Brian Ng


Six Pictures of Truman Capote

inaugural pin-up of his career; head cocked
upon his leather chair, eyebrows turning to the lens
in blushing menace, hand grazing his crotch,
the other tamed by his houndstooth vest

strewn among dolls (sailor, plaid clown, polka-
dotted dog) and other dated detritus, he knows
better than what to do with the camera (this
really is a Houseboat Days-era Ashbery
poem waiting to happen) we zone in
onto his alabaster neck

in a sweater, he writes an autobiography in his head
with petals for hands, nursing a half-done cigarette.
I don’t like this one, he’s too posed

against brooding canopy in search for a phrase

in a white square by Richard Avedon
naked with eyes and slender arms
thrust back in rapture like a
blank martyr for our witnessing,
he “resembles a corrupt lizard”
says date from Tinder, I see it
it’s his ribcage

one with Andy Warhol, who tried seeking Capote out when
he first came to New York to thank him for Other Rooms,
now Warhol was doing the right thing by saving Capote
from great professional and personal embarrassment
for a novel, never finished, which had confessed
everything he knew about everyone he loved
who all now hated and shunned him, as perhaps
he did deserve to be shunned. Warhol dressed as Santa,
the red cap draped over Capote’s head, cheek pressed
against his cheek, looking as ridiculous as they knew
they were. In front of a green wall (this was a photo
shot for High Times) they were a mossy landscape
salvaged by its destruction


Brian Ng is a poet from Hong Kong who studied English Literature and Economics at the University of Chicago.