Body Bags And American Flags by Edward Mycue



for John Bennett of Ellensburg, WA

Bags and Flags:
images in those
words. What follows:
some haiku revisited

failure of a rocky table.
Guy and gals
meet and mate in the thanatosis
of final attractions

the drooling residues
oozing down their issues’
lines to the flatulent chorusing
‘we are the world’

17 Replies to “Body Bags And American Flags by Edward Mycue”


    The enemy of my enemy
    is my friend. The friend
    of my enemy is my enemy.

    The friend of my friend is
    my friend (unless that
    friend is a friend of the
    friend of my enemy). The

    feud of my family is
    a breach in the friendship
    of my blood. My blood is

    my enemy? Is this the edge
    of my world? How canine
    is the tooth of my despair?
    Where is a pulse for peace? (c) Edward Mycue


    Kant: What is my duty
    Bernard Williams: How shall we live?
    … ………………… …… .James Madison: “The means of defense against foreign danger have always been the instruments of tyranny at home”

    Past/ future now. Summer over – bird seen from the eye corner.
    Adam Smith’s ‘invisible hand’ is up to now good in your pocket.
    Blue washed-from sky. Ever present past dead. Poor impulse control.
    You forget all about joy. Contaminated events beggars description.

    Country coming together is not plural coitus. Adopt no tigers.
    Ulysses went to war, returned much later, went away, jaded, jazzed?
    Here at our home we have witness, chronicle, testimony, evidence,
    Nearness, contingency, possession, observation, cheerios, milk, music,

    paintings, drawings, poems, frozen blueberries, coffee: just as when the
    world was just as bad but better camouflaged. We are lucky ones so far.
    /Disheaded/November/Lands’ Ends/Furthest Shore/Boatman Waiting./
    Between nows/ thens/ flushing it all down: trusting in space capsules?

    © Copyright Edward Mycue 25 June 2016 Saturday 11:00am

  3. Edward Mycue said…
    1. lawrence fixel used to joke about distinctions between writers of poetry and drama & prose: one difference being the imaginary carrot & stick vs the real carrot & stick with payoff of mucho moola perhaps coming for the successful playwright or storyteller (though then only if very lucky) while the poet has this fantasy carrot dangling from a fantasy stick often held by and in front of himself, poor donkey, whose illusions marry delusions in a fog of self-valorized agile progressions/ depressions/ devolutions. it often seems a concussive life for those needing a payoff or at least a give&take in a jungian sense.
    there’s another interesting take on this in the book THE GIFT IMAGINATIONS AND THE EROTIC LIFE OF POETRY by lewis hyde and the idea of gift he connects with the n.w.american haida peoples and the potlatch ceremony.
    it’s a good idea to enjoy/enjoin thinking about these phantoms every so often. as if only to come out of a troubled sleep. or reverie.
    these you get from the fellini films.
    what the wide world requires/
    how you must proceed/
    how guarded you must be: PMP, and ‘don’t push the river’.
    but the poet drinks from the tragic eyes of the clown woman of NIGHTS OF CABIRIA: her eyes are
    the seed of the universe.
    gaston bachelard’s books include THE POETICS OF REVERIE and THE POETICS OF SPACE. poetry isn’t fantasy nor is it commerce. it is more beautiful than a thing because it is experience dreamed into being, BEING dreamed into life. the image of fragrance. an opening blossom and nothing less. soft spreading nipples breasting an afternoon’s dream. let the rain be hard and the snow be wet.
    the breath is tender behind the slanted shutters.
    there is nothing more important for me than poetry and everything is poetry and nothing matters and the value amounts to much more than a vending machine of a life, which is no venue–and the poet no vendor. the whole race is a poet is true. we have been shortchanged. and we will die for want of it if our dreams are only vacuums lacking fire.
    bachelard spoke of psychoanalyzing that fire.
    you feel what i mean, joseph. that is why those conferences are so empty to you. a dry mouth. the negative space between living beings is charged. that is where poetry abides pressing the pillows.
    edward mycue
    Reply October 31, 2008 at 12:19 PM
    Edward Mycue said…
    …AND bicker, wide heart, tired all times, I hate that he died
    Some people are brands when packaging blooms into lifestyles
    Hester Prynne wore her scarlet letter for chastisement not sales
    later less fashionable then, a brand is a middle-aged millstone
    They moved to Paradise, CA where Maryann’s mom had a home
    Ray’d married the 16yr old Burk girl when he was 19 (b.1938)
    He graduated in 1963 from Humbolt State, Arcata, CA
    Maryann graduated in 1970 from San Jose State, CA
    Christina La Rae was born Dec 1957, Vance Lindsay born 1958
    Ray had one brother James Franklin Carver born 1943
    Ray was born in Clatskanie, OR; grew up in Yakima, WA
    He died a long time ago when he was about 50 and Maryann (
    who he’d divorced; later married Tess) wrote a book in 2006
    called What It used To Be Like: A Portrait Of My Marriage
    To Raymond Carver. (one in every four books is about someone?)
    Edward Mycue
    p.o.bx 640543
    San Francisco
    CA 94164-0543

