COLLECTED POEMS: 1961-2000

 

 

 

RICHARD DENNER

 

 

 

 

All Rights Reserved. Copyright © 2001  Richard Denner

 

No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping or by any information storage or retrieval system, without the permission in writing from the publisher.

 

Published by Comrades

For information, please contact:

Comrades Press
23 George Street
Stockton, Southam
Warwickshire, England
CV47 8JS
Website: www.comrades.org.uk
email: editor@comrades.org.uk

 

 

Quotation from Kora In Hell © by William Carlos Williams,

reprinted with permission of City Lights Books.

 

“D Press: Jewel in the Net”

originally published in The Temple #16

Tsunami, Inc., 2000

 

Front cover collage: Kim Secunda

Back cover photo: Jessica Framer

Linoleum block prints by the author

 

ISBN: 0-7388-6318-1

 

Printed in the United States of America

 

 

for my mother, Helen

and in memory of my father

Samuel Denner

1900-1998

 

 

 

Here’s splotchy velvet set to hide a door

in a wall and therethere’s the man himself

praying.

 

 

 

Table of Contents

                              Foreword 

Preface

Acknowledgements

Introduction

 

 

Berkeley, Aptos & San Luis Obispo: 1961-1968

Letter to Sito in Time of War

ABCs

Poem on My Birthday

Commitment

Tabula Rasa

Poem on My Return

Captain of Poetry

Song

Patterns

Tale

A Book Entitled

Vision

Spaced

Yes

My Poems

Elizabeth Says

Calculated Lion

Cogito Ergo Shazam

A Bramavits Sits on the Head of a Neo-classicist

Split Pe-rsonality Soup

Ode to Graham Crackers

27½ Before 3

Taxman

Line Drive

Augustus Turns in His Tomb

Sermon on the Mound

Flower Poem

Putting Down Roots

Oakland Should Be

Langtree

Tantrik Tune-up

Detail

Scorpio, Scorpio Rising

Happy Climes

All The Heads of the Town Lit Up

 

Ketchikan & Deep Bay: 1968-1970

Feather

Evidence

Poems

Woodnotes

 

Fairbanks & Preston: 1970-1974

The Beast

Poloot

Big Foot

Islam Bomb

Headwater

Truckin’ the Alkan

Dirt

On the Beach

Seascape

Atman

Sea Change

Steppin’ Out

Printer’s Devil

Hell/Life

Funk of the F Word

 

Ellensburg: 1974-1995

Traveler’s Blues

Scat Song

Get Down

Burger Productions

In Advance of Beatitude

Gold Leaf

Chilling Out with The Eclogues

Relax

At Iambic Feet

Diamond Hanging J Floating I

Variables of Existing Choices

Cattle Are Just an Excuse for Shooting Coyotes

Canis Latrans

Om Om on the Range

Critics Aren’t Agreed

Right Livelihood

Notes on the Back of a Feed Bill

Washington Swine Seminar

Green Pastures

Duke’s Mix in Winter

Living Well

Evolved and Eclipsed

Ecological Hazard

Beeper

Learning New Words

Tortureland

Calf Graft

Now Is Like That

A Tumbleweed Carries It’s Shadow Tucked Within

New Gravity                                                    

Transformation

Convalescent Conversation

Robbers’ Roost

Ordinary Adventures

Leaps and Bounds

Andy the Mechanic

Ancestors

Flake on Flake

Now There Then

Am I Repressed

Rodeo of the Equinox

It’s a Mess

After the Volcano

Old Growth

Slash

Synthesis

What Are You Up To?

All Mimsy Were the Borogoves

A Hill Called Bringer of Luck

Night Deluge

By the Numbers

Love’s Way

Chances

Hermit and Trout

As Above, So Below

Secret Spots

We Love Each Other

Ordinance

By Dint

Beryl

Red Light, Blue Light

Beryl on the Rocks

Erewon

Winter Forest

Slowly

Curve of Wind

Angel

Birthday

Nature Has No Memory

Sure Sign

Astray

Heart, How Close You Are

Interior Rose

Box

Elemental

Gifts

Maid of Mist

Vista

Dark Order

Soul Light

In First Light

Waterdownstone

Green Feeling

Afternoon Feeling

Dandelion Wishes

All Ways

Fourwinds

So

Moonrider

Cookin’

Everything

Two Roses

Two Friends

Walking

Do I Hear Trumpets?

March of Reds

Silent Language

Real

Strained Sunrise

Eyes That Cry

You Gave Me a Ring

At the Blackhawk

Driving Along

F You C K

Up Before Four

Space Out

Dream

Clouds

Light on Light

Shifted

Insured

Below the Rad Lab

Home

Ok

 

Pagosa Springs: 1994-1997

Too Many Horses, Not Enough Saddles

Right to the Point

Clear

What Where Is Here

Method in My Madness

Post-Dogmatist Puddle

Painting Clouds

Once

Transition

Africa

Whatever It Takes

Samsara and Nirvana

Furniture Poem

Shrine for Jimi Hendrix

Deja Voodoo

Too Little Too Late

Warm Light

Our Natural View

Turn Beauty Turn

Party Down, Anasazi

 

Santa Rosa & Sebastopol: 1998-2000

Pebbles

On This Side of the Pass

Beating Against the Rock                                                         

Takes on a Blue Set                                                          

Head Start

Eco Biz                                                           

Sky Line

Painpoint

Intrusions

Moving Finger

Come onto Dry Land                                       

Stake Out

Cold Fountains                                                

Blue Notes

Poetics

Tara

Endangered

Follow the Instructions

Heavy Artillery

Once I’m up to Speed on Quark

Flatline

Man-eater

Back to the Real World

Morning

Noon

And Night                                                                                                                   

Dark Matter

And the Tree of Life Also

Five Abstracts Inspired by Mark Rothko

Vacuumgenesis

Telecosmos

Nutcracker

Cutting a Swath

More Light

Picture from Williams

At East West Café

Diminishing Options

Fresh Flavor

Compassion

Cowboy

Angels

Duet at Sunset

Que Petite Sirah, Sirah

Constructive Rest

Xitro

Singing to the Cows

Singin’ Dixie

Rising from the River

Omni-spatial Matrix

Mandala

I Voted for Ike When I Was Eight

History on Her Hands and Knees

11:55 a.m. on This Planet

Turning and Mirroring

Full Moon

Music of Her Face

Yes, Repeat, No

Across No Divides

Song at Midnight

Eye Roving Over Blue Hills

Trace-tones and After-dots

Approachable But Out of Reach

When My Work Is Done I’ll

Look for the Seven-headed Beast

Heart’s Love & Yearning Misery

Flying White

Luminous Form

At the Center Is Fire

Fully Awake in Your Look

Found Poem

Tapestry

The 12:02

Bear Dance

Following Salvador Dali

Excruciating Beauty

Dicey

Lovers Lain

Coyote Meets Bodhidharma

Israel 33½

Buddha’s Last Words

Bunkhouse at 6 a.m.

Cold Out There

Fable

Clotho, Lachesis & Atropos

Pleides

A Way She Walks

So Sudden

A Lovers Are

Another Day

Wipe Out

Keep Moving

Nestled in the Rose in the Meadow of Midnight

Instructions to My Apprentice

So High You Kissed the Sky

Minaret

Mother Muse

Calendar of the Moon

No O Zone

Time Space Language

Being Just As We Are

Just As It Is

Spit in the Ocean

Pasta Is Fasta Ordered By Phone

Encounter

A Leaf Ready to Fall

For Breakfast

Fragments

Freight

Believe Me, Laura

Timberline

Green Fire

Heart’s Timber

Stubborn Lumber

Where On the Paper Chain Are You?

Planting the Blast

On to the Next Unit

Whip or Will

Vacuum Plus

Flash an Ogham

Five Is the Key

Cold Mountain

Suspicious

Go Song

Zero Tolerance

Napoleon Without a Bone

Irresolute

Open on All Levels

Automorph

Calendar Art

Do or Dot

There There

The Wart Cannot Be Coerced

Space Control

Way Through

Crazy As Possible

Stress in the Field

B Is for Reflection

Interchange of Tinctures

Why2K

Adventures of Psyche on The Astral Plane

How to Proceed

Things Change Yet Are One

President Buchanan Slept Here

Your Bones Know You Can

Calculus

Just When Phoebe Decided Life Held No More Interest

Rules

Space & Longing & a Few Flashes of Light

Sunshine within Sunlight

Flowers Inside the Present

Mutiny Is Fate

Galatic Addressing Code

Give Me Fag Vomit

O, the Hells Ring Out

Trains That Could

Apocyyylove

War Saw

Weapons of Mass Destruction

No Visible Means of Support

General MacThuselah

Terror Angel

Errata

Worn to A Phrasl

Flashburn

Ideogram

The Color White

Geraniums

Gwen

Percy

I Know a Place

Weary Elves

Maddening

Forest Perilous

Billy Meets the Canyon Spirit

Boogie Knight

Maybe a Maiden

Not Anything Real

Merlin Creeping About

Stars and Time

Hear Them Buzzz

Risking the Boundary

Persephone’s Mirror

Hermes on His Rounds

Holographic Paradigm

Phantom’s of the Fayum

Numbed by the Rays

He Who Lists to Hunt

Nectar

Late Knight on the Golden Gate

Perfect

For Jennifer

Seeing Angels with the Inner Eye

In Ketchikan

Marilyn Manson on the Rag

This Script Has a Butt Shot

Sunflower Kitchen

Of Suns and Worlds

High Pressure Center

Box of Nerves

At Every Level of Montezuma’s Consciousness

Love’s Garden

Visionary Designs

At the Game Reserve

Joy in All the Little Things

Wavetwisters

I Am Virgin to My Poem

Soul of the Anti-poet

My Escape Forward

I Know Nothing

Page of Wands

What Is Mind?

Night of Mystic Rain

Magician’s Apprentice

Flowing

All This Inside Me

Vision Quest: So Many Rainbows

Samsara Is an Airport Surrounded by a Delayed Flight

Hookeena Village

Aloha Means Don’t Crash on the Rocks

At Mahukona Beach Park

Wind Blows East, Then West

Pointless Poem about the Existence of Non-existence

Story My Mother Tells

Cord Cutting

Refuge

Juxt Pose

Postcard from the State of Disaster

Sit Like a Mountain

Lost in Tongass Forest

Nima’s First Sweat

Mother of All Sweats

Poised

November Mist

Discovery

Dream

Along the Cutbank

New Forms

Dharma Talk

Building a Fire for the Medicine Man

Eurydice Awaits Orpheus in Hell

Installation

Friends

 

 

 

FOREWARD

 

At Comrades Press, we have a vision—this book is part of that vision.

 

Comrades Press was founded in 2000 as a direct result of its on line magazine. The amount and the quality of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction that we received was staggering, much of it from previously unpublished writers. We decided to rectify this by becoming publishers ourselves and, with no funding whatsoever, set about the task of bringing the work of the misplaced poets of the world to the world. The first step in this rather grand and impossible plan (the higher the goals, the higher you can climb) was to be the publication of the first of our yearly anthologies. However, the possibility of publishing the work of Richard Denner arose, and a race began to see which book we would publish first. As both the horses were in the Comrades stable, the race was a foregone conclusion, and I am proud to say that you are holding the winner in your hands right now.

 

By utilizing print on demand technology and on line stores, we are able to produce quality books without many of the overhead costs associated with traditional methods. This means that we are prepared to take risks that would probably have other publishers waking up in a cold sweat in the middle of the night. Rather than publishing what we know will sell, our goal is to publish work that we like, work that we believe in, which should be the only reason for anybody to publish anything. Comrades Press works on a non-profit basis. If we make any money from our publications, it sits in the bank account just long enough for us to make the red numbers a little smaller before it is channeled straight into our next publication.

 

This also allows us to produce short-run chapbooks from brand new authors whose work grabs you by the throat and demands to be read or picks away at the back of your brain until there is no choice but to go for it.

 

If this all sounds like a good idea to you, then please do visit our web site at www.comrade.org.uk where you will find details of our other upcoming publications.

 

Verian Thomas

Editor - Comrades

 

 

AUTHOR’S PREFACE

 

The muse is not necessarily embodied in a single person. My first contact with this spirit of inspiration was Juanita Miller, the daughter of the flamboyant, 19th century California poet, Joaquin Miller. She lived in a vine-covered castle among her father’s monuments to Moses, John Frémont, and the Brownings, nestled in the Oakland hills, in what is now Joaquin Miller Park. In our neighborhood, she was unusual. On a foggy Halloween night, some friends and I spotted her in a white nightgown walking barefoot through the eucalyptus. We were sure her house was haunted and dared not go to her doorstep to trick or treat. She rode with my family to church on Sunday, and on one occasion she signed a copy of a collection of her father’s poems and presented it to my mother. I revered this book. I would open it and gently touch her signature. It amazed me that we knew someone who was associated with the arts. 

 

I memorized a poem from Miller’s book, a poem to Lily Langtree, a popular singer of his day. I recited this poem in the 4th grade, and the next year in Mr. Shriner’s 5th grade class, when asked to memorize a poem, I recited the same poem to fulfill the assignment, and the class jeered me, saying they had heard this poem before. A red-headed girl came to my defense and said she still thought the poem beautiful.  A muse can be old or young, peaceful, joyful or wrathful, and sometimes they are teachers. In the 6th grade, Mrs. Latimore whacked the back of my hand with a yardstick for passing a scatological note when I was supposed to be diagramming sentences.  Professor Traugot reprimanded me in front of a freshman comp class at Cal for plagiarizing Alfred Kazan’s essay on Blake, and Professor Parkinson proclaimed my essay, “My Home,” the worst thing he had ever read. I may be forever re-writing “My Home,” but I have learned to disguise my sources with more craft.

 

Kenneth Rexroth was the first poet I heard read. Ernest Blank opened my eyes to hidden beauty in poetry by explicating Andrew Marvell’s “To His Coy Mistress.” Mike Sneed critiqued my first poem, a parody of Poe’s “The Raven,” and he pointed out that poems are not Freudian soap-operas. While guarding the balcony of the Campanile on the U.C. campus, Don Bratman taught me how to scan a poem’s lines. Dennis Wier fired my interest in printing by showing me how to burn plates with a light bulb in an orange crate in his closet. Vic Jowers promoted my first chapbook at the Sticky Wicket near Aptos. Up to this point, I was dabbling, but I was primed for allegiance to this art when the 1965 Berkeley Poetry Conference was announced. My English teacher said he knew Robert Creeley and that I would learn more in one day at this conference than I would in a whole year at Cal Poly, so I  turned in my journal, accepted a C for the semester, and thumbed my way back to Berkeley.

