The blog of author Dennis Cooper

Please welcome to the world … Fun to be Dead: The Poems of Bob Flanagan, edited by Sabrina Tarasoff (Kristina Kite Gallery / Pep Talk)


‘Cause for celebration: Bob Flanagan’s tortured, elegant poetry is finally back in print! Alive with carnality, love, abjection, relentless self-exposure and fatalist laughs, these poems are as fresh and stunning as when they were first written. Bob’s work lays bare the eroticism of punishment and the punishing possibilities of the erotic. Every meticulously chosen word between these covers drips with blood, cum and tears.’ — Amy Gerstler

‘Bob Flanagan takes the scalpel of poetry, sectioning the veins of humanity’s plea for every soar and dissolution, replacing liters of blood and its liquid memory with purple wine. We have no chance of escaping the lores and laws of existence, so it would seem; how to put our back into living, exsanguinate phenomenal eternities? Fun To Be Dead is a rhapsodic intubation of love, breathlessness, and despair slid between linen sheets cracked in bleach, wheezing lungs, salted skin, and moonshine light years and centuries ahead. Whistling new tunes of prospect with chapped lips, turning tricks with prose on fleek, as lungs drown in fading time: the dimming duration of cystic fibrosis Flanagan handled with kid gloves and cynical, elegiac resolution. Fun To Be Dead chapters all the luminescent ties and appetites we hold to earth and those we don’t, bleeding humor and sagacity over cold tiled floors in lilac liquid mercury. Which is to say, his otherworldly cosmos, planetary alignments filled with affection and incursion form a brilliant collection of breathy abnegation that charges us with lack and anticipation. Fun To Be Dead is sky and leaves: my newfound amulet.’ — Estelle Hoy

‘Bob Flanagan makes me sick and I love it. Is there a right way to be ill? I dunno. Probably you’re meant to keep quiet or frighten anybody too much, just be a strung-out angel in waiting, please. This is very much fucking not what Bob Flanagan did. He took his wrecked body, his pain, his urges and, yup, his death, everything that he was supposed to keep to himself, and he turned it into work that’s ferociously alive, hilarious, strange. In these poems, he’s singing to you in the back of the ambulance while the dogs prowl outside and ‘the sky glows orange like a match.’ It’s beautiful, it hurts.’ — Charlie Fox

‘I think of Artaud when I read Bob Flanagan’s poetry. Artaud had no choice but to use his madness/sickness to make his art, and the same with Flanagan. To do his poetry/performances, he had to move through his physical pain. Yet he kept his humor and charm throughout the process. On many levels, I think of him and his work as poetry on a Saint level. I don’t have that many heroes in my life, but I know if I follow The Bob, Sainthood is not that far off. — Tosh Berman

‘As an upgraded Culture Wars casts its shadow across the land, a veteran combatant rises from the dead. Conservative-baiting performance artist and ‘supermasochist’ Bob Flanagan emerges in this collection as an extraordinary writer, whose work is suspended between tenderness and violence, gravity and glee, and palpitates with the quintessence of the quick. Cometh the hour, cometh the man: it’s Bob o’clock.’ — Diarmuid Hester



Bob Flanagan @ Wikipedia
Bob Flanagan Poems
Bob Flanagan’s New York Times obituary
Bob Flanagan: Taking It Like a Man
Sick: The Life and Death of Bob Flanagan, Supermasochist @ Letterboxd
Bob Flanagan and Sheree Rose Visiting Hours Interview (1994)
Bob Flanagan; Artist’s Works Explored Pain
Bob Flanagan The Pain Journal
Seven Artists Grapple with Bob Flanagan’s Legacy
The Bob Flanagan Archive
Bob Flanagan’s Book of Medicine
‘Pain Journal’
Supermasochist: Art & Adoration
Bob Flanagan’s Crip Catholicism, Transgression, and Form in Lived Religion
Solitary Confinement, the 60s and Bob Flanagan
Disability and BDSM: Bob Flanagan and the case for sexual rights
Bob Flanagan and Sheree Rose Collection
Buy ‘Fund to be Dead’