    Reply August 28, 2008 at 12:59 AM
    Edward Mycue said…
    TO THE WORLD WHEN WE DIE: core diary
    Gone will be the natural world perhaps but old nature tv reels will remain?
    Whistle clean. To forget is to abet. Cost Price Value. Explore Explain Examine Experiment — Most pretentious: Least alive. Trapped in the melting pot beyond the source muddy on the horizon Root Route and Range: will song never return/ muddy on horizons. Then comes the pong, the pong is strong, festering lilies and dreams. To some the stench of peanuts and/or of old banana skins in a garbage pail is sickening as days old pong of an unwashed person. (Tourmaline, jasper and opal are the stones of the living; Obsidian, chalcedony, flint are the stones of the dead; Herbs of the dead are pepper, oregano, and tar—wrote the poet Howard McCord p.113, Selected Poems, 1978,Crossing Press). “Still and all” a phrase I used means now and then maybe again. Allene was from Arkansas or Oklahoma and worked in schools in San Francisco a janitor loved by the teachers she helped
    This writing is an art of appropriation “a series of refined filtering systems” said Robert Rauschenberg—part core sample of an era and part personal diary—of his 1970 drawings; also “combines” says the painter & scholar Richard Steger whose sense of connection made me realize we all live in an assisted living society if lucky. “Oublieux” wrote Ned Rorem in Wings of Friendship about a great
    composer we gays referred to as “Aunt Aaron” Copeland saying he was “very, very famous, and happy, but a wee bit ‘oublieux’”. We must keep watch over absent meaning said Maurice Blanchot. Chateau Graville-Lacoste a Pujols sur Caron, Gironde, France. Albert Ellis, Provoker of Change in Psychotherapy is dead at 93 said the obituary headline in The New York Times July 25, 2007
    (most therapy makes you feel better, but you don’t get better: you have to back it up with action; & neurosis is high-class for whining). Oyvind aka Irving Gottesman/ Molbach wrote at his end “I believe in a future life. I’m ready for my next job. It’s goodbye-time (to his cave). Dr Albert Ellis believed people sabotage a need for happiness; he developed “rational emotive behavioral therapy” concentrating on irrational ideas leading to self-destructive feeling and behavior. Wonder what happens to the world and if reduced when we die?
    Edward Mycue
    Reply August 28, 2008 at 12:58 AM
    Edward Mycue said…
    it’s got to be a good return from the mists having something on robert duncan. parnassus and avalon redux.
    here’s what i wrote abt robert some years ago on the bookstore site at stacey’s where i work:
    Selected Poems
    by Robert Duncan
    “I met George Oppen in 1970 — he was the grand old man of poets on the West Coast then, having received a Pulitzer after returning to the U.S. after exile and working in Mexico as a cabinet maker since the 50s — and he said ‘Robert Duncan is the last of the great Romantic poets’ and ‘We’ll never see another after Robert. He’s almost a throwback.’ And this was about this great modern poet who there never was another like perhaps because he was so, not mainly learned, but deep and strange. Not really ‘strange’ strange, but esoteric, deep, almost charmed. And it’s true — he is so unique that he has no followers, can’t be imitated, and can’t be counterfeited.”
    now here’s a piece of my own in robert’s memory, and in jess’s memory.
    Back to San Francisco to my world be a string to hitch me
    nightly knit me singer of paint blue carver diamond drinker pull me in swim sweet surprises maker of sunrooms weaver
    weaving boots let my finches sing old lover hold my hand.
    Edward Mycue
    Edward Mycue said…
    On Sat, Oct 18, 2008 at 6:04 PM, edward mycue wrote:
    i look at a few posts maybe not every day but often and am rewarded indeed. often i go back and something that i passed by in a ho-hum (mine) on a later visit comes up a shin-licker
    or a thigh-surpriser because my attention(s) drift off with my lazy and wonky mind-eyes. then these poems swing from behind my left ear or left of my solar plexus and start my pleasing into focus. it’s amazing all the good writers who are out there.
    elena karina byrne is one, larissa shmailo another. nico vassilakis i knew before. ivy alvarez
    is new.
    but good things when my exhaustions lift and my mind has no age and my body is insisting on no organ recitations and my feet just friendly helpers.
    you have the gift now anny. revel in it.
    post by lanny quarles of portland or fetches my attention
    Saturday, October 18, 2008 1:59 AM
    To:”anny ballardini”
    never heard of this poet who has plenty going on there full of vim vigor & joy of llfe
    great site this fiealingue of yours is–quite an anthology to dive into and get surprised
    and so is definitely a tongue fair where the tongue some days is like a flame that
    shoots up as in those little plastic statues of saint jude with the tongue of flame
    coming out of the top of his head
    keep it up, anny it’s quite a resource
    abt janet mccann (& joseph duemer): examples
    Sunday, October 19, 2008 10:20 AM
    From: “edward mycue”
    To: “anny ballardini”
    just to get this off while still an insight while looking again at janet mccann’s poems i thought this is REAL stuff and then thinking a lot of poems are full of real stuff but why this works SO WELL is because there is no bad writing here to interfere with the poetry and that a skilled poet is a better channel for what wells-up. skill can be learned. (and can also sadly become a end.) that poem of hers abt the 7 dwarves and multiple perspectives and the idea of resurrection of something/one outside the frame being impeded is called ‘restructuring the poem’s arguement’ is really complex and presented i suppose as simply as it can be done. its a masterwork. i dont claim to really understand it but i feel its power it poetry. (she may have many such.) my eyes lit on that one this morning. and it’s an exception for me of my aversion to writing about writing. i suppose the narrative permits a kinesis that along with physicality of the presences of the students and the poet/teacher as well (that helps as george oppen instructed to have the readed understand who is speaking here) enlivens and lifts it into a lived more than merely a perceived reality.

    of course many poets w/even elevated poetics and years of study and thought can’t come up with any real poetry because their wells are dry. with others there is an oozing from below and w/o a channel just makes a muddy mess. (but even a muddy mess is better than a polished hardpan.)
    thus the what and the how. but even if you are hamhanded and are able to write your poem however imperfectly you are much better off –AND A POET–than some really fine theorizers of poems who have no ‘what’ and are all abt how/SHOULD and so end up with sometimes i must admit a really attractive paper pinata varnished to a licking spit or a swollen nipple. but no poem. something else perhaps. maybe a ‘treatment’. bless em: at least sometimes i feel they value the ‘game’ of it, and even get a good living from it.
    just consider this morning blather. i do that. ed
    p.s. that piece of joseph duemer’s on the autumn magazine abt rainstorm–thats so naked true not a shocker it doesnt have to be. the poetry wells-up, and as a skilled and also in his case educated writer (and i suppose it helps to teach for years as does janet mccann) he takes and doesnt misshape the angel of breath that emerges..
    this is not to say much isnt lost in the process. it’s the nature of the beast, writing, how you destroy a lot to discover a little (or is it you are only –of a cosmos–left with a handful of stars. a handful is nice). i think you can see that with so many good posts on your fieralingue site and the autumn magazine also. i havent made a point to look at all of it yet. but i’ll get around to it. without forcing. or not. life is short and breakfast beckons. besides i dont ‘KNOW’. but i know i dont know and as the kid said in justification “my mother never told me”. and try not to be a gusher with all that gravel and dirt mixed in with the surface straw and animan dung. as much as i try to get out of the frame! so it goes.
    Sunday, October 19, 2008 12:08 PM
    From: “edward mycue”
    To: “Anny Ballardini”
    thanks anny for helping to tack up my quilt. it seems like a quilt doesnt it? when i look at it that way. but not arranged but more discrete series maybe in a scattershot pattern. i never had a career. just dribbled pissing into the wind pressing on not necessarily forward becoming invented by existing and unfolding in time etched and shaped by emerging and surging even when i didnt know it: i have persisted and absorbed and attempted to understand what was and had happened without stopping being the being i am still becoming. that quote from v wolfes jacobs room in front of my book mindwalking 1937-2007
    is a saying totem. have you ever read the swede wilhelm ekelund? 1880-1949. agenda is the only thing in english i’ve seen (trans 1976 by lennart bruce & publ by cloud marauder press in berkeley a poet friend long dead now himself) ekelund was the one who wrote:
    to read fast is as bad as to eat in a hurry.
    and: wanting to needle, hurt, annoy–that’s the inspiration of the know-it-all.
    and: the day is like a stranger of divine origin, wishing to pay you his visit. you’re fortunate, if he finds you at home.
    and lastly (w/ref to nietsches idea that only those thoughts which have proven themselves in ones life are of value): the same goes for thought as for art: it is only the necessary that cannot be refuted. this is precisely referred to as: ‘die ergangenen Gedanken.’ and therefore only ONE disease is sickness to death for the thinker: the one that comes from having evaded necessitys love.–the systems do die, but never the inviolably effective thought.
    well, now how did i get here. must go and meet marty at the chicken coop for lunch at 1pm and its now twelve oh eight noon. and im still in my skivvies.
    dan waber’s float into fire in the autumn gathering is just grand
    Thursday, October 16, 2008 10:44 AM
    From:”edward mycue”
    To:”anny ballardini”
    how lucky i am to read that poem. thank you anny for being there to post it. ed
    my mother would call me an ‘itch’ when i’d keep going on
    Thursday, October 16, 2008 9:26 AM
    From: “edward mycue”
    To: “Anny Ballardini”
    itch was not as bad as being designated a ‘pill’ a term she didn’t use abt her kids–well at least not as PERMaNANT pills. thank you. but you don’t have to feel you should act on my ‘compulsions” (i guess that what itch referred to–when a kid keeps on with a thing and it begins to become annoying: the parent says ‘cut that out’ until the moonfaced little moron–a sibling’s term for the vacent creature– tilts its surprised face up into the mother’s consciousness and surprised perhaps into awareness, stops).
    so i’m stopping the itching or working the itch. soon. just let me send these that you may not have seen. and you don’t have to use them. just or not just squirrel them away. for maybe another day when your mind’s like liquid paper setting into a new project of a topic.
    it’s the gift that lewis hyde wrote about that wants to stream.
    Edward Mycue TALKING TO ANNY from Oct. 16-19, 2008 email about where Anny Ballardini the editor/publisher includes
    poets and their poetry under the designation “Poets” and a seasonal magazine
    under the designation (within that list of “poets”) ‘Autumn’
    Edward Mycue is a listed at website in London, England
    with a personal email in San Francisco, California
    Anny Ballardini’s email is in Bolzano, Italy
    To read an in depth discussion by Jack Foley, KPFA-FM, Berkeley, California
    of a single volume of Mycue’s poems, Because We Speak The Same Language,
    go to
    © Edward Mycue 3 JULY 2016

