Poems and Prose – Lenore Kandel

God/Love Poem

there are no ways of love but/beautiful/
       I love you all of them

I love you / your cock in my hand
       stirs like a bird
in my fingers
as you swell and grow hard in my hand
forcing my fingers open
with your rigid strength
you are beautiful / you are beautiful
you are a hundred times beautiful
I stroke you with my loving hands
        pink-nailed long fingers
I caress you
I adore you
my finger-tips… my palms…
your cock rises and throbs in my hands
a revelation / as Aphrodite knew it

       there was a time when gods were purer
       /I can recall nights among the honeysuckle
       our juices sweeter than honey
       / we were the temple and the god entire/

I am naked against you
and I put my mouth on you    slowly
I have longing to kiss you
and my tongue makes worship on you
you are beautiful

your body moves to me
flesh to flesh
skin sliding over golden skin
as mine to yours
     my mouth    my tongue    my hands
my belly and my legs
against your mouth    your love
sliding… sliding…
our bodies  move and join

your face above me
     is the face of all the gods
         and beautiful demons
your eyes…

         love touches love
         the temple and the god
         are one


Age of Consent

I cannot be satisfied until I speak with angels
I require to behold the eye of god
to cast my own being into the cosmos as bait for miracles
to breath air and spew visions
to unlock that door which stands already open and enter into the presence
of that which I cannot imagine

I require answers for which I have not yet learned the questions

I demand the access of enlightenment, the permutation into the miraculous
the presence of the unendurable light

perhaps in the same way that caterpillars demand their lepidoptera wings
or tadpoles demand their froghood
or the child of man demands his exit
from the safe warm womb


First They Slaughtered the Angels


First they slaughtered the angels
tying their thin white legs with wire cords
opening their silk throats with icy knives
They died fluttering their wings like chickens
and their immortal blood wet the burning earth

we watched from underground
from the gravestones, the crypts
chewing our bony fingers
shivering in our piss-stained winding sheets
The seraphs and the cherubim are gone
they have eaten them and cracked their bones for marrow
they have wiped their asses on angel feathers
and now they walk the rubbled streets with
eyes like fire pits



who finked on the angels?
who stole the holy grail and hocked it for a jug of wine?
who fucked up Gabriel’s golden horn?
                was it an inside job?

who barbecued the lamb of god?
who flushed St. Peter’s keys down the mouth of a
North Beach toilet?

who raped St. Mary with a plastic dildo stamped with the
Good Housekeeping seal of approval?
                was it an outside job?

where are our weapons?
where are our bludgeons, our flame throwers, our poison
gas, our hand grenades?
we fumble for our guns and our knees sprout credit cards,
we vomit cancelled checks
standing spreadlegged with open sphincters weeping soap suds
from our radioactive eyes
and screaming
for the ultimate rifle
the messianic cannon
the paschal bomb

the bellies of women split open and children rip their
way out with bayonets
spitting blood in the eyes of blind midwives
before impaling themselves on their own swords

the penises of men are become blue steel machine guns,
they ejaculate bullets, they spread death as an orgasm

lovers roll in the bushes tearing at each other’s genitals
with iron fingernails

fresh blood is served at health food bars germ free
paper cups
gulped down by syphilitic club women
in papier-mâché masks
each one the same hand-painted face of Hamlet’s mother
at the age of ten

we watch from underground
our eyes like periscopes
flinging our fingers to the dogs for candy bars
in an effort to still their barking
in an effort to keep the peace
in an effort to make friends and influence people



we have collapsed our collapsible bomb shelters
we have folded our folding life rafts
and at the count of twelve
they have disintegrated into piles of rat shit
nourishing the growth of poison flowers
and venus pitcher plants

we huddle underground
hugging our porous chests with mildewed arms
listening to the slow blood drip from our severed veins
lifting the tops of our zippered skulls
to ventilate our brains
                  they have murdered our angels

we have sold our bodies and our hours to the curious
we have paid off our childhood in dishwashers and miltown
and rubbed salt upon our bleeding nerves
in the course of searching
                   and they have shit upon the open mouth of god
they have hung the saints in straightjackets and they have
tranquilized the prophets
they have denied both christ and cock
and diagnosed buddha as catatonic
they have emasculated the priests and the holy men and
censored even the words of love
         Lobotomy for every man!
and they have nominated a eunuch for a president
         Lobotomy for every housewife!
         Lobotomy for the business man!
         Lobotomy for the nursery schools!
and they have murdered the angels



now in the alleyways the androgynes gather swinging their
lepers’ bells like censers as they prepare the ritual
rape of god
          the grease that shines their lips is the fat of angels
          the blood that cakes their claws is the blood of angels

they are gathering in the streets and playing dice with
angel eyes
they are casting the last lots of armageddon



now in the aftermath of morning
we are rolling away the stones from underground, from the caves
we have widened our peyote-visioned eyes
and rinsed our mouths with last night’s wine
we have caulked the holes in our arms with dust and flung
libations at each other’s feet

and we shall enter into the streets and walk among them and do battle
holding our lean and empty hands upraised
we shall pass among the strangers of the world like a
bitter wind

and our blood will melt iron
and our breath will melt steel
we shall stare face to face with naked eyes
and our tears will make earthquakes
and our wailing will cause mountains to rise and the sun to halt

                not even us


Bio, and Sections from Kandel’s Introduction to Word Alchemy, 1967

Lenore-KandelLenore Kandel (1932 – 2009) was originally from New York, and moved to San Francisco in 1960. She printed many poetry pamphlets in her early years, one of which; The Love Book was confiscated from bookstores in San Francisco by police in 1966, on charges of obscenity. Kandel defended the poems as “holy erotica” and, for a short time, gained a certain amount of celebrity. Only one full book of her poetry was printed during her lifetime; Word Alchemy (1967). In 1970 Kandel was involved in a serious motorcycle accident, causing spinal injuries, and severe pain for the rest of her life. She died of complications from lung cancer in 2009.

2012 saw the release of Collected Poems of Lenore Kandel (North Atlantic Books) from which all the work at this page was taken. Below are some selected quotations from her Introduction to Word Alchemy, written in San Francisco 1967.

“Poetry is never compromise. It is the manifestation/translation of a vision, an illumination, an experience. If you compromise your vision you become a blind prophet.
           There is no point today in that poetry which exists mainly as an exercise in dexterity. Craft is valuable insofar as it serves as a brilliant midwife for clarity, beauty, vision; when it becomes enamored of itself it produces word masturbation.
           The poems I write are concerned with all aspects of the creature and of that total universe through which he moves. The aim is toward the increase of awareness. It may be awareness of the way a bird shatters the sky with his flight or awareness of the difficulty and necessity of trust or awareness of the desire for awareness and also the fear of awareness. This may work through beauty or shock or laughter but the direction is always toward clear sight, both interior and exterior.


Two poems of mine, published as a small book, deal with physical love and the invocation, recognition, and acceptance of the divinity in man through the medium of physical love. In other words, it feels good. It feels so good that you can step outside your private ego and share the grace of the universe. This simple and rather self-evident statement, enlarged and exampled poetically, raised a furor difficult to believe. A large part of the furor was caused by the poetic usage of certain four-letter words of Anglo-Saxon origin instead of the substitution of gentle euphemisms.
           This brings up the question of poetic language. Whatever is language is poetic language and if the word required by the poet does not exist in his known language then it is up to him to discover it. The only proviso can be that the word be the correct word as demanded by the poem and only the poet can be the ultimate judge of that.
           Euphemisms chosen by fear are a covenant with hypocrisy and will immediately destroy the poem and eventually destroy the poet. Any form of censorship, whether mental, moral, emotional, or physical, whether from the inside out or the outside in, is a barrier against self-awareness.


lenoreandbillysmallWhen a poet through fearful expediency uses language other than that which is perfect to the poem he becomes a person of fearful expediency.
           When an outside agency takes it upon itself to attempt the censorship of poetry it is censoring the acceptance of truth and the leap toward revelation.
           When a society becomes afraid of its poets, it is afraid of itself. A society afraid of itself stands as another definition of hell. A poem that is written and published becomes available to those who choose to read it. This seems to me to imply one primary responsibility on the part of the poet—that he tell the truth as he sees it. That he tell it as beautifully, as amazingly, as he can; that he ignite his own sense of wonder; that he work alchemy within the language—these are the form and existence of poetry itself.”

From ‘Collected Poems of Lenore Kandel’, published by North Atlantic Books, copyright © 2012 by the Estate of Lenore Kandel. Reprinted by permission of publisher. Further posting or reprinting forbidden except by express permission of publisher.


About thefiendjournal

I was born in Blackpool, England and am currently based in Lancashire. Poems have been published in magazines in the U.K, Ireland, France, New Zealand, Canada, U.S.A and South Korea. A pamphlet; "MMV", was published in 2008. Hundreds of poems have been written in draft form, and multiple books are being planned and edited for future release. As well as editing 'The Fiend' I translate, paint and dabble in photography (images of which have occasionally been used here).
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2 Responses to Poems and Prose – Lenore Kandel

  1. Pingback: Frammenti di scrittura: Lenore Kandel, il potere delle parole |

  2. John Looker says:

    “The aim is toward the increase of awareness” and “this may work through beauty or shock or laughter but the direction is always toward clear sight, both interior and exterior “. I like that.

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