Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Yellow Knife slack-key artist performing the sunset show in the
Royal Palms bar of the Princeville Hotel overlooking the famous
'Bali Hai' cliffs of Kauai's lush North Shore.

Joe Green brings a deep understanding of Inuit throat singing
to his fabulous interpretations of such classics as "Lovely Hula Hands"
and Don Ho's "Tiny Bubbles".

Join us for the best Mai Tai in the known world and the best
slack-key artist ever to make his way across the prairies and
seas to our shores.

Daily 5:30-7:00 P.M.
If you don't know what I wrote
I think you oughta
"Here lies a poor poet -- his name written in water."
No more mortal death. Goodbye winding sheets.
"Who wrote that?" they ask.  "His name was John Keats.
A poor poet it's true.  But he had the last laugh.
Immortal!  Immortal! Through his epigaph!
Look to the dresser of deal
With the single Wodehouse novel
And the authentic imitation Royal Seal
That his father gave him:
"Put down the book and go to bed.
We are bankers, not poets," his father said.
And he did and did and now is dead.
Strike the timbrel and arise! Arise in song!
And strike the gong for the Banker of B'Hong!
Look at the crushing coffin with its handles of gold.
Cringe at the crypt that says Lo and Behold
Death only will last as long and long
As the silence of the Banker of B'Hong
Who could have been immortal in story and song
But only became the Banker of B'Hong.
Strike the timbrel and arise! arise in song!
And strike the gong for the Banker of B'Hong!
The city whirls. It ticks. It tocks....
"Bring me my brass bound buggering box."
New York city. And Auden shakes his head.
Gin and ginger beer and so to bed.
Thinks " Maybe, maybe a good line."
September 1st, 1939.
Minnesota Love

The night is cold.  Ah, the Big Dipper!
Oh, how I love my Preston woodchipper.
And how she repays all the love I give her...
Chipping this one and that one!  Then into the river!
Goodbye!  Farewell.  You will be missed.
Another dead bastard for my list.
The river bears the strangest cargo.
In Minnesota.  Just north of Fargo.
Fichte met Immanual Kant
And said "Mein Herr I think I want
To illumina the noumena
I thought I'd just assumena
That the noumena is doomena
And does not in fact exist."
And away he went and in that hour
Pissed off Arthur Schopenhauer
Who in Parerga and Paralipomena
Said Fichte was in a comona
Of consciousness alonena
And was astounded
That he had grounded
Der gesamten Wissenschaftslehre
In the ignoble egosphera.
I once read "The Myth of Sisyphus"
And thought of the Australopithecus
An extinct hominid
Whatever he did.
Existence is a very bad bithiness.
The problem with Being is Time.
One day you hear the midnight chime.
And you cry "Adieu!"
Then there's no more of you.
I fear it isn't very sublime.
You embrace the I and the Thou
Love and are loved in the Now
But the I goes away
And the Thou cannot stay.
If this makes sense, I want to know how?
Pity the poor Pre-Socratics
And forgive their nervous dramatics
They felt so forlorn
Socrates still wasn't born
Hence their despairing but endearing acrobatics.
Consider that fellow named Thales
Who threw in his lot with the whales
He felt the universe oughta
Be all based on water
And steadfastly ignored the details.
Anaximenes thought him a square
And thought everything based just on air
And invented the art
Of the philosopher's fart
Perfected, in time, by Voltaire.
Shelley shat on Scotland's Kirk.
Byron buggered boyish Turks.
Wordsworth and Coleridge were boring jerks.

There are great passels
Of Poets who are assholes.
The cavalier poets in their castles
Were all whining snotty assholes.
Leaving Milton there to sing.
But that asshole killed the King.

Ezra Pound despised the Jews
Wallace Stevens hated youse
Blake was all in all goddamn insane
I much prefer Michel Montaigne
To all those assholes
And all their hassles