    “Tings happen” and intentions dented, bent, re-looped as in a mobius strip. I had a sister and cousin in the Haight, San Francisco and stopped in on my way to Vancouver (to get ‘landed’) on June 1, 1970 on my way back from Europe. Then they went away and Margo Mycue said “save the place, we’ll” (She and Lee Chu) “be back” but had a baby 8 July 1971 (Zen Mycue Chu, wonderful Zen, was due 4 July but waited for the full moon) in Virginia Beach where Margo was then working at the Edgar Casey Institute waiting for her first child to come. Then she had another, Lili (wonderful Lili) in Tyro, Virginia up in the mountains where Margo went to teach. In the meantime I met Richard Steger, the painter. He was finishing up his masters in painting delayed from all that uproar at SF State. Then more strings of everyday chaos and happiness and me partnering at Panjandrum Press and then my own press Norton-Coker and my zine TOOK. On and on. So here I remain 46 years later. Waiting today for the man John Durham the BOLERIUM founder to check out more of my papers & such to add to what Yale’s Beinecke Rare Bks and MSS Library accessioned in 2010. Although this maker’s hand is aging, it has been very busy scribbling and still publishing in print journals and zines and online a lot. (SOMEBODY STOP ME is not something I Ask.)


      Management of public resources.
      Common-pool resources.

      Happy clarity and remember tomorrow.
      YESTERDAYS get all filled by gutter scoopers.

      “The wood of life” lignum vitae. Melodist. Tin ears.

      Vituperation. Vulgar abuse. Debris on the road. Scrawny. Pissed-off. Jazz. Swing. American folk music. Rock, rap, blues, country and gospel.

      Bigot. Spigot. Windbaggery. Rants. Vomit.
      We make our bed. It’s called election. Casting a vote.

      © Copyright Edward Mycue 28 October 2016

    None the less and some the more
    Who’s the prince & who’s the bore

    One hand on the dog and one hand on the book
    I like to get up earlier on a Tuesday

    I’ll let others get the marigolds (I’m going to empty
    the garbage because vampires need Vitamin D
    and that is why they wanted human blood it was
    said and why then the conglomerates in Switzerland
    controlling drug companies are headed by vampires.

    © copyright Edward Mycue 26 October 2016

  6. we leave nothing behind

    what we experience we are
    much passes through us
    be we leave nothing behind

    what we are we are
    what we have been is us
    what we left is nothing

    we leave nothing behind
    an earthworm caught in time
    much passes through us

    what we have been we were
    what is left is nothing
    we leave nothing behind

    © copyright Edward Mycue

    Art Lund sang Joey from THE MOST HAPPY FELLOW (‘in the whole Napa Valley’– from Frank Loesser’s musical of Sidney Kingsley’s depression-era play THEY KNEW WHAT THE WANTED ), Vaughn Monroe deeptoned Mona Lisa; Nat King Cole, had his easy way with Nature Boy. Then it’s Ebb Tide, The Unchained Melody (‘Time goes by so slowly/and time can do so much….), & Teresa Brewer wailing: Let me go/let me go/Let Me Go, Lover ./Let me be/set me free/from your spell.’ [—oh, yeh. yeh, yeh.] My brother David’s absolute favorite: Perez Prado’s (It’s) Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White (‘when you’re in love’—That must have been his Joanie Parker song.). [I was sixteen that summer working as old Mr. Flanagan’s helper at the Campfire Girls’ camp, south of Dallas, on a ridge above the Big Brothers’ camp below, where my best friend Frank ‘Nicky’ Knickerbocker worked–his mother got us our jobs.] Spin to Perry Como singing No Other Love (have I/only my love for you,/only the dream we knew,/into the night I cry/hurry home, come home to me,/set me free/ free from doubt/ and free/ from longing.– from Rogers & Hammerstein’s ME AND JULIET). Now switch into ‘It’s always like this/I worry and wonder,/your lips may be near/ but where is your heart?’ (The Song From Moulin Rouge). After that is Shake Rattle & Roll (‘You wear those thin dresses/and the sun come shining through./I didn’t know honey all that belonged to you.’ Adults were shocked at those lines, yet we were not so lascivious as they were I think.) Now skirl/ swoon to Vic Damone crooning Eternally the soaring theme of Charlie Chaplin’s LIMELIGHT movie [By the end of that summer of nineteen fifty-three I thought I loved Ellie the Campfire Girls’ summer-camp cook’s boy friend also from her North Carolina college a football hunk working in that Big Brother camp in that valley below]: “though the stars may cease to shine/my love shall always be/forever true and loving you / eternally.” My youth now seems a good earth original today so achingly beautiful. Great grandmother Jane Kennedy Delehant had often intoned “Backward, oh backward/ o time in thy flight/ make me a child again/ just for tonight.” Night! So now in this time/ over time I think it, write, say it now recalling that summer I was 16.
    © Edward Mycue

  8. GOLDEN GIRL FROM TYLER (For Carolyn Kysiak)

    This honey and gold girl from Tyler, Texas
    Met this tall, dark, handsome soldier boy.
    We met them when I was maybe thirteen
    Around 1950; our families bonded the best.
    My mom, dad, Ruth & Jack, were 10 years older.

