Patrick James Dunagan
During the Occupy Movement in New York City when The People literally took over Zuccotti Park, poet Filip Marinovich was right there in the mix, helping to set up and run the People’s Library and reading his poems over the People’s Mic, “the people’s mic is intoxicating / that’s why I am its pauper king” (“Zuccotti Park Fugue State”). The poems gathered in Wolfman Librarian stem directly from Marinovich’s experience with Occupy. During the Occupy Movement in New York City when The People literally took over Zuccotti Park, poet Filip Marinovich was right there in the mix, helping to set up and run the People’s Library and reading his poems over the People’s Mic, “the people’s mic is intoxicating / that’s why I am its pauper king” (“Zuccotti Park Fugue State”). The poems gathered in Wolfman Librarian stem directly from Marinovich’s experience with Occupy.
Writing under the handle “Longshanks” in the latest issue of the Anarchist newspaper Slingshot (Number 118 Spring 2015), an anonymous commentator harkens back to Occupy SF:
Many people shit on Occupy later, and veteran activists were occasionally scornful of the “johnny come-latelies” and weekend warriors who emerged from the woodwork with excellent intentions but few clues. But Occupy for me was the gateway to a liberation I had not previously known to be possible, the death of my former self as a round peg in the square wheel of capitalism and the portal to a new life that I have come to view as infinitely more satisfying.
Occupy was indeed the “gateway to a liberation” for many individuals who embraced the movement’s alternative community revisualization of society. Minds were blown, as has been said of the 1960s Flower Power movement. At some point during those bustling days in Zuccotti Park, Marinovich, much like “Longshanks” out in the West, experienced a “death” of his “former self.” This was a shamanic version of a poet’s vision during which Marinovich met up with his doppelgänger of sorts, an alternate persona through whom a new set of poems began to flow. This was The Wolfman Librarian. In “Wolfman Librarian and the Trembling Pair of Actor Hands,” Marinovich describes the experience: “peripheral vision greenery wolverines gnawing at me / and vomiting me up a new man with powers to heal.”
The Wolfman represents more than just an irrepressibly sweet nom de plume/de guerre. This creaturely persona belongs in large part to the city of New York, arising up from the sidewalks on behalf of its people, speaking on their behalf. Marinovich’s description of his encounter with this new figure of self fits a traditional shaman’s journey of connecting with the dead, undergoing a ritualistic death and rebirth, seen in “Wolfman Librarian and the Trembling Pair of Actor Hands”:
Don’t you know I felt a spirit
of the unburied Twin Towers dead
walking inside me on Wall Street
The peripheral greenery wolverines
are eating me and vomiting me up
onto a mound where pieces of me
are sucking at each other and sticking together
to form a new man with power to heal
everybody with my trembling actor hands
Under the Wolf, as it were, plenty of sass flows from Marinovich. He summons to mind Frank O’Hara’s quip: “if you’re going to buy a pair of pants you want them to be tight enough so everyone will want to go to bed with you. There’s nothing metaphysical about it” with memorable verve all his own. From “I’m so Hot”:
I’m so hot for you
when I walk
I can feel
moving in my pants.
The pants are mine but not the balls.
“The balls” can’t be his as Marinovich isn’t by any means macho, or “all man.” He’s very much a poet of our “gender, what gender?” age. Declaring, “I’m Wolfman / Librarian and I’m a woman” in “Wolfman Librarian and the Trembling Pair of Actor Hands” and continuing on, as he re-envisions the pen-as-phallus metaphor, arguing for its strap-on potential:
Don’t let this dick fool you
It is a pen I fuck with
The dick is just there for show
And, again, much later in the book in “My Dear Bookshelf”:
I am a woman
Or in “Dear Ancestors”:
His lips Her lips
Gender is the Seine
You can’t step into the same gender twice
He confuses the binary nature of traditional views on gender (or any other sense of identity). Under guise of The Wolfman, Marinovich tackles his personal history, confronting the memory of his homophobic Grandfather, Grampa Milosh, after whom the poem is titled:
A flesh-eating pox is
what you think of when you think of
Homosexuality, Grampa Milosh, you said
when shepherds spend too much time alone
they take to making it with their sheep.
Thus you equated homosexuality with bestiality.
Riffing as Wolfman Librarian, Marinovich continues on, ending the poem with a bit of furry tongue-in-cheek, revealing/reveling in the hijinks trauma of it all:
So of course I had to try it, loving a man, not
a sheep. Though why not, maybe one day
I’ll get all up in the wool and baa baaa
hybrid creature will come into the world.
Sheepman Librarian, eaten by wolves.
As Wolfman, Marinovich is all combustible fury, expansively plundering spiritual and personal goods as he takes a leap of faith setting down his inner conflicts, “I am a fairy and I love my lady / I am cracking apart and she pastes me back together” (“Dingdong”), while celebrating with zeal his new identity. The question is: whither to next, Mr. Librarian?