Man cannot make a worm, yet he will make gods by the dozen.
Ah, the there more?
How many visitors? Looks like four.
And, I guess, that I am one.
No more mojo. Are we done?
The wolves howl! The gypsies wail!
Where is Whitetree? Where is Dale?
Ah, I see Don. He still is here!
Then there must be a savior near!
Where is Joe -- caught up in work
Or. perhaps, buggered by a Turk!
And where are our friends from far off climes?
Orson Welles can hear the chimes
Of midnight. Orson speak to me!
Are all gone beneath the sea?
Or lost to the usual Fiddle dee?
Or lost to the usual Fiddle dee?
I remember a Halloween of long ago.
There was a Halloween moon.
I was going to go with my Uncle Joe.
"When will he be here?" "Soon."
I sat and waited by the front porch light
And watched as the ghouls crept by.
The leaves tumbled down in the Halloween night.
The clouds were orange in the sky.
With moonlight shining on the steel mill red
As the old and familiar hell.
And Uncle Joe was beside me…. Said
"You're ready, I guess? Oh, well."
And we began walking the dreary beat
I walked every Hallow's eve
To the houses there on our sad street
Just where I wanted to leave.
When my uncle said. "C'mon get in"
As we came up to his car.
Ah, he had a flask and it was full of gin
And the car was a Jaguar.
Silver and white like a god's own ghost
And Joe put it in first gear
Then second and third and then began to coast
And sing like a gondolier.
And I could feel the moon laugh down at us
As we glided through the night.
"Let's just drive." My uncle said.
And I just said "Alright!"
I had a friend Johnny Wasko.
He died on Halloween.
Had a friend named Johnny Wasko.
Died on Halloween.
"And he was a good boy," the old nun said
"Not like you, Mr. Joseph Green."
Mr. Joseph Green.
Next year Halloween wind blowing
There was a big full moon.
That Halloween wind was blowing.
Big old yellow full moon.
Took my Halloween candy.
Gonna put it on Johnny's tomb.
Walk through Fairview Cemetery
Up to Johnny's grave.
Walk through Fairview Cemetery
Up to Johnny's grave.
Gonna give him all my candy.
My poor soul to save.
Gave him one Sugar Daddy.
I don't like them anyway.
He always liked Sugar Daddys
When he came out to play.
Put down the Sugar Daddy.
Then I walked away.
Little skeleton six feet under.
Little skeleton walking away.
Little skeleton six feet under.
Little skeleton walking away.
Lit a Salem cigarette and kept walking.
Had nothing else to say.
After Twitter
Let us go then you and I.
No, we cannot be bitter.
To our new home in the sky
And we will not remember Twitter.
We will go and bid the soldiers shoot
To get with child a Mandrake root
Then stagger to the Mermaid Tavern
Avoid the pit, eschew the cavern
And there cry out just what we know
Tales of weakness, tales of woe.
Then sip our ale and wait for one
William Blake? maybe John Donne!
For God's sake given where we were
I'd take Walter De La Mare
No one comes. We wait an hour.
The off we go to the Dark Tower.
From the Mermaid to the bower.
Tim asks to wait another hour.
We'll wait an hour more at least.
"Ah, look Tim -- what rough beast!"
Slouching out from Bethlehem
To say "Hello!" to me and Tim
Face of Auden. Eyes of Yeats.
Custom built to serve, it waits.
Chats a bit..says it was built in
A railway town by the name of Milton.
Asks the way to Simplon Pass
Says that it must go, alas
Can't find the way. It's lost you see
In Seven Types of Ambiguity.
And we are lost but long for that...
And Macavity the Mystery cat
Is there and then, ah then
We meet the long world's gentleman.
When I was 19 I thought "Damn!
No one knows just where I am!"
Left school... didn't tell my Ma or Pa
To go by train to Mardi Gras...
Well, first a bus to old Chi-town
And then the train. Man, going down
I thought "New Orleans here I come!"
And in my pocket I had some
Six hundred bucks in Cashier checks
It seemed so simple -- not complex
I didn't know what the hell I'd do
Stay a year -- maybe two
Then I could see for me
A year or so in Italy.
What I liked was:. I was alone.
Riding to the great unknown.
No Twitter then. It wasn't hard.
Maybe send a fine postcard
To...whoever...from Bourbon Street
Just one card. A single tweet.
"In New Orleans and I'm doing fine!
Left the college life behind!"
Walked to the bus. It began to snow.
Got on the bus. I know, I know.
We started driving... the snow fell fast
Got off in Chi-Town, Man, at last
Went to buy a ticket for the train
Tried to buy a ticket -- all in vain.
You can read about it. A record storm!
Trains couldn't make it through the swarm
Of snow and ice. So I slept there.
A cop said "Boy are you aware.
That you long hair fuckers just might
Meet someone you don't want to see tonight?"
Man, I got up. Made it to the bus.
Thought I might like to discuss
The "Lake Poets" back in English class
Went back to school. Ah, what an ass.
And even though I was somewhat bitter
I didn't know there wasn't twitter.
So no one knew I was a fool.
And I think that rather cool.
A few years ago my Dad was dying
I sat beside him trying trying
To be anywhere but there
To be anywhere no where.
Held his hand as I read a book.
Didn't really want to look.
The resistance. Nazis in the mist.
Felt him shake and then I kissed
Him...when was the last time I...?
I looked at him. I watched him die.
Then he whispered, "I need you...
There's one thing I want you to do,,,"
Then I couldn't hear just what he said.
I went away then he was dead.
See the granite on his tombstone glitter.
Then we're gone too. Twitter. Twitter.
I was young when I left home.
Left home after I read a poem
About mermaids singing each to each.
Thought I'd go and see that beach.
Made it to Atlantic city.
The taffy was great and the girls we're pretty
Snuck in and saw the Diving Horse
The cops discovered me, of course,
And I was sent home but I did not stay
Left again the very next day.
Left because I read a poem
About being young and leaving home.
This time I went to NYC
Looking for Lady Liberty
Read the poem about the huddled masses
New York World's fair. A bunch of asses
Got in my way so I couldn't see
The wonderful world of chemistry
So I went down to Bleecker street
And said "In every face I meet
I see marks of weakness and of woe."
"What's that that you're saying Joe?
Asked a guy I met with a guitar
Screw it. I had come so far
Just to listen to a silent sound
And pretty soon was homeward bound.
Vaudeville transcends all love
You have a hat and just one glove
And perhaps a cane. It is enough!
You know we are the stuff
Dreams are made on. As was said
By some guy who finally went to bed
After all the shows and shows.
What vaudeville means...why no-one knows.
Love is love and love is nil
Without the thrill of vaudeville
When love is there why love has flown
And you discover you must dance alone
Not for yourself. Ah, that's the key
And is vaudeville's great mystery
You look out always from the stage
And hear the music and feel the rage
Of dancing always against death.
There! And this. You take a breath
And put out one foot and then another
Never wondering why you bother
You dance for you. You dance for her.
You dance and it does not occur
That as you dance you name your love
Or think of the paper moon above
You dance to live and love just then
To conquer where. To conquer when.
And because not to do that would soon kill
The human love that's vaudeville.
A winning show. One sees the mute
Get with child the mandrake root.
You think of the poor boy on the stair
Who, of course, was never there
Who, of course was then nowhere
And then you can see if you dare
That it is all quite debonair
And think I think I know I'm seeing
Myyself as an instance of Non-Being
And then reflect "Goddamn, that's true."
And then wonder "What are you?"
But it wouldn't matter if you knew.
It wouldn't matter if you knew.
Every day I ride the bus.
I think of me. I think of us.
What I see I cannot say.
But I try in my peculiar way.
Look! Don't look.
It is the same.
It's something that I cannot name.
And maybe even if I could
It's not something that I would.
A NOTHING maybe or a hint
Of something ..maybe just a glint
Of meaning ... something naming US.
Every day I ride the bus.
I stood there in my Easter suit
My hair slicked back, She used Wildroot.
My hands are clasped in simple prayer
The 56 Pontiac is there.
My eyes are big. So are my ears.
My grandmother waits and sighs "My dears.
We have to go. We will be late."
My old dog stands barking at the gate.
Perhaps at my Grandma's mink
Which is really weasel is what I think
And she stands smoking a long Pall Mall
And then we hear my father call.
"Where the hell are my goddamn ties?"
And I seem to hear my mother's sighs
As she sits waiting in the car.
"I don't know where the fuck they are"
One minute more. He's still not there.
Darkness falling in the air.
My mother leaves. Won't look back!
Goodbye 56 Pontiac.
NOTHING made Wordsworth sad.
Old Sam Coleridge thought "Too bad."
They kept on writing -- not for spite
But to apprehend the endless night.
And because that is what they did
They even somewhat liked that kid:
John Keats was the poor boy's name
Who couldn't stand the endless same
And one day, well, he just took off
To Rome because he knew his cough
Meant that soon he would be dead.
"Oh, my poor friend" is what he said
To his friend who watched the poor guy die.
And Keats still wondered "Who am I?"
And knew he would be nothing soon.
The endless night. The falling moon.
love reading Shakespeare
And drinking Cutty Sark
But, if you really want me to,
I'll love Nancy Clark.
But I don't really see her
Though I love dancing in the dark.
Tell me where that sweet gal is!
Where is Nancy Clark?"
Don looked at me so pitifully
Said, "Poor boy, why she ain't real
Though she's rendered rather faithfully
Nancy Clark is an ideal.
She's meaning and non-meaning
And. poor boy, ah, well,
You ain't got no chance of seeing
This blissome, lovely belle
She's Being and Non-Being
As per Husserl
And, yes, you'll never comprehend!"
Don looked at me and laughed.
"She's something you have never kenned
For you lack Geisteswissenschaft!"
I remember my old socks
And on those socks I call a pox
They called me once "The Silver Fox."
God, how I hate the goddamn clocks
That tick away. Hear, hear the knocks
Of death upon the gate unlock
The memory of my old socks
And all the trash: the ticks the tocks
The forgetting that forever mocks...
Yet, I remember my old socks.
I fear that I will never go
To watch your lovely photoshow
The reason why I do not know.
I dream instead of a rondeau
Composed, betimes, by young Rimbaud
A fellow I don't care to know
Walking near a sad chateau
Upon which falls eternal snow
He sees, perhaps, a single crow.
Ah, there too I do not care to go!
The reason why I do not know.
The reason why I do not know.
When I was young and sick in bed
I heard just what the Doctor said
" I wouldn't worry Mrs Green
It's nothing that we haven't seen.
Your son is simply tired of living
And is dying and is unforgiving
He can't accept just who he is
And doesn't seem to give a piss
The world is to much with him, yes
He has two days if I had to guess.
And then, after he goes down to dust
You should remember that you must
Forget him. He wasn't meant to be."
And I thought, "Why, yes, that's me."
And just to prove the doctor wrong
I have lived so very long
And have found out that, well, on the whole
I'd like to say in Espanol:
"De noche todos
Los gatos son negros."
Don replies "Yes, there is hope!
I know that there is hope in soap
So be like me and don't despair
That darkness falling through the air
Will obliterate the wise and fair.
And, gaze, if you will upon these socks!"
But I hear the THING that knocks and knocks
As it once knocked on Macbeth's gate:
DeathandNight. And I cannot wait.
To gaze upon Don's photo art.
I hear the cry "Come ye, apart,
And seek surcease in living verse!"
I seem to hear the funeral hearse
And turn my gaze from forms like this
That remind me of the vast abyss.
Beautiful …That the hands of the sisters Death and Night incessantly softly remold again and ever again, the face of this soiled world. Drum-Taps. Reconciliation Walt Whitman
h, Sylvia Plath and old Ted Hughes
I'm not as patient as I used
To be a few long years ago
Who's fault is it? I don't know.
I like a few of their sad poems
But none for me build crystal domes
Of delight and wonder and all that.
Compared to much they're rather flat.
And I hear Yeats, that cranky seer
Say "Stuck in the blacking of the mirror."
It does suffice for mortal moods...
But I prefer the Faerie woods
True life. True danger. Both at once.
Remain for whoso list to hunt.
Something strange and strange and wild:
The Erl King. The mortal child.
I'll' take Harpo Marx for my money
Whitman never was funny:
And odd sort of bloke
With never a joke
Who called this whole country his honey.
A child asked "What is the grass?"
Now, if Whitman had fallen on his ass
And said "The grass is my ass."
Or "My ass is the grass"
It would tend to surpass
The solemn, alas,
...The man just couldn't be funny.
He would simply awake and sing
I'm me and I'm everything.
And made a long list
And to get to the gist
For him comedy was never the king.
Lawrence of virtuous father virtuous son,
Now that the fields are dank, and ways are mire,
Where shall we sometimes meet, and by the fire
Help waste a sullen day; what may be won
From the hard season gaining: time will run
On smoother till Favonius reinspire
The frozen earth; and clothe in fresh attire
The lily and rose, that neither sowed nor spun.
What neat repast shall feast us, light and choice,
Of Attic taste, with wine, whence we may rise
To hear the lute well touched, or artful voice
Warble immortal notes and Tuscan air?
He who of those delights can judge, and spare
To interpose them oft, is not unwise.
I had a fifth of whiskey then
I had a sixth sixth of whiskey when
I decided to simply try again
And looked into the darkness. "Men!"
I cried! But what was that? Big Ben!
"The curfew tolls the knoll of parting day!"
But day had eftsoon parted. I meant to say
Something witty and so very wry!
"How soon the light departs. And so do I"
This was in London. Of course! For I heard Big Ben
In Londontown though I don't remember when
I was there except through power of rhyme
Londontown. Perhaps, it was the time
I sat at home reading Thackeray
And drinking a banana daiqueri
Reading Notes of a Journey from Cornhill to Grand Cairo
Infected back then by the troublesome spiro
chete. It turned out to be syphilis
Infecting my poesy with near terminal dactylisis
Cured by, I think, a tiger's bite
And so I say to you "Good Night!"
I looked and I feel somewhat sad.
This is a picture of my Dad
Standing before the Eiffel Tower
Taken, maybe, just an hour
After Paris was liberated.
My own Dad it seems was fated
To be there as the Nazis fled.
He has a cap upon his head
Tilted at a rakish angle
And from his hands he gaily dangles
A rifle... and with no little grace
Seems to imply that that place
Will be again a place of light
As the Nazis go down to endless night.
He fought the good war as they say
And forgot...but then one day
He seemed to have something to say
When I was leaving then to go
Into the army . He said "Joe,
You know when I was in the war..."
Then nothing else. There was no more.
And I agree. What can you say?
But I remember that strange day.
What's the price for all of that?
Meaning that is where it's at.
Worthless also! So what's revealed?
Only that you sometime feel
That nothing ever makes real sense.
Which is what I felt when I went hence.
But still my Dad stood at that hour
Gaily before the Eiffel Tower.
And in a field not far away
Someone's father died that day.
I could have picked Tide but I chose Fabreze
As I read the poems of Weldon Kees.
You wake up one day and find you learned.
That your ship is gone and the tide has turned.
You are always arriving and always late
Then you jump one day from the Golden Gate.
Or maybe you decide that now you'll go
And take that bus to Mexico.
I could pick Tide but I choose Fabreze
As I read the poems of Weldon Kees.
The broad aisles, the tile beneath my feet,
even the lighting conspires to make me dream
of writing poetry like, for instance, Neruda
who takes up residence as I peruse
the potatoes. Or Lorca, whose crickets
light up as I finger the fruit.
There is Pound, by the cake mixes and
Eliot up high with the imported vinegar.
Dylan shouts at me from the meat counter
though I've never understood why Frost
isn't with the frozen foods.
Things take a darker turn; the baked goods
haunted by Sylvia's voice,
at the cleaning supplies, Anne Sexton
reminds me that things were not
always so good. Near the dairy,
Berryman's voice echoes over the prairies
and then, like a cool drink, Collins
mixes things up. I pick up a bottle of rum
and Dario reminds me I'm no longer young.
And the fact that I'm in Trader Joes?
Well, that one's easy. So it goes.
I hurry back. I forgot the ice.
Milton mutters something of Paradise
Lost as I... Where did I park the car?
The boy looks like Wilfred Owen. The war
Is dreadful. Oh, here we are.
Now what does HE have to say?
Tennyson in front standing in my way.
"Now sleeps the crimson petal, now the white."
I need to go home. My mind's not right.
"Get out of the way, Alfred! Screw your poem!"
I drive down the road. No direction home.
The radio plays. Plays "Johnny B Good."
Now goeth Sonne under woode.
"Screw it. Damn it. It's over. I'm done!"
Going down Highway 61.
NOTHING made Wordsworth sad.
Old Sam Coleridge thought "Too bad."
They kept on writing -- not for spite
But to apprehend the endless night.
And because that is what they did
They even somewhat liked that kid:
John Keats was the poor boy's name
Who couldn't stand the endless same
And one day, well, he just took off
To Rome because he knew his cough
Meant that soon he would be dead.
"Oh, my poor friend" is what he said
To his friend who watched the poor guy die.
And Keats still wondered "Who am I?"
And knew he would be nothing soon.
The endless night. The falling moon.
Impermanence means transitory
And all in all the same old story
But like Bill Wordsworth I see the glory.

