Monday, April 22, 2013

Flint Hills Evening


“The shadow crawls
up canyon walls”
—Badger Clark
“The Sky Blue Plains,”

The Flint Hills evening—
comes slowly down ravines

The rim rocks flush pink—
crawling night shadows

The cottonwood leaves—
quiver shiver like me

Do they anticipate—
what I know will happen?

The wind break sways—
knows what night brings

The Flint Hills get still—
more blue shadows come

After dinner we smoke—
drink some Johnny Walker

The stillness out there—
singing the same old song

Blow out kerosene lamp—
then to bed together

If only I say to myself—
it’ll be this way forever

Gay Cowboy Poetry


He was hard to get to know—
but then that’s the way it was

The harder the better—
a quiet kind of prairie love

Mostly just him & me driving—
out there on Kansas nights

Bought me a nice Stetson hat—
a pair of expensive boots

I never made a decent cowboy—
he didn’t seem to mind tho

He wanted somebody to—
know & love him way out there

OUT THERE different than—
livin in town back home

I can’t even describe it—
it’s like livin on the moon

Cowboy songs comin up from—
OK City on the radio

Cowboy commaraderie—
him & me out there 

Turnin me on to country music—
comin up from Oklahoma City

Hank Williams especially—

Out there in his ranch-house—
quiet Chase County nights

Kinda spooky like Z-Bar Mansion—
listenin to prairie wind outside

Lived with him for a year—
stoic Kansas cowboy dude

Rented the range out to—
young ranchers with families & kids

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Cowboy Poetry


Anyway sittin here havin a drink—
floatin kinda high right now

Ya know, reminiscin' about it—
him on my mind

Poetry I suppose cause—
it seems less I don’t know what 

Chase County cowboy romance—

Here on his ranch outise Strong City—
Jaysus, I loved him so really bad

The son of a rich cattleman—
catchin my eye in high school

Drivin his Chevy pickup—
his blue corduroy FFA jacket

Always lookin so butch comin—
down the hallway bowlegged

Still riding his horse out there—
Chase County butch kid

Lanky & shy, hangin out with—
his FFA buddies across the street

Over in the Vocational Ed Bldg—
doin gawd knows what

Workin with cars, engines—
Stuff country boys do

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Strong City


I didn’t much want to—
but like I couldn’t help it

Him waitin for me—
in his Chevy pickup truck

Waitin for me there in—
the high school parking lot

Smokin a cigarette—
after all that boring shit

The shit they put us thru—
punchin a fuckin clock

Gettin us ready for it—
shitty working class crap

There I stood lookin—
at him like I always did

He didn’t look away—
he said “Get in, baby”

We drove west outta—
town real slow on Sixth

Hank Williams on the—
radio from OK City

Suddenly I realized—
I was never gonna

Gonna be the same—
not with him anyway

Out past Hwy 50—
past the Truck Stop

He reached over—
grabbed my leg

Jaysus christ I—
fainted then & there

Talk about angels—
descendin' outta heaven

I was ready for it—
some wings to fly

Ready for anything—
he wanted me to be

Strong City Stud


I got bored waitin around for it—
not knowin if he was comin back

So I started cruisin Strong City—
kinda Slim Pickens tho dontchaknow

Mostly older retired folks—
not ranchin much anymore 

Then one Sat night I met this—
guy at the Longhorn Lounge

Started hangin around with him—
kinda the lonesome type

Young & discouraged—
divorced with ex-wife & kids

Strong City rodeo kid with—
tight fuckin bronco hips

Could go all night long—
bitin' me hard on the neck

Cowboy Poem


The say a picture is worth—
a thousand words

This one says it all—
that & another inch more

Skip the usual flowery—
old fashioned Cowboy verse

Nostalgic, closeted, coy—
shy cowpokes from Texas

My Strong City stud—
barely surviving Viet Nam

Scorched by the vision—
ever-dying youth slaughtered

Over there in the goddamn—
fuckin rotten SE Asia jungles 

So when he got back—
nothing really surprised him

He wasn’t bashful about men—
what he wanted I gave him

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Athens of the Midwest


—for Dr. Michael D. Shonrock

How does a little college town—
get reborn again here in Kansas?

In the middle of another grim—
Depression across the Land?

One of its colleges the C of E—
with its long esteemed history

Already folded with Kenyon Hall—
now a stately Retirement Home?

I ask you & I ask myself—
will ESU end up this way too?

Will the former KSTC become—
a relic in a dying ghost town?

