by Charles Potts

from Berkeley Daze


Here we are probably seeing a reflection of the evolution of the brain . . . the dominant hemisphere seems completely ignorant of what went on in the other. However, one hemisphere or the other generally prevails at any given time. Any incompatible messages coming down from the other hemisphere must be inhibited or disregarded.

from "The Great Cerebral Commissure"
R. W. Sperry, Scientific American
January, 1964


      for Andy Clausen

I looked into the toilet
and the piss hit the water
and the image broke
and I began to feel
out of touch with everything
and strungout on the profits
of American idealism
as it feeds back and forth
to all brand X Americans
I want your ears without the wax
your undivided attention
and all the money you got
the Bank of America
must be completely
to keep you from dying
any sooner than you think
because you can't can't
why I'm sick and fucking
tired of
picking up after
folksingers for McCarthy

Murdock gave his pitch
and it was clear off key
no harmony
no message
he wasn't even keeping
with his own time
and split before the poets
had all had their say
Clean Gene is a conscious
agent for
Johnson's schizophrenia
and so many motherfucking
poets keep on writing
with the rite hand
and reaching for the Nobel
Prize with the other
is it any wonder
the rite brain doesn't care
what the left hand is doing
there is a rupture coming
wider than the mark
it will not fit
I've got to
shut up and let it go

and so Hitchcock after getting
$10,000 from the man
for Kayak
sponsors a little contest
$400 for the best
poem on the subject of
the death of Che Guevara
the theme is madness
style MLA
form preferably sonnet
length is your discretion
scene South America
produced by
20th Century Fox
and directed by the CIA
and it's gonna show up on
Main Street
with all the rest of the pop
corn at the Main Theatre
the other end of which
is the village jail
from which the local
deputy Harold Whitney
sprang so graciously
to let Jerry Wilson
volunteer for the draft
and he got killed
in Vietnam
and from your selective service hands
Wally Kahler
Oval Caskey
Howard Baxter
his blood will not wash off
does it surprise you Mackay, Idaho
that the thin nervous endings
of the selective service system
broke when you reached for me
for I'm a volunteer
from the draft
you carry on in triplicate
and send the children
of the Big Lost River Valley
out to die
for somebody else's
you ain't got one of your own
you twitch
you lie
stranded there
from which I with
eyes on heaven
and came back for my papers
and got brot down
by your localism
Ox and Hereford and MacAffee
cowboys and farmers
eyes in the front
they ain't got no heads
they lie between the mountains
north northwest
I can't go home again

there's a song made lite by the rising
of the dark side of the moon
it's completely invisible
but it keeps their image up
where the tears are never found
in god's eyes

or on my cheeks
'cause I can't cry for dead men
and the living are so few
and full of shit
they pumped our eager heads
and called it love
your country
and your bank account
and so I bought the apple pie
and later named the fountain
after naked Andy Clausen
who ran thru San Jose
and turned everybody on

and 6 people had the lack
of balls
to send their complaints
and tho they got a warrant out
for his arrest
you'll never get your hands on him
'cause you won't believe me
when I tell you
he's completely exposed
all the time

and Marvin Garson prints
and clutters up his center spread
with William Blake
how can his schizophrenia go on
the Express Times and Krech could call him also down
for frontpaging
do it yourself sabotage
blow up PG&E
and if he wanted to he would
without broadcasting
mixed intentions
non organic material
is morally neuter
and tho my sympathies
are considerably to the left
I'm politically neuter
and bored with the rhetorical revolution
the Rabbi says the revolution
will set the clock ahead
360 degrees
and I'm rite back where I started

how many times am I gonna hafta
the Complete Tales of Henry James
so we can have a reading
at Shakespeare's Bookstore
and peel layer after layer
of history and literature and bullshit
off my back