The rainbow comes and goes
And lovely is the Rose,
The Moon doth with delight
Look round her when the heavens are bare,
Waters on a starry night
Are beautiful and fair;
The sunshine is a glorious birth;
But yet I know, where'er I go,
That there hath past away a glory from the earth.

And maybe it is too much wine
But I think of Jimmy Valentine
And old black man who in 58.
Called to me and said "Hey, wait."
I think you dropped this baseball card."
And I didn't find it very hard
To say in a fine amaze
"Jesus Christ, it's Willie Mays."
And pretend that that was my card.
And he didn't find it very hard
To laugh and watch me run away
With a glory given for that day.

Jesus said "No, I'm really not cross."
And gave his fine head a toss.
He was ironic
With no gin and tonic
And could play piano like Luther Vandross.

And he sat and tickled the keys
While his mother Mary said, "Please,
If you get out of this bar
You'll get really far!"
But he just played "Manganese."

And he played and played that Thursday night.
Got drunk and got into a fight.
But by midnight felt good
Like he knew that he would.
And played "Round Midnight" just right.

Jesus peered down in Lazarus' grave
thinking, "Man I don't think I can save
people who've died.
But he gave it a try
and out popped the kid with a wave.

Said all of those gathered around
"Man this Jesus guy sure can astound!"
But the Jews and the Romans,
saw his Acts as bad omens
and vowed that they'd soon bring him down.

Lazarus cried "Was it your marvelous staff?"
Jesus wept which made Lazarus laugh.
Said "You did it for me!"
Jesus said "I guess we'll just see.
Maybe I'm writing my own epitaph."

Jesus prayed "Father, please let this all pass."
Lazarus said "Here, you take my ass.
And ride into the town
Wearing this crown
And show them that Jews have some class!"

They cried "It's Jesus the marvelous Yid!"
They were awfully proud of that kid.
They said "Show us a miracle
Beyond the empirical!"
And Jesus felt strange so he did.

He listened to all of their wishes
And multiplied the loaves and the fishes
And served fine Syrian wine
And Tennessee moonshine
And some potato latkes and knishes.

He cast devils into the swine Gadarene
But the coolest thing that they seen
Was a Porsche 550 Spyder
With a marvelous rider
Who, it turned out, was James Dean.

Jesus said "Now, we're ready to ride
And jumped right in right beside
Said "C'mon I'm leadin'
To the East of Eden!"
Which pleased    
James Dean who had died.
Jesus was not really with it
He was called a Flibbertigibbet
Hence his birth
On this railroad Earth
And the time spent on the gibbet.     
Jesus remarked to the Buddha
I really wish that I would a
Had your sang froid
Before the dreaded damn void.
"Yes," Buddha replied, "You should a."
Peter denied Jesus Thrice
Which really wasn't that nice
But he had hope
To be the first Pope
So denial had to suffice.         
My mother said "You go to Mass!"
My Dad said he'd kick my ass
So I pretended to go
Thought they wouldn't know.
Except there was this girl in my class

Who heard me tell my friend Steve
Of a sin she could hardly believe
That I went to the drugstore on Main
And there did disdain
The Mass! She found it hard to believe!

And of course she told her dear mom
And mine, of course lost her aplomb
When she heard of my sin
That,of course, was within
Her son. Ah, then the pogrom!
I remember Johnny Wasko's white coffin.
I used to think of it often
The funeral home dim
The mourners quite grim
And enough holy incense to get lost in.

And I remember his Dad
Who was ever since then so damn sad
He fixed our TV
And once said to me
"You remind me of the boy I once had."

Ah, Christ and then came the end
He didn't know I was Johnny's friend
On some snowy street
His final defeat
And nothing at all to transcend.         

Friday, August 12, 2016

“I love Joe Green’s poetry very much, because it makes me laugh,

and because it is sad, and because he is a master of its form and its

forms.” —Silke-Maria Weineck, Chair of the Department of

Comparative Literature, University of Michigan

“I have known the poetry of Joe Green for more than a decade, since

the early days of Fulcrum. And I say, with the fiercest of convictions,

that Joe Green is not only one of the tiniest number of poets in our

time who are authentic and really matter, but that he is one of the very

few contemporary poets who have meant the most to me. Humble

to a fault in promoting his own work, this long-needed Selected

Poems should finally put Joe on the map where he belongs—as a

master of craft and invention, a purveyor of tradition and sensibility

and right wonder, an influence upon countless younger poets, and

one of our own very few real contemporary classics. May this book

flourish widely among poetry lovers everywhere. It is certainly high

time.” —Ben Mazer

“Is there a single contemporary poet who can match Joe Green

for comic invention? His poems have more in common with the

wide-ranging madness of Voltaire’s Candide or Nathanael West’s
Miss Lonelyhearts than anything on your poetry shelves. And like

those masterpieces of dark comedy, Green’s poems have a core that

is humane and generous, reading him as restorative as spending

time in the sun.” —John Hennessy (author of two collections,


Coney Island Pilgrims (2013, Ashland Poetry Press) and Bridge
and Tunnel (2007, Turning Point Books). He teaches at the

University of Massachusetts and serves as poetry editor for The

“Joe Green’s poems have lit up journals such as Fulcrum for many

years, with their surprising turns—alternately allusive, absurd, and

personally moving—but always the poems you turn to first because

of the pleasure they deliver.” —David Latane (Professor of

English, Virginia Commonwealth University)
I dreamed I saw Joe Green last night

Alive as he could be

That’s not just any Selected Poems

It’s THE Sixties Anthology

Here are the lyrical ballads from the Apocalypse we call the Sixties

A definitive mythology of the Sixties

And then some ... —Mark Schoor (Executive Director of the

Robert Frost Foundation)

Thursday, August 11, 2016

 These poems have appeared in the following journals:

Fulcrum 2 (2003, Cambridge, MA.) “What of it?” “Point Lobos 1944,” “Just Spring with Chaucer and Some Shriners.”  “Old Father,”  “Dinosaur Love,” “At the Hospital,”  Fulcrum 3 (2004, Cambridge, MA.) “ Late for a Poetry Reading,” “The Defiant Ones,” “Francis of the City of St. Francis,” ‘The Diamond at the End of Time,” “The Red Light Is The Blue Light Is,” Fulcrum 4 (2005, Cambridge, MA.) “The Rain,  “Ok, Then…So We Were in Fredonia,”  “Trio,” Fulcrum 5 (2006, Cambridge, MA)  “The Ballad of Little Noddy,” “Incident on 52nd Street,” “Last Night,” “I Think Continually of Those Who Are Truly Late,”  “Canarios – Or the Escape of D.B. Cooper,” “Jim Moore,” “My Demented Mother,”  Fulcrum 6 (2007, Cambridge, MA.)  “Sonnet—The Sense of an Ending,” “Dreamland,” “The Iliad of Joe Green.” “In 1953,” “I Love Them Old Hippies,”  “Warrensville 2,” “Warrensville 3,”  “In the Blue Note,”  “Negative Capability,” “A Ballade,” “In Loneliest Country,”  Fulcrum 7 (2008, Cambridge, MA.) “I Look Out and I Hear the Knell,” “The Ballad of Steve,” “My Father in the Store Commanding Buy.” “Oh, Donna,” “The Ballad of Susie Lamont,” “The Ballad of Ernie White,”  Rattapallax No. 12 (New York, NY) “A Lone Ranger Christmas,” “Luftmensch”

Poems have also appeared in “The Diamond at the End of Time,”   Joe Green 2006, Owl Oak Press, Carmel Valley, CA., “The Dark Bark: Poetry and Songs of Rin Tin Tin Joe Green, Rin Tin Tin, 2006, Owl Oak Press, Carmel Valley, CA., “The Limerick Homer,” Joe Green, Tim Smith, 2008, Owl Oak Press, Carmel Valley, CA.


I bark at the dark until the darkness yields.

As you go stark. Babbling of green fields.



Introduction to the Rin Tin Tin Poems


These few poems are from the original 1,673 page manuscript “The Dark Bark” found buried in “The Yard” (as the poor animals who are to be euthanized call it) at the pound in Brighton Beach.  They are the work of Rin Tin Tin.  I write elsewhere of the strange and tragic events that led me to this manuscript – my depression, initial contacts with the spirit world, inadvertent destruction of the complete posthumous poems of Shakespeare as communicated to me by the spirit Elizabeth Barrett Browning, the establishment of communication with the dead animal world (Thank you, Ted Hughes) and, finally communication with Rinty’s spirit with the assistance of the KA of W.H Auden.  Here I can only give the briefest sketch of Rinty’s life.


We know about Rinty and the movies.   I’ll skip that.  What is not so well known is that he was an excellent jazz guitarist.  He met Billie Holiday in the Fifties.  They fell in love.  No one knew.

Intellectual love, of course.   He goes mad with grief after her death and -- because all dogs know the essential existentialist insight -- decides to create himself anew by joining the Cuban revolution.


It doesn't work -- he tries to establish serious theatre in Cuba and overcome the typecasting he has suffered from all of his life.


Oh, during the first flush of revolutionary joy audiences accept him (he thinks) as Puck in his Marxist version of "A Midsummer Night’s Dream" but soon he is reduced to playing bit parts in proletarian dramas and then it’s not long before there is no place for him in the State Theatre.


He works as a street performer for a bit -- usually as Lenin -- for the Soviet visitors Castro welcomes to the island.  But then is arrested for anti-revolutionary activity when he tires of doing Lenin and tries a stint as Trotsky.  After his release he makes his living --such as it is -- teaching the mambo to canine candidates for the Cuban National Circus and peddling marijuana to vacationers from Bulgaria.


In 66 he makes his move and escapes to NYC disguised as Chiquita Banana (he never says what happened to the young girl on the cruise ship who had been playing the part) and almost at once falls in with a crowd of drunken stand up comic wannabes and, while stoned and driving a dune buggy along the beach, runs down and kills poet Frank O'Hara.


(O'Hara died of injuries he received when he was hit by a vehicle on the beach at Fire Island, on Long Island, New York).


He flees to Cuba.


He is caught and sentenced to prison again where he is released by Castro -- one of the hardened criminals Castro sends to the US -- where, after many adventures, he attains his dream and is acclaimed as the "Hamlet of his Generation" by NY theatre critics. He gives it all up again and travels in Texas and Mexico playing country guitar and getting in fights arguing over whether Fredric Remington or De Kooning is the best artist.  Gives that up and moves back to NYC.  His poetry begins to be known.


The reader will note that in one sequence of poems Rinty claims to have assassinated JFK.  True – he did testify before the Warren Commission but I believe we can dismiss these claims as sheer fantasy caused by Rinty’s failure to get Leslie Howard’s role in “The Manchurian Candidate.”  I believe we should choose to remember the famous “Life” cover of Rinty saluting the eternal flame at JFK’s tomb rather than those photos taken later that night on the Mall -- drunken, under arrest and wearing only a significant leer and a leopard-skin pillbox hat.


Rinty spent his last years in New York City.


And then, of course, destroyed by his own loathing of his being in time as a dog all he has left -- loveless and writing this memoir in the pound in Brighton Beach where he will be euthanized -- are memories of his betrayals and regrets that overwhelm everything else.


The first poem “Late for a Poetry Reading” starts somewhat towards the end.



Late for a Poetry Reading


Late for a poetry reading

and trusting the Sufi

livery cab driver

because he pretended

he knew me

(“How old are you

anyway? What is that

in dog years?”)

and half drunk

in any case

having known

intellectual love

with Billie

She dead these

thirty years

and fame and

an excess of revolutionary

ardor those years

in Cuba

and don't even

ask me about the sixties

having ridden the

Union Pacific

to the Cheyenne cutoff


in America

in winter

dreaming a

heavenly chasm

but no and

then hating

death and all

those who love it

returning through

West Texas from

Pancake to


in the railroad yard

there I heard

the OJays and

so returning to New York

and ending that night

somewhere in

I think

Long Island

poetry reading

in the Bronx

and at dusk

trying to find

my way back

seeing at the

window of

a perfectly bourgeois

house her a

young German Shepherd

the cream gold

glittering of her

eyes she looking

at this old dog

in perfect indifference

and knowing never

again I turn

the corner

always forever

going no-where

at the end of this



and bark

at the difficult dark.



This second poem is a beginning and an ending of sorts (a typical denouement) after Rinty returns to the USA after exile in Cuba.



