April 13th, 1980, Serial No. 01915

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When we dead, the king of the rats has bowed to me. When we dead, the king of the swans has bowed to me. When we dead, the king of the world has bowed to me. Awaken, and the living die. Swans have come in the picture, and as a matter of fact, there are a lot of them. We'll talk a little about the use of the charade and the people in it. In this, again, as I said, ocean is almost... After how many cities are there, the ocean is almost sure to be me, and Chinese doctor is... Maybe you can tell by eyes when it occurs. What I'm talking about is something like a cubist portrait as an artist.


It's not the biography, but you draw upon the people around, and they're drawn into a circle, and you draw upon the poems that happen. All the poems that happen. Now a world is emerging, and when in the opening of this essay on Spicer, I said that he was not only a poet for me, as all his small company are for me today, but he was an event of poetry for me, as if in his person a primary presentation from an entity or cultivation of the poem address had appeared in my life. And certainly it's clear that it was reciprocal. There were series of poems and occurrences of Spicer in my work, and coming back the same way. The rats and swans and world also come forward, so that they came in poems of...


And what you do... Jack found the swan... In medieval scenes, which precede this poem, the swan knight had appeared, but in our theory of the poem and the whole approach of the poem, nothing could exist merely in the poem world. If you borrow from somebody's poem, you really were lost, because you're talking in false language. So it had to be there. We ransacked and searched and tried to figure out where he'd been. Where are the swans? Rats? That was no difficulty. But swans... But then Jack found the one place that you were sure to see it. There were decals of swans in the bathroom wallpaper. Every time he sat on the john, you were looking at nothing but swans. We couldn't figure out where the swans were. In the most elaborate one of when it would all be together, there would be no theory in which something appeared in a dream because you had seen it the day before. But if you had seen it in a dream,


and you hadn't yet seen it in the day, there was a realm called the actual realm, and there's another realm called dream. Both of those are the ones we pay very little attention to, the two of them. But the one place we wouldn't be like Freudians is we wouldn't presume that you would find the root of seeing something in a dream by finding out where you'd seen it during the day. But we've had something firmer. If it was in a dream, it was sure to be in the actual day, and you perform an operation very much like a Freudian because if it wasn't in the past, it would be sure to be in the future, but past and future didn't signify. But more than that, if it was in a poem, and you busily, anxiously looked through dream and day references, all right, it was almost sure to be there, but if it wasn't, it would occur there, and yet all of that didn't signify. It wasn't cause and effect.


It meant that it was throughout. The things of the world are throughout, and the tapestry would be complete no matter how many worlds you possibly make. Spicer, especially like multiple world science fictions, has emerged from that. And as this world is building, and we're referring back and forth to each other's poems, we are reading them, a group of people reading intensively each other's poetry. Also, I remember Leonard Wolfe, who emerges as nothing but a professor out of San Francisco State University, and probably making a fortune, I hope, on doing annotated Dracula and annotated werewolf. He had written a book called Hamlet Triumphant.


In those years, he was typical of, I don't want to cast despair on young poets who were graduate students, but he was typical of it, promising. But his poems had haunting elements in them. And then as we kept pursuing, we kept trying to get him connected with these things that would happen in the poem, and we found out he didn't want to connect what he wanted to write with poems like R.P. Blackburn, and he got graded in Huntsman Review. And he came damn close to it, and then finally succeeded in not being a poet. But back of these haunted elements as we pursued them, so that in his Goliath, in Medieval Scenes, the poem on Goliath, the line quoted is from a line from Leonard Wolfe's Hamlet Triumphant. It's built into the poem, from Leonard Wolfe's Hamlet Triumphant. We found lots of that. Well, to give you an idea of what the we was, Jack Spicer, myself, and then,


not quite certain at all, Robin Blazer, because we hadn't started writing poetry yet. But we were hounding Leonard Wolfe to see if we couldn't get him connected. If we could have gotten him plugged in into the current, he would have been a goner. And we wanted more goners. We saw most people were bright enough they were never going to get plugged in. And neither foolish enough nor afraid for that to get on the current. When we went around, we found there's a very good reason for these strange elements in Leonard Wolfe's life. He had been born in Transylvania. And in a Jewish community, the Jewish community had some elements that are not, I would think, Jewish. They are remarkably like Mithra and Gelman. Leonard's parents deserted him completely,