I forgive you everything
god bum trips the earth
headlines all over
the 5th Dimensions

and you can't go on imagining
you are in control of everything
you're lucky to have got
a decent potty training
your clothes on rite side out
and something like a woman
to address your deepest
fears and hopes
new ribbons for your typewriter
and life in perpetuity
for the mindless games of
string you out of yourself
with posters and TV
with books and magazines and dope

'cause nothing's gonna save
this place
I used to keep my head free
by allotting only one
mistake per fascist per lifetime
and I'm coming back around
to it
and wish you life indefinitely
and am going anywhere
to die of my self
inflicted wounds

to err is human
to forgive is next
to impossible

for anyone who does not
Nietzsche chortled
because I killed him
makes me happy
and missed out on the good
things in life
no one can do
and tho his head worked
there were no next immediate
women in his life
and only the mind could say it
"but your body means well"
there isn't any such thing
as half hi

tho you can be forever
on the way up
and down
and times upon my trips
I've felt I was either
an the bottom or lower
than the ladder goes
beneath it
and above
but those are just no places
I have never been
anywhere but listening to
the rising and the falling
of the tears you're crying
life is very sad
there is no god before me

many are called
a few chosen
I was hand picked
the lock off my pants
and rocked back and forth
inside the skin connections
you either got or ain't
and some call it lonely
and some say
that's the breaks
and there are those pretending
to be with it
all the time
and many are
and more ain't
and I begin to see the reasons
for the paramilitary
coup de tete

no matter
how far out to lunch
you may sound
as if you knew me
and called me friend
in music
fills the vision
of the universe
I'm writing
and must have
for a while at least
misunderstood its intentions
puncturing the Litmus spirit
in the middle of the nite
stapling somebody else's old
poems into history

you're in the room
the floor is rising
and I got my bebe

I love everything
and people most of all

what a drag it is
all true
whether I like it or not
but I'm not gonna be
brot down backwards again

and I begin to see the end
of something strung thru outer
and nobody seems to realize
how close it is
when Seale secedes from Oakland
and the return burn begins
and the cities crumble into
more obvious piles of trash
and bad breeding inbred
Europe really takes a roll back
and it will be necessary to live
in the country
to survive
no fast war
no obvious bitter ending
years of toil
lie ahead
and hunger and famine and
and only the nimble and the sleek
and yes the lucky
species one
ameba to Andy
and everything in between
will go on
much as it was before

and those of us who've ironed
history out
and dug the dirt
and swam thru water
and planted the seeds
and made the bread
and loved the bed

put history in our hands
do it well
and do it quick
the abyss is moving forward
let it take you
don't be afraid
I told the bell bottomed
dungareed young spade
when he asked me if
I'd gone into the other
and we went together
nothing but darkness
nothing like a bottom less
pit with the sound of water
off Point Lobos
and I ran out on the tide
to see if I could tell
where it drained
and they said
"you were lucky"
and I said "no
I could see the wave"
and yes I hurried
and it was slick
but I saw it coming
and got out of the way
and continued my rap down
of the sea lions


and remembered when I dismissed
Henry Miller at Big Sur
for reiterating the bullshit
about rock is nature's perfect
and stood on it as the water
washed its impression
and eventually away
the shingles come clicking
with the sand and foam
and the mountain above Atlantis
broke and fell into the river
I was trying to cross

can you feel the earth quake
and the doctor said
"I'm afraid its diabetes"
and considering how much I care
for sweet things
it was truly a bad dream

and I woke up worried for the sugar
and the insul
I will eat what food I like
and sleep with who and whom
I please
and life goes on
and I get off
a few good rocks
before retiring
to cry my empty heart
with tears for the baby boy
as he stood arms around
the telephone pole
at the Halliday underpass
his been replaced
with the Benton
and the Pocatello House came down
when they cut the trees along the Portneuf
to prepare for a flood
and all my old friends have gone
on their own wobbling trips
and I couldn't even care
for Dawn and Sean and Phil
much less myself
and who am I to worry
for the death of everything
when I can't even keep
all my other selves in place
much less the one that
writes and he who reads
and him whose chief desire
had the day off
and didn't come to see me yet
I know Pat' busy
and I'll hug her when she shows
as the whole side
of our better half
and I can't call her anymore
to the co-op on size 11 feet
and pray to move beyond
the dial tone
media is something in between
and I don't want nothing there

