SCOWL, poetry by Jay Sizemore

10

August 29, 2015 by RJ

 

~after Allen Ginsberg, for Sarah

 

1.

I’ve seen the best minds of my generation destroyed by narcissism, believing their own hype,

that they could rewrite history on a social media feed, standing on their armchairs

with eyes rolled back to the whites, sharks gnashing at invisible meat in the white sea foam,

teeth chipped and cracking from clacking bone against bone,

who understood that feminists don’t swallow come, they peel back the layers of skin

from the hard cock, like dissecting a flexed muscle, using dull tools like fingernails

buffed to an acrylic shine, no anesthetic applied, find every fibrous layer of meat

and snip snip snip

who tore pages from the Vagina Monologues and stuffed them into their vaginas,

ingesting false gods into the real god, the birth hole of Christ,

who reclaimed Anne Sexton from the narcoleptics, only to fuck her corpse more quietly

in the tool shed, using male tears for lubrication of every opening,

who shouted TRIGGER WARNING from every window of every church in the city,

any time a thought entered the mind

TRIGGER WARNING: anal sex, a fist covered with shit, rectum flotsam and jetsam,

TRIGGER WARNING: another woman turning herself into a come dumpster,

a slave to the lustful male gaze, breast implants and rouge,

TRIGGER WARNING: another cis-gendered white man thinking about fucking you,

TRIGGER WARNING: the leaves are turning bright red in the fields, burning

like an empire at the end of its reign, burning like menstruation,

Christian Grey with a bloody tampon between his teeth,

who dismantled the patriarchy with a pair of pliers and a blowtorch, an email inbox

stuffed with slimy testicular secrets and empty scrotal sacks,

who made themselves invisible and made every man a rapist in a bathroom stall,

standing in solidarity with the wind, the wagging tongues of dogs,

redacted, redacted, redacted

who wrote petitions to have women stop eating themselves, to stop the search

for the perfect wife, the ballerina dancing on the head

of Charles Bukowski’s prick,

who wrote petitions and blogs and Tweets and petitions about problematic appropriations,

the systemic oppression of not having a seat at every table,

who said Jay Sizemore is a piece of shit, Jay Sizemore is a fucking troll, I’ve blocked him

on all social media for thinking he’s a victim,

who got a teacher fired for reading a Ginsberg poem to the class, for daring to allow

a poet’s words to occupy his mouth longer than the taste of his lover’s come,

who wore a mattress around their neck for performance art, carrying the weight of

a rolling stone, of an abortion scar, of a sex tape gone wrong,

the world is a condom kept past its expiration date, the wrapper creased with white wrinkles,

a Dear John letter torn to pieces and meticulously recrafted with Scotch tape and tears,

the world is a liar, half-drunk, urging you into the alley with the barrel of a pistol

wedged at the bottom of your spine, the world is a garbage truck for dreams,

removing couches from curbs, black bags stuffed with loose foliage from tree trimming,

the world is a dog food factory with an undisclosed source of meat,

who said, you can be anything you want to be if you just never give up,

until cancer became the number one killer and Charles Manson died of a broken heart,

who built the MFA factories of the damned, churning out carbon copy creatives

with hatred for articles and a keen love of the ampersand,

who said a prostitute should be called a sex worker and never a hooker without a sense of humor,

never a come guzzling whore working her way through college,

who requested the vampires to sparkle, for lead female characters to only crave attention from

cruel, callous men, a sexual tension building to a broken bed,

who protested the syllabus for its inclusion of Ovid and tales of Greek mythology

for their content, the triggering post traumatic stress of fictional god rape,

who was offended by comedians, driving them away from their campuses

with pitchforks and flames, threats of litigation, thrown beer bottles to the stage,

