Dennis Cooper + Eli Levén




Oh yes, oh yes says the man below Alex and jerks his cock with frenetic strokes and soaks it now and then with his mouth. There's a vague tingling in Alex crotch, he’s leaning on a grave stone in the English garden of Uppsala, it's the last of May. He's thinking of his grandfather that died just an hour ago. He used to visit him and they went to a gigantic army surplus store, they were never close but one time he sang a 60's pop song to him in his car which he never did to Alex father.

A singing blue bird is sitting in the tree above Alex and makes him dream, the bird seems like a perfect lover, beautiful, sensitive and with an incredible voice. The bird is tearing a rift in reality, far away from the sheer hell our sexless maiden has gotten him into. Alex is the smell of chewing gum, sloppy red-painted nails and armpits like opened crypts, forever our whore. He hears a voice speak to him, inside of him that must belong to God or something:

Because you're not lovable Alex, one doesn't love your clumsy swinging hips, your smeared lipstick, you look like a whore.

You have to be pruned like an overgrown tree, you are too much, you don't fit in your starving body, your lungs can't breath properly, you can't get any air in them, you suck cock like testicles were filled with oxygen.

You have to be pruned and then resurrect.

Then you’ll finally see you're a...

Then you’ll finally know you're a...

Then you’ll finally discover you're a... seal girl, a seal chick, a seal bride.

You shall jump out of your head fully clad in armor, always close to the knives, your never ceasing schizo laughter, you're a black shining sun.


Dennis Cooper reading Eli Levén's text


Not to brag but if one more muffled voice jokes, “Your ass could teach a poetry workshop,” or “I don’t know what’s cooking in that oven, but can I invite myself for dinner?” or “Don’t mind me, I’m just looking for the cure for colon cancer,” or “I’m no Freud, but I can tell you why the guy who cleaned the bathrooms at your kindergarten paid you $20 not to flush,” or “If I suffocate, tell my mom I loved her,” or “Just call me Jules Verne,” or “You should list your anal membranes on the stock market,” or “I never thought I’d say this, but I envy Gene Simmons,” or “Fuck man, what did you eat for dinner, God?” or “Next time I’m in a bar, I’m going to order your douche,” I’m going to scream.


Eli Levén reading Dennis Cooper's text


Yesterday they had dressed up to go to a mall to try out clothes. Alex wore a sailor dress in elastane, a real bargain found at a flea market, Sebastian had greased his leather jacket until it blazed. They went off with Sebastian's moped and put it in the garage, continued to the perfume department and walked around in the light, it smelled good. They tried on different make-ups and threw down a pair of evening gloves in Sebastian's bag (covered with aluminium foil on the inside to prevent the alarm from going off). Alex put on a lipstick that Sebastian kissed away in the dressing room on the fifth floor. Alex wet his finger and made him clean again. They snorted some ecstasy and took a coffee in the cafeteria to wait for it to kick in.


Dennis Cooper reading Eli Levén's text

The Boy on the Far Left

“Why? Because Prada offered the boy on the far right more money than I could earn in my lifetime to be the face of their fall ad campaign, and a portrait of him by Wolfgang Tillmans sold at Sotheby's for $350,000.

Because the boy in the middle has dyed blond hair with an inch of mousey roots and wears far too much make up on his almost pretty (from certain angles) face and earns a living having sex three times a week with some fat alcoholic in his sixties.

Because the boy on the far right says he's only doing this because he has the hots for me which blows my mind since he's an irrefutable god among twinks even though I understand I'm not exactly uncute.

Because the boy in the middle can't believe he's having sex with boys as cute as us and was only hired to do this porn because he's willing to let us double penetrate him bareback.

Because the cameraman gave us the highest dosage of viagra you can take without risking a massive heart attack then we spent more than an hour doing lines of crystal meth and that combination is intense if you haven't tried it. I don't think I could stand up right now if I wanted to, and I don't even know who the fuck I am.

Because the boy on the far right had one of his stories published in The New Yorker which got him a six figure advance from Knopf for a first novel he hasn't even started writing yet.

Because the boy in the middle got so stoned and drunk last night he couldn't walk then suddenly burst into tears for no reason at all and told his friends he wishes he was dead.

That's why.”


Eli Levén reading Dennis Cooper's text


When they had finished the coffee they went to the men's room to pick up anybody who were there. They found an old man with loafers and a semi hard dick and went into a booth. Alex pulled up his dress and spread his ass cheeks for the man and took Sebastian in his mouth. The man fucked him while making out with Sebastian. To be treated like dead or as a whore meant for Alex love and no lies. When I fuck it is like all these men surround my soul or something, he thought, squeezes it together in my chest and drains my body, all that stuff makes me extracted. Compressed. Stronger.

At that very moment when the man grabs Alex hair and pulls it back, he comes into existence, at a mall this time. In the space that opens up between him and the man he creates his own daydream nation and turns into something else than Alex, Ellie. The pain is a promise of fulfillment and rapture, not in the present but after when now becomes then, when he lies in his bed and remembers it or when he sees that look in another face or in the street: The astonished eyes of some passive guy in a porn movie, a look that tells that he knows more than the person that for the moment is putting himself into his body. Consequently Alex’s strongest urge becomes longing and more longing, for other hands, other chances.


