Denner & Company
Selected Poems
Edited by Bouvard Pécuchet

D Press 2003 Sebastopol

Cover design by S. Mutt
Cover photo of the author by John Utzinger
Title page print by Paul-André Schabracq


          Doug O: Lost Favors of Sister Mean
          Eu Duvido Este
          I Doubt This
          Matéria Escura
          Dark Matter
          Tração Racial
          Racial Drift
          O Curador
          Woman in a Burqa
          Jubal Dolan: What the Thunder Said
          Da Da Da
          What the Poet Said
          If I Am, I Am
          Picnic Next to the Pier
          Love Drives the Lover Mad
          Latin Lyrics of Luiz Mee
          Chilling Out with the Eclogues
          Omni-spatial Matrix
          Cleo on Her Hands and Knees
          In First Light
          Takes on a Blue Set
          A Way She Walks
          Rychard's Café Poems and Linoleum Nudes

SALUTATION by Bouvard Pécuchet

Richard Denner is not a reincarnation of Fernando Pessoa. They are separate emanations of the multi-faced God that sneezes in the cosmic air of creativity. Pessoa deconstructed himself in an age before the philosophy of deconstructualism; Denner is reconstructing himself in a post-post-post modern age, where philosophy and culture are rapidly disintegrating.
  Pessoa lived a quiet life, perhaps creating his "heteronyms" to make his life interesting. Denner has been living a full life. He has married three times and has children by his different wives, who in turn have presented him with grandchildren. He lived in Berkeley during the fairytale 60s, where he was the Poet of the Berkeley Barb. He fled Berkeley when the teargas began to fall and traveled to Alaska where he lived in a cabin in the woods, hunting and fishing for survival. He has worked at a wide variety of professions—cowboy, tree planter, bookseller, carpenter, printer. He has drawn his metaphors from his life experience and written about what he discovered in the world, and he has developed an elaborate inner life and written from the heart.
  As a boy, Richard was charmed by the shenanigans of Frank Demara, known to the public in the 1950s as The Great Imposter. Richard saw him interviewed live on The Jack Parr Show. Demara was able to create different personas and find employment in a vast number of posts—everything from being a medical doctor in the military to a Latin teacher in a private school. Demara said that when he picked up a scalpel, it was as though he had used it before. Denner found an explanation for this, as a freshman at Cal, reading the works of Plato, where it is said that we know everything but forget it all at birth, that knowledge is the process of remembering what we have forgotten. Later, when Denner rediscovered the Dharma of Gotama Buddha, he had a similar understanding. It is not the Self that is the problem but the incomplete Self. One solution to the problem of Self is to discover there is no Self—no Self, no problem. Another solution is the integration of the various "selves" by allowing them full play—integration, like a drama with a cast, not the conflicting, schizophrenic isolation of the parts of the personality but an association of the members of the cast in the play of consciousness, each with their lines, each in character.   In one of Rychard's terse, large-lettered poems, all/over/all/all, I find the Poundian components, logopoeia, melopoeia, and panopoeia. The poem can be read as temporal all over and as local all over, as a point of view, over all, and visually, with the word all being place over itself. There is formal structure, yet an innovative playfulness is evident.
  There are ontologically questioning poems by Doug O, the "O" suggesting nothingness or infinite space. There are the "Sensationalist" poems of Jubal Dolan:
                        no thinking, here
                            just looking
and the romantic-pastoral mode of Luiz Mee ("Luiz" perhaps a tip of the hat to Luis Garcia, Richard's long-time friend and mentor). We have the thinker, the worker, the lover poets, with their different hats, pets and facial tics. As Rychard once said, "Everything is everywhere, and God is gift horse, a kind of cornucopia with teeth."
  It is difficult to say exactly when the personalities first emerged. Most likely it was part of a 9/11 meltdown. However, I am certain that before our author discovered the works of Fernando Pessoa & Co. in June of 2003, I, Bouvard Pécuchet, had already begun writing reviews of books that didn't exist, and the scattered Buddhist poems of Jampa Dorje had been collected under one cover. There was the forgery, Another Artaud, as well as works by Rychard from the Berkeley 60s. The drama was well underway, needing only a bit more prompting by the Muse. Rychard is here, and we have been joined by Jubal Dolan, Luiz Mee, and Doug O.


  Doug O, born Douglas Oporto in Santa Clara, California, in 1938. His parents were wine growers, and he was raised on a vineyard. He became Doug O because he was one of four Dougs on a planting crew. The shortened name stemmed from the need to distinguish the different "Dougs" on the field. There was Doug Um for Doug Mitchell, Doug Ee for Doug Eichmiller, Doug Ha for Doug Harrington, and Doug Oh for Doug Oporto. Doug O met Paul X around the time of the closing down of the Wobbly Hall in San Franciso in 1965. They became inseparable, like the x & o of a game of Tic Tat Toe.
  The title of his poem collection is a reflection on his Catholic upbringing. Clandestine activities were early evident. In the third grade, he secretly watched Sister Rose, who was a teacher's assistant, remove the hood of her habit and reveal her short-cropped blond hair. She became for him a golden mean in contrast to the strictness of other sisters, who whacked his hands with a yardstick when he was passing notes in class.


Eu duvido este
sou levantei-me

Tem a forma
Tem os espinhos

cheira como
mas eu não posso ser certo

Não é uma escada
ou uma sera
ou um violino

Mas é levantou-se?

I doubt this
is a rose

It has the shape
It has thorns

It smells like
but I can't be sure

It is not a ladder
or a saw
or a violin

But is it a rose?


