Wednesday, July 10th, 2013...4:23 pm
john thomas | some of them end as suicides
John Thomas | Illustration by Charles Bukowski
SOME OF THEM END AS SUICIDES
(in memory of Fowad Magdalani)
The painters are lonely here because the poets won’t be friends with them or even treat them as equals. Besides, the painters cannot sell their paintings in this town. Sooner or later the painters become nervous and evil. Then they stop painting and become truck drivers or go to jail.
But some of them end as suicides. What they do, they hang themselves from a beam in the garage and swing there with their toes two inches from the ground. It is very hard at first. Like amateur actors ‘ they do not know what to do with their hands. But the ones who really want to be suicides keep their hands very still by their sides and after awhile it is all right. They can hang that way for seventeen days before they are found. Some of them are buried in sealed coffins at public expense, which is rather glorious. They always swore that if they hadn’t made it as painters by the time they were thirty-two they would and they did which is glorious. Seventeen days.
They do this and then the smell leaks out and then the news and then the poets take over and write poems about it using glorious images. Yes, I there is a smell of glory about it all. Soon you can smell nothing but the glory. Even if you visit the grave and sit by it you smell only the earth and the glorious new grass.
It is fine to be a poet in this town. If you are a poet you can give readings for money and despise the painters and write glorious poems about the suicides. Best of all, you do not have to cope with your hands ‘ as the amateur actors and the suicides do. You do not have to keep your hands still.
From: SIX POETS, Vagabond Press 1979
A Vagabond Publication, 605 E. 5th Ave., Ellensburg, WA 98926. Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 78-65142 | ISBN: 0-912824-21-2 (c) 1979 John Bennett. Cover design by Cindy Bennett. Drawings by Charles Bukowski. Second edition.
“There are some writers whose work is difficult to comment upon without overstating their concerns or ideas. John Thomas is one of these writers.” So begins Paul Vangelisti’s introduction to Epopoeia and the Decay of Satire, Red Hill Press’ superb collection of Thomas’ poetry and short prose. Many of Thomas’ poems in Six Poets first appeared in the Red Hill Press collection, and rather than paraphrase Vangelisti or attempt my own summation of Thomas’ work, I’ll let the poems speak for themselves and strongly recommend that the reader purchase a copy of Epopoeia. It is available for $3.50 from Red Hill Press, 6 San Gabriel Dr., Fairfax, California 94930.
I started out writing poetry thinking it was important, and that being a poet was holy…I started out thinking writing groups were necessary, and reciting in public, exciting…! met a lot of people who were poets and not very holy, and people who were not poets and were not holy, either…I no longer need to go places, and reading scares the hell out of me, so I no longer do it. I have long periods of not writing poems. Sometimes I live poems/Sometimes I watch others live them.” BOOKS: It Isn’t Everything, Aldine Society of California; Slices, co-authored w/James Mechem, Grande Ronde Press; Three Drums for the Lady, Second Coming Press; If You Are Creative I Will Vanish, Zetetic Press; The Habit of Wishing, co-authored w/Rosemary Cappello & Joan Smith, Goldermood Press.
“Born April 22, 1940, and lived for eighteen years in South-Central Illinois. Attended the University of Illinois and the University of Arizona. Now teaching at City College in Pasadena.” BOOKS: The Father Poems, Sumac Press; 12 PHOTOGRAPHS OF YELLOWSTONE, Red Hill Press; My Summer Vacation, VCP Press; Meat, Mag Press; Men Under Fire, Duck Down Press; etc.
is–to be sure-widely published. Over 20 books, over 10 anthologies, and countless magazine publications. She’s prolific, and when she is good, she is very good.
Red Mountain, Agatha Christie & Love has been translated into German as Unter der Haut is available from the Maro Verlag, Bismarck Strasse 7 1/2, 8900 Augsburg, Germany. BOOKS IN ENGLISH: Red Mountain, Agatha Christie $ Love, Invitation to a Dying, An End to Pinball, and A Post Card from Europe, all from Vagabond Press; Broken Hips and Rusty Scooters, Lion’s Breath Press; due soon from Black Rabbit Press, Van Gogh’s Flowers.
is German born Canadian raised, and presently lives in San Francisco. Her book Done With Mirrors is available from Vagabond Press. She’s worked as art critic, Kelly Girl and captain’s mate. Like the other poets in this book, her talent remains largely and disturbingly unrecognized.