    We were seven kids and theirs grew to eleven.
    My sister Margo Mycue drove 800 miles up from
    the Rio Grande Valley to Carolyn’s funeral.
    Joe died a decade ago. I’d worked for Joe in his
    heating, air conditioning engineering company

    in East Dallas at ages 15 and 16 in the summer first.
    Itching, crawling under houses, wrapping fiber glass
    around ducts I helped bend in sheet metal and then
    typing, filing contracts afternoons after school.
    I couldn’t spell or type as well as smart Carolyn

    Now that world is gone, though she left ambassadors
    to the future — 22 grandchildren, 28 great grandkids.
    You hearing about this interviewing me about memories
    could have my heart on a string but I would then
    tell you interviews aren’t depositions. Bye, Carolyn.

    © copyright Edward Mycue

    • Peach (For Joe Kysiak)

      Bossy Stopsign Under Full Moon Lotus Blossom Nimbus
      had the look of the twentieth century
      who’s dirty architect was all about surfaces,
      all about abouts, and nothing to smile at
      and otherwise never had celestial ears
      for the smell of sandlewood and thyme.

      Your glow, now passing, hums for your footstep,
      moans on the lonely night stretching into a new century
      THOCK THOCK THOCK go the car tires
      away out there into the Atlantic summers.
      No one hears.

      Joe,Joe,Joe we are calling after you — you
      a peach, true and lots-of-fun.
      Go ahead,,tinker a little.
      See if you can re-engineer
      The way earth urns, sun sets, how the last Bell is run.

      We’re waiting here taking inventory..
      We needed more bunkum, hokum, nonsense, humbug, hogwash
      But good times were choice..
      We remember your dreams and gambles,
      still hear you.under the full moon lotus blossom nimbus
      taking our our voices as your peach.

      © copyright Edward Mycue


    October blooms in May,wincing.
    Grey water gleams in the sun.
    There was a dream on this place, sleeping.
    Year in, out, everywhere you’d look,
    listen, there was something to be felt here
    — an old feeling but not so old to seem new.
    We have been waiting
    to gather with both hands.
    Even the trees the walls of trees are waiting
    for before our time began
    in the wind, before anyone tried damming the river
    there was life in the trees. Not today?

    © Copyright Edward Mycue

    I. I’m not a professor, nor an antifessor.
    II. A California poet Robinson Jeffers, ejected from tribe by critics led by Yvor Winters of Stanford University, warned against creature-specificity wherewith humans are placed way up & over the top of the pecking order.
    III. Howard Zinn who died recently said “…human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice,courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. San Francisco poet/ philosopher/ teacher Lawrence Fixel who died several years ago might well have added: “But we know that already.”
    IV. Fixel may have also added here: “Beyond the Name and Number/ We forget and we remember.” It’s he, junior companion in the depression era WPA writers’ project of Ralph Ellison and Richard Wright,
    student of A.R.“Archie”Rosen and Isidore Schneider, who came up with what I call FIXEL’S LAW for poets/ writers: 4 simple injunctions that are 1. begin where you are; 2. learn from the material;3.believe in the process; 4.become your own reader.
    V. I will here also invoke the name Paul Valery, a French Poet/ philosopher/ teacher who’s ART OF POETRY says in “A Poet’s Notebook” “….the habit of long labor at poetry has accustomed me to consider all speech and all writing as work in progress that can nearly always be taken up again and altered; and I consider work itself as having its own value, generally much superior to the product….no doubt the product is the thing that lasts and has, or should have, a meaning of itself and an in-dependent existence; but the acts from which it proceeds , in so far as they react on their author, form within another person more skillful and more in possession of
    his domain of memory….a work is never necessarily finished, for he who made it is never complete, and the power and agility he has drawn from it confer on him just the power to improve it….he draws from it what is needed to efface and remake it. this is how a free artist, at least, should regard things. And
    ends by considering as satisfactory only those works that have taught him something more….”
    VI. western Americans josephine miles, ann stanford, richard hugo, theodore roethke were supremely fine poets, wonderful critical writers, gifted teachers. lawrence fixel, stanley burnshaw and northrup frye in my experience were great thinkers who understood poetry, and fixel and burnshaw wrote it cummings, extraordinary poet, was also a painter and novelist, as was d. h. lawrence who as well as exquisite poems wrote stories, criticism. i ended selling pencils & books, was a gardener & oddjobsman , few years a teacher, and worked 6 years for US dept of health education and welfare.many times, i thought and many times i just blurted or bled onto paper. some fine poets represented their times while here i maundered morning into noon. seriously a poet from my noon in my 20′s until now my moonrising my vocation came to me and to which i surrendered willingly. never in early days believing i could be an elevated poet, but i have been a worker poet for many gifts may be small ones, yet be in a time and place where it has been possible, in the end i have written as i breathe, and lucky to do both.
    VII. poetry is an odd, restricting term. marianne moore (“i too detest it…but find in it ….”) and william carolos williams (“but men die every day for want of what is found there….”)–or something like that. but the forms and the meter and syllables and the cadence and the syncopation and the lineation are ball-breakers. i don’t want to censor myself when i am writing with the corset of the word “poetry”. just start writing. later you may discover a seed there and if not then you have some compost for some other seeds. time to destroy/ to discover said lawrence fixel in a long poem of his of that title published by panjandrum press in san francisco in 1972.

    VIII. i hate poetry that restricts you. but in it miss marianne moore said there is a place for the genuine. and i love what is genuine. it’s worth pursuing.
    i don’t feel sincere, nor insincere. one grows into technique and into one’s own vocabulary. and it’s a good idea to play/ really PLAY/ with the forms. in the early 1970′s william dickey and i were in the same group who met monthly sometimes at his place.
    bill was a forms & technique genius, the best i have ever known and it didn’t hurt his poetry. he’d say: ed, you know what you have here is…with a twitch here or a tweak there…a rondo…a villanelle…..and you can work it that way if you want…or not, he’d add. sometimes it helped the poem to do so. i liked having my choice about final shaping, but i never liked writing to a form. my way is not that. (of course, another person may do or feel differently.) things got up my nose. but that made my path..i went to n.r.crozier technical high school in dallas, texas beginning 1951 and had this (many thought ‘severe’) woodshop teacher mr. butler who wanted us not to get hurt with the tools, some of them quite dangerous –the electric planer, the table saws, and so on–: he was a magnificent teacher teacher and quite nice to me. not once did i get that big paddle that was used judiciously and forcefully and it seems not infrequently. he must have been in his 40′s then and loved differences in woods and form as a stimulus to invention.
    i keep banging out stuff with no publication plans and don’t think of them as ‘privishings’ (as lawrence fixel spoke of work assigned to the drawer vs publishing work that you consciously decide to send out).
    “there” is where they come from: ‘there’, for the inside to outside and i don’t pay attention to the shape the outside becomes. of course, i may change it, reshape it by mixed arrangements. operating not simply without shame or style but from impulse (pulse)because i feel the time is a worn thread. a dumpster of memory and idea that is only phenomenologically momentarily necessary. if the moment passed without proceeding and how to make poetry work fun. if fun is the right word here and is it poetry if it isn’t fun in the making no matter how serious the content? well maybe, but i’d have to fiddle with the ‘fun’ concept. “making” is the operative word really: and the pleasure or satisfaction of making something well and the thrill of the doing in the making. i feel so limited here. sand tray therapy and the use of masks then as well about the-GIVE-and TAKE-congress-of-relations.
    here’s my poem:

    There is a stranger within me,
    an intruder who is not me
    and is a part of me.
    We co-exist and yet
    it’s the other who habitates
    as I exist
    who swallows and I drink
    who’ll die when I die,
    or so I think
    ©EDWARD MYCUE San Francisco rev. 24 July 2015

  11. Innocuous, Nocuous

    “We’ve done ‘nocuous’,
    Richard Steger said. We’re
    Recycling it for this election cycle.”

