Anselm Hollo



brain hovers above keyboard
cat slips in curls up
nothing comes to mind
then something comes too
they do a pas de deux
and that (if you ask me)
is la méthode
— so, no more epic awe code!
dig the streets!
come on up out of your whale!
wade ashore! hear gravel crunch!
use lots of exclamation points!
warble with ironic witch
’til dawn does closely fold you in

“’til dawn ...”: paraphrase of a line by Edward
Arlington Robinson.


all that fifties-style
wretchedly splendid
better living through chemistry
when people said things
like “haven’t I seen you somewhere before”
always worried about hitting exactly wrong note
hence tall strung-out conversations
with hypothetically beautiful persons
remember those? but now
I am pissed off at you old sport
even though you are dead
to my regret & possibly even yours
no longer hanging on to tatters of poetic mantle
or moth-eaten unacknowledged legislator’s wig

Addressed to no one in particular; a composite (possibly
even self-) “portrait.”


Moving the books was like moving brain cells
-- vittu helvetti pissa kakka --
Now those be powerful words
The words any five-year-old
In the land of my “origin” used to
Used to use to enrage their elders
          (still does, probably)
But “only” five million persons will say
“Did you HEAR what that kid just said?”
Definitely an item from the Forbidden Apartments

Ah yes ’tis important to find
Your “self”
Consistently interesting
In a consistent spirit of self-mockery

“vittu helvetti” etc. (Finnish) -- roughly equivalent to
“shit piss fuck hell.”


Traveling into the past on the Internet
I see an old friend from forty years ago
Now dead five years. He hasn’t changed a bit.
Or listening to a tape there are lots of feathers
Another friend’s feathery voice
Stilled in a mix of blood and French gasoline.
Deserters both of them, one from Hitler’s army
The other from consensus reality:
“When he was good he was just mildly insane
When he was bad he was out of his mind”
& into another we could not know.
And this is one of those “long ago” poems.
They did give me courage: I still run
On some of their essence. They were fine deserteurs.

“On some of their ... “: “essence” in French -- gasoline;
“deserteurs” (Fr.) -- deserters.


thinking about successions ...
here comes a message from Aubrey Beardsley
(forwarded by EP)       “Beauty so very difficult”
damn straight! as is the sublime, think of Mozart
they buried him sub lime
and when they told Maurice Ravel “your requiem
for the WW1 dead is too cheerful”
his comeback: “The dead are sad enough
         in their eternal fire”
after Papa Doc    came Baby Doc
now Baby Shrub is about to succeed Papa Shrub
and when the people no longer speak anything but teevee
and you don’t even have a set in your hut --
signed, Proud to Be An Aberration of the Sixties

“Baby Shrub is about to ...”: Do only the gods know what,
now that he has “succeeded” (!).


from up there on the ridge
the successful manufacturer of vacuum cleaners
surveys the valley: ah,
all those little lights --
each one of them a “home”
with at least one of
his dear machines!
it is festive
it is the festival of Saint Retail
that ends every good U.S. American’s year --
Martinis über alles!
but bellicose poem no buy dinner
but the sea slug remembers everything, you hear?
It remembers    Everything

“but the sea slug” -- sea slugs have been immensely helpful
to human memory and dopamine receptor research.


Now that was pretty simple-minded wasn’t it.
A dog barks in the dark.  It’s simple-minded.
It probably belongs to some simple-minded person
who cannot understand what the dog wants. The dog wants
some simple-minded attention,
that’s all it wants.   2. So softly stirs
3. So stubborn are the boots
walking an old man.  His matter hesitates
where there are doors among the glaciers
furred with brine.  O softly stirs, when he goes out,
the next door cat, pees on the holy book
under his pillow.  So the old guy grits his teeth
and wishes for that song “She Is a Country Woman”
to call him back to the bars of? Late Modernism?


“An ancient land animal”    Man in wheelchair
comes rolling out of old folks’ home
I hold the door open for him

He looks at me, says “WIND’S PICKIN’ UP ...”
rolls on down the slope to the parking lot

not heading for any car! but the good old Open Road
-- I’m beginning to have my doubts

when a nurse comes charging after him
an air of disapproval about her

she turns him around and pushes ...
I help her pull the chair back up the slope

They perform a successful reentry

“So a lot of time has passed    But without
the imagined future having come to pass”

“An ancient animal” and “So a lot of time ... to pass”:
Carla Harryman, discussing the part of “Reptile” in her
“Memory Play” (COMBO 9, December 2001). I was assigned that
part in a reading of the play, one summer at Naropa in the


“would that it were otherwyse”

                 one eyebrow raised
                 Sir Thomas listens to his quill

(check Wyatt quote) (can’t find,
it’s not a Wyatt quote) (so what,
it’s you    trying to sound like him)

       o would that it were otherwyse
       friends did not have to die

Andrei Voznesensky, in Iowa:


                                       bye-bye Fielding

Fielding -- Fielding Dawson, master of USAmerican poetic
prose: 1930-2001.


Thirty years later
Back in Ann Arbor
Music sounds much the same

“Thirty years later” sounds insane
Who can be that old!
Here, in Mr. Greek’s Coney Island
On State Street, Ann Arbor
The “Athens of the Midwest”

Yes Ha-Ha Yoga
Was the discipline then:
Get a little high, then get a little higher
Are they “fond”
Those memories
Or did they just get a little fonder?



Stand by the door of the old orphanage
in Visby, north in the world

where last night we watched
this watery globe

roll back and away from the sun
“A tiny tick just walked across my arm”

Talk to small Swedish tuxedo cat
in the blustery morning

tell her you better not mess
with that big bumblebee

Go back in    Coffee is ready
Good morning, Janey!

“What are those weathervanes?”
“They’re WHALES”

“Visby” -- old medieval town on the island of Gotland, off
the east coast of Sweden. “Lyckan” -- Swedish for
“happiness,” “good fortune.” Cognate of “luck,” but primary
meaning is happiness (which tends to sound so sappy in