Four Poems by Glenn O'Brien

BOMB 67 Spring 1999
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MAR 23 & 24, 6PM 

New York Live Arts

Bond Girls

James Bond never leaves a woman unsatisfied.
She leaves shaken, if not stirred.
Many women share this bond.
Expecting fidelity of him would be futile
and unkind to all other women.
The secret agent’s secret is no secret,
at least among his initiates.
Betraying him is always a pleasure.
He brings out the guile in a girl.
No glamorous gesture goes unnoticed.
He takes all a woman has to give
and gives her mortal pleasures in return.
The Bond girl is waiting in the hotel bed,
a gift wrapped in black velvet ribbon
from an enemy government.
She must learn his secret at any cost.
It will be expensive, not prohibitively so,
but exquisitely so.
She must learn his secret at any cost,
and he will make one up if necessary.
There’s nothing more exciting than
    deception, ruse,
duplicity and sex with sudden death as a
    possible consequence.
The sex is better when it involves massive
beyond your control.
Global stakes make the Bond girl wet. Oh
England expects every man to do his duty.
And Bond rises above and beyond that call,
treating every girl with personalized precision,
strategy, cunning, persistence
and a transcendental and unparalleled
dichotomy of engagement and detachment.
Don’t move.
The encounter might be fatal,
but it is never disappointing.
James Bond never leaves a woman unsatisfied.
But he always leaves.
And he never returns.
And that is the secret of his agency.

Benzene Ring

I remember one night we put down the

and headed up to the all night pharmacy on
to buy a tank of oxygen.
On the way back I picked up a six pack of
so I’d have something in my stomach to
throw up.
It was called base back then,
but I think that was the night the man came
    to Jeffrey
with ready-made rocks.
Little did I know it was history in the
That night crack still meant the sound
    dawn made
that set the birds on us like dogs.

The Appeal of the Dead.

Miles can’t put you down.
Bird can’t ask for a loan.
Kerouac can’t puke on you.
Jackson Pollock can’t swerve into your lane
    head on.

Becoming Bourgeois

It’s no piece of cake with these peasant
Putting on cufflinks, putting in studs.
The fish fork slips from my fingers and
    clangs on the floor.
I burn inside letting the waiter pick it up
until I’m red as herring.
My ancestors painted themselves blue
to hide their blush and mimic night.
We bleached our dreads to bring out
the blue in our eye.
Ten generations later I still haven’t got
the hang of trousers.
The zipper gets in my way.
I wasn’t cut out for a desk job.
My post was always on the walls.
Describing the moon
and whatever it touched.

Glenn O’Brien is a writer who lives in New York. SOAPBOX, his collected essays, was published by Imschoot in 1998. He writes monthly columns for Details and Paper.

Fred Tomaselli by David Shields

Shields, author of the much-debated book on appropriation, Reality Hunger: A Manifesto, used the epistolary method, via email, to discuss the influence of California’s counterculture on Tomaselli’s visionary paintings.

Jonathan Caouette by Christopher Wilcha
Jonathan Caouette 01

32-year-old Brooklyn filmmaker Jonathan Caouette has been documenting his own life since he was eleven. His staggering debut Tarnation, part documentary and part narrative, is a densely layered testament of Caouette’s life and that of his family.

Why Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend by Duncan Smith

Why are diamonds a girl’s best friend? Diamonds, the most popular gemstone, are also the symbol for steadfast love. 

Originally published in

BOMB 67, Spring 1999

Featuring interviews with James Hyde, Mary Heilmann, Alan Warner, Scott Spencer, Catherine Gund-Saalfield, Cassandra Wilson, Revenge Effect, Elevator Repair Service, Zoe Wanamaker, and A Day in Brasilia. 

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