The October Project 2006, with Sean Cole

Saturday, September 30, 2006

October 19, 2006

Dear David they’re sneaking into our brains with their
fragrance munitions. A whole new wave of behavior
control, it’s called aroma marketing. The man in Hartford
fluttered a glass vial under my nose – Eau d’Play Doh. All
the sudden I was back in Mrs. Schaffer’s class sucking
on a Batman statuette I’d made. He used the word
“deployed” a lot. It’s tactical, like Tinkerbell,
sorcery with just a touch of Rumsfeld. The founder of the firm
was a Lockheed Martin engineer who left to work for Disney.
Created smells for It’s a Small World and for Army
simulation training. It’s Musak up your nose, I swear,
the man in Hartford used to work for Musak. Was at a trade
show, he told me, bent down to grab a scrap of paper that said
“Sugar Cookie” on it. “Because I’m kind of a crazy guy
I smelled it,” he said. “A nosy guy,” I told him. Transported
him back to grandmother’s house in Rushville, New York,
he said. Knew it was happening. Totally helpless. Had to take
over the company, finally. These days he’s hawking synthetic
nostalgia, collapsed in a briefcase of six dozen whippets. It’s
true what Proust said. I’ll paraphrase here: “There’s no factory
like the olfactory.”

(written 10.20.06—12:35 a.m.)

i was headed home from my folks
after seeing the mets tie their series up 3 games all
when my dad asked me to stay
to go to my sister’s house and watch game seven with him
we watched my niece michelle
dad picked up a pizza
and i rummaged through sis’s fridge for beverages,
cans of diet tropicana orange, diet sierra mist,
and diet wild cherry pepsi,
a plastic bottle of snapple diet peach ice tea,
later grabbing some pulp free non-tropicana orange juice.
the mets game was 1-1 most of the way,
helped along by a two-run homer saving endy chavez catch
but then a two-run homer to the same spot in the top of the ninth
and the cardinals were up 3-1,
three met outs to go.
and the mets got two runners on,
before they got three outs
and the only place they were headed was home for the winter,
i almost wished they had gone down 1-2-3
so all of us weren’t teased,
but they don’t go out like that.
after carlos beltran took strike three
to end the game
i remotelessly got up
and turned the tv to leno, then letterman.

October 20, 2006

Have seen one Fenway game in life. One any stadium.
Five years old. Father plops me down in green
bleachers, praying I stay hetero, unaware
that green, on Thursday, means your queer.
Men the size of aphids career grass, chasing atom.
Hours of skull-collapsing actionlessness. Then, at once,
crowd jumps to feet, completely interrupting my,
albeit horrible, view of field. Never went back. Twenty-eight
years later, Chicago hotel bar. Cubs have driven city almost
to matricide. Everyone in room’s a public radio
producer. All eyes on TV. Sox up 3 in 9th. Yankees smack
3 points to tie up game. I wrap each hand around a scalding
hot, invisible baseball, scream, “No! No! No!”

10.20.06—11:12 p.m.

another day
trapped in long island
“This is David Kirschenbaum held captive,
day two, and I’m Ted Koppel.”
stayed last night,
’cause dad wanted me to watch the mets game,
then this morning
us all at my sister’s place
her daughter sick
for a third pretend day
though she’s good enough to act and sing her roles
and then she pulls the i don’t feel good can i stay home,
so my going home at around noon
became staying round
’til my sister’s errands and meetings were done
and then jeeping to my folks alone
to watch the programs i would’ve taped on my own vcr.
we did have a nice sabbath dinner,
and watched some tv,
before i head bobbed through taped ugly betty.

October 21, 2006

M. and I are arguing over how to spell the word
“jih-zm” I insist it’s G-Y-Z-Y-M a la Ginsberg’s “Last
gyzym of consciousness.” M. says “no it’s J-I-S-M, spelled
that way in every novel I’ve seen it in.” “How many
novels are you reading with the word ‘gyzym’ in it?” I say.
She doesn’t respond. We make a 50 dollar bet and then
forget ’til morning when she remembers the bet wrong.
“You said 50 bucks it’s spelled your way,” she says.
“No,” I say “50 bucks it’s NOT spelled YOUR way.” No
on-line dictionary lists Ginsberg’s goddamn spurt of phonetic
wisdom. Only and Wikipedia list
hers. Wikipedia: Jism may refer to a slang term
for semen, a fluid secreted by male animals; a term in Hindi
meaning body; a 2003 Bollywood film; the Jordan Institution
for Standards and Metrology; the Joint Initiative Synergy
Movement. “See?” she says, “mine has its own listing!”