who counts the gender of every writer in every magazine, counts the gender

of every editor, counts the gender of every facebook like, counts the gender

of every bookstore owner, counts the gender of every cat on the lap,

who asked the world to stop reading men, to #killallmen, to lift the skirts

of every pixelated page and check for smooth plastic parts,

the new rainbow is sterile shades of gray,

every person lives in their own segregated digital box or cell,

every person the warm nucleus at the center of their solipsistic self,

the cluster of stars at the beginning of the universe, around which it all revolves,

the zero model in the first line of impressionist clones

where political correctness is the low-hanging fruit, the bulbs of overripe outrage

dangling like exposed testicles,

the plague of man-spreading subway riders taking up extra seats,

the epidemic of non-empathic man-splainers with affinities for actually’s.

who said Sansa Stark should never have been raped, that it was time to boycott HBO,

that George R. R. Martin should be castrated with a letter opener,

who rage quit the Academy Awards, the Pen American Awards, the Grammy Awards,

too many kids on the playground trying to climb on one swing set,

who watched Michael Brown get shot in the back, watched Eric Garner get choked to death,

watched Tamir Rice lose his life in two seconds, Walter Scott shot unarmed,

who makes tragedy about themselves rather than the tragic,

putting picket lines around funerals, shouting God Hates Fags,

who put a glass dome over the North American continent,

waiting for the cannibals to come out of the closets,

the hunger pangs manifest like concrete blocks thrown off rooftops,

the sun is unmerciful with its lunacy,

each room needs an oscillating fan, rattling with white streamers,

the streets become Dutch ovens with sky for a lid,

brains boil like cabbages, making thoughts dark with a dismal stench,

churches are slaughterhouses and prayers are self-flagellations,

the beds are devouring the dreamers, but the dreamers never know it.

who decided what words should never be said, offended by the word cunt,

with cunts capable of being used like Chinese finger cuffs,

cunts used like pencil sharpeners, grinding dicks into hamburger,

shitting blood all over the pages of the Constitution,

check your privilege,

who was offended by the word nigger, calling for Huckleberry Finn to be banned,

calling for Tom Sawyer to be eradicated from the classroom,

as if the past were a curtain to be drawn, as if nigger isn’t shouted

every other word in every other pop song on the radio,

check your privilege,

who was offended by the picture of the prophet Muhammad and shot up the printers,

who said the artists deserve what they got, that action creates consequence,

that stirring a hornet’s nest is the best way to be stung,

check your privilege,

who was offended by Gone With The Wind in a Twitter feed, filed a petition

to ruin a career, starting with one position of influence,

and then protesting at every scheduled performance until there is no safe place

for poetry or art at the edges,

check your privilege,

who was offended by the word motherfucker, and demanded an R rating,

counting the number of fucks within every two hour span,

going home and fucking the Bible like a dildo shaped from Jesus’ head,

who was offended by gay sex, by the male genitalia, by anything other than missionary,

wanting to protect the children from escalating teen pregnancy

by making sexual identity and sexual freedom a mark of shame,

overthrowing the Supreme Court to protect the idea of selling women

for two goats and a plot of land, waving the Confederate flag,

who was offended by lack of Christian faith, forcing candidates to say they love God,

the word atheist like a dirty sock in the mouth,

religion that opiate the drunk mob force feeds like fire

to their children made of cutout paper,

who was offended by Jared Leto playing a transgendered male on film,

wanting all actors to stop acting and start only playing themselves,

check your privilege,

who was offended by a rape joke, offended by a duckface, offended by a blowjob,

offended by a staggering lack of privacy, with all emails made public,

offended by another man fetishizing the female body,

offended by rape drug-detecting nail polish,

offended by any singular comment that strikes a bad chord,

offended by the notion of equality of opportunity trumping equality of outcome,

offended by Caitlyn Jenner being called a hero,

offended by Caitlyn Jenner having more money than most identity-struggling teens,

