Document 126842

B O R N I N T H E Y E A R O F T H E B U T T E R F LY K N I F E
B O R N I N T H E YEAR OF THE BUTTERFLY KNIFE
DERRICK C. BROWN
Write Bloody Publishing y2006
SPECIAL THANKS FOR HELPING THIS BOOK COME TOGETHER:
Thom Meredith
Claude Le Monde
Jeff McDaniel
Joel Chmara
Buddy Wakefield
Blaine Fontana
Leigh White
Paul Suntup
Matt Carver
Tank Farm
Carolin Matzko
Aimee Bender
Marc Smith
Taylor Mali
Eitan Kadosh
Mike McGee
Tim Ellis
Krystal Ashe
Tatiana Simonian
Buddy Wakefield
Amarillo
Amanda Valentine
Matt Maust
Open Bookstore
Stephen Latty
A U TH O R ’ S N OTE
BORN IN THE YEAR OF THE BUTTERFLY KNIFE
Here it is. Twelve years of writing. Ten years of reading and touring. Opera Houses,
theaters, churches, coffee shops, restaurants, garages and bars, all over the world, all
breathed out from these books. These poems were selected by myself, so I wouldn’t have
to reprint the old texts, since many of the past publishers are out of business. Poetr y is
a tough racket, the bastard child of the arts. But I am so thankful for diving into this
art form. The life I have seen because of it has been raw and remarkable. The people I
owe are endless. Fistfights in coffee shops, seeing your poems tattooed on people, cr ying
with old men after a reading, people sharing their inspiration over absinthe or beer, all
this is the impetus that keeps me going. It certainly isn’t the cash or helicopter booty.
After re-reading many of these texts I find that many themes keep occurring: dogs, God,
riots, knives, blood, death and women. Great. I hope you enjoy the new work; feel free
to ignore my commentar y and forgive me if I’ve ever screwed you over. I’m tr ying to do
better. Please read this book in public.
Enjoy the dusk.
D.
SELECTIONS TAKEN FROM THESE BOOKS:
“Born In The Year Of The Butterfly Knife” 2004 Write Bloody Publishing
“Unapologetics” (Prose) (Out of print)
“I’m Easier Said Than Done” 2003 (Out of print)
“If Lovin’ You Is Wrong, Then I Don’t Want To Be Wrong” 2001 Moodorgandistro
“Junebug Melatonin” 2000 KAPOW Books
“The Joy Motel” 1998 (Out of print)
“Hostile Pentecostal” (Pre-released as “Upside Brown”) 1995 (Hopefully out of print)
Born In The Year Of The Butterfly Knife Copyright 2004. All Rights Reser ved.
Published by Write Bloody Publishing. Printed in Tennessee, USA. No part of
this book may be used or performed without written consent from the author,
if living, except for critical articles or reviews.
FOR INFO, [email protected]
BOOK LAYOUT AND FRONT COVER - MAUST
BACK COVER PHOTOGRAPH - M. WIGNALL
PAINTINGS - BLAINE FONTANA (MIXED MEDIA ON PLYWOOD) - TOTEMBOOKMEDIA.COM
ILLUSTRATIONS - MATT CARVER (INK AND MOUNTAIN DEW ON NOTEBOOK PAPER) - [email protected]
HIRE THEM.
I could never give you all the daylight you wanted
but here’s some of the dusk you need.
