Bernadette Mayer, p.2

* [Untitled]

Before the Black Sea or the Caspian Sea or even my wonderful
Lesbian tendencies, there was poetry. But they made it
dangerous country, those cavemen. Suddenly my life was not
a prose--Centuries passed--I'm coming to you as a luxury.

False continuity makes me doubt myself totally
But not so much I can't come up with a narrative in 19--what?:
As a luxury I lived no narrative at all, each day was small
And I saw what was in the refrigerator but

That was mostly old cooked cabbage, a misplaced stapler and
Sloe gin. You need a box of Arm & Hammer, a caveman said.
Trieste has always been an annoyance, I said. I flirted with
Her one-upped her & forgot her I said, now I'm studying jazz.

This geography escapes me in this autobiography.
I barely even knew I was a woman then, Trieste said: again,
I will prove I can be more devoted than to you to a silly man,
A man whose name is man, then I met a woman whose name was man

Her name was mud. I still hate her. Ooops I'm remembering
The wrong man. I remember when you were the Grand Duke & gave
Me for my birthday a round ring box full of rhinestones which you
Said were Erinna's tears. Because I was nineteen like Erinna
     was when she died

And then there was the wealthy Corinna! She had legs as astonishing
as any noise-maker! She was married to Mud's husband & had a salon
into which I may have entered, it was full of Mud's men, and then,
among them, I met one who was quite excerpted from the others, we never

Made it on a map of the Mediterranean but baby I think we made
The Mediterranean we sweated so much. I said to him I know what
The critics will say about me, She thinks words are toys, prefers
A bauble to a monument, doesn't care who kisses her clit, but

We sure did have some terrific dinners: We can risk the generalization
     that there was no real luxury or
Sophistication of eating habits in Europe before the fifteenth or
Sixteenth centuries. It is very possible in this respect that the West
lagged behind the other Old World civilizations.

Then you have to carry on with either dirty or not and write a
Refrain better than "Ain't no sunshine when she's gone." I had lost
Track of who I was talking to, I chucked up my dinner of truffled
Hens with champagne pâté & mounds & mounds of starry Burmas, I was

Involved with the recipe: two stars mixed with pasta covered with a
sweet & sour sauce: the fat man said: Well is she your dame or isn't she?
No! But I introduced you to her! And for twenty five écus you will be given
Mammas in soup or roast pappas: in fact everything that is most precious
     on earth (However great French cooking was perhaps only
     established later, with the "active good taste of the Regent"!)

See this is how you get to talk once you get to be a poet and
Darling I haven't stopped since, furthermore I love you so much
I flush three dalmanes down the toilet in your honor and continue
Discussing French cuisine in terms of my furred ecstasy (Wuck) (Burp)
     I feel as if I belong to the Pharaoh.

Even in 1788 you could have gotten turkey with truffles from Périgord,
pâtés-de-foie-gras from Toulouse, partridge terrines from Nérac,
larks from Pézenas, cooked prawn from Troyes, woodcock from the Dombes,
capons from the Pays de Caux, hams from Bayonne, cooked tongues from
     Vierzon and even sauerkraut from Strasbourg but no one ever has
     the last word in these things

We have French cookery books dated 1361 and 1391 mentioning
The pretzel position with creme and the Golden Feeling with Meat
& The licking of the Paps. You have a one-track mind. This was
1968 and I was being served up "in a pyramid" & adoring every minute of it

Anonymous was doing it, then Praxilla walked in & was jealous as hell!
I didn't know you then, in fact, by your courtesy in poet, i don't know you now!
I only know I'd been to the college and forgot about that,
I'd been to the masters, been their mistresses, and that

The Mediterranean was not the exclusive domain of the pack animal,
But I wasn't no pack animal no not me, I was about to be
The very joyous & very pleasant History composed by me, with some
Sad interludes (twilight with one star) & all the unpaginated happenings.

So, I got pregnant, and I didn't know what to do;
The man, the father, simply played, loved and flew.
Otherwise I might have wandered around forever;
This way I was practically a mother no matter what forever.

Farewell I said to the banquet morning and evening. (But we
Should beware of generalizations.) (For I was often to luxuriate
Again and also again, but I found the country of the Pharaoh to be
A backward region) I moved up to the first place, I sang my honest song:

Starrry city I still live within thee
And I am she and all she said when she fled
Is another man has made his womanly way
And farewell she said I too will go away

To another court, like a promise to oneself not kept I went
Modestly to provoke riots in a city swarming with poor people
It was even worse in Naples, Lord I have purple beads, henna &
A cartridge belt. I have

A black beret with the National Honor Society pin on it,
millions of babies crying, the fox went out on a chilly night,
I don't live in Cuba, yet, I did want to say I loved you and the
manager was grateful to the sailor, me, for saying that

I was a most virtuous whore, not merely liberal but prodigl, not
Only with my body but with my wisdom, they called me Marina then.
I forgot the price when I loved at the trees & the wind as she passes
As I love you now, or on the streets of town, but where oh where was my babe?

I did a good job, they said très attrayantes, les feutrines
Fuzzy-Felt ist ein ideales Speil für kleine und grosse Kinder
like the man who thinks he's Hitler and wants you to be Eva or Britta
and Blow him: l'éléphant qui parle avec le crocodile, ou Monsieur
     Blumenstengel, das Maul des Frosches.

I wonder what Laura Riding thinks about this, but that's an aside
I guess. I assume everyone's done all the same things in bed I mean
Don't you? Assume that I mean. I mean I thought that was the meaning
Of the experience. I mean what I was experiencing in that brothel but
     Gee maybe I don't have a subtle mind.

I find, about sex I mean, that no matter if one is a woman
Where I grew up one is always having to be a mean man, I don't
Like that much, nor is it true. So I made love to a contralto on
Avenue C one day and he managed to leave me with myself, nevertheless,

I still loved him because in his soul he was a counter-tenor, and
In my soul I was nothing, I was a poet, that is, nothing, or maybe
A pointed star that stands for hope. Or maybe nothing. Nothing grand.
A friend of mine once said of me, "She gives you everything she has,
     that is, nothing."