“I BREAK YOUR HEART TO BREAK MONOTONY.”
-Lydia Lunch, excerpt from Adulterers Anonymous
Have I mentioned my undying love for Lydia Lunch? Or Exene Cervenka? In an awesome collaboration (collision?) between the east coast’s and the west coast’s reigning punk goddesses, I present: Adulterers Anonymous. This obscure gem of female goth poetry was published in 1982 by none other than SF’s own Last Gasp Books. Fact: it rules.
The way Adulterers Anonymous is structured is the result of an organic process in which Lunch and Cervenka engage in a sort of stream-of-conciousness call-and-response. They use different fonts to distinguish each woman’s words among the braided verses. (In the below excerpts, Cervenka’s words are lower case, and Lunch’s are in all caps, similar to how it looks in the book.) Oh, and not that anyone would expect any different, but the general tone fluctuates between rage, irreverence, absurdity, and gloom.
THERE ARE SOME THINGS TOO HORRIBLE FOR WORDS.
wash smoke down with drinks, dry tears up with blood.
there are some things worth refusing.
THERE ARE SOME THINGS INAUDIBLE FOR WORDS.
AND OTHERS TOO HORRIBLE.
far from few have rested their brains on my headstone.
pete knocked the phone off the desk. he says it would be neat to have a phone with a ring that sounded like a car accident.
“were you drunk last night or
is that part of your act?”
“i don’t have an act
and i wasn’t drunk.”
THE NASEOUS SCENT OF MY OWN BLOOD
CONGEALED BAKED FRIED TO MY WRISTS
MY HEART IS IN THE WRONG PLACE AND IT WANTS TO GO HOME.
HOME IS WHERE THE HEART SLIPS
INTO MY BACK POCKET
REWIND AND ERASE
PAINED ON A PLATTER
I wish I had gotten my hands on this when I was actually goth in high school. But no, I was too busy reading “real” poetry like Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Blake and other old white guys with a taste for the macabre. Some might say that those poets stand the test of time, while Adulterers Anonymous is no longer relevant 30 years after its publication. To that, I say: Totally. I wouldn’t want to read anything relevant to most of society’s dull souls anyway.
i got to finally take my own medicine
power over life and death
one dollar bill torn in half
A DREAM SO SMALL AND SLEAZY
i regret you