left him with his grandmother when he was a baby. I guess in effect, Papa came over here. They came over here and sent their baby when they get a job and get things going. But one of his first reactions was that he went into a massive diarrhea and his grandmother and the town went to a ceremony where they split open an ox, threw him into the hot ox, sewed him up and re-delivered him from an ox. There are, Wolfe is his name and Lefescu had been his Romanian, Transylvanian name, the Romanian name. And that means werewolf. So of course he was going to do, his first book was going to do with annotated Dracula and so forth. Wow, no wonder he didn't want to plug in. I will take a pot shot at Robin Blake's delicacy of hinting that Spicer would be much more refined


than Spicer was on a subject. No sooner said that, oh yes, yes, yes, it was about blasphemy because it was an assignment in Jack Spicer's magic workshop. And maybe it's on the notes on the magic workshop here, I'm not sure. He said, oh yes, and then using the Lacanian language, you won't even find the other mentioned in Spicer anywhere. He didn't live in a world with the other. I wrote him a notebook. Yeah, Robin may have another, but does the other, other, is Robin the other's other? And then I got Nicole, other, [...] and went off in the distance. If you aren't born, it's like not being born in the drug generation. You're either on the bottle or the cigarette. If you're not born in the other generation, the other won't even get to you, and nowhere in Spicer is there the other.


You fall in love, and you do foolish things like that, and you do or do not get there, and so forth. He's got an accusation of God or something, but that's not the other, and the ghosts are not the other. His definition of blasphemy that he gave us, because I took the magic workshop from Jack Spicer, having invented it, so he'd have a job. Meanwhile, I didn't want to not get educated, so I didn't. He assigned blasphemy. That was one that, as a matter of fact, I wrote a poem against blasphemy, I think. Oh, I know, it is a text that is presumed to be blasphemous. I can't remember, but I really had trouble finding it. Spicer, however, did have a definition of blasphemy. It had nothing to do with the other or something strange. He said that blasphemy is when, in order to have a really big light on a poem,


you turn the whole current, the whole city on to light the light bulb and blow out the town. And it was right. No wonder I was saying current. We wanted to get him in on that current, and the current looks scary enough to us in its own way. But as the current built, we were building stronger and stronger the sense of what poets we were. Continuous ones. Who were the preceding poets? If a distinction were to be made, eventually, I commit the first heresy. So the long time before Spicer and Robin Blazer were prepared at all to read Black Mountain Poets, because not only do I try to get them to read a magazine called Origin, but then I'm going to have poems in that, and that is even more outrageous,


and I've never succeeded in getting them to read Origin, and certainly not Black Mountain Review, in theory. So it wasn't until 1955-56 when I really began preaching at them, as I'm beginning to write, beginning to finish the book letters, and that began to impress me. Robin hadn't started writing yet, and Jack had stopped writing, so there's a massive correspondence trying to get them to start writing, because here was a whole lost thing that had been quite real. So essentially, where Spicer takes hold, when Spicer does take hold of the modern scene, of the scene that he really belongs to, it's in the terms of magic. And when he names the magic poets, there are myself, Olsen, Ginsburg, amazingly enough.


I can't remember that list. I should have brought the lecture along, because it's a very interesting list when he names it. Some of it is in the eyes of his followers. For instance, at that point, he did not include Blaser. It's an almost definitive statement. And then he did include Olsen. Olsen had totally rejected Spicer. Not that he had no interest in it, but Creeley would have been in that list. Spicer had two real wounds in the poet. One was that after writing homage to Creeley, he sent it to Creeley, and never got any response. That's not the wound that it would have been at. I've been a very naughty boy, and relayed the letter, which I wrote to Creeley, of what happened. Homage to Creeley. And Creeley just made nothing of it. But in Olsen's case, Olsen had really attacked Jack directly.


