Issue 1

Adorno Naked on the Beach

 · Poetry

     “There is no love that is not an echo.”
     — Theodor Adorno

I saw myself too much in the face of the birthday boy,
So I ate the expense of the expensive birthday cake in the dark
Diminished tones of empire. And then I ate the cake.
I was a cartoon dog singing the praises of Hollywood blackface
Driving drunk towards Adorno’s house in a stolen talking car.
I was the blond tennis god you asked for on your Amazon wish list.
I loved only death and the image of the twelve-tone method.

I loved only the twelve-tone method and the tennis-court voice of death.
I used up each sound in its turn until nothing remained, I was grim like
A selfish lover and as a knife fight on camera. I wagged my small brown tail
At each note flickering out along the ragged lines of scale.
I was the three-pound bag of sand. I was the polished heart and the scale.
I was a cartoon dog singing the song of the unconsecrated Pacific.
I am driving to your bedroom in a stolen talking car.

As each tone turns up its lights and scales up production
You become aware of me watching you through the keyholes
Of each petite model castle lined up on the talking car showroom floor.
I become aware of you becoming aware. I pretend not to care. The prepared
Piano sighs around a mouthful of pegs and nickels on the showroom dais.
The tennis court prepares for rain. Adorno runs through the silver
Bars of sleet for the last haunted taxi to Ghost Planet 0.

I was the man with the coupon for the haunted Rossellini box set,
The one that screams and cries blood and is remastered for Blu-ray.
I was the one that teared up at the end of Germany: Year Zero.
I was an unbaptized dog on the planet of cartoons, haunted
By the way my mouth barked mute around pegs and nickels,
And how each saint I met on the road averted his gaze.
In your bedroom, I found Christ at last, singing his grave song and down for whatever.

You were the queen of haunted cars, the king of the talking castle bedroom.
You were stretched out on the mattress like a model heart stained with white wine.
I was the silent lover you picked up at the bar for selfish knife fighters (even now,
We twine our wrists together and swing cleavers around in the dust). You were
The three-pound bag of sand left unopened at the artificial beach
The gods built to teach the Pacific something about humility. It didn’t learn
(Even now, the waves, the bitter whale songs. The motion of underwater blogging).

In death, I found love in the underwater motion of the twelve-tone method.
Using up each sound turned me on. Nothing remained but atonal harmony
And the ragged bathroom scale. I remained haunted by pegs and nickels and
Bled from the mouth, a model patient. I pretended not to care about
Each selfish ghost whispering drunk and coy at the door of Adorno’s tiny castle.
I pretended I was a three-pound bag of sand, gracefully deaf and aloof.
I wrote cosmic on the beach like Stockhausen. I recorded myself stumbling for hot keys.

I was the king in white wine twined to the dust by a knife. I was shut up in your room.
I was the kind of typewriter ribbon you give to ugly babies with sonnets for teeth.
I was the cartoon dog you sacrificed on the altar, and the three-pound bag of sand
The gods sent in return. I was the last gently stained ghost on your Amazon wish list.
I was sad, and you were sad. We were sad and dragged our feet along the Pacific Ocean.
I saw too much of the ocean in the wet floor of this car, drunk and in love with the death
Of the twelve-tone scale. Adorno says: Kiss me, cretin, with your two-tone lips!

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