a song a song for tralala

a song a song for tralala                  /barbara mor 1975/1976/1978/1997/

‘punished, punished, punished for being the object of
hatred & fear & disgust, thru her magic orifices, her
cunt & her mouth, poor tralala’
         -- Germaine Greer in The Female Eunuch, 1971

like a dirty dolly    sprawled in the
city lot    white bruise among tin cans
,broomhandle up her twat    here lies
our silly   tralala   who got   just
what she got     /late afternoon sun
slanting down   over the rust  &
smeared flesh  ,vacant body  in naked
lot   among bottles & garbage like
a couch   FUCKED by 40-50 guys  who
laughed & broke her teeth   with
broken teeth she laughed & laughed
,flipping her tits with a drunk
hand     /& they split her lip
with beer cans,split her to the
bone      bloody doorways
hanging openRipped face Hole
of scum   RedHeart tattooed beneath
one breast sez:sorry    out of
CHANGE   & unstitched smile,blue-
black thighs   broomstick up
the cunt  ,like she rode to Death
shouting yippeeeee!   while night
filled up her eyes     o she got
just what she got   she was   she
got just what she WUZ   neighborhood
boys,hot rocks for souls   a gutter
to spill their guts   & she laughed
& laughed/jiggling her tits splitting
& splitting   Herself    til
her eyes went dark,& the blood was
dark,& the lot got dark   &
lonely    among each other   & the
boys stopped playing Beat  it
home     /got some food from

there is a hole in the night    in the groin of
Orion    smegma clouds of stars line that
tunnel    & worlds pour out, suck back in   riding
a vast perineum
                                   there is a hole
in the wall of night   cheap room   in a great
hotel of darkness   with stained mattress, musty
smell of the inside   you can crawl & hide
there,  like a small mouse
                                               a hole in time, a
hole in earth   kelpy waters & the brine
of sea-sweat   where darkness fluxes  & our salt
begins    a hole in all the tidal origins
& in the vein   where the needle enter, a
hole in the gray moon   never filling   & a gray
song   the thin mother sings you    from
her hole of   unremembering
                                                a hole in me,
a broken mouth   truth comes out, & a breath of
blood winds   rotten teeth    & spit, & speech
& this song   slime,  & children   & the ocean’s
                    a hole in me     & Orion’s great

‘woman is a temple over a sewer’   said the church
father     where blood comes   & urine   & the birth of
men   that hole is a place of terrible darkness   said
the skin-drum   ‘how can he be clean who is born
of woman’    Job washed himself   but the boils grew
& the men slit themselves   the length of the penis
inserted a stone   called the wound vagina
comes first    then night    then the starry spine of the
night    power is a snake made of blood &  stone teeth
that hole in her has teeth   smash them out    grind
them down   ‘every woman should be filled with shame
that she is born a woman’    & slime   said Sartre   &
all soft, sucking substance   feminine existence
which we abhor
                                & the clitoris is excised   the labia
sliced off    the legs bound together   day weeks
until the wound heals   the young girl then pisses
thru a long tube   when she marries she is slit open,
sewed shut again to   fit the comings & goings   of
her husband   this is done for reasons   of purity &
beauty   the female being foul & ugly  in her members

& dams are built   Aswan Yangtze Colorado   to stop
the uncontrollable flow of rivers    & a dome is built
in the sky    to plug up holes  in the wild air
                                                                          ‘& it
is with their genitals that they consort with Devils
& thus bring sin & Death into the world’   ‘the womb
insatiable   will suck out a man’s soul    all his
vital energy,  like a she-vampire   beware!’    & there
are holes on the moon    said the rocket man   explore
them   plant a flag, leave giant footprints there   &
there are holes in the spirits of the heathens    which
can be filled with bullets   which can be filled
with fire
                 there is a hole in this girl   walking down
the road   get her   spread her legs   stick in  twigs,
coke bottles, bayonets   yr prick    there is a hole
in the enemy’s defense line    launch the ICBM

& there is a hole   at the beginning, & the end   a
mystery    i can’t get thru  it must be hostile to me   &
the juice flows   from all living beings   all matter
is alive   & aware of touch   & can be made to bleed   or
sing out, or quiver    all matter is alive   & shivering
& knows you   & may be said to open   or close
at yr level
                    woman, what do i have to do   with thee,
said Jesus   & they pierced him   with a long stick   the
soldier, with a sharp thrust   opened  his side, &
water & blood   poured out
                                      they rammed it to him good

         ½ the world is made EVIL
        so the other ½ can transcend
        the first ½ is called Woman
        the other ½ is Men
        if you can get the WHOLE
        to believe this
        you can rule the world
        they said
        And They Did

