edited by deborah kaplan
assistant editors aimee slater and allen
special thanks to sarah zinn, jon adams and amanda irwin
with smoochies to hc budgeting, who made this all somewhat possible
Volume 1 - Spring 1995

Foetid - Volume 1, Issue 1 - the text


Back to Foetid main page.

Contents of this issue:

Foetid, Volume 1 / Top of Document / Contents / Foetid Main Page / April 9, 1996

About this version of Foetid

Foetid was originally published as a magazine and distributed (through a complex system of labelled boxes in public places) to members of the Haverford community.

For the HTML version of Foetid, I have attempted to recreate the look of the original text version. Many of the works included here are poetic, and thus rely on specific text formatting to achieve their high and lofty effects.

The long and the short of this is that I have used several questionable HTML tricks in order to format this document. These include but are not limited to using HTML 3.0 stuff and assuming that the way Netscape 2.0 interprets them is correct, and throwing together tables to get the columns right. If you have any problems reading this file, or if some of my codings show up just all wrong on your browser, feel free to email me about it.

Foetid, Volume 1 / Top of Document / Contents / Foetid Main Page / April 9, 1996


He exhaled. A cloud of fetid smoke circumscribed his lank, greasy hair. His cough was dry and rattling.

"How can they do this to you, after all that you've done for them?" She bitterly sipped at her espresso.

The clove dangled limply from his passionless left hand, as, with his right, he inscribed images of angst on the air. "Structuralists," he shouted anemically. "Bloody deconstructionists." A cheerless column of ash fell from the trailing cigarette to splash disconsolately on his Doc Martens.

"How dare they!" she cried. "You were their mentor, their beloved. Their Byron. Waiter!" She languidly beckoned the pallid server in his grease-spattered apron. "More espresso. Make this cup bitter."

"Zoe." His eyes flashed meaning, suddenly, then were desolate once more. "No."

"I'll order more espresso if I damned well please, you bastard!" She flailed her arms about in her tight black turtleneck, flinging ash into his espresso cup. "That's all you poets care about, isn't it? Deconstructionism and not having enough caffeine? You wouldn't be complete if he brought more espresso, would you? Then you wouldn't be so empty!"

"Zoe," he said again, stagnant.

She subsided, spent. "They have no right."

"Bloody structuralists," he muttered, as ash accrued on his Doc Martens. "Deconstructionists."

She sipped her espresso.

- Mrs. Rochester

the North Wind blew
it blew from the north
it chilled the fibre of my soul
it chilled the fibre of my soul
she chilled the fibre of my soul
she is the north wind



Distant scream rakes my soul
(bloody now with forgotten memories)

blackness within without scrapes
(shivergloom shivergloom)

my love is like a dead dead rose
(dead to screams which come late

silvery-grey dawn paints my future
(hopeless needless without her)

as blood runs in sharp rivulets
(I kill to live)

streaming down virgin hands
(I live to kill)

staining the dark throwrug of my soul.



Fallen Domino Tears

the cruel and bitter wind cuts through my flesh
made fragile by your absence.

i just stare and stare out the door,
the door you used to enter my life,
never to be opened again.
not by you.

we never could last, you know--
these tricks of god which plague us so
keep us apart now. when we met, you were
captured, shut up
in a box with no escape.
when you were freed, your essence filled the air
it ensorcelled me. i could not resist.

mind rushing. red trickles from my devouring lips.
i feel you, beautiful, delicious--
a fungus fulfilling my fantasies.
you were fire
your touch seared my mouth
those first times.
but soon you turned, cold as the outside,
still i would not let you go.
my hunger was too great, my emptiness consuming me
and you my victim, until at last
only a shell remained, only faint marks
of your being still visible.

alone and adrift, the merciless air outside
i cannot remove you from my thoughts.
i feel your burns
(your touch seared my mouth,
you melted as i held you, tried to fall apart
but i held you together as i brought you
for another kiss)
i smell your scent.
i see your beauty.
i gather your name, written on your cage.
i add your remains to the others.


detached paradigms

liquid purple luminesce
illuminates the core of
my brain
my soul.
i can hold it in my hand
i watch
i smell
i listen-
"snap! crackle! pop!"
ahhh! rice krispies, you say?
maybe not............