10.21.06—2:07 p.m.


you look like maggie zurawski
but i think you like boys
my old girlfriend candace
went shopping for toys
with her friend alicia
it’s bothering me
more now than then
it’s time to stop worrying about the past
or things that have gone, things that didn’t last

i’ll still call you back
i always do
it’s not a commitment
it’s a question of who
of who’ll always love me
and if i’ll care
about being alone
about all of the stares.

October 22, 2006

Yesterday: removed half a donut from a plate
on the bed and ate it. My house has turned into
a series of ant hills, day old morsels carried down
them in ant lorries. Almost 35 and living like
the guys in Bosom Buddies. Or Oscar frigging
Madison before Felix moved in. Maybe they named
Oscar Oscar after the Grouch, both men couched in
garbage you can’t tell me that’s a coinkidink. One high
school day we’re taught the word “serendipity,”cheer-
leader perks up, says “That’s the name of a clothing
store!” Teacher, true to the old rhyme, shoots a dirty
look. Chances are both of them are dead, or at least still
residing in Millis, Mass. In other words, “kind of dead.”
I mean them no harm as I brush crumbs and cigarette
remnants from my bed. I wish them clean homes, or at least
immaculately maintained grave-sites.

(written 10.23.06—2:48 p.m.)

yr girl is prettier than u girl
and u said u only date pretty girls
but i wondered how you could say that
since you’re not really pretty
(though anyone can see you are sexy)

October 23, 2006

Today my hero called and said I’m good. Had just
unstitched the “S” from my chest, was holding it
over the toilet when the phone went. All this
time it’s only stood for “Sean.” “I believe
I can fly.” Which will be unfortunate if I actually
try to. No manual for this suit. Hair a flame of typical
curls. Lawyer girlfriend. It’s Robert Culp who called.

(written 10.24.06—1:18 a.m.)

if you say you’re coming
can you come
you wanted to come earlier
i asked you to come later
and right before you were to come
someone came themselves
and i turned the lights on for them
in every single room
so when they came to see my home
it would be no tomb
and i left the lights on for you
in great anticipation
did i ever tell you
how i loved janet jackson’s rhythm nation?
but you never showed up
and so an hour later,
i turned off all the lights i didn’t need
and grabbed to drink some partially frozen water.

October 24, 2006

Nice to see you! Do you wish to become
multi-orgasmic? The great predictions are made.
The increase is up seven percent lately. Drill
this stock in the head, boom day later state-
ment. This watch is fictitious this pill
is fantastic. Don’t be surprised if you’re able to spill
it all over her workbook a go-go. Try us the women
will flam to your pump-hut like battery art. Better get
in on this hot topic, better loosen the bonds of your
awesome memory. Freak luck like this doesn’t come every
day the the way you will once you take this obvious
Michael enhancer. We all got on Barbie, we ate what they
gave us. We all topped our wallet off by commodifying
our lemon relievers. Swing low, cat monitor, swing
silently closed. A fine song. We loved it. Stop.

(written 10.25.06—1:37 p.m.)

i’m beginning to dislike the gilmore girls
it’s something i never thought i’d say
but see there’ve been plot lines
that i haven’t liked
like why would rory ever take to heart
the things that logan’s father said
then go and quit yale
and not know just what to do;
(and why would she still be with logan to begin with)
and why give luke a child,
a 12-year-old daughter he was never told about,
which would lead to luke and lorelai’s breaking up,
and lorelai going that night into rory’s dad christopher’s bed
(who she’s dating now,
going with to paris now).

and i want to stop watching the gilmore girls,
but they say that this is the last season,
about 18 episodes left,
i guess that i can stick it out,
i’m probably gonna stick it out.

October 25, 2006

All the radio is gone. The sets are on but
every anchor is in Evanston, drinking.
I’m with them. Flew here in silence, the pilot
explaining how the plane works on channel
nine. We do this yearly, leave our studios and drink
in Illinois listening to the radio, which is lit up, and
soundless. We talk about what could be coming
out of it. We make slur racket, e.g. engender
neologisms. And record them. And go home.
And play them on the radio.