And in the phase in the last year, in July, two years or so, his followers had the impression that they were not to read him. He formed an index, and they had the impression that they were not to read Olsen. Jack's fury at Olsen was quite intense. Yet when he comes to give this last lecture, there is Olsen again, as a primary, as the magic. So in magic, that surpassed everything, and it would be, who were the magic poets before on one line? Yeats is where Jack very much centers. And that poem, the rag, and so forth. Yeats, and the ghosts come through. The ghosts that he played with earlier come through in a different way when they come, and Yeats' informants are the prototypes for the informants of Jack's later books. The ones who dictate the books. But this is a poem in which, in which there's an address directly to Stevens, and Stevens is a poet


that both Robin Glaser and Spicer, and then, interestingly enough, Creeley have, all three have Wallace Stevens as an origin point for the poem. And for the particular fiction book. I have, I certainly have a noticeable amount of Stevens, but since I am omnivorous, it would not be striking if there, but, oh, yes, I know my own origin point of trying to write poems, and they're rather frowning, I admit. A lecture in practical aesthetics. Entering the room, Mr. Stevens, on an early Sunday morning, wore sailor whites and helmet. He had brought a couple with him, and they danced like bears. He had brought a bottle with him, and the vapors rose from helmet, naked bottle, couple, haloed him, and wakened us. Haloed him, I guess.


Haloed. It looked like haloed him. That's okay. He had brought a bottle with him, and the vapors rose from helmet, naked bottle, couple, haloed him, and wakened us. But Mr. Stevens listened, sight and sense are dull, and heavier than vapor, and they cling and weigh with meaning. To floors and bottoms of the sea horizon them, you are an island of our sea, Mr. Stevens, perhaps rare, certainly covered with upgrowing vegetation. You may consist of dancing animals, the bear, Mr. Stevens, may be your emblem, rampant on a white field or panting in thrills above the floor and the ocean, and you a bearish demiurge, Mr. Stevens, licking vapor into the shape of your island. Fiercely insular, out of sense and sight, Mr. Stevens, you may unambiguously dance, buoying the helmet and the couple, the bottle and the dance itself. But consider, Mr. Stevens, though imperceptible, we are also alive. It is not right that you should merely touch us. Besides, Mr. Stevens,


any islander of our sea needs a geographer. A geographer, Mr. Stevens, tastes islands, finds in this macro cannibalism his own microcosm. To form a conceit, Mr. Stevens, in finding you, he chews upon his flesh. Chews it, Mr. Stevens, like dung down to the very bone. An island, Mr. Stevens, should be above such discoveries, available but slightly mythological. Our resulting maps will be misleading, though it be drawn, Mr. Stevens, with the blood and flesh both superimposed as ink on paper. It will be no picture, no tourist postcard of the best of your contours reflected on water. It will be a map, Mr. Stevens, as countries stiffened into symbols. And that's poetry, too, Mr. Stevens, as I am a geographer. Well, here's a poem. This is a poem, I think, in which, for the first time, although it's contained in that one that I read, the one addressing the lady


as California, in which a formula enters, a formula that... Yeah, both of these poems, two, written about the same time. These are from 1948, the year when I'm writing this Venice poem and so forth. And Jack starts cursing those he falls in love with. And that carries over disastrously into some where actually he curses, follows the poem through. In other words, he comes to predestine them as damned and standing now in Yahweh's place still in the same universe. And that carries through so that he ruins some real love relationships. Well, ruins, but I mean, his power is so much greater than it was hardly.


They were non-psychogrammatic. Jack would go through the first phase in which he was very happy and everybody thinks, wow, except that there was no way in which there was going to be... The household was not a realm in itself. It was swept into the... It can't be called... It's a poem drama. And the poem drama is beginning to appear, the one in which the series of poems will end in a kind of damnation. And these are individual poems where you've got Orpheus after Eurydice and Orpheus' song to Apollo. And both of them are Orpheus cursing them in some sense. Eurydice in this is... Now, I think, from here on, they will all be young men. And in both of these cases, they're young men that I think I will venture were just love-eyes.


I mean, I don't think they were a real relationship. Orpheus after Eurydice Then I, a singer and hunter, fished in streams too deep for love. A god grew there, a god grew there, a wet and wet-like god grew there. Mela, mela peito in medio flumine. His flesh is honey and his bones are made of brown, brown sugar. And he is a god. He is a god. I know he is a god. Mela, mela peito in medio flumine. Drink wine, I sang. Drink cold red wine. Grow liquids, spread yourself. Oh, bruise yourself. Intoxicate yourself. Dilute yourself. You want to web the rivers of the world. You want to glue the tides together with yourself. You look so innocent. Water wouldn't melt in your mouth. I looked and saw him weep a honey tear. I, Orpheus, had raised a water god that wept a honey tear. Mela, mela peito in medio flumine.


