Wednesday, May 31, 2017




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Monday, May 29, 2017



The guy didn’t like me from the start

no matter how hard his girlfriend tried

who was my close friend

and he probably didn’t like my lover either

or the truck we drove

or the food we ate

the guy never budged

from a long way back he had his reasons

long before he knew us

and those guys are the worst

Without Facebook

I hadn’t seen him in a very long time

twenty years or better, which is a long

time in a very small state with very small

towns, and we had both come into the bigger

town at exactly the same time to have a bite

to eat — I saw him walk in and had no idea

who he was, except I liked his very long goatee

which I liked again when he came over to our

table to say hello — the luxurious ponytail was 

gone, the head was shaved, but it was the same

smile and laughter, and it’s always been a

miracle to me how our voices never change —

we caught up twenty years in far less than

twenty minutes, when another friend arrived

and another friend was gone


Then there was the time
The tree crew boss, Will,
Sent Davey up the road along the river
To work up the red oak logs that had
Fallen down over the bank after the big
Tree was dropped into the road and shoved around.

Davey nodded with no words and took a pickup truck with him.
One of us thought we'd get up there before too long to help Davey
But before we knew it Davey had the pickup packed tight with
Bucked up logs and it looked overblown even from a
Distance since the truck had a cab on the back and
Walking closer something didn't look right —

Now Davey was new to the crew, one year.
Next to Will he was the biggest on the crew —
Strong arms and an all-day working back and he liked
Driving the large truck with bucket to far-flung job sites
Just like this one — miles from any town, a deep wooded
Valley with a river running through, houses tucked away.

One of the houses was mine and the crew was working on
My land, for the electric company, cutting out a right-of-way
Path for new lines. I was an adopted member of the crew for
This job and we made fast friends, and Will overseeing all was
A classic hardworking maverick not at all minding doing a job
That cut and trimmed trees mindful of not being a butcher —

In other words, a great guy. Getting everything right for the
Electric company within reason, and keeping the woodlands
Woodlands. It's the difference between war and peace and Will
Was a peaceful man the size of a bear. He could chop apart the
Biggest tree in the way, or trim it with the delicate touches of
Decorating a Christmas tree; whatever seemed right. A thinker.

Davey had worked as a cook in restaurants before this. The rest 
Of the crew liked to tease him playfully as he worked his body
Rhythm into a stamina to take the daily pounding and thrashing with
Chain saws and hour after hour feeding a chipper with branches
And bramble. He smiled slowly and a few missing teeth from a
Party when he was 17 said you should see the other guy. Bruiser.

So we come up to the bruiser and he's spent and sweated through
Hair all mussed and shoulders starting to slump because the logs
He's cut up were down deep over the road bank and he had to haul
Some up by chain. Now two trees were cut the same day and at the same
Location, but Davey wasn't around the day the huge oak was dropped with
The big basswood tree right alongside it. To a former cook, who said

He liked to eat Cheerios in the morning for breakfast, the course
Bark of the basswood might look like oak. A trained woodsman would 
See the difference right-off and we all did when we approached the truck
Stuffed to the gills with basswood logs, that was loaded by Davey for me
To bring home to split as red oak, premium firewood, where I couldn't
Say much of a word after all the bullwork Davey put into the load.

So I listened to the crew chide him
And they did,
For a few days.
I later stayed home and
Hand-split junk I otherwise
Wouldn't look twice at.


Bob Arnold

Friday, May 26, 2017



"There's going to be a world
where the imagination is created
by joy not suffering,
a man and a woman
can love each other again
they can kiss and fuck again
(a woman's going to come along
and make this world for me
even though I'm not
alive anymore)."

M O R E !

Thursday, May 25, 2017


Trump's Message in the guest book
for the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial


A poet and essayist who may be a finer essayist since
he has poetry in his essays, and essays in his poetry.
He's a remarkable toss-up.

To my mind, this is an ideal collection on the true ground
of contemporary poetry — with the intriguing portraits
of poets, and likewise the general life of Kleinzahler who
shares the days and nights and life of a poet.

Check out the subjects; Thom Gunn, James Schuyler's Letters, 
Leonard Michaels (a poet in a fiction writer if there ever was one),
John Berryman, EE Cummings, Christopher Logue, James Merrill,
Kenneth Cox (the one and only), Roy Fisher, Lorine Niedecker,
Basil Bunting (are you catching your breath?), Christopher Middleton,
Louis Zukofsky, Richard Brautigan (a bit too nasty about RB), Allen
Ginsberg (with Peter Orlovsky barking against the door) Lucia Berlin
(more poetry in the fiction), and wonderful side road trips to Alaska,
old homestead Palisades New Jersey, AK's music gluttony 
(a romp to read).
Don't even think to hesitate. 

[ BA ]


August Kleinzahler
Sallies, Romps, Portraits, and Send-offs
Farrar 2017

Wednesday, May 24, 2017


H a p p y     B i r t h d a y

Grandpa's 75 