By Michael Collier
An person History describes the fears, anger, and guilt—personal, familial, societal, political, and historical—that include a existence. The determine of the speaker’s maternal grandmother who used to be institutionalized for 5 a long time serves as an overriding metaphor for this haunting, daring new paintings by way of an important American poet.
from “An person History”
This used to be earlier than the time of lithium and Zoloft
before temper stabilizers and anxiolytics
and just about all the psychotropic medicinal drugs, yet no longer before
which the suicide O’Laughlin referred to as “handcuffs for the
It was once ahead of, in the course of, and after the time of atomic
Auschwitz, the Nakba, DDT, and also you might take water
find solace in quarantines, perform shunnings,
or stand at Lourdes one of the canes and crutches.
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Extra resources for An Individual History: Poems
We slept in rented rooms that weren’t rented— and we drank ale and wine with the shades down being quiet quiet and then awakening the whole building with a fistfight breaking mirrors and chairs and lamps and then running down the stairway just before the police arrived some of us soldiers of the future running through the empty starving streets and alleys of Los Angeles and all of us getting together later in Pete’s room a small cube of space under a stairway, there we were, packed in there without women without cigarettes without anything to drink, while the rich pawed away at their many choices and the young girls let them, the same girls who spit at our shadows as we walked past.
I’ve been drinking he said and writing and the young girl said is there anything else I can get you? he was rich and I was poor and the sea rolled in and I turned the white pages. what do you think? he asked? and I said, well, some of these… but I didn’t finish. later I walked outside. I walked down the sand to where the sand got wet and I looked at the water and the moon and then I turned around and I walked up to the boardwalk and I thought, oo oo. m. queers do this or is it that you’re afraid to die?
And I said forget that I do not feel good I’ve got the sad sads all I want to do is fuck you and she laughed she thought I was being clever and O I just looked up her long slim legs of heaven I saw her liver and her quivering intestine I saw Christ in there jumping to a folk-rock all the long lines of starvation within me rose and I walked over and grabbed her on the couch ripped her dress up around her face and I didn’t care rape or the end of the earth one more time to be there anywhere real yes her panties were on the floor and my cock went in my cock my god my cock went in I was Charles Somebody.
An Individual History: Poems by Michael Collier