Pardon me while I ponder—
here in the Sunken Garden

Tennessee Williams guide me

Geraldine Page lonely heart—
let your Blessed Fountain speak

I’ve won an argument that—
I didn’t want to win like you

Surely we need to reevaluate—
making Midwest more moderné

Perhaps Poets coming outta—
Red Rocks will now speak?

I call upon William Allen White—
everything he did had Class

Peter Pan Park for example—
where Mary White still abides

Gay Cowboy Poetry


Well, what can I really say—
without getting all you know what

It’s embarrassing to talk about it—
knowin how most Kansas folk feel

I can’t really blame them—
it’s kinda shockin to me too

It never had happened to me—
fallin in love that cowboy way

But it did happen way back then—
right outta the clear blue sky

Falling with grace for him & me—
he gave me the wings to fly

Monday, April 15, 2013



Q: What frightens you?
A: Real toads in imaginary gardens.

Q: You being the toad?
A: Who else?

Q: And your novels and short stories?
A: The gardens.

Q: When did you first notice it?

A: Just skimming the top of any head I’d say it was LA CÔTE BASQUE.

Q: That’s when you realized…
A: That I was the Toad…

Q: The toad in the imaginary garden?
A: You got it, honey…

Q: How did you feel?
A: It wasn’t pleasant. But what did they expect? The high society ladies. Or even Perry Smith. I’m a writer. I use what I see & hear. Did they think I was listening to them for the fun of it?

Q:  What happened?
A:  What do you think? I was terribly ostracized—banned from High Society. The very same snobs & upper-crust elite that I’d catered to with The Black and White Ball, the endless hours of boring cocktail confessions that they just couldn’t wait to tell me all  about. All the tell-tale gossip about the Rich & Famous. 

Q: And?

A: All their kitschy bedroom secrets and smarmy hidden adulteries. The yachts lollygagging in the same old stultifying Mediterranean, the covered-up sex-scandals, the tacky divorces, the hushed-up murders, the inescapable usual boredom, the luxurious day-to-day ennui of it all.

Q: And?

A: That’s how I became the Toad in that Garden. But that wasn’t the first time. I had inklings & hints that I’ve been an evil ugly little Toad for quite a long time, honey.

Q: When was the first time?

A: Well, let’s see. I suppose it all goes back to my first novel—OTHER VOICES, OTHER ROOMS. 

Q: Your first imaginary garden?

A: Yes, I be a Toad all the way back then. I just didn’t know it, that’s all. 

Q: The way you deal with it, though, it’s always rather intriguingly imaginary, my dear.

A: I suppose so. Deceptively so. But that was the style back then—dontchaknow. Southern Gothic like Carson McCullers and Eudora Welty and Miss Faulkner. 

Q: You mean Deep South Decadence?

A: Perhaps I was somewhat of a closet case back then. At least a part of me was. Too pretty to be a boy like the New Orleans voodoo queen said in “DAZZLE.” 

Q: It came out in Joel the young kid in OTHER VOICES, OTHER ROOMS didn’t it?

 A: Yes, unconsciously I suppose. With Randolph up there in the window too. 

Q: Randolph was you?

A: I was both Joel & Randolph. Sometimes a writer can be writing a story — not realizing completely that he’s working out some problem that’s been troubling him. 

Q: Like what?

A: That a fictional character isn’t fictive at all. It’s the Writer himself… Like in a nonfictional novel.

Q: Like being too pretty to be a boy?

A: That & everything that goes with it, my dear. I could only hint at it in OTHER VOICES, OTHER ROOMS. If I had kept it up much longer then, none of my future books would’ve sold — not with the tres chilly climate back then.

Q: All the homophobic critics?

A: Well, duh. Look what happened to Gore Vidal.

Q: He blamed the straight critics for him not being as successful as you were.

A:  C’mon now, sweetheart. Miss Vidal only had herself to blame — that and the usual sour grapes routine.

Q: Well, if you were a critic today what would you say about what you’ve written so far?

A: Well, I’d probably say that Miss Capote certainly be quite familiar with horse manure, my dear.

Q: “Miss Capote”?

 A: Yes, MISS CAPOTE. She sure bitch a lot, honey…  Bitch, bitch, bitch. What a fuckin Bitch Queen!!!  Moan & Bitch, that’s all she do anymore. 

Q: Not a kind word for anybody? Not even herself?

A:  Oh, I suppose I could blame it all on Big Daddy. You know like Madame Sylvia “Hammer Films” Plath. Or blame Ted Hughes for not catering to her fucked-up whims.

Q: Are you in a bitchy mood now?