Sick: The Life & Death of Bob Flanagan, Supermasochist Trailer

Why? by Bob Flanagan

Cystic Fibrosis Song

Aesthetic Self-Medication: Bob Flanagan and Sheree Rose’s Sick Art



from BOB, An Introduction
Jack Skelley

Bob laughs. Then coughs.
Bob is a comedian. He’s always “on.” Making up songs. Impersonations of Dylan and Bukowski. He is not above the most cringey pun. The worse the better. I go see him at improv workshops. From the audience I shout prompts: “Chickens!… Donut!”
Bob makes everyone laugh, including himself. The laughs come often but not easy. Bob struggles to repress his own laughter even as he desires—needs—to make me laugh, because every laugh verges on a cough. Brutal bodyquakes that shake the phlegm clogging his lungs and festering with infections.
The laugh/cough is a bell that tolls. And yet, in the tangled restraints of Bob’s doomed body and dazzling wit, he craves that laugh/cough because his faulty lungs—barreling his skinny chest—can’t push enough oxygen to his tick-tock sick heart, a struggling pump. The laugh/cough memento mori allows precious breaths.
As I enter Beyond Baroque and hear that cough in the crowd I know Bob is there.
It’s Bob O’Clock.


When Talking Heads’ Remain in Light comes out, Bob points to “Born Under Punches” with its refrain, “All I want is to breathe,” and I recall another line from that song: “I’m so thin.”


Laughs, coughs, and sex: Life preservers. Early on, Bob reveals why, since boyhood, masturbation and orgasms have entwined as a pain escape. A good orgasm is a good hurt. Later in “Why” he lists more reasons.


I’m the person who brings Bob and Sheree together. The occasion is a 1979 Halloween party thrown by me, Amy Gerstler. The three of us—along with Bob and a handful of others—are the core of Dennis’ “gang” at Beyond Baroque. (Beyond Baroque supporter Alexandra Garrett hosts the event at her Santa Monica Canyon home.)
Sheree and I are good friends. We had met a few weeks earlier when she and her young son Matt came to see X play a benefit at Beyond Baroque. Now I invite her to the party. She goes as a decapitated Jayne Mansfield. And there’s Bob. He is a zombie in a bloody white dress shirt, chomping a plastic hand.
The vibe is electric and Bob is lit. Bob sits cross-legged on the living room rug: center stage in a circle of party people. He’s rifling through their wallets and purses, making jokes out of every driver’s license and baby picture. Sheree laughs her head off. It’s love at first laugh.
Thereafter, for Halloweens to come, Zombie Bob and Jayne Mansfield Sheree memorialize this meeting. They dust off their costumes and reenact it in poems, photos and performances.


Memories are zombies. They lurch, they stagger, they just keep coming.


The Halloween party holds other auspicious meetings. I also invite high school friend Rick Lawndale. Soon Bob, Rick and I form Planet of Toys, the “folk punk” trio that later evolves into a six-piece rock band. Bob and I are co-songwriters. (Rick and I later formed Lawndale, the psychedelic surf band on punk label SST.)
We take our name Planet of Toys from one of my poems. This also becomes a song of the same name. Bob and I harmonize the threatened innocence of Bob’s poetry:

Mister Machine will keep the streets clean
Teddy bears will comb your hair
Barbie Dolls will cry for you when nobody else wants to…

Another number, “Fun to be Dead,” becomes our “signature song.”

Problems, problems, everybody’s got ‘em
Not me, not me
I look around from a hole in the ground…

When I wake up on the morning I’m still asleep
Dreaming that the birds in the trees go cheep
Waiting for somebody to knock on my door
But no one’s gonna knock on my door any more

Cause it’s fun to be dead, fun to be dead
Lah la la la la laaaah… UGH!

That refrain—“Lah la la la la laaaah… UGH!”—the song’s last line—is essence of Bob. A gut-punch of glee. Pangs of dread on a beautiful day. A goofy Liebestod. Bob O’Clock is the time to taste honey-sweet desserts on Death Row.
“Waiting for somebody,” “everybody’s got ‘em”: Bob’s verses (and verse) are his body, a corpus compressed, scarred, solid.
In the bodyverse of Bob, poems are kinesthetic wind-up toys that go kablooey. Bold outlines in bruise-purple Crayola. Penal Colony sentences inscribed on skin. Childlike cheer where yearning for love is punished.
The kid is father to the man. A buoyant boy bobs on the surface of sunny Los Angeles, while the man with a battlefield body drives into dying light sucked daily down its black hole in the ground.
In “True Confessions” Bob blacks out “in a strange hospital where they poke me with a hundred needles.”
“It’s real life and it scares us to death,” he says in one of his essential “Slave Sonnets.”