(written 10.26.06—3:02 a.m.)

most of the craig’s listers seeking my room for rent
are sending me their descrips
(some instead immediately enter into questions
about me and the room and the apartment,
leading me to ask them about themselves
before i’ll invite them up for a look).
but some of the craig’s listers seeking my room for rent
are also sending me their pics.
i’m never sure what to do with them.
i keep looking for the physical deformities that they must have
and want to share with me in advance
to see if i’m ok with their ailments,
but don’t find any.
today one woman sent me what can only be described as a sex kitten pose.
she’s coming by to look at the room tomorrow.

October 26, 2006

Tony says he heard the word
“Yes!” yelled atop a man’s voice one
room over. “So I guess,” he says “there’s hot
man-on-man acton happening next door.”
“How do you know it’s man-on-man,” I say.
“Oh,” he says, “Two men’s voices. Plus,
one called the other ‘man.’”

(written 10.27.06—10:53 a.m.)

i left my apartment today
for the first time since i arrived last week
took the elevator down six flights
to go and check my mail
and there was the new issue of sports illustrated
just like i thought it would be
and then i returned to my apartment today.

October 27, 2006

I left my body today, fortieth
time since arrived mid-week.
Floated six flights down hotel
skeleton. Elevator a notorious
snail. There in room spilling
people stood a hero saying I should
be listened to. I knew he’d say
something, not that, or for that
long. Then, returned to lobby, ate
supper with him. Non-failure evening.

(written 10.29.06—12:20 p.m.)

another potential roommate comes by
with a really beautiful girl
he introduces as his friend
they walk through the apartment
which is nice and is clean
and then we reach my room
the former living room
which i haven’t cleaned for this search,
i mean it’s not like there’s garbage laying around
but the futon is covered with clean, folded laundry,
and like a thousand copies of boog city.
i’ve been wondering if this is why
i haven’t found a roommate yet
but i don’t care enough to make it look alright,
so now i do what i did tonight,
lead with a jab at myself as we enter the room,
“yeah, this is my room,
as you can see it’s a bit messy.”
and the pretty and elegant girl
walks through it to the terrace,
and she has a glow about her,
which makes me feel ok,
as it’s normally these girls
who have the guys’ ears.

October 28, 2006

My little horse must think I’m queer.
I have no horse. So, weird to mention
him I guess. His name is odd.
He has no name. Although, unlike
the song, he hasn’t gone through
anything. Again, no horses here.

My little heart is in a cab.
Electric mare. Except it has
no head, nor hide. We take the road
less traveled toward O’Hare. Weary
monogram behind my brain, I die some,
dream I’m some nag’s heart about to bust.

My little train’s about to leave.
I’ll stay the night, flap my carpet
sometime noon tomorrow, white-steed
bird, like myth ’cept no one’s heard
about it. We’re nameless like our non-
existent breed of whack-job stallions.

(written 10.29.06—12:40 p.m.)

all the copies of the flipbook
i made for the segue reading today
sold out
enabling me to have some income in my brokedown days
before i went to bed yesterday
i ran out 30 copies of the pamphlet
and i grabbed them when they were all done printing
my toner i knew was running low for weeks
but i didn’t have the $120+ to replace it
and most of these pages came out all streaked through
so i threw them into my recycle bin
took the toner cartridge out
shook it back and forth and side-to-side
and then printed just five copies
to see how they’d go
and they looked sweet and streak free.
so i went to bed
and this morning
printed them out in five copy increments
shaking the toner back and forth and side-to-side
and i figured the goal was to get 20 clean copies
and after i had done just that
i tried to run a few more out
and they came out crazy streaky and that was that
so after giving the authors and a host a copy,
and keeping one for myself,
i had nine copies to sell
thanks or no thanks to my toner
and i sold them all and they paid for groceries.
i’m thinking that once i get a new toner cartridge
maybe i’ll start making pamphlets
for other readings,
maybe link up with a series that i dig,
except then i’d have to leave my apartment.

