November by Edward Mycue



Childhood desire turns life’s wheels,
these large hoops, propelling them with sticks
under the tall park elm trees. Movement of
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.


EDWARD MYCUE, born Niagara Falls, New York, raised in Dallas, Texas. Earned a magna cum laude BA from North Texas State. Teaching Fellow at NTS, Lowell Fellow at Boston University, Intern at WGBH-TV Boston, Fellow at the MacDowell Colony, Peace Corps Volunteer teaching in Ghana. Upon return to the US entered a period of intense Civil Rights (SCLC, URBAN LEAGUE, NAACP, naming a few from those days) activities & immersion in the counterculture & working for six years for the Dept. of Health, Education & Welfare in the 5-state Dallas southwest region office, then Washington, DC.

In late-sixties in Europe, worked in shipyards and warehouses in the Netherlands, harvested grapes and vegetables in southwest France, and delivered washing machines in West Berlin. Also tutored American writers in Elsinore, Denmark and immersed himself in London’s poetry ferment, and on June 1, 1970 moved to San Francisco. Joined the Gay Liberation Movement. Began working for Margrit Roma and Clarence Ricklefs’ The New Shakespeare Company-San Francisco.

Met painter Richard Steger on Memorial Day in 1971. Both joined literary/ artistic conversations in English and in translation, publishing poems in the explosion of small-circulation literary magazines and presses that provided the ground for a literary life. Ed was drawn by George Oppen into a writers’ group that met first in Lawrence and Justine Fixel’s living room that evolved into in Ed’s living room with poets Lennart Bruce, Laura Ulewicz, Jack Gilbert, Shirley Kaufman, Ray Carver, Josephine Miles, Nanos Valaoritis, Mort Marcus, William Dickey, Frances Mayes, Honor & Wayne Johnson, William Talcott, Adrianne Marcus, Jim & Eleanor Watson-Gove, Elizabeth Hurst, Jules Mann, Helen Sventitsky, Andrea Rubin, Carl Weiner, Sybil Wood, Marsha Campbell–and more now–over the last 41 years. First as a partner with Lawrence Fixel in founder/ proprietor/ publisher Dennis Koran’s Panjandrum Press, and later with his own Norton-Coker Press (with Laura Kennelly’s MRS JUNG book as first of dozens), Ed published with Richard Steger 19 issues of TOOK, a free magazine.

Since 1970, Ed’s published works in addition to poetry, criticism, essays, and stories have appeared in 2000 literary journals, magazines, zines, broadcasts, fliers, broadsides, and broadsheets. Publications (often with artwork by Richard Steger) include DAMAGE WITHIN THE COMMUNITY (Dennis Koran’s Panjandrum Press, San Francisco 1973); HER CHILDREN COMME HOME, TOO, Sceptre Press, England 1974); CHRONICLE (Mother’s Hen Press, San Francisco1974); ROOT ROUTE AND RANGE (Gary Elder’s Holmgangers Press, Alamo, CA 1976); ROOT ROUTE & RANGE THE SONG RETURNS a 88-page poem (Walter Billeter’s Paper Castle, Melbourne, Australia 1979). In the 1980’s: THE SINGING MAN MY FATHER GAVE ME (Anthony Rudolf’s Menard Press, London, England); THE TORN STAR (Larry Oberc’s Opposm Holler Tarot, Indiana), EDWARD (Michael McKinnon’s Primal Press, Boston, MA). NO ONE FOR FREE (SF,CA); GRATE COUNTRY (split chapbk w/Lainie Duro, Chicago); IDOLINO (SF,CA); NEXT YEARS’ WORDS (split chapbk w/Andy Lowry,Chicago); THE SINGING SURGEON (Colorado); 1990’s PINK GARDENS BROWN TREES (Bernard Hemensley’s Stingy Artist/Last Straw Press, Weymouth, England); BECAUSE WE SPEAK THE SAME LANGUAGE (Paul Green’s Spectacular Diseases Press, Peterborough, England); SPLIT, chapbook w/Jim Watson-Gove, Mycue’s half titled LIFE IS BUILT FROM THE INSIDE OUT. 2000 came NIGHTBOATS (Jim Watson-Gove’s Minotaur Editions, Oakland, CA ). Then, 2008, MINDWALKING: NEW & SELECTED POEMS 1937-2007 (Laura Beausoliel’s Philos Press, Lacey, WA ).