Sabrina Tarasoff, editor Fun to be Dead: The Poems of Bob Flanagan
Kristina Kite Gallery/Pep Talk

‘“Explosions, fireworks, ka-boom:” Lingering in the intensity of experience, and so inscribed into the eternal, as set to verse here, it only seems possible to introduce the collected poems of Bob Flanagan with a festive salute to the end. The six volumes in this collection court ideas in the undertow of left-on fairy lights following some kind of grand fête. Dimmed images appear in the fragile atmosphere of last night’s memory loss. A crushing, kind comedown. Tinsel shimmers against a marble-heavy heart. Gut-wrenching lines hang still and serpentine in the air, arrested in the formal collapse of what has been celebrated. Balloons weigh as much as the preoccupied mind-shaping, and re-shaping, refrains in the aftermath of things said. What is left behind often amounts to a poetic atmosphere–in this case, assembled from the debris and scatter of the significant other, a poetics of restraint.’ — Sabrina Tarasoff

‘The first complete collection of Bob Flanagan’s poetry, edited by Sabrina Tarasoff and with contributions by Jack Skelley, Sheree Rose, Chiara Moioli, David Trinidad, Dodie Bellamy, and Dennis Cooper.’


The Wedding of Everything

Today looks much like
the rest: simple,
a handy kind of day,
a meat and potatoes day.
The bright buildings of the past
are launched upward
into an unrumpled sky, ordinary
beyond our wildest dreams.
Personality takes off
into the blue. No mail
today: things: everything
groping towards us
like 3-D. Oranges
as orange as crayons.
A moldy piece of bread.
Junk. And the birds
will sing sing sing.
I can almost understand
a day like this.
My troubles seem so puny.
Delicious day, I will eat you up
like a mountain of white cake,
chunk by chunk.
I’ve got new shoe laces.
My feet slip into my shoes
over and over again.
So easy. Everything
pleasing me, sliding down
my throat (those soft
boiled eggs) the way I slide
into this day. CRACK!
That’s what I mean.
CRACK! the way a baseball
smacks a bat. and THUMP,
the way it snuggles into a mitt.
A day is as a day does,
and this day, like the rest,
is leaving, and everything
grows sleepy.
The sun rises to a place
in the sky, and leaves;
and behind it leaves
a blind spot:
the purple sun, blooming,
cut down and tossed like a bouquet.
Congratulations, everything.


Slave Sonnet #1

I’ve been a shit and I hate fucking you now
because I love fucking you too much;
what good’s the head of my cock inside you
when my other head, the one with the brains,
keeps thinking how fucked up everything is,
how fucked I am to be fucking you and thinking
these things which take me away from you
when all I want is to be close to you
but fuck you for letting me fuck you now
when all that connects us is this fucking cock
which is as lost inside you as I am, here,
in the dark, fucking you and thinking–fuck,
the wallpaper behind you had a name,
what was it? You called it what? Herringbone?


Slave Sonnet #7

I’m an instrument. I’m a clarinet.
Maestro, I’m an oboe if you say so.
An animal if music’s not enough.
Dog on command, shepherd or Chihuahua.
Eat when the dinner bells chime: Ms. Pavlov,
these experiments you’ve unleashed on me
hurt and strip me of everything human;
even dogs live better lives than I do.
Confession: truth is my life’s a picnic.
Here I am, the ant you’re about to squash.
“Ow!”–Make that “Ooo.”–My lips the letter “O.”
I’m a zero; nothing lower than I.
Confine me or crush me–but like magic
each reduction makes me all the more huge.


Slave Sonnet #10

The name stamped onto the lock says, “Master.”
But the keys are yours, Mistress. My body,
wrapped in this neat little package, is yours.
Do I dare call myself a present?
I’m the one who’s on the receiving end.
You took me on, taking in my stiff prick
and swelling my head with your compliments,
your complaints, even out and out neglect.
Nothing–when it comes from you–is a gift;
wrapped in your aura of authority
even shit tastes sweet, and the void you leave
leaves me full.

It’s a Christmas whenever you put your foot down,
and the stars I’m seeing must be heaven.



