Poems and Texts

From CHELSEA GIRLS by Eileen Myles

Bath, Maine

I really had no damn business there. I mean, why am I living with my ex-girlfriend and her new girlfriend, and her ex-girlfriend. How could that possibly be comfortable. I could be writing this from a jail cell. Funny, huh? Ted and Alice, before I left, said: “Out of the frying pan and into the fire, Eileen.” I didn’t know what else I could do. I flew, yes I did, up to Portland and Judy and Chris picked me up there. I was so ripped on the plane. Elinor had given me some of that crystal, one good line, and I had a handful of Tom’s pills. He had stayed at my place the night before. I was writing these poems up in the air, really stupid ones all over those cocktail napkins they give you. God, they were awful. About vitamins and stuff. I was off cigarettes which always made me particularly insane and I had those red beads on, when did they break, I remember them breaking in Maine—well, the two of them picked me up—I remember we went right into a bar—I think I remember having a shrimp salad sandwich and beers, and Chris was already drinking icy Margaritas. The place had all lobsters up and traps and all. Then we got back in Judy’s car. That night we all went to the gay bar in Augusta. Oh god, that night. We were all speeding, and drunk, and it was real hot. All the men were taking their shirts off and dancing. We got mad. We wanted to take our shirts off. So we did. Everyone thought it was great. Except the manager and a couple of fag bartenders. Put ’em on. The men don’t have to put their shirts on. Just get out. You can’t be in this bar with your shirts off. Put your shirts on and get out. We did. But first we took our pants off and walked out. Chris threw a beer bottle at them too. She always had a lot of style. This is just three years ago.

Eileen Myles

Eileen Myles came to New York from Boston in 1974 to be a poet, subsequently a novelist, public talker, and art journalist. A Sagittarius, their twenty books include evolution (poems), Afterglow (a dog memoir), a 2017 re-issue of Cool for You, I Must Be Living Twice/new and selected poems, and Chelsea Girls. Eileen is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, an Andy Warhol/Creative Capital Arts Writers grant, four Lambda Book Awards, the Shelley Prize from the PSA, and a poetry award from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts. In 2016, Myles received a Creative Capital grant and the Clark Prize for excellence in art writing. In 2019 they’ll be teaching at NYU and Naropa University and they live in New York and Marfa, TX.

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