Monday, May 24th, 2010...1:41 am

judson crews | six poems | 1917 – May 17, 2010

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MANY ISLANDS

I never said that summer was a sword
I never said that all the soldiers would be dead

The moon rises in summer as in winter
no bayonet yet has spiked it for long

Oh our season, our season, prismatic as time
our time pragmatic as love. The moon

Left debris in its wake on many islands
on many islands the soldiers lie

They lie in the arms of the memory of mercy
they lie as if smitten with the memory of love

But it was not the memory that id it here
nor was it the summer’s cruel sword

In Texas we got persimmons

This is what she said, standing in
water just at her breasts — those tiny

Little boobs. Thirteen you might think
she was, but eighteen was more like it

They are up there until the frost turns
them to sugar. I know, I said

What you got in Texas. Man
and boy I was Texan for three

Decades. This was at Llano Quemado
the Taos hot springs. Likely, the first

Time she was ever naked in front
of a stranger. Texas. Girls, girls

Some of them are girls forever, no matter
how they grow. The leaves are gone

She said. And they are sweet as sugar
– but you have to shake them down

It’s waking. You
aaaaaaawoke me. It’s bright

Sun. And as far as the eye can see
it’s a wedding day. Not to a bride

To the earth’s birth. To birdsong
to the rainbow in a cloudless sky

Epithalmia. You are hissing in
my deaf ear — dreamer, dreamer, dreaming

So it happened
aaaayou got a wood-tick

Imbedded in your genital pelt. You never
noticed, till he was sucked full

Of your blood, and began to hurt — that
loathsome thing black as a blueberry

How ashamed you were and loathing
as if he were an unchosen rival lover

Leeching upon your intimate self
I screwed him out, careful not to

break off his head in your tender
flesh and make a festering sore

It was only after I threw him and
shattered him and splattered you blood

Upon a rock — that I knew
my true feelings. Then I observed

For days that dark star, and questioned
myself, Am I not he

It’s not that she led me on

I was a fool for asking, where are we
going — we were gone. We?

I was there alone. I could tell you
the awe I felt, the vista and all

Its mystical receding planes
but it’s not so — I was numb

My wonder was a deeper wonder
why was I brought here

How will I seek a way
of turning back

If the gods were weeping it is for

Themselves they weep. How many
days did Noah prepare an ark

And provision it — with slugs
and bumblebees, diverse untoward

Creatures. And a few casks of old wine –
Has one of us yet

Not waded ashore


Judson Crews

(born 1917) -  ( died May 17, 2010) was an American poet, bookseller and small press publisher.

Crews was born and raised in El Paso, Texas, where he first opened his Motive Bookshop and issued his first Motive Press publications. In 1947 he moved both concerns to Taos, New Mexico. In addition to writing poetry, Crews’ activity in Taos over the next three decades included editing the poetry magazines Suck-egg Mule, The Deer and Dachshund and The Naked Ear (which published poetry by Robert Creeley, Stuart Z. Perkoff, Vincent Ferrini, Larry Eigner, LeRoi Jones, Jack Anderson and Diane Di Prima, among others); and issuing his own work and work by his friend Carol Bergé, among others, through his Motive Press and Este Es Press. He has been a frequent contributor to Poetry Magazine, and has had work published in many other literary journals. Besides operating his bookshop and press, he worked in newspaper production, as a teacher (including as a lecturer at the University of Zambia, 1974-1978), and as a social worker and counselor, until his retirement.

Crews has written and published under a number of pseudonyms, including Cerise Farallon and Charley John Greasybear. It has been speculated that work published under the name Mason Jordan Mason is also Crews’s, but he has never acknowledged this.

A long-time proponent of the work of his friend Henry Miller (a reprint of Miller’s Maurizius Forever was one of Motive Press’s earliest publications), Crews has been a lifelong activist against censorship in publishing. Much of his own output as an independent, small press publisher has been short-run, inexpensively produced literary chapbooks and magazines, making him a notable figure in the 1960s-70s movement known as the Mimeo Revolution.

Selected Bibliography

  • The Southern Temper (Waco, TX, 1946)
  • No is the Night (Taos, NM, 1949)
  • Patrocinio Barela, Taos Wood Carver (with Wendell B. Anderson and Mildred Crews, Taos, NM, 1955)
  • Inwade to Briney Garth (Taos, NM, 1960)
  • A Unicorn When Needs Be (Taos, NM, 1963)
  • Selected Poems (Cleveland, OH, 1964)
  • Three on a Match (with Wendell B. Anderson and “Cerise Farallon,” Taos, NM, 1966)
  • Nolo Contendere (Houston, TX, 1978)
  • Songs (as “Charley John Greasybear,” Boise, ID, 1979)
  • The Clock of Moss (Boise, ID, 1983)
  • Against All Wounds (Parkdale, OR, 1987)
  • Dolores Herrera/Nations and Peoples (Las Cruces, NM, 1991)
  • The Brave Wild Coast: A Year with Henry Miller (Los Angeles, 1997)
  • The Orges Who Were His Henchman (Erureka CA. Hearse Press
  • You, Mark Anthony: Navigator upon the Nile
  • Activity Ticket (Harry Calhoun, (Pittsburgh, PA1985)

1 Comment

  • Judson was born and raised, not in El Paso, but in Waco, TX, where he received his education from Baylor University, including his master’s degree in Sociology. He was in the army, then went to Oregon, and later to Big Sur. His interest in printing was motivated by a wish to publish his own and other’s work, and he supported his family for almost 20 years by setting cold type and running various presses in the job-printing shop owned by the newspaper company.

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