    © Edward Mycue 19 October 2016

      As in November when we plant
      tulip, hyacinth and daffodil
      as old bonds grown dull
      among mutable
      imaginary satisfactions,
      like those meiotic moments
      in dreamed carts of hay)
      those things remembered
      trail, reflect
      The torpor brought
      from the soft thocking
      has gone and left us only us.
      It is time and nothing waits.
      It is soon and nothing waits.
      It is late and nothing waits.
      © copyright Edward Mycue


      sweet dry touch of creamy pink sundown

      Routine radiating prosperity bank red-lettered
      like the family Bible spilling out with photos,
      pressed flowers and the four-leaf and the one
      six-leaf clover Richard Steger found in Cotati.
      Those Steger kids had no eating disorders, and
      were keen, keen for bouillabaisse, crème broulée,
      devilled eggs, shit-on-a-shingle, anything “-capers”
      and those little potato dumplings called “gnocchi”
      served with pesto sauce and a nice crablegmeat-Louie.
      Their mother – Irene’s mom, Louise, was a Meytre/Tron
      born in a summer mas in the last century (19th)
      on the ragged Swiss-French-Italian border, also Piedmontese.
      She married a Perrou, an Italian, also Piedmontese.
      A Waldensian, Louise was sent to Protestant Marseilles
      to a finishing school. Then she came to the United States.
      Irene was her only who lived to raise. John
      Perrou married again and again. Irene favors pink hues
      © copyright Edward Mycue


      I hear in the wind long-gone voices
      who knew the language of flowers
      tasted the bitter root, hoped,
      placed stone upon stone, built
      an order, blessed the wild beauty
      of this place. Can you hear
      in the wind whispers, crusts
      of soul-insulted soul, scattered
      ages, decided, gone yellow, thin?

      I hear in the wind those old sorrows
      in new voices, undefeated desires,
      and the muffled advent of something
      I only define as bright, new angels.
      Can you hear in the wind independent
      people who never depart, have no time
      for friends, who want to go and want
      to stay and never decide in time?

      I hear in the wind old phantoms
      and the swirl of the released mustardstar
      and the cry of innocence.
      It is soon September.

      © copyright Edward Mycue



      1. What was finished, celebrated is almost finished again. My life is your story.
      Your story a submarine skin envelope holding my story in worlds, walls dividing
      my story, your life. The where’s and when’s keep turning on a spinning plate half-dipping into the Pacific Ocean and we on this tilting/raked stage where great ships
      foundered with their great sentences of life and death—unfinished symphonies for the future out there that is our audience and who’ve driven-in to watch thinking that they
      today have cast-off the overcoat that stifled thought for us, not realizing that thought
      was the marriage of these rocks of experience this broken glass these diamonds in
      exciting shapes the rising sun fallen where the rainbows arch over beehives.

      2. Ugly is just a sharp paradigm shift. Praise for a red tractor. Dancing for chump change. Death an epistemological rupture.
      Between lust and first folly is misspoken weeping. Ice skater on the glass of love.
      Apple hooking into taste as it pours from the roofs of mouths.
      I’m hitched to a string,
      the shape of a heart. If I pull it or yank it, it comes apart. My past fell apart, it fell on the
      floor. Do nothing, be smart, you’ll hollow your heart. Go to the end, jump in, take a
      swim around your island. You’ll learn that the noose comes from within.
      On an island
      in the Bay—tears, anger, snot, spit; born, unborn: love, pre-intentionalist, is a soft
      sunrise. Twitching. A covenant drifting. The dead are among us. Tactile interface of
      memory: the dead are a lifetime buried in every moment. Baghdad heart, brick-red, done
      in the antique style of rooted standards, outlaw blues, kiss of troubles. Is it worth it? In
      the crosswalk on Oak Street near Gough (rimes with cough) where the red and dusky
      San Francisco night before the dark looks upward for birds flying south from Canada the
      earth is a body of interconnectedness. Life’s a daily scavenger hunt as the helicopter pushing air down lifts and the shiny lacquer of a left-out lawnmower partners seven little
      boy and girl pirates at the toy red plastic barn offering evening-pardon from bay wharf
      to a barn owl with tufted ears north over the Golden Gate Bridge to Sonoma County and Bartlett pears, Gravenstein apples, Blue Lake green beans, new squash. Memories to come lemon green of the young dad in sandals on a bike with his kid laughing. Their
      names are Joe and Julian who’s lost sandal, blowsy as jimson weed, was found again.
      Clemency, concord, representation of peace. Although in this old book the one of our lives everyday has a scream in it, mental garbage but not every syllable for misery. The
      bacteria of emotions are domed spires, sample rooms and surrogate rumors that saunter, propagate invective, treasure, warning saddling ships of joy on angry hooves.
      Strange shapes appear, macular degeneration, summer youth play-out, bumpkin, yokels, book clerks, truck drivers, anxiety to alienation, old chestnuts, aggregations of barnacles
      force allusions, disassemble adolescent abstractions flipside to windows on hell with
      bell-bottomed deep passages, bright chambers. Pulpy earth curdles its muscle dandling
      rose red morning. Ethics reason a new bed, authorized desire, enzymes’ unction for the day’s comma is the crossover moment that says: “Take me, give me, send me away.” A
      Mexican mango with champagne flesh light as a feather fluttering like ash once awkward and now terrible. We are fish in a net where roses of soot silt down into a lake of sleep. A woman came up to the edge. Pilgrims knelt to each other. Fiction can’t erase the teeth marks. Salmon pink, a slice of tomato, annihilated rendezvous-silkiness. Picnic. Drip pan. An unknown subtext beckons tumult in lavender flames. Enchantment: a dark speaking through a megaphone to this woman who bites her hair and code-breaking the gates of dreams that quench beauty red as blood, soft as cream. Light is amber, lantern-lit, catenulated halos drifting over riptides toward dawn gloaming. Surf is a pale tan woman, a green silver surging, a blue yellow renunciation. “Wkhah” “Wkhah” says the wind in the mind. This is action’s rose with green streaks of diagonal light igniting the garden in Tumbletown. Stardust a diminishing gusher of milk as it pinkens becomes a slight wicker coracle. The scar of full daylight has you crawl some days and boil each third. The old Queen Grandmother rages. Baby hummingbirds long for the cap and cowl
      of a trumpet bloom. Slippery bridge this silver fire and blueberry cream: these are lost lessons and an inner journey where deer in a protected park flood the experiment’s unity.
      Slowly. Glow. Earth jimjams a jungle under diamond skies as long-nailed dogs cut bark, tree rats scurry in canopies and ungrounded creation sticks hard red grease into fault lines, a welter of cherry-wood, linen, grass. Then rain. Guts erupt with reason, choices, the trigger of harmony, of Edens envisioned, never actualized, echoing gunk, churning and gurgling hope.
      Memories, notes, glints, glances, baroque voices that carry love, sorrow, dancing images into the evenings of tall reeds that stand in moving waters sinking with the waters into the soil absorbed, evaporated to crust to dust that under later rains give over to damp earth ripening with memories that come from whatever life will press upward for the death ship for new sowing.

