Newt Gingrich Hears a Who


Note: I wrote this in 1995, according to the label on the bottomless box of notebooks. Put it in a show that summer. Got praise and heckling, both. Now, of course, they know we are here and take every opportunity to demonize and endanger us, attack and destroy our families. It is discouraging, the anger and disconnect tearing our country apart.

I’ve left it as originally written. It is a slam poem. It is intended to be headlong and breathless. Try it out loud, if you’ve had more coffee than is strictly recommended.

The basic indigestibility of language makes a tummyache in my mind, rumbling through the major intestines of word mind, his words so bloated and ugly I want to cleanse the space between my ears. Some nights after the 10 o’clock news I see on my dream screen the old stars — Hedy Lamar, Zazu Pitts, Venus and Mercury, and I don’t think about menopause, Newt Gingrich, poverty, nerve gas terrorism, bald-headed babies, California submerged, gun control or breastfeeding, breastfeeding.

I have been more at ease serving dinner to a room full of homosexuals than I could be with New Gingrich, what kind of a name is Newt for a right-wing fascist reactionary who would body slam all us unlike in the mosh pit of public policy? We should blow him out our collective chute, eye of newt, tail of frog.

Come on, Newt, we’re ready for you, boy, every last one of us, every airborne body word and brushstroke heretic, every excitable alluring transsexual, every Priscilla, every unwed mother’s son, every happy knick-knack closeted queen, every cracker jax prize, every femme butch butch femme leather dyke Victoria’s Secret funnybone-electrifying one of us.

We will grab you by the heel spurs and baptize you in the waters of our barbaric naked celibate fat-free offerings, we will dazzle you, Newt darling, with possibility. We are extreme. We are educated, we wear bobby sox, we eat lox, we’ve got you paddy-whacked baby so don’t be so raw-boned thin-skinned, we will return your brutality with strong medicine, kindness, vitamins, redemption; Parsifal’s body in our kingdom of blood fears. We know how to suffer and we believe in peace, bitch, so come on Newt, break out that gold lamé, the one in the back of your deepest closet.

Hello, I’ll be your waitress tonight. Newt dear, you look ravishing, who’s your date? Priscilla? Well, she’s a looker, hon, for sure.

 We’ll be in touch, Newt, don’t worry. You’ll see us in those W2 forms, we’ll be worm farmers, blacksmiths, we’ll wear three-piece suits, nipple rings, Dockers, cell phones and pacifiers. Your third eye will see us in dusted movie dreams, your sleeping vertebrae will know that whether you dance with destiny or the monarch formerly known as Prince, we’ll be in touch.

Priscilla, can I get you a toothpick? The fish is bony tonight.

I see Newt clutching his chest in a field, having an anxiety attack, the gravity of this language offends, this offensive language, but after all it was us us us under that spreadng chestnut tree, how far from the tree do you think we have fallen, whose children do you think we are?

This is all the fault of higher education, you know, playing doctor, playing soldier. We are the unsung. We are here, do you hear who we are, do you hear? You’re turning such a lovely peagreen, can I get you some Pepto, some milk of magnesia, I knew these high fiber words are hard to swallow, your intestines are flopping like a TV with a busted horizontal hold, your guts striped as a zebra and all you can hope for is hangtime, honey, hangtime and the epiphany of slam dunk, and the truth is we all know white guys can’t jump, at least not white guys in the black and white world of white guys like you.

Will you hang with us, Newt, our visions, our other cheek, our negotiations and love songs, we will not refrain, you have heard us on the jukebox, we have greased your bearings, played hymns in your churches, sold you Italian shoes, written the books that have slept with you on redeye flights, we drank the milk that does a body good.

2001 is not far away, and we here are in orbit, the satellite signal we send will crescendo not us/them but us/us, pink-cheeked and brown, products of love, of turkey basters, of rape, of carelessness, we are us we are us, we are bubble reps, Christmas presents, lord Krishna, lord Jesus, lords and ladies in waiting, in ruins, in paradise.

Lordamercy, Newt, can’t you see, you are one of us, not automatic, not semiautomatic, you are everything I detest and yet you belong, like parsley, like cornflakes, like psycho surrealism, vending machines, Haagen Dazs, ghosts, druids, drain openers, Zuzax, Rolodex and the gum on the bottom of a carpenter’s shoe. We are loose, we are mortal, we are eternal. Don’t be a drag, Newt, do be a drag queen, put on that corset, you know the one, you look so pretty in pink, let’s put the stress of chronic cultural disease behind us and have a party, a party to us. 

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5 Responses to “Newt Gingrich Hears a Who”


  1. 1 truce October 31, 2007 at 9:00 pm

    I have no idea who Newt Gingrich is, but I don’t like the sound of him! Great ‘headlong and breathless’ slam poem Teresa!

  2. 2 mothergoose November 2, 2007 at 5:41 pm


    This
    is Newt Gingrich. He is an unctious and hypocritical political figure (personal opinion), former Speaker of the House of Representatives. He was gay-bashing for fun and profit when I wrote this piece. He’s apparently considering a run to be next President of the U.S. Lovely.

  3. 3 truce November 4, 2007 at 11:53 pm

    Ugh. What a dreadul-looking individual. As well as dreadful-sounding.

    Let’s everybody try NOT to elect him, huh?

  4. 4 ombudsben November 5, 2007 at 4:27 pm

    Bingo, Truce.

    Newt is the fellow who made our politics particularly mean and vindictive in the 90s. Although he attempts to be more avuncular now, at the time he declared Bill Clinton and the liberals to be the “enemy” of normal Americans.

    It was Newt who shut down our government in ’94, in a ploy that backfired on him badly. And yet, like decapitating hydra, once he was gone so many new newtlets came along, just as awful as their poltical mentor.

  5. 5 Teresa November 10, 2007 at 2:03 pm

    Ombudsben — I like the hydra image, very apt. They are a poisonous bunch, and hard to control. It’s the fourth estate that’s got me worried, though — can’t have an open society when the media presents nothing much more than infotainment and press releases from the snakes themselves. Where’s our advocacy? Where’s the voice that speaks for us instead of the established power base? Gah.
    Truce – we will give it our all – no more newts! no more hydras!
    It occurs to me that the journalist in my novel-in-progress must need to act as an agent of the fourth estate. Hmm — must go write about that.


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