And I let my mouth go like his. Although he had a marvelous voice. He had a voice on a record that sounds like Henry Fonda, except it was shaped by something like what my mouth was doing as it went through there. It was very spooky when they brought a record out, when Evergreen brought a record out and put it on and kneeled and I never separated the voice from the person reading it and the way the mouth went when it was doing it. It's a cross between Henry Fonda except it's being done by a boy. I don't know if I can remember that. There's still another one, but he's got a, is it any of you? Sam? Right. Another movie voice. Jack, really. Movie voices and later songs on jukeboxes are very immediate to government reporting. Orpheus' song to Apollo. You, Apollo, have yoked your horse to the wrong sun. You have picked the wrong flower. Breaking a branch of impossible


green-stemmed hyacinth, you have found thorns and postulated to rose. Sometimes we were almost like lovers as the sun almost touches the earth at sunset. But at touch, the horse leapt like an ox into another orbit of roses, roses. Perhaps if the moon were made of cold green cheese, I could call you Diana. Perhaps if a knife could peel that rosy rind, it would find you virgin as a star. Too hot to move. Nevertheless, this is almost goodbye. You, fool, Apollo, stick your extra roses somewhere where they'll keep. I like your aspiration, but the sky's too deep for fornication. Okay. And this is, this is, this is from the same, this series, the Night in Four Parts. I'm going to read the revised uh, edition of it,


of the first two parts, and then read it in its original, I think. A Night in Four Parts. I think this, I think I published this first in Berkeley Miscellany, so that dates again where we are, 1948. Part One, Going to Sleep. While the heart twists on a cold bed without sleep, under the hot light of an angry moon, a cat leaps. The cat prowls into cold places, but the heart stays where the blood is. Two, Light Sleeping. Down in the world where the cat prowls, heart's mannequin, his climbing dog, prepares for love. Spawns eyes, spawns mouth, spawns throat, spawns genitals.


Heart is so monstrous naked that the world recoils, shakes like a ladder, spits like a cat, disappears. Part Three, Wet Dream. Downward it plunges through the walls of flesh, heart falls through lake and cavern unto sleep, deep like Orpheus, a beating mandolin plucking the plectrum of the moon upon its strings. It sings, it sings, it sings. It sings, it sings. Restore, restore, Eurydice to life. Oh, take the husband and return the wife. It sings still deeper, conjured by its spell, Eurydice, the alley cat of hell. Meow, meow, Eurydice not dead. Oh, find a cross-eyed tomcat for my bed. Too late, too late, it was too late, he fell. The sounds of singing and the sounds of hell become a swarm


of angry orange flies and naked Orpheus, moon shriveled, dies and rises, leaving lost Eurydice, heart flutters upward towards humanity, jagged and half-awake. For it waits, and under the new sun an old self slowly emerges. This is no moon-self shrinking from the sun, this is no cat-self slinking from the sun, only the sober wake of the day's passions, narrowing response. Self whines, hard self, like a watch, disremembers the almost unmechanical, the inhuman, chastens itself with watered dresses. What was the dream I had? Hard self, answer, can't answer. Let me give you the second version


of that of that fourth part of waking. Heart wakes, twists like a cat on hot bricks, beating off sunlight, now the heart slinks back to the blood and the day starts. Then the blood asks, who is that lover that thrashed you around last night and the heart can't answer? So go on to the proposition of self and cat-self is just like a cat. Oh, this is one that's been written in the Hyperion. Again, Berkeley at time of plague. Plague took this and the land from under us, rose like a boil, enclosing us within. We waited in the blue skies, rioted a while, becoming black with death.


Plague took us in the chairs from under us, stepped cautiously while entering the room. We were discussing Yates. It paused a while, then smiled and made us die. Plague took us, laughed and reproportioned us, swelled us to dizzy, unaccustomed size. We died prodigiously, it hurt a while, but left a certain quiet in our eyes. Oh, this is good. We find the body difficult to speak, the face too hard to hear through. We find that eyes and kissing stammer and that heaving groins babble like idiots. Sex is an ache of mouth, the squeak our bodies make when they rub mouths against each other, trying to talk. Like silent little children we embrace, aching together, and love is emptiness of ear. It's a cure. We put a face against our ear and listen to it as we would a shell chewed by its roar.


