HOWL 1997

for David Foster Wallace

I saw the best minds of my generation -- I mean, my friends -- destroyed by Zima, hysterical, belching,

dragging themselves through suburban streets at dusk looking for an au lait,

whippet-headed hamsters burning for the ancient heavenly erection with the stars of retro in the machinery of keen,

who, lapelled and chain-walleted and hollow-cheeked and high, sat up smoking in the preternatural darkness of cover-charged bars floating across the tops of cities contemplating hair,

who bared their brains to almond-stuffed olives under the El and saw Sinatra staggering on Vegas stages illuminated,

who passed out in university classes with hungover eyes hallucinating tiki and pizza among the scholars of chic,

who were expelled from the academies for stupid & publishing C++ on the Windows of 95,

who cowered in unshaven rooms in underwear, burning their laundry in wastebaskets to be like Trent Reznor and listening to Minidiscs through the wall,

who got busted in their pubic beards for what the hell is a pubic beard jesus Ginsberg a grip man we've just started Laredo and something else obscure with a belt of Nirvana for New York,

who ate fire to impress high school girls and burned holes in the leatherette sofa or drank Stoli, wealth, or tattooed their torsos night after night

with co-opted runic miscellany they stole from some remaindered Campbell book, with mirrored narcissism, with waking and sleeping, alcohol and cock and Lexus,

incomparable blind streets they'd drive in Landcruiser and lightning in the mind leaping toward poles of Dunn and Bradstreet, illuminating all the motionless world of Time until Kyle needs to piss,

Mesquite solidities of ribs, backyard green tree will do as well as any to void the wine drunkenness over rooftops, I may have forgotten to mention it's a roof garden, distracted was I by the joyride neon blinking traffic light, sun and moon and the World Wide Web vibrations from the cell phone,

they chained themselves to laptops for the endless ride from nowhere to nowhere on triple mochas until the noise of hard drives and night brought them down shuddering mouthwracked and needing the stairmaster in the halcyon light of Zoo TV

who sank all night in monitor light of Dell, floated out and sat through the straight-edge afternoon listening to Fugazi, listening to the cold blip of Doom on a Pentium 90,

who talked continuously seventy hours god won't they ever shut the fuck up from chatroom to chatroom to chatroom to chatroom to the empty fridge,

a lost battalion of platonic conversationalists logging off for martini under the moon

yammering screaming vomiting whispering stats and data and anecdotes and lines from *Swingers* and twinned Jacques, torpor and bars

whole intellects ensconced in Total Recall for seven days and nights you'd think they'd get tired of it Stone is a goddamn laughingstock and Arnold is Arnold,

who vanished into nowhere that is to say Microsoft leaving a trail of ambiguous picture postcards from the 50's and a spent Zippo

jet-lagged from Eastern Daylight Time and Tangerian bowl(e)s and migraines of Vicodin withdrawal in South Park's expensive cell,

who wandered around and around at lunchtime in the glare of a SOMA sun, wondering where to go, and went, remembering that they had code to type,

who rolled cigarettes, leaving no butt unburned, racketing through Shellac toward lonesome townhomes financed by dad,

who studied Bradshaw Mars and Venus techno and Hole because the non-sequitur instinctively vibrated like motel beds in Kansas,

who loned it whatever that means through the streets of Palm Beach seeking visionary indian angels who were visionary indian angels but failing that found a cheaper tautology would work almost as well,

who thought they were John Waters when Baltimore gleamed in supernatural ecstasy,

who crawled through limousines for Mentos,

who lounged hungry or at least thirsty through Austin seeking jazz or sex or a decent thrift store, and followed the brilliant Spaniard to converse about CKone and Eternity, a hopeless task, the guy was speaking in some foreign language, and so took ship to Orange County,

who disappeared under the volcanoes of Mexico to find Lowrie and came back with a headache and a souvenir glass, returning to Chicago to go watch Tortoise because everyone else says they're cool,

who reappeared on the West Coast investigating scarification and wine,

who burned cigar holes in their blazers protesting the lack of decent humidors in the downtown area,

who distributed 20% off pamphlets for Urban Outfitters in Union Square because it was a job and fuck you too, weeping or at least getting more than a little pissed that nobody wanted them, undressing in their tiny Ludlow St. apartments wailing and wailed down Wall and the Ellis Island ferry also wailed, there was a lot of wailing going on, take my word for it,

who broke down crying on white squash courts, naked for some reason, I can't imagine why,

who split infinitives and shrieked with delight in policecars because they were ninnies and hadn't learned when it makes sense to shut up for once for committing no crime save their own wild pedantry and elucidation,

who howled about fees in the skyway and billed out at $420 an hour, waving genitals and discovery documents,

who let themselves be fucked in the ass by saintly motorcyclists, and floundered in oxymoronic purgatory for letting those guys into the house,

who blew and were blown by human seraphim, whoever they are,

who bawled in the morning in the evenings in beergardens and the grass of public parks and cemeteries scattering their semen freely - whatta buncha guys,

who hiccuped endlessly trying to speak but wound up with a sob behind a partition in a corporate jet when the blonde and naked girl blasted the walls with silicone due to a rapid change in pressure (please keep your seats and seatback trays in their upright and locked position)

who lost their loveboys to the three old shrews of fate the one eyed shrew of the ambisexual multinational the two eyed shrew that does nothing but sit on her ass in a K-hole and that third-eyed shrew that is Gwen Stefani

who copulated on Ecstasy and insatiate with a bottle of Odwalla a sweetheart a package of cigarettes a candle if goth and fell off the bed, and continued along the floor and down the hall that is to say jactitating without apology over pale hardwood and ended fainting on the wall with a vision of ultimate cunt that to my mind must be something akin to an overarching labia twelve stories high slouching towards Malibu to be born,

who sweetened the snatches of a million girls with some form of feminine spray trembling in the sunset, and were red-eyed in the morning but prepared to sweeten the snatch of the sunrise, whatever that means, flashing buttocks over treadmills and naked in the spa,

who went out whoring in Chicago after having borrowed my car and not giving me money for gas, J.C., secret hero of his skull, cocksman and Adonis of Wicker Park, joy to the memory of his innumerable lays of girls in empty lots and Youth Hostels, the Northside, on the futon with gaunt waitresses in familiar roadside lonely miniskirt upliftings & especially in gas station bathrooms because there's just something about those Exxon girls in their work shirts,

who nodded out because they had yet to hear that heroin wasn't trendy anymore and woke to a sudden Manhattan placed before them by a bartender in Trenton,

who walked all night with their shoes caked in mud on the snowbank docks waiting for a door in the Tower to open so that they could get the new Bush,

who created great suicidal dramas because Kurt, like, saw the truth about things,

who ate the tofu of the imagination or procured crabs from secondhand clothing stores on the muddy banks of the Wishkah,

who wept at the romance of the streets with its pushcarts full of trash because they'd never had to worry about actually living there, among the people that sat in boxes breathing in the darkness under the bridge and rose up to relieve themselves occasionally,

who coughed on the sixth floor of Macy's crowned with DKNY under the avuncular sky,

who scribbled all night rocking and rolling, why yes they were bohemians, just ask them, *visionaries*, that's what they were,

who cooked very rarely but ate a lot of Mexican food

who plunged themselves into the fray to secure a stageside spot at 311 shows,

who threw their watches off the roof because what was time anyway for now when I look at you I see myself when I look at you I see my world it's all black and white and you look like a model,

who cut their wrists three times unsuccessfully because they knew how to get attention, gave up, and were forced to open cafes at 6 AM

who were burned alive in this stanza it being one of those vengeful stanzas about the Man again and that damn System it's killing us all & the tanked up clatter of the aluminum regimen of fashion & the nitrous oxide yawns of the fairies of advertising & the flatulence of left-handed intelligent editors, intelligence is so stifling,

who logged off the Net this actually happened and walked away unknown and without alias into the ghostly clamor of Mission Street to get a burrito but arrived there to find the pollo asada unholy and not even a free beer

who sang out of their windows in despair, danced to Iggy reappropriations smashed phonograph records of nostalgic European 1980's Austrian Falco finished the chardonnay and threw up groaning into the topiary, moans in their ears and the blast of Colossal Head,

who barreled down the freeways of the recent past journeying to buy each other's Hotrod-Birmingham Jail-Solitude Swatch (very rare)

who flew crosscountry six hours to find out if I had a vision or you had a vision or if it was any sort of vision thing and whether you really looked like you seemed over e-mail,

who journeyed to http://, who died in http://, who came back to http:// & waited in vain, who watched over http:// & brooded & loned there's that word again in http:// & went away finally to find out the world & now the matrix is winsome for her child,

who fell on their knees in Fermilab praying for collision and television and implants, until the soul styled its hair for a party,

who crashed through their site in cgi waiting for the impossible criminals with golden calves and the charm of First Virtual in their hearts who sang sweet blues with Bruce Willis,

who retired to Florida to cultivate golf or Red Rocks to tender Bono or Tangiers to the hash or Ocean Pacific to the windsurfers or Harvard to endowment to Brentwood to Daisy Fuentes or grave,

who demanded sanity trials accusing the present author of plagarism & were left with their inanity & their hands & a hung jury,

who threw up at CCNY lectures on poetry and subsequently presented themselves on the granite steps of Columbia with shaven heads, tongue pierces and harlequin speech of genius, demanding instantaneous tuition waver,

and who were given instead the concrete void of insecurity Xanax electricity Sega HTML and alias,

who in humorless protest scripted only one symbolic table, resting briefly in Patagonia,

returning years later truly bald except for a remarkable hair transplanting technology, and tears and fingers, to the virtual Doom of the rooms of the preteens of the East,

foetid halls bickering with the echoes of the soul, hipping and hopping in the midnight solitude-bench dolmen realms of cyber, dream of life a plug-in, bodies turned to stone as heavy as Tad,

with mother finally a href=, and the last fantastic book flung out of the firmament Windows, and the last door closed at 4AM and the last modem logged in and the last virtual room emptied down to the last piece of scripted furniture, a yellow paper rose twisted on a wire hanger in a closet, and even that imaginary, nothing but a hopeful little bit of hallucination-

Ah, Bill, while you are not safe I am not safe,

and who therefore ran through the icy streets obsessed with the sudden flash of human contact of the use of the vanity the catalog the meter & vibrating plane & whatever that hallucinated rose was for,

who dreamt and made incarnate gaps in Time & Waste through images juxtaposed, and trapped the archangel of the soul between 2 legs and joined the elemental verbs "fuck" and "run" to be hailed as a significant voice and make money for Gerard Cosloy, Pater Omnipotens Aeterna Indie,

to recreate the syntax and measure of poor human prose and stand before you speechless and impotent and shaking with shame, rejected yet confessing out the soul to conform with what people will hail me for, excepting the fact that I'm speechless, remember, so this confession will have to be gestural, I guess, slave to the rhythm,

the madman's buns of steel beat in Time, unknown, yet throwing down here the spectacle of a washboard ass, behold and weep,

and rose (there's that rose, knew it must have been for something) reincarnate in the ghostly clothes of acid jazz in the goldhorn sample of the band and looped the suffering of America's naked mind for love or at least a nice house in the hills into a mene mene tekel upharsin Emulator cry that shivered the cities down to the last radio,

with the virtual heart of the poem of life nowhere to be found without modem, good to sleep a thousand years.