where all my brothers and sisters
await the end of nite
it's only the beginning
I sang with arms around
Coon and Redboy
drunk on vodka and not giving
a royal shit
about the ice on the street
and the coach's wrath as he
put Coon and I out
2 on 3
and we put down all
the other combinations
he tried to come up with
and derisively referred to us
as the brewery gang
and we just kept winning
'cause we had our heads
and he is probly in the mountains
rite at this moment
Crescent Mining Well where he gave me
a place to stay on Bunker Hill's blast furnace
and his dad died doing same
and we became good friends
'cause nobody else could stay
out as late or drink as much
and drive as fast without
getting caught
except the Circle
and we got caught by everything
and women and children and jobs
and Anglo Saxon JDs
don't all vote Republican
as he gave his rite hand twice
when they fingerprinted us
for popping hubcaps
and since he was left handed
they got no impression
and the rite hand does remember
what its left hands were doing
as long as it is done
with nothing else in mind

I can't get out of this poem
my head yelled to itself
because the end is arbitrary
based on chance
even with the commissure
sending messages
in all directions

there is no death
because you won't
be able to remember

I suppose you remember dying
and coming back to life
and looking back
and fearing the unknown
but you've got to trust it
or die before it happens
which is to say well dressed
cadavers always worry
I do
or used to
but what about

I see the red lites on the tower
flashing out the window
what is it
that goes on
when all is quiet
and I can't sleep
without it
it's winning again
there's nothing I can do
except sing all the way thru

it is it
forward back and verb
it knows yes

to everything
yes to nothing
yes to you
and yes to me
and yes to know
and yes to maybe
and yes to why
and yes to what
and yes to who
and yes to how
and yes to when
and yes to it
and yes to yes
and yes and yes and yes


      for Patricia Parker

dominant     =     subdominant
Language     =     other) sex

the circle is response
and I don't have anything
to do with it
and ego doesn't matter
'cause we're at the end
of the progressive uptite
that produced the human head
I banish fear with love
and the other rules
the nite
when dry heaves of love and gas
come singing
off the great Cloud of Magellan
and the Tarantula Nebula
and I gather oracles everywhere
from the Scientific American
came out on the month
January '64
when I gave up on love
and just got it back tonite
with a transmigratory sympathetic
mescaline body hi
nothing can interrupt
the spinning of the earth
bows down before the sun
and everything is lite again

the Hindu visions of the beginning
was a turtle that carried
the world on its back
and wait
where did the turtle come
what turtle
could carry this explosion
between the edges of
begin and end
trapped on earth
'til we surround
ourselves with each's
and transcend
the bloody whining
about life and death
those half nouns of
the dark and lite
yin and yang
are easy enuf to draw
but can you make them fit

is the question
when it does its thing
and better than the Christian
vision of hell
puts bad vibes on
my sympathetic nervous system
and you make them go away
I respond and then I move
it must be instantaneous
and I'll put another flower
on my old schizophrenia
as my head comes whole
and ceases to concern itself
with trips other than ours
and everybody knows how

what is love
if not this juncture
where everything's warm and wet
and chewing on each other's flesh
the Eskimos
were in to something good
we sang
rubbing the erectile
tissues in our noses
I can smell you days after
you're gone

love won' wash off
my bebe
my body is absolutely certain
and we slept the dead sleep
having fucked out and off
all our fears
and circle in the afternoon
around a dreamless sleep
in comfort
want my children

I'm more hungup than you are

I sang to you
and you sang it back
and tonite you'll have your home
and I wont even let you let me
out of bed for
poetry and food
are at best second rate
no ungodly matter how hi
can we get


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