Poem: ‘Cancel Culture (The Bardo)’

Cedar Sigo finds unlikely inspiration in a set of skateboard decks and the legacy of the late writer Kevin Killian.

andy warhol, last supper
Andy Warhol

Cancel Culture (The Bardo)” was written a few months after writer Kevin Killian’s death in June 2019. The poem began after I encountered three skateboard decks adorned with images from Andy Warhol’s Last Supper series. They were hanging on a wall in Chicago. This image sent me straight to my notebook, where further bits of memory and sentiment began to surface as shining language. The spirit of Kevin and Dodie Bellamy’s mythic household seems to linger at the edges of this piece.•

for Kevin Killian

Last Supper
in skateboard

99 billion cents with
aching coral pink,
rubbed too hard over

Paul’s knockoff
shoulder vest,
a crippled offense.

The one that is
just Christ beheaded
one hundred and twelve times

Christ wandering
out in Marfa,
spacing at Beacon,

trotted out again
upon the ramparts.
We walk happily

spreading the Jack
Spicer gospel of
endless Rainier drinking,

when lights out
begins the thrill of
furniture moving

above you at
2 a.m.—I Cry
like a Baby.

As if reading sheltered
L-A-N-G-U-A-G-E writing
in empirical infancy.

Your making millions
of copies
at work

to offer us all
a way back in
past Hallucinations,

cabaret cards, degrees,
back alley queer
field of crosses

Acres of VHS. The quilt.
Anselm Berrigan reading
your favorite Ghost-town

aloud at Double Happiness…
I am tripping over
the entirety,

your own strains of magic
thrown back
on Ed Dorn and Tom Clark

that is to say, naming names
and Cecilia recording and
me amiably hostage (again)

with nothing
to do
but stand behind you,

eyes averted,
back the words.

This poem appears in the Summer 2021 issue of Alta Journal.

Cedar Sigo was raised on the Suquamish Reservation in the Pacific Northwest and studied at the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at the Naropa Institute.
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