little blurb about each.

Jude the Unsure

A nod to Thomas Hardy’s novel, Jude the Obscure, with step-brothers as the two who are grappling with the complexities and consequences of an illicit relationship. Jude suffers much the same affliction as Thomas Hardy’s character – erotolepsy brought on by an obsession for his younger stepbrother. Lexi’s love sustains Jude, even as he risks compromising his own wellbeing.

Vienna to Prague, 1926

The story of two very different men, one of privilege, one of modest means, whose worlds collide in a chance meeting on a train. In 1926, men’s desires aren’t often openly shared, but Roland has an advantage over Henry Robert Jenkins, and he uses it to entertain himself on the long journey. It’s a deliberate misunderstanding between the classes as Roland finds amusement in sending Henry into a tailspin. Perhaps it’s contempt for Henry’s lifestyle that leaves him cold; a reminder that, despite his privilege, he too occupies a hidden world.

Twist It

One young man’s obsession over what he cannot have is intertwined with another young man’s obsessive efforts to keep what he possesses. Derik recalls a night of passion spent with the object of his desire, even as he struggles to find his way out of the wish to twist fate in his own favor.

Redemption for Sale Part I

Kurt is captivated with a rent boy, but he can’t admit it. James is just doing his job, but Kurt, who is used to having his way with his sex partners, doesn’t want to be just another trick. When he finds he can’t break through James’s carefully structured façade, he decides to break in, determined to leave his mark on James.

Redemption for Sale Part II

It is James who has left a mark on Kurt. After several weeks of denial, Kurt seeks James again to attempt another breakdown of the boy’s barriers. But when he realizes he truly has broken through James enough to reveal his vulnerabilities, he changes his motivations and works to tear down his own façade.

Floating

A quickie all about sensation in the dark.

Undone

A young man works to preserve his undead boyfriend. The macabre task is breaking down his sanity; the lines are blurred between what is real, what is right, and what has come undone. But he refuses to let go.

Stolen Life

A little work of poetic prose full of Easter eggs. Hidden inside is the story of poet Paul Verlain’s love for Arthur Rimbaud. It takes the reader through their tumultuous relationship via Rimbaud’s poem, “Vowels”. Several months ago, I posted this one on my site as a freebie.

About Last Night…

The musings of a young man who wakes beside his sleeping friend after they’ve shared a sexual encounter the night before. As Robert relives the evening in his mind, he worries about Hamil’s reaction upon waking. Can they both face the truth?

Revolving Door

The story of a man still attached to his former lover through a bond of secrecy, addiction and trust. They’re addicted to one another; Matt wants to break the bonds, Leo works to keep him entrapped. This is Matt’s first person account of his latest encounter with Leo: his longing for strength to resist him, his giving over, and the battle within as they play this longstanding game of wills.

book recommendation: beverley nichols’ home & garden series

down the garden pathYou might be wondering why I would recommend a series of gentle home and garden books recounting an English gentleman’s town and country lifestyle. Beginning in the 1930s and moving onward at a slow pace, at first glance, Beverley Nichols’ books might not seem to have much to offer modern day readers.

The setting and pace of the books might be gentle, but the author is far from gentile when recounting his experiences with nosy neighbours, female gardeners, and lazy servants. And yet, he remains likeable. Much of that is due to his humour, and he also wins points for relating several useful tips, such as the best methods for transporting and arranging flowers, and how to find out if your neighbour has cheated and bought plants in pots rather than growing them from seed.

Nichols is one of those lovable aristocratic types. He often doesn’t even seem to realize when he’s being a dick, or is gleeful in his calculated dickish behaviour. He also has that talent of the clever and privileged for talking openly about his personal life while neither hiding nor revealing the details. It’s not difficult to figure out that he slept with more than one of his frequent male houseguests, for instance. From what I gather, Nichols was quite the wild one, with a penchant for rough trade; easily believable from what we see of his rakish personality.

I haven’t yet read his entire home and garden series (there are 11 in all), and I think I’ve lost the correct order, but I haven’t found that it matters a whole lot. The books stand well on their own. Nichols was prolific, authoring several other books, novels, and plays. He must’ve been fun to hang out with, and he had several well-known friends and enemies. Bratty, intelligent, and very human, his narrative books make for good bedtime reading – stuff that lulls you to sleep with a few laughs, and visions of thatched roof cottages and winter flowers dancing in your head.

rainbow book reviews blog hop topic: what does writing glbtq literature mean to me

Time to hop to it with Rainbow Book Reviews Blog Hop, August 24-26! I’m looking forward to meeting so many talented people.

From reading everyone else’s blogs, looks like I did the prize thing wrong – typical of me. So include in your comment the name of the first fictional character you fell in love with and I will give away a copy of my ebook short, Revolving Door at random.

Also, I’m having a love/hate relationship with Blogger – mostly hate, because it doesn’t want to take all of my comments. Frustrating, since I’m reading and enjoying all of your blogs. When I get back to a decent connection on Tuesday, I’ll revisit some of the blogs I’ve been having trouble with.

What does writing GLBTQ literature mean to me?