                         boys squat on earth
                         poke little sticks in dirt
                         which is cheap  they say
                         as priests of terror
                         punish a bad mother
                         jab fear into life
                         which is cheap   they say
                         armies march into open mouths
                         to raise dust   cries of
                         pain   machinegun unravels
                         a flesh-blanket   to see
                         at last   her skeleton/
                         a hole   pregnant with ore
                         drill & explore the emptiness
                         body of time   & useable
                         matter   colonize & leach
                         the wildness    a lost soul
                         puts on boots & kicks
                         solitude bleeds quiet at
                         yr feet   what is useful
                         cant refuse   the user
                         is the master    /definition
                         of rape   terrorist
                         bomb stuffed in bodies
                         of the Other   rape  pick
                         lock & smash windows   in a
                         great stone building of
                         power    bums sell pencils
                         between the crowded thighs
                         the cop arrests   himself
                         at this door    define
                         earth as gods whore    to
                         buy & sell   while holy pimps
                         wash their hands in
                         her water    righteous men
                         with red hands   worship
                         at this altar     /a
                         hot career    deal & hustle
                         mother-food  safety   &
                         cash     little people crouched
                         in dust   children of her
                         hole   are expendable   &
                         songs of  slow flesh can be
                         forgotten   dynamos translate
                         the stars    & magic power
                         is all in the mind   robots
                         wired to virtual games
                         a boy with a stick    in
                         the brain-hole    /& 
                         seas & high birds   bears
                         of the forest    are illusions
                         that drift  from her
                         dumb hole    earth is rock
                         & void   & we are rootless
                         hanging out    alien &
                         mother-lost    the worlds a
                         hole in a junkyard fence
                         peepshow of the
                         condemned flesh   we watch
                         a desert fucked for oil
                         & exploding winds blow
                         all dreams   like dust
                         we watch lifes cheap
                         mouth   drunk & blood-red
                         drooling generations of
                         despair    spit    lust/

                         shove her down   suck off
                         this loneliness

that nothing in nature   is being without doing   that nothing
in the universe   is emptiness   that the uterus   in childbirth
has a 100-lb thrust   that a young girl planting corn    translates
the stars   that all women   in the beginning   work hard   &
are magic   that a tree is a root-suck   & a sky-penetration    that
a tree drinks the sky & pushes air into earth   that a she-wolf
is a fair hunter   that a he-wolf   is the same   & the thrust
& suck of oceans   restless shark & anemone mouth   are one  
that all women  in the beginning  know themselves  as magic  &
work hard   that the womb & the mouth are deep caves   where
blood & wind sing to us   & are heard   that a woman grinding grain
to food   transmits the dreams of the stars    & a young girl
walking down the road   is Orion on the highway   & if  you misname
her   if you beat or rape her   she disperses great constellations
of wounds   galactic seed   rage  all the same   & will transmute
you back   to starry origins   in all her bleeding   being   of
her kind   & from the beginning   a tree of earth   a whole animal
a magic that works

                      janis wuz a singer  /janus
                      is a god   raw voice of
                      wind,night’s menstrual throat
                      bleeding    /a whore
                      leans in this doorway   &
                      lets the world go
                      in & out  ,a dried-up old cunt
                      w/$5 in her pocket
                      .smashed mouth of earth
                                                wailing waawaawaa
                      & you need a man to love
                      you,plug up time’s  
                                         lonely hole
                      janis  /moon’s broad face
                      one of the boys:
                                                tralala stoned
                      in the neighborhood junkyard
                      & tralala said
                                    come on   come on
                      shove it to me good
                      & Death did

                                a tortured  man is a
                                religion.a tortured female is
                                acunt    who asks for
                                it,& gets it    what she
                                deserves  /crumple it up &
                                throw herself away

                      janis,janus    in the
                      doorway.define the difference
                      of gift  &power:
                                                 between now
                      & forever,between woman & 
                      man  ,between yearning&
                      finding:   the wind
                      blows you open,unnames yr
                      skeleton  /a double-edged wailing
                      spins you around
                                                   ,& any stud
                      w/boots on,riding down
                      that wind’s source   any dude
                      in his time  ,yr cradle
                      for his saddle    or
                      touch on that bone,remembering
                                   & the wind got
                      hoarse,wailing yr wailing
                      & night lost its voice
                      in yr cry
                                         .& you wanted to be
                      Death’s old buddy, fix
                      jesus on his straight/cross
                      . turn the world on,strobe-
                      pulse woman  ,
                                               let them see
                      what their lonely was

