(1) BEFORE GOOGLE: May Swenson, Beauford Delaney, and Elizabeth Bishop at Yaddo
(2) STARS IN BLACK TURTLENECKS: May Swenson
(3) SOME JOY: Swenson
(4) A poem by May Swenson
The James Bond Movie
The popcorn is greasy, and I forgot to bring a Kleenex.
A pill that’s a bomb inside the stomach of a man inside
The Embassy blows up. Eructations of flame, luxurious
cauliflowers giganticize into motion. The entire 29-ft.
screen is orange, is crackling flesh and brick bursting,
blackening, smithereened. I unwrap a Dentyne and, while
jouncing my teeth in rubber tongue-smarting clove, try
with the 2-inch-wide paper to blot butter off my fingers.
A bubble-bath, room-sized, in which 14 girls, delectable
and sexless, twist-topped Creamy Freezes (their blond,
red, brown, pinkish, lavendar or silver wiglets all
screwed that high, and varnished), scrub-tickle a lone
male, whose chest has just the right amount and distribu-
tion of curly hair. He’s nervously pretending to defend
his modesty. His crotch, below the waterline, is also
below the frame—but unsubmerged all 28 slick foamy boobs.
Their makeup fails to let the girls look naked. Caterpil-
lar lashes, black and thick, lush lips glossed pink like
the gum I pop and chew, contact lenses on the eyes that are
mostly blue, they’re nose-perfect replicas of each other.
I’ve got most of the grease off and onto this little square
of paper. I’m folding it now, making creases with my nails.
(5) A poem by Elizabeth Bishop
Unfunny uncles who insist
in trying on a lady’s hat,
–oh, even if the joke falls flat,
we share your slight transvestite twist
in spite of our embarrassment.
Costume and custom are complex.
The headgear of the other sex
inspires us to experiment.
Anandrous aunts, who, at the beach
with paper plates upon your laps,
keep putting on the yachtsmen’s caps
with exhibitionistic screech,
the visors hanging o’er the ear
so that the golden anchors drag,
–the tides of fashion never lag.
Such caps may not be worn next year.
Or you who don the paper plate
itself, and put some grapes upon it,
or sport the Indian’s feather bonnet,
–perversities may aggravate
the natural madness of the hatter.
And if the opera hats collapse
and crowns grow draughty, then, perhaps,
he thinks what might a miter matter?
Unfunny uncle, you who wore a
hat too big, or one too many,
tell us, can’t you, are there any
stars inside your black fedora?
Aunt exemplary and slim,
with avernal eyes, we wonder
what slow changes they see under
their vast, shady, turned-down brim.
(6) Three images: Beauford Delaney