offended by the Nobel Prize,

offended by Coca-Cola forgetting your name,

offended by anything that exists outside the solipsistic self,

who observes such freedom of expression with an indignant scowl,

anamorphic time travelers, clothed in Puritan rags,

scowling from the wilderness before it was named,

scowling from the pulpit of haloed light,

scowling from the mirror and the stranger’s face,

who can’t breathe amid all this strangulation of ideas, this tightening lynch knot

around the throat of the free, the burdensome gaggle of lampreys

clinging to the body of the immortal giant, the leeches feeding

on the blood of their own making, a new form of vampiric anorexia,

the streets are gorged with this silent war, hands turned into lenses, eyes turned into mirrors,

all windows are LCD screens, the skyline is a flickering continuum of YouTube viral video,

we are running out of drinking water, reservoirs turning yellow as urine, nothing but bleached sand,

the California forests are a tinderbox, a funeral pyre for man,

while PornHub raises money to see people fuck in outer space, to see semen float in zero gravity,

while elephants are getting their heads blown apart,

the white rhino has seen its last days,

half the world living in denial of man-made climate change,

vilifying the homeless taking baths in public restroom sinks,

ignoring the scent of car exhaust cloaked alleys, of unlaundered sweat-stained fatigues,

of sewer steam drifting ripe through rusted grate, of garbage left untilled in a landfill,

ignoring the taste of the spoiled, rancid meat, the rotted fruit clouded with flies,

the salt in a lover’s sweat, the last cup of coffee ever served,

the future is a butchery,

the tabletops run with the blood of the poets,

tongueless mouths open and gargling a strangled yawp,

splattering droplets of crimson rain,

no words are sacrosanct,

no bone is immune to the hammer and saw,

who will stand in front of the armored tank, placing a daisy in the cannon’s black maw,

who will join hands in a circle that becomes a net, a mesh of forgiveness

cushioning the fall of humanity, and saving our truest selves,

the meteor of guilt caught like a bird in a cage,

taught to fly and hunt only for worms, instead of feasting on the carrion of decay,

the unbalanced wheel of life resuming its perfect spin,

with every voice taking part in that harmonious song.

 

2.

Reflections aren’t capable of cracking skulls, aren’t capable of pinning tongues to the roofs of mouths, of painting windows shut, sealing doors with hammered nails.

Hail Satan! The deceiver. The Morning Star. The white man.

Nightmare made flesh, made lover, made king of everything on Earth.

Hail Satan! The torture device! The wireless router! The justice system!

Satan, whose year-end bonus is the world’s salaries combined,

Satan, whose wristwatch is made of human kidneys,

Satan, who put a padlock on the clitoris and declared rape children miracles.

Hail Satan! The cellular phone! The dick-pic! The Saudi Arabian prince!

Satan, who invented the high-heeled shoe.

Satan, who invented fast food!

Satan, who started the Industrial Revolution with steam.

Hail Satan! The pharmaceutical giant! The income gap! The minimum wage!

Satan, who enslaved the world to the concept of ownership.

Satan, who made addicts to happiness, who made sadness a sin.

Satan, who invented the concept of race.

Hail Satan! The holocaust! The red wedding! The abortion clinic!

Satan, porn industry mogul, shrimp boat captain, the new Pope.

Satan, who refuses to free the nipple!

Satan, who condemns assisted suicide!

Hail Satan! Member of the Academy! Congressional lobbyist! Child molester!

Satan, who teaches creationism in the classroom.

Satan, who builds the bombs.

Satan, the river of time.

Hail Satan! His cliched red horns! The mustache! The American Native!

Satan, who murdered the buffalo for their tongues.

Satan, who forced Chinese feet into a golden lotus.

Satan, who built the railroad.

Hail Satan! The Masque of the Red Death! The Raven! The Hellbound Heart!

Satan, who clips the birds wings.

Satan, who sets the emission standard.

Satan, the military recruiter who wanders the halls of high schools.

Hail Satan! OPEC! Warmonger! President of the United States!

Satan, whose furnace is fed with coal.