 

A major turning point—an injection of rocket fuel. I want to thank Gary Snyder for telling me Berkeley didn’t need another bookstore and to take the nuts and bolts of what I had learned and move to the hinterlands where I was needed.  Thanks to Allen Ginsberg for revealing that I could be both a good poet and a good businessman. “Just be good,” he said, and I took the meaning of this to apply to both esthetics and ethics. As a bookseller, I always tried to find the right book for the right person at the right time. As a poet, well, you really can’t be called a poet unless your poems survive a couple hundred years. Thanks to Charles Olson for showing me the meaning of epic scale. It was a mind transmission watching him bebop through the universe fusing Gilgamesh and quantum mechanics. To Robert Creeley, who laid down two laws: William Carlos Williams’s No ideas but in things and Ezra Pound’s Make it new! To Jack Spicer, who admonished, “Poet, Be Like God,” and to Robert Duncan for pointing out I could write with or against the sun. To Kirby Doyle for showing me that we are all connected; we just need to hold hands. To Ed Dorn for including me among The New Poets. To Max Scheer for making me The Poet of the Berkeley Barb. To Richard Kretch for inviting me to read at Shakespeare & Co. and publishing my early poems in avalanche. To Wesley Tanner for teaching me to thump type. To Philip Whalen for his blessing. To Moe Macowitz for my initiation into bookselling. To Jon Springer for giving me shelter in New York. To Luis Garcia for giving me his tattered thesis binder, so I could organize my poems. To Belle Randall, Gail Chiarello, Marianne Baskin, Kate Coleman, David Cole, Jim Whelage, Patrick Gord, William Boardman, Don and Alice Schenker, Carry McWilliams, Patricia Turrigiano, Price Charlston, Grant Risdon, Bob Allen, and Cheri Bader for their encouragment. To John and Karen Bader for their patronage. To John Oliver Simon for building an anthology, City of Buds and Flowers, around a few of my poems. I flitted through Charles Pott’s Valga Krusa. I became a Berkeley Street Poet and a Poet of Peace and Gladness.

 

Many of the names above are famous, and I do not mean to imply I have been on intimate terms with all of them, but it was during these days many lifelong friendships started, and all of these people have in one way or another been instrumental in my development as a poet. Luis Garcia, my closest friend and collaborator, has been my greatest mentor, always present with insights and humorous twists of perspective. I met Lu right after the Berkeley Poetry Conference, and we continued meeting with other poets for weeks to come. Lu’s style of writing is unique—playing with the words within the words, he directed me to meditate on the morning light and helped me understand that it was important to discover my own voice, to forge a blade, as he put it. Lu’s poems sizzle. They move so fast, if you aren’t ready, you miss them. By imitating Lu’s use of jazz rhythms and breath notation, I began to read my poems aloud. Just like Leadbelly learned to play the 12-string, I learned my craft by putting my spine against the piano.

 

The choice of poems here is mine. Mainly, I have arranged them in chronological order, except where they seem better situated in the thematic contexts of later D Press chapbooks. I usually self-publish my writing, developing the arts of collage and printing along side the poetry. The printing of my poems is a way of editing my work, bringing what I say into better focus. Some of my poems appear in more than one book and in more than one version. It has never been my intent that any of them be the final version; I am not writing the poeme supreme. Words and phrases, which have bothered me after reading them for years, have here been changed or dropped. Due to format limitations, I have included only a selection of the early poemebooks with linoleum block illustrations. The cyberbooks, Wavetwisters and Another Artaud, are absent from this collection because they require elaborate typography and photographs to be fully appreciated.

 

Many events have affected my view. Many collaborations have enriched my life. I am especially grateful to my family and the many friends of my life. Also, thanks to my publisher, Verian Thomas. My poetry is my experience. This is my secret autobiography.

 

Richard Denner

 

Santa Rosa

December 4, 2000

 

 

 

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

 

Some of the poems and art have appeared in these journals and anthologies:

Tangents, Cabrillo College, Aptos, 1962

Breastbeaters, Berkeley Pamphlets, Berkeley, 1963.

Poly Syllables, California State Polytechnic College, San Luis Obispo, 1965.

America Sings, National Poetry Press, Los Angeles, 1965.

Berkeley Barb, Berkeley Barb, Berkeley, 1965-1967.

avalanche, undermine press, Berkeley, 1966.

Polar Star Art-Lit Supplement, University of Alaska, Fairbanks, 1970-1972.

Vagabond Anthology, Vagabond Press, Ellensburg, 1976.  

City of Buds & Flowers, Alderaran Review, Berkeley, 1977.

Heart in Utter Confusion, The Dog Ear Press, Hulls Cove, 1980.

Ellensburg Anthology, Ellensburg Arts Commission & D Press, 1980-1987.

Crab Creek Review, Crab Creek Review Association, Ephrata, 1983.

Catalyst, Laocoön Books, Seattle, 1988.

The Temple, Tsunami Inc., Walla Walla, 1997-2000

Pacific Northwestern Spiritual Poetry, Tsunami Inc., Walla Walla, 1998.

Blue Collar Review, Partisan Press, Norfolk, 2000.

The 2River View, Daeman College, Amherst, 2000.

Waterways, Ten Penny Players Inc., Staten Island, 2000.

The Louisiana Review, Louisiana State University, Eunice, 2001.

Butcher Block, Butcher Shop Press, Oneonta, 2001.

 

Published at these sites on the worldwideweb:

Comrades, www.comrades.org.uk

The Physik Garden, www.physikgarden.com

Poetry Tonight, www.poetrytonight.com

The Place Around The Corner, www.1freespace.com/art/olgasearch

dIVE, www.pages.prodigy.net/yog-sothoth

The Junkyard, www.thejunkyard.org

The Half-drunk Muse, www.geocities.com/owatagal

Central California Journal of Poetry, www.solopublications.com

Seeker Magazine (The Gryphon’s Nest), www.seekermagazine.com

Dream Forge, www.pcisys.net

Niederngasse, www.neiederngass.com

NuFoto, www.nufoto.com

Bardo Burner, www.dedcenter.com/bardoburner

Absinith Literary Review, www.absinthe-literary-review.com

Aluminum Baby, www.safesurfer.co.uk/rdenner

In Posse, www.webdelsol.com/InPosse

Fresh Poetry, www.freshpoetry.com

Electric Acorn, www.acorn.dublinwriters.org

State of unBeing, www.apoculpro.org/SoB

Poetry Downunder, www.aceonline.com

Adirondack Review, www.suite101.com/myhome.cfm

Poetry Super Highway, www.poetrysuperhighway.com

Cool Bird Poems, www.usd.edu/~tgannon/bird.html

Poems About Poetry, www.homepages.tesco.net/~magdtp

Eclectica Magazine, www.eclectica.org

Bluff Magazine, www.bluffmag.com

2River, www.daemen.edu/~2River

Story Bytes, www.thor.he.nte/~stories

Moria, www.moriapoetry.com.

Dark Planet, www.sfsite.com/darkplanet

zygzag, www.zygzag.com/pages/ZZhome.html

Melic Review, www.melicreview.com

Samsara, www.sundress.net/samsara     

 

This volume collects the work published by D Press over a period of 33 years.

Poems & Blocks, Ketchikan, 1968.

The Eye of the Vitamin, Ketchikan, 1968.

Denner Recipes, Ketchikan, 1968

Poems, Ketchikan, 1968.

Crankshaft, Ketchikan, 1968.

Untitled Poembooks, Deep Bay, 1969-1970

Chainclankers, Deep Bay, 1970.

Head Soup, Fairbanks, 1972.

The Scorpion, (at Arif Press) Berkeley, 1975.

New Gravity, Ellensburg, 1980.

Flake on Flake, Ellensburg, 1981.

Said Just So, Ellensburg, 1982.

Flower Poem, Ellensburg, 1985.

Night Deluge, Ellensburg, 1986.

Blue Agate, Ellensburg, 1988.

Blood Dust (with Luis Garcia), Ellensburg, 1988.

Slowly, Ellensburg, 1989.

Dark Order, Ellensburg, 1989.

Curve of Wind, Ellensburg, 1989.

Interior Rose, Ellensburg, 1990.

This Mississippi Miss, Ellensburg, 1991.

Moonrider, Ellensburg, 1992.

With Loss of Eden, Ellensburg, 1992.

Soul Light, Ellensburg, 1992.

Vista, Ellensburg, 1993.

Maid of Mist, Ellensburg, 1993.

Two Roses, Ellensburg, 1993.

Crossover, Ellensburg, 1993.

Waterdownstone, Ellensburg, 1993.

The Blank Flower, Ellensburg, 1994.

Too Many Horses, Not Enough Horses, Ellensburg, 1994.

Risking the Boundary, Ellensburg, 1995.

Blue Light, Ellensburg, 1995.

Sambhogakaya Cowboy, Pagosa Springs, 1996.

Turn Beauty Turn, Pagosa Springs, 1997.

One In a Jillian, Pagosa Springs, 1997.

Party Down, Anasazi, Pagosa Springs, 1997.

Talking Trash, Santa Rosa, 1998.

Wide As the World, Sebastopol, 1998.

Constructive Rest, Sebastopol, 1998.

First Flower, Sebastopol, 1998.

Xitro, Sebastopol, 1998.

Letter To Sito In Time of War, Sebastopol, 1998.

Chain Clankers & Linoleum Nudes, Sebastopol, 1998.

New Gravity: A Collection, Sebastopol, 1998.

Islam Bomb, Sebastopol, 1998.

Tack Shack, Sebastopol, 1998.

On Borgo Pass, Sebastopol, 1998.

Hollow Air, Sebastopol, 1999.

Cow Songs, Sebastopol, 1999.

The Spot, Sebastopol, 1999.

Flying White, Sebastopol, 1999.

Bear Dance, Sebastopol, 1999.

Green Fire, Sebastopol, 1999.

Second Boiling, Sebastopol, 1999.

Imaginary Toads, Sebastopol, 1999.

Aluminum Baby, Vol. 1, No. 1, Sebastopol, 2000.

Aluminum Baby, Vol. 1, No. 2, Sebastopol, 2000.

Ice Moon, Sebastopol, 2000.

A Double Play (with Luis Garcia), Sebastopol, 2000.

Wavetwisters, Sebastopol, 2000.

Another Artaud, Sebastopol, 2000.

Poems of the Four Times, Sebastopol, 2000.

Windfall, Sebastopol, 2000.

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION

D Press: A Jewel In The Net

     

Like Indra’s all-encompassing jewel net, D Press sparkles and shines with an offering of well-crafted chapbooks that reflect more than forty years of publisher Richard Denner’s handiwork with words, ink, paper and illustration.  Available works are always new as the idea of keeping press runs short allows for a quick turnover, a low cost or break even per book, more time for fresh material and other writers to make it into print.  Present titles include Angio Gram by Charles Potts, Celestial Cattlecall by Lee Harris, Rebel Girls by Leila Castle, What Is The Sign? by Gay Shelton and A Year in Cows by Jane Booth.  Belle Randall (Wax Museum) and Luis Garcia (Even Steven) have been performing with Richard for years under the group name Circle of Friends and are kindred spirits.

 

Although conceived in a Ketchikan attic flat in l967, the roots of D Press go back to the Bay Area of 1959. Richard took classes at UC Berkeley (Diane Wakoski was there) and perhaps unconsciously received the metaphysical mantle of alumnus poet Robert Duncan. Soon, Richard found himself reporting for Public Service Station KPFA, getting married and working as a bindery clerk. He became acquainted with every facet of printing: the feel and look of paper, the color and smell of ink, typesetting and the uses of different typeface, the feeding and rolling of presses, the cutting and stitching of recto and verso. After a move to Aptos for more classes at Cabrillo College, Richard became a regular at The Sticky Wicket, a coffee house with poetry  readings and live jazz. Many ordeals and a few years later, he attended the seminal 1965 Berkeley Poetry Conference, what John Bennett has called, “an event creating white light intensity that rivaled any drug high and had more staying power.”

 

This convergence of the Black Mountain, Berkeley Renaissance, Beat and Northwest Schools gave Richard the pivotal opportunity to study under such avant-garde poets as Charles Olson, Ed Dorn, Robert Creeley, Allen Ginsberg and Jack Spicer. Later he would study with Robert Bly, Gary Snyder, Phillip Whalen, Denise Levertov and Carolyn Kiser at Fort Worden Center for the Arts in Port Townsend, Washington. But it was Jack Spicer’s molding of series poetry into little books that had the most singular effect.

 

In 1965 Richard became a staffer on one of the original underground newspapers, the Berkeley Barb and wrote his first article, Where Is The Citizen?, which according to publisher Len Fulton (Dust Books) put the coffin nails in this floundering Berkeley co-op paper which he co-directed. Besides printing his poems in The Barb, Richard became a street poet who gave impromptu solo and regular group readings with others such as Luis Garcia, Richard Brautigan, Richard Kretch, John Oliver Simon, and Gene Fowler. “I would hold five different colored magic markers,” Richard said, “and write rainbow words on girls’ legs and arms.” Poems from these embryonic years appear in his Letter to Sito in Time of War (D Press 1998).

 

Here I am reminded of Cummings or Snyder, words in vertical order as if they had fallen off a pen, images juxtaposed with ideas to steer and grip the eye rather than rhyme scheme, line length and academic filler. we find/ourselves/in a new/world/speaking/an old/language//we speak//of beauty/and feelings/while the/machines/blast/the birds/ from our/hearts//watch/the words/ hear/the howl/come/to the ear/eye/nose/lip//scream/at the/dichotomy/of the/comma—/a dream/an illusion/how time/passes//dinosaurs/dance off/the map/where you/and I sit/drinking/coffee//we hold/down/this loose/end/of the/universe/feeling/at home/in the/smoke.  Great one breath rhythm here, vowels echo and consonants resonate while war and apathy are clearly addressed. An economy of words, words used like paint or graffiti, well-woven words that challenge and explode with intensity and insight, simple poems not only of use but of beauty and all connected by a central motif—these would become Denner trademarks.  Luis Garcia aptly alludes to them as “dinner” in the title of his book, Poems for Dinner (Summit Road Press 1997).

                                                                                                                            

According to Karl Shapiro, a rational person is least able to understand poetry, and the poet must find inspiration and pry truth from hard won experiences. At The Barb, Richard was suffering from rationalitus with acute ennui and hot flashes of Armageddon. So he took off for Alaska, in search of lost horizons, to find his true self (and what is reality?) through a series of pristine cognitions. He worked as a water-chaser, unsetting choke and bundling logs for a logging outfit. For two years Richard lived with wife and child in a  cabin at Deep Bay off berries, hunting and fishing. Back in civilization, he got a job on the Ketchikan Daily News and worked at a cold storage plant. Tackshack (D Press 1998) is full of such experiences: the Tongass National Forest, glacier deposits, bears, dead salmon, king crab, soil samples, and The Beast (Richard’s Alaskan Pipeline poem which pits industrial horrors against natural habitat and spells indigenous doom).

