Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category


Moaning through the trees

November 1, 2007

Most of this blues lyric came to me about four years back. Since when I’ve taken in, let out, otherwise tinkered, and now it seems about right. There’s a tune I have in mind, loosely based on a cut from a Dave Van Ronk album I haven’t heard in forty years; but any old twelve bar blues should fit well enough. Since the name “Coffee Blues” is already taken, this one is called “Day By Day Blues”.

Woke up this morning, but my blues they woke up first.
Woke up this morning, my blues they woke up first.
Had coffee on the burner,
Blacker than a curse.

Well, hello, blues, I guess you know my name.
Good mornin’ blues, I believe you know my name.
You don’t have to tell me
The reason why you came.

The first cup brimmed with sorrow, second almost cried.
I said the first cup preached on sorrow, the second testified.
Just to crack a smile, sometimes
It tears you up inside.

Thanks for the coffee, I’d like a little cream.
Well, thanks for the mocha, mister, now I’ll take a little cream.
“Aw, son, you must be
Livin’ in a dream.”

Lay down this evening, never slept a wink.
Lay down this evening, I could not sleep a wink.
Too much of that coffee
Drive a man to drink.

Night wind’s a rambler, moaning through the trees.
The night wind is a rambler, goes moaning through the trees.
Well, I stood up to the blues
But I was standing on my knees.

Always get the hambone, never get the grease.
Always get the hambone, never get the grease.
I’m livin’ day by day,
Dyin’ piece by piece.


Poetry archive #7

April 30, 2007

In which I continue to inflict my old poems on my readers.

Sweets and bitters: an Herball
There is no tongue for my heart’s manuscript
Where potent inks have shed their reprimand,
Etching spectral gardens as they dripped,
Whose pages turn themselves. This very hand
In red, and black, and silver, brushed
A lily’s likeness, when this hand was young,
When this hand was all my speech and mime
And a stranger to itself and all
And would gather by night by the ogre wall
Such simples when moon and blood were hushed.

The shapes may be spoken. The rose’s velvet line
Of petals enclosing petals is even trite.
But what images common to our sun
Could summon that certain other light?


So he goes

April 12, 2007

Mark Twain died in November 1910. Kurt Vonnegut Jr. was not born until November of 1922. Probably his temporary absence was a major contributing factor to the planet’s failure to avoid the Great War. The country and the planet can ill afford another twelve year wait before he returns to us. If nothing else, there’s this Iran thing around the corner…

From the Books of Bokonon:


God made mud.
God got lonesome.
So God said to some of the mud, “Sit up!”
“See all I’ve made,” said God, “the hills, the sea, the sky, the stars.”
And I was some of the mud that got to sit up and look around.
Lucky me, lucky mud.
I, mud, sat up and saw what a nice job God had done.
Nice going, God.
Nobody but you could have done it, God! I certainly couldn’t have.
I feel very unimportant compared to You.
The only way I can feel the least bit important is to think of all the mud that didn’t even get to sit up and look around.
I got so much, and most mud got so little.
Thank you for the honor!
Now mud lies down again and goes to sleep.
What memories for mud to have!
What interesting other kinds of sitting-up mud I met!
I loved everything I saw!
Good night.
I will go to heaven now.
I can hardly wait…
To find out for certain what my wampeter was…
And who was in my karass…
And all the good things our karass did for you.


We do, doodley do, doodley do, doodley do,
What we must, muddily must, muddily must, muddily must;
Muddily do, muddily do, muddily do, muddily do,
Until we bust, bodily bust, bodily bust, bodily bust.

Rest in squinty-eyed peace, Kilgore Trout.


Poetry Archive 6

March 6, 2007

In which I continue to inflict my old poems on my readers.

Beaver Street Cemetery

the gay hound, red
as the crest of utter
autumn, thrusts
into the grassy swells.
he swims for dear death
over the green-backed
grave-backed hills.

his mistress threads
memorial paths
unhurried, in a coat
of borrowed red, like
candied apples. she
has visited
these plots on other
afternoons. her shoulders

a litte round
like tops
of graves.


There once was a House Bill from Michigan…

February 15, 2007

The Michigan House of Reps has just introduced a bill creating a poet laureateship for the state. One can only heartily approve – while hoping that none of the drafters of the bill, whose sentiments are more praiseworthy than their scanning, becomes the first named to that post.

H.F. No. 224, as introduced – 85th Legislative Session (2007-2008) Posted on Jan 18, 2007

A bill for an act relating to the state; appointing a poet laureate; appropriating gift or grant money received; proposing coding for new law in Minnesota Statutes, chapter 138.


Section 1. [138.99] POET LAUREATE.

Subdivision 1. Appointment.

The Gov’ shall appoint a state poet laureate,
Who shall serve for a four-year term.
Because this appointment will always be great,
There’s no need for the Senate to confirm.

In appointing a poet for the public good,
And to ensure there’s no unjust omission,
The governor shall consider, if he would
Thoughts of the Humanities Commission.

Subd. 2. Removal.
The poet will be free to write rhyming lines,
ith removal only for cause,
But we trust that the bard will promptly resign,
If the verse reads as badly as laws.
Subd. 3. Compensation.
‘Twould be fair to provide some just recompense
As reward for the poet’s tribulations,
But because at this time we haven’t the cents
We’re afraid there is no compensation.
But we ask as the poet travels the state,
And the people their ears they lend,
That our learned Commission take the position
To provide the poor poet a stipend.

Subd. 4. Gifts and grants.
To provide the support that needs to come
To support our new laureate,
Gifts and grants received of a generous sum,
We hereby appropriate.

(h/t to Nina Katerina of Salon Tabletalk)


Poetry archive 5

February 2, 2007


Once on the brink of dream I met
You as the heart of a hollow tree
And I took you for the world, I let
The world interpret you to me.

While all the songbirds slept, I woke
And read beneath the lamp
Your face in the revolving cards,
Your lips in the rainbird’s chant.

I studied you in all my rooms
I bided all my time
And watched you slowly taking shape
And died for the design.

You came to me one night, while I
Was questioning a snail.
I made you wait, I dared not lose
His intimate detail.

I could have loved you perfectly
Before the path to you grew steep.
Your mysteries exceed you now,
Your smile can’t bring me sleep.

Now you must wait til we are old.
Return to me this Sunday week
And I’ll take you, for the world, and let
All the unending secrets keep.

April 1969


Poetry archive 4

December 19, 2006

In which I continue to inflict my old poems on my readers.

This impertinent snippet never had a title, but if it had, it would probably have been “Entire Sanctification”.

The rain is always incomplete.
It sweeps the dust from off my feet;
It leaves the jam between my toes,
And what will cure it, heaven knows.