Satan, whose teeth shine slick with human fat.

Satan, who turns the Grand Canyon into a mall.

Hail Satan! MLB! NFL! NBA!

Satan, reinventing the slave with a leather bound ball.

Satan, claiming ownership of the sun.

Satan, charging a fee to breathe.

Hail Satan! King of the coral reef! Toxic waste dump! Graveyard tyrant!

Satan, who arms the rebels.

Satan, who trains jihadis to fly.

Satan, owner of Fox News.

Hail Satan! The police state! The carpetbagger! The candidate!

Satan, who bailed out the banks.

Satan, who killed the electric car.

Satan, the blindness of human palms.

Satan who stands on the backs of the divided, cracking his whip, breaking the bodies made of water, captain of the slave ship carried by multitudes of hummingbirds strung to the sails,

floating above everything, so that people are no more significant than ants,

but when the giants fall, it’s the ants that eat the bodies.

 

 

 

3.

I’m with you, Sarah,

in your bedroom when your daddy knocks on the door.

I’m with you, Sarah,

when you wake up naked on the floor.

I’m with you, Sarah,

when the world starts to spin like an out of control ferris wheel.

I’m with you, Sarah,

when he says you can trust him, when he lets you leave a toothbrush at his place,

when he makes you late for work with another blackmail blowjob,

I’m with you, Sarah,

when you have to flip the mattress to hide the blood,

I’m with you, Sarah,

in New York City, where you got those bruises on your arms,

like purple handcuffs, like clumsy tiger stripes,

I’m with you, Sarah,

when you wash your hands for the hundredth time a day,

when lotion burns in the cracks of your skin,

I’m with you, Sarah,

when you post another selfie, asking for faceless approval,

I’m with you, Sarah,

when you touch yourself and imagine being raped, being dominated

by a force too powerful to feel anything but lust,

I’m with you, Sarah,

when you cry yourself to sleep,

when you smother your screams into the cotton pillowcase,

I’m with you, Sarah,

when you feel like it’s you against the world,

when no one believes your story,

when the police officer looks at you like you asked for it,

when the layers of your clothing still leave you shivering underneath,

I’m with you, Sarah,

and I know you are strong enough to make it on your own,

but I’ll put my arm around your shoulders

if you’re ever tired of feeling alone.