Because it feels good;
because it gives me an erection;
because it makes me come;
because I’m sick;
because there was so much sickness;
because I say fuck the sickness;
because I like the attention;
because I was alone alot;
because I was different;
because kids beat me up on the way to school;
because I was humiliated by nuns;
because of Christ and the crucifixion;
because of Porky Pig in bondage, force-fed by some sinister creep in a black cape;
because of stories of children hung by their wrists, burned on the stove, scalded in tubs;
because of Mutiny on the Bounty;
because of cowboys and Indians;
because of Houdini;
because of my cousin Cliff;
because of the forts we built and the things we did inside them;
because of my genes;
because of my parents;
because of doctors and nurses;
because they tied me to the crib so I wouldn’t hurt myself;
because I had time to think;
because I had time to hold my penis;
because I had awful stomach aches and holding my penis made it feel better;
because I’m a Catholic;
because I still love Lent, and I still love my penis, and in spite of it all I have no guilt;
because my parents said be what you want to be, and this is what I want to be;
because I’m nothing but a big baby and I want to stay that way, and I want a mommy forever, even a mean one, especially a mean one;
because of all the fairy tale witches and the wicked step mother, and the step sisters, and how sexy Cinderella was, smudged with soot, doomed to a life of servitude;
because of Hansel, locked in a witch’s cage until he was fat enough to eat;
because of “O” and how desperately I wanted to be her;
because of my dreams;
because of the games we played;
because I have an active imagination;
because my mother bought me tinker toys;
because hardware stores give me hard-ons;
because of hammers, nails, clothespins, wood, padlocks, pullies, eyebolts, thumbtacks, staple-guns, sewing needles, wooden spoons, fishing tackle, chains, metal rulers, rubber tubing, spatulas, rope, twine, C-clamps, S-hooks, razor blades, scissors, tweezers, knives, push pins, two-by-fours, ping-pong tables, alligator clips, duct tape, broom sticks, bar-b-que skewers, bungie cords, saw horses, soldering irons;
because of tool sheds;
because of garages;
because of basements;
because of dungeons;
because of The Pit and The Pendulum;
because of the Inquisition;
because of the rack;
because of the cross;
because of the Addams Family playroom;
because of Morticia Addams and her black dress with its octopus legs;
because of motherhood;
because of Amazons;
because of the Goddess;
because of the Moon;
because it’s in my nature;
because it’s against nature;
because it’s nasty;
because it’s fun;
because it flies in the face of all that’s normal, whatever that is;
because I’m not normal;
because I used to think that I was part of some vast experiment and that there was this implant in my penis that made me do these things and allowed them, whoever they were, to monitor my activities;
because I had to take my clothes off and lie inside this giant plastic bag so the doctors could collect my sweat;
because once upon a time I had such a high fever my parents had to strip me naked and wrap me in sheets to stop the convulsions;
because my parents loved me even more when I was suffering;
because I was born into a world of suffering;
because surrender is sweet;
because I’m attracted to it;
because I’m addicted to it;
because endorphins in the brain are like a natural kind of heroin;
because I learned to take my medicine;
because I was a big boy for taking it;
because I can take it like a man;
because, as someone once said, he’s got more balls than I do;
because it is an act of courage;
because it does take guts;
because I’m proud of it;
because I can’t climb mountains;
because I’m terrible at sports;
because no pain, no gain;
because spare the rod and spoil the child;



from The Book of Medicine


abdomen From infancy the physiological and emotional core of my existence, taking second place only to the genitals, many years later. From the beginning that’s where the pain was. It was the excuse for missing school. It’s why I couldn’t gain weight. It was the reason I started masturbating. “Don’t do that,” my mother said on one of those sick days, with the pain so bad that only my rubbing against the sheets could soothe it, my entire body thrusting in an effort to throw off the pain. Suddenly there was this thing down there, throbbing, the way moments earlier my stomach had throbbed, but different; this was pure pleasure. And as my penis swelled, the pain of my stomach retreated and felt far away, muffled as if it were buried somewhere deep in the mattress below me. “Don’t do that,” she said. “Only babies do that.”
aberration I was born an odd-ball and have been that way ever since. My poor parents. Not only did I take them by surprise, being two months premature, but from the start there was obviously something wrong. Barely out of their teens when they had me, I’m sure they have had high hopes for this new family of theirs. They had to have envisioned it as a relief from their own horrific and abusive upbringings. What a slap in the face I must have been.
ability I have the ability to do a few things well. I can accept the good with the bad; I can be alone; I can commit to one person for life; I can do impressions of famous people and friends; I can draw and paint; I can endure long hours of bondage; I can establish close friendships; I can find lost objects; I can forgive and forget; I can fuck several times a day, everyday if given the chance; I can get along with most people; I’m good with my tongue; I can hang a fifteen pound weight from my balls; I can make people laugh; I can masturbate all day long if given the chance; I can select unimportant objects to throw or break during outbursts of temper; I can sing and play the guitar; I can spit up cups full of mucus; I can be slapped in the face repeatedly and get a hard-on from it; I can stick myself with needles; I can submit totally to someone I love; I can swallow foul tasting liquid if it’s for my health or if someone I love tells me to do it; I can take a lot of pain, especially from someone I love; I can walk up one, maybe two flights of stairs with only a moderate shortness of breath; I can write. able-bodied Sheree could barely contain her anger and fear at the sight of me in the hospital hooked up to an IV and breathing oxygen through a tube. “What if I wanted us to go to the Himalayas? You can’t go to the Himalayas; you can’t go anywhere with this stuff.”
abracadabra People disappear and there are no magic words to get them back. And the ones who don’t disappear change into something else right before your eyes. SHAZAM! “What the…?” If there had been a secret incantation to conjure up my darkest desires I must have said it in my sleep or mumbled it unknowingly; because here I was, naked and on my knees, a miserable slave, kissing the feet of the cruelest and most demanding Mistress I had ever dreamed of. But what the fuck. Nine months into the relationship she says to me, “I only did those things to please you, but that wasn’t me. I don’t even know what’s me.” POW!