- l'impuissance


Part I
The Cream Castle

your creamy pants,
my eyes rimmed with red
from weeping in the tower built of stone
built of love
built of pain
anguished sighs and desperate thighs
frame the curtained chasm of my heart
the reaper reaps the bitter crop of tangled tears
your creamy pants.

Part II
The Foetal Spasm

were I Houdini
I would know a way
to get down
from this ledge
without crushing my precious skull---
this sphere of throbbing blood and brains and bone---
this dimentia
laid bare upon the rocks, jagged crags of foetid igneous---
flap flap
flap flap
the pigeon beside me takes flight
peck peck
peck peck
it leaves a hole--a hole in my
who? who?

Part III
Why Not

This time I will rise
like smoke from the funeral pyres of Bombay---
Like Orpheus I will look back and seal my doom
Like Prometheus a giant bird will forever eat my liver
Like Christ crucified (though three days hence ascended)---
This time I will rise
Like a Phoenix from the ashes
Like Han bronzed
In the deep freeze of a far-off planet---
My flame burns


I scream my ashen rage to the uncaring sky.
It mocks me.  It mocks life.
But how to do both?

I shriek my agony across the Illyrian plains.
'cross the Rubicon, the dice roll on


I cry out for her.  She never treated
Me like this.   she...she
(hated me)
No!  she loved me more than all the
Pent-up treasures of distant Hy Brasil.

She howled her pain to the undifferent firmament
As the final vestiges of life slipp'd free
From his grasping apendages.
Finger which caressed her flaxen hair so gently
(out of a killing love)
Soon grow rough and harsh
With the cold dawn of madness
(into the loving kill)

and so say we all
on the beds of death
in our
of the succulent pomegranate of my soul.


it is the forgotten element.
misunderstood by chemists and housewives.
it is the north wind.

Life in Elsinore

"Death," he said, idly fingering a dagger, "is much like a pantry. It has shelves, and you can keep marmalade in it."

"Is that so?"

"Yes. Or pickled ham, or cucumbers, I suppose, would preserve the metaphor." He made a face. "Or jelly rolls, if you wanted to be disgusting."

"Oh," I replied. I had long ago come to the conclusion that, if anything Hamlet ever said made sense to me, I'd have to shoot myself before I got any worse.

"I should know. I just killed a man, you see!" He puffed himself up with pride, which made that damned black outfit he was wearing almost burst at the seams.

"Of course you have," I said with my best ingratiating smile. Recently, he seemed to become obsessed with killing things. I don't think it mattered much what. The other day I caught him giggling while plucking the wing of a fly and muttering something about dissolving into a puddle.

He seemed to take offence at my indifference. "I have, I have!" he said, stomping his foot. "That old guy was hiding behind a rug!"

"A capital offence, I'm sure. Wouldn't you rather be at the feast?" I know I did. My plans for the evening mainly involved a rather large cask of wine and a play. (The local acting troupe was always much more entertaining when one is too drunk to realize the women aren't really women.)

"No," he replied, staring off into space (Hamlet seemed to find space rather interesting.) "I'm waiting for my father."

"Danish schmuck. You're father's dead."

"I know that! But he still comes to me." Once more, he struck a pose that would have been heroic, had what he said been anything worth striking a pose about. "After all, there are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than..."

"You used that one already, Hammy." If there's one thing worse than a lunatic, its a repetitive lunatic.

He looked crestfallen for a second, the brightened. "Have I told you how much I like nutshells yet?"

"I believed you mentioned it to those two morons from Germany."

"Rosenwhatzit and Guildenwhoever?"

"Yeah. Them."

He reflected a bit more, then asked me earnestly, "Do you think I should kill my uncle?"

"If you did, would you shut up?"

"Are you kidding? Do you know the size of the soliloquy I could get out of that?"

"In that case, no." Hamlet never remembered that soliloquies are supposed to be delivered when one is alone, which is unfortunate, because I'm sure people would have appreciated them much more had no one actually ever heard one.

He sat still for a second, then announced to the world, "I'm bored. I'm going to go insult Ophelia. Want to come watch?"

"No thank you. I'd rather just stay here and try and figure out how you're related to Claudius."

