Wednesday, November 26, 2014



I never knew there was so much blood

in a man until my son killed himself

he did it with a kitchen knife stab-
bing himself all over and cutting his

wrists     then he got into the bathtub
and died there in the water     that's

where we found him     but could he have
changed his mind for a moment     the floor

was a carpet of blood & blood was spat-
tered on the walls the basin was cov-

ered with blood     did he stand there
looking at himself in the mirror still

wondering who he really was and then
went on with it     I had to wipe away the

blood     it took me four hours to do it
but I couldn't have asked anyone else

because after all it was my blood too.


Leaning over me her hair
makes a cave around her

face a darkness where her
eyes are hardly seen she

tells me she is a cat she
says she hates me because

I make her show her pleas-
ure she makes a cat-hate

sound and then ever so
tenderly hands under my

head raises my mouth into
the dark cave of her love.

The Collected Poems of
James Laughlin
New Directions 2013
edited by Peter Glassgold


Comes sometimes from

the blaze of light

when an asteroid

passes us too near.

There is also

the softer radiance

when we are separated

and sink into sleep

thinking of each other.


and when I finally awoke
from it we seemed to be

back where we'd left off
some thirty years before

in the compartment of a
wagon-lit somewhere in

Italy loving and arguing
soft words and then hard

words over where we'd go
next to Venice or Rome or

better to split again you
back to him I back to her.


             For William Carlos Williams

Bill on the way you saw
the way your heart saw

what your your eyes saw not
just the way you saw a

wheelbarrow or the falls
or the blossoms of the

shad tree or Floss in a
rose and 100 other flow-

ers your patients & the
babies and the measure

of your lines in Brueg-
hel's painting of that

dance so many things the
rest of us would never

have seen except for you.


I want to touch you
in beautiful places

places that no one
else has ever found

places we found to-
gether when we were

in Otherwhere such
beautiful places.

J A M E S   L A U G H L I N


Luster said...

Beautiful and of course -- as a father -- that first one chilled me to the bone and then sent me back to Ferguson to feel again the grief.

stay true,

Bob Arnold / Longhouse said...


Once, long ago and not so far away, I was invited to come speak to a school, opening day, all-school assembly, the place packed and I believe it was middle school age. All boys, but there were a few girls sitting in the front row related to faculty or someone in the school and I started out by reading a short poem by Lew Welch, another by Emily Dickinson who 'lived' right down the road and away the talk went. Later, the headmaster came to talk with me, and Susan was now with me, and somehow we came to the subject of alumni and James Laughlin and now his son, the one we lose in this poem. Not only his own blood — no one else could have written this poem.

Nor the others, touched this way and that, by a love.

all's well, Bob