More Funhouse East, 1969
(after Peter Dale Scott)
Like something out of an Austen novel,
An introduction by Dr. Rudd Fleming
To one John Pauker, Esquire,
And this son of an immigrant barber
Was off to the More Funhouse East
On Porter Street, Washington DC, circa 1969.
At Yale, Pauker with the reactionary poet
Reed Whittemore and the
CIA spook-to-be James Jesus Angleton
Published the lit mag, Furioso, which included
The fashionable fascist poet Ezra Pound
And his sentimental alter-ego William Carlos Williams.
Soon, the barber’s son was sipping martinis
And holding court with men in tailored suits
With promises of publication and travel.
Men who seemed more of the fifties of his childhood
Than the 1960s right outside the door.
Catching on what was expected of him,
Voice of America, Eastern Europe, Cold War,
He declined their overtures,
Refused their publications and reading tours.
Jump 47 years to a dive bar in Middletown, CT.
The Corner Pocket Bar and Grill.
The Beat Poets, our poet’s latest refuge,
That as his wife says, “Get him.
His vulgar transgressive energy.”
That smack of old country pig farmer
That can’t be bred out.
It’s hot and crowded, and a bunch of the regulars
Mid-libation have been trapped by a poetry reading.
The poets read. The barflies grouse.
Then the barber’s son, dressed in a robe and abaya,
Startles the audience back to the First Century,
The Gospel of Simon Kananaios hot for jihad against Rome.
The time of times of that most infinite asshole, Jesus,
Who like the folks at the More Funhouse East
Knew nothing of living, proposing nonsense
That only made living more difficult.
Dramatic, biting, standup, Lenny Bruce funny, the poet, a dervish
Wheeling about the bar, pounding on the pool table.
Wild eyed, grabbing startled patrons by the collar.
And spitting literal spit, the words of Oranius –
“A golden age a peace and love?
Seen any a that about?!!”
Or Barabbas – “As Pilato confirms, no more secure his throat
From me dagger,
Less the barber, takin’ strength from me,
Strike the blow.
So may the Antipas go the way of Janneus, and
The Hellenes and Herodians upon a sea of blood
As they could this day sail on me wounds ta Hell.
Heathen tutelaries linin’ the temples as they’s stadiums and forums,
Base confounded wif good.
Caesarea Maritima, Caesarea Philippi, Caesarea a tergo.
Herod leasing Cypriot copper from Rome,
And a maritime monopoly in asphalt
Wif Antony’s copper bitch.
I prosper as me people, just as we are.
What cast out Saul is timely to me.
Who to slay his ten thousands and how ta proceed.
No bloody timeless fiction a good will
When none’s ta ground.
Nor, who sired who, like a painted gall’ry a horse pizzle.
But one father and nation same.
But one to die for, and many deaths to come.
Or Gesmas – “And you.
You what make the world an arena.
You kitts and your bloody mongrel faces
What perch me on high
What chosen proper I look down on you.
Here. Here’s me chrism.” (Spits on audience).
And the barflies at the rail. The barflies rush the poet.
Embrace him, clutch his hands in theirs.
Slap him on the back. In a boozy tear or two
They exude their gratitude.
And the barber’s son.
He may have not delivered them from evil.
But motherfuck if he didn’t deliver them from poetry.
NOTE: kitts = kittim = Romans
'After Peter Dale Scott'
refers to Scott's fine poem Tavern Underworld, a selection from his forthcoming book Walking on Darkness.
via FlashPoint #18.
Photos from the 2015 Beat Festival / Corner Pocket Bar & Grill, Middletown, CT:
Lower Left: Carlo Parcelli, Center Left: George Wallace, Lower Right: Yvon Cormier
with Catfish McDarish's telephone reading. Select Photos: Debbie T Kilday. The International Beat Poetry Festival was created by Colin Haskins and Yvon Cormier. In 2016 Carlo Parcelli was recognized as The National Beat Poet Bard Emeritus for The International Beat Poetry Festival.
James Angleton and Norman Holmes Pearson & select Literary/Political connections:
There were strong ties between Literature and Politics in the US in the 20th Century.
James Jesus Angleton was recruited to counter-intelligence work by Norman Holmes Pearson. Pearson (1909-1975) was "an American academic at Yale University, & a prominent counterintelligence agent during World War II...He co-founded & headed Yale's new American Studies program, in which scholarship became an instrument for promoting American interests during the Cold War, such as recruiting personnel for the CIA and other agencies".
Pearson was also a literary editor/confidant of the poet H.D. (Hilda Doolittle). He helped Ezra Pound avoid a treason charge. He & his wife Susan Silliman Bennett (Mrs. Norman Holmes Pearson) encouraged & supported many poets & artists, mingling political & artistic agendas.
"...Following the war he helped organize the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). To head counterintelligence for the new agency he helped recruit James Jesus Angleton, who had been his "number two" in the OSS in London & head of X-2 Italy." via wikipedia
Angleton, Yale, and Literature:
"The young Angleton was a poet and, as a Yale undergraduate, editor, with Reed Whittemore, of the Yale literary magazine Furioso, which published many of the best-known poets of the inter-war period, including William Carlos Williams, E. E. Cummings and Ezra Pound. He carried on an extensive correspondence with Pound, Cummings and T. S. Eliot, among others, and was particularly influenced by William Empson, author of Seven Types of Ambiguity. He was trained in the New Criticism at Yale by Maynard Mack and others, chiefly Norman Holmes Pearson."
John Pauker, Reed Whittemore and Furioso
Later, John Pauker joined Reed Whittemore & edited Furioso for seven years. John Pauker was "a Hungarian-born poet, editor and art collector who was a longtime official of the U.S. Information Agency".
quote via Washington Post Archive
For more on John Pauker see
John "Gunboat" Pauker (1920-1991) by