Los Marielitos


You know Elmore Leonard

got a lot of his Florida schtick from me

when I was sobering up down in Miami.


I guess it was inevitable that I would

get involved with the mob after I fled Cuba

but it didn't start out that way.


May, 1980. They called us Los Marielitos.


I was one of 123,000 new Cuban refugees

that came to the USA in a short five months,

including about 5,000 of us who

were said to be hard-core criminals.


They crossed the ocean on a prayer.


On crowded, unsafe fishing boats.


On rafts held together by tires.


In search of a myth.  Carrying only the

clothes on their backs, a passport, and a

crumbled piece of paper with a relative's phone number in the US.


I knew better.

The myth was over for me long ago.


I had Lassie's phone number but of course I would never call it.

She was probably dead and it was a whole new generation and

here I was, the icon of a previous generation, puking half

digested red beans over the side of a raft.


Back in the USA. Back in the USA

done in by the hype back then and by,

yes, my own yen to do serious theatre.



"The Defiant Ones"


The studio really wasn't happy with Tony Curtis

His real name?

Bernie Schwartz.


They came to me.  As always.


But I didn't really think it would be a good move

to play a role in which I would have

to be manacled to another actor for the whole movie.


I didn’t tell this to Billie.

But she would have understood.

We had that kind of relationship.


"Don't threaten me with love, baby.

Let's just go walking in the rain."


I was already leery of typecasting

and ready to break out.


This was in 58, of course.

Billie died next year.

I remember what she told me:


“You can be up to your boobies in white satin,

with gardenias in your hair and no sugar cane

for miles, but you can still be working on a plantation.”


Yeah, so my TV show was a hit.

So what?


West Side Story had been a possibility

It's based on Romeo and Juliet

but I turned that down too.


They didn't know about me and Billie.

Lady Day.


No-one did.


If they only knew.


Sidney Poitier was a gentleman to me when

I met him but I felt that… well…

that he simply wasn't up to the role


and I was tired of having to carry my part

and everyone elses.


I suggested Richard Burton -- a little make up

… but they wouldn't go for it.


Sir Lawrence Olivier would have been good

But tell you the truth I didn't want to be chained to a lisping Limey for hours on end.


And I'll tell you what.


It was Shakespeare or nothing.

That’s the way I felt.

I told Billie I loved her.

She said:


"Don't threaten me with love, baby.

Let's just go walking in the rain."






No, I Am Not Prince Hamlet Nor Was Meant To Be


You humans are so predictable.

In fact for years most dogs

were convinced that you were utterly

without self-consciousness -- without Mind.


After all, we present a stimulus to you

and we ALWAYS get a predictable response.


The fact is we have such a horror

of the fact

that we can NOT be sincere

that we do whatever we can

to make it stop.


Yeah, a dog will pant

and bark and bring the

damn ball back again and again and again


-- we do it to keep from going mad,

to hope to experience

just for an instant unmediated

unironic consciousness, to --for just one instant

-- be THERE, be in the moment.


It never works.




That's why we die so young

and it is also why I was,

on a foggy evening OFF OFF Broadway

in a little theatre in the year 1959,


I was, simply put,



the best Hamlet of my generation.

New York City -- Towards Night


When I reflect how that

My little light went out

Then I find my mind returning ever

To the Golden Retrievers

Of Manhattan

Forced into the indignity

Of limping beside

The jogging wife

Of the Day Trader

With her highlighted tresses

And DKNY shirt

And her pierced low carb belly

Exposed and that bitter breed

Chained next to her

Desiring only, perhaps,

To die

Then only then

Am I at peace with Death.



In Loneliest Country


In Loneliest Country

I remember that

The philosopher Berdyaev wrote

About how when he

Was little and it was night

And he was with his mother

Wanting to get to Moscow

In a bolshoy hurry whizzing under

The stars in a sleigh the kind

Dear to the memory of Nabokov

That is a sort of unreal sleigh

As he was whizzing past all

Those wretched villages maybe

Seeing only a dog shivering

Before some wretched hut that

He thought  “All over.

All over.  No More.  All lost.”

He would never see that dog again.


But I was worried there

In Loneliest Country

Coatesville, PA turning

The corner of Second Avenue

Noticing a three legged dog

Following me and seeing it all

Someone’s dead grandmother

Passed me and I was looking

For the Loneliest Ranger wondering who is

That lonely and restless man

Behind that swinging facade?

The dog following me the American Icon

And no Mister though

You never asked you smoking

A Pall Mall in front of the

Furniture store across from

Lipkins I don’t need a 21 Inch

Magnavox Color TV or a bedroom soot.

And where was Loneliest I’ll bet

In Cuernavaca or Taxco

Up the street I am wearing my

Sheep shirt the one with all

The sheep on it.  Damn dog.

Turning up the “Knowledge of Death

Is the Source of our Praise Avenue.”

Unreal city and there he is

But I don’t even have to ask

He says  “Behind that swinging facade

Is another swinging façade.” And then

“Do you remember the little cake shop

On the Neva the one Pound mentions

Where he never was where I never was

Where you never was” and I say

“Damn right I do.”

And he is gone and I turn to

The little three legged dog

Running TOWARDS me and

I am happy and call

“Here, Hoppy! Come here, boy!”




1953 was a hard year for me.

Sad. I don't know why.

I had work. Me and Bob Mitchum

Were friends at last.  After all

Those misunderstandings.  "You want to

Break out?" I asked him.  "Then forget

All this crap about being a natural actor."

I took his drink away.  Got his attention.

"Acting is a craft. Don't scowl at me.

You know I'm right.  You'll never

Do Shakespeare unless…"  He eyed me warily.

"Yo, Rinty," he said. "You have Billie"

(I had told him) "What do I have?"

He fired up another Chesterfield.

Squinted through the smoke.

"Nothing happens anyway."


Nothing happens?

I knew what he meant.

I was getting there.


He grinned. "How the Hell did you

Do that to McCarthy?"

I gave him back his drink.

"Told him I was a commie, that's how.

"I'm an American Icon, Bob.  It was too much for him.

Goodbye Tailgunner Joe."


Bob laughed but he didn't believe me.

He was really quite a charming man

Guys who don't believe in anything often are.

So he could be a gentleman to Rita Hayworth

Down in Mexico, her mind gone.  But…

A bastard to everyone else.

Nothing in his eyes.


And I was sad there.

It was New York.  September 13, 1953.

Another dive,  another gig.

Bob left with a blonde before I began to play.

I started to play but just walked out.

It was the night Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey had

Finally gotten together again.

They kept playing while I put down my guitar.


They never forgave me.


"A" train to Harlem.

Got in Billie's DeSota and drove.


In a few hours

Lost in Pennsylvania.

Stopped.  Don't know why.

Got out.  Looked up.  Falling star.

Not me.  Something from forever.


Finally found a town.

