Steve Kowit Poems


Fred, an apostate Jew, has accepted
Jesus Christ as his personal savior.
He runs down his bhakti-yoga in Denny’s
over a pizza omelet & lemonade.
Bill’s going back to the order;
Harry’s in orgone therapy;
Alan’s been in the Teaching 5 years.
& I too have no intention of circling
the stifling cage of my personal karma
forever. No indeed. I’m making my move
with a modest assortment of picks, drills,
jimmies, snips, saws, blasting
caps & a ladder made of my big &
little intestines knotted together.


Sometimes when I’m not there to defend myself
the friends start playing Kowit.
Right from the start, the game,
begun with what seemed nothing
if not innocent affection,
takes a nasty turn:
from quietly amused to openly derisive,
ruthless, scathing, & at last
maniacally sadistic—
a psychopathic bacchanal of innuendo,
malice & vindictive lies.
It’s jealousy & spite is what it is of course.
They’re rankled by my talent & integrity,
the editors & fancy women who surround me.
So Kowit’s torn upon the rack
& barbecued alive
& chewed out of his skin like a salami
till there is nothing left of him
but blood & phlegm & scat
& fingernails & teeth
& the famous Kowit penis
which is passed about the room
to little squeals of laughter,
like a ridiculous hat.


One of these days
while demonstrating the use
of the possessive pronoun
preceding the gerund
I’ll tell her a little joke,
grow playful,
stroke the soft hairs
on the back of Melanie’s neck,
then slip my hand
over her breast.
Just as I’ve dreamed!
She’ll groan.
She’ll giggle & put
her hand over mine.
She’ll love it!
If not, what have I lost?
If she screams
& the others rush in
I’ll deny everything.
I’ll stand there
  shaking my head,
“She’s crazy she’s
making it up she
practically forced me
for chrissake I’m
sick I’m a sick man
I need help
Help me!”
I’ll cry out
in a hoarse,
broken voice
& slip to my knees
& bury my face in my hands.

Steve Kowit
Copyright © 2010 Serving House Books