 

The first D Press chapbooks were simple affairs, printed from a Kelsey movable type handpress and 60 point Boldini Bold, all acquired for fifty bucks. The pages were hand cut, hung to dry in Richard’s attic flat and hand bound, yet showed brilliant illustrations (Aztec Design by Grant Risdon). Good paper, fine cover art with linoleum block prints to accentuate the poems, a balance of art and word, these Dennerisms would become D Press trademarks.  An old picture of Richard adorns one cover: he appears much like young Trotsky in Siberia with wire-rimmed glasses, mustache, student garb and a pensive gaze...he had reason for concern.

 

Up the Alkan Highway, Richard traveled to  the University of Alaska at Fairbanks. He worked in the backshop of the student newspaper and graduated in 1972 with degrees in English and Philosophy. D Press was admitted to the campus library but banned from the UA student bookstore.  Perhaps it was the explicit prints in Linoleum Nudes or graphic poems, such as ‘Musky/Hump/in US/for 69.’ Whatever, feathers flew, and the UA Polar Star (which later printed Richard’s works) put out the story, ‘Books Raise Censorship Question.’ Professors came to his defense; Richard’s chapbooks were found to have literary and artistic merit; and D Press was back on the shelf. It would be easy to dismiss this book ban as provincial fuss, however the ground D Press broke in Fairbanks mirrors the breakthroughs of alternative publishers such as Grove Press and City Lights in the lower 48 states.

 

Next stop Seattle, where Richard took a job with the Queen Anne News and studied at Port Townsend. Islam Bomb (D Press 1998) presents some of Richard’s first post-modernist poem experiments during these years (1972-74). Here there is an expansion of line and poem length as well as consciousness expanding East meets West terminology. Much like Eliot, Richard combines his fragments into a unified whole, and does not leave one in a forest of foreign text (like Pound) or babble (like Joyce). Using even romanized Sanskrit and Tibetan is high risk business, yet Richard explains his diction and uses it as part of a tapestry whose weave is encyclopedic in scope.  In point, his four page poem on the once unprintable F word reminds me much of Robert Grave’s exhaustive piece Lars Porsena, or The Future of Swearing.

 

From Seattle, Richard went to Ellensberg to oversee a 300 head cattle ranch in Badger Pocket for several years. Between stints in Alaska, he worked at Moe’s Bookstore in Berkeley, so perhaps it was deja vu that he opened the Fourwinds bookstore in Ellensberg (1977). This literary nucleus was enlarged to include a restaurant by Richard’s son, Theo, who continues to operate it today. It was here that Richard received a Washington State Arts grant to produce Ellensberg Anthology which featured and promoted local writers. The list of Denner influences East of the Mountains seems endless: more anthologies, readings and poetry workshops at his bookstore, formation of a city arts & crafts festival, exhibition of his books and printing techniques at Kittitas County Art Gallery, a three-day poetry workshop for the Washington Poets Association, and video production for Ellensburg Public Television.

                                                                                               

D Press books began to resonate with new organic imagery in his Cow Songs and New Gravity. In ‘Diamond Hanging I Blues’ the lines are simple and effective, I mend the fences./I tend the herd./...The shit is ten feet deep/and I can’t eat or sleep/coyotes yap all night/below the blown moon. A number of D Press books can be considered pivotal in the evolution of Richard’s poetic style, psychic metamorphosis and creative adaptability.  The Scorpion (1975) combines all of Richard’s loves: astrology and tarot, philosophy, Tantra, Latin (‘Cogito Ergo Shazam’) and the fine art of printing, which Richard learned thumping type for Wesley Tanner at Arif Press.

 

Xitro pays tribute to Richard’s spiritual quest, his teachers, Ginsberg and Tsultrim Allione, a vast range of philosophical studies and Tibetan Buddhist practice. When I read On Borgo Pass (1998), the line drawings mixed with poetry take me back to the novel water colors of Henry Miller and the wild pictopoems of Kenneth Patchen,  apocalypse now/a pair of lips now, or words of my perfect T-shirt/Don’t Worry/Be Hopi.

 

For fifteen years Richard annually planted trees, giving back to the earth and getting in touch.  Now, he plants seeds by teaching at a school run on the Steiner Method and also online in poetry chat rooms. When I was asked to write this essay on D Press and 40 years of Richard Denner, I was told there were about 100 chapbooks, and I thought, pull the other leg. James Tate is called prolific because he published some twelve books of poetry in six years.  Richard is more likely to publish six books in one year along with a bevy of other poets. James Laughlin (New Directions) published William Carlos Williams and Ezra Pound for years at his own expense when they were not selling. He did not want them to end up like Blake, being generally unread in their own lifetime. In the same sense, D Press allows greater access to a variety of poets whose vitality is assured by limited editions of selected work.

           

As I opened a 20 pound box mailed from Santa Rosa, chapbooks flooded my table, and I wondered how I could begin to encompass such a literary sea (and most of Richard’s work is out of print). Seamus Heany’s old headmaster used to look over his writing and sigh, “Ah, pure Hopkins” or “Ah, pure Chekov.” My eyes swim through this tidal wave of excellence, collage covers which steal my breath, Leonardo illustrations, such brillig poems, and I can only whisper in awe, “Ah, pure Denner.”

 

Lee Harris

Seattle

 

 

 

 

 

BERKELEY, APTOS & SAN LUIS OBISPO 1961-1968

 

 

 

LETTER TO SITO IN TIME OF WAR

 

we find

ourselves

in a new

world

speaking

an old

language

 

we speak

of beauty

and feelings

while the

machines

blast

the birds

from our

hearts

 

watch

the words

hear

the howl

come

to the ear

eye

nose

lip

 

scream

at the

dichotomy

of the

comma—

a dream

an illusion

how time

passes

 

dinosaurs

dance off

the map

where you

and I sit

drinking

coffee

 

we hold

down

this loose

end

of the

universe

feeling

at home

in the smoke

 

 

 

ABCs

 

it begins

like this

 

and ends

like this

 

and continues

 

.

 

in the

beginning

it was

 

done on

a blank

page—

 

white

on

white

 

on the

day of

creation

 

.

 

hear

here

 

is a bird

in the

window

 

is a bee

a flower

 

a garden

in the

mind

 

.

 

dilute the

potion

 

pour in

water

with the

hemlock

 

open the

windows

 

look for

patterns

in this

dream

 

.

 

a new

dimension?

shaped

words,

canvases

of space

 

.

 

song

bird

 

word

word

 

heard

third

 

.

 

we are

running

we are

mad

 

the stars

point out

the way

 

we are

naked

 

we are

free

 

there are

flowers on

the path

 

.

 

I was

told

 

I was

shown

 

it was

pointed out—

 

the narrow path

the word’s wisdom

 

.

 

so

intricate

 

so

complex

 

so amazing

 

the dead

leaves

 

on the

sidewalk

 

the dog

barking

 

the man

scratching

 

.

 

what’s out

side is

within

 

is there

emptiness

without

awareness?

 

.

 

word

 

wise

will

 

word

 

weed

worm

 

word

 

were

wood

 

word

 

weld

wink

 

word

 

wild

wing

 

word

 

wall

war

 

.

 

construct

something

out of

clay

dirt

 

obscene

words

in the

wash

room

stall

 

VietnamVietnamVietnamVietnam

ietnamVietnamVietnamVietnamV

etnamVietnamVietnamVietnamVi

tnamVietnamVietnamVietnamVie

namVietnamVietnamVietnamViet

amVietnamVietnamVietnamVietn

mVietnamVietnamVietnamVietna

 

no time

not place

no mind

for it—

it is

a dark

sentence,

a joke on

the wall

 

.

 

island

city

 

one can

loose

 

oneself

in any

 

pattern

any tree

 

star

cloud

 

mountain

field

 

.

 

a problem today

is to put down

the black-white

marble of mind

 

draw a circle

take your shot

feed daffodils

to crocodiles

 

.

 

there

is a

cemetery

 

in the

heart

tombstoned

 

we look

for it

the door

 

that

opens

onto

 

gardens

and

graveyards

 

.

 

there

are stars

in the

branches

of the

tree

 

all the

windows

of the

 

moon

open and

close

 

.

 

the count

and how

to count

the count

 

.

 

how is it

sir?

 

how

is it?

 

it is

how

it is

 

is

how

it

is

 

down

that

road

 

soften

it up

 

how

it

sir

 

.

 

 

Spring

do not

 

mistake

me for

 

a flower

or a tree

 

Death

knows

 

there’s

music

 

in the

air

 

 

 

POEM ON MY BIRTHDAY

 

once again this day protrudes

its ugly head out of the debris of the year

 

bleary-eyed & melancholy, strung out

in my Imolian web

 

i contemplate my 23rd time-twisted

space-spun, yelping year

 

with River Lethe flowing

my scorpion soul

 

winds its wayward way

to a shipwreck upon a seed

 

 

 

COMMITMENT

 

when Ezra Pound was released

from St. Elizabeth’s, he said

“America is an insane asylum,”

and then he split for Spolento

 

It appearing to the Court

on this day

the above named defendant

appeared to answer

a charge of committing Treason

 

It appearing that the said Judge

in it appearing that on that date

a doubt arose as to the sanity

of said defendant

dismissed criminal proceedings

in said action

and certified the above-named

for hearing and examination

by said Court

to determine the sanity

of the said defendant; and

the attorneys

for defense and prosecution

stipulated

that the doctor’s reports

could be received in evidence

and the Court

considered the evidence

presented upon the issue

of the present sanity

of said defendant and found

the said defendant to be insane

 

It is THEREFORE ORDERED

ADJUDGED AND DECREED

that the said defendant

be committed and confined

as an insane person

until such time as he shall

become sane

 

the poet sits alone

in the Idlewild Airport Café

sketching his next Canto

‘mid

C Beef 65¢

Coke 10¢

comfort after 14 years

in a Washington D.C. mental ward

 

across the room

a dark-eyed beauty

cool, contemplative

 

Cassandra, your eyes are like tigers

with no word written in them

You also I have carried to nowhere.

 

noise from the juke box

interrupts his cold beef vision

 

 

 

TABULA RASA

 

A clear slate

An empty table

A clean plate

 

He rose

With earthquake and lightening

Pierced and naked

 

He returned

To prove

His identity to those

 

Who betrayed

Feared and denied

Him

 

And

When he spoke

He spoke

 

As one from eternity to

Us

The living

 

A new life

A second chance

A second coming

 

 

 

 

POEM ON MY RETURN

 

i’m back among the living

back from where angels & devils dwell

with no one dead i know

 

i’m back

and see the meager come, the greater go

day follow day as usual

 

i’m back and will live lustily

among the oak trees

 

 

 

CAPTAIN OF POETRY

 

a cold, bleak day—

i’m playing gin rummy with Phil

when we hear on the radio

Elliot is dead

 

i have a photo of him

dressed in a black suit with a cape

wearing a wide-brimmed hat

carrying a walking stick

standing in the shade of a tree

was he ever young?

 

not feeling very young myself

i walk along the shore

and listen to the gulls

watch the waves

feel the whirl

 

i figure he has the answer

to the question now, but

what do you do with it

when you’re dead?

 

 

 

SONG

 

the president of the univers-

ity Ph.D LL.D

acting in good faith

opened the key to symbols

and saw

 

the new requirements

applicable to persons

not embarked

are shown in circles

 

Do Not Fold, Bend

Stipple or Mutilate

 

Beware of kindergartens

early elements

exceptional

specialized

adults

credentials

supervision

 

TEXTBOOKS

MAPS

IRS regulations

 

under the current regulations

peace and gladness

cannot be deducted

 

 

 

PATTERNS

 

look at the numbers

Kant 478a-79d

there is beauty in moral order

and Bacon who should

be in Everyman’s Library

knew Augustine confessed

 

I have a friend who says

there are 3 principles

the good, the bad

and that whichisneither

good nor bad

 

as for the whichisneither

my friend told me to stop

smoking, which changed my life

because I smoke 2 to 3 packs

 

I write this sitting

on a Persian rug

listening to a harpsichord

on a Victrola play

Partia #2 in C Minor

Schmieder 826

 

478 79 3 2 2 2 826

in the bottom of the 9th

 

 

 

TALE

 

an ancient tale

of a river that fell in love

with a maiden

 

my soul stretches as a river

your image is reflected

deeply, quietly

 

blue eyes and bright face

kind, calm

a fresh flower on a spring day

 

when the image is lost

my soul

floods with despair

 

 

 

A BOOK ENTITLED

 

when you die we will plant you

beneath the magic mushrooms

 

they will grow lush and perfect

 

on a night with a full moon

you will hear them cry out

to be gathered

 

eebee

eebee

ooooo

 

eebee

eebee

ooooo

 

Listen!

Prepare the Jell-O!

Light the sofa!

 

 

 

VISION

 

my vision of a fish

brown with a yellow streak

and an amorphous red eye

encircled by a river

has fused with the dead cat

in the gutter I sent

to heaven with flower-stars

 

 

 

SPACED

 

Time stopped—

and like the drool

on the lip of an idiot

 

I hung over the abyss

looking inward

amazed

 

 

 

YES

 

o yes

read first

 

by all means—

 

now, a

string of DNA

floats

 

having

come unstrung

from its coil

 

o yes

I keep a

loose vowel

 

 

 

MY POEMS

 

Who said it

wasn’t just

sound, Gail?

 

You just

happened

to come

 

On a night

when I’ve

lost all

 

Of my poems.

 

 

 

ELIZABETH SAYS

 

I get that feeling

you get in your nose

when you eat ice cream

in my eyes when I hear

the sound of the needle

at the end of the record

like a mouse eating crackers

 

 

 

CALCULATED LION

 

A god

passed by

my window.

 

“Into the

Lion’s

Mouth,”

Lu said.

 

I quickly

jumped.

 

 

 

COGITO ERGO SHAZAM

 

9 times 9 times 9

 

miles, minutes

trains, tracks

clanking chains

 

electronic brains

Harpo Marx? No,

an acustaka

 

often ten

 

 

 

A BRAMAVITS SITS ON THE HEAD

OF A NEO-CLASSICIST

for Wolfman & The Big X

 

3 out of 4 hippies aren’t

 

badminton

mushrooms

mungbeans

moonbeams

 

sitting in Kip’s

with a book and a burger

my valves are loose

and my chains clank

 

 

 

SPLIT PE-RSONALITY SOUP

 

And so it goes and goes and goes

between your toes and up your nose.

 

Take two, one for each.

So far out, it’s out of reach.