p.s. Hey. I’m among those who have been waiting a very, very long time for the appearance of the book the blog is welcoming today. Bob Flanagan is best known/remembered today as Supermasochist — maybe you’ve even seen Kirby Dick’s documentary of that title about him — but poetry was Bob’s primary artistic vehicle, and his poems are fantastic, and all of his poetry books have been out of print for decades. Hence, the book up there is a boon for everyone. Please give it your time. And if by chance you’re in Paris, Sabrina Tarasoff, Bernard Welt, and I will be reading Bob’s poems and talking about him at After8 on this coming Thursday, 7 pm. ** Dominik, Hi!!! Yay for GoDaddy coming to its senses! So great to see you, natch! And I’m glad the posts in-between caught your fancy. Nope, still no ‘Tarot’. I’m being bad or saving myself the trouble, I don’t know which. The parrot was taken back to the park setting where it was rescued and presumably is now having an awesome airborne life with its old chums. Big congrats on the taxes! I wish I could say the same. And thanks to you and love for the cake which I will devour post-haste. Love putting his mouth where his money is, G. ** Nick Toti, Hey, Nick! My biggest pleasure to be of assistance, of course. Thank you! Enjoy shooting the horror. Excited for that! ** A, Ha, I’d put what I find sexy up against that thing he called his boyfriend for years any old day. Oh, shit, about the Hobart thing, but better safe than sorry, etc. You and Elle Nash combining brains and fingertips: nice. I have no assistant. I am my assistant. I’ll tell me to be careful. ** Sarah, Hi, Sarah! Lovely to see you! Glad you liked the unfinished post, and me too, precisely. Hm, well, maybe he did look just a little a kind of like a tiny, deflated Alfred Hitchcock maybe? How are you? What’s going on in general? ** Don Waters, Wow, well, I hope you like them. I suspect they’ll feed you something. My eyes are peeled for the Magnus Mills, you bet. I’m hitting Paris’s best bookstore in a couple of days, so maybe, just maybe I won’t have to pay for postage. Fine day to you, D. ** Cletus Crow, Hey. Thanks, I’m blushing, and the blog would be too if I could figure out to change its background color. ** Nicholas, Ho, ho! I believe the only time I’ve ever used AI is when we were doing the sound mix on our film and the sound mixer used to it to make some background sounds he didn’t have in his storage. But that’s it, I think? Oh, a sentence blurb thing. Okay, I’m in a rush today ‘cos I have a meeting, but I’ll sleep on what it could be, sure. Uh, I saw friends and did my Zoom club thing and wrote some and a mouse got caught in our humane trap and is now living elsewhere and I don’t remember? Food today? I’m having pizza with some friends at my favorite local pizza place, and that’ll probably be my main meal. You? ** _Black_Acrylic, It’s time again! Everyone, _Black_Acrylic’s crucial musical podcast Play Therapy v2.0 is back with its new episode that he characterises thusly: ‘Ben ‘Jack Your Body’ Robinson embarks on a desperate quest infiltrating the strange world of electronic music in an attempt to reunite his family through a patchwork of horror.’ Can you possibly resist that? I think not. Enter here. Man, so sorry to hear about Leeds’ loss, but you sound stoic about it. Here’s to the future always. ** Lucas, Hey, Lucas! My weekend was alright, relaxing enough, I think, thanks. I for one am most curious to hear what the filmmaking class causes in and for you. I’m pretty sure that the Sean Baker Cannes winning film is filmed in a more regular way. I feel exactly as you do about films being so/too ‘intentionally “about” something’. That never works for me. I just see what they’re usually ham-fistedly trying to tell me that I need to see in their film, and it usually just corrupts the film. I guess I like films that are about what they’re about and give viewers as much space as possible to do whatever they want to do with the film imaginatively. I don’t know. Anyway, I’m with you. I like being in cinemas. I guess they have the opposite effect on me or something. I always feel really small and invisible there. It’s strange. But I also think the ‘you must see films in theaters’ thing is just overly romantic, retro thinking. Who cares really: exactly. I hope for the same for your week. Maybe we can give each other luck in that regard. ** PL, Sure. Thank you, I will. You know, I’ve never watched ‘Deathnote’. I just realised that. It’s strange. I’ve seen a lot of gifs related to it. Everyone I know was into ‘Deathnote’ at one point. Okay, I should find out. Cool about the digital pad. You’ll ace it for sure. I think that idea for your short is a great one, of course, because … it just is. Proceed, if you ask me. I’m good enough, thank you. I hope your week has started respectfully. ** Steve, I’ll read a poem or two of Bob’s and probably talk a little about him. After8 is a very small store, and people crowded into it get antsy after too long, so the thing is to keep the event economical. Nice, glad you’re so into your music. I’m piqued. Everyone, Steve has reviewed Vince Staples’ DARK TIMES here. ** Harper, Hi, pal. That sounds lovely: the Arthur Russell event. Nice. I remember the London tube after dark on a weekend, yes, with stiff shoulders. Really hope you get that job. It just sounds so odd, and oddness + the grind of a job sounds like a best case scenario. Money worries are the worries I most worry about having, so major hugs and crossed fingers re: yours, or hopefully not yours. ** Oscar 🌀, Ha, I guess it is a mouthful, that word. I can’t remember the last I spoke it aloud. Gosh, maybe never? My weekend was okay, not a huge deal, just fine, no big whoop or disaster. Ha, no milk in my refrigerator but plenty of other things that I am virtually sure are in their death throes, so if I can transfer that wish onto them, I would be grateful. I’m going to assume that okay. I hope the opera about you that some great composer has been working on for years has a debut performance so controversial that it makes Stravinsky’s first airing of ‘Rite of Spring’ seems like a Mozart recital. ** Okay, Be with Bob Flanagan and his poetry until further notice meaning until at least until I see you again tomorrow.