September 2009, Jo-Anne Rosen’s Wordrunner Press of Petaluma, California issued online, Edward Mycue’s first Echapbook of 25 selected poems, I AM A FACT NOT A FICTION. A television program featuring Edward Mycue is on the internet and also here…

8 Replies to “November by Edward Mycue”

    I had a young, firm face then.
    And I would have been wide-eyed
    waiting to catchit, whatever
    ‘it’ was, to catchit and take it
    apart, to understand what the virus
    life was presenting to me, me
    who couldn’t then have seen myself
    or my kind as a virus swarming
    out of our planet attempting to
    conquer and perhaps colonize stars.
    Last week, early, I sat at my window
    looking at the large, heavy cones
    being attacked by huge awkward crows
    disturbing all other life in that tree —
    greedy things. I recall “Grammy”, warning
    against following the crows before
    you die, the way rodents do who pickup
    what greedy crows’ have dropped. I have become a crow and though part of a system, I see in that grainy photograph that I am conscious with a bad conscience.

    © Edward Mycue 17 SEPTEMBER 2015

    I hear in the wind long-gone voices
    Who knew the language of flowers
    Tasted the bitter root, hoped,
    Placed stone upon stone, build
    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 is soon September I hear in the wind.


    Passages in melancholy
    loss recess in dreams
    that curl — a bannister or
    a squirrel’s tail, squeaking,
    shivering with possibility
    for the right moment.
    All the while dewy mornings,
    wild blue skies where willow trees confront tiny blades, needles, stars, explosions
    that are still, not night,
    but light on light where
    breath has many doors
    mixing retrospect, apprehension
    told, lost, found this morning.
    Past and future is now,
    no hands in stone.

    © Edward Mycue


    Past and future is now
    mixing retrospect with apprehension
    because breath has many doors
    that are light on light.

    Lost passages reside in dreams
    curling the way a bannister curves
    or even a squirrel’s tail
    waiting for the right moment.

    Dewey mornings– wild blue–
    Wait, back to back, for freedom,
    for control, for surrender
    transforming for the right moment.

    ©Edward Mycue


    That words dream motion

    makes life glorious

    puts raw silk to silence

    gives music tongue,

    reveals in all the rainbow colors

    how nature comes listening

    to seed bursting,

    to the prairie garnet and

    desert chimney peridot,

    leaving the wind behind.

    Actions matter.

    Thoughts matter.

    All flow into
    a great final music.

    © Edward Mycue San Francisco 29 December 2014 for Serge Echeverria

  6. A FIGHT FOR AIR by 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

  7. NOVEMBER (the longer, 3 page, version)

    NOVEMBER BY Edward Mycue p. 1 of 3 pages

    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.
    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.

    NOVEMBER Edward Mycue page 2 of 3 pages

    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 dividingmy 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.
    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.
    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.
    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 30 June 30, 2015
    APT 320, 3595 GEARY BLVD.
    SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94118 TELEPHONE 1 (415) 387-2471

  8. LOST

    Comparisons analogies opposites contrasts
    similarities differences metaphors reverses
    obverses contrasts analogies similes likes:
    “I always felt I was standing on shifting sand…”

    Narratives of abandonment & disappearance
    human overuse of critical resources
    climate change exhaustion tipping points
    secrets, evasion, closure, disclosure, withholding, silences, dissembling,
    denials, turning a blind eye, truth, lies, turning your back on the truth

    Patterns of behavior, protocols, routines, rote, etc
    systems, procedures, menus, plans, priorities, repetition
    hold your horses, you know your onions, get a little heads-up here
    through-put, you are never able/allowed to purge your archives
    affronted, aggrieved, petulant stare, two birds with one stony stare
    what does it all add-up to you may well ask!

    Paths lead up, down. Day is not east. It is west. All’s traffic. In these necessary hours, one man lifts his arms, stretching ready, signaling flame crimson. A long shadow adds you. The green you adds “with” and all through the night, love, bending everything.

    So if the numbers inquire, tell them we are the ones, they are ones, I am one and you are one– — awe-filled, and not some kind of a robotic turned-brain knob.

    When the numbers inquire, tell me you are one and that I am your one even as We truckle, burnished, roan now, in submarine confusion, swollen, last guest happy saying life’s the insult (even when not).

    So when the numbers inquire, tell how differing drummers relive, repeat lessons of pilgrimage, malaise, the hungering decline of allegiances, how to fill a numb center and to reshape the line so you don’t get lost.

    © Copyright Edward Mycue 28 September 2017 for my sister Marguerite Mycue on her double seven birthday

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