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,
My invoice for 78 cents, Stephen Ira
My receipt for a whiskey rocks, Stephen Ira?
My rich deserts, do they look okay?
Liker of Forster, Stephen Ira!
Delighter in Stein, Stephen Ira!
Pleased by Genet, Stephen Ira!
As Doctor of Dental Science (D.D.S.):
As Philosophiae Doctor (Ph.D.):
impressive in shorts
As laboratory scientist (???):
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
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—
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.