 

Can you guess which is best

and which is less than all the rest?

 

 

 

ODE TO GRAHAM CRACKERS

 

GRAY

HAM

 

AND

peanut butter

 

sliced pickles

and

peanut brittle

 

take another toke

 

cherry pie

on rye

 

 

 

27½ BEFORE 3

 

close to a

symbol stupor

 

do not listen

unless you know

what you are doing

 

we must be careful

when filling special

dietary needs

 

beware of toxic chemicals

beware of toxic poetry

 

 

 

TAXMAN

 

clanking chains

electronic brains

a harpsichord?

no, a cowbell

 

there are two angels

one records, and the other

dictates

 

listen to the hum

take a cosmic breath

relax, man, hell is hung

with pretty pictures

 

listen to the sitar

Indian hard-bop twisted

on the frame of a fugue

 

sit and listen

as it tears your soul from you

 

 

 

LINE DRIVE

 

ami

ma moo

ami

ma moo

 

that’s a train

we go on that train

yes, we go on that

train

 

power steering batting average

power steering batting average

 

stop.

 

I cannot ignore

certainly not dismiss

Anulios

 

 

 

AUGUSTUS TURNS IN HIS TOMB

 

bottom of the 13th

Willie faces the left-hander

2 for 5

homerun for the 9th

                       

overcast has blown away

 

in the next room

a sewing machine whrrrs

draining the power

 

static

 

fast ball hit into right

for a base

 

the mood shifts

LeFever is up

 

why is the spectacular held

in San Francisco

when the riots are in L.A.?

 

 

 

SERMON ON THE MOUND

 

apparently

I did not understand

 

when He spoke of the grain

which is the symbol of man

 

looking to the burial of the seed

its death and resurrection

 

I want mustard on my hotdog

 

 

 

FLOWER POEM

 

Gladness linked to

madness to amuse you.

Characters move—

 

rhythms, waves of color

flowers.

 

They whisper to me.

I am a privileged guess.

 

They let me do as I please.

They do as they please.

 

In the core of the bud

is fire,

the bone of desire.

 

.

 

I knew

when a moth flew out

of the moon’s eye

 

the dead

would teach me

to love.

 

.

 

There are stars

in the branches of the trees.

 

The moon’s windows

open and close.

 

It’s right

there

 

DANCE

DANCE

DANCE

 

.

 

Her eyes are for me

to see her heart.

 

While she moves into mine

I move into hers.

 

The grave, cold, simple—

ordained

in the see.

 

.

 

New directions,

old directions, each

is eaten in time,

 

each star,

seed,

stone.

 

.

 

Moon moves

mind into fragments.

 

Visitation comes

wordless, shapeless.

 

It is sweet, the taste

of a tree, children running,

guns clicking,

that shaking of my head,

needles too—a place

in space,

 

song, bird, word,

word, heard third.

 

.

 

 

The moon is a flower.

The day is a song.

Let the dog bark

 

down the hall of fading portraits,

my face in the mirror

above a broken vase.

 

Her mouth quivers.

She sees humor

in the antics of the man

trying.

 

.

 

There is a cemetery

in the mind.

 

We look for it—

 

nine times nine times nine

nails, needles, trains, trees—

often ten.

 

The moon is a flower.

This is to say

I love to say

 

I love.

 

 

 

PUTTING DOWN ROOTS

 

Serge planted a tree

when he was three on Berkeley Way.

Luis did too,

two birch, on Acton.

Peter started ivy

to cover his hideaway.

William grafted roses,

rows of them.

Patrick sowed oats

up and down on Telly.

Wes confesses

he hates green.

Alice says there’s nothing like Oakland

bay laurel for cooking

or as a fact there.

 

 

 

OAKLAND SHOULD BE

 

abolished.

She’s an early bird

that catches the worm

on MacArthur at Manila,

an intersection, a branch

of Oak. O police love her.

City of Merritt,

your lakes and hills

are eyes and thighs.

You lay in asphalt splendor.

Your ways are littered,

and pigs are chased by panthers

orbited by angels dancing

on the tips of your limbs.

City of the Raiders,

what’s it like blasted?

Are you made of aluminum?

Where is London square?

Wolves aware of the sea’s tear

wander in rose gardens

and eucalyptus groves.

Joaquin Miller Amphitheatre

is dedicated to California’s writers,

dead ones.

 

 

 

LANGTREE

 

Joaquin sings

of Lily’s graces.

 

She brought

the house down.

 

The house had beams

musically spaced,

 

columns of concrete

delicate as bird legs.

 

A structure,

a broken shell.

 

 

 

TANTRIK TUNE-UP

 

Wheel your rig into DICK’S—

you’ll get a square deal.

Dick distributes Punch Products.

Punch protects your transmission

parts. Perfect parts

produce the proper frequency

to transcend planetary interference.

 

Pour Punch in your crankcase, it’ll be-

come a peacock with 6 heads and 9 tails. 

After this rite, things will be right on.

Stick it in your gas, it’ll swell

until there’s a tyger in your tank.

Stuff it in that stash behind the dash.

Rub it on the hood or slip it in your ear,

Punch stops heat, sludge, jerking

 

and the formation of calluses

on your eyes

 

 

 

DETAIL

 

Birds that lay

in Euclid’s branches

have a view of May.

 

Spring blows and sucks,

sucks and blows

the eucal blossom.

 

It’s always ragtime,

suck and blow.

 

 

 

SCORPIO, SCORPIO RISING

 

Scorpio

beastie in the bunghole

bugaboo of bugaboos

mite in the middle of the third root race

big eight of the cycle of life

 

maggot of the mind’s eye

mistake, abortion, infection, crablouse

error of the raised eyebrow

 

O deadly persuader

O propagator of corruption

O comic of crimes not yet committed

O gutless guttersnipe

O diddler at the door of destruction

 

let me fall with you into generation

 

 

 

EYE OF THE SCORPION

 

is issuing from the brain

shinning upon us

to block our knock off

in the 13th week

a pearl in wine

the web of life, and a worm

are weaving deep in the earth

a wooden bowl

is being filled with blood

to make bread

as the cauldron boils

more gold and more gold

is issuing from the brain

white is holding a corpse

in the east of the brain

red is holding a banner

in the west of the brain

yellow is holding an arrow

in the south of the brain

black is holding a bowl

in the north of the brain

as the worm weaves the web

in the 13th week

in the eye of the scorpion

 

 

 

HAPPY CLIMES      

 

Athens of the West—

she creates a provincial mentality

by fulfilling through witchcraft

whatever the mind pretends.

 

In Berkeley I was reduced

to monads by the Mænads,

classified scizo-non-decisive,

and given Stelazine and A.T.D.

 

A minor inconvenience—

a nervous breakdown.

Strangled by my vocabulary,

what to do with the stiff?

 

No one knew I was there

until a flood of vomit

oozed from under my door.

 

 

 

ALL THE HEADS OF THE TOWN LIT UP

 

I filled vials with violets and grass.

I made baggies of marigolds and grass.

I loaded a wine bottle with grass

and announced a Party for Allen.

 

I underestimated by a hundred

how many would attend this bash.

I was in a spot, so I put out my stash

and passed my Stetson.

 

Olson filled the papa chair

and passed his pipe—that was some pipe.

Orlovsky and I made it to the liquor store

much to everyone’s relief.

 

Kretch read a diatribe seated on the commode.

Lew Welch swung from the chandelier.

It was Creeley demanding everyone know

where the firemen and police were located

 

that cleared the place. 

So, I added the cost and the cost of the cost.

Nothing was stolen, and nothing was broken,

save for the chandelier.

 

 

 

KETCHIKAN & DEEP BAY 1968-1970

 

 

 

FEATHER

 

unicorn

canker

Ketchikan

the moon

the axis

the exasperation

what can I say?

I saw them on the slope.

I saw them

climb Deer Mountain.

I called my friend

and he gave me

no answer.

I entreated him

my mouth

god

suck

flower

 

 

 

EVIDENCE

 

whereas a fortress

whereas a jade pagoda

whereas a river

of diamonds, a river

of blood

 

whereas the fortress

is the pagoda, whereas

the river is blood, whereas

men and women are diamonds

I ask what is there

where imagelessness prevails?

 

whereas some cosmoses are being

transformed, whereas some are

being transfigured, whereas

some metamorphosis continues

I ask how is this possible where

there is no imagination?

 

 

 

POEMS

 

HAS ONE

TIME TO

 

SEE THE

MISTAKE

 

THERE

AMONG

 

FLOWERS

OPENING

 

TO THE

MARBLE

 

LIGHT OF

CANDLES?

 

.

 

CAN WE EAT

THE GRASS

 

GOOD-BYE

FAREWELL

 

TOMORROW

TOMORROW

 

A TEST

A VISA

 

TO MEXICO

TO AFRICA

 

GOLDEN LEAVES

IN THE SUN

 

.

 

AROUND

ME THE

 

WALLS

MOVE

 

THE SKY

IS DARK

 

WITHOUT

A MOON

 

THERE’S A

DAEMON

 

EATING

MY LIVER

 

.

 

AT THE

CENTER

 

OF THE

FLOWER

 

LOOKING

BEMUSED

 

AT AN

ANGEL

 

RUNNING

A SWORD

 

THROUGH

A WORM

 

.

 

WORD

WORM

 

ACID

ANON

 

LOVE

LICK

 

LEAF

LEAK

 

ONLY

ONCE

 

WIND

WORD

 

 

 

 

WOODNOTES

for David and Jim

 

Seek to realize the self—

the way, the poets say, is difficult.

 

We are situated in a cedar cabin

built on stilts over the water in a cove

a mile across Moser Lake from Deep Bay,

our mail drop, Deep Bay 99901.

Mail arrives weekly from Ketchikan,

25 miles by plane weather permitting.

Mid-winter—there is four feet of snow.

 

Elizabeth and baby Theo and I,

helped by friends, take to the woods

after reading Bradford Angier’s

How to Live in the Woods on $10/Week.

With my last paycheck, income tax return

and promise of employment insurance

we should make out—hoping that

by discriminating use of ecological resources

most of our material needs can be met—

 

Selfless means to a selfless end,

as Ghandi put it.

 

So around this complex

our routine flows—all activities

merge in the pursuit, which deepens

here in Deep Bay.

 

Schedule remains firm.

Implementation of spiritual discipline,

Karma Yoga—wood and water

wood and water, wood and water.

Would you believe, wood and water?

 

Elemental—the meaning is subtle,

but we’re only scratching the surface.

We have stored away necessary

supplies, several cords of wood

cut and split and stacked.

Now we improvise.

 

.

 

Awoke to a 14 foot tide, high

enough to float a forty-footer off

an abandoned logging donkey.

Tied on and rowed it to shore,

breaking a rib in the dinghy near the stern.

Tied up and came in for coffee.

 

Sometimes, I’m the ocean,

man-boat-ocean.

I wonder how hard the wind can blow.

Whips us from the east today.

Whitecaps in the cove, cedar bending.

Gulls motionless in the gale.

February is a windy month.

 

Can we use up our desires?

Not that we don’t have sense cravings.

Food is Number One God here.

And Shelter.

And the twin god, a good pair of Boots.

 

Made a mixture of vinegar, water,

cloves, onion, garlic, salt, mustard,

sugar, ginger for sauerbraten.

Put this mix and a venison roast

in a stoneware crock to marinate.

 

.

 

By the way, I’m told

Ramakrishna uses the simile of the ocean,

the ocean of sat-chit-ananda

the ocean of existence,

consciousness, bliss—dissolve

myself like a salt-doll in this ocean.

 

Lu Garcia writes from Berkeley,

“Things spin as they always spin.”

 

Jon Springer, at this time, finds it

“fetid in the Ukrainian ghetto of 6th St.

 

.

 

How did I get from selling the Berkeley Barb

on Telegraph Avenue to this cabin?

The old personality breaks down, and

the world becomes pure—like Blake said,

as it is in infinity.

 

It is curious how some moves take

years to come about, but then

done with full support of mind & body

they move forward.

 

.

 

The wind gathers strength.

As weather delays delivery of oil,

as the Coleman stove is in parts,

we cook over a makeshift grate

in the Yukon oil drum heater.

Elizabeth achieves bliss of sourdough

chocolate cake, cerealmate bread,

venison strogfanoff, and fern frawns.

 

Living in the woods is a fruitcake idea.

Can others be influenced by seeing how

it’s done?—expanding circle—friends,

town, state, country, galaxy, cosmos

returns me back to myself.

 

.

 

Snowflakes falling outside

and in my mind.

The temperature, 40 degrees.

Nothing sticks.

 

I roam the woods.

Tongass National Forest.

Sitka Black Tail Deer. Beaver. Squirrel.

A few bear.

Much spirit life.

 

While dark, I take to the woods.

When dawn cracks, I’m waiting.

I’m a good shot, felling my game

with a single round from a 30.30.

Death, sorrow, sort of unreal,

this tug of life and death.

 

Repression, exploitation—

leaving the city to avoid the establishment,

and, in turn, I become the Man.

Good weather, one clear day in thirty

in this rain forest—ego hunting—lots

of weird animals in the mind—the mind

itself a crazy monkey.

 

.

 

Somewhere, the Governor of Someplace

makes money in real estate.

Dr. Leary attends Altamont, says

it’s a lesson to be learned.

Theo and I float in our boat, while far away

Neil Armstrong takes his giant step.

 

Hunt and fish, wood and water.

Today, eight crabs in the trap.

Cut and stacked cedar blocks,

using the tide to move them to shore.

I came indoors to paint the cabinets

until Theo knocked over the paint can.

Put him down for a nap and read

a few chapters of Thomas Á Kempis.

 

.

 

Field studies:

Periculum aquillium

a perenial fern, local species “hog braken”

substitute for asparagus.

Theo gets up early to pick the frawns.

 

Tiarella trifoiata

Quileut “gwaqwlatcyu’l”

three leaves (qwal’l=3)

Chew for coughs.

 

Equisetum arvense

“field horsetail”

Used by Quinault to regulate menstrual flow.

 

While reading this aloud, Elizabeth

starts her period.

We have no ailments in the woods,

except when we go to town, we catch

the Ketchikan crud.

 

.

 

A whirly-twirly, sunny day.

Here it rains 200 inches a year.

10% chance of rain means 10 inches of rain.

Made ice cream and had mincemeat pie

á la mode.

 

Watched a sea otter dive for crab.

The sky Gualoises blue, the water

a shade of jade and now smooth.

Buds and bugs and migrating fowl signal

Spring—

I feel like pulling the doors from the jambs,

but I’m afraid of the ceiling falling down

from a ton of newspaper & mattress insulation.

 

.

 

Cut and split another cord of wood.

