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Stories, poems y
and translations

by

HEIDI ATKINS
JOHN L. ABBAGNARO
LOUISA BIANCHI
JUDY DE PIETRO
JULIE ELLISON
ELENI FOURTOUNI
JEFF KELLEY
BINNIE KIRSHENBAUM
ANTHONY MANOUSOS
M. MARCUSS OSLANDER
LYN ROOT

THOMAS R. VIOLANTE
MIKE YORK
NANCY WATANABE



THE NOISELESS SPIDER



Vol. VI No. 1 Fall 1976



Statement of Editorial Policy

The editorial board of The Noiseless Spider agrees with
Henry Miller that the pangs of birth relate not to the body but
to the spirit. It was demanded of us to know love, experience
union and communion, and thus achieve liberation from the wheel
of life and death. But we have chosen to remain this side of Par-
adise and to create through art the illusory substance of our
dreams. In a profound sense we are forever delaying the act.
We flirt with destiny and lull ourselves to sleep with myth. We
die in the throes of our own tragic legends, like spiders caught
in our own web.



"The only animals which we saw on the sand at
that time were spiders, which are to be found almost
everywhere whether on snow or ice, water or sand —
and a venomous-looking, long, narrow worm, one of
the myriopods, or thousand-legs. We were surprised
to see spider-holes in that flowing sand with edges as
firm as those of a stoned well."

— Henry David Thoreau
in CAPE COD



Published by the English Club of the University of New Haven
© 1976 The Noiseless Spider



LIBRARY
' '^"VERS^v ^^ ^TW HAVEN



This issue of THE NOISELESS SPIDER is

dedicated to
BERT MATHIEU

"Spiderman" is the Hght and the warmth
that fires this project
to completion each semester
His hard work and constant dedication

have inspired many a motley staff.

On this occasion of the publication

of his book — Orpheus in Brooklyn
and of this 11th issue of "The Noiseless Spider,"
we congratulate him and thank him.



TABLE OF CONTENTS



The Collywobble Cantos


Jeff Kelley


2


How to Survive the






Here and Now


Jeff Kelley


4


Cloud Roots






(a poem on being)


Jeff Kelley


5


Real People


Thomas R. Violante


6


Daffy Duck






(from LOONEY TUNES)


M. Marcuss Oslander


7


Owed to You


Louisa Bianchi


8


For Joe


Judy de Pietro


9


Artemisia


Anthony Manousos


10


Abortion


Eleni Fourtouni


11


The Sacrifice— A Short Story


Binnie Kirshenbaum


12


Stillness


Mike York


20


Edwards


Julie Ellison


21


Two-for-a-Quarter World


Thomas R. Violante


22


Untitled


John L. Abbagnaro


23


The Ancient Submariner


Anthony Manousos


24


Romance at Night (TRAKL)


Heidi Atkins


25


Untitled


John L. Abbagnaro


26


Bugs Bunny






(fi-om LOONEY TUNES)


M. Marcuss Oslander


27


Lassitude (MAC ORLAN)


Nancy Watanabe


30


What's Seen


Lyn Root


32



THE COLLYWOBBLE CANTOS (excerpt)

Sitting in the big brown leather chair again I felt like a pres-
sure cooker, or, more precisely, a pop com popper loaded with
a million tiny kernels which began to explode and blossom like
gigantic caliginous collywobbles. "King Borborigmi" in con-
stant labor trying to dehver some unknown thing, or a whole
litter of things kneeing and elbowing my mind. Get them out,
examine them, weave them together into long strands of angel
hair.

They might be retarded or even crippled, stillborn, strangled
by the umbilical cord of memories and ideas wound together in
confusion. Pickled foetuses of past flashes stuck in some dark
cozy cobwebbed portion of my brain now expelled like concrete
farts to be wondered at and placed in my Hvingroom Kke tro-
phies and conversation pieces.

They might leap out, amoeba-like placentas, yolkless eggs
sapped and sucked dry by womb mates of the brain, a Darwin-
ian abortion of sorts, just things fingerless pointing nowhere,
eyeless seeing nothing, serving no purpose other than being
large turds blocking the drain. Expell them all! Get them out!
Clean house! Open windows, summon fresh air for unexpected
ideas, compulsively, impulsively, spontaneously flowing thru
shallow channels I must dredge to make deeper and wider to
let them pass freely.

Some thoughts and ideas sneak out in the night like hungry
carnivores. Others like moles with blind star noses are caught
in the underbrush growing heavy with the ascension of aware-
ness like a cUmbing sun, vulnerable to the ditch digger, truck
driver, commuter, school kid with lunch box full of goodies he
wields like a hammer to crush their dim skulls.

