O raging quantity
"WHAT IS IT I'M SEEING?
Turning the pages of
Go, Dog. Go!
my body brings words out to my son
but I'm remembering Chinese food at
Chef Gia's: "Onion cakes," Philip said
beating his chest like Tarzan.
Lew Welch said: "He 'makes it new' out
of his Oregon mind. His bear's head.
He does this knowing
he is doing it.
It is not a case of untrained magic genius.
Whalen is that rare scholar who is in it
only because he wants to know."
(The World, Sunday, June 22, 1969)
Awake to the sounds of traffic
and cooking, the baby
cooing crawls across the crap
on the floor.
Hazy register of daytime-in-progress.
Launch Explorer, filter the junk mail.
And there's the one with the news
not so unexpected, but still
Difficult indeed to separate
those inside and outside
lives—how the work becomes
the person's field or range
as it filters through the morning
"He plays at Bach, badly," Welch writes,
"on tinny, borrowed pianos. Once,
after four hours of 'tinkle-tinkle,'
stop, tinkle, 'damn,' he said,
'There is not a single piece of piano music
I can play all the way through
without making a mistake.'
Then off to Ornette Coleman, or
electronic sound by Subotnick,
John Cage, Ives, anything.
Certainly this accounts
for the great range
of his meters."
DEAR MR PRESIDENT
LOVE & POETRY
WIN — FOREVER:
WAR IS ALWAYS
A GREAT BIG LOSE
I AM A POET AND
A LOVER AND A WINNER—
HOW ABOUT YOU?
Respectfully Yours, Philip Whalen 10:III:65
Now it's late. Swamped in stuff.
The irritating drag
knock knock knocks
The losers and winners,
the dreamers and weavers
these roadhouse layers.
"What really hurts is that Whalen walks
with that stubborn army of penniless poet-
scholars who will suffer great privations
if that be necessary to get the work done.
He has averaged less than $17.50 a week
for 20 years. Whalen is an heroic symbol
of frugality even in the drop-out scene—
a serious man whose simple and richly productive life
has taught us all a most
important lesson. (Welch)
"My life has been spent in the midst of heroic landscapes which
never overwhelmed me and yet I live in a single room in the city—
the room a lens focusing on a sheet of paper. Or the inside
of your head. How do you like your world?"
Shadows corner darkness
stark on the child's frog onesie.
His pursed lips grip invisible nipple.
Doves coo behind thin cranium.
He sprawls along red quilt spread futon mattress.
O gorgeous dream Ma matter monger.
My mind's elsewhere. Wouldn't you know?
"August royal blackness, brilliant night, &c.
O trickle star o rub that purple rim, &c. (hat) &c.
'...there's not very much of that
left, either...,' Robert Duncan said."
Not an ending
but a place to stop:
drop plop hop.
Clear sky. Bright moon.
"I keep trying to live as if this world were heaven
puke fish dark fish pale fish park fish
mud fish lost fish selfish
... ... ... ...
Although your name doesn't show here
I haven't forgotten you."