We find the body difficult to speak, crosses walls like strangers. I'm going to close by reading some of the imaginary elegies. They were the peak of this period, and they're what he devoted himself very much to. There are still some poems that go forward in the Rift in the East before it comes to the poems that are in the book, but this will bring us to the place where the more formal kind of begin to come together, and in a sense he knows what he's doing. And remember, he's about 30 when he, let's see, go back, he's about 32 when he writes after Lorta, which would be the 57th, 57th night. And he has eight more years to live. He's spelling them out


because he's busy at making sure they run out into the sand. There's a bit of misinformation in the collective books, and that is that Blaisdell says that Spicer started writing after Lorta while he was teaching the Magic Workshop. But Spicer was in an agony all the way through the Magic Workshop because he couldn't write his own assignments. There was one book written in the time that Jack Gilbert was in, just as with my workshop which followed Jack's, the workshop was selected by a person who came and took an examination, so you could tell from the examinations what the composition would be of the people in the workshop. Jack Gilbert, for instance, wrote the one book he wrote entirely within that workshop. The majority of the poems


in there are workshop assignments. And Beauregard started writing. He'd written before. I thought, my God, what is this boy doing? He's got rhinitis or something. And he came forward and read the WAP and he couldn't make anything out of it. And everybody was opposed to it except Jack and myself. And then Beauregard was utterly bewildered because he said, well, I just think this is shit. And we said, well, just continue. At least that's getting near it. That's better than what you were getting before because it's just typewriting and so forth as we go back and forth. But there were a remarkable number and a considerable number of poems in Oak King of the Field are, I would say, Jack's assignments as happenings that fell into the form of Oak King of the Field. Jack was following Oak King of the Field as it was written. So there was this kind of current. So it wasn't an intense agony that no poems came to him. I know very well he didn't write.


He was following that and then after a while came in a flood of poems. That's what the flood was. These are the imaginary elegies again. All the philosophy a man needs is in Berkeley. W.B. Yeats. I think that's Barclay. But there's a reason for that. And this is, finally, it is The Eyes of God and the Alley Cats. Well, I think you could have spotted the cross-eyed tomcat in that. I appear frequently. A poem by the name of Landis Everson appears in this. But meanwhile, again, they're so transformed. This is like, it is fun to look at a Cubist portrait and a photograph of the person to see what was done, but it's not quite that. But for those of you,


for instance, this is the bronze god derived from the sun and from a person already appeared in oak at the beginning of the Venice bomb. These poems are written around that time. Maybe earlier. I'm not sure. I have a great confusion about the poems because they seem to me to have been earlier. One. Poetry, almost blind like a camera, is alive in sight only for a second. Click. Snap goes the eyelid of the eye before movement almost as the word happens. One would not choose to blink and go blind after the instant. One would not choose to see the continuous platonic pattern of birds flying long after the stream of birds had dropped or had nested. Lucky for us, there are visible things like oceans, which are always around. Continuous, disciplined adjuncts to the moment of sight. But not so sweet as we have seen. When I praise the sun or any bronze god


derived from it, don't think I wouldn't praise the very tall blond boy who ate all my potato chips at the Red Lizard. It's just that I won't see him when I open my eyes and I will see the sun. Things like the sun are always there when the eyes open insistent as breath. One can only worship these cold internals where there's a port of what is absolutely necessary. But not so sweet. The temporary tempts poetry, tempts photographs, tempts eyes. I conjure up from photographs the birds, the boy, the room in which I began to write this poem all my eye has seen or ever could have seen. I love, I love the eyelid clips. I see cold poetry at the edge of their image. It is as if we conjure the dead and they speak only through our own damned trumpets, through our damned medium. I'm little Eva, negro princess from sunny heaven. The voice sounds blond and tall. I'm Aunt Minnie, love is sweet as moonlight here in heaven. The voice sounds


blond and tall. I'm poor Uncle Bill, I sang for the Titanic I rose in salty heaven. The voice sounds blond and sounds tall, sounds blond and tall. Goodbye from us in spirit land since we flipped on in spirit land. You can't see us in spirit land and we can't see at all. Two. I guess we can see what he meant by being like Sophie Tyson. Did he raise his voice when he preached to us? Oh sure, yeah. I think. I think there's a yeah, there's a recording of him doing the eulogies because KPSA did in the tape. While they were laughing at Spicer, I mean laughing and ridiculing how ridiculous Spicer was, Don Allen talked about all his early voices in these years when Don was an editor in New York and as a matter of fact did get him a lot