 

~~~

 

Jay Sizemore doesn’t win awards. Founder of Crow Hollow Books, he writes poems and stories and scribbles his name a lot onto electronic pads for material possessions. He listens to Ryan Adams and drinks Four Roses. You can find his work online in places if you go looking, including his chapbook Confessions of a Porn Addict, available on Amazon. His wife puts up with his shit in Nashville, TN. Find him athttp://www.jaysizemore.com.

10 thoughts on “SCOWL, poetry by Jay Sizemore

  1. Sarah Xerta says:

    rot in hell

    Like

  2. rebecca says:

    the fuck did I just read? this is horrible and you should feel really really bad you’re putting this garbage out there, especially after so many people have told you this is hurtful. it’s just gross and if not at worst purposefully harmful then at best controversial for controversy’s sake. Unimaginative and self-indulgent… Ginsberg would be ashamed.

    Like

  3. Reblogged this on The Contemptible and commented:
    If you find the vulgar metaphors of this poem, offensive, then that is your problem. Freedom of the Press is not limited to the confines of the politically correct mob’s wall of self-righteousness.

    Reblog if you agree!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Leah Mueller says:

    I have to admit that I’m pretty damn impressed by the ability of a poem to shock and upset people so much during the 21st century. This poem is so many things, but I would not call it unimaginative, and though it is certainly “gross” in parts, I think that “Howl” also contained many lines that would fall under a similar category. The bottom line here is: Are we for freedom of speech, or do we seek to actively repress forms of speech that are repugnant to our beliefs?

    Liked by 1 person

    • rebecca says:

      No one is attempting to repress the work or oppress the author. He’s put this out into the commons and that leaves both him and the work open to criticism. There’s a difference between freedom of speech (or freedom of the press) and freedom from consequence. While you could excuse some of the more controversial aspects of this work under artistic expression, how long are we going to let violence against women and minorities be shielded under such pretenses? Make your sub-par art, but be damned sure you will called out for it.

      Like

      • msleah01 says:

        I understand what you’re saying, and agree that a controversial work will and should attract criticism and debate. As a feminist, I am not at all thrilled by some of the sentiments of this poem. But I also realize that as writers, we channel the shadow side of our psyches, which are often not nice, or kind, or politically correct. I have noticed a disturbing subtext in some of the reactions to this poem, in which the writers seem intent upon repression of Mr Sizemore’s words, and that disturbs me.

        Liked by 2 people

  5. adiazhui says:

    One of the most sexist works I have ever read.

    Like

  6. jason glado says:

    This is great. Especially the hinting at feminists latent rape fantasies. You may be able to censor poetry but you can’t censor your own subconscious mind.

    Like

  7. Mr. Thursday says:

    Oh poetry… so frustrated in your little corner of the end.

    Like

  8. Yesterday I was idly skimming my Twitter feed and suddenly ran across a shit storm generated by Jay Sizemore, a poet whose work I had read a few times on Facebook and whose poetry I have found worth reading, but with whom I have never exchanged personal correspondence and do not consider someone I “know,” even by internet standards. I read the links to an editorial in an alt lit and art zine, several provided tweets by outraged readers, the poem Scowl, itself, which is a parody or homage to Ginsberg’s Howl. I also read a response by the publisher, someone I did not previously know and with whom I have had no contact.

    Today I found the response by the writer. The points he makes ring true and accurately reflect my own view after reading the poem last night. I think it is a good poem, a compelling and well-written poem, with shocking allusions to current events in order to criticize many things in today’s world that I find horrible and wrong. I read those allusions and the entire poem as a critique of these abhorrent events, using outrageous language to reflect shocking reality, rather than an endorsement or even a parody. I found the poem fully within the tradition of Howl, for which Lawrence Ferlinghetti was jailed for publishing, as it was considered obscene and was suppressed, contrary to the First Amendment protections of free speech.

    I want to add that I am a staunch feminist, a prior victim of intimate violence that has scarred my body and my psyche, and I consider myself a friend and ally of many activists who work daily against the abuse of women and girls and who steadfastly challenge rape culture. I am outraged that these women face constant, unambiguous threats of violence aimed at their bodies and their girl children and I will continue to respond with vehemence to oppose their mistreatment and abuse. Further, I strive to be what is all too often sneeringly referred to as politically correct, as I think that epithet is usually hurled against people who just ask for common courtesy and compassion, who want freedom from hurtful and offensive labels, who want their children and loved ones to feel comfortable anywhere they choose to go. In short, I think belligerents use the term political correctness in attempt to belittle, humiliate, and intimidate others who stand up for themselves or their community. I am also a lawyer and a poet who believes that the First Amendment should be sacrosanct. I do not see those two roles I claim, feminist and free speech proponent, as in opposition.

    Among other invective and justifications of violence against the writer and publisher of Scowl, many people have read the poem as a personal threat against a particular woman or against women or feminists or victims of abuse. I honestly do not read the poem in that way. My interpretation of the last section of the poem is a symbolic offer of solidarity and empathy, the opposite of a direct or veiled threat. Even taking the most critical view of the poem, in no way does it rise to the level of justifying threats against either the writer or the publisher. I find the ad hominem attacks used in response to this poem to substantially weaken my respect for the complaining writers and to reduce the credibility of their complaints. I understand that radical reactions often originate in a place of personal pain and suffering, but still believe that valid, impassioned complaints can be made without reducing the exchange to the level of vituperation and vilification I have read in response to Scowl.

    Like

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: