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18 with live goldfish swimming in Coke bottles, but this proved unfeasible, as the fish proved too large to fit in the narrow necks, and attempts to force the matter resulted in consequences too disgusting to go into here. I then attempted an homage to Gerard Nerval, who used to stroll around Paris with his pet lobster on a leash. Excited by the impression an entrance like this would arouse, I ordered several of those displayed in tanks from the Chinese restaurant around the corner, only to discover that the beasts are virtually untrainable due to their propensity for crawling down sewer gratings. (Efforts to pull them back up invariable led to decapitation.) I finally settled on a simple maroon dress, pillbox hat, and a set of bracelets made of crab shells which I had to discard when a halfdozen alley cats attempted to follow me into the bar. The first two entrants of the evening were a Native American poet, Sherman Blackcrow, and an angry-young-man-with-piercings. Sherman’s poem, “This Land Is My Land”, was an interactive one. Walking around the bar intoning “This land is my land, which you stole,” he progressed to “This table is my table, which is on the land which you stole,” segueing into “This is my drink, which is on the table, which is on my land, which you stole,” downing about ten before his 3-minute time limit was up and the bouncer ejected him. The AYMWP then got up and announced, “This piece is entitled ‘You Racist, Homophobic, Gender-Biased, Meat-Eating, NeverWashed-Your-Assholes Fascist Murderers, Swine, and Goons of the Corporate Moloch Can Kiss My Pock-Marked Butt, Especially the Doorman at Re-Bar Who Carded Me Last Saturday.’” (The title proved an excellent synopsis for the poem, which consisted of the title repeated verbatim with a couple extra obscenities thrown in.) His score was 19. Sherman’s was 25, and the bouncer was forced to hightail it over to the Mecca to get him back for the second round. The next contestants up were the Retro Twins— Beat Girl vs. Bukowski Boy. Beat Girl, a shapely woman in a black felt dress and beret who looked like a Jules Feiffer cartoon come to life had me worried—her poem was memorized! True, it was tripe, all about how cool it would have been to hang out with Kerouac, Burroughs, and Ginsberg in Tangier (like the misogynist bastards would have had anything to do with her, except maybe pimping her Sarah Lawrence-educated butt for drug money) and how we must all aspire to carry on their grand tradition. But, because of the memorization thing, she was able to swing her arms and breasts like an amphetamine-crazed version of the goddess Shiva, creating an effect I despised

CIRQUE and wanted to emulate badly. The Bukowski clone, by comparison, was a paragon of sincerity. Going by the name Opus 23, Bowel Movement 4, he was a fat slob in a torn sweatshirt and jeans who emoted: Myra was a whore She was a whore with great legs That’s important to me We lived together in a fleabag hotel Off 8th and Virginia Myra supported me She was crazy She was a crazy whore Then, one day Myra left When she learned I couldn’t Make the rent So here I am Standing on Aurora Avenue Looking for another Crazy whore with good legs. In the meantime, Could you let me have a cigarette? He lost badly (28.5 to 17), no doubt because two-thirds of the judges were male. Still, that fact boded well for my own performance, as my tastefully-selected dress displayed about four inches of cleavage. The next round, though, placed the judges and audience in a critical quandary that was quite interesting to watch. Ingrid Muscatel, the lesbian essayist from the hip alternative weekly The Hermit, mounted the stage and read a poetic manifesto entitled “Dick Frappe”, which presented the argument that John Wayne Bobbitt never would have had the opportunity to sew it back on if Lorena had had the wherewithal to put it in the blender after she had done the deed, followed by a call to sisters everywhere to take out the patriarchy armed with nail scissors and La Machine. Running against her was a cherubic gnome by the name of Randy Tannenbaum, who read a diatribe against his roommate title “Ode to That Son-of-a-Bitch Horowitz” which brought the house down. Everyone in the place, it seemed, could identify with the scenario of the refrigerator-raiding, late rent-paying, dope-stealing, toilet seat urine-splattering roomie. Even the subject of the poem, apparently, who was later pointed out by Randy sitting at the bar, grinning ear-to-ear over his 15 minutes of fame. The plight of the judges was obvious. Clearly,

Cirque, Vol. 7 No. 1  

A Literary Journal for the North Pacific Rim

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