Kay Gabriel

1. Peroration

Stephen Ira is in the bath!
Stephen Ira is ten feet tall!
Stephen Ira wears bright blue trunks!

The scandal Stephen Ira
The dandy Stephen Ira
The infamy, Stephen Ira

Stephen reads the poems of Roberto Bolaño,
reverent in church.
Stephen reviews the Letters to James Alexander,
and takes them to the zoo.
Stephen enjoys the personas of Dennis Cooper,
bluely inside.

My invoice for 78 cents, Stephen Ira
My receipt for a whiskey rocks, Stephen Ira?
My rich deserts, do they look okay?

Stephen, musk-redolent
Stephen, multi-orgasmic
Stephen, quasi-violinist

Liker of Forster, Stephen Ira!
Delighter in Stein, Stephen Ira!
Pleased by Genet, Stephen Ira!

As Doctor of Dental Science (D.D.S.):
thunderous, abrupt
As Philosophiae Doctor (Ph.D.):
impressive in shorts
As laboratory scientist (???):
moistly attentive

Plushly on the carpet, Querelle:
A loser of jeux, a cheat
Criminal in criminal body hair.

Transfixed at the mirror
and enjoying something made by her wife.
Alice, Gertrude, Gertrude, Alice, appetite.

More suggestive of infinity than any railway,
Stephen Ira! The Schlegels are upon us.
And what do you intend to do?

2. A Country Weekend

Stephen is late to catch our train. “Sorry,” he says, “I was on my antique telephone in a
nightgown. Guess the film!” But I let it slide. Why fight about it? We are going to the
country. Breathy chit-chat gives us an auspicious start, but directly we sit down a spirit of
the age appears neatly across the aisle with an inscrutable tome, which she folds across
her knee. Accosted!

THE RAT RACE: Pipe down about your email! This is the quiet car! Lights the fuck out!

She makes a good point, so we pick up our sandwich wrappers. The next car features a
granite bar, mood lighting, and crustpunk on the speakers. Ice-cubes in the shape of
pearls rattle with our relentless forward motion. Isn’t it glish, Stephen Ira! I open my
mouth to say so.

GAVIN DEGRAW, TENDING BAR: I know you! You’re that hot pants kids. Don’t you
have opinions? Well-fucked by moonlight, proud Titania! But I shan’t be having your
business, Mary!

What to do when both of you are Mary? We have to agree, even our currency shares our
proclivities, well-assed by moonlight. Shall we proceed to the lounge car, Stephen Ira?

Oh, for want of a fainting couch! Yet as we pass into the car I swoon onto a convenient
chaise longue. When I come to Stephen is talking to a man in achingly tight pants. “Me
too!” I say. Stephen makes introductions: “Kay! Come meet The Real Deal. He plays
piano for the lounge society.” The lounge society? For indeed women around us chomp
on fat cigars. Sofas stuffed against loveseats recall so many bumper cars, an afternoon on
the Seine. The Real Deal strikes up Porter—

THE REAL DEAL: You’re sublime—you’re the Analytic—you’re a lime—for a churlish

This Real Deal tickles my nose, Stephen Ira, can we keep him? But then the rest of the
lyrics momentarily escape me out of embarrassment. Farewell, tight pants! Away we fly to
the following car. The train, indeed, devours the countryside hurtling on towards—but
here we have arrived in our own private bureaucrat.

CREAM OF THE CROP, Private Bureaucrat: What’s the big idea? Which among you
frequents the state capital? Show me some plastic! This form belongs to another decade!
What is the glyph beneath your port of entry stamp? Who sews the pants? Who lays the
tracks? Who sets this thing in motion?

Thus baffled by questions we debark quite by accident at the last stop on the weekend,
and were forced to start all over when, just now, the telephone began to ring—

3. Matins

I brush my teeth with the writer Stephen Ira

I masturbate with the writer Stephen Ira

I run laps with the writer Stephen Ira

I tend bar with the writer Stephen Ira

I pull the plug on the writer Stephen Ira

I dilate next the writer Stephen Ira

Am in cahoots with the writer Stephen Ira

brew coffee for the writer Stephen Ira

stamp stamps with the writer Stephen Ira

I lick letters to the writer Stephen Ira

I sext the writer Stephen Ira, on accident

Am up all night with the writer Stephen Ira

Am at pains to determine, Stephen Ira,

My morning schedule with the writer Stephen Ira

with the writer Robert Duncan

with the writer Kylie Minogue

with the writer David Wojnarowicz

with the writer Stuart Hall

with the writer Neil Smith

with the writer James Earl Jones

with the writer Sylvère Lotringer

with the writer Sky Ferreira

with the writer Rylee Lyman

with the writer Hart Crane

with the writer A.B. Robinson

with the writer Gertrude Stein

with the writer Louis Zukofsky

with the writer Samuel “Chip” Delany

with the writer G. “W.F.” Hegel

with the writer Gaius Valerius Catullus

with the writer David W. Pritchard

with the writers Zach LaMalfa and Cam (Cameron) Scott

with the writer Friedrich Schlegel

with the copycat August Wilhelm Schlegel

with the utopian Helen Schlegel

with the symbol Margaret Schlegel

with the pregnant Schlegel

with the perilously rural Schlegel

with the upbeat low-rent Schlegel

with the Schlegel Stephen Ira

and the Schlegel Leonard Bast

and the Schlegel Leonard Bookcase

4. Noises Set in Motion

Like machinery aufhob manufacture i.e.:
preserved and cancelled, “superseded”
since “sublated” is (a nitpick?) a table reserved for G.W.F.
and his friend G.W.F. Hegel, it is fancy,
it is latinate, it has a determinate origin,
it wears elaborate socks, it incorporates the thread
from its socks into its person, we might suggest:
“sublate” is a little gay.

Thus “reproduces,” “blots out,”
“abstracts”—like machinery and manufacture thus today
who can tell the bather from the bath?
And would you like one?
And would you like to tell your friends?
And Stephen Ira, where is he?


KAY GABRIEL is a poet and classicist. Her chapbook Elegy Department Spring (BOAAT Press, 2017) was the finalist for the 2016 BOAAT chapbook prize judged by Richard Siken. With David W. Pritchard, she’s also the author of Impropria Persona (Damask Press, 2017). Find her provocations on Twitter at @unit01barbie.