4X4X4's and other works by Jack Collom and Maureen Owen

Collaborations of 2009

Jack Collom was born 1931 in Chicago. Birder and woodswalker from an early age. Early onto humors of language. Moved west at 15, attended Forestry school in Colorado. USAF four years. Worked in factories 20 years, writing poetry on the side. Two NEA Fellowships, 23 books and chapbooks. Works with kids a lot. At 76, he's writing more than ever. Thinks everything is funny, perhaps also very sad. Latest book Situations, Sings, with Lyn Hejinian.

Born in Graceville, Minnesota, Maureen Owen grew up training horses and traveling the Racing Fair Circuit with her family who spent their winters in California. She attended Seattle University and San Francisco State University before moving to Japan in 1965 and then to New York and Connecticut. She is the editor and publisher of Telephone Books and author of ten collections of poetry, including Erosion's Pull, a Colorado Book Award and Balcones Poetry Prize finalist, American Rush, a Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalist, and AE (Amelia Earhart), a recipient of the American Book Award. Formerly co-director of the Poetry Project in New York, she now lives in Denver and teaches at Naropa University.




boldly splashed with designs
ashore I see a bowl
back in the tombs
deal like a hose

Investors will plant marigold
but of course, you
but now someone says
you can tie a knot

I think of Black
it'll take forever to
detail of stamp-sized portraits
water rushing to her

in a desperate moment
smoked oysters for lunch
your ivory skin raked
together with real gold



between light and fact
crashing into the earth's
when all these things
then the dream spoke

crystalline miles creatures pay
champagne it's called bamboo
initial pointless store showers
big pile of Republican

sometimes took an egg
dense circle of shade
there will be no
rock from the car

two hours of assembly
it was still bubbly
some tatted thing under
thorns crossing the yard


Shakespearean Sonnets


Hushed weeds    brown grass    or lemon seeded    where are we?
Facing a land between our legs dissolving into black twists
The likes of wearing shorelessness poorly
O radiance O pearl O whirlpool of murk

Syllables floating in wild array over sake cups splash of Samurai pottery
Seeking the state in which hot & cold are mottled like a Pollock painting
Vanishing! the ruins of the pony cart vanishing the little road receding
At last! it was like living coiled around a fire hydrant

Dodo birds are fabulous to have imagined never traveling
She saw her face in every tile, every floorboard, every anthill
The bakery is contemplating acres of sugar cane
To which he pulled out a plate of history from his chest

The chin of a tobacco shed recalls only melancholy
Bloomsbury, badly hurt, but climbing back up from the dirt



Every rock had its own idea; together they formed a babble of
Ageless zombie in haute fashion wear loses body parts walking
Warm skin cold bones, sketching woven stick façade
Rolled in that night belching promise of caged black holes

Something good wrap it up nail it tight deep in the hold with it
You stand in ice cubes watching for penguins
I tell you that sheer grammar has driven a wedge through my heart
"Her obsession with origami" he thought ruefully

Ah, the way solid ground always breaks into the most beautiful curlicues
Mouthing Portuguese like alabaster and the olive
When the wind was done with arithmetic, it looked like the Milky Way
Tiny colossus and his miniature arms

The claws grow like red sumac in the oldest places
A satchel of tomatoes like rubies around a cat's paw




exquisite corpse

into the middle of
life after you ditched
soldiers with attached pets
a fortunate kerflooey rang

Peggy didn't think so
going to be huge
but then Wilbur never
the British radical vocabulary

is "Yellow-board" absent?
recently fair is not
"tiles of laughter," y'know
might not be leaving

but while I dreamed
a parrot's eye-view
her lapidary "sweet nothings"
sad cellos go west



who are not those
winter trees, which seem
foisted on the solitary
sandpiper? the storekeeper gazes

swapping whimsical reverie for
two cans of peas
as troubling and turbulent
times call for Greek

their vermilion stained fingers
breaking down or not
long argued bent on
a quick Brooklyn breakfast

congratulate the broken bridge
radical little radishes -- until
a staggering silhouette approaches
quite near 17th St.


The Great Blue Heron and William Burroughs Sonnet

It is a loose frail platform of small sticks
You're only the most notorious paper hanger
Only dry mud dotted with smoking wicks
A telepathic sender dare not anger

Face smooth like yellow wax over cheekbones
And filled with milky light. The doctor shook
Dawn bathed the city in fiery cornpones
In 1925, I sold this book

Donkey trails never bunch together
Our paper is opaque, with minimal leakage
Brothers and sisters yodel in the weather
That tends to swirl- it doesn't seem so freakish

Those more aggressive get more than their share
Perhaps you've seen these creatures in a fair


Exquisite Corpse Sonnet

The baby threw her cereal at her Ma
A vast, still harbor of iridescent
The houses blazed; the little boy said "Ahhh"
Her flat shop girl voice that night fluorescent

From "Quacker drab" to "light mouse special grey"
One more last search for them before going home
Until the glow was lost in the blue of the day
The corpse of a hog bursts out of the dome

He sat and crossed his legs. He lit a smoke
They all ran screaming "octopus!"
Of sharp, rebuffing shrieks and a little joke
A nurse looked at him cold and thunderous

One entire shift of customs people
Beware homecoming lost in thoughts lethal