Three Sonnets

Three Sonnets

By Wayne Koestenbaum

[o razor in]

o razor in the bathtub, how you
reify me—
shampoo, too,
a species of Prometheus, promotes
bubble déjà vu.
loving my imaginary son, and fain in
verse to tell.
“you lack vocal chops,” he said, as if I were
a Mies van der Rohe
outhouse, a Big Mac
chiming its grease bell.

Barbara Stanwyck is the Coit Tower on the hill
of my discontent.
Slough of Despond is the coffee shop where I
dine with Alan Ladd
gaslighting me into marriage, my hair
a Stockard Channing 
(Grease) rooster-comb.
I dreamt you fixed a dead lamp just
by touching it.

Hudson river, your blue contains umber
and lead:  slate
Siegfried suicide-muck.
let’s conjugate Adorno:  adorno, adorni, adorna,
andorniamo… I stole
moral turpitude from you, padre.
“your pubes are a godsend,” I DM-ed him—
“Star of David suspended 
in chest forest”—wanting
praise to land in his solar plexus.

quoth judge:  “your objection to daily spontaneous
art-making habits
is overruled.”
crispbread’s smooth soft underside, like arm’s
inner skin, privatized,
unsexed:  haptic
regression’s mine.
her death ratifies my smallness—negligibility
of my unanswered
earthly envelope.

[the color yellow’s]

the color yellow’s importunate tendency to pose
stamen-rhetorical
questions:  my eye
omits the verboten “o.”
dreamt crafty Mildred Dunnock-esque French citoyenne stole
Sontag manuscript
(Genet essay draft)
from my music stand when
I shut my eyes to take
a picture of Sontag-scrawl:
fingerpainted André Masson ligatures.  citoyenne hid the manuscript
in her aqua housedress:  then
she threatened to run me over
with her Baby Jane Peugot.
at Singing Sands beach I dared her rage-car to slay me:
I reached into her housedress
to retrieve the Notre-Dame-
des-Fleurs
Sontag-script
revealing rare expression-
ist prelude to a style later
hardening into Volcano.

dreamt artist-baby despite speech impediment employed periodic
sentences when interpreting
mother-murals refusing
to encircle and contain.
I hugged the artist-body into feral submission.  malted milk
crumbs coated baby-skin
like Yayoi Kusama dots.
dreamt Joan Didion draped her YSL gold-purple jacket over a couch’s
arm near my exhi-
bitionism:  no lunch for me,
and a dead mouse in the pantry.
snubbed my cousin at café:  Botox-smoothed brother-leer in Rambler
wayback discovered doppel-
gänger’s career-gangrene—
my debut, too, a debacle.

what if my butt produced peanut butter, edible
economic miracle,
nutritional nirvana,
supernal natural resource?
think of the coverage in Scientific American!  in The
Wall Street Journal
!
his cousin instantly exited life by falling
off a ladder:
heart attack pre-
ceded and in-
stigated the plunge.

moved by Moffo/Corelli Carmen and vague scent of marijuana
by sere sidewalk’s
soiled snowbank.
never gave proper credit to her “Seguidilla,” only now
reckoning its late majesty.
seek non-toxic paint thinner, if non-toxicity exists:  suspicious
tingle on tongue 
augurs termination?

[seen, discarded in]

seen, discarded in stairwell:  Corning Ware casserole
cover—glass, forever
severed from the squat
vessel it was meant
to sumount.
toward you, glass lid, I feel no pointed grief—
but I acknowledge
your isolation, urn
for pot roast fragments rewarmed.
dreamt I witnessed Julie Andrews prove again
(on Broadway or in
samizdat screen-test
out-takes) her mettle—
a knowledge staggered
(it arrived in timed phases):  my responsibility for proving
what I’d witnessed
lay at a 45-degree
angle to her competence’s
Agnes Martin arroyo-horizontality.

a line breached:  a Cherbourg pinnacle, oneiric yet actual
(woke to discover
Michel Legrand had died).
dream punctuation is too complex a topic to broach today.
that lonely aggrieved persecuted feeling when you post a photo
you consider aesthetic/
ethereal and it is deemed
to violate community
standards—verdict im-
possible to appeal or reverse.
man, clutching flattened cardboard box, shouting
“laissez passer,” voice
hoarse, ravaged, then
“take it easy, guys”:
bilingual tragi-
commotion, like dream

last night of early Callas Santuzza, voice cutting
into stage flats, arc-
light Voi lo sapete 
a reinterpreted virginity enclosed by rhombus-stain.
dreamt my mother-in-law criticized my dishwashing
technique:  I in-
insufficiently valued
her faux-netsuke
tea set.  my father,

telephoning her beach-cottage, used my childhood
bedroom’s princess-phone:
Channel 36 “The Perfect
36” Bardot-fest poor
reception UHF Sacramento
porn-hub of Reagan governor manse, my juvie
nudie-addiction a rebuke
Situationist-esque to fossil fuel’s
stranglehold on Volk-libido.  time to read Wilhelm Reich?
time to multiply passerby
orgasms?  stroke-utopia
Timothy Leary animism,
visionary jolt via taint?