There are many reasons why I’ve chosen to write literature featuring gay characters, from the prurient to the purposeful. Intellectually or aesthetically, what’s not to like about two (or more) beautiful men being beautiful together?

Everything I do is an opportunity to play, and invite others to play along. I first began writing stories involving gay characters to entertain my friends. They weren’t finding the scenarios they wanted to read, so I took their requests and wrote what I call “one offs” – short stories around those themes. I found that I liked it, and was rather good at it. From there I took off on my own, creating characters who are gay, bisexual, and who transcend gender, and providing worlds within worlds to give them the freedom to tell me their stories. Often it does seem like that – my characters guide me and I follow along, capturing their words and actions.

I’ve been fortunate to be part of several communities in which people are open and encouraged to be themselves in whatever respect. I am in great favor of breaking barriers and coloring outside of the lines, and I love people who never hesitate to be who they are and do exactly as they want and need for themselves. I find it inspirational and energizing. The personal freedom in turn opens creative freedom. I am unlimited in what I choose to explore in my writing, and how I choose to express myself.

I write stories with the purpose of entertaining, of course, but also to support and cheer people on to reveal those wonderful, inspirational sides of themselves that I so admire. Hardship and pain involving sexual identity is not my subject. I cannot assume to imagine, much less write about, those very visceral stories and so I leave that to those who can rightfully and artfully express them. For me, it’s about taking subjects and inspirations I respond to, and creating stories around those. My pieces are odes to authors, to literature and art and music I admire, to commonly held metaphors and belief systems – things that I love, things that fascinate me, and that we as a culture experience collectively and as individuals.

Right now I’m working on a five book series that I’ve fashioned as a metaphysical adventure. Vampires and werewolves and things of that nature are fun and have their place, but I wanted to develop a series around the metaphysics of the natural world – things that seem fantastical, but are in fact knowable and relatable and subject to mastery in the hands of those who are attuned to their nature. It’s meant to be empowering and inspirational as well as just a fucking good time, playing around with the unexplored and uncovering unique secrets and powers. A metaphor, if you will, for the powerful nature and unique experiences of gay men. They’re very sensual stories, I’m looking forward to sharing them.

I also have the loftier personal mission of blurring the lines between genres. I don’t like labels. Gay lit, romance, fantasy, classic lit – I know I’ve been put off by some of these labels, and I also know I’ve missed out on some really wonderful stories because of it. These are unintentional limitations to the power of the written word to reach across boundaries and invite people to discover new spheres, different ways of thinking, and to gain new passions. I don’t consider what I write to be exclusionary to anyone, and I want to encourage people who haven’t explored so-called gay lit titles to delve in and experience life through my characters.

wrap your gums around me plums

I’m a drinker with a writing problem – Brendan Behan

Writers and their drinks. We’re all a bunch of raging alcoholics, it would seem. There are several articles available online that list authors with their drinks of choice: Dorothy Parker drank whiskey sours, Oscar Wilde enjoyed absinthe.

So closely associated is drinking with writing that there should be a ‘match the writer with their drink’ game – perhaps there already is, I wouldn’t doubt it. Many are very easily mated. Of course William S. Burroughs drank vodka and Coke – what else could it be? Dylan Thomas drank whiskey, William Faulkner loved mint juleps. But Ernest Hemingway and mojitos? I suppose that makes a certain amount of sense, though it’s not my immediate association. Apparently he also was fond of daiquiris. He hits me as more of a scotch and soda type.

When I think of a particular story of mine, I immediately recall the scent memory of cherry brandy. I can smell it as keenly as if I had a glass in my hand. Cherry brandy, summer nights, IAMX: the sustenance of my storytelling. Hey, we all have our muses.

Now I’m drinking jasmine tea, and let me tell you, it’s not doing a lot for the creative process. There’s a fine balance, of course. I walk the line to achieving a pleasant inner warmth between the extremes of green tea and too much wine – my usual tipple. But it’s hot out and wine is just not the thing in hot weather. Cherry brandy, though lovely, is taken, married to a previous tale. Perhaps plum brandy would be the thing. Let’s give it a try, shall we?

book recommendation: death in venice

It takes few words to achieve greatness. There are two novella-length books that are so grand in content, the resulting response consists of volumes and volumes of discussion and contemplation. Dostoyevsky’s Notes from Underground is one; Thomas Mann’s Death in Venice is the other.

Death in Venice is written in beautiful prose – I wish I could read it in the original German to fully appreciate the subtleties, but from what I’ve heard, the English translation by Clayton Koelb most closely follows the style and intentions of Mann. It’s the edition I have, and I’m very happy with it. There are also lots of useful footnotes that help to clarify the significance of the setting, the time period, etc.

Now, before I potentially scare anyone off with words like ‘footnotes’, I want to reiterate that this is a shorty – 63 pages, is all. The rest of the book contains discussions, and explanatory texts and maps. They aren’t necessary to the story, but if your interest is piqued – and I’m willing to bet it on it – they offer some interesting insights.