I let them play their parts in this stage of creation, in this
destruction which stands apart like a vacant monologue hinged
on a transitive verb diagrammed and pointing toward no direct
object. Like the taxidermist, I can retrieve the carcases, stuff
them with com flakes and bring them home to take a place next
to the pickled foetesus and concrete farts in my living room. Or
I could bury them and let them rot in a mountain of others like
them — a growing compost heap of discarded and unused ideas I
may soon be unable to climb for its size. Or I could leave them be



and invite the birds to have a feast, fatten their bellies and
watch them struggle to defy gravity, zig-zagging earth bound
with little bits and pieces jammed down their gizzards. Untold
numbers of birds, flocks of them, and each with some particle
of the carcases within them, each with its own taste and hunger
satisfied.

So I will let them come, full term, premature, stillborn, stran-
gled, whatever. I may be giving birth to and/or creating a mon-
ster. Like some mad scientist slipping into a morgue, stealing
arms, legs, and heads, etc. and sewing them together, I might
be entering my head in the same way to select ideas and mem-
ories which when pieced together and shot thru with a bolt of
high energy inspiration might live, a mongrel thing with being
and life, a separate entity, a poem which might turn on me and
eat me up, gobble gobble!

"Step right up folks, take a chance, three for a quarter, nothing
to lose, a winner every time, bring one home to the kiddies,
give it to your girl up against a tree, spin the wheel, where she
stops nobody knows." Or I could be like the carny who controls
the spinning wheel with his foot on some lever hidden under a
heavy hot dog stained canvas of a face.

It could never be nothing as I feel Abraxus moving within my
brain with the delicate hands of a surgeon come to aid some
heavy pregnant thing.

Who fucked my brain, knocked it up, leaving me to dehver all
this alone? Could my brain be a hermaphrodite, a self-destruc-
tive freak turning inward on itself exposing a tumor mistaken
for a jewel? No! It is more like a nymphomaniac, a hooker, a
whore walking the streets and back alleys off the beaten track
hoping for something unique among the garbage cans and pirates
of the night — always moving, walking, breaking into a slow
trot, sprinting on dagger heels, tripping, falling up, coming
down, never stopping to catch a breath, always looking with
the radar eyes of a bat into the darkness searching for some-
thing like a candle or an erection pointing the way out of the
maze of convolutions piled high and concreted over the years —
a way out, a break from the never ending line of customers like
ideas winding thru like syphallic simpletons mounting it, weigh-
ing it down hot and sweaty, serviced and done, getting down
and going back into the night like flagellates whipping mne-
monic tales into a cloud of memory, leaving it short-changed
and funky, red and swollen.



To relieve, relive, deliver myself of and/or from it, exorcise
it, exercise it, unite with it, marry whatever it is that lives
within and points, directs and shoots the seed into itself drop-
ping propositions like demonic derigibles inflated with the gas
of hope and salvation, I'll marry the beast it tries to take. It
will walk down the aisle and give me away — ^release me into the
dark cleft between the hemispheres. It will throw the rice of
my introspection and dance on my tongue like the red carpet
splitting the reception. Then I will cut off its head in a grand
circumcision and watch it roll like a speeding pinball tripping
the lights in my tilted vision. . .

— Jeff Kelley



How To Survive the Here and Now

The pleasure of eating

a celery heart

is in transcending

the awareness

of the fact

that after eating it

you will be all out of celery.

— Jeff Kelley



Cloud Roots

(a poem on being)

To be

attached to life
the way a cloud
is rooted
in the sky —

To have
the vision
of a daisy,
one blind eye
reaching
full of color —

Befriended

by the wind

sounding

hke heavy traffic —

Is!

— Jeff Kelley



Real People

They get fucked daily right between the eyes.

Or, by mentally masturbating,

Waste seed

On the barren earth.

Sad, hopeless, hapless faces

Trudge daily to and from

Their cubbyholes of space,

Their small cubicles of contentment,

Their plush coffins for eight hours.

And they never even close the door.

Some of them sweat.
They drip and stink.

Others open their mouths,
Not to speak,
But fart —

These real people,

In their shiny, funny shoes.

And little suits,

And choking neckties.

And glittery jewelry.

And small heads with space between their ears.

Someday,

It would be best

If the spaces they occupy

Were filled with manure or a compost of some kind.

Then, at least.

Something living

Would have a chance to grow.