— Derrick C. Brown
The massive acceptance and love you
poured upon this weirdo saved me,
For Nancy Counts
B O R N I N T H E YEAR OF THE BUTTERFLY KNIFE
T H E K U R O S A W A C H A M P A G N E 11
T H E C H I N E S E E L E VAT O R 14
P U N I S H C H I L D R E N 17
W A LT Z I N G T H E H U R R I C A N E 18
T H E S I L E N T FA L L O F N E W Y O R K C I T Y 20
T H E D A W N O F W E I R D 21
W I T H T H E G U I D A N C E O F D O L P H I N S 25
H O W T O F E E L 26
T O T H E L I G H T N I N G T E A C H E R S 28
B L O O D T E S T 31
H O T F O R S O R R O W 32
A R M S T R O N G 34
M E D U S A O B L O N G ATA 36
C O M E A L I V E 38
T H E L A B R A D O R I S P O S E D I N T H E F R E E Z E R 42
S G T. P E D E R S O N W O U L D L I K E A W O R D W I T H Y O U 49
H O W T O L E A V E T H E O Z A R K S 56
Y O U , M Y D E A R , A R E A V E R Y S P E C I A L S TA R F I S H 64
T H E R O YA L D O G S O F T E X A S 68
T H E W E A P O N S F O R M E D A G A I N S T M E D I D P R O S P E R 75
N I N E T H O U S A N D , O N E H U N D R E D L I G H T Y E A R S A W AY 80
C O M P L E T I N G A D U M B P U Z Z L E 87
A Q U A N A U T 88
B L O W T O R C H S O N ATA 91
P L E A S E D T O M E E T Y O U Y E L L O W, M Y N A M E I S B L U E 92
C A R O L I N A 94
C H E R R Y 97
W H Y A M E L I A E A R H E A R T W A N T E D T O VA N I S H 102
1 2 : 5 5 106
T H E D E C L A R AT I O N O F I N T E R D E P E N D E N C E 108
1 2 : 5 5 I N T O T H E C O M P U T E R 111
A N G E L S T H AT L E A K 113
A L I C I A’ S S C I E N C E V O L U N T E E R 114
S E V E N Y E A R S T O D I G E S T G U M 115
A F E W T H I N G S Y O U P R O B A B LY A L R E A D Y K N E W A B O U T E M U S 119
J O I N T H E A I R B O R N E 126
THE FIRST TIME YOU HUGGED ME IT WAS WITH YOUR LEFT ARM
129
T O M B 131
A F I N G E R , T W O D O T S , T H E N M E 132
HOW TO KISS THE BOYS AND THE GIRLS: FRENCH AND PROPER! 137
W H AT I L E A R N E D I N C H U R C H 138
M I S S L A K E M I C H I G A N 139
C U R S I N G J E F F B U C K L E Y 142
S P A R K L E R 144
PUSSYCAT INTERSTELLAR NAKED HOTROD MOFO LADYBUG LUSTBLASTER! 1 4 5
Q U A R T E R S L O T R O C K 148
T R I G G E R A N D H A P P Y B E L O N G T O G E T H E R 150
U N S E N T 151
V E N T O M 153
T H E W R I N K L E S U N D E R L I P S T I C K 157
A S H O R T S O N G 159
T H E A B S E N C E A N T H O L O G Y 162
C H E A P R E N T 165
L A S T N I G H T I N P A R I S 169
A K I C K I N T H E C H E S T 172
M I L L I O N D O L L A R B U M 175
B O R D E R S T E A LT H 178
C A P TA I N C R E A M S 180
T H E R I S E A N D FA L L O F J U L I U S W A L K E R 182
H O U S T O N I N T E R N AT I O N A L 189
S U G A R F R E E N AT I V I T Y 191
“ Y O U C A N F E E L N E E D E D I N A C A S I N O W I T H O N LY A
H U N D R E D - P O U N D B A G O F S O D I U M - F R E E P R E T Z E L S ” 193
A M A Z I N G J I M N U M B E R N I N E A N D S E V E N 197
T H I R T E E N P I E C E S O F E L E C T R I C A L TA P E 200
BORN IN THE YEAR OF THE BUTTERFLY KNIFE
THE KUROSAWA CHAMPAGNE
This poem was built after watching Kurosawa’s Dreams and The Lady from Shanghai
by Orson Welles. It is infused with a time I watched a lover have a nightmare and did
not wake her.
THE K U R O S AWA C H A M PA G N E M A Q U E T.
Tonight
your body shook,
hurling your nightmares
back to Cambodia.
11
Your nightgown wisped off
into Ursula Minor.
I was left here on earth feeling alone,
paranoid about the Rapture.
Tonight
I think it is safe to say we drank too much.
Must I apologize for the volume in my slobber?
Must I apologize for the best dance moves ever?
No.
Booze is my tuition to clown college.
I swung at your purse.
It was staring at me.
We swer ved home on black laughter.
bleeding from forgettable boxing.
I asked you to sleep in the shape of a trench
so that I might know shelter.
I drew the word surrender in the mist of your breath,
waving a white sheet around your body.
‘Dear, in the morning let me put on your make-up for you.
I’ll be loading your gems with mascara
then I’ll tell you the truth…’
I watched black ropes and tears ramble down your face.
