Tales of Desire (New Directions Pearls)
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"I yearned for a bad influence and boy, was Tennessee one in the best sense of the word: joyous, alarming, sexually confusing and dangerously funny."―John Waters
“I cannot write any sort of story,” said Tennessee [to Gore Vidal] “unless there is at least one character in it for whom I have physical desire.” These transgressive Tales of Desire, including “One Arm,” “Desire and the Black Masseur,” “Hard Candy,” and “The Killer Chicken and the Closet Queen,” show the iconic playwright at his outrageous best.
scuttling from one kind of protection to another but none of them ever being durable enough to suit him. Now at the age of thirty, by virtue of so much protection, he still had in his face and body the unformed look of a child and he moved like a child in the presence of critical elders. In every move of his body and every inflection of speech and cast of expression there was a timid apology going out to the world for the little space that he had been somehow elected to occupy in it. His was not
And now Mr. Krupper has arrived within a block of where he is actually going and which is the place where the mysteries of his nature are to be made unpleasantly manifest to us. For some reason, a silly, squeamish kind of dissimulation, Mr. Krupper prefers to walk the last block to his destination rather than descend from the streetcar immediately before it. As he walks, and still a little before we know where he is going, we notice him making various anxious little preparations and adjustments.
Stephen heard from the hallway (thank God the door was closed) the voice of his nearest and dearest still living relative, none other than his mother, her voice, yes, but not at all under its usual cool restraint. To whom was she talking? Herself or someone other? Although pitched rather loudly, the voice of Mother was saying something incomprehensible to him. “Oh, Precious gran’chile, I believe your daddy’s awake, now, I heard him in his bedroom, le’s go in and—” “Oh, no, Mother, hello,
outright abrasiveness of intonation, hardly recognizably muted and transfigured, as if adapted from a score for a brass instrument to one for a delicate woodwind. “Mommy, I reckoned you might want seconds and here they are, just stick your tongue out and I’ll pop in this new type aspirin and—there! Leave mouth open for Mary!—There, now, slowly, drink all, don’t let none spill! Good, huh, Mommy? If the drugstore man was God and the barman was Jesus, they couldn’t make ’em better, you can bet your
elliptical way. “Now, then, Daddy, jus’ lissen, don’t bother to speak. Your Mom is down there sittin’ on this helluva bundle and high as the moon on her lewds, and what is more important to me and to you. Mom is afflicted with tragic sickness!” “Sickness, tragic? I don’t follow you. Clove. All that’s ever been wrong with Mom is an occasional little asthmatic condition which allergy specialists say is just a touch of rose fever, so she had to insist that the gardener at Golden Shores dispose of