of what got published and out of that came that anthology but he couldn't get and he had a lot of prestige he couldn't get anybody interested in publishing Jack Spicer. He kept trying to get well, no one. As a matter of fact it was out of a great frustration of trying to get certain key poets published anywhere in any magazine that would ask him to advise him and so forth that Don came to want to do an anthology. Two. God must have a big eye to see everything that we have lost or forgotten. Men used to say that all lost objects stay upon the moon untouched by any other eye but God's. The moon is God's big yellow eye remembering what we have lost or never thought. That's why the moon looks raw and ghostly in the dark. It is the camera shots of every instant in the world laid bare in terrible yellow cold. It is the objects we never saw. It is the dodo's


flying through the snow that flew from Baffin Land to Greenland's tip but did not even see themselves. The moon is meant for lovers. Lovers lose themselves and others do not see themselves. The moon does. The moon does. The moon is not a yellow camera. It perceives what wasn't, what undoes, what will not happen. It's not a sharp and clicking eye like glass and hood just old, slow, infinite exposure of the negative that cannot happen. Fear God's old eye for being shot with ice instead of blood. Fear it's inhuman mirror of blankness luring lovers. Fear God's moon for hexing sticking pins and forgotten dolls. Fear it for wolves, for witches, magic, lunacy, for parlor tricks. The poet builds a castle on the moon made of dead skin and glass. Hear marvelous machines stamp Chinese fortune cookies full of love. Tarot cards make love to other tarot cards. Hear agony of just imagination, sister bitch. This is the sun tormented castle which reflects


the sun. Da-da-da-da. The castle sings. Da. I don't remember what I lost. Da-da. The song. Da. The hippogriffs were singing. Da-da-da. The boy and his horns were wept with song. Da-da. I don't remember. Da. Forgotten. Da-da-da. Hell. Old butter face who always eats her lover. Hell somehow exists in the distance between the remembered and the forgotten. Hell somehow exists in the distance between what happened and what never happened, between the moon and the earth of the instant, between the poem and God's yellow eye. Look through the window at the real moon. See the sky surrounded, bruised with rays. But look now in this room. See the moon, children, wolf, bear, and otter, dragon, dove. Look now in this room. See the moon, children, flying, crawling, swimming, burning, vacant with beauty. Hear them whisper. These poems go over


a period of about four or five years, and there were lots of writings and rewriting, although they don't, the only one poem that I think of is in which two versions are given, but I meant there was a great deal of struggle to bring these elegies into shape. 3. God's other eye is good and gold, so bright the sun shines blind. His eye is accurate. His eye observes the goodness of the light it shines. Then, pouncing like a cat, devours each golden trace of light it saw and shined. Cat feeds on mouse. God feeds on God. God's goodness is a black and blinding cannibal with sunny teeth that only eats itself. Deny the light. God's golden eye is brazen. It is clanging brass of good intention. It is noisy, burning, clanging brass. Light is a carrion crow cawing and swooping, cawing and swooping. Then, then there is a sudden stop. The day changes.


There is an innocent old sun, white gold and cloud. The ache of sunshine stops. God is gone. God is gone. Nothing was quite as good. It is getting late. Put on your coat. It's getting late. It's getting cold. Most things happen in twilight when the sun goes down and the moon hasn't come and the earth dances. Most things happen in twilight when neither eye is open and the earth dances. Most things happen in twilight when the earth dances. God is blind and the gigantic bat. The boys above the swimming pool receive the sun. Their groins are pressed against the wet warm cement. They look as if they dream, as if their bodies dream, rescue their bodies from the poison sun and shelter the dreamers. They're like lobsters now, hot, red and private as they dream. They dream about themselves. They dream of dreams about themselves. Splash them with twilight like a wet bat. Unbind the dreamers.