— Thomas R. Violante



Daffy Duck

(from Looney Tunes)

Black hooded blunderbuss

you should have been bom a sheep

the better to have belonged

to this family of wolves

tar baby

bom in darkness

I wish you to fly away

fly away

but your feathers are lined

with the tin of beer cans

rattling in the hallways

of my house

your feet are webbed to my doorstep

where you search for my pennies

gold keys

to open the door of your beer truck

where you wash your legitimacy

in an open keg

gold keys

that I plant under the comer of the rug

knowing that you will find them there

fta ""'^ur t n with ™^ '°"

ag your ongue wi ^^^ ^^^ turns black

mscribmg your name and mme • . i

. ,, m the river

m the same space ^ • • 4-u i. j

^ drammg the pavement red

your heart lanced

by the weight of the tailgate

beer truck unlocked

to let you in

your mustache a black frame

for final crooked teeth

my son

if you were a sheep

your slaughter

my grief

that sacrifice

would have been made

worthwhile.

— M. Marcuss Oslayider



Owed To You



The follomng ad appeared in the Personals Sec-
tion of The New Haven Advocate late in the Spring
of 1976: ''WANTED: Curvaceous young woman be-
tween the ages of 18 and 25 to share the joys of ex-
istence at 'El Conquistador' in sunny Puerto Rico.
Please write to Box 300. "

Dearie, Dearie:
In response to your query
Which appeared in The Advocate,
You aspired for a winsome date.
(Sorry my reply is so late).

But, I've been nursing my lumbago,
A disease peculiar to every Dago,
As are wit, charm, and flair.
So what if all my Clairol hair
Is brittle and an awesome grey?
It's covered by a new toupee.

I'm five feet six: ten pounds too fat,

Playtex, tho', hides all of that.

I have Maria Callas' nose;

My veins held firm with thick Supphose.

I dance the Charleston and Cha-Cha-Cha,
Roistering with great Chutzpah.
In my youth I did the Hora,
Reveling in old Gomorrah.

I've seen two Popes and climbed Mt. Zion,
Ridden a camel and lived with a Lion,
Sailed the Thames, Seine, and Rhine.
Mink, sable, diamonds are already mine.

I've floated naked in Sodom's Dead Sea;
Somehow, I have always missed meetmg thee .
Oh, cruel Fate, why did you so decree?
To separate me from such a one as He?

He who offers one night at "El Conquistador?"
Alas, I've been there, too, before!
Ere I venture to Puerto Rico's lesser shore,
I'd have to know you so much more.



Since I've given my full resume,
I'll query you, if I may?

Are you gay, or a lout?
Suffer from psoriasis or the gout?
Do you play bridge, poker, or gin rummy?
Are you bright — or a decadent dummy?
(You might as well know from the start
I like my men very smart).

Are your politics rebel or Tory?

Would you go to the moon for me and Old Glory?

If your answers confirm what I want to know,
Bring the aspirin along — it's time for The Show!

— Louisa Bianchi



For Joe

Little Boy Blue
Come get your gun
Your mind's in the battle
And you're still on the run.

Your soul's in the swamps
Where the enemy lay
I hope in my heart
You'll forget it someday.

Little Boy Blue
Come get your gun
There's wrongs to be righted
There's wars to be won.

Your thoughts are the bullets
That shoot men down
You fight for a hobby
Not a moral or a crown.

So if it's reality

You think you perceive —

Little Boy Blue

For you I grieve.



Judy DePietro



Artemisia

(after a Dutch work by Gerrit von Honthorst— 1590-1656)

The scene is splendidly clear:

the widow raises to her lips the ruby chalice

wherein her husband's ashes have been mixed with wine,

and drinking it down, she sighs and murmurs through veiled tears:

"Now I'm your living tomb, my beloved."

In the wings the bearded courtiers gasp theatrically,

raising their hands, as if to say: "What a paragon!"

Of her attendants, one young woman with golden hair

seemed most impressed by this strange aperitif.

(All this the Dutch master caught brilliantly,

nor could he forget to insert, in the shadows of the curtains,

a crone with withered tits who can barely suppress a sneer.)

From far and wide, it's said that crowds of commoners came

to gape at this prodigy, the king's shapely urn.

Night falls; the widow aches. Her dreams
are like red curtains tossing in the wind.
Her straying hand has a will of its own,

and it touches, it touches.
She bites her lips till blood comes and groans and sobs
and tries to imagine the king's face, a golden goblet,
tries to imagine the feel of his large rough hand
whose caress could be so gentle, yet set her a-blaze.
But now she can only see darkly

two small red eyes like a rat's,
a sad mouth twisted into a sneer,
and an ancient woman's face

peering out of her looking glass.

