Friday, April 24, 2015


Larry Eigner circa 1950

From the sustaining air 

from the sustaining air

fresh air

There is the clarity of a shore
And shadow,    mostly,    brilliance

             the billows of August

When, wandering, I look from my page

I say nothing

      when asked

I am, finally, an incompetent, after all 

so the words go up

so the words go up
into thin air

        parlor    the speaking

                 birds pass the window
                a plane lengthens through fog
                       or cloud bends away
                  the curves together

                            the phone the hallway
                                 all my life

Old Man

two big pigeons on the new roof
below which he grew corn
                                           ten years back, one year   .

the wind like an ocean

the wind like an ocean
but sometimes the sun stills it
and the surface is solid

why shouldn't life pass as in a dream
or a dream itself,    there are different degrees
or different dreams    reality
at one with a dream

         the naked sea
          is fresh
                 in time,

                                  (o shut your eyes against the  wind

All Intents

once a man is born he has to die
                                          and that is time, the
                   position of the moon

       the earth is never still in one spot
                            or perhaps it is, it is
                    (part way

                                                 it is round

               and we are always here
                                             though every sound perhaps not

               but here we are, we are

stand on one foot

stand on one foot

  like a tree

       the law

             gulls change
             the angle

        pressing through leaf
        you cannot  mount
        the green
            sound of

small world of stars

A bird flies under
        leaves close
   in the heavy day-long rain
      still keeping up
        the roofs glistening


Selected Poems / Larry Eigner
edited by Samuel Charters & Andrea Wyatt
Oyez 1971

"Larry Eigner (1927–1996) wrote over three thousand poems on a manual Royal typewriter (a bar mitzvah gift) with the thumb and index finger of his right hand. Disabled by a forceps injury at birth, Eigner lived with cerebral palsy his whole life; able to walk only with support or assistance, he made his way through the world in a wheelchair. Until his father died and his mother was too old to care for him, he lived at home in Swampscott, Massachusetts, writing many of his poems in the glassed-in front porch that served as his office. In 1978, Eigner relocated to Berkeley, California, at first living in a communal house for adults with disabilities and then residing with poet-friends, mainly Robert Grenier and Kathleen Frumkin, who also served as his caregivers. "
— George Hart