Supper of red snapper filets, scalloped

spuds, and sponge cake w/berry sauce.

We haven’t seen a soul on the water

for days—grooving on the isolation.

 

By kerosene lamp I read Lone Wolf Smith’s

letters to the Daily News,

always a revelation—

 

Not one new goat trail here.

What for our Poor People and trollers

more rotten Pinks from Creeks

and let Coho go?

Where o where is Gov. Hinkels

Better or Bitter way?

 

.

 

Not sure I want improvements.

Sit and watch the deer on the beach,

watch them turn their heads, twitch

their ears suspiciously.

A little bird settles on a branch,

listen to it sing.

 

 

 

 

FAIRBANKS & PRESTON: 1970-1974

 

 

 

THE BEAST

 

Old Valdez.

275 sq. miles. Second oldest

white settlement in Alaska.

Captain Cook 1778

1794 Bligh Island

Spaniards 1798.

 

1800s whaling. Copper mined.

Route to the gold fields.

Blue fox farming in the 1920s.

Iron Trail by Rex Beach set here.

Young Miss Miller marries

the Maharajah of Indore.

 

New Valdez.

Rebuilt after quake on a new site.

Voted All-American City 1965.

Valdez rhymes with “ease.”

South Terminus of Alyeska’s

pipeline from Prudhoe Bay.

 

Wrathful Alyeska

auger in one hand

marshprobe in one hand

geo-stick in one hand

polaski in another

 

I take soil samples

along the surveyed route

from Valdez to Tonsina.

I follow the Lowe River

through alder swamps

across marshmuck to bogmire.

Streams jambed with rotting salmon.

 

I follow a bear trail

to the cutline where I auger

twenty feet to bedrock.

I sidetrack near Kendal Cache

to collect lichens and weathered

telegraph insulators.

I note the conglomeration

from a glacier deposit.

 

Along glacier benches to bedrock

across rivers to bedrock

to bedrock under ridges, under

boulders, under cobbles, under sill

under sand, under volcanic ash.

I take a rest and get sick.

 

A caravan of Winabegos passes.

A woman points to a dead salmon

and exclaims, “Someone should do

something about that.” Cheechakos.

10% chance of rain in a rainforest

means 10 inches of rain.

 

At Trans Alaska Pipeline

Point on Ground TAPS PG=361+68

I join my copter pilot.

Mustachioed Vietvet with shades

his scarf trails in the breeze.

 

He drops me off on a sandbar.

There’s a field of devil’s club

and a jungle of alder hanging

from granite cliffs between me

and my test hole.

 

King crab to Otterman:

glacierized graywhacky

sandy sill

silly sand

gravel

cobbles

Indian love stones

fucking rocks

over

 

Otterman to Kingcrab:

reading you

alluvial fan

metamorphic composition

zone theory

montage effects

colluvium

colluvium

colluvium

clear

 

Dhal sheep graze below me.

As the Alouette lands, a bull moose

into the brush. 

Up the line, a grizzly and her cubs

into hiding.

 

From the Arctic Ocean

at Prudhoe Bay, over

the Brooks Range

across the Koyukuk River

across the Yukon River

and the Tanana, stretching

 

Across the Alaskan Range

this in temperatures below zero

for more than one hundred days

below forty below for weeks

dropping to eighty below

in arctic winds

 

From Thompson Pass

down a glacier moraine, the pipe

slouches into Valdez.

 

1972

 

 

POLOOT

 

Alaska, who lives there?

Caribou, wolves and bear.

 

This grizzly airs a grudge

that everyone fears to judge.

 

A refinery don’t smell

like Chanel— more like hell.

 

 

 

BIG FOOT

 

One drop goes

a long way to ease

the friction.

 

100 billion barrels,

ten to the tenth power—

while the answer is hair

 

warm nights in fur,

and the best investment

is Sasquatch.

 

 

 

ISLAM BOMB

 

1. inner secret

 

theoretically the absolute p(ohm)e

is defined in a self-consistent way

the unit of resistance

determined with a coil

spinning in a field

 

passion-love-beauty formula

the passion of love

the catalysis of beauty

the passion of beauty

the crystallography of love

the beauty of love

the musicology of passion

the of of beauty the passion love

passionlove of the the of beauty

 

expressed concretely

in terms of smart bombs

(a form of intercourse protexted

under the cuntstitution)

Kenning equations concocked &

cunninglingously composed

paradoxically pertinent when

accepted as parts of patterns

suspicious as it sounds

using Euler’s formula L+2=P+A

& correcting for obscured areas

 

let us begin w/the premise

when we take care of ourselves

participants are swept along

in unacknowledged harmony

true Taoist cyberneticism

 

ask & thou shall receive

what is matter?

never mind

what is mind?

it doesn’t matter

 

sometimes wordgames seem flippant

& worldgames whenso are malignant

yet the awesome Silence prevails

 

Andillusion dogmaradarwowgod

i

begin this line

knowing particular

themes elude development

 

and on the and in the

and on the and in the

and on the and in the

 

magnetic whispers

from the heart of a moth

a frog in a muskeg

evolves into a dinosaur

in the twit of a newt it

(knew(i)t) quantumleaps

 

we are meat such that

we are primemovers such that

the primemovers & the meat

are the same, and

 

whatever Beta may be

(Beta is a cow of mine)

is true when

and only when

a primemover

is prime rib

 

2. intergallactic69pornoputer

 

your Honor, i will speak my peace

i confess to fucking-up

convicted as i was arrested

a bag of predigested meat (that i am)

incorrigible & incapable of rehab

corrupt & spreading contagion

 

your major premise

worth is self-evident

is a 2waymirror

pimping your nose w/yr tongue

you sniff my rectum

& blame me for bad taste

 

NOT FLOOD FIRE OR ICE but

A Deluge of Smutmirth

f/Interpornogallatic Cyber-Messenger

 

grit of true shit for breath

gobs of swarming cum emit

f/throbbing organs against aghast

esophagi, burning bitters

dripping in eyes, ears, on breasts

acrox continents

 

now my blood bdellatomically runs

f/opened veins, a feast

 

OM MATRIX

MANTRA VORTEX

ABEL BAKER

CAIN DOZEN

 

she who meditates on the penis of sorrow

has to ball The Jack

he who dreams of Wombman

must come to rack and ruin

in the Spanish boot of time

 

words of our bodies

seeds of our minds

statements of elements

ejaculations of truth

tables of turns

tricks of trades

 

in that Silence our lives are mingled

& in my mindheart there is terror

 

across the sea of abyss

over the pass of bandits

thru the valley of the beast

i fill in the blanks

 

STRIVING WITH SYSTEMS

TO FREE OURSELVES f/SYSTEMS

as Blake saw

 

i find a place where the rent is low

gardens grow, pace is slow

mushrooms blow

 

whitehole/blackhole continuum

rivers evaporate on Mars

40000 BCE at 8 ‘til eulenspiegel

while a child discovers its feet and

a legislature extends its session

 

into a series of telemetric sequences

another unconscious police action

uniting conditionally imagined

noun phrase verb phrase strings

La Illa Ha Il Allah Hu

 

either/or & both

 

GURU KHAN

HUM PHAT

 

KRAZIGNATZKAT

PUPPIGDUNGFUNGI

X-RAY CRISTALGRAPH

pendulum harmonographic

alpha-particular articulation

that i = an elliptical metaphor 4

misononeismystic Presbyterianism

 

Bohem’s exegesis of Genesis

Buddhist Logic of Exists

differential equations

 

3. plug them in and stand back

 

dinosaurs grazing in pastures of hemp

micro-organisms under an airtight lid

færie-dæmon foxfire dynamos

bunraku hooded trinities

section Xn relative to Yn

Gemini martyrdom

Sze indications of good fortune

soon June vine design

synergistically synchronized valve/relay

yin/yang daisycrazy turkeyjerky

a posteriori experience related

a fortiori in terms of significance

 

KALI APPEARS WITH A NECKLACE

OF FLAVORED HEADS

atom fudge  spinach nicotine

pie are squared  double negative delight

phallic fluff  interarticular fibercartilage

cosmic grout  alimentum ornamentum

Pythagorean lotus bean  jade attle

fissigemnation chainshot

 

psychedelic pink psychodelphi

pink psychoracle lick pink ink pink

the color of lips the color

of the cheek the color of

intestines eyes of insects

winged bleeding things

in inner space

substantives hold their own

adjectives depend on substantives

holding their own

 

STOP

NO U

TURN

 

ONE

WAY

 

ARE

YOU

 

PUTTING

ME ON?

 

automatic replication analogue of

passion-beauty-love

analytic pre-molar political

intersubjective meta-aleatoric

patramorphesis

 

on the blue pole of the South Moon

Venus has a hot cushion

 

4. business reply mail

 

postage paid by addressee

octahedrically this RLD

molecule circles the news that stays news

 

THE SCARLOSIS DAILY SCOOP

THE THERMONUCLEAR CARBUNCLE 

THE ABYSS

THE WASTING TIMES

 

Planetarium            

Depicts                  

First Christmas

 

Council Studies

Concrete Lid

For Reservoir

 

the war is over/it never was/the

war is not/the war is over

Merry Kissmyass the real cost

was the cost of the cost

2 + 2 being more

Christus-Falcon entalloned

Mithras cutting the throat of the Bull

with a zip code

 

CHAPTER TO

on my way from the 12th planet

in n minus 1 (n = 0) solar system

of RLD-59 Andasinwand Galaxy

to the Labor Temple on 2nd Ave

i encounter an old friend

“Whashappeninmon?” i inquire

“Got a vasectomy, remarried

my first wife & found Jesus”

“Does this frequently happen

after vascectomy?” i ask

but before he can answer

the effect of the experience

inhibits my memory

from recalling the event

to which the question pertains

 

daze of trauma stretch to kalapas

until interrupted by the mantra

HARE MARX KARL KARL

HARE BODY HAIRY BODY

SPIRITO MESCALERO

SANCTAS IMMUNITA

 

rainforest/pastureland equation—

MacDonald’s boasting billions dead

has a walk-in fantastic replica

of a Big Mac guaranteed to be

a short path to Sipa Bardo

if piped with Allen Ginsberg’s

Holy Soul Jelly Roll & what else?

just a 1929 ordinance

forbidding moonlight & shadow dancing

invoked  by antediluvian assholes

to prevent psychedelic light shows

 

CHAPTER TOO

in this chapter the flop quickens

...the the figuring as formula, the the

imparting stature to the the

...tautological hokermoker...

just thrust into the thick of the quick

as the media’s view snowballs into ametropia

 

CHAPTER of the OVERALL ORDER

of HUGGERMUGGER

deaf dumb hungry & blind

the eater that is eaten

i am a plucked biped cooked in my juices

by atomic tantra evolutionarily predicated

a as in as b as in be

every effort forever formed given grace

however haphazard i imagine an alder tree

under which a really real rishi rests

 

 

 

 

HEAD WATER       

for Robert Duncan

 

Syntactic order brackets

word relationships,

but this should not prevent us

holding hands

 

Asked what

prevented him when asked

what prevented

him from

internally reallocating

functor categories

f/internally

reallocating functor

categories from non-

exigent conditions

from non-exigent

conditions, he replied

 

Oh, potato chip

prime mover of palatability

bugaboo to step on in the dark

cosmic potato of parabolic curves

let me lick your salty thighs

 

S/Seys

E/Cexy

X/Son of Lucifer

bringer of fire

 

Whether it is a potato or not

I do not know or not know

care or not care

for, for sure, it will resemble

Arp’s navel

 

When asked what

prevented the potato chip

f/attaining inter-subjective

metamorphosis when injest-

ed

 

Edgar Allen

Poe tato

replied

 

Birds of calm

rest on the charmed wave

 

 

 

TRUCKIN’ THE ALKAN

 

“We Drove The Alkan!”

an air-polluted fantasy

a flick to see

for the dust alone

soon to appear

as a bored game

 

Beware the cost!

food, tires, repairs

3 flats in 200 miles

2 ea. 7.35/15s, one

7.75/15, one 6.55/15

& nothing for a spare

added = 2900

divided by milepost

424 is ideogram Sze—

indicates how, in the case

which it supposes, with

firmness & correctness

and (a leader of) age

& experience, there will

be fortune & no error

 

milepost prosyllagism

water is persistent

and hard edged

whereas

earth is subtle

falling away and rising

 

Athabascan beadwork

works strong talismanic magic

given metaphysically camp context

exempli gratia

fossilized mulosk site

behind graveyard of ghost town

near Dawson Creek or now

at SE85PL & 311PLSE

corner 3 blocks north

the center of Preston

 

the waters of Ragging River

erased the tell-tale of the trail

be it beadgames go on

 

 

 

DIRT

 

Dirt makes me itch.

Asphalt hurts my feet.

Kindness an official bitch.

Lawn order on every street.

 

 

 

ON THE BEACH

 

The beach at Miramar

is marked Right To Pass

Revocable At Any Time.

 

Banana skins, plastic cups,

oil derricks, all forms

of rubber, wood and steel

 

ripped to elements,

stripped of character

and dipped in tar.

 

 

 

 

ATMAN

 

My start is slow.

My legs disappear.

My back bows, and

I shoot into the wall.

 

Once again, I am

a moving target.

Once again, I move

to a sound I hear

in a dark fire.

 

 

 

SEA CHANGE

 

I dreamt my cells were bells,

and muck that fixed the deep

rose to surf

 

While all existence hung ten.

 

 

 

STEPPIN’  OUT

for Max

 

Outside the Steppenwolf,

I finish off the wine.

An alley. On the wall

are words by madmen.

 

Panhandle a turkey san

from the grotto,

hike up University

and crash in the bushes.

 

I awake with fingers

in my pockets, roll

into Strawberry Creek—

up the bank and to the tracks.

 

As light illumines the bay,

“Hey, man, let’s smear that queer.”

 

Feet, do your thing.

 

 

 

PRINTER’S DEVIL

 

When l is

a sentence

and e is

a sentence

followed by

a sentence

and H is

a sentence

followed by

three sentences

Hell will be

a sentence

in more than

one sense

 

 

 

FUNK OF THE F WORD

 

Oyez! I plant a seed.

The AHD has as the etymology of FUCK

the ME verb FUCKEN meaning

to strike, move quickly, penetrate

borrowed f/M Dutch FOKKEN meaning

to strike, copulate with.

 

In the AHD appendix, the ME affix PEIK-

also PEIG- meaning evil-minded, hostile

(in Germanic, FIKAL; in OE, FICOL

treacherous, false, fickle).

 

In A Dictionary of Slang, Partridge

using Grimm’s Law finds FUCK

to be cognate w/Latin v. PUNGERE

to strike, linking FUCK to PRICK.

 

Etymology unknown in OED:

1503, Dunbar. Poems.