Asked a little guy outside a hospital for directions.

"We just had a baby girl," he said.


I drove back to my life.



L.A. Song


It's all pre-need as they say.

I knew it when I went to L.A.

To lend my peculiar grace

To that particular place.

I'm sorry that I had to stay.


It's the wanting it all that kills.

Still, I wish I had one of them stills

Of me "In the Yukon"

With that little toucan.

I'll never see it and no-one else will.


I had a few drinks with my pals.

We wished we knew more of those gals.

Those gals who are sad

And wasted and bad.

The gals who were just like my pals.


So I stay in the Hollywood Hills.

And dream of the ghosts of those pills.

The kind you would take

At the Sir Francis Drake

And wait while the emptiness fills.



Breakfast at Tiffany's

And Capote there.  Drunk in the morning.

That light is really what I remember

Through the window the jewels there.

Who was he anyway?  Killings in Kansas.

"This is big, Rinty. I'm going to write about it.

Something new.  Show them all."

Looking around tee he

To see who else was there.

Me looking at that light

"Look. Are you going to interview me or not?"

"A whole family. They killed them all.

Look I have a picture."

"I'm not looking at that," I said

And I was gone.



We were talking about Indians.

At the highway rest stop

You saw a stellar jay

Flying into the dark.


All these towns built on the bones

Of sleepy children!

Families hauling European clocks

Over the hourless prairie.


Into the dark again and the moon.

We stop even though it is below zero.

Something blows through our bodies.

Ghosts fleeing us. They can do this easily.


Tonight we finally see our bodies.

The moon's moon floats in the sky.

All night this happens!



What do you hear on the radio radio?

What do you hear on the radio, dear?




It was Christmas on Fifth Avenue

Ghost dog.  Ghost dog.

I do this a lot.

I would save them all if I could.


Then I remember I left Capote with the check.

And I am happy again!


The green so green tree at Rockefeller Center.

Some guy telling a joke.

And I'm still hungry.

A Reuben and an egg cream.

The little waiter looking like God

His wife dead

Everyone a stranger forever.

What a Little Moonlight Can Do


Three days after Bastille day

Behind the shut up café

In a broke down car

(Hard to gas yourself

If the car won’t start)

In Cross Plains, Texas

Thinking I saw nothing

More than myself

Reflected in my Les Paul

Black Beauty that night

I step out of my 1971

Ford Maverick the

Door operated courtesy

Light snicking on and

Look up at the sky

At all the tired animals

Stars bluewhitelonely

Thinking of that night

At the Three Deuces so

Long Ago and playing at

The Famous Door

The night Billie died

Errol Garner, Me, Oscar

Pettiford, Errol saying

You better than Django

But nobody will ever say it.

Not knowing Billie was dead

I was happy. Looking up

I say at the skyey animals

The old dog in the moon

Ending like this

Saying to the drunks

In the cowboy bar

This riff is based on Les Negres

By Jean Genet laughing

At myself really and now

Wanting it to end but

The car won’t start. Looking

Up I remember I told Billie

Radiance is the dealbreaker

And heard, radio definably off

Her singing “What a Little

Moonlight Can Do” and

That was the last time

I was truly happy and

I was there knowing

I would never try

To find the music again








Mule Shoe






What vistas of hidden forgetfulness

Exhaustively at hand!



After the First Death, Well….


The collies yapped outside the funeral home

The whole world it seemed was sinking, sinking

I illumed the lamp, read a curious tome

Minnie Cheevied it and kept on drinking.

Damned hard to do with the goblins chuckling.

Ah, yes they won’t get no satisfaction.

No swoons, or faints, and no knees buckling:

I read, and drink and choose inaction.

“More Ovaltine?”  Lassie draws near.

“And tell me, Rinty, what are you reading?”

“It’s only Captain Midnight, dear

Poor guy, he’s taking quite a beating.”

I kissed her, then said, “I won’t forget

Though really screwed, he’s not dead yet.”



Road Kill


I ignore them.

The possum squashed on the macadam.

The unprophetic  groundhog, in Texas

A holocaust of Armadillos, the skunk

“Skunk.  God!” you say.

Driving on, a snake absolutely flat on the road.


There is no heaven of animals

A rabbit.  A black and white cat.

A small dog stinking in the sun.


You see them and you make up a story.

The dog setting out to warn us all:

Fire, fire in the forest! The turtle there

100 years old!... what thoughts there, Rinty?

And what innocence for all of them.


I’m glad one of us knows the signs

To find our home.



The Thing


The Thing that

Is really

Quite unrepresentable

I represent anyway

It’s really

Quite tenable

Just like a lawyer

Whose client


Testified awfully

Horribly unmendable

Admitting something

Really unpennable

An unkennable, unfencible

Horrible thing.

Really quite venerable

Completely unlexible

Sadly unhexible.

You say that I represent nothing at all?

Please, make yourself comfortable.

I’ll go make a call.





I never met Django

Never really wanted too, I guess

We would have “eyed each other warily”

Like the time I met Senator Jack Kennedy

Was it 57?

In the Cozy Cole me playing there

Jack with Sammy

Sammy told me he was nervous.

Jack working on his charisma thing

And me... height of my fame

Billie there Jack wanting her to come to his table

Her not noticing and me looking at her

Playing “Vous et Moi”

Sammy said “Man, come on down see who’s here.”

So afterwards I sit down next to the Senator

He in black glasses smoking a Kool

Undercover or something

Billie came over. She said she liked the man

Afterwards, knew his Daddy… called him

Mr. Death. “That boy has troubles.”

She said. “He was just nervous meeting me.”

I told her. She could see that.

Anybody could. “He eyed you warily

Behind those shades” We laughed.

Forgot about it. I had something he wanted.

And he had something…something…

Held back… connection to... as if he knew

About us, about me and Billie,

Something he said. Joking about Howard Hughes.

Sammy told me Jack laughed afterwards.

“Said he was nervous. Something strange. Didn’t

Know why.”


In 63 in August Castro “eyed me warily.”

A little moonlight, bourbon on his breath,

Backstage, the little moon a paper one

For “Midsummers Night Dream.” A wood near

Athens and I had transformed it, a bit of Brecht,

All of Shakespeare, Theseus nervous knowing

That Quince knew, Flute knew, Bottom breaking

the frame, declaring the revolution and me as Puck

Leaping, flying off that stage, like Peter Pan

TO FIDEL he standing up, smiling,

Me kneeling with the flowers but he

Afterwards backstage distant and cold wondering I thought

If the applause was for him or me.

Che was very nice, however.

Speaking one word… one word.

And I was in Dallas next was in Dallas then.

If I could play great jazz guitar

No hand…only paws.