      3. Telephone call then a summary a sea change, something more masochistic than divine.
      Playground happenings, pals, thin, tough, jittering with velocity, high horses: they are scattered and buoyed by discipline, some say a high art whose escutcheon has low pay.

      4. The wheel is round and childhood desire turns life’s wheels, these large hoops, propelling them with sticks under the tall park elm trees. Movement of wheels.
      Everyone there is here now within you and all of your kin and all of your kith are here now and it will take a lifetime to flower and to fly and to sail this sea of thickening light. Room-tone, mouth-feel, a reordering of parts, rationing of emotions: I hear voices: they live here now without forgetting the way back under the surface of consciousness, the bungled aspirations, of leprosy as a model, and grim ire. Life pushes, photography wins over time, and over the mind a brown shale. This is November.

      © copyright Edward Mycue


      (for Bert & Odette Meyers)



      henscratches called letters.

      Like good law; and misspelling’s like legal
      breakdown. So anarchy’s some alteration from a rule: both breakdown and a change—
      transformation, mutation—some sort of alteration seen both as reason and result
      -like pink burning to purple
      -like the Blade Runner’s girl Rachel who though biologically-engineered gets conscious
      -like Pinocchio crying and becoming a “real live boy”
      -like having another being growing inside of you
      -or altering molecular structure
      -or learning your true sexuality
      -or entering alternative ports
      -or varying dimensionality
      : such transformations
      and misleadings
      are revolutions of accepted arrangements
      umlauting different drummers’ dancings called
      “can’t” and change as if misspelling. Or
      missed spelling?

      © copyright Edward Mycue



    You reading this interview about my memories
    Could have my heart on a string, but I would
    Tell you interviews aren’t depositions, that
    Life itself doesn’t do us in, but we ride it
    As if it were a comet’s tail onward, outward
    Laughing and also maybe sniffling
    Hanging tight while twisting back for looks
    Down and backward thinking “help” maybe
    But soon then afterward we just go on living
    For awhile not then knowing how long
    Saying: “See you tomorrow” and ordering
    Our BLTA’s smacking our lips for those
    Bacon lettuce tomato avocado sandwiches
    Drifting through orbits of milky moonstone dreams.

    2 –10.

    The Early Grape

    We are the early grape
    flat, dry, and cloudy.
    The time is short,
    but some days never end.
    There is no joyous lake.
    There is no incantation
    that can bend the moment back
    into the patterns we may see too late.

    Wait for tomorrow?
    Tomorrow never comes.
    Wait for tomorrow?
    Tomorrow never comes.

    Three’s a crowd.
    The spunky one’s the cream in your coffee.
    I know I know we said.
    That’s the thing!
    Do it. Do it now.

    Early wine is flat, dry, and cloudy
    and some days never end.
    There is no joyous lake.
    There is no incantation
    that can bend the moment back
    into patterns we have seen too late.
    © Edward Mycue

    I. A Fight for Air
    Towels soak in the sink
    Roots crack, splinter
    Each sound’s a stone screaming
    successive millions
    of mute islands
    a secret care I keep folded
    under my fingernail
    dawn after dawn
    The thrill is uneven The saliva curdles
    Sunset climbs closely
    to the fight for air.

    II. Buried World
    The Great River
    plains desert
    Red Rock Red River
    Gulf of Mexico
    deltas bayous hill country
    conscribe an end and a beginning, leading
    from these years this journey back
    to nineteen sixty-one
    Dallas: blotch concrete spread out on the plains.
    We’d come to Texas thirteen years before
    in a slope-back forties Ford.
    I was eleven then.
    We passed through Erie, Kentucky, Delta States
    to arid, fissured land and bottomland and floods
    to dying apple trees.
    Then summertimes
    and othertimes
    Dad took us with him one by one
    to get to know us
    on his travels through his Southwest territory,
    him talking brakelinings for a Firestone subsidiary
    company that let him go not long before he died
    in a chaos of fear
    and pain he said was not like pain
    but was pulling him apart.

    III. Father
    “We brought our children from New York
    to take a better job.
    My wife supported me.
    Her hair turned white that first year.
    She was thirty-three, had borne us seven kids
    in our hometown, Niagara Falls.
    We fought and stayed together
    pounding with our love.
    I was thirty-six that year
    nineteen forty-eight.
    Our oldest son was twelve.
    The baby was a year.”

    IV. Rain
    Being passed
    My father seems beautiful
    his geographical eyes a cage
    of ocean dreams
    who’ll never dream again
    so stubborn, gentle, singing anytime
    some snatch of song he’ll never sing again.

    Nostrils flaring, lungs honking, at the end
    he couldn’t hold his teeth
    only wanted air Air
    His food came back
    I hear him say NO, No not pain I’m
    No steel,
    green-painted, rented tank of oxygen could help
    since death will come when cancer eats the brain.
    It rained the day he died
    and it rained again on burial day. Good Luck,
    it’s angels’ tears, they say the Irish say.
    The dog killed cat run off morphine soaking into sand.
    Gigantic stones snakes apple trees his eyes.
    V. Grave Song
    End of night
    threw my heat in the fire
    O my mama place in the white
    it was too big for me
    I wanted out out I got out
    Go downstairs
    say off wiz de light off wiz all de lights
    up up up
    up wiz de fire up wiz de fire
    (say ‘UP’ with the fire)
    I am afraid
    of the door rats on the stairs miles
    miles miles to the light and I can’t
    say it
    there’s only me
    and and everybody
    and that is no body nobody
    but some thing
    Lock it! Lock it!
    Go go downstairs
    Run Run Run Run out out out
    They are moving
    is light Things in the air
    Tie Ta Tie Ta
    Tie Ta Tie Ta
    people gone
    Cows moo in the fields and are gone
    It does not hold
    Hums Hums Hums
    Hung birds in bottles, eggs writhing like worms
    and the fire burns.

    VI. Little Lifetimes
    Children crush crackers between stones
    celebrating luck and joy
    seeing with ears, breathing music from trees, flowering
    in pure deliciousness
    awakening graves, unarmed against the rain. In time — silence:
    stoning sterile trees,
    praying the dead will sleep between the swollen roots.
    The wind rushes in saying hold my ground, carve
    your own road — the design that develops.

