Review #80: ‘Tweaky Village’ by Kevin Killian

  • PUBLISHED BY: Wonder, 2014
  • REVIEW BY: Timothy Liu


The tweaky village is not only the Castro where “you become a numb /gnome” but wherever neoliberal globalism has got its clutches, and as Kevin Killian sometimes sees it, the only way out “is a complete return to irony and Marxism, and both of them failed in the first place because they could not withstand the homosexual . . . Kylie Minogue, “Get Outta My Way” (2010), waving her hands at the wrists on the beat, scorn face, as if to say, fuck you, I’m off to another world that doesn’t have your stupid scrotum in it. It wasn’t only the war, it was action neglected, sectarian malice, a faith that did not allow for labor. So I fucked him / that’s how hot he is.” The outrage (and fun!) throughout this collection is off the Billboard charts. Hollywood and Hegemony bed down together to create a cultural love child of Warholian proportions: “I’m high up on a tightrope and I’ve got to get to you // Kylie whispering this song and then deciding, to leave it off her album, // All her best songs saved as B-sides or just leaked onto the internet, where they live on as fan favorites, where a life of their own ennobles them, where they creep into Duane Reade needing something mundane as scotch tape, shoppers start to shriek in excited whispers, à la David Cronenberg’s Scanners.” Joseph Brodsky wanted poetry to be sold at the head of supermarket checkout aisles all across America where National Enquirers are sold. In the wee hours, I too would give a fan-fucked shriek to find this book cello-wrapped at the nearest Kum & Go.

Disclosures: Ownership is nine-tenths the law, so whether it’s an Abraham Lincoln bio or Last Year at Marienbad or Heath Ledger or Kate Bush or just a plain-ole jizzy-jazzy ballad, Killian manages to tweak the thing to make it his very own: “For that song you should be nude or you should be / wearing a big white satin ballgown, lilacs pinned to your shoulder // or angry at the capitalist system for leaving you / near death, your joints akimbo, // on the dusty floor of house death-within-life // “At last my love has come along,”—Lynn Bari sang it in Orchestra Wives (1942) and at Obama’s inauguration Beyoncé sang it while president and first lady took tearful smiley first dance— / —at home, Etta Jones scowling, rocking, shouting out to the Lord, “That’s / my song—mine—mine, you hear me?”

Favorites: Story of Abraham; Story of Lincoln; All I See Featuring Mims; Skull with Jewels On It; Ten Years In; Repetition Island; Tightrope; Cherry Bomb/Heath Ledger; Kate Bush, “Wuthering Heights”; Nude; Nude Valentine.

Read Killian at Shampoo.