  1. Lucas

    hi dennis!

    I’m so happy that flanagan’s poetry is back in print. I’ll definitely grab a copy once I’m back in paris, which might be during the last week of june, potentially? I’m hoping to visit as soon as I can.

    I really appreciate your curiosity regarding my classes this week but I might have misjudged it. it’s just been boring lectures about media and data privacy and all that stuff germans love so far. my day started by listening to a talk about how this 3 day thing is funded by a foundation associated with the conservative party, so yeah. I’ll keep you posted as I think the actual workshop starts tomorrow, but it’s really my fault for never reading up on what’s happening and just hoping for the best haha, especially with my school’s terrible rep. last time we had a lecture it was by some weird christian football player who told us about his career and gave out footballer bibles, I wish I was kidding

    but this week won’t be all bad, I think. I’m halfway through my watch of out 1, so that’s plenty of time I can have fun wasting. though I could never say that a rivette film is wasting time, I take that back.

    how was your day? have you been working on that new film you told me about?

  2. Charalampos

    Love the poem The Wedding of Everything.

  3. _Black_Acrylic

    Great news about Bob’s book! Wish I could be there for the gig on Thursday.

    Today is a Bank Holiday and so feels like being a nothing sort of day here. Mum gets back from Austria, so maybe we’ll be going to the Springs for coffee later this week.

    Meanwhile yesterday’s Leeds defeat is still sore. An entire season thrown away by us not turning up for 1 lousy game. Maybe it’s just as well because we would only have suffered up there in the Premier League. My friend Rachel was there at Wembley and she posted a pic to her Instagram today. The caption says “F*ck the prem, and f*ck the Tories.” I agree with her on both counts.

    • _Black_Acrylic

      Oh and the writing class has been cancelled due to lack of interest. Not the best of days, then.

  4. Jack Skelley

    Fun to be Dennis… Ah, the Bob book and now your tribute makes me laugh and cry. I’ll post on my Instagrim. If a seance contacted Bob from the dead, what would he say? In fact, I often wonder what Bob would say today about a lot of things. Wrote my LARB review (or LARBicle — TM Brittany Menjivar) on Robyn Hitchcock’s Syd Barrett reanimation at Zebulon. Last nite I joined a group reading in DTLA and performed an a capella version of “The Gnome” from Piper at the Gates of Dawn. Tomorrow seeing Kraftwerk at Disney Hall. I’ll LARBicle that too. I chose Kraftwerk’s performance of their album The Mix, because it updates their best/biggest numbers… including “Numbers”!! Great seeing u Saturday. Wish I cd be at the After 8 throwdown!!!! xoxox Fun to be Jack

  5. Huckleberry Shelf

    So excited for this book, just ordered it! Such a fan of the Flanagan poems I’ve been able to find online. Hope the reading is fun, sad I’m not in Paris to see it.

