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
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-
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?