— Anthony Manousos



Abortion

Your hair

still holds the sun as you shut the door

and gaze up the dark concrete staircase

Slowly you climb

One by one the steps are left

behind you

In your nostrils lingers

the intoxication of

wild orange trees

The other women sit silent

on hard chairs around the bare room

Young girls like you —

you're barely seventeen —

They're glad you too have come

to wait with them

The Easter eggs are all painted red by now

you think

as the clock

minute by minute

ticks you closer

to the end

of your

time

Soon you'll be out again
You'll be out in the blue morning
Swiftly you'll walk again
among the blooming wild
orange trees

When your turn comes
the eyes of the women
catapult your terrified body
through the open door

Soon it uuill he over

(cont'd)



I



Thev stretch vou on the cold marble slab

— ^lovely marble, ripped from the bowels of PenteU —

They pull your legs apart

They strap you dowTi

Your blue Easter blouse
hangs on a chair
in vour sun-filled room
waiting to cover your body
bleeding still

— Eleni Fo u rto u n i



The Sacrifice— A Short Story



''Meyi are not worried by things,

but by their ideas about things.

When we meet with difficulties, becoyne

anxious or troubled, let us not blame others,
but rather ourselves, that is:
our ideas about things."

— Epictetus



I openly and cheerfully admit that Kyle L. Rhodes and I had
some fantastically wild times together, like the time we put
cellophane on the toilet seat and Emily Williams didn't notice
it, and all those nights of pla\ing basketball down the corridor



at 3 A.M., not for the exercise but for disturbance's sake alone,
and all those countless occasions of getting smashed drunk and
telling everyone how we thought they were absolutely zero.

I put none of the culpability on Kyle for my breaking dowTi,
though my parents, the doctors, and the Vassar class of '66 did.
I would prefer to think the whole damn thing was arbitrar>% for
not only was Kyle the best damn friend I ever had, I had a hell
of a lot of respect for her, and that was something sacred, for I
never had the shghtest bit of respect for anyone or anything
before. As a matter of fact, I spent my years before her as a
pompous, arrogant little bitch who thought I knew ever\1:hing
there was to know, and no one but J.D. Salinger could teach me
anything. From the minute the doctor slapped my little behind,
and I immediately told him to keep his goddamned paws off of
me, I set out to do exactly what I was told not to do and vice
versa. I wanted the world to know who it was tr^dng to deal
with.

Coming from a home where my parents were professors in
a prominent university, naturally education was their highest
priority, and naturally I did my best to learn as little as possi-
ble. From the day I was literally dragged off to grammar school
until the moment I barely graduated prep school (I had too many
unexplained absences), my life was one apathetic existence. I
must amend that last statement. I cannot, in all honest v, sav
it was totally apathetic in the conventional sense of the word
for I did spend a great deal of time devising plans that would
infuriate both my teachers and my parents and make me look
like the naturally gifted genius that I thought myself to be. I
don't know if this interests you or not but if you're going to have
any kind of goddamn understanding about how precocious I was,
I'm obligated to tell you about some of the charming (and I use
that term loosely) stunts I pulled during my maturation period.

At the ripe old age of six I had concluded that I abeady knew
how to read, therefore there was nothing that my acne-scarred



teacher could possibly teach me that I could not learn on my
own, so I informed my parents that I was not returning to
school for too much of my valuable time was being wasted there.
They informed me otherwise and I was bodily hurled out the
door. To my dehght, I was unescorted. I made sure that I was
unobserved and quickly dodged to my mother's car and hid my-
self in the back seat. I figured I would remain in my hideout
until I spotted my classmates returning home and I would then
leave my sanctuary and come in as though I had had a perfectly
natural day at school. Unfortunately while reading War and
Peace (Mother still insists it was Heidi of the Alps) I fell asleep
and when I awoke it was sometime past sunset and there was a
twelve-state alarm out after me. I learned quickly though and
eventually got to be a master at cutting school and so much of
one that the challenge was lost and I had to resort to other
tactics.