Be his feiris he wald haute fuckitt.

1535, Lyndesay. Satyre.

Bishops may fuck their fill

and be vumaryit.

1535-6, Answer to Kingsie Flyting.

Ay fukk and lyke ane furious Fornicatour.

1598, Florio. Worlde of Wordes.

Fottere, to iape, to sard, to fucke,

to swive, to occupy.

1680, Anon in Rochester’s Poems

On Several Occasions.

Thus was I Rook’d of Twelve

substantial Fucks.

1684,  Sodom. Epilogue spoken

by Fuckadilla.  A little Fuck

can’t stay an appetite.

1800, Burns. Merry Muses.

When maukin bucks, at early

f_ks, In dewy glens are seen, sir.

 

The ME Dictionary lists FUK

a noun f/M Dutch meaning

a foresail, fukmast, foremast.

 

Phallic connotations aside

the Puritans inscribed F.U.C.K.

upon the stocks of persons punished

For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge.

 

No FUCK in An AS Dictionary

but FUGEL, a bird is there

& the middle finger extended

is known as flying the bird.

 

In the Magic of Words & Speech

Lama Govinda defines mantra

as tools for thinking that have

no specific denotative meaning

but are symbolic units that through

a synthesis of rhythm & melody

transport the user beyond meaning

into intuitive receptivity.

 

The Mandukya Upanishad begins

OM. This eternal word is all,

what was, what is and what shall be,

and what is beyond in eternity.

All is OM.

 

In Sanskrit the vowel O is a dipthong

constituted of A plus U.

The 3 sounds, A-U-M are equated

with (1) the waking life of outward

moving consciousness, (2) the dream life

of inward moving consciousness, and

(3) the sleeping life of silent consciousness.

 

The primal Sanskrit sound /a/ is produced

at the back of the open mouth

a low, back, rounded, simple vowel.

 

The open mouth moves towards

the closed mouth of the bilabial,

voiced, nasal consonant /m/.

 

Between these two sounds is the high,

back, rounded vowel /u/

formed by the openness of /a/

but shaped by the closing lips.

 

It is from the position of the closed mouth

that all begins, so runs the analogy, and

dreams are compounded of the waking life

shaped by the unconsciousness of sleep,

the closed mouth being the foundation

from which speech arises

as well as the end to which it returns.

 

The first sound in FUCK

is a labiodental, voiceless slit-fricative,

the U sound in N. American dialect

is a mid, central, unrounded, simple vowel

and the CK consonantal sound

is a velar, voiceless stop.

 

F is the fantasy component.

U is the libido urge.

CK is catadromous activity, fishes

going down a river to spawn.

 

The meaning of FUCK

is contorted in different usage.

The Dictionary of Slang posits:

FUCK-PIG, an unpleasant man (1870)

FUCK LIKE A RATTLESNAKE

cowboy expression (1895)

FUCKED UP & FAR FROM HOME (1899)

FUCKER SOLDIERS, Pukka Soldiers more

interested in women than fighting (1915)

FUCK MY OLD BOOTS, euphemistic variant

of seduce my ancient footwear (1918)

CREATE FUCK, protest (1920)

FUCK ABOUT, play the fool (1920)

FUCK MY LUCK, army expression (1920)

FUCKING THE DOG, avoid work (1920)

FUCKED-UP, fail (1925)

FUCKED, extremely weary (1925)

FUCKED BY THE FICKLE FINGER OF FATE

Canadian Army expression (1939)

 

FUCK is used amelioratively and pejoratively.

As an insult it means the object so described

has been defiled, but as a compliment, it means

that the object is held in a position of power.

 

FUCK is used as a means of address, of

attracting attention, opening a conversation,

starting a sentence, and when it is used

as pure emphasis, it has the meaning

of having no meaning at all—it describes

that which is otherwise without description.

 

Sing FUCK, scream FUCK, mumble FUCK,

YOUR LIFE WITH BE SUBLIME!

 

1972

 

 

 

ELLENSBURG: 1974-1995

 

 

 

TRAVELER’S BLUES

 

just down the road a jog

follow the river ‘til it bends

across that field to the far side

up the hill to the ridge—

thataway, as the crow flies

 

I pull up my mount

and peer from the peak

at more mountains on the other side

 

the map I was made

must have been made

to get me lost

 

make camp

rustle up some grub

 

“Ain’t nobody goin’ to git

nuttin’ done, if he’s got mor’an

one choice,” the hayseed said

“I got a world of ways”

and the dude rode on

 

through a vale

across a dale

over a pass

my ass

 

it’s not where I’m going

it’s the going

 

 

 

SCAT SONG

 for Gary Snyder

 

You climb the mountain

because it’s there where

you know where it’s at—

 

Where the bear shat.

 

 

 

GET DOWN

 

Flies mate on the page

drawn by my attic honey breath.

 

Life in Washington is delicious

compared to the worm

eating at the core.

 

Ruskin describes it—a march

of infinite light...intervaled

with eddies of shadow.

 

Note the famine, the flames, the plague,

if only a tapestry of the travesty,

a n+1 number of knots.

 

 

 

BURGER PRODUCTIONS

 

The band heats the air

with acid rock.

Black-lighted bodies

dissolve in the dark.

 

Flames of ice,

flames of flood,

flames of meat,

flames of mud.

 

 

 

IN ADVANCE OF BEATITUDE

 

My dad and I, at the Skyline

Café counter, discuss

Beatnik ethics.

 

Hermes out of orbit,

I fume, albeit

light-years ago. Today,

 

in another place,

my wife warps her loom to throw

a weft of her experience.

 

What strikes me right off

about this woman is the possibility

of traveling light.

 

 

 

GOLD LEAF

 

As custodial head

at the care center

infection control

and safety briefing

I get a hot lunch.

 

I sip my au jus

mistaking it for coffee.

Lab reports are read.

I eye my pie.

 

How many cultures

on a clean plate?

Did she say forty?

 

The entrapment of a mouse

is announced. My bit

of Velveeta and Old Vic

trap makes a hit.

 

Stomp, stomp, stomp

go the days. It’s March 10th.

Alexander Graham Bell invents

the telephone. Kissinger calls

for more nuclear technology.

 

Birds will eat the feed

I put in the tree

by Rose Roberg’s room.

Events—a waterfall.

Spray, white, spray.

 

 

 

CHILLING OUT WITH THE ECLOGUES

 

I smoke and contemplate

autumn at the end of this millenium.

 

I am still

reading Virgil.

 

The leaves turn to gold—

 

So much for Caesar

and so much for...

“Damn, Silenus

 

How do you expect me to rhyme ease

with bees in my beard?”

 

 

 

RELAX

 

Relax and read

the stove’ll go out.

 

You may have cleaned it

and it will go out.

 

Open the grate

and burn your fingers.

 

Get soot on the rug

and get really pissed.

 

Smear the soot deeper.

 

 

 

 

AT IAMBIC FEET

 

there is a hamburger such that

there is a prime mover such that

the prime mover and

the hamburger are the same,

 

and whatever Beta may be

(Beta is a cow mine.)

is true when and only when

the prime mover is prime rib.

 

 

 

DIAMOND HANGING J FLOATING I

 

I mend the fences.

I tend the herd.

 

The shit is ten feet deep,

and the shitters play for keeps.

What are you after, they ask,

a hoof in the mouth?

The shit is ten feet deep,

and I can’t eat or sleep.

Coyotes yap all night

below the blown moon.

 

The shit is ten feet deep.

Shine on, shine on.

Hold it down, you buggers,

or I’ll rope your ass, I sing.

The shit is ten feet deep

and dear.

Hay has more than doubled in price.

There’s no market for feeder steers.

 

The shit is ten feet deep

and clings like it’s alive.

Pour on gas. Set those doggies afire.

Give those cows a kick in the udder.

The shit is ten feet deep

and thick.

Chew your cud, mama,

let those juices flow.

 

The shit is ten feet deep,

and sometimes it hums.

The shit is ten feet deep,

and here and there a head protrudes.

 

The Angus are black—

purgatorial beings.

 

The Herefords are red—

mythological monsters.

 

The Charolais are white—

easy to spot against the dung.

 

The shit is ten feet deep

and covers the fences.

The shit is eleven feet deep,

my shovel is hooked to coke.

The shit is beginning to climb,

making inroads through the hills.

 

O, the shit is infinitely deep

and running still—running.

 

1975

 

 

 

VARIABLES OF EXISTING CHOICES

 

Shorty is now in Glen’s feedlot.

What if I stuck him in a hot box—

a square of electrified wire fence?

 

Turn on the juice, so this steer understands

the concept of fence.

You may call it a concentration camp,

 

but I call it home.

 

 

 

CATTLE ARE JUST AN EXCUSE

FOR SHOOTING COYOTES

 

Lest decomposing acids or infectious

pests affect your stock and feed

take heed.

 

Here’s hoping we are blessed

with bountiful crops

and all our calves drop well.

 

It’s midwinter spring.

I notice rhythmic modulations—

the last leaves on the cottonwoods

 

and birds turning and turning in the air.

 

 

 

CANIS LATRANS

 

Coyotes run with the herd.

Cows pay no attention.

I take a bead on one,

and Trickster says, “Caio, Dude!”

and weaves through my sights.

 

 

 

OM OM ON THE RANGE

 

I received a pamphlet advertising

an artificial vagina, a liquid semen

refrigerator, and a trans-jector

electronic ejaculator.

 

Comes with a lifetime warranty.

You wear it, you keep it.

 

 

 

CRITICS AREN’T AGREED

 

upon meaninglessness. Knowing

the tack helps in taming a maverick.

It’s some struggle, how to place

the what where. A running W

will put a horse on its knees.

 

 

 

RIGHT LIVELIHOOD

 

At first we were cowhunters.

Texas in the 1830’s. We were called

cowboys because of our youth.

Cowpokes poked cows to their feet

through the slats of the cattle cars.

A cow to a cowboy is anything

he can drive.

 

 

 

NOTES ON THE BACK OF A FEED BILL

 

FIRST INSCRIPTION: “Take that statue,

i.e. Hammarabi Code

I. Qualification

 A. Ontology

1. (  )

 ...O.  it’s base Overpowered

...6.023 times10²³

II.

A. Whitespace

1. Points to that which transpired”

...a broken odelisk

 

 

 

WASHINGTON SWINE SEMINAR

 

I write this from the Holiday Inn

where I attend the Eastern Washington

Swine Seminar. African Swine Fever is

an expanding threat to American hogs.

Note depreciation and shrinkage.

 

Between the ten year farm inventory

and depreciation allowance bit and

irrigation system design capacity functions

there’s a bluesy sax thing with moog rhythm

on the Musak.

 

 

 

GREEN PASTURES

 

I push water.

I keep the cowpies out of the corrugation.

I spread it out,

run it up hill if I can.

 

There’s an art to irrigation,

and the cows eat the grass,

and when they’re done

they move to greener pastures,

and then

there’s the delicing, tagging, dehorning

shots, shine and a shave.

 

 

 

DUKE’S MIX IN WINTER

 

One cow rubs her hip on the feeder,

one hits the dust bag, one butts an intruder.

 

Two magpies pick at frozen grain,

then walk like fat Z’s

towards the squeeze chute.

 

Fog filters the light,

sagebrush just visible over the hog pen.

 

Don’t fret—it’s a cow’s life.

There’s a growing cavie in your womb

singing for another bale of first cut hay.

 

A Surefire Heater in the water trough.

Dry snow caps each fence post.

 

 

LIVING WELL

 

October Family Circle

contains Mrs. Earl L. Butz’s

Russian Noodle Casserole.

 

Says Earl, “When my wife wants to be thrifty, we have casserole dishes.

They are very nutritious and very tasty, and I enjoy them. Anyway,

I’ve spent my whole life always eating what was put before me.”

 

 

 

EVOLVED AND ECLIPSED

 

I took my pigs for a walk,

two gilts and a young boar.

Kicking and barking

we frolicked in the fields.

 

The moon arose.

The moon descended.

The bear and the hunter,

the warrior, the lovers.

 

 

 

ECOLOGICAL HAZARD

 

If it weren’t for cats

the mice from the timothy fields

would create havoc. As it is

 

the cats shit everywhere.

 

 

 

BEEPER

for Theo and Elizabeth

 

Siamese, Himalayan, Persian

with schizoid face markings,

he’s only been outside once

and won’t wash his asshole.

 

He pisses on his tail,

and his farts are enough

to collapse my lungs.

He’s a stinker.

 

Theo sets up his dolls,

and Beeper dash-twists

into Big Jim’s camper

and out the side door.

 

A saber-tooth tiger strikes

Big Jim and Tonto at tea.

Big Jim looses a leg

and Tonto a hand.

 

As The Masked Man

readies his mount

a Delacroix feline

leaps on Silver.

Theo shouts, “Damnpissshit!”

I say, “Theo, watch the language.”

Beeper upchucks on my muckluks.

“Letmestranglethesonofabitch!”

 

Elizabeth comes from the kitchen

and soothingly asks us to cool it.

Theo points at the puke.

Elizabeth hands me a towel.

 

Tucked under the covers,

Beeper looks like Blake’s Tyger

with his long ancient whiskers.

He’s done his best.

 

 

 

LEARNING NEW WORDS

 

“Hey, Dad, what does this say?”

I look at the magnetic letters on the fridge.

 

AZOLE MOUSE.

“Naw, it says FUCKMOUSE, doesn’t it?”

 

That begins with an F.”

“What does a F  look like?”

 

“An E  without the bottom leg.”

“There is no F.”

 

“Let it stand as is. Now, off to bed.”

“How about a short poem, tonight, Dad?”

 

Yes, how about it.

 

 

 

TORTURELAND

 

Actually, it’s California.

“When you get there,” Theo says,

“they cut off your head.”

 

Big Jim, Tonto, and the Maskedman

stripped to their pivot joints

and wrapped in white paper and scotch tape.

 

These are torture hats, and they’re suffering

burning brands to subdue their wills.

Theo is getting at the truth.

 

“All right,” I say, “pick up this stuff.”

Theo, “But I want to save this torture stuff.”

“Here, put it in this torture baggie.”

 

 

 

CALF GRAFT

for Glen

 

Count the stock. And again,

still one heifer missing.

 

Down by the west fence line

four legs stick out of a catch ditch.

Eyes rolled back, nose bleeding,

my presence adding to her fear,

“Lay back, Cowslip, relax.”

 

More than I’d rope and tie,

I wrestle her to her feet.

Moaning, she makes for the feed.

She’ll be all right if she can walk and eat.

 

Telling my irrigating buddy,

he guesses I was some kind of lucky.

I see a hide hanging on his fence and

asked if he had lost one, he replies

“Just born and coughed up its guts.

