600 Readings | 3 Ratings

Calvin & Hobbes & Susie

{NB: See Statement of Concept below the poem.}

My brain fused at eight, so I’m in the sad, pathetic version of your situation: When I win at solitaire, the cards do a fancy dance. It’s like a million little clitorises. (They’re all pubes, visually.) And I just saw your whole right nut, which is its own horrible irony. It becomes an economic argument. Does that mean anything to you visually?

I try to model my behavior after porn. We all love it, and it’s immediately accessible, but it’s what you do in the background. What I’ve largely resigned myself to—that sounds more negative than I mean it—is that we should have a reality show on the Playboy Channel. I kind of like to do new things together. I wish I could just blast your clothes off; it’s a foundational part of who I am as an artist. (The ideal scenario is to sell to everybody the maximum amount they’re willing to pay for a good. “Oh, a spice rack!”—There’s a Ted talk on that.)

I’m working on my sales pitch; I’m trying to make it less gross. I need a certain amount of self-deception, or just deception. My biggest thing is bullshit. (“Cars and poetry, those can be your things—Im twerking!”) It’s the tangible, tactile quality of theater that we’re losing. It’s almost like government money is anathema to Art. We can sit here and complain about poets not being paid, because we don’t live in a place where we’re corralled into groups and sent on boats to hijack other boats. Poetry matters, there. Buckets of money for the arts? That’s how poetry is to them; it’s their national identity. It came from being in institutions—not asylums, but just… (“That’s fascinating. You should probably put it on the table at some point.” “…I’m just working my core.”)

Are you looking it up? I’ll give you a reach-around if you do. (Obviously there are exceptions.) The only thing to be bored by is inept Art. (You saw Book of Mormon.) That’s what all this “prank” stuff is: I’m playing a T-Rex because I need to find a stealthier way to chew on you; sometimes I squeak. (“Can you put a Starburst in my mouth?” “It’s hilarious when you’re making an intellectual argument with fireworks glasses on.”)


“One of the realizations I had when I was on acid: Poetry is more of an ethos than an art-form. Poetry is the container.”

“Are you saying that because you’re porking the U-Haul?”

“Careful with your words. I virtually never want to hear anything from your fucking phone unless I have to.”

“Don’t you have to pee? I want the bed.”

“Why are you making me look at you while you’re doing that?”

“Oh, I’m doing the opposite of turning you on? Why are you being such a cooch? (‘Bitches is crazy…’)”

“It came from my parents.”


The “people” elements are largely unimpressive to me; I went from being pretty oblivious about people to being pretty good at it. Thatwhy you’re so fucking crazy in your early twenties. (“Fuck right I’m not important!”) We shouldn’t allow sixteen year-olds to drive. What does that mean, as I ram my fingers up your nose? Women have more interconnections between the two hemispheres, and boyfriends should be seen and not heard. {Pause.} I’m such a jerk. I’m pretty sure that as a parent I’ll be akin to the dad in Calvin & Hobbes. It’s the foundational “skittery poem.”

My class loved “All You Ploughboys,” by the way. I could really see some light-bulbs going off, because, while you can reconstruct, you can’t un-deconstruct. Maybe the Internet is causing our poetry to be more singular and less invested in the human experience? More interested in processing things the way you do when you’re on the Internet (Netflix, video games, porn)? They had more manual labor that they had to do alone, and they were in more meditative spots than we are. If I had more money, I’d buy them—thats how good they are. 


“She should be in a Kiss cover band.”

Theyve been manipulated by the overarching narrative that tells them they’re not important.”

“They were cool for a minute. The problem is, it fluctuates so dramatically that sometimes it feels like it’ll never go back.”

“Fuck, Ted. Pretty big dick!”

“Yes and no. Look, I didn’t mean to call you ‘slutty princess,’ but I’d like to be able to have sex with you without knocking over Legos—and your pubes are all over the bathroom. Just everywhere. I don’t how to believe that my fights matter when I see things like that. I just can’t execute without the illusion that Ashbery’s gonna die, we’re going to spray come all over the walls, et cetera.”

“There doesn’t have to be any starting or ending point; it’s just an exploration of a thing. You can have things so basic that there’s no plot or conflict.”

My hands smell like salmon. I’m going to go read Game of Thrones and blow my nose a few times. (“I love that we have you on record saying that!”) I’m not one of these people who really cares if I have fame after I’m dead. The problem is, there’s the whole “loving other people” thing that gums it all up.

Posted 11/06/13
Statement of Concept: "Calvin and Hobbes and Susie" is a collage of 100 statements made by the author's girlfriend and closest male friend during the month of October 2013. Permission from both parties was obtained beforehand, though neither knew when their words would be recorded or which of their words would be used (and the sequencing of the statements was only determined by the author once all 100 statements had been collected). Only full sentences or phrases of ten or more words were used for this collage; the number of conjunctions added to the sentences and phrases of "Calvin and Hobbes and Susie" was limited to five.
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Audio: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yMJhYkf6LWk
11/06/13 7:27pm