San Juan de la Cruz
Nov05

San Juan de la Cruz

  . . .  “who studied . . . St. John of the Cross . . . ” [i]     His aloneness in a dungeon Imprisoned in cruel Spanish cell Con-tem-pla-tive and silent hell Meditative knees he fell Light and dark thus intertwined Lead to poetry sublime Ecstasy and agony Suffered his cross In crucified reality Found the light In deepest darkest night The obscure night of the soul Forever in eternity be told Mystic poet, mystic saint...

Read More
Francis Thompson
Oct20

Francis Thompson

“Francis Thompson (!)” i “My mangled youth lies dead beneath the heap. My days have crackled and gone up in smoke, Have puffed and burst as sun-starts on a stream.” “The Hound of Heaven” by Francis Thompson   Soul chaste First chastised by a chase Through London laudanum haze and haste Up and down and down and out Stop to have another taste Nowhere to run to, baby, nowhere to hide ii On this side of the great divide The hound and...

Read More
Saint Francis
Oct07

Saint Francis

“I love St. Francis of Assisi as well as anybody in the world.” Desolation Angels Once a sybarite youth and reveler Dreams and visions and change of heart Lepers and beggars fevered new start Francis set to restore his Father’s house He threw and flung church gold away Bernardone beat and locked he stayed Francis turned from father’s ways And stood there humble, pure, and bare He wed himself to poverty and fast as fare To gain heaven...

Read More
Count by Any Other Name
Sep28

Count by Any Other Name

“Basie’s stuff means something.” i Jack Kerouac, Horace Mann Record Good Morning Blues: The Autobiography of Count Basie as told to Albert Murray (first edition 1985) is something like the Count’s music: it’s not only about the notes he plays, it’s also about the notes he leaves out. This is more a “tell some” rather than a “tell all,” and so be it. Basie plays it straight and simple, like his music, and the subject of the book is...

Read More
The Kid from Red Bank
Sep16

The Kid from Red Bank

“Count Basie’s swing arrangements are not blaring, but they contain more drive, more power, and more thrill than the loudest gang of corn artists can acquire by blowing their horns apart.” i Jack Kerouac Count, bink-bink! The Kid from Red Bank On the River Navesink Red Bank Boogie One O’Clock Jump Stomp and stamp and stump the band Give the man a mighty hand Tinkling keys Fats Waller knees William Basie’s simple swing Keep your flashy...

Read More
Literature
Sep11

Literature

“ . . . companionship . . . definition of literature . . .” i Jack Kerouac In memory of Patrick and Paul Let me reach for another book And another and another Let me climb that ladder That soars up high As I reach for another and another book Not any old book But books that speak to my soul And tell me I have traveled this road before you And as Thoreau said “If it is not a tragical life we live, then I know not what to call it” And...

Read More
Tristessa
Sep03

Tristessa

Tristessa Black tresses Dirty dresses You mess-a Mucha lucha, Muchacha, señorita Esperanza Junk is a drag “It is a way of life.” i Just ask BOOL No gains, all loss (Not everyone as smart as old Harvard Lee, anthropologist) Junk is called junk because it is junk “They all looked like junk.” ii Hope is gone, Esperanza Replaced with junk Sickness Hopelessness Tristessa Junk is a drag Junkies are a drag Goodbye peachy coffee complexion...

Read More
I am Bartleby i
Aug08

I am Bartleby i

“It never meant juvenile delinquents, it meant characters of a special spirituality who didn’t gang up but were solitary Bartlebies staring out the dead wall window of our civilization . . . ” Jack Kerouac I am Bartleby, So don’t bother me The narrator say “the easiest way of life is the best” That, too, is my bray, don’t press it “a bit of wreck in the mid Atlantic” Sailed from Perth to Niantic So let’s not get frantic “No; I...

Read More