This is the story of Gustav von Aschenbach, a writer who has strained his literary muscles and is in need of a break. He goes to Venice to stay at a “resort” hotel for a period of time. The date we’re given is 19__, but the book was published in 1912 and contains some historical facts from 1911, so it’s no big secret as to when it takes place. Gustav is 50ish, and feeling unwell. He spends a lot of time sitting in the hotel common rooms and on the beach, people watching. He becomes fascinated with a 13-14 year old boy, who is staying at the hotel with his family.

Tadizo is a beautiful boy, so perfect that Gustav likens him to Narcissus. He seems to live for his next glimpse of Tadizo, and even admits to himself that he’s in love with him. Many critics and readers have labeled this as pedophilia. Gustav never acts on his adoration, but some find his attraction unsettling. I say: not so fast.

I am giving my interpretation here, it may not match with some critics and scholars, but I think to slap Gustav with the Scarlet P is too quick a reaction. There’s much more intricacy to his attraction. The comparison with Narcissus is just one of the references to Greek myth and gods made throughout the book. In my opinion, what he’s experiencing is mythological in its remote and beautiful, unattainable nature. He’s not truly expecting to possess Tadizo, nor do I think he wants to.

There are some things so beautiful, so revered, that they’re impossible to possess without ruination. We’re a tactile lot, we see something pretty or interesting and our immediate impulse is to put our hands all over it. But what we’re driven to do and what we’d really act on, given the chance, are two different things.

When I saw my first Van Gogh up close and personal, after I (nearly) pissed myself, I wanted to get as close as I possibly could to study it. The knife slaps of thick paint are evident even in photographs; in person, they stand out in relief, very nearly like all those beautiful marble and stone Greek gods chiseled into temple walls. Tactile. Now, I did set off the alarm, but that’s because I leaned too far over the acceptable barrier. Yes, I went too far; but never, never would I touch it. I couldn’t live with the guilt and shame of putting my stain on even one little peak, and ruining an imperceptible and nearly unmeasurable speck of paint. But it would be there, a blot on his work, and if everyone succumbed to this impulse, soon it would be ruined.

People are like that as well. Say the wrong thing to a child, intentional or not, and we mark them for the rest of their lives. Force them into certain directions and mindsets, touch them in ways no living creature should be touched, and we could break them irreparably. I think Gustav is aware of this. Tadizo is a work of art, something to be admired, worshiped, dreamed about, but never touched.

There’s also the conditions Gustav finds himself in. He’s an older man – physically and mentally much older than a man of 50 is now – and unwell. There’s a cholera epidemic in Venice, people are dying. He feels his mortality. Tadizo is youth and beauty and fresh potential – everything Gustav has lost and is gradually losing permanently, even as memories. Tadizo is a god, a mythological creature. Gustav’s love for him is a brief escape from reality, his lifeline.

Death in Venice is beautiful in every sense of the word. There’s nothing shameful here, nothing unsavory happening. It’s primal nature and survival and mythos and the drive to attain the unattainable. Take it into your hands and enjoy the experience.

my bohemian fantasy

I’ve been trying to write a review of Graham Robb’s biography of Arthur Rimbaud for my Goodreads page, and all I can come up with is “When I regress, I want to be Rimbaud.”

I am fascinated with the artistic mind. There’s an ongoing debate about whether insanity breeds genius or vice versa, but it’s clear that minds which produce remarkable art don’t fire on the same synapses as most. I think one has to see the world at a slight tilt to uncover the potential of what could be in what is. It’s what causes the “artistic temperament”  – the moods, the inclination to enjoy things that even further skew perception, the disregard for anything that interrupts focus, including practical matters of paying bills and observing social niceties.

A certain dedicated motivation is required to create on that level. We assume they’re being difficult or are just plain crazy, when I think the truth is not so simply measured. Rimbaud is known as the enfant terrible of the decadents, and he became the go-to icon of those who only dream of such ballsy indifference (backed by the credibility of incredible gifts, of course). It all seems very romantic and attractive. It is very romantic and attractive, looking at it from this side, but I have no idea of what it was like to be in his head. Seems to me he lived a relentless life from beginning to end, a sort of hard-won freedom.

I guess the question is whether the legend is worth the difficulty in getting there. He certainly knew nothing of his upcoming immortality when he was slumming it around the streets of Paris, and ultimately dying in pain and delirium. I really doubt he would’ve cared. But if he had to trade in his brief fling with poetic genius for an easier road? No fucking way. He did what he did not as pretense or precursor to fame, but because he could. Experience is what he was after, in his writing and in the way he lived his life.

So maybe I should change that first line to “When I truly want to be Rimbaud, I will progress.”

Ma Bohème (Fantaisie)

I ran away, hands stuck in pockets that seemed
All holes; my jacket was a holey ghost as well.
I followed you, Muse! Beneath your spell,
Oh, la, la, what glorious loves I dreamed!

I tore my shirt; I threw away my tie.
Dreamy Hop o’ my Thumb, I made rhymes
As I ran. I slept out most of the time.
The stars above me rustled through the sky.

I heard them on the roadsides where I stopped
Those fine September nights, when the dew dropped
On my face and I licked it to get drunk.

I made up rhymes in dark and scary places,
And like a lyre I plucked the tired laces
Of my worn-out shoes, one foot beneath my heart.