Spoonful: A Gathering of Stone Soup Poets

An extension of Cambridge's Stone Soup Poetry Venue.

Poem by Coleen T. Houlihan

Illustration by James Conant

The Confession
In loving rip-off and honor of Allen Ginsberg

I am terrified of the thick cloak of clergy,
the ones who cannot remember the hollow hum
of insides, center of human universe,
hot cunt of earthly pleasure.
I have almost been defeated by the snarl of girls,
young with inexperience but enough years
under their belt to have discovered the amusement
at another girl’s expulsion.
I have loved men and then hated
the change in their affection when the lure
of pussy subsides and becomes real flesh, tight flesh;
seeing with flashlights the power of birth and blood and cum
and their own demise, and in it, a need to instigate mine.
I have run through the streets at dark,
a flesh and blood beast of mortality,
better than nothing and queen of my world.
I have heard, through my own ears, my voice
sound one way, then morph into a woman
possessed on tapes, screeching poetry,
trying to evoke Sexton’s madness,
rubbing into my pores Miller’s filth
and thinking this is what it felt like
to stroke Anais’ skin.
I have ingested the barf of nations waving
guns and flags. Swallowing, I have often found
the taste putrid, can remember from time to time
the occasions when it was sweet.
I have felt super power strength,
my legs two muscled boulders,
bullets grazing them like flies and then stumbled
and fell when I saw the eyes of a dead child—
some small dead thing, some testimony
to my inevitable death and powerlessness.
I have painted my nails for hours,
putting polish on, taking it off, too
purple, too red, too pink, too
scared and lonely if I am honest,
too choosy if I am not.
I have often wanted to run mad
knocking into celebrities and
‘people of note’ like a linebacker,
spitting and flicking my menstrual blood
in the upturned faces of proper people,
afraid I might turn the corner and bump into myself.
I have crawled on the floor with cats, cried over
dying bats, sprayed worms with Raid and watched
them wriggle in agony, such vivid
interpretation of so many humans’ dance.
I have envied the singular arguments of
schizophrenics, waved my own fists at ghosts
and shaken my head in psych class at
case studies of the mad.
I have hated other women, their tits
and legs and asses, their brains, and hair, and spirit
and laughed when others have laughed
and stood naked, cold, shaken and so ashamed
under the puritanical spotlight wondering how
it was I could be convinced to hate so strongly
all of the things I have loved.
I have elicited responses, stroked the back
of the lobster right next to the boiling pot,
relished in my ability to get others to love
and then skipped down the lane, past the
big bad wolf, past grandma and found myself
completely alone, not abandoned, simply lost and never found.
I have stirred the brew of treachery,
brought laughter with my words, ruined people’s
days, made children dance and found myself human.
I have fucked and been fucked, sucked
and been sucked, listened to sonnets composed,
composed sonnets listened to and wrung my hands
distraught that sweetness could be such
subterfuge when mixed with other people’s
impossible standards of living— old, old ways
which never worked but through stories
and words, keep going, and going, and going.
I have spent money I do not have buying things
I already do and thrown beloved items out, smiling
and clapping, imagining what it must be like to be
beholden to nothing and in that way
having control over everything.
I have taken pleasure in an photographer’s lips,
secretly touching tongue to tongue,
twirling curls over digits and
allowed my hands to be clapped
behind back, luxuriating in the gift
of being understood— if only for a moment
made three dimensional by an aficionado of the glossy flat.
I have defecated and been beautiful,
teased, plucked, pulled and been grotesque in
the artificiality, under the shadow of someone
else’s lack of originality.
I have made love to outsiders,
posed for pictures with the norm,
been comfortable in both worlds and made confused
by what the papers have had to say the next day.
I have fingered unread manuscripts that contained
the best of me and had useless words underlined and quoted.
I have, on occasion, closed my eyes to the present
and become a heaving, swaying, shackled, proud beast,
blinked, and gone running to Sacks Fifth Avenue
to buy perfume and distance…

So what does it mean when the devil was an angel
and God can cause someone to fall?
So many languages, impossible to understand them all.
With every orifice open I please and disgust the world.
Ah, but I am still standing— maggots quiver on edge
for the word—
Ah, but I am still standing…Not bad for this girl.