"Suit yourself." And with that he was bounding down a staircase yelling, "Get thee to a bunnery! No, that's not right..."

Still I was happy to see him go, even though it was not yet late enough for me to attach myself to the wine cask. Sighing I headed downstairs, almost colliding with that British idiot who's been loitering about recently.

"I say!" he exclaimed cheerfully. "How do you do? I've just come in from Stratford-on-Avon and..."

"Piss off," I suggested, and left him chattering to himself.

- The Iconoclast

Terror in a handful of mulch

I. The Voice of the Turtle

we are on our way
we enter the room of the city
the Thames rides high above us,
circling through the domed ceiling
London Bridge is falling down
Falling down
i fear
i must not enter
i must not eat a plum

the lads go in&out that way
speaking all about monet

wandering through the streets
rats rats
the rats that climb through the alley
the rats of the Wandering Jew
the rats that blow through my head
the rats the rats in the walls
scatter the clouds like so many mice
and return home to play Chess.
II. L'affaire d'ennuise

"what do you say?"

she will never know how i hate her

"why do you not answer me?"

perhaps i could drown out the drone

"what, what do you want for dinner?"

if only the cd player were not broken
then i could drown the old hag
with bitter music

"do you want meatloaf? hot dogs? stir fry?"

nada y nada y pues nada

"sure, meatloaf would be fine"

III. With Little Whimpers

That way that way that way
The woman in black she dies
Her babe wails upon her frigid breast
Our father which art in heaven, can I borrow the car keys tonight?
I have a big date.
Shantih shantih shantih

- Mrs. Rochester

the drums persisted
  they would not yield,
    i hear the drums,
      ever          onward.
      i shrieked my scorn,
  but they continued.
the north wind blew.


The Necromancer danced in the blue half-light of the moon. It was hard to tell whether what the tall, thin figure pranced around was black with blood or if that was just the colour of its slick surface, from which the writhing tendrils originated.

The thing was quivering on the cold stone altar, as the pentagram the Necromancer danced began to glow a dull orange. Black flame leapt from his fingertips and a bloated corpse, not blue from the moonlight, which had been lying at the periphery of the pentagram just where the circle of trees began, began to rapidly dry out and disintegrate into first a consistency of flaky paper then only dust. Only the smell of desiccated leaves remained.

The demon on the altar grew bigger. The tentacles and body of the black beast grew paler as it took the shape of a human. It opened its eyes. A dim blue glow emitted from them contrasting the orange light of the pentagram.

A few more words uttered in ancient R'lyehian ny the Necromancer and the creature was fully awake. Its master smiled through a bony mouth and eyes with the same blue glow.

"You know what you must do." The words of the Necromancer were heard by the creature, created of the sixth element, Plaki. Except he was no longer on the altar, but, instead in a library somewhere. A library much like a church. There were people around, reading mostly.

It was not the first time he had had one of these waking dreams of his creation. He brushed the long, wild gray hair out of his eyes. He was sweating, not in fear but in anticipation of what he knew he must do. He had now done it for many, many years. Creating more insane to feed his ever hungry master made him happy. Autumn (or Fall as he preferred) was something he always looked forward to. He let out an insane laugh which made the students move away in fear.

- H. Phillip Giovanni

April 17, 1983

Maurice drove a green Dodge Dart with a vanity plate that read "DF822FN", which meant diddly-poo. It was a wonderful vehicle even if it didn't have a functioning dashboard. The turn signals had stopped functioning a few months back which forced Maurice to learn and use the correct hand signals to communicate with fellow denizens of the road. Not that anyone else knew the correct signals. Cigarette butts covered the floor and the vinyl seats were kinda stinky but the car was his, not the bank's, and that was all that mattered.

Anyway, Maurice had been driving along the freeway around two in the afternoon. He had a Lou Reed tape playing and was pumping his head in time with the music. Maurice firmly believed that Lou was the master of rhyme. He doubted that any poet or songwriter was capable of pulling off such pairs as "Samantha" and "panther" or "college" and "foliage." If Lou was black or Equatorian or had a bleached flattop and used the word "funky" more often he'd probably be a rap star. Maurice loved Lou so much that he wanted to score some smack ASAP.

