Sisters by Edward Mycue



Everyday is my sisters’ fresh borne heroic task
To set straight and smile and surge forward

Everyday some people get fired, terminated,
Let-go, sent-away and everyday sisters press on

Everyday for each one of our flower sisters
Is a picture of music dancing with her sisters

Equal sisters modestly managing instructing
Standards-keeping and innovating the tribe.

Sisters maturing solid prudence, perspective
Along with moderation, fortitude strongest

Sisters overall unswervingly planting the future.


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…

2 Replies to “Sisters by Edward Mycue”

    some popular songs that relate to these my sisters:
    1..MARGO “what the world needs now’ 2.COOKIE “raindrops keep falling on my head” 3.JANEY – ‘till there was you’ 4.ARDA ‘close to you’ 5.ELENA.’I’m looking over a four leaf clover’(Dave’s favorite & of parent’s Ruth & Jack)
    1.What the world needs now is love, sweet love
    It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of
    What the world needs now is love, sweet love
    No, not just for some but for everyone (WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS NOW: by Hal David words, music by Burt Bacharach, 1965)
    2.But there’s one thing I know
    The blues they send to meet me won’t defeat me
    It won’t be long till happiness comes up to greet me,
    To greet, greet, greet, greet me (RAINDROPS KEEP FALLING ON MY HEAD: Hal David words, Burt Bacharach, 1969)
    3.There were birds in the sky
    But I never saw them winging
    No, I never saw them at all
    Till there was you (TILL THERE WAS YOU: Meredith Willson, 1950)
    4.On the day that you were born the angels got together.
    And decided to create a dream come true.
    So, they sprinkled moon dust in your hair of gold,
    And star-light in your eyes of blue.
    That is why all the girls in town follow you all around.
    Just like me, they long to be close to you (CLOSE TO YOU: Hal David, Burt Bacharach, 1963)
    5.I’m looking over a four-leaf clover
    That I overlooked before
    One leaf is sunshine, the second is rain
    Third is the roses that grow in the lane
    No need explaining the one remaining
    Is somebody I adore
    I’m looking over a four-leaf-clover
    That I overlooked before (I’M LOOKING OVER A FOUR-LEAF CLOVER: Mort Dixon lyrics, music Harry M. Woods, 1927)

    6. I should add I have a 6th sister who is my partner-spouse-Richard’s sister 14 years younger than him and her name is Charmaine. A song that comes to me when I think of this lovely (now mother and grandmother) would have to come from opera. Not Tosca because that is only right in that the heroine is so true and honest and proud and beautiful. No, I will have to settle for a 1926 GEORGE & IRA Gershwin classical-pop song

    There’s a saying old says that love is blind,
    Still were often told, “seek and you shall find”
    So I’m going to seek a certain girl I’ve had in mind
    Looking everywhere, haven’t found her yet
    She’s the big affair I cannot forget
    Only girl I ever think of with regret
    I’d like to add her initial to my monogram
    Tell me, where is the shepherdess for this lost lamb?

    There’s a somebody I’m longing to see
    I hope that she turns out to be
    Someone who’ll watch over me

    I’m a little lamb who’s lost in the wood
    I know I could always be good
    To one who’ll watch over me
    Although I may not be the man some girls think of as handsome
    To her heart I carry the key
    Won’t you tell her please to put on some speed, follow my lead
    Oh, how I need someone who’ll watch over me

    There’s a somebody I’m longing to see
    I hope that she turns out to be
    Someone to watch over me

    I’m a little lamb who’s lost in the wood
    I know I could always be good
    To one who’ll watch over me

    Although I may not be the man some girls think of as handsome
    To her heart I carry the key
    Won’t you tell her please to put on some speed, follow my lead
    Oh, how I need someone to watch over me

    7. Laura’s not formally a sister. We met in 1958 and remain friends. The song for Laura is simply one written in 1951 by Dale Evans.


    Happy trails to you,
    Until we meet again.

    Happy trails to you,
    Keep smiling until then.

    Who cares about the clouds
    when we’re together?

    Just sing a song,
    and bring the sunny weather.

    Happy trails to you,
    Until we meet again.

    © copyright compiled by Edward Mycue 31 May 2016

    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

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