  6. Dominik


    Uh, I’m getting this book immediately! Bob Flanagan’s poems are so, so good, and, truly, it’s impossible to find any of his poetry books today! Thank you so much for this post!

    I only read the synopsis of “Tarot,” and based on that, you’re probably doing yourself a favor by not rushing to watch it. But I might turn out to be wrong, of course.

    Ah, I’m glad the parrot story had a happy ending! Or at least a hopeful one.

    Love is wise. Maybe. Love running a booming used-panties business, Od.

  7. Misanthrope

    Dennis! I’m back. Didn’t go anywhere but I’m back. Actually, I did go somewhere but just for two days.

    Been hella busy with work and boyfriending. So little time to myself, so to speak, but I’m not complaining. I’ve been having a good time. Well, not the work so much, haha.

    Alex, Kayla, and I went to my friend’s in PA Saturday and came back yesterday. It’s Memorial Day weekend, and it was a good excuse to finally get up there as I’d promised. First time I’ve been there since my friends moved there last August. We had a good time.

    Otherwise, same old. I hope you’re well. I have been peeking in at the posts but haven’t really followed the PSs. 🙁

  8. Bill

    This is an exciting new book, Dennis. I’ve never been to After8. A new store? I see it’s on Rue Jarry, ha. And that’s quite a slate of upcoming events.

    Caught a Brakhage screening organized by SF Cinematheque. “Ephemeral Solidity” was great, “Passage Through: A Ritual” could be, ummm.

    Watched some of the Scott Barley films you recommended. “Womb” is very nice.


  9. Steve

    This afternoon, I watched an intriguing film I just heard about, John Huckert’s 1998 HARD. (The director only made three features, all separated by decades, but I found clips of him speaking on paranormal podcasts about the ghost he witnessed in his house.) It’s like a New Queer Cinema take on the concept of CRUISING, where a closeted gay cop tracks down a serial killer who preys on gay men. It has some weaknesses common to low-budget indie films of the time: the supporting cast is amateurish, and Huckert just isn’t as talented as the filmmakers who influenced him. But there’s a boldness to this, especially about gay men acting out sexually in dangerous ways, you rarely see nowadays.

    Will you be doing a new music Day in June?

  10. Harper

    Hey Dennis. Oh wow, Bob Flanagan was a total gap in my knowledge. I’ll have to see about this book, and the documentary about him looks interesting as well.
    RE jobs: I’m the same about money being the thing I worry about most. It’s one of the most difficult things to push to the back of your mind. I think my stress has crashed though and I’m instead feeling kind of dazed. Someone came for a viewing of the rooms today and I totally forgot about it until she was outside and I really had to search my mind back to when it was arranged. I think being in a daze is kind of good for my writing because I have less distractions from the outside and feel like I’m in better touch with my imagination. My mind does wander though.
    I just rewatched Jerzy Skolimowski’s movie ‘Deep End’. I think it’s an interesting movie that gets better with rewatches. It’s difficult for me to articulate it but I think it’s definitely doing multiple things at once. I think David Lynch said it was one of the only movies in colour that he really likes. I’ll watch his movie ‘Le Depart’ at some point.

  11. Bernard Welt

    If I weren’t here, I’d wish I were here for the Thursday Bob Flanagan After 8 event. But I’m here. And pretty happy. It took me a few days, and maybe hanging with you, to re-realize why I like being in Paris so much. Buildings are so interesting! There are markets! There are so many parks! Mostly, though, I’ve been in my room. 1. I’ve discovered that I actually can edit video, so that’s a relief 2. I like working. So when I’m not dealing with these conference presentations, I’m writing on my poems. It’s a lot like the points in a musical when the characters give up on talking and break into sing.
    When I’m not editing clips of Surrealist films, I’m reading up on Surrealism or writing notes on Surrealism. Consequently, everything seems really Surrealist to me. Bob’s poetry seems very Surrealist now, in the vein that derives from Sade and the liberation of the repressed. It also seems just a bit French as well as very American. (Hmm, I wonder if a French translation of the book is an idea . . . but if it were, Sabrina would do it. Because Sabrina does everything. I should find a French book to translate. One Molly Ringwald hasn’t gotten her hands on yet.)
    There have been not only as usual many very interesting and informative posts here lately, but many interesting comments I should have responded to at the time. For the person looking to read, I don’t think I saw Robert Glück’s recent book About Ed mentioned. And for the Flann O’Brien fans: I pick up The Best of Myles (humor pieces, mostly) when I need a laugh. He’s the best. I’ll see if I can find a shrine when I’m in Dublin in July.

