March 9, 2010

John Keel on Maxwell Bodenheim

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 10:01 pm

This letter appeared in the December 1964 issue of Playboy. It gives a glimpse into John’s early days in Greenwich Village, in the late ’40s; as well as a memoir of one of the Village’s more memorable characters. For those of you unfamiliar with Bodenheim, he was sometimes known as “The King of Greenwich Village”: he wrote many volumes of verse, and a few rambling novels (with titles like New York Madness and Naked on Roller Skates). After a long decline into poverty and alcoholism, he was murdered, in a particularly sordid case that kept the NYC tabloids busy for weeks.



  1. Bodenheim’s story is tragic… but much of his suffering appears self-induced. I have a soft spot for artistic misfits.


    by Maxwell Bodenheim

    I shall walk down the road.
    I shall turn and feel upon my feet
    The kisses of Death, like scented rain.
    For Death is a black slave with little silver birds
    Perched in a sleeping wreath upon his head.
    He will tell me, his voice like jewels
    Dropped into a satin bag,
    How he has tip-toed after me down the road,
    His heart made a dark whirlpool with longing for me.
    Then he will graze me with his hands
    And I will be one of the sleeping silver birds
    Between the cold waves of his hair, as he tip-toes on.

    Comment by angela — March 11, 2010 @ 10:04 am

  2. Night stallions
    They trot across the country
    any nation any time.

    Even through the cosmos,
    that glosses coats with rime.

    They come for us in daylight,
    or in our beds at night.

    We’re never sure about them,
    is their heir dark or light.

    Far worse than any Nightmare,
    that ever made us scream.

    Night Stallions in the daytime!
    Not just when we dream!

    Comment by T. Bradley Perry — April 13, 2010 @ 4:52 pm

  3. […] Chuck McCann Show”), and had become unhappy with the business.  Playboy had published a letter of his, about the poet and Bohemian wastrel Maxwell Bodenheim, so he followed up in March, 1966, […]

    Pingback by “Operation Trojan Horse”: The First Outline « JOHN KEEL: NOT AN AUTHORITY ON ANYTHING — December 27, 2012 @ 9:43 am

  4. […] Playboy published a letter John wrote about the poet Maxwell Bodenheim, he pitched a few ideas for pieces. Playboy turned down […]

    Pingback by That “Playboy” Article « JOHN KEEL: NOT AN AUTHORITY ON ANYTHING — February 11, 2015 @ 10:15 pm

  5. I read this letter to Playboy aloud at the end of my new video on my “Scary Stories” channel: It comes after I speak a bit about my experience knowing Keel.

    Comment by Peter Bernard — February 26, 2017 @ 3:30 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment

Powered by WordPress