    Now a face begins to emerge seeking air
    examining death to discover patterns
    in the movements of little lifetimes.
    © Edward Mycue
    I am a fact, not a fiction
    a rite, not a ritual
    a progression, not a procedure
    a song, not a schedule
    I am in my life and I live it
    –partake it, enjoy it, wonder at it

    I’m green leaves aquiver
    red clouds aflutter
    whacky as Christopher Smart
    talking to cats
    and alone in dark forests
    in short pants

    I am Niagara River crashing
    over the Falls
    cascading through the gorge
    to the Devil’s Hole
    sweeping into the last Great Lake
    –Erie to Ontario—
    surging into the great Lawrence
    into my mother Atlantic

    rising forward & into the clouds
    into hurricanes
    I cut with the knife of the times
    out onto the rocks
    the Cape of Good Hope to India
    South China Sea
    sieving through Oceana’s islands
    Pacific kingdoms
    up past Galapagos north home shore
    Mission Rock
    San Francisco and my love’s bed
    I am a fact not a fiction.
    © Edward Mycue


    The pivoting puzzle
    locks and unlocks,
    or turns, and opens,
    winds-up-the slack,
    the music,
    regulates the pitch,
    the courage;
    it nerves you up
    as you
    a low island in the reef
    a door
    under the garden in
    surrender saying:
    “Use me,
    I am your key.”

    ©Edward Mycue for JAMES VEVEA


    The fish pass each other in the street, drifting, as
    an abstract creative force.

    Art will save nothing, absolutely.
    (The soul of a family?)

    In silence
    sculling up rivers
    a state of mind, which
    will not count the hour,
    black pearls
    in a round bowl
    like eyes
    bulging in the head of a tattered
    man my father greatly admires.

    But his anger is alarming.

    We live together there, all of us, constantly quarreling.


    Art will save nothing.

    In our glass prison
    we build splendid nests.

    © Edward Mycue


    Most everyone here
    Thinks the world of it.
    Yet here is not the world.
    That atlas speaks other climes.

    Here’s mind’s province.
    Beyond here worlds have
    No cause looking back, now
    Out there becomes then a here.
    You went east as earth turned west.
    From personal to political to spires,
    Further and higher you’ve traveled.
    What was here then, there, remains.

    Here, now, resting time, still you seek.
    Beyond circles is twisting, continuing.
    Turning what was then back, forward,
    Here returns, but not here’s beginning.

    © Edward Mycue For Joseph Duemer


    I hear in the wind long-gone voices
    that knew the language of flowers
    tasted the bitter root, hoped,
    placed stone upon stone, built
    an order, blessed the wild beauty
    of this place.
    Can you hear
    in the wind whispers, crusts
    of soul-insulted soul, scattered
    ages, decided, gone yellow, thin?
    I hear in the wind those old sorrows
    in new voices, undefeated desires,
    and the muffled advent of something I can only define
    as bright, new angels.
    Can you hear in the wind independent people
    who never depart,
    have no time for friends,
    who want to go and want
    to stay and never decide in time?
    I hear in the wind old phantoms
    and the swirl of the released mustardstar
    and the cry of innocence.
    It will soon be September.

    © Edward Mycue

    of Winter

    After it is ripe, time is banished. Root
    did not eat down. Nuclear swords, dialectic
    knots hang over candidates for Alexander’s

    shoes, stare-into futures for accidents from

    yesterday’s tapestry. Rot eats down, seasons
    scatter. And we read in them, fraying. Black
    mirrors, white minutes manure to loam. Meat

    is absurd. “Of” is “from’s” motive; “what”

    is “why’s” dance. Ideas, nuclear ripe, coral
    mouthed, are blind windows. Now sit in judgment
    on the past and out of that dark doorway, remember
    now is not elsewhere, we are not ‘there’ and

    do not know an elsewhere. Now, ‘here’ is. Other

    : there where we are not. I do not know other
    than this. Other than this is not now. Now

    the sky begins to split open. Now sit, judge.
    © Edward Mycue





    Keep a smile on every foot walking your need
    –blurring of focus, burring of your edge
    Not what is there here: what is not here there

    Aging of elbows and bagging of the knees
    Let it go memory of omnivorous figits
    Let it all fly away: Max Klinger’s gloves
    Are flying out the windows in a fever

    Consumption, private pleasure, leisure
    Then the simply tourism’s private sphere
    Who’ll remember H. D. Thoreau’s classmates
    And walk in the ways each needs to go
    Keep a smile on every foot walking your needs

    Dancing forward accumulating ephemera
    Eight of one hubris, a moebius of hamartia
    Differences missing marks, breaking rulers
    Inheriting negligence, ignorance your flaw
    Reaction is goods sold-off at a lorry’s back
    So call me princess, call me wooden head

    © Copyright Edward Mycue

    Cell Damage (1)
    Fury injustice abyss ashes
    All the animals
    Innocent beasts
    Wild horses wild water
    Splash flesh tackle
    I drag land
    Fierce horses
    Terrible beings from below
    Get rid of the bones
    Snapping sounds
    Dry cinders
    Pests is what our worth is
    Weight and curses
    Scurrying rats
    Broken back
    Such are the birth tales

    Translucence (2)
    as we rose, we changed — birthslug, toddler,
    kiddo, preteen brainiac out through serious
    awkwardness, bootielateral-liciously present
    into some normatively developed willfullness
    termed “transom,” “conduit” — symbols for such
    flowering forms transversing to any seedy end.
    the who we were and are will swell, seek, range,
    swim within the scale our mature notions permit
    wading through them conducting translucent lives.

    Slap My Eyes (3)
    i know you are supposed to say you thought it would be easier than this (given all strived and labored for), and where is the sweet leisured payoff. (it is still “in the mail” and “the sun will come out tomorrow/ tomorrow/bet your bottom dollar…come what may”).
    that’s life: when you come up for air you find you are underwater.
    there’s no retreating back up the birth canal.
    amid all the plod ’n grovel there has to be a secret santa.

    well enough soon enough then enough. enough?
    the where’s and the when’s keep turning.
    we are like that teenager in the gulf of aden clinging to the airbuss wreckage.
    hang in there, help is on the way. or maybe sometimes help is in the way.
    keep the hope light on.
    love is what the clouds send your way
    living today yesterday.

    Valleys of Departure (4)
    As in November when we plant
    tulip, hyacinth and daffodil
    as old bonds grown dull
    among mutable
    imaginary satisfactions,
    like those meiotic moments
    in dreamed carts of hay)
    those things remembered
    trail, reflect
    The torpor brought
    from the soft thocking
    has gone and left us only us.
    It is time and nothing waits.
    It is soon and nothing waits.
    It is late and nothing waits.

