Satori can surge upon you on the subway,
lectured Dr. Tufail in Intro Zen.
The mire gives us the very substance of art,
goes Lorca’s Play and Theory of the Duende.
reflected Little Richard in a Macon
Greyhound terminal’s greasy spoon,
up to his biceps in Georgia suds, boss-
man piling on pot atop pot atop pot—
and that’s exactly what I meant at the time.
Of the two strains of modesty, false
and true, he knew neither. I put that little
thing in it, he said of Little Richard’s Boogie—
gospelized flop, in no way Tutti Frutti,
green as air before a downpour. Always
had that thing, but didn’t know what to do
with that thing I had. For consistency,
he’d win the Whitman Contradiction Prize—
Gay? I founded Gay. I wore makeup
and eyelashes when no men were. But once
a chartered flight caught fire in a dream,
Jesus Christ made men, men; women, women,
sermoned Minister Richard Penniman.
Satori, Duende: daemon versus demon—
one draws from light; the other swills
in Bier-stink at the Star Club, Hamburg,
1961. He didn’t open for The Beatles;
The Beatles opened for him. Backstage,
he’d preach from Revelations. We’d all
sit around and listen, just to hear him talk,
remembered Lennon, whose dying mono-
syllable, yeah, I’ll never not recall, down
to the loaf-sized radio the news dirged
through (I call that time my decade-long
lost weekend). His own One and Only,
for years an ancient star I didn’t know
wasn’t dead—in fact it was the Fab’s
blandish cover of his Long Tall Sally
that schooled the Beatle-daemonic
white mass of us: don’t sit so still; sex
sings best in tongues, if not yet drag;
Truth’s not only Beauty but Raw Joy.