                                      .& you wanted to be
                      one of the guys/
                      & you wanted to accommodate
                      the great need.& you
                      wanted to open up the new
                      world’s thighs
                                                :pain’s mirror 
                      in yr gay girl’s eyes
                      /whips,chains needles  .strip-
                       down of hypocrisies  ,&
                      naked play of abandoned
                      toys  /you wanted him
                      to know:it wuz
                      o janus  /unhinged 
                      two-faced mother:  til all
                      voice was gone
                      in yr cracking song:
                              you can work it out on me
                              you can work it out on me
                              you can work it out
                                                       on me boys    
                              you can work it all out
                              on me

                     tralala laughed  &jiggled
                     her  tits,& spread her
                     cunt wider  for
                               :& the boys in the audience
                     stomped & whistled,&
                     threw what they had at
                     yr wailing mouth
                          /like country joe said
                     :they  just wanted to see you
                     shoot up.they
                     just wanted to see you
                     stick it to yrself
                                    .like you did

& who is jesus what else
does he do    can he sing
can he plant corn    i saw
a picture of him once on
the dome of the sky looking
down dark & fierce at the
green earth   & who is jesus
what else can he do   can
he scrub floors can he make
the bread      they say  he
suffered 9 hours of pain
for the world   tell that
to any mother    what man
son of what father   king of
what desert    saver of what
flesh   can he mold pots
can he make the rain come
can he find  his way home
naked after being raped
can he wail like janis can
he burn in fire   after
2000 years of dying can he
laugh & hand Death a beer
can he smash the last
mirror  can he know me  who
is this jesus   what is
he: next to any womans
blood-red truth   no wound
in a man  is big enough
to birth a world   to
return an earth

     so now here is our old mama   in the junkyard    loosely
     laid out   arms & legs among the tin cans   while the
     rust moon rises   like a cats yowl
     here is our first mama   who gave her body   for a whole
     globe   a bellys round bruise  in the trash bed   while  
     the stray moon crawls   along the nights fence
     some flashing saver of our souls   luminous in purple
     gas   above her sells epiphanies   of pure cash to the
     skyline   his glo-light on the garbage falling   into
     her wide empty eye
     & down the street a block or 2   the boys are raping
     someone new   the air rips   the alley bleeds   city jism
     scums the stars   & someone jiggles coins    & laughs   &
     someone sings   tralala
     but she is on a broomstick riding  out of pain  & out
     of time   like the witches rode   above the fires   &
     sleepers ride above their beds   tralala rides   in
     magic dark clouds   inside her magic head
     where the drunk moon grows   wilder & wilder   prowling
     around the stripped earth    & seems to howl out
     waawaawaa   when you look it straight in the face   or
     seems to become   a hole in the night   with the other
     side leaking thru   streams of galaxies   blood   song
     dreams   all shining   on the earth below

             the boys   cruise the
             door to door.  sell
             you god   sell you oil
             sell you  TRALALA
             the boys bulldoze the
             bombs   door to door
             .blow up soul   blow
             up world   BLOW UP

                                   overhead:  10 stories tall
                                   the neon jesus  /extends his
                                   double cross   .arms
                                   spread out   to take us all
                                   in   when we learn to call
                                   him  :boss
                                   at our feet    old bloody
                                   mama    raw flesh of time
                                   spread out/  in true life
                                   color.in numberless issues
                                   :the centerfold of
                                          *  *  *  *  *  *  *

a song a song for tralala
tralala is a character in Hubert Selby Jr’s major novel Last Exit to
Brooklyn, 1957.

This poem, written in a 1975, was bought in 1976 by MS. Magazine,
under its original editor Gloria Steinem. MS. held on to it for 2 years
without printing it, fearing its ‘violent’ or ‘controversial’ material
might offend readers, or advertisers, or both. In 1978 Mor asked for
the rights to the poem, which MS. returned. ‘tralala’ was then printed
in Karl Kempton’s KALDRON, a visual poetry journal printed in
California and circulated globally to writers and graphic artists. The
poem was read over Berkeley radio in 1978. Twenty years later –
thanks to religious Fundamentalism in America – it continues to
cause some trouble wherever it is publicly read.
                                                © Barbara Mor 1975, 1976, 1978, 1998

Updated wonders of a round world: Used as wrapping/packing paper
by a California smallpress distributor (Sanddollar, I think), KALDRON
copies containing the poem got shipped to UK writer/editor Paul Buck,
then guestediting for a Spectacular Diseases #8, 1985 special issue
‘Sexuality & the Argument of Art.’ Excerpts from another Mor poem
were printed in that issue, & Paul Buck’s correspondence introduced
Mor to the work of Kathy Acker – to my provincial shame, a US feminist
living in NewMexico, I had to correspond with a London Brit to be 
made aware of Acker’s genius work. This connection continued to
rhizome into the next generation, when ‘tralala’ was printed in Brit
poet/novelist/editor Ian Taylor’s ecorche #2, 1998: blatantly virulent
religious Fundamentalism in US, UK & worldwide made the poem
even more relevant 23 years beyond its first writing. Too bad: ‘tralala’
has never appeared in a US feminist publication, the venue for which
it was originally written. To quote myself: I am a feminist, but.....  
                                                      © Barbara Mor 2012

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