A: What do you think, hmm? I can’t help it if I’m a Drearie Dearie these days. Mere trifles, though really, nothing’s really important anymore. Not after IN COLD BLOOD.

Q: Are you really being honest?

A: Did I ever say I was honest? 

Q: All that nonfiction baloney… Didn’t you just to it for the moola? Those IN COLD BLOOD big bucks & film rights? 

A: Well…

Q:  C’mon, Truman. You couldn’t wait for them to exhaust their appeals & end up deader than doornails! So you could collect a million?

A: It was more than just a million, honey.

Q: Did you really fall in love with Perry Smith?

A: Well, I suppose Perry was more like the Leaper by the River Styx that Saint Julian came across. 

Q: How do you mean?

A: I shared my robe with him — because he was cold. And I kissed his rotten diseased lips — to show I cared for him. 

Q: And?

A: The hard Kansas rain was coming down on both of us — there in that dark Stygian Death Row Lansing Prison cell. We were both cold, shivering, lonely.

Q: And then what?

A: I couldn’t help myself. I had to comfort him somehow…

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Answered Prayers


—Truman Capote, Too Brief a Treat: 
The Letters of Truman Capote 

When did I realize—
I was writing something different?

What made IN COLD BLOOD—
a different kind of novel?

Ditching everything I knew—
calling it a nonfiction novel?

Different than my early stories—

Different than my travelogues—
my filmscript for THE INNOCENTS?

Was it later toward the end—
leaving ANSWERED PRAYERS undone?

Had Kansas really changed me—
subverting and seducing me?

Queering me into writing this—
strange “nonfiction” novel?

The bleak gothic landscape—
the texture of language itself?

Forcing me to junk everything—
all the genres I ever knew

Exiling myself outta myself—
then putting me back in

NO more invisible reportage—
instead becoming the Other

Telling the story all over again—
alone here in this darkness

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Perry and Me


“The novel of 
living together
as two men”

Perry Smith my lover—
my tattooed caged stud

My Lansing Death Row—
young convict cocksman

How I loved him so—
getting him off behind bars

I fed and pampered him—
visited him daily in prison

I sucked him off a lot—
we had nothing else to do

I got him an attorney—
going thru all the appeals

I was the only one he—
trusted enough to tell me

Flexing his Tiger Head tattoo—
as I slowly sucked him off

What really happened that—
horrible Holcomb night

It wasn’t in Cold Blood—
it was Perry’s sheer jealousy

Knowing Dick Hickcock—
was gonna go for the girl

That’s why Perry did it—
those shotgun murders

Shocking & scaring Dick—
to death with his lover’s rage

Escaping down to Mexico—
then running outta money

Killers taste different—
knowing they’re gonna hang

You can smell and taste it—
each time they CUM they DIE

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

All the Suave Swans


—for Truman Capote

“Black on flat water 
past jonquil lawns”
—James Merrill
“The Black Swan”

LA CÔTE BASQUE wealthy ladies—
gliding by like suave swans on a lake

Truman Capote with his catty little glare—
doing his still-unfinished unspeakable novel 

ANSWERED PRAYERS indeed but not for—
many of Capote’s High Society female friends

The beginning of Miss Capote’s social suicide—
spilling the beans on the dying Jet Set queens

Norman Mailer shrugs saying “So what?”—
“Let’s hear some really indecent dirt”

“I know he’ll share some exquisite gossip—
if people only knew what Filthy Rich do”

“All it takes is a martini or two to get—
them bitching & moaning about themselves”

Using pseudonyms for their real names—
Capote squeals on the Suave Swans

A private chic chaos swirling in his wake—
the Swan Outlaws uneasily questioning

Their black necks arching in distain—
singing their bleak bitter Swan Songs

What did they expect from the bitchy—
journalist author of IN COLD BLOOD?

Needless to say much shock & rage—
chagrin & embarrassment shared by all

The pain of the petulant Sleek Swans—
betrayed beyond their worst expectations

Some swallowing sleeping pills to die—
others fleeing to Europe to mope & weep

The coy Enchanter sipping his cocktails—
all the time plotting, scheming to trash them

The illusion of upper class invulnerability—
turning hollow, marrow of cold winter

The hollowness of Suave Swan sorrow—
did they think it could possibly last forever?

Were they no different than the ex-cons—
deluding themselves like poor Perry Smith?

Were they any less rapacious than Killer—
Dick Hickcock haunting Holcomb Kansas? 