Lady war paint.
A squad of tiny men rappels down those snaking lines
and you say;
“Thank you for releasing all those fuckers from my life.”
You have a daily pill case.
There are no pills inside.
It holds the ashes of people who died
…the moment they saw you.
12
The cinema we built was to play the greats
but we could never afford the power
so in the dark cinema
you painted pictures of Kurosawa.
I just stared at you like Orson Welles,
getting fat off your style.
You are a movie that keeps exploding.
You are Dante’s fireplace.
We were so broke,
I’d pour tap water into your mouth,
burp against your lips
so you could have champagne.
You love champagne.
Sparring in all candlelight.
Listen—
the mathematical equivalent of a woman’s beauty
is directly relational
to the amount or degree
other women hate her.
You, dear, are hated.
Your boots are a soundtrack to adulter y.
Thank God your feet fall in the rhythm of loyalty.
If this kills me,
slice me julienne
uncurl my veins
and fashion yourself a noose
so I can hold you
once more.
13
THE CHINESE ELEVATOR
Sometimes you can feel them in love somewhere else in the city and it is like having a
phantom limb.
He is staring at a bottle of pills big as a lamp.
Brighter.
He sighs a noise that comes in the sounds of ripped silks.
He loves the steady drums of her headboard
played by a stranger.
It is the tempo and timbre of men
slicing the earth with shovels.
He loves knowing that she can’t last a season
without a new salesman knocking at her heart
through her uterus.
His record player has lar yngitis.
The telephone’s tongue has been cut out.
He had linked his heartbeat with hers.
Now apart, when her blood races
so does his.
At least he finally removed the saddle
from his head.
Someone fair had straddled his skull,
rode his dreams into the ground.
He lies still in bed with his pulse, now rising
touching his fingers to the sound.
A mouth opens ner vously and dr y
like young prom legs.
14
‘I still want you.’
…but the woman is far and pregnant
with blood.
The blood is due.
He removes his medical bracelet. It reads:
‘I left my lust in someone’s veins.
She bleeds Valentines once a month.’
She was born with backwards guts.
Waltzing was miserable.
Always spinning. Leading with her spine.
Keeping her heart behind her.
He is a Little Boy who has fallen
over some Nagasaki.
Lovers are on stage at the comedy club.
He is a heckler who can only sob into a bullhorn.
Love is a bullet that crawls on all fours
He stumbles in the night to the poetr y of whores.
Exhausted, dirty and loose.
Piss of a fighter.
Shit as a lover.
The box he checks is other.
He has the handwriting of his Mother.
The vanishing act of his Father.
‘We bur y this now’
is muttered
as she unrobes
for a shiny new lover.
15
Across town he sits up in bed
says.
‘You bring the dirt,
I’ll bring the shovels.
You warn the heavens.
I’ll tell the others.’
He had grown tired of pressing his head
to his lover’s chest
only to hear the sound of
children gasping.
It was her favorite love song.
in harmony with the creaking of dark robots inside her.
Our bed squeaked out a bad musical.
He subscribes to the newspaper,
looks for the black stilts of her name
in the obituaries.
Hangs his countenance on the wall,
crawls into bed
with a handful of pills to cancel ever ything.
He simply rode the Chinese elevator.
Pushed the wrong button.
Someone went all the way down.
16
PUNISH CHILDREN
If I ever have a kid, they’ll probably be a spaz to pay me back for my brazenness.
Who will curl forth honesty
and say that they would like to send their child back
to that sudden baby cave?
I fear having a boy
foreseeing the day I will stare into his skin
and have to say:
“You might unravel, son.
Do not tr y to prepare for this.
Know that I don’t know shit. No one does.”
I fear having a girl the most,
who will ask me what it’s like to die
and I will have to reply:
“Lose your virginity
and fall asleep in pain.
Be better than me.”
If that small, hairless, voteless tyrant says:
“Stop talking like you’re tr ying, Pop.
What is it really like to die?
Speak plain.”
I will say:
“Love writing with all your heart.
Then have kids
and write no more,
you wretched, screeching Leprechaun.”
She has that laugh ‘cause she has my sense of humor.
How strange that the woman you always wanted to meet
came out of your own body.
How egotistical and pure.
My past rushes through her like a river after winter.
I hope she fails histor y.
17