Why couldn’t I

Slowly, hold breath, there he is

Pull the trigger

Of a Manlicher-Carcano 6.5mm rifle?
The Platinum Goddess
Stepping into
Her room
I see
What should
Not be seen.
Beauty is sleeping.
Beauty is sleeping.
Nice work, my friends.
In Texas
Driving through
West Texas there
Ahead a silver trailer.
“Good Sam Club.”
A dolt with a halo.
Passing on
The shoulder going
Nowhere I look up.
American dolt behind
the wheel.
Going nowhere.
Like me.
I can do nothing for him.
Me standing before
The eternal flame.
Speed graphic cameras.
One tear.
Saluting Jack.
“American Icon”
Cover of Life
Yes, one wants life.
Nou goeth sonne under wod.
Boulez, Bloch, Maurice Ravel
Boulez, Bloch, Maurice Ravel
Tell me. Are you doing well?
I seem to hear a faint demurral.
Is that you?
Or just this squirrel
Shivering in my winter garden
While I stand here like Sydney Carlton?
Mercy for all in fall of sparrow?
Do I hear a faint Bolero?
Letter from a Dog Before Troy
Dear Penelope,
It's windy here. Nine years in a tent on the beach.
Ulysses says they know what they're doing.
Nine years and for what?
What’s nine years to them?
Most of my life.
I’m tired. Don’t even ask me about the gods.
There’s a limit to loyalty.
But you already know that.
I know about the puppies.
You should have told me.
She told me, of course.
I don’t care.
Just get them out of Ithaca.
By the time you read this
I’ll be gone.  I have...what...four more years?
Going to someplace where there are no men.
No gods.
Maybe a few rabbits.
All the Starry Animals
Looking up
I love them too --
All the starry animals.
Looking down
Or not.
Not saying anything.
Not saying nothing either.
Old Dog: A Villanelle
I am an old dog and am gently trying,
To meekly go to the difficult dark..
Alone, alone I am slowly dying.
The slow snow drifts down and no wind sighing.
Take out a Zippo and light up a Lark.
No regrets none. No who and no whying.
Sad ghosts outside I hear them all crying.
Mort Sahl’s on TV. Makes a funny remark.
No, thanks Time/Life I guess I’m not buying.
Death’s at the door. The bastard is lying.
“Hey, Rinty! It’s Lassie!”  One small sad bark.
Wilder wind now.  The snowflakes are flying.
Good Night has come. There is no denying.
Unknown is that country. Stark is the bark.
I am an old dog and am dying, dying.
And you, who haunt me forever sighing,
Crying my name in the difficult dark.
I am an old dog and am dying, dying.
I am alone and am dying, dying.
I am an old dog and am dying, dying.
I am an old dog and am dying, dying
Alone, alone I am slowly dying
I am alone and am dying, dying.
I Died In New York
I died in New York
At the shelter in Brighton beach.
My last silence.
I thought of Pound at Rapallo in the last years.
Silence.  He didn't speak to anyone.
He too had been in a cage.
Like him I wrote and wrote
It was all I had left.
1,673 pages of my life.
And this is how it ends.
The guy gave me part of his pastrami sandwich.
I had Lou Reed's number.
I had Woody's.
But I didn't ask the guy to call.
"Come, kindly death," I wrote.
Not without irony. it's a line I never got to say.
The kind of line that went to others.
I acted with my body one arf one twitch of the tail
and you knew what it meant to be with the 7th at Little Big Horn your little boy dead beside you with a hole in his neck and the bright blood and the blue sky above and
yowling and you running to tell someone, tell Custer
tear his throat out for he brought you to this
and then they'd say "CUT" and I would have a smoke and mess around with my stand-in and tell Jew jokes and then
but I never even began to be what I was
and yes I could have been Lear.
Oh you are men of stone!
But I said not a word.
It's cold with the breeze from the beach.
I was in Brighton Beach
I was dying.
At Sardi's in 57 I think with Capote I told him
everything Hollygolightly and he took it and
changed the name to Tiffanys just because no-one
would believe a dog could be so tender and gay...
But I loved the movie.
It was cold in Brighton Beach
The guy also gave me some knishes.
All of it lost. I should have been kinder.
At night I howled.
My Epitaph
How oft has the Banshee cried
O’er a poor dead dog’s grave?
Snow.  Silence.  Don’t ask why.
Nothing to save.
Yet, I loved you sweet passers by.
Dear Catchers in the Rye.
As you are so once was I.
Jazz Life/Afterlife
I went to Hell.
Never looked back.
Already been to Texas.
Talk about "Le Jazz Hot."
They were all there.
Of course.
The Hot Club.
Like before...they were ghosts.
I remember that time in the Four Aces
Errol saying. "You on tonight, my man"
Without irony.
I knew what he meant.
Laying down a line like Judassilver.
Wanting it all never getting it.
Missing that one chord.
He meant I wasn't perfect.
So perfect.  So we all did.
Him a few years?
Love in vain.
All in vain.
And not
There... not getting it all
Just missing.
Notes dying.
Only rain outside.
Talk about "Le Jazz Hot."
They were all there.
Of course.
The Hot Club.
Before Another Poetry Reading
Just like Robert Lowell
Before he went definably mad
My “author” (let’s call him Joe) steps off the plane
Where he is met
With greasy servility
By a nervous graduate student
Who notes
Shaky hands
Red eyes
Too many whiskeys.
Into the car
“Reception at five, sir!”
“Five o’clock in the afternoon?”
Where are the great finned cars of yore?
Passels of Passats….only…
Joe eyes him warily.
“Take me to the Old Aquarium!”
“I need to see the Colonel.”
Vonnegut on the car radio. Still alive then?
“South Boston. I wait
For the blessèd break.”
“Drive,” he says and somehow
“I have been living at the Garden of Allah.
Yours, Scott Fitzgerald”
in the Wordsworth Room
Of the Pierce Brothers mortuary
1941 720 West Washington Boulevard
Ghost Dog
Returning to where I never was
Where was I?
Scott there. No.
“His hands were horribly wrinkled and thin.”
At 44: “He actually had suffered and died an old man.”
Returning then.  Dorothy Parker remembers Gatsby.
Says “Poor son of a bitch.” to Scott Not Scott.
No there there as they say.
Seeing what?  Mystery.  Seeing what she wanted.
Ghost Dog.
“Scott, I will always remember looking in on
whatever it is that is to me, you.
Yours, Rin Tin Tin.”
At the monument.
Remembering that line about Shaw’s father.
Looking for Loneliest there, perhaps.
Joe then back in the car.
“I’m ready,” he says.
Shaky hands, red eyes..
“It’s almost five. I don’t know if we’ll make it.”
“Skunk hour,” Joe thinks.
“Drive like the wind,” he says.
Relinquunt Omnia Servare Rem Publicam.
I bark at the dark until the darkness yields.
As you go stark. Babbling of green fields.