I dedicate this poem to William S. Burroughs. After the poem, my friend April Kittinger picks my brain for an explanation.
A vampire game rave club, The Club Web
Crowd chatters up a staircase, painted harlequins or corpselike
the Queen’s wonders discussed on drama slowly from the drug effects
Boy on two days leave, shook his head, you folks be fools.
He who winks trouble picture gallery
And effective blood human seduced and go
out into the curious crowd wise wicked entice consent a glass of sherry
Master of Ceremony greeted with a high shrill need.
No sex scene so dreamily erotic
Perfect, these remarks, he took him and opened a path
but to the hungry soul voice one knows special, indeed beautiful the night
Into the office now, men looked back here, eyes cause trouble.
Go for a walk with me
The stone side-path and rich rooms connect
sweet honeycomb, there are attractions circling around everything
Behind an arm and better wait who fools with wicked
He stranger-invited her, on all levels the fire began
To the move he by by the out he he forward he but he he he loathes…
The townspeople surge onto the marble walk, look down, satisfied it was not their soul,
Another wide-eyed pretty trickles sherry red.
April Kittinger Searches for Meaning
in Bill Ectric’s poem, Club Web
This interview first appeared in April Kitty, an independent newspaper distributed without permission at the University of North Florida, Florida Community College of Jacksonville, and Jacksonville University.
APRIL KITTINGER: Club Web is kind of Goth isn’t it?
BILL ECTRIC: Yes, and I’m happy to hear you say that, because that’s what I was going for.
APRIL: How did you write it?
BILL: Club Web is a cut-up poem, hence the dedication to William S. Burroughs. I chose five different books, which were totally unrelated to one another, and took a couple of sentences from each book. I mixed them up on a web site called the Grazulis Cut-Up Machine. After I mixed up the words, I began manipulating them into new sentences. Soon, a story suggested itself, partly within the new sentences and partly in my mind. With this story in mind, I made the words fit my purpose.
APRIL: It seems to take place in a rave club, but also a vampire role-playing club.
BILL: Right. That’s what it is. Maybe they are not real vampires, but maybe a real vampire walks among them. Or, maybe it is an analogy for a sexual predator. It can be both, of course.
APRIL: What’s the deal with the “queen’s wonders”?
BILL: I admit this is vague. In my vision, I saw the owner of the club as a distinguished, extravagant drag queen, who takes great pride in the decor, the surroundings, the ambiance of the nightclub. The patrons are impressed! It is not necessarily an exclusively gay bar, but all types of people are here.
APRIL: Why is the voice “shrill”?
BILL: Well, it’s like, they are all very enthusiastic about the club, and they are being greeted ceremoniously, but underneath it all is a trace of unhealthy need, expressed in the shrillness. I’m not saying a certain sexual orientation is unhealthy, I’m talking about what Burroughs calls “control” by drugs, lust, thirst for power, thirst for blood.
APRIL: And someone is being seduced in some way?
BILL: Yes. Seduction and maneuvering.
APRIL: What about the honeycomb and the buzzing?
BILL: Really good nightclubs have more than one level, and passageways to connecting rooms, walkways, one might say, like a honeycomb. In the phrase “rich rooms connect” I use the word “rich” as in vividly satisfying, a description of the connecting rooms. Next, think of pheromones, those chemicals that animals secrete to attract the opposite sex. That is the sweet attractions circling around everything – the word “sweet” goes with both the richness of the rooms and the sweetness of the attractions; as we say, the “birds and the bees” as a reference to sex. So it’s like bees buzzing, and it can also describe the “buzz” from drugs or alcohol. Two people go for a walk on a stone sidewalk. Enchantment is all around.
APRIL: And then you say, ‘He stranger invited her.”
BILL: Yeah, he stranger-invited her. We teach our children, “Don’t go with strangers! If a stranger invites you to come with them, don’t go!”
APRIL: What happens next? Why did you repeat words like, “he, he, by, he, by . . .”
BILL: It’s intended to convey a sense of loathing, because it’s so terrible you cannot speak it without a stutter, as in, “What did he do to you?” “He, he, he…”
APRIL: And the climax. A girl is dead, right?
BILL: In my mind, I pictured a pretty young person lying on the sidewalk. She could have bloody vampire bites on her neck if you want to see this as a supernatural poem. Or she could have a stab wound from a knife. Like, remember that song, Mack the Knife? The part of the song that says, “On the sidewalk, lies a body…oozing life; someone’s sneaking round the corner, could that someone be Mack the Knife?”
APRIL: I think that was a little before my time. Who sang it?
BILL: Bobby Darin, girl!
APRIL: Was he in the Rat Pack?
BILL: No. Not in the Rat Pack. But he might have hung out with them, I don’t know.
APRIL: Is the girl on the sidewalk dead? Or will she turn into a vampire?
BILL: Well, it’s open to interpretation, but it’s definitely vampire imagery all the way through.