Dennis Cooper reading Eli Levén's text

Three boys who thought experimental fiction was for pussies

Scott’s ass was almost too good to be true, like a professional cyclist’s, despite the fact that his idea of exercise was refilling his bong. It was a genetic fluke, he told me, passed down through generations of boxy assed relatives. In his jeans, it looked severe, like something best appreciated through binoculars, but once he’d gotten stoned enough to share, it was an unexpectedly soft, relaxed and even gentle thing. A gym membership might have stabilized its muscles and polished its dazzling surface to an even more jaw dropping stage, but I doubt that perfect ass would have melted in one’s mouth like Scott’s did. Also, he had the deepest crack I've ever seen. Even with the lights on, it would have taken both my hands and a flashlight in my teeth to get to know it.

It’s like Matthew’s ass had finished growing at the age of eleven or twelve. So while the rest of him enlarged, it could only adjust, like a pair of size “S” underwear on a size “L” man. There wasn’t much there if you need your asses to be classics, but if you see the butt as art, it was a James Turrell or Robert Ryman. When he walked, it trembled. When he bent down to scratch his foot, you could have tied a ball of string to it and started running down a beach. Its crack was just a crease that couldn’t possibly disguise what it was there to protect. Luckily for him, his asshole was a Tiffany dead ringer with a lovely personality – winking, peering, squinting at anyone willing to spend his sweet time around it. Unlike his icy-eyed, tight lipped, holier than thou, mathematically cute face.

I knew Rick’s ass from porn films, but several years had passed, and it had slightly gone to seed. Still, it was very friendly, or maybe I mean more realistic. Superficially, it hadn’t changed that much. Still, who knew what was happening inside? I was too afraid to ask. Its appetite for things too large and obviously painful hadn’t changed, but what had once seemed impossible wasn’t anymore, so when it gobbled up my fist that didn’t make him a magician. He lay down on his stomach. I fisted him then crawled on top and fucked my brains out. Right before I came, he delivered a line of bad dialogue with such intensity it would have turned one of his porn scenes into a comedy. But I came because he meant it. “I wish your cock was eight feet long,” he said. “God, I wish that.”


Eli Levén reading Dennis Cooper's text


When Sebastian's pubic hair was this close it made him feel safe. He came after only a couple of minutes and couldn't keep an “Uhh” from coming out of his mouth. When the man and Sebastian came in his face he thought of snow flakes. I must look like someone in deep prayer he thought with his face turned to the sky with eyes closed. The old man gave Sebastian his card, who tore it, Alex picked it up to save it for the collection at home, in a metallic box his grandmother gave him, in which he also kept a freezer bag with a napkin soaked with Sebastian's cum and blood.

They went to the glass department, Alex liked the red glasses, he looked at Sebastian through a vase. They needed curtains, and touched some made of velvet. Sebastian rolled his eyes, he doesn't want curtains he would rather have a bread baking machine. Making your own bread becomes easy and dirt cheap. But I don't want the neighbors to spy through our windows! You're like an old lady Sebastian. Mom will give us new curtains as a wedding gift and then we’ll have to hang them. I think that dad will hang himself as a wedding gift.

They descended a floor, somewhere on the way Alex lost Sebastian and went into his otherworld and split in two. Alex became his own little brother and Ellie his big sister. The mannequins looked down on them, but they didn’t notice. Ellie was everything Alex never succeeded to be. She never bend her back, she took what she wanted on the dining table of life instead of the crumbs and leftovers. She wasn't always on the way to hell at the speed of comets, losing in some kind of triumph. He hoped she would take care of her. They went into a changing room, Alex whispered to himself staring at his boy breasts:

To win becomes you: beautiful.

The swinging hip. The wide aorta. The blushing cheek.

Sister in crime. Rabid boy-girl, not anymore.

Winning, winning E!

Alex put on a dress worthy of Ellie, it fitted perfectly and didn’t acquire hips or breasts, green checked. Sebastian stuck his head in, continued into his lover's palate, took the dress off, put it in his bag and went out


Dennis Cooper reading Eli Levén's text


I intend to write my book report on Rod Stewart: Forever Young, An Unauthorized Biography, by John Morthland. I know it wasn’t on your reading list, but hear me out. Not only will I kick that book’s pathetic, lying ass back to the penthouse where its limey, sell out author got some huge advance to write it. I will prove Rod Stewart sucks. I’ll prove he sucked back when reviewers loved his hippie shit. I’ll prove his disco phase sucked so fucking hard. I’ll prove he sucks as Frank Sinatra Jr. He sucks as a rock music legend. He sucked from the minute he was born. I have the proof. Think big, bitch.


Eli Levén reading Dennis Cooper's text

britta tegby frisk

ELI LEVÉN (b. 1984) is a writer, based in Stockholm.

Dennis COOPER (b. 1953) is an American author, editor, critic, and curator. xxx