Like some innocent blond child there—
on the bank admiring the graceful swans

Capote could see no difference between—
Fifth Avenue elite and ex-con hoodlums

Cruising the brilliant ice-cold waters—
the suave sophisticated Society Swans

Emblems of spoiled evil Black Swans—
marveling at their own bliss & sleek suavity

LA CÔTE BASQUE shattering illusions—
that whole Jet Set jettisoned adieu 

Is that what happens when a writer—
gets disillusioned with things?

Monday, April 8, 2013

The Writer

William Sauro


“Remember, first of all,
 that no one in the larger 
world cares whether you 
write or not.  If you want 
to write, it is you and you 
alone who must create the 
space, that will make 
writing possible.”
—Paul Russell, author of

Which is what Capote did—
in order to survive way Out There

Gawd knows Truman was—
strange & outré enough as it was

He needed Harper Lee desperately—
to accompany him Out There

Because that’s what it really was—
compared with New York City

He simply loved & adored NYC—
loved the feel of pavement under

His heels going clickity-click down—
busy classy chic Fifth Avenue

Major thoroughfare of Manhattan—
Fifth Avenue crossing Midtown 

Especially 49th Street to 60th Street—
lined with prestigious shops & resaurtants

After all, isn’t that where Tiffany’s was—
the "most expensive street in the world"?

Once he’d done that, go figure what—
really matters to a writer like Capote

Doesn’t it seem strange to you that—
he’d give William Shawn a call right away?

After reading the little article there—
that morning in The New York Times?

Why would Capote even want to—
go out there to that godforsaken hell?

And be on the Santa Fe Super Chief—
with Harper Lee as soon as possible?

Was it literary ambition that drove him—
desire for GONE WITH THE WIND fame?

Wanting to be America’s very own Valentin—
Louis Georges Eugène Marcel Proust?

Surely smart critics saw thru his façade—
Capote’s whole Non-Fiction Novel fantasy?

Ending up writing about it as if his life—
depended on it (because, in fact, it did)?

Out There


Is there any way of possibly—
describing the High Plains out there?

There’s no way of describing it—
CAPOTE wasn't ready for it at all

The bleakness, the lonely starkness—
IN COLD BLOOD a living Nightmare

SANTA FE track straight thru town—
some tall white Grecian grain elevators

They called it OUT THERE—
and there’s a reason why they did

Between Kansas and Colorado—
there’s nothing but a vast Nothingness

Not that that bothers anybody living—
out there on the surface of the Moon

The sky looks down on mere humanity—
just like it did on the stoic Indians 

Endless fields of golden wheat fields—
out there where the horizon never ended

Did Holcomb or Garden City—
really even exist in that terrible Void?

The sky looms high overhead—
did it really care for anything down there?

OUT THERE was faraway from anything—
It was where NOTHINGNESS ruled

It’s hard to comprehend sheer Nothingness—
especially to a Brooklyn Heights writer

And yet this is what happened, baby—
Capote brought it back to the Big Apple 

Sunday, April 7, 2013

The Black and White Ball

Capote & Marilyn Monroe: The Black and White Ball


—Christopher Bram, Eminent
Outlaws: The Gay Writers
Who Changed America

The Black and White Ball—
of course, it wasn’t real

How could it exist anymore—

Chic critics mocked the idea—
scoffed and pooh-poohed it

How could a novelist possibly—
leave himself out of his novel?

Are we so bankrupt, they said—
so avid for decadent escape?

That we stoop to enjoy a—

So VOGUE jaded that we must—

Surely IN COLD BLOOD is just —
a mere piece of schlocky gossip?

A morbid dizzy kitschy piece of—
insipidly snarky yellow journalism?

Shame on Miss Capote for her— 
wicked satire of Holcomb, Kansas

Doing her stylish sophisticated—
NEW YORKER take on such a tragedy

Glorifying those two ex-con killers—
as if murder be so tres cosmopolitan

Just as boring and ordinary as—
some Big Apple ho-hum homicide? 

Worming his way nefariously into—
the confidences of Perry & Hickcock

Cold blooded as the two ex-cons—
so devoted to his murder melodrama

Living out there on the High Plains—
in a lonely Garden City dingy motel

Harper Lee as his Fag Hag diplomat—
ingratiating himself to get the Story

Bribing his way into Lansing Prison—
schmoozing out all the juicy details?

Patiently waiting for the inevitable—
Noose Party at the jerky climax?

No wonder Capote became alcoholic—
all to get on the NYTimes bestseller list

Intensely knotted up in fear—
full of self-pity and survivor’s guilt?

Hardly, my dears, get real—
she couldn’t wait for them to die

So she could finally become—
The Great American Proust!!!

Throwing her splendidly sordid—
Black and White Ball to celebrate!!!