Poems from 1976

~ July 3, 1976, Davenport, Iowa.

~ July 8, 1976, Fort Benning, Georgia.



I'm still here

     listening to the rain
     falling outside my window.

I'm still here.

~Aug. 18, 1975

Unfinished Poem

Editor’s Note: I flew from Amsterdam to Montreal in late October 1974. I took a bus from there to Davenport, Iowa. There was not a lot to do on the 24-hour bus trip so I wrote this poem/song. I never finished it. It’s a slice of that life.

Chicago Blues Poem (I'm going to Chicago)

I'm going to Chicago
make no mistake about that,
Just got into Montreal
but I'm leaving again real fast,
If there's one thing I can't wait to see
it's the faces of Chicago women looking at me.

There's a lot of people talking about Niagara Falls
they say this bus should go that way,
Man they got balls.
They just don't understand at all,
Chicago's the way for us all.

Now I ain't no Jack Kerouac,
I ain't no James Dean.
Yet if you cross my path
I'll look at you real mean.

If there's one thing I do look like,
it's a man with Chicago on his mind.

~ Nov. 1, 1974

Hot Sauce


Maple Tree

I bud with the maple tree
     in Spring.

For as insignificant as we seem,
     come summer,
     we shall grow, and develop...
     make manifest our promise

Come first frost
     our colors will change
     and beauteous become our pigmentation,
     as experience will become this adult body
     into which I've settled.

So as our days are spent,
     whether as bud or as autumn leaf,
     we bring our ideas to fruition.

And despite the promise of this Spring,
     I regret
     that all I have now
     is this bud
     on a maple tree that needs pruning,
     in a yard someone else landscaped.

~ In the 1980s

Improvisation for Jacque

Basement blues
Typewriter table
Steamer trunk
William Carlos Williams

From driftwood
and childhood

   I made a lamp

From German wood
and found wood

   I made a table

Basement blues
Typewriter table
Steamer trunk
William Carlos Williams

Pack up those basement blues
in the steamer trunk
and sit with
William Carlos Williams and me
at the typewriter table and we'll light

   Our whole world.

~ May 28, 1983


A Mouse Chased its Tail

As a mouse chased its tail around in circles.

A game of Monopoly unfolds:
Mediterranean, Baltic, Ventner, Marvin Gardens.

A buffoon in scholarly robes
Life is one big Monopoly game.

in abstinence from intoxicants,
No, it's not.
Life is what you perceive it to be.

As a mouse chases its tail around in circles.

~ Walling Court, 1974

First Dinner Guests

Music was in the air
on Taylor Drive.

Songs of California in Iowa, 
west meeting center
on Taylor Drive,
a development
risen from corn fields.

We played music,
mixed wild and brown rice
with Esther's asparagus.

Talk about dawn and beginnings
hand-pushed versus power mowers
and wedding photographs
blending into the night.

First guests,
with wine from France
a rosé for our gustation.

~ Spring 1983

Moving Iris

Purple tips of Iris emerge
     from among green swords
               in wind too strong for blooms.

We'll move the root stock
     to a sheltering place
     past the Lilac hedge
               where grackles browse...

Mix soil with bone meal
     and decaying manure
     a bed for bulbs
               beneath mulch and wind.

We should get this done
     when the blossoms fade
     before distraction comes
               with summer's calm.

~ Spring 1996


We must be free
to follow our
search for knowledge
wherever it may lead us.

Without regard for
what people say,
without regard for
what already exists.

Though it be
a long, lonely road,
we must go
yet in
communion with
the many who have set out
like us.

Though we will be alone,
we will also be in
the best company.

~ Summer 1983