Skinned it out and bought a new calf

off a cow with a blown udder.

 

Put this new calf in the dressed skin.

Cow finally took it for her own, after

I sprayed deodorant up her nose.

 

This morning I smell something dead,

that skin rotting from the calf’s heat.”

 

 

 

NOW IS LIKE THAT

 

Driving along 4th Parallel Road, I see

an Angus cow with placenta attached

and dangling umbilical cord, licking

the sack off her calf’s face.

 

The calf staggers and falls, and his mom

nudges him up and goes back grazing.

Like lightning the calf finds the tit.

My first birth of the season.

 

Around the calf there’s a beige halo.

Or maybe it’s just the light.

Maybe I should shave?

Leave the mustache?

 

 

 

A TUMBLEWEED CARRIES

ITS SHADOW TUCKED IN

 

Round-up is over, and the cattle are culled.

The fences rebuilt and the barbed wire stored. 

Now, I’m painting the barn.

 

I use an electric wire brush

to get off the peeling paint

until it catches on the fly of my overalls

and twists into my groin.

 

I’m out here on the Diamond Hanging J

Floating I Ranch

doing the Bred-Sow-Concentrate Rag.

 

                                                                              

 

NEW GRAVITY

for Cheri

 

Out there—

you walk on air

in your new gravity

 

No matter how

heavy

you’ll keep it up

 

ignoring signs

moving with your heart

 

.

 

A new gravity

 

Disagree, it looses

authority

 

.

 

Overheard—”Those people,

are you one of those, too?”

 

A leaf, you move out

into the open way

 

.

 

You have important things to do

and don’t want your life wasted

on detail

 

Live deep—summon

laziness,

a breeze, the shape

it comes forth in

 

.

 

Some go

the way you think

they might

 

So a leaf

in a warm wind

starts out—these are

orange rocks

 

These are also

rocks—that’s

the sky

 

and that’s

also a flower

 

.

 

Æolus operates—

lips moist, veins

filled with sunlight

 

Wind strikes a chord,

skirts bellow, and bodies

dance whether they want or not

 

.

 

Wind affects a single figure—

so many measures of one scale

then so many of another

 

Wheatfields augmented w/backroads

 

.

 

Fields come to meet me,

wires loose, the light harsh

 

I await a late bus

 

.

 

A sorrel gelding dreams

Hind hoof cocked under an apple tree

Bright apples against the leaves

 

A herd of Herefords steam and stamp

Chew their cuds and crap in place

Magpies pick the warmed grain

 

A John Deere tractor lugs up the track

Meeting a girl on an Appaloosa

The ploughboy raises a finger to his cap

Eyes clouded she trots pass

 

.

 

At rest, I stay at rest

until you enter

 

Do you have a date?

In a manner of speaking, you say

leaving for the Corner Stone

 

Sunday night at Rodeo

down on all fours in the shoots

 

.

 

The grass was brutal

compared to your caress

 

The mint rank

beside your scent

 

The creek’s chattering

overwhelmed our words

 

Earth loved us

 

.

 

Overhead

green shadows follow

the late afternoon

 

To my eyes

a field between

two firs

 

I listen to grasshoppers

Their thighs make clear sounds

in the stillness

 

.

 

The bobwhite bobwhites

and a bird called purplewreath

purplewreathes

 

Another, purple crepe, purple crepe

the chitbird’s chit chit chit’s heard

 

One sings drinkyourtea

one, takeoffyourunderwear

it’s spring

 

.

 

I hear voices, I see visions

but no matter how disordered my senses

I’m no fool—

or, if so, in the grand tradition

 

Knowing all lovers change

although I’d be the last

I try again to impress

my heart in yours

 

Let me move within you

by the reading of my gift

 

.

 

You will fulfill your goal

and be acknowledged, although

you may absorb much that is wrong

 

You will, by instinct, become an artist

if that is what you want

and be remembered for what is yours alone

 

.

 

You’ve got that bod

 

.

 

You are sensuous pleasure

your lips are loved

your clothes, doubly liquefactious

 

You were made to be laid

no matter some find that shameful

 

You have a rare, divine gift

to give love, transforming

what is base into grace

 

.

 

Hand on hand

smile on smile

 

I think and think

I do as I do

 

Unhealed, the hurt hurts

 

.

 

Everything in the past

was in the future once

 

What’s next?

 

“Tell me,” you say

“it’s not just DNA?”

 

.

 

Cool your feet in the Yakima

salute the sun, heat and dust

 

Let it pass.

 

1980

 

 

 

TRANSFORMATION

for Moonstone

 

The scene:  Everything is dense and gray

and out of the heaviness emerges a person

of the city who is met by a person of the forest,

a rishi, who sits by a fire, and the city dude

is covered by a winding cloth

 

Rishi:  Come closer to the fire, share the warmth

see it dance, it’s alive

Dude:  A fire, a real fire?  Why, it is a real fire !

(begins to unwrap the winding cloth, more is

removed as the scene proceeds) Reminds me of

when I was a boy

Rishi:  Do you believe trees can talk?  These

trees gave me the gift of wood and berries, so

I made this tea, so drink, and it will heal you

Dude:  Thank you, that’s a beautiful gesture,

thank you

Rishi:  Thank you, trees

Dude:  Do you live here?

Rishi:  This is my home

Dude:  Well, my house has been built to code,

with art and furniture and a digital TV, but I’m

so wrapped up in this business (tugs at cloth)

I’ve lost touch—I know I’m in here, but I can’t

seem to feel—don’t you miss the comforts?

Rishi:  I like things simple

Dude:  You don’t have any shoes

Rishi:  It’s warm, I like to touch the earth, the

purple rays come down from heaven, and the red

rays come up through your body, your left leg

brings up the red rays, and your right leg sends

down the purple, a perfect exchange, a massage

in every step, each step is different

Dude:  I’ll try (takes a few steps)—it’s lumpy

Rishi:  You’ll get used to it

(They dance and sing)  Walking on the earth

Walking on the earth

Walking on the earth

We find our way

           

                       

 

CONVALESCENT CONVERSATION

 

Jesse: I came from England.

Where did you come from?

Bessy: Why, Ellensburg, right here.

Where did you say you were from?

Jesse: England.

Bessy: Engleburg?

Jesse: England. English, I’m English.

Bessy: Oh, English, you’re English.

Jesse: That’s right, I’m English.

I came here sixty years ago.

Bessy: I’m from Ellensburg. I’m a native.

 

 

 

ROBBERS’ ROOST

 

through this valley

where robbers roost

 

I strive with systems

to free myself from systems

 

easy to see the irony—

implementation’s more severe

 

find a place where rent is low

gardens grow, pace is slow

 

in the end

it won’t matter

 

we can settle on a small

farm in Berkeley—

 

just a radioactive cow

and a few chickens

 

 

ORDINARY ADVENTURES

 

are composed of

remarkable

instances and strange

coincidences

 

Over the top—

the chickens fly the coup

 

 

 

LEAPS AND BOUNDS

for Lisa and Camille

 

leaps and bounds

the heart’s a kangaroo

 

a pouched animal

with a punch that’ll

 

knock you on your ass

eats grass

 

natives call’em

boomers

 

 

 

ANDY THE MECHANIC

 

Square Deal Andy

died of overwork.

He knew too much to be of use

in an up-to-date fix-it shop.

 

Square has negative connotations.

His art couldn’t be assimilated.

He has parked his rig

in the Maker’s garage.

 

 

 

ANCESTORS

 

Grandfather,

I speak for you—

I speak that you may live.

 

Of old,

I did not mind the death.

How long he had sat there,

the hunter with his sling!

 

His eyes on my every move,

he lured me near, and I went

that he would be fed.

 

But now,

they munch on energy bars

(I can read their litter)

and dress like billboards.

 

4X4s rut the roads.

Their radios cackle doom.

Their rifles scope in.

                                                 

 

FLAKE ON FLAKE

 

Love is its own

warmpth and strenkth.

 

Truth and mystery cross

on 3rd & Main.

 

Rigs gear for the coast

with cargoes of hay.

.

 

Through a vale,

across a pass,

down the trail,

my ass.

 

The map I was made

must’ve been meant

to get me lost

as the crow flies.

 

I make camp—

the light gets dark,

the dark, darker.

.

 

Hard to see

the truth.  Shaggy curves

in a fuzzy country.

 

Realm of the densely packed,

in turn a town with streets

that aren’t on any map.

.

 

I’m here

to glue pictures.

 

These bricks should look

like a baker laid them.

 

If it doesn’t look

like a child could built it,

it isn’t.

 

 

NOW THERE THEN

for Jan Mejer

 

Organically rising out

of common motor pools of 5

we find a new world

speaking a new language

 

Let’s look at it—

sky cloud bird

mountain ocean sun

smoke house man

street dog bike

 

No Bike Riding

On the Sidewalks

 

While visiting our community

Please adhere

To a meatless, eggless

Non-alcoholic diet

And abstain from smoking

Mind-altering drugs and

Unnecessary nudity

 

Dig in—be happy

this bizarre circus stretches

beyond metaphysics beyond

meditation beyond your great

grandmother’s condominium

 

 

AM I REPRESSED

 

or is this taking place

in a little espresso bar

along the peaceful Nile?

 

oh, I thought I saw

two shadows

 

I’m sorry—

I’m sorry, too

 

too much coffee

I’m damn jittery

 

.

 

we sit in a cool spot

amid the burning

 

the moon trine Uranus

 

.

 

miraculous water

partings,

waves splitting

finding

in the sand

the Pharaoh’s grave

 

a damn rib              

in her

icy stare

 

 

 

RODEO OF THE EQUINOX

 

There’s an urgency

to his line, the

tension meant to hold

 

a wonder. Orion

lassoes an Atlas-bred

heifer by the hoof.

Nearly tugging free

 

Sterope is tied

hard and fast

with hemp.

 

Not too shabby, all

agree, and space is

taut in admiration.

 

The Olympian buckaroo puts

a silver buckle on his belt.

 

Sterope licks

her burn in

the calf pen.

 

 

IT’S A MESS

                  

by the creek where I squat

with nosebleed after smacking

my face in the slash

 

a crisscross of fire-hardened

barbed sticks, o mama

the dead forest

 

and the hills

lush in bitterbrush and ceinosis

sea of noses

 

o mama

there’s no hope for the trees

 

.

 

slashier slash

rockier rock

 

this little unit

has snow on it

and’s unusable

 

out of shoot #1

it’s Flaming Hoedag

ridden by J. Root

 

o mama

there is hope for the trees

 

.

 

Orpheus instructs the treeplanters

Watch those scalps

Keep an eye on spacing

Don’t plant too deep

No J roots

I only want to see asses and elbows

 

.

 

We plant ahead of progress rates

into full pay with laurels

 

We’re paid to plant a tree,

and we’ll come back

and back again until it grows

 

The trees—

out of their depth

with this logic,

 

driven around in vans,

debated about like dots on a map

 

.

 

Go Fir It Reforestation

in the Land of Many Abuses

it’s well

 

trying to plant in a week

what, destroyed in a day,

took 1000 years to grow

 

 

 

AFTER THE VOLCANO

 

No need to go

outside—there’s

just ash out.

 

Quite a scene

at Joe Albertson’s

during the ashout.

 

A man with a towel over his head

wearing swimming goggles

stocks up on beer, another

wearing a surgical mask

carries an umbrella.

 

It’s dark.

We stay indoors and listen

to Orson Welles’

War of the Worlds.

 

After the Martian smoke settles,

trees drop their pyroclastic debris,

and birds start a new day,

although it’s a bit gritty.

 

 

OLD GROWTH

 

Mother is gaga,

limbs tied with tape.

 

No cedar to see, dear.

Can’t dial 911-rape.

 

 

SLASH

 

Hands at work,

sound of saws,

a drape of smoke.

 

Gaia grotesquely

posed, tossed flesh

that terrifies.

 

 

 

SYNTHESIS

for Bev Ombrek

 

O Mother Earth, O Father Sky

We bring you gifts, our step is light

Goddess of the Hearth

God of Sacred Ecstasy

Lord of the Dance

Goddess of Time

God of the Flowers

 

We give praise with costume & prop

With synthesizer, drum & tambourine

Clap your hands, slap your thighs

Stamp your feet

 

Let the Divine take possession

Be seized by the Strong Force

Tension release, catharsis reach

 

Fire leaps about the hearth

Clouds swirl across the sky

Water stalks the sand

Land rises and falls

Beast, plant, galaxy, atom

Dance is older than Love

 

 

WHAT ARE YOU UP TO?

for Alia

 

Here it is, your birthday,

and you’re 34. Four

is before five, bunnytoes,

 

and three is one

before four. Remember,

too, I’ll love you,

never counting the decades.

 

.

 

I see you see

beauty, as we

 

share sunrises,

join silences.

 

.

 

Sounds pathetic,

but back there

 

a goose merged with a gear,

a tick developed a number.

 

1981

 

 

 

ALL MIMSY WERE THE BOROGOVES

 

Feeling queasy having eaten

a handful of oriental party mix

and a dozen ginger snaps.

Just moved into this house.

New sounds—a grasshopper chirps,

but I think it’s the smoke detector

on the fritz.

 

2 a.m. I’m paranoid.

My dope sits in the open,

and I get a head change

discovering the grasshopper

in a crevice of my coffee table

right beneath my stash.

I can see the dude clearly

and my paranoia vanishes

because, now, I know

I’m not bugged by the narcs.

 

I sit down

to a thunderclap in the south

from the firing range

where the Army plays war games.

Laser wars.

Fluorescence and weird harmonics.

 

The wind picks up.

A helicopter passes overhead.

Sirens in town.

Maybe they’ve contacted Venus.

 

I meditate on my psychedelic posters.

Andy Warhol and His Plastic Inevitable

Plus the Mothers of Invention $2.00

Friday May 27 Filmore & Geary Streets

I’m relaxed and in a new groove.

 

The grasshopper chirps.