He was zipping along doing, perhaps, sixty-five miles per hour when he noticed a small animal just sitting on the shoulder. Or maybe it was taking a dump. Whatever it was doing, Maurice yanked the steering wheel to the right and was rewarded with a satisfying "thump" as rubber contacted flesh. It turned out that he had run over a dachshund, one of those long skinny dogs that, when thinly sliced, are sold in plastic packages around the nation as "bologna." The effect of the tire on the dog could be compared to stomping on a beef frank and having the filling burst out both ends as the middle compresses underfoot.

He brought the car to a screeching halt and the scent of burning rubber reached his nostrils. He got an expression on his face as if he had just smelled a bad fart. He kinda had to fart but that could wait. He opened up the trunk and retrieved an old gas can which had "Esso" stamped on the side. It was half-full. He walked back to the dog and wondered if it was dead or just resting. He doused the dog in gas and it began to squirm. Apparently it had just been resting. He kicked it a few times.

All this exertion had made him somewhat hungry. He walked back to his car, tossed the can in the trunk, and drove to the nearest convenience store which was owned and operated by one Bob Johnson, a veteran of World War II. Maurice settled on a pack of lemon Zingers and a can of Coca-Cola. He brought it to the cash register and Bob, who had been in back watching "CHiPs" on a thirteen-inch Zenith, began waddling to the counter. Bob liked "CHiPs" because it starred sexy smoldering Erik Estrada as Ponch, everyone's favorite Hispanic sex symbol and his sidekick Jon, played by Larry Wilcox. Together the biracial duo cruised the highways and byways of Los Angeles outwitting undesirables and wooing women.

After a few minutes Bob reached the register. He was wearing a T-shirt which read "If they move - kill 'em!" Maurice noticed that Bob's nipples were erect. Bob noticed that Maurice was only purchasing two items.

"How about one of these fine adult magazines?" The store proprietor - that is, Bob Johnson of the erect nipples and World War II veteran - gestured toward a rack of magazines behind him and to his left. All the skin rags were wrapped in opaque plastic and one could only see the title of the publication and the top of a woman's, or sometimes a man's, head. "Ya like bein' tied down? Beat up? Ya like guys? Girls? Dressin' up? I got something for everyone." He waited for Maurice to select a publication.

Maurice, while Bob had been dragging his slow ass from the storage room to the cash register, had been analyzing his day to that moment. Something seemed amiss. Since that morning he had eaten two meals, shaved, showered, clipped his toenails, read the paper, consumed two cups of tea, mailed in the gas and electric bills, cleaned his shotgun, killed a dog and doused it with petrol - He had forgot to set the damn thing on fire! This realization had hit him like a case of dysentery. He snapped back into the present without realizing that Bob had tried to sell him a magazine that would have deflowered his mind.

He stared into Bob's jaundiced eyes. Bob ignored Maurice's vapidity and launched into another attempt as salesmanship: "I know what you want! Cigarettes!"


"What's your smoke?"

"Pall Mall."

"Pall Malls, eh?" Bob squinted at the copy on the pack. "Where particular people congregate," he read. He placed the pack on top of the Zingers.

"I want fifteen boxes."


"You heard me, cowboy."

"You got it, hot dog." And he began waddling towards the back to see if he had fifteen cartons of Pall Malls. Intestinal gases had been building up in Maurice's system for a few hours now and he decided that it was time to let go. He relaxed his anal sphincter and sighed as a rush of gas escaped his nether regions. He inhaled and decided that that fart in particular smelled pretty goddamn good.

Bob did indeed have fifteen boxes of Pall Malls and he placed them into an empty box. He squatted and firmly grasped the box, remembering to lift with his legs and not his back. He slowly straightened up and just before he was standing completely erect a blood vessel in his head burst and he died. Twenty minutes and four lemon Zingers later, Maurice wandered back and found Bob's corpse and realized that he would not have to pay for the smokes. He took the box with the Pall Mall cartons and dumped them into the Dodge's back seat which thankfully had no semen stains on the upholstery.

"Looking for a date?" Maurice turned around and found himself face to face with a woman of the street. She was wearing very tight slacks. Maurice notched a bulge in her crotch about the size of a small potato. Apparently she was half the man she used to be. "Drop a twenty, I'll drop you."