    Please join me as one of the first subscribers to my all-vegan gay porn production company, Raging Scallion.

  12. Sarah

    Capote does kind of look deflated lol, I think that’s a good word for him. I haven’t been doing much but working. I think it’s fine, though. Have a 4 day weekend because of Memorial Day, so I have to shout out the troops for that one. Other than that, nothing really. I cat-sit for a friend.

    Have you seen Challengers? I saw it last night, it was pretty amazing. Didn’t expect it to be at all, just was something to do.

    I got a short story published a bit ago, I’ll just post it, I think maybe you’ll like it. . Kind of exciting, seems to be doing well too. But mostly you should check out the website it’s on, organ fail, it’s pretty cool and I think you’d pretty much definitely like it. It’s dedicated to Morgan Vogel, don’t know if she’s on your radar but it’s all cool looking and funny and sad. I think a lot of it is kind of hard to find is the only thing.

    Kind of a weird question, but have you been eating anything different lately? Are you someone who eats the same thing all of the time or do you just eat a bunch of different things all of the time? I started thinking about this recently. Anyways, have a good one!

  13. Cletus

    Amazing poems. I’m buying the book when I get paid. I love them. I started a first draft of a poem in inspiration. The lines are kinda fucked due to the comment box.

    The Funeral of Everything

    After The Wedding of Everything by Bob Flanagan

    Tonight smells quite
    different: complex
    stabby sorta
    thug in steel dumpster night.
    Memphis skyscrapers like AR-15s
    spear through concrete slime
    like painful dildos.
    On Beale Street, a man with one arm
    sings about fucking
    some woman with three legs.
    Shit-colored glasses
    my twink-trash-drunk-ass senses
    beyond oblivion.
    Each light beam slices me.
    No one trusts priests anymore
    which is proof
    of our increased freedoms.
    Still, I confess
    I’m afraid of what this city would do
    alone with a child.
    So long, Everything, your eulogy
    is where I am tonight,
    where I find myself broke
    and cuckheld against a balcony
    of tentacle porn and beer.
    I want to die
    with someone else.

  14. Abilia Vasquez

    Someone wrote something on anthropodermic books above me and thats cool.

    I dont know sorry the words arent cok,gcfxdcderygrtdcgqtgukl///

    • Darby🐶

      EWWW fuck!!! Hey can you please not quote that name? Its Darby!!

      I accidently dropped something on the keyboard and the whole box fucked up and sent it under a different email and….name…
      Its Darby!! and thats literally my dead name response!!!
      I dont even know how it did that but its my fucking luck that this whole day has been the same hahaa
      I wasted so much time struggling on this stupid assignment where you have to record your voice/face and it was horrible I just broke down and gave up and here I am now cant sleep because now my head is hurting. Its so much harder than it seems, looking at yourself while youtalk, about yourself. I’ll get a zero on it it but it doesnt matter anymore i dont care. UGHH I WISH EVERTHING JUST STOPPED. because now its so late to sleep.
      I saw that furry teacup in my art appreciation book. I can never see it the same ya knw now.\

      Have a good week. Sorry for this mess!

    • Darby🐶


  15. Cap'm

    Hi Bob! My only claim to fame is that you purportedly wanted a date. I think of your suffering now, especially as I suffer. I look at death as you looked at death (not seeing shit). We die in mutual stupidity. I just attended the International Mr. Leather weekend, now itself dying in a Chicago hotel. While there, I didn’t think of you once. There is one fixed universal both before and after death: BDSM has the best music and the worst dancers. Can we say that about life? See you soon! CP

  16. Oscar 🌀

    (*morse code*) Hey Dennis

    Man, I love The Wedding of Everything. Thanks for this post — Bob Flanagan’s stuff is sometimes weirdly hard to find, so all those ‘further’ links are going to keep me entertained for a while. Also saw a quote from Charlie Fox near the start of the post, have you read any of their work? They did this interview-y thing that I think might be up your street (

    Also, sorry to be a pest, but did you ever hear anything about the UK release of ‘FLUNKER’? :3

    I hope that some scientist in a deep, deep, deep underground laboratory (think SNOLAB or the Sanford Underground Research Facility) decides today is the day and runs the test-run of some sort of advanced computing solution that tracks the brainwaves of you and everyone that reads this blog (in a non-invasive way) and is able to detect whenever someone within this set of people starts thinking about an out of print book — thus triggering some sort of SKYNET-ish action that results in the book immediately being back in print in the relevant location(s) before the person in question has even thought about it themselves.

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