 

 

 

A HILL CALLED BRINGER OF LUCK

for Sybil

 

starting with day A and proceeding to F and backing back to B realizing F leads to U if you mean to get to C a Chinese box where you let me into a room with a door I can go through but you can’t and I let you into a room with a door you can pass through but I can’t

 

starting with pieces the book Pieces and your face the typeface I said I didn’t like it the boldness but your face was receptive and I liked it especially the freckles on your nose E dim of ME freken from ON freknur you perusing poetry and I assuming the role of the dark Host of the Ethereal and it was slow and easy standing there imagining a secret place at another time I get out of a car I get off a horse down the street from the Silver Dollar we enter a Quonset hut with a false front

 

you touched the omphallus of my heart and the current was sufficient to set the wheels pinging a new beginning merely by placing your hand on that slim volume the waters rushing apart and we begin to step out on real ground

 

I feel like I have the hands of a chimp signing to the barman for two beers finding seats by the ribs of the beast I take off to take a whiz wondering if I should leave you alone but noting the flag pinned to the curtain and the dark faces I know we are on native soil

 

the head is full of patrons pissing away the night four dudes at the bowl and one peeing the length of the trough three guys in front of me putting theirs under his arc and I try not to get hit thinking what a shot of the pool cue to find this corner pocket I observe there is no subject there is no object so I zip up to an accordion and guitars

 

I get out of a car I get off a horse on Umptanum Ridge and smoke while you change your shoes I wear galoshes lore on how to live in the woods and I step into the creek and feel the firmness and rhythm of your grip

 

you are a stranger in the twilight apprehensive I might strangle you with barbed wire in a hollow by a snag while I’m nagging myself for not bringing a compass since I’m into true north and I want to tell you about the Big Dipper how the Indians see a great bear looking for a place to lie down and the French see a casserole and the Egyptians a hippopotamus with a crocodile on its back asterisms the casserole the possible exception expressing ancient and astonishing wisdom

 

we have to re-evaluate the past but that seems like a lot to lay on you our first date so I talk about the contours of the land and you about the bouquet of bullet holes in an enameled stove and your childhood in Illinois the girls of Fairberry wanting to be on their own going to Bloomington to work at State Farm my grandparents lived nearby in Chenoa and the summer nights full of fireflies whose tails we pinched to make engagement rings and wearing sheets in abandoned farm house rooms like Klu Klux Klan and when the gypsies camp by the river and set up a sideshow my uncle makes them vamoose and my destiny goes with the fortune-teller

 

the Queen broods on her Byzantine chalice like me she’s dreamy like you she’s sympathetic to the man of dejected aspect deserting the cups of his felicity and all that I possess house and archives is riot reflected in the Chariot reversed

 

our treasures and our hearts are there when we begin a short hike that gets shorter and shorter as we climb scree it is wise of me to show you sage by rubbing the leaves in my palms no matter the waterfall is out of reach hunters shoot at the cliffs kids roll rubble from a cave the site of the archeological dig is a mystery nature at her best is a blast of sage

 

I get out of a car I get off a horse and walk beside you a woman a man talking about rock we stop by a standing stone describing the basalt formation in antediluvian times but it leaves out how each star of the Big Dipper of each constellation has several kinds of influence each star has a form in the landscape

 

driving along riding along everything shimmering the branches in the field vine maple? elderberry? wild rose sage rose rose of the desert a red shimmering along the road I saw it and you were happy I saw it too even if I didn’t know what it was

 

1983

 

 

NIGHT DELUGE

 

I see you in white shorts sitting

in your white Pinto on red upholstery

me wanting to kiss you

but standing back, awkward

 

I see your hand outstretched

returning the money I loaned you

wind blowing through as I bend to take

what you owe me

 

I don’t know who is served

by me going broke in devotion to you

yet it’s a wonder you haven’t told me

to shove off

 

Hard to have it like you like it

when nothing’s real until it’s real

and then it’s real forever—I pull up

on my Harley

 

just when you think you’re going

to get some rest

and now you’re cruising without a clue

there’s another gear

 

 

 

BY THE NUMBERS

 

“Numerologically,” you say

Jell-O is a 9”

 

I feel displaced

and circle your room

asking your opinion

giving you gifts

 

Easy to get caught again

thinking there is something

I can do

 

“I can understand,” you say

“your love and hate”

 

 

 

LOVE’S WAY

 

Two eyes look at two eyes

two hands play a simple air

the wind, hot and dry

blows through your hair

 

.

 

Love’s way is a ricochet

if you’d allow a kiss now

it’d be synchronicity

 

.

 

We conjugate the tenses

of the body’s language

relax, love, it’s true

love is senses—nonsense

and double sense intensely

 

.

 

I fly high, I fly low—

questions in the sky

answers in the snow—

love is not less for falling

 

.

 

You’re hot—you’ll be hot

when you’re 50

saying, “I’m hot, God, it’s hot

this house is hot

this cup looks like hell

and I’m drinking from it

but it’s cold and wet”

 

 

 

CHANCES

 

Life is huge and cruel,

and at best we get a chance to dance.

Let’s turn it upside down—

life’s up, down and crosswise.

No one knows why

but you and I.

So, why hide behind disguises?

 

.

 

Love of love makes the poet mad.

He dies and makes death wise.

 

.

 

I called my love false love—

but what she said then,

“Sing Pine, Sing all a Pine”

let no one blame her.

I invite her scorn.

What next? Who knocks?

It is the wind.

 

 

HERMIT AND TROUT

for Beryl

 

I’m a hermit

talking to a trout.

I touch you softly,

and you dart away.

 

I can’t make you

make up your mind,

although I’ve caught

your heart in a net.

 

You might love me

since I’m someone

you can love

more than yourself.

 

It’s September,

and the laughter

of the leaves

mocks me.

 

 

 

AS ABOVE , SO BELOW

 

He wants to know my birth time for an astrological chart. 

I thought I knew where I had put my birth certificate,

but when I look I can’t find it, although I find the kids’

Social Security cards and the numbers I need for my loan.

 

He’s says a Gemini generally has a lot of boyfriends

and goes steady with one or more each week, says I’m

searching for a soul-mate or another side to myself.

He’s older and wise with intense blue eyes.

 

He’s laid back against the door of my closet

and holds a glass of white wine, twirling the liquor

in the glass with the Gemini twins painted in gold

and tells me what I need in a lover.

 

He’ll stay up all night talking with me, remember the words

to “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,”

tell me I’m the most beautiful woman in the world

when I look like a dead horse. 

 

This guy is hot for me and wants to wait on me hand and foot.

I’m chain smoking generic lights, and I can hardly breathe. 

I’m weirded out. I can feel the bones of my skull in my head. 

I wish I could dissolve into nothing in peace.

 

1986

 

 

 

SECRET SPOT

 

We are redeemed in Paradise

my tongue in you

now now now

buzz talk

I drink you

and we explode

in this mortal bed

what is this lightness?

 

 

 

 

WE LOVE EACH OTHER

 

you just coming

out of a drunk

frightful bitch

in a dark funk

 

you see me

as amigos

 

see yourself

as we

 

see us

as them

 

I’m deaf, but I hear you

 

 

 

ORDINANCE

 

selected for you

the blue dressing gown,

and far away

the cannon fire.

 

Mrs. President,

the neck is seen

in its cloud rack.

 

The moon is ice.

 

The moon lifts up

and like ice

is fixed.

 

 

 

BY DINT

 

I tried to teach you

what I know,

 

and you said

goodbye for good.

 

I tuned my lyre

to a minor key,

 

and you shot

a hole in my foot.

 

 

 

BERYL

 

like her who

or like her who

 

she who

came to

 

a bag of clothes

a bag of booze

 

o days, o rocks

music seeing her

 

 

 

RED LIGHT, BLUE LIGHT

 

Do you want it back?

 

Do you, do you

want it

back?

 

“No, I want it

where it’s at.

I want it

 

Exactly where’s at.”

 

 

 

BERYL ON THE ROCKS

 

I like the rocks.

I like everything

on the rocks.

 

I like hard rock.

I like Rachmaninoff.

 

I’ve had it straight.

I’ve had it mixed.

 

What I really want

is having it on the rocks

 

beneath the stars.

 

 

 

EREWON

 

Zeroing-in on

the many that are one,

a place

 

where the parts

are not knowable

for the hole.

 

Halve what you have,

enough is enough.

“Good morning, nice day!”

 

 

 

WINTER FOREST

 

January 25th, Saturday, 5 p.m.

Sun 05° Aquarius opposed the Moon

Winter transmutes Craig’s Hill

dense and gray—a dead forest

 

Ethan and Barb and Steve

Tom and Sharon and Jill

circle dance around

the water tower

 

when you touch Earth

red rays rise through your body

when you walk you bring

purple rays down from Heaven

 

meanwhile

I’m drinking Jack Daniels

with a little water

while they dance and chant

 

explaining how, if you’d let me

I’d let you...

when we go in for the hydrogen bomb

 

and it is embarrassing

standing here in a white shirt

with debris falling, yes

 

it’s a long day

if you have an extra sunrise

and a long night

with ultra-violet spring

after a nuclear winter

 

1986

 

 

 

SLOWLY

for Marcie       

 

Can we stay in orbit

without spinning out?

Can we touch

without getting a rash?

Lasagna and yogurt

baked together.

 

.

 

Are you crazy?

No, I love you.

You love everyone.

There’s only one you.

You’re crazy.

 

.

 

Slowly, at a snail’s gallop, we move

between the ocean and the moon.

You’d think we were kiss-proof.

 

.

 

Living in the æther,

one another in the other,

we’re hiding from the void outside.

 

.

 

You’re in your tower,

addled on Freud.

I hear the celestial choir

and beyond.

 

.

 

I’m going west.

Let’s meet in the east.

 

.

 

New York’s the most

expensive place to live.

I’ll get some special shoes

to live in when it’s cold.

.

 

I feel you close,

continuous, and on both sides.

I’d have you stay,

but you ride away.

 

Why does the light dissolve

after we’ve parted?

 

.

 

You’re the breath of  the

in Do the Right Thing.

You can swim more laps

than a black she-devil.

 

You can swim more laps

than I can write poems.

Let’s melt with longer laps,

stronger strokes.

 

.

 

Riddled by love,

shot full of shafts,

I fly through the roof

into a night of stars.

 

Stay—like a star

until dawn.

Turn,

but return.

 

 

 

CURVE OF WIND

 

Rosco and I wait for the fishermen to return.

I sit on a bench and watch the clouds change shape. 

Rosco has my belt around his neck and tow chain hooked to a tree. 

Dogs must be on a leash.

Ducks and rabbits are loose.

 

A teenage girl wearing white shorts sunbathes in the light breeze. 

I see one cloud as Tristram reclining

and a small round cloud as a cup he is proffering to Isoude. 

The girl listens to her Walkman and glances my way.

I cannot reduce her pubescent curves to mythological planes.

 

A tall, burly boy with his gray tee-shirt cut along his ribs

carries an armload of boxes and kicks a couple towards a fire pit.

A dramatic and disruptive act.

 

Above them the clouds move ahead in a larger current.

The breeze off the lake takes up the huge cardboard ashes

and sprinkles them on the girl. 

“Thanks, Ron,” she says, getting up and shaking her towel.

“I’m just trying to help out,” he snickers from his pickup truck.

 

A couple of rabbits hop by. 

Rosco can’t even lift his head with the weight of the tow chain. 

The rabbits disappear under the porch of the Mt. Baker store.

 

Still no fishermen, and the cloud that was Isoude

has become a free spirit and will not drink from the cup.

 

1989

 

 

 

ANGEL

 

You dreamt you saw frozen DNA,

but really it was an angel, coiled

and waiting to be discovered

in the palace of your mind.

 

 

 

BIRTHDAY

for Tresa

 

A Sagittarius, you won’t believe

romantic love is invented.

 

All your cluttered days

culminate in this fact.

 

When friends come to the door,

your living room breathes.

 

The cake says, “Have a happy life.” 

Voices bubble like champagne.

 

You open your presents, laughing,

and risk another line.

 

 

 

 

NATURE HAS NO MEMORY

 

Nature has no memory.

The past vanishes like winter wind.

I look out your window,

down the steep hill shadowed

deep with leaves.

I gaze on the sun,

a lake of joy and pain.

Can I trust the day?

 

 

 

SURE SIGN

 

We are alone in your home,

talking of this and that. We are

the only reality.

 

It’s winter, and it’s warm.

Our hopes are upside down

like chickadees in a tree.

 

This is a sure sign

spring has come in December.

 

 

 

ASTRAY

 

It begins with the sun going down.

Venus flings off her gown.

 

Who is drowned

emerges from the sea of drunken illusion.

 

Astray, I am an atom

twirling.

 

 

 

HEART, HOW CLOSE YOU ARE

 

If you seek me,

look towards the lake.

I have fled from the zoo.

 

This time, I am myself.

My pheromones

are having a field day.

 

 

 

INTERIOR ROSE

for Beryl

 

I turn myself into a bar room.

Drunks roll from my armpits.

 

Awake all night in the gray light,

smudges become masterpieces.

 

.

 

I see you see clearly as we share solitude.

 

The body will decay.

Don’t delay.

 

Our words make light everywhere we look.

 

The body will decay.

Don’t delay.

 

.

 

I like you liking me.

I like it. I like it.

I like it.

 

I could be in Mexico.

A voice says, “Go,”

but I can’t resist

 

being here with you.

I like it. I like it.

I like it.

 

 

 

BOX

 

I’m in a room

with a door

you can go through

but I can’t.

 

You’re in a room

with a door

I can go through

but you can’t.

 

Now, I see your face

in another place

and hear the echo

of your voice.

 

I’m trying to say

just how I feel,

but a mist

surrounds my song.

 

 

 

ELEMENTAL

 

Two friends

near

this fire.

 

You here,

I there

in a garden

 

of fire.

 

 

 

GIFTS

 

Here’s a sprig of pungent artemista.

 

I would also give a sun dog

and the moon, low and round,

the green shade of Manastash cliffs

and the almost voice of Taneum creek.

 

I send sage from my desert to yours.

 

 

 

MAID OF MIST

for Laura

 

Something small,

the size

of a star.

Did you make a wish?

Far away,

far, far away.

Hard, hard

like a star.

 

.

 

A miss, a

mysterious maid

made of mist.

A face that enters

my dreams

and a kiss

I miss

when awake.

 

.

 

Look up,

both ways,

and down.

Splendor balanced

quietly.

Her voice,

a carriage

of song.

 

.

 

Love sighs,

never,

forever.

The world is small,

the heart huge.

Love signs,

never,

forever.

 

.

 

Pices

quivers

on the horizon.

Venus exalted,

her dream is deep.

She fairly

bristles

with romance.

 

.

 

She walks

to work

on the stars,

a goddess

in her constellation.

Believe me,

the stars

are really there.

 

.

 

The stars,

music, joy

in all weather,

and those few moments

we made real.

Under your heart,

I long

to suffer.

 

.

 

Look up,

both ways,

and down.

Morning warmth,

wet mist weighing on me.

So it is—my love

is earthy.

 

.

 

She walks

to work on

the stars.

Love’s location

is hidden

within

the tiniest

of spaces.

 

 

 

VISTA

 for Laura

 

Does love hurt?

—Yes, it hurts.

 

.

 

Half cloud

half wave

 

Half sand

half moon

 

If I don’t suffocate,

I’ll drown.

 

.

 

Sometimes a little

sometime much

sometimes nothing.

 

.