Poet. Be like God. Four. Yes, be like God. I wonder what I thought when I wrote that. The dreamers sag a bit as if five years had thickened on their flesh. So this is the fourth. This would be five years later than the others along 1950 during this but I'm moving back to 1948. Yes, be like God. I wonder what I thought when I wrote that. The dreamers sag a bit as if five years had thickened on their flesh or on my eyes. Wake them with what? Should I throw rocks at them to make their naked, private bodies bleed? No, let them sleep. This much I've learned in these five years and what I've spent and earned. Time did not finish a poem. The dummies in the empty funhouse watched the tides wash in and out. The thick old moon shines through the rotten timbers every night. This much is clear, they think, the men who made us twitch and creak and put the laughter in our throats


are just as cold as wheat. The lights are out. The lights are out. You smell the oldest smells, the smell of salt, of urine and of sleep before you wake. This much I've learned in these five years and what I've spent and earned. Time does not finish a poem. What have I gone to bed with all these years? What have I taken crying to my bed for a love of me? Only the shadows of the sun and moon, the dreaming groins, their creaking images, only myself. Is there some rhetoric to make me think that I have kept a house while playing to house? This much I've learned in these five years and what I've spent and earned. That two-eyed monster god is still above. I saw him once when I was young and once when I was seized with madness or was I seized and mad because I saw him once. He is the sun and moon made real with eyes. He is the photograph of everything at once, the love that makes the blood run cold. But he is gone, no realer than old poetry. This much I've learned in these five years and what I've spent and earned. Time


does not finish a poem. Upon the old amusement pier I watch the creeping darkness gather in the west. Above the giant fun house and the ghosts I hear the seagulls call. They're going west towards some great Catalina of a dream out where the poor man's a desert end. The birds are still on flight. Believe the birds. Another wrong five, another wrong turning, another five years. I can't see the birds, the island, anything but vacant shifts and twists of the tunnel. That means another five years I can't see. Or were they all right turning? The shifts of one sense of a word to another. The birds flying there inside ease with their wings dangling. Not bats, birds. And offering up your life to summon anything is a pretty silly thing. I can't see where their messages get me. Another five years, their wings glittering in this black ab sense. For the


birds whose liver is torn out, whose liver is torn out, pro me, see us, the old turning. Where their messages get me, the shifts of their beats, their hungry beats, but the birds are real, only, not only in feeling, feeding, I think, their wings glittering in the black ab sense, pro me, see us, our mouths water like an ocean. And so I say to you, Jim, do not become too curious about your poetry, let it speed into the tunnel by itself, do not follow it, do not try to ride it, let it go into the tunnel and out the other side and back to you while you do important things like loving and learning patience. Five years, the train with its black


throat, that's written in 56, I mean in 57, I said. Well, I didn't have it. It died, died in 65. We're just, these are just coming up, this is actually written after Larkin, this number five and six are after Larkin, it's already the later poetics. I'll get six in here and get through it. 1959 has dated, so I'm really critical, I kept thinking, no, no, must be further ahead, 1958. Six, dignity, dig-nity, the extra syllables are unimportant, have no dignity, no meaning in this world. Nitty, here are those syllables and dig is an obvious pun for digging graves or whatever that grave digger is doing at the moment. The extra syllables are unimportant, I should have loved him yesterday, the boy whistled. Dig-nity, or like that little


window in Alice's work which you can't go through because she's 27 feet tall because she ate a bottle called Drink Me. Po-etery, po-etery, po-etery, po-etery, the extra syllable is unimportant. Oh, next week we will be back at Sardello. I want to go into some of the wear up books and the last one really round up some of the things from the last book. We're going to meet on Saturday next week because there's a wedding at the Zen Center and there are three residents here on Sunday, so we'll meet Saturday. Is the hour one to three okay? Is two


to four less people have lunch a little better? Any takes on that? What? Well, at least I have various duties to do in the morning. That's why I like to do it in the afternoon. Well, I think we'll make it one to three on Saturday and I think the following week, Saturday probably too. That's the last one. I think I checked that out. So you want to give me the next two Saturdays. Yeah. That rounds us up. Well, I'm glad to have my little afternoon of reading so I didn't get much time to gossip. Oh, there are.


There's a 1943 one that's in some text like that somebody was following in the everyman's library. Then, I mean, something like that, whatever that is. Then in 1863, he brought out an edition and punctuated mainly, I think, changes in punctuation. There is a definitive set of Browning, but I am waiting to find a second hand copy of the volume. It would give the variance, and I'm not getting into the variance because I don't have it. I just have a little edition, a library edition of my own library. It is the 1863, though. Yeah, it's the 1863. As a treat of having undertaken this, now, I certainly want to get the Browning I don't have a


I don't have I can't have it back in the library. It's in library. I can't get it versions with no manuscript material to check against. Oh, yes, yes. We have a little donation pot here for our donation. Thanks so much. What was the name of the?