October 29, 2006

Saturday rise at 8:00 before alarm having gone
to bed at 4:00. Try again to watch sex-filled video
on internet, preparing for interview, I swear. Cab to
film summit South Wabash continue attempting
to call up director’s johnson on screen at Starbucks, afraid
of near-peepers. Walk back Columbia College 8th floor
panel on No Budget Filmmaking, secret to feed
actors working for free. Conduct interview including
the question “Your penis is in episode three.” Sweet
kid 25-year-old prodigy, four movies above his
johnson, going everywhere very quickly. Cab to O’Hare
Marriot, doze and dream I’m sharing keyboard with
prodigy pianist, paparazzi snapping flash blubs in
my area. Wake up thinking water bottle is left forearm.
Write poems to David, missed one yesterday too much
happening as you’ve heard. Blueline meets Belmont, bus
to Broadway, mom on phone explaining step-dad’s
knee-replacement, lots of pain all over. Meet pals outside
record store, soft tacos, beer we brought ourselves. Long
Negativland show about lack of God almighty, poignant,
moving, awfully long. Nap some in audience, dream
nothing. Walk to bus where two new friends discuss new
theory about girl-clothes: no costume-trousered women
anymore. Halloween’s now Ho-Day, day all female
revelers wear hot-pants. Girl in dowdy outlet get up,
holes cut out down low for plug to go, proves case more
than anyone. Bus back Belmont, wait for late train, three
to Forest Park come and go before the first to
Cumberland. Doze on subway, dream I’m eating salad.
Wake with mouth in comely ‘O,’ opening, closing,
embarrassing. Doze again dream I’m eating cole
slaw. Wake thinking maybe didn’t have enough
for supper. Walk to hotel, cold as hell, as hell is cold, Piers
Anthony said so in On a Pale Horse, read in ninth
grade, friends would call it Under Male Horse,
joking. Grab a smoke, new pack, smoke in frozen
October shadow. O, o, o, escaping broken
grimace. Finally return to bed, heavenly
pillow they call it. Switch on cable fall
asleep to CNN discussing brush fire. Wake
Wolf Blitzer interrogation breakfast airplane Boston.

(written 10.30.06—3:51 p.m.)

my about-to-be roommate comes to the door
i sit him down in the kitchen
two copies of the lease are there ready to sign
can he look at the room again
he asks
you mean you want to see it one more time
before you hand me all of this cash
i say
he looks around, asks what will stay
everything except that torch lamp.
and we go back into the kitchen,
and after a few more questions
we sign the leases
and he cuts a big check to me
and even though it won’t clear for two days
i hand him his apartment keys
because you have to hand someone apartment keys
who’s just given you a big check,
though i won’t call him my roommate
until two days from now when that check clears.

October 30, 2006

M. asks, “Have you written a poem about my ass yet?”
“No,” I answer, “But I will.”
“No, no,” she says.
“And,” I say “I’ll start it.” M asks, “Have you written
a poem about my ass yet?”
“No,” she says, “really I…”
“No, really,” I say “I will. No one will know. No one
will know I’m talking about you.”
“I don’t think…” she says.
“No,” I say, “It’ll be fine.”
“I just thought,” she says “it was at
the forefront of your mind,”
“It is,” I say, “And I’m going to write a poem about it. It’ll
just be this entire conversation.”
“No, no,” she says, “Time out. Poem over.”

(written 10.31.06—11:13 a.m.)

to the church off the second avenue bus i saw her
it had been six months to the day since i’d seen her
and every time i did see her it was really nice
and here it was being really nice again
maybe it’s because we don’t see each other that often
but i don’t think that’s all it is
i just know that i saw her on the way to church
me just off of the second avenue bus
and it was really nice.

October 31, 2006

Some guy dressed up as a guy on a motorbike flips me off
twice, left, then right, his hands dressed up like
two birds. A car dressed up as my car had honked at him. Traffic
light in red costume. Someone dressed like someone shocked
at my driving acumen has a horrible mask on. I don’t look, dressed
as I am like someone who could give a shit. A large group dressed like
my co-workers welcomes me to the office which is dressed
as a radio station. They win the prize so far. Perfect touches like the desk
dressed as my desk covered in loose hairs, the clocks all running twice
the speed of normal ones. I forget who I’m dressed like halfway
through afternoon and begin guilt. A kid on a Career Day tour
tries to take my face off. I dress him up like someone to be angry at
for the rest of my life. Soon the sky tries dressing like a pale
wound but fails, goes to later party as a corpse. I walk out under its
white orchid. Uncanny how good at this everyone is.

10.31.06—11:39 p.m.

i’m almost out of lithium
gotta go and get me some
i’ve been good
’bout not fucking ’round
missing more than a day or two
throughout the year
gotta get me some
gotta make me run.

my renewals are all gone
doc won’t see me anymore
gotta get me a new doc
to get the scrip
to skip the shock
and today
finally money
can pay a doc
for a scrip or three
gonna get me some
never had a taste for rum
i like my


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