Eu flutuo no espaço infinito
ou no nenhum espaço

um illusion de mim em um lugar
uma reflexão flutuando

nada que mantem levantado me


I float in infinite space
or no space

an illusion of myself in an obscure
a floating reflection

nothing holding me up


Onde estou eu, e como eu comecei aqui?
Por que eu me sinto devo estar em algum lugar?
Eu faltei algo?
Quando ele começam?
Aonde sairá fora?


Where am I, and how did I get here?
Why do I feel I must be somewhere?
Did I miss something?
When does it start?
Where will it leave off?


Eu falto-o, Jarra
Nosso amor é uma guerra religiosa falhada
É o vigésimo quinto anniversary de nosso amor
embora nós fôssemos somente junto por três anos

Eu fiz exame de uma barra-ônibus
        à Nila da Universidade
Eu parei pela Estrela Azul para um latté
sonhar de nossa república falhada

Você está em seu continente
mim está em meus
nos tração


I miss you, Jarra
our love is a failed religious war
It’s the twenty-fifth anniversary of our love
although we were only together three years

I took a bus to University Village
I stopped by the Blue Star for a latté
dreaming of our failed republic

You are on your continent
me on mine


curador com cabelo cinzento
excepcionalmente eficiente
que arrasta um pé entre latas de lixo
nunca um movimento desperdiçado

etapa, etapa, etapa
torç-gira, levanta, laço
etapa, etapa, etapa
torç-gira, levanta, laço

lance o saco em seu carro
ao continuar um diálogo com você
o, homem velho
o que você têm em sua mente?

Talvez pensando da viagem de Magellan


gray-haired janitor
efficient in the nth degree
limping between trash cans
never a wasted move

step, step, step
twist-turn, lift, tie
step, step, step
twist-turn, lift, tie

toss the bags in your cart
talking to yourself
o, graybeard
what’s on your mind?

Maybe thinking of the voyage of Magellan

                    for Jenne and Belle

I walk straight ahead.
All I can see through my hijab is the horizon.
I know they want to see my ankles.

Last week a woman was shot in the leg.
A woman was burned with acid
for not following the dress code.

"We are asking Muslim women to wear the burqa,"
Mohammed Aftab Alam president of the Mumbai
Regional Muslim League's youth wing told Reuters
on Monday, but he added: "We will not force anyone."

Gloom envelopes everything.
Nothing moves any more.
Life is too..
I dare not say it.

I shop.
I look straight ahead.


Crows fly up, and I divine
your name in their flight.
The world's new and true and lovely,
nothing else to be.


Jubal Dolan was born in 1939 in Island Park, New York, to teenage immigrant parents. When he was 16, his parents were killed in an auto accident, and Jubal ran away from a foster care home and headed west. He found his way to Berkeley, California, where he met Jack Spicer, who took him under his wing. One of the "translations" in After Lorca is dedicated to Jubal.

            A translation for Jubal

In the early morning,
   empty, empty, empty.
A gypsy walks the streets
   holding a guitar as a banner
early in the morning.
   Empty, Empty, Empty.

An enfant terrible, he was scheduled to read at the Six Gallery, in 1955, an event which launched the Beat Generation. At the last moment, he opted to seal his poems in an envelope on which he inscribed, "Not to be opened & read until 2003!" and thus the venue had six poets instead of seven. His experiments with sex and fast driving led to his early demise, in 1970.


Nothing exists—Beyond ruin, death dies
and Time is defeated


I hunt in rubble
for a way beyond

to fulfill the promise
of organism
and will.

I’ve heard it said,
Time flies like an arrow;
fruit flies like a banana.


Fire is water falling upward,
says sage Heraclitus.

An old man stutters when he talks.
A girl in pink flutters when she walks.

What is the limit she’ll permit?

Fire is water
falling upwards.


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


Orion chased them.
Sterope fell into a faint.

Vulcan set a net to catch
Venus in her embrace of Mars.

Sappho saw the seven sisters set.
She knew love makes a poet into a boar.

You say, "All's fair,"
and I, "Boars have wings."


  The Café Poems are poems that Rychard wrote on the street or in the cafés along Telegraph Avenue. He would inscribe them on someone’s arm or leg with four color markers, held between his fingers, creating a rainbow of letters. Sometimes he would write on paper and sell a poem for a few pennies, which he would put toward another cup of espresso.
  The poems printed in the large type format were the original books printed at D Press and are now out of print. Rychard writes,

I began D Press in an attic apartment in 1967 after finding an old Kelsey handpress and several fonts of worn type and hauling the lot away for $50. Days I worked in the backshop of the Ketchikan Daily News doing layout, burning plates, and assisting run a 3-unit Goss webpress. At night, I set type and hung my prints to dry on lines nailed to the angle of the attic roof. Grant Risdon showed me how to cut linolium blocks, which enabled me to disguise some of the irregularities in my printing and add a dash of color to compliment all the big, bold words now showing through. Given a 4X6 inch type case, how much poem can be printed with 60 point Bodoni Bold!?

  The y in Rychard's name has raised questions. He says it is an Old French spelling of his name. It is to be noted that his sister, Lynda, spells her name with a y, and at the time of the name change, his father had been appointed a "Y-man" in the reformation of State Farm Insurance, where he was an executive, the "y" meaning there were three branches of leadership. It might, also, have symbolized a fork in the life path Rychard was following, moving away from the study of medicine towards becoming a student of the world.

in every molecu-
in every second
big &

i men
y yours


I am trapped
in my

a glance
a gaze

does love hurt?
—yes, it hurts

my cup—

enough or
too much?

& more than enough

Place is


for God




To Volume 8, Book 2