    The Great Wave (5)
    This is bitter
    Life is brief
    Friendships passing
    Time’s the thief
    Life is bitter
    This is brief
    Passing friendships
    Surpassed by grief
    Time is liquid
    Each sun sets
    Sunset renews
    Our floating leaf

    Mood Is (6)
    mood is a mind-map as if the mind covered
    the whole body and its feeling and emotions. the state of the world
    and our u.s.a. contribution
    of messing it up has me brooding.
    those wasp galls sometimes
    ping pong ball size
    (and sometimes more tiny than a pea)
    on numerous kinds of oak trees
    mirror me to myself the way that
    “power of ten” idea of out-of-the-body
    visualizations re-imagines me to me.
    zooming in/out from insignificance
    and responsibility to not even
    the painted face of a clown.

    Knowledge of a Single Rose (7)
    The five-petaled regular corolla rose
    has sorghum fingers that play with your nose
    from the inner envelope. This is not
    the Rose of Sharon: that spindling hollyhock
    is as near to a rose as a hemlock.The rosary is a Roman Catholic devotion
    that has five sacred “mysteries” and five
    sets of ten “decades” of Ave Maria prayers
    and each begins with an Our Father prayer,
    and each decade ends with the Glory Be one.It’s all repeated like the rose, like some
    magical-mystical charm or enchantment “OM.”
    It’s meant as more a path than a pastime:
    each rose a single step pilgrimage, window,
    colored hope, and compass pleasingly rote. I know you now, rose; I know you not, rose.

    We Remember Magnolia (8)
    Trip down memory lane.
    In deed. Last year’s magnolia.
    Time machines march on.
    View the past. Only.
    Scanning for answers.
    For suggestions.
    If any are disclosed or uncovered.
    The machine never talks “future.”
    Only scans backward.
    Without any updates.
    And the time machine memory
    only blurs the velvet picture
    in any future re-scan backward
    because the most recent past
    is the foggiest of what was
    (having no historical certainty
    validated by memory because
    those mists seem more real
    than today’s blindered confusions
    we stumble in right now).
    Magnolia once white darkens.
    But we remember how it was.

    Yesterdreams—Star Light (9)
    — bronzed pair of booties holding down a sagging telephone line,
    — picture from a gone time but one that is still just out my window
    here on fulton and octavia streets next to olive trees with plastic bags caught in them
    — “witches cowls” — filled with passing breezes
    amid caws of crows & occasions when sea birds escape east from ocean storms & west
    to California from the Sierras when calmer, settling in our parking lots deciding maybe east or west again, birds moving, passing,
    pausing; only flitting hummingbirds silent so far
    bronzed booties imaged there from pairs of tennis shoes often caught on
    lines where drug runners marked territories;
    my San Francisco mind marked with long densely-textured decades written, cared-for, polished, discarded, & somehow are written again
    because the mind wasn’t finished with them & i was unable to find a step-down program
    to get free from voices, visions. where when i’m
    dead will those booties go? will there be telephone lines & poles?
    will it all sink as sediment under risen shores scraped, lathered by
    empowered tides with only birds on their ways in their days that alone continue while
    below fish swim above our yesterday silt
    in fogs, rain, wind & sun without anyone until “time” arrives as
    earth itself fractures into “space” that collides beyond my deeming.

    Everything Is Bending (10)
    Paths lead up, down. Day’s not east. All’s traffic.
    In these necessary hours, a man lifts his arms,
    stretching a ready, signaling crimson. A long
    shadow adds you. The you adds with. And all
    night, love. Bending everything. So, if numbers
    inquire, tell them we are the ones, they are ones,
    I am one: awe-filled not a turned-brain knob.
    If the numbers inquire, tell me you are a one, I
    am your one, we truckle, burnished, roan now, in
    submarine confusion, swollen, last guest, happy
    proclaiming life is the insult. Even when it’s not.
    If the numbers inquire, you can say how differing
    drummers relive, repeat lessons of pilgrimage,
    malaise, the hungering decline of allegiances,
    how to fill a numb center, to reshape the line.
    Night is a dream and I am dreamt by trees. Trees
    are like words. Words are veils. In the forests,
    the stones are moss-covered. The trees sign to the stones.
    Between two there are lichens. Between things, words.
    Words are the things. But we don’t grow wise. Last
    night, trees dreampt me, you took me into your arms.
    The chill on the night is a path. We don’t grow wise.
    Hold me. Night is a dream. Permission varies, a person
    changes, no fiction’s real. The lovers, joined, were
    separable. Indistinguishable. Not to themselves: so
    neither could extirpate the memory? How could they
    be true to their natures? It made them like numbers.
    In the jail of San Francisco a gardener’s more beautiful
    than his roses. That odor of decay in tender flesh.
    In the Johnny Neptune Bar where the Sunset guys shout
    “lemme have a Bud, I need a bud” a man is fucked.
    “Queer” is a family where since they spoke the same
    language all the people understood each other as they
    wandered looking for a land to like. When they found
    it, they began to change it into a great decorated city.
    With decorated walls, courtyards and a tower to make
    them famous as Babel because that beckons a proud
    people who although overweened and confounded with
    a curse of voices were one family of bending numbers.
    Here cross-dressing is transpersonal. The drag’s hero.
    Here the mix and match malebox is full. Check it out
    You can’t order tools for living. Cross-dressing for
    counterfeiters, ersatz, fake, actors, novices, postulants.
    Pass. Received, recommended. Each an encore. Awe-
    some is not the word. Try another body, try clone, truly
    because here has been the songs of transformations
    “over beyond my aunt’s where the deep waters flow” *

    yours, try genetic position, try engineering (impotent
    mission) try to change anything. Change your whistle!
    Divent, divest, invent, invest, enter the second journey
    moving through to dis-embody, trans-body, cross over.
    Try to change your lord: memory. Go to another planet.
    Drag-queen’s hero, transpersonal. Check it out. Try.

    We Leave Nothing Behind (11)
    What we experience we are
    Much passes through us
    But we leave nothing behind
    What we are we are
    What we have been is us
    What is left is nothing
    We leave nothing behind
    An earthworm caught in time
    Much passes through us
    What we have been we were
    What is left is nothing
    We leave nothing behind

    CODA: Lost In The last rites before surgery (12)
    Oaf — use your loaf (your head) — Volumes:
    Is it foggy — can you see the top of Lone Mountain
    It’s about time, Little boy Eddie hasn’t been seen in years
    Is it elegant, should it need to be to be remembered
    When the fog covers your mountain no reshaping a line
    Rhythm and Rhyme weaving on, winding a dicey return
    From white through green to black — sunrises, sunsets
    A rose poem of orange and blue, green, yellow and red
    Poem, not philosophy nor instruction, or points of view
    Something observed, not asserted, but wondered at.

    * from A Song Of Transformations that begins Katharine Butler Hathaway’s 1942, 1943 THE LITTLE LOCKSMITH (Coward-McCann, Inc., New York)(simultaneously in the Dominion of Canada by Longmans, Green & Company, Toronto) and having been published in parts serially in the Atlantic Monthly.
    (c) Copyright Edward Mycue 30 September 2017 Saturday

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