As I got older I joyfully discovered the aggravation a teacher
goes through when trying to deal with a child who is totally 'im-
possible,' especially when that impossible child is more intel-
ligent than they are and is determined to prove this fact to the
rest of the class. So every day I would saunter into class ten or
fifteen minutes late, giving the instructor a look that said, "You
should be glad I even showed at all," and would walk noncha-
lantly to the back of the room and pretend I was asleep. I was
in ecstacy when they would get down or up (however one chooses
to perceive it) to my level and when they thought they had me
in the midst of some totally absorbing daydream, would call upon
me. I would slowly pick up my head, glance around the room and
just when they thought they had me, I would answer — correctly!
I would go home at night and spend hours looking for questions
that I knew they would never be able to answer and was thrilled
when they would look at me with hate in their eyes. And natur-
ally I studied like crazy for exams so nothing could be held
over my head. I was proud to be the only one in my school with
a straight A academic average and straight F conduct grades.
Well, with the combination of my extremely high intellect and
my parents' influence, it was decided for me that I would spend
my next four years at Vassar. The thought did not exactly thrill
me.

I arrived there before my roomate, something I was rather
glad about. I took the best bed (the one with the least lumps in
the mattress) and the desk by the window, for I was positive that



I was not going to like her and didn't care if I was being unrea-
sonably selfish. Later that same day, Kyle arrived. Jesus
Christ, what a phoney. Here was this typical Vassar snob, all
beauty and money, without an ounce of brains. I was waiting for
her to tell me how she was absolutely mad about Dylan Thomas
and didn't I think he was absolutely marvelous, but instead she
said, "Want a beer?"

I was beginning to have second thoughts about her when she
opened her trunk, which I had originally thought contained Lord
and Taylor's sportswear department, and saw that it was filled
with six-packs of Budweiser. I felt a wave of relief go through
me. She may not be so bad after all. She smiled (she had this
terrific sarcastic-looking grin), I reciprocated and we sat down
to some serious drinking.

"You don't seem so bad," Kyle slurred. "What are you doing
here?"

"Trying to get out. What about you?"

"My parents donated a building."

I laughed uproariously, partly from drunkenness and partly
from her honesty. "Tell me, Kyle, what do you think of Dylan
Thomas?"

"I'm absolutely mad about him!" Then she went into this
screeching fit of laughter. "Isn't that what I'm required to say?"

At that moment the house mother rudely interrupted our party
and told us that our presence was requested at a little freshman
get-together tea that was now going on in the Commons. Very
thrilling. Kyle and I staggered over, reeking from alcohol, but
I must admit we had a fine time introducing ourselves and tell-
ing everyone how we were absolutely mad about Dylan Thomas,
and everytime someone agreed with us, and almost everyone
did, we even got one fool to start quoting for us, we would burst
into peals of laughter and run away. Needless to say, we didn't
make many friends and needless to say, we didn't care. I had
met my match in Kyle L. Rhodes and that was all I needed.

Kyle and I were delighted to discover that we were both
English majors and were in all the same classes. I filled her in
on all my past escapades in school, whereupon she shook my
hand and said, "Kid (she always called me kid), we're going to
have a hell of a time. It amazes me that they put the two of us
together but I promise them, they'll be sorry. Vassar will never
recuperate."

And everyday Kyle and I would saunter into class ten or fif-



teen minutes late, sit in the last row and either laugh at or argue
whatever our professors said. The only difference was that I
was determined to make them look as stupid as I knew they
were, and all Kyle wanted was a few laughs.

"Kid, I don't know why the hell you study so much. It's not
worth a goddamned thing."

"I know but I've got to do it. My parents would coronary if I
ever failed anything."

"So if you fail we'll run away to South America or something.
Come one, let's grab a beer."

"Twist my arm, Kyle. Come on, twist my arm." Unfortu-
nately or fortunately, however one chooses to perceive it, I
developed the same study habits as Kyle, which is no study
habits at all. I got to be one hell of an authority on beerdrink-
ing, though.

One night more than halfway through first semester, we were
having one of our usual "mocking Vassar" discussions when Kyle
very abruptly changed the subject. "What kind of contraceptives
do you use?"

My eyes nearly detached themselves from their sockets.
'What?"

"You know, birth control."

"I know what you mean. None."

"Are you crazy, kid? Do you know what kind of chances you're
taking?"

As much as I loved and respected Kyle, I wasn't going to let
her get one up on me.

"Kyle, as of yet I have not found any male who is equal to my
intellect and therefore worthy of my body."

"You're not queer or anything, are you?"

"Goddamn you, Kylel No, I'm not queer or anything."

'Well, things are going to change this weekend."

I must have been pale as hell. "Why? What's this weekend?"

"We're going to visit my brother at Princeton and he's got
some really outrageous fi:'iends. Really, kid, you're going to flip
over these guys. Very high I.Q.'s and ooooh, what bodies.

"I don't know, Kyle. I've got a hell of a lot of work to catch


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