In college I won the Robert Frost Poetry Medal and received a copy of Robert Lowell's "For the Union Dead." The medal has since been lost as have the poems.
When I moved to New York City after graduation I had the good fortune to find a very small one room apartment on St. Marks Street, Apt. 3D. Two blocks south was the Fillmore East. diagonally across the street was the apartment of the poet W.H. Auden. Two blocks East were the alphabet streets where you could rent an apartment for as low as 45.00 a month from E. Turk.
I had a Norwegian girlfriend who liked to get high and hang out at places like the bar at the Broadway Central Hotel or the Electric Circus which was a couple of blocks away--colorful times.
I still thought of myself as a poet and had been studying poetry at the New School with Jose Garcia Villa. I also kept a journal, which I still have. Its in a small binder. I was a pack rat and as you can see the journal I kept was a hodge-podge of stuff. There is much in the journal I still can use. I can probably trace every piece I've written to something(s) in the journal. For that it's an invaluable record.
When I left New York for Montana I stopped keeping the journal. The environment wasn't the same. I pull the journal out now and then and shake my head at what's in it.
A malted shake and a greasy burger with fries. A fitting Christmas dinner. Maybe later a movie or a jump off a bridge.
Her breakfast is Applejacks and orange juice. The Jersey Jewish blonde crunches and slurps.
A man on the train gave me his seat today. He was in advertising. What difference did it make?
Man must live with nature, not dominate it.
The talk was about the statistical analysis of management problems to see whether a man with 37 years experience was to be promoted over a man with 12 years. All things considered.
Catching minnows in a park pond only to see them die.
A man who sold used clothes which he took from corpses. He was a gravedigger who then opened up a new business.
I am afraid of sympathy and smiles.
A man scaring pigeons off his roof with the American flag.
Came all this way to stand on the sideline at a dance.
Eve. Juliet. Mata Hari. Camille
I am a shoddy old man. Even in my seven foot mirror I am shoddy and small with round shoulders and wearing a brown coat worn at the sleeves.
Room gray with hotel smell.
“How was your day, dear?”
“OK. How was yours?”
“Oh, you know the usual.”
“Want your martini on the rocks?”
“Whatever you want to make.”
“Anything special you want to do later?”
“I don’t know.”
A kite lies dying on a string
Live out of a duffel bag lump
Her mouth smelled of assorted mints
Always going flat out towards what she was doing—much like that lady on the TV ads going flat out across the floor with a mop.
Dreamed if sitting in a slime pool dammed with rough red rocks and shouting the Bible to the green worms swinging from the trees on silver threads.
I can tell you are a nice girl. You get tears in your eyes when I tell a sad story.
The only vehicle that most men have to empty their brains of their ideas is through their voice. Poor men have this one gift and use it.
Movie trailers colored his days.
His life was in the metal of automobiles, searching for faults and correcting them with calloused, but tender hands. Liked to work on older model the best—they had managed to survive.
A lady following the patterns of her large rubber doormat in silver shoes. Around and around the geometric shapes until a man cam with a fur coat.
The delirium of loneliness.
I collect art, read poetry and sleep with whores
Threw vase against the wall to break the silence.
“Which way do we go now—right, left, straight ahead?”
“I don’t know.”
“You don’t know.”
“I’m trying to remember. It’s been a long time.”
“I thought you knew the way.”
“I do, only I forget which way to turn.”
“How can you forget. You were born there.”
“I know every looks the same.”
“What do you mean?”
“I don’t know. It’s just a feeling I have. You see something familiar, yet you’re not sure.”
“Let’s find someone to ask. There must be someone around.”
“I’m trying to remember. I really am.”
“Well try harder. I spent all day getting ready.”
“Think it’s fun for me?”
“If you only learn to remember things.”
“Can’t you stop bothering me?”
Subway rocketing along
Clickedly clack clickedly clack
I wrote a poem but the rain washed it away.
Great ideas make me sleepy.
I’d like to sell applejack in the Garden of Eden to speed up the biological urge
Rooms kept alive by coat of paint.
Wrote all day. Most of it is a rotten jumble of madness.
Heat washed into the corners of the room.
“Nothing comes of nothing, just as nothing returns to nonexistence.”
The water ran from the urinal bowl out over his velvet shoes. It ran and ran until the room was filled and he drowned.
Threw a towel over his head and made a checkered tent shutting out everything except the sound of a water pipe being used somewhere above.
Liked looking at her face in the movies covered with the flickering lights of a cartoon. Always wanted to remember her like that.
Knew by heart every minute spot on the ceiling. Made mental imges of it; gone exploring on them; rivers, islands, and continents. Made a guessing game of it and discovered hidden objects—faces, birds, and fish. Made mathematical calculations of it. Rediscovered his childhood.
“The realm of the unborn and the dead, the realm in which things can happen, but need not happen—a world between two other worlds.”
Paul Klee (rough translation)
A reverie of ravens
Tossed by dwarfs
Wore the same underwear for two straight days—sometimes three if the mood caught him. He took all his accounts to the greasy spoon across the street where they talked of Johnny Carson and ther two cent rise in everything. They thought it was sophisticated to do such things, especially when the hamburgers came almost raw with the smear of fingerprints on the cracked plate.
Chased the lights of fire flies until bed time.
Father was restless and moody. Years before he had laughed often and openly. Now when he laughed at all it was trite and constrained. Grew thin and snappish.
A mad poet burning his poems on a beach so he could roast marshmallows in the flames.
One side of the collar tucked in, the other hanging over the side of a bulky blue sweater of questionable wear. Below the baggy trousers, soft tan shoes with laces untied.
A big nosed girl waiting for the elevator. She talks to a handsome man. Her sounds and laughter at what she is saying were honks and wheezes, which didn’t seem to embarrass her. Her body rocked back and forth.
A man who wanted to die and couldn’t. He was sadder than anyone I’d ever seen. He’d sit in his room and try to die. If somebody called him he’d get really mad because he was being interrupted from dying.
Tilted masts make swordplay against the sky.