Kevin Killian

Revival of 3-D

Revival of 3-D came and I
went with this guy

How the audience loved the live
bodies making love in our laps!

Felt like a flit of bug
spray up my legs,

Felt like an erection over here how
about you over there

The glasses weren’t made of glass
that was part of it

Felt like America had been held hostage just like an
Anderson Cooper vision of night life for lo! all these years

then only now set free & this guy—I mean I’m there with Robin
Thomas who should be up on the screen not holding my
arm—this guy Robin Thomas yelps

and why? Rita Hayworth throws a
glove in my face and whispers, “Count the
red hairs in my teeth, they’re for you, they’re for real.”

Afterwards that—I took off my “glasses” and looked
with my real eyes at this guy, Robin Thomas

Half of him was red and half green,
Half of him was no and half yes.

I thought—American life has always
churned out this way—

I thought—California has 4 dimensional
lives to live with colored glasses to look at—
to dial them down to 3-D

Half of him was day and half night—
half of him was me and half you.

Everyone’s either wearing the glasses or has them pushed up-
side their heads to hold their
Hair back

and why not?

Tottering Bridge, Exploding Bomb

Tottering bridge, a bomb burst
under you and seized your supports,
reducing you to splinters. Once
you’d carried kings to queens,
costers to market—now you’re a
heap of toothpicks. Still your
presence is felt: each time we
call each other up & make dates
to meet, we’re replicating the
functions you used to perform.

Exploding bomb, once you’d gone off
& destroyed tottering bridge I
began to pity you. Who
can imagine your bland beginnings
in an alley workshop, three parts
metal, one part fizz, without
regretting you’re now all ash?
I never did like that old wood bridge—
he was so phallic, so imperious.
You and he now share a common state
of fulsome, bygone pastness. In a
few years I’ll join you both.

High Voice

I have a high voice maybe there’s something wrong with my balls and
maybe that’s why I’m so shallow

On the other hand I always figured it had something to do with this bump on
the back of my head—sometimes I think my head is this big because it’s so
stuffed with the doings of the stars

Or maybe because of Irish tenor blood soaking in my veins


When children poke at me pull on their mother’s arm say “Mommy,
Mommy, I’m frightened: that man looks like a pig and talks like a girl,”
I often say,

“Child you sound more like me than I sound like a girl—and ditto for your
mother. And what pig?”

Ever hear yourself on a tape played back? Well, when this happens to me
I hear a chorus of crickets singing

“Take back your mink, take back your pearls”

crickets cacophonous

crickets, false with unbearable affectation,

crisp, arch, keen, clipped halfway between the earth and sky

I hear helium drunk crickets—insects with rubbing wings running on that
endless Mobius ribbon of time—

I have a voice high in the clouds and a nature low, low, lower than the slimy
trail of the snail

yet that’s all I have
to undo the origami—thank you,

You can imagine how this makes me feel.

I can imagine how it makes you feel.
The Letter “K”

When they first thought
of beginning a person’s name
in upper case what, what
were they thinking of?

Why does the letter “K”
in “Kevin” get what amounts
to visual sovereignty
over four other letters?

I think of this now when
I consider the way left
seems to come before right.
It also seems that we

age then we die, who
thought of these things, why
is our experience so
uniform? The “K” is a kindly

king beloved by all like
Princess Diana Spencer and
loves to shop. The other
letters try to look up

his robes, they’re low and reach
only the satisfactions of
the louche and set free:
under the Magna Carta a

capital letter signed all
the rest of them free with
his initial, some ancestor
of “K” only less Kafkaesque

where it really counted, who
carried it on the point of a
spear sharpened on the
bare branch of a tree.

Evidently we’re supposed to
carve our initials in a heart
on that bare tree now that
we love each other. What

are we thinking of? It’s
all royalist humbug is what
it is.

Broke Down Palace

55 lines without a letter “h” in honor of bp nichol

Margaret wake up, Maggie, turn on
as if I were an item in QVC catalogue
or a slice of crisping toast on an open griddle
Time for injection, okay, but . . .
tell me my family and my country
ou est les petites princes of Diana, ou but back to UK
meantime you are surveying so closely I
can smell your glance of suspicion
like old pine cone of Fraser Valley
and I am sitting on veranda, cream on
rings in my knuckles vivid rings of a great Olsonian pine tree in
loss land

People of two countries squawking
to and fro, mockingbirds above lamb trails
appellation zero birds of a

Listen up, you were only bleeding
onto prednisone smears on oily blanket
in dark trunk of 50s automobile

speedy as calliope

no, gazelle

Animals in Toronto Zoo under police protection
but suffering, deracinated from soil and dark
I don’t give a damn about
bad analogues, only our big condition
non-living, non-working, non-Jackson Pollock

Toronto clubland, klieg rays burning yon darkened sky
look up above Pitti Palace of Brian Mulroney
saying in two voices

we will be flattered
nous avons flatterones

Did you get all flustered at your debut
of course and after my two little princes went back
to faraway UK not even stopping by to eat
my violet crumble I just broke down

in a fit of blue blotter acid, broken memories
of a lakeside trailer, just me, just two boys
and me

Before TV cameras I played my part
valiant, face clear and strong
backstage, different story
tears filling my flask of mitten

Never meant to get so
. . . Wienersian about my problem, but was
poetry always meant to be about a life,
or was it once a performative gesture towards
break down
A gender unknown, a word
under tip of my tongue?
Were I a praying sort I’d be on my knees to
St. Ress and St. Rategy, begging and screaming
for realignment, I’m a set of old brakes
on a muddy transcontinental trek to
loss land . . .

500 KM to

loss land . . .

KEVIN KILLIAN has written 20 books, most recently PINK NARCISSUS POEMS (The Song Cave) and EYEWITNESS (Franary Books). Coming up: WHO KILLED TEDDY BEAR?, a new book of stories from Semiotext(e), and TAGGED 2, a sequel to Killian‘s earlier collection of color photos of nude poets, artists, musicians, filmmakers, etc.