the collaborative process


Dennis Cooper & David Trinidad

If lucky, you might capture that
elusive flight of ideas which involve you
when you’re “in love” with the chosen one.
One fine day, in other words, your
fleet might come waltzing around
your door. With luck you’ll be looking for what
it implies about truth, beauty, and gratitude—
that kind of stuff. You are my kind
of guy. I am the lucky one. I am
awaiting one sign, or this romanticized look in my eyes
has a way of throwing its dead weight around when
you keep me at arm’s length.
The longer I wait, the more I want you.
I’m in love with you, you big galoot!
Put simply, if I’m allowed to lose total control of myself
for a guy, as if you didn’t know. Don’t go.
1/9/85, NYC, 5:54 p.m.

Process Note:

I was visiting Dennis in New York; we wrote “S.O.S.” in the living room of his
apartment on Twelfth Street (just off of Second Avenue). A few years earlier we’d
written, while driving from San Francisco to Los Angeles, a poem called “The
Ordeal,” so this was our second—and in my opinion more successful—collaboration.
I don’t think we ever wrote another. The title is from the ABBA song; I’m
sure it came from Dennis, as ABBA was one of his favorite groups. I remember
that we alternated lines, and that Dennis was responsible for the ending, which
I liked, which I still like. “One fine day” in the fourth line had to have come
from me: I was obsessed with 60s girl groups at the time; “One Fine Day” was
a hit by the Chiffons. I also remember that I had a big (ultimately unrequited)
crush on someone in Los Angeles; this kind of wistful energy fueled not only
the poem with Dennis, but many of my own poems from that period as well.

—David Trinidad

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