The hooker reached into her blouse and took out her fake tits and put them on the ground. Using them as kneepads she knelt in front of an increasingly nervous Maurice and began to fiddle with his fly.

"I have to go now. I have a pie in the oven which will burn if I do not return. Perhaps if I give you my phone number we could get together and go disco-dancing sometime."

The hooker stood up and replaced her breasts. "I'll be here if you need me."

Maurice got back into his car and backtracked to the dog. He was soon standing over it with a matchbook in his hand. He felt a tugging on his leg and looked down into the eyes of a seven year old girl wearing a blue dress. "That was my dog."


"I saw you kill her."

"Naw, it was some other guy."

"You're dead." She stuck the business end of a Smith and Wesson in his face and pulled the trigger.

Maurice thought that some bouncer had just smacked him with a bottle. He was vaguely aware that there was a big hole in his face. It smarted a bit and he was having some trouble seeing but it was nothing that some Bactine and a few bandages couldn't fix. Maurice once again stuck his ass in the Dart's driver's seat but he couldn't find the key. He didn't mind too much since he had fifteen cartons of smokes in the back seat. He decided to start working on them.

A few hours later, paramedics found Maurice and took him to a hospital and fixed up his face as best they could. Unfortunately, Maurice's dream of becoming a male model was over.

The next day, Maurice decided to patronize the hooker outside of Bob Johnson's store. Due to a death in the family, the store was closed. The whore, as was the case each day excepting Sundays and major holidays, was open for business. They went disco-dancing in a swank club and then retired to Maurice's flat. Maurice contracted syphilis and died eight years later in a mental institution.

-Half-Asian Bread Boy

The deep roots of
 the desert potato
   below ground.
 (of course, a
   is a root...)
My soul is starchy
     and the rays
   of the sun scorch
    to a golden brown.
 O life (of the potato's eye)
   O Earth's element
     O desert potato!

	   --The Manic Muse


The Mourning of Morning

The unrelenting shrillness
Cuts through the veil of consciousness
With the fury of the Sirens
And rips me from Morpheus's sweet embrace.

At last I rouse myself
Leaving with utter reluctance
The warm comforting womb
Of my afghan.

The hard bristles scrub at enamel
Gash at gums until I spit blood
Yet though I brush
I retain the tartar of my stained soul.

The scalding water rushes over me
And mists rise about my feet
Transporting me to Elysium until, all too soon,
The mother's caress turns to an icy grasp.

Donuts mock the hollowness of my soul
Their heart torn out, they feel no pain
Though snow white eggs understand
Ripped from the feathered breast of the life-giver.

But when your radiant visage meets my sight
A new day dawns and my brain ceases its slumber
Bleary eyes blink oopen to a world of promise
For you are the coffee of my soul.

By Slaíne


chanted whispers
ripping tongues
recall for me the repulsive scar
when you smiled.

To A_____

From the gates of thrace I have followed you
Across the mountains encased in ice
Run through the moon-drenched flowing fields
On the road to our Libyan Paradise.
I have flown horizontal through the trees
Of my pain, forbidden by blind man's sight
To find the green and fertile hills
And valleys which are always exposed to the light
But if you may not fulfill my desire
And ravish me, ravish me, O do cleave age
From the depth of your mind, erase the page
Then cleanse my companions with blist'ring fire
And hide forever your glittering jewels
Behind the concealment of needler's tools.


the acrid odour saturates my senses
all five
there is brittle cold
frigid, tangible
it is me
it is you
we are the gale from the north


It is glorious
But my soul fears
That when I die
     ( Oh glorious death!)
My soul
Will never again
Taste the blood of my enemies.             
	O shame!


Return to Djakarta

A thousant fiddles
Brought to worship misery
Came to consensus
Dreams spatter
Ere the dreamer dies
For the bitter black symphonies
Groan, spurning anguish
Hear my soul, in its throes, fester
In stereo

Ophelia love

Falling.... love.

Thou art my song,
my dance.

Thou art my categorical imperative,
my ex post facto.

Thou art my poem,
my raison d'entrée.

Thou art my wings,
with you I get high.

Thou art my highest sky,
my neat little cookie.

In love....


--Zekie Lovejoy


The Pyromaniac's Kiss

			--for Ponch

We always hurt them-
the ones we love.
We know,
we know that when they come at
breathing the flames 
of their discontent
			that they

And yet...

Banjos strum the Death March
Our love flies away, charred.
	Fly away, my love.
	Dead Fly.

I remember You,
that summer day,
You at the Fair.
O My Heart-
	--tell me about the Fair.
Speak to me about it.
I remember the Fair.

But no.
As you are reborn
in my crippled memory-
It comes and steals you away.
It is over.
The Lone Locust of the
eats away, leaving me
As it nibbles
at the Cornstalks of my


As I lay naked
in the vastness of my soul

     As I lay on my back
in the warm, worldly water,
 I looked towards the sky to find
 some semblance of
The night air was soft
on my
and the lake felt familiar
as it lapped at places
you used to lap,
laughed at its edges the way
you used to laugh when you
looked at my body, my
and thought to yourself,
"I can do better than this."

     As I lay on my back
in my cold achy bed,
 I looked towards the window to find
 some semblance of
The heat in my loins makes me
long, I wait
to no end
for some sweet smell of

You who laughed
        at my body.
You who cared not
        how I wished I were a man.
You who loved me only
        for the desperation you caused me.
You who stand burning
        every night in my dreams.

                              -Liona Bosworth

i stand revealed hidden

i stand revealed hidden
       like a steel balloon
  in a garden of wildflowers.

no     ever      know
   one      will      why
i stand revealed hidden
but i do
and i know

please come out and play
with your lovely        ra
steel balloon             zor
        image of you
revealed hidden
      with wildflowers.

rabbits, they were everywhere
they danced on the lids of my eyes
with Wings of wind
with northern Wings.


	it brings the day
		(curs'd may its light be)
	it brings the pain
		(oh familiar sweet mistress)
	it brings the hangover
		(better that than the pain in my soul)
it brings not my Rhine journey.
Sand-crusted flecks fall from eyes
long sealed shut by madness.

"Absalom!  Oh, Absalom!"  I cry to my lover,
buried thick under the thick layer of earth
which separates out spirits
but never our bodies.

"Oh Lolita, my love!" I cry to my sister.  She
whose tender caress calls me again
(and again)
to her warm, embryonic embrace.

Brunhilde who is my all, my life
(I must kill her to love her.)

over the roasting pyre she mourns my sizzling flesh
which departs this earth in a smoke-wreath'd chariot.
She sobs, and she wails.


She lies.  Whore of Gutrune.  Slut of Wotan.
She laughs within.  Inside that youthful exterior (how
I long to caress it) lies abominable laughter
worthy of mother (liar!  My mother was good and true
to her husband.)


She weeps.  Oh, how her ashen face betrayed
a more fearful sorrow when lit by the flickering
flames.  Tears glistening in fire she leaps!  Fat sizzles and
fire consumes all I ever loved (No, I ne'er loved any but
She cried when she saw my life wrung out-
the Siegfried of my soul run thru by her betrayal.



With apologies to:

e. e. cummings
Ernest Hemmingway
T. S. Eliot
Robert Frost
Walt Whitman
Sylvia Plath
William Cullen Bryant
United Paramount Network
Universal Studios
Richard Wagner
H. P. Lovecraft
Hanna Barbara
Adrienne Rich
John Keats
Percy Bysshe Shelley
Robert Lowell
Quentin Tarantino
The Klingon High Council
William Shakespeare
Tom Stoppard
Domino's Pizza
The Great Goddess Hera
Elizabeth Bishop
Wallace Stevens
George Lucas
Rudyard Kipling
Omar Kayyam
Elizabeth Barrett Browning
The Periodic Table of Elements
J. Robert King
H. Rider Haggard
F. Scott Fitzgerald
Vladimir Nabokov
Harry Houdini
and anyone with any literary or aesthetic taste whatsoever

Foetid, Volume 1 / Top of Document / Contents / Foetid Main Page / April 9, 1996

Foetid, Volume 1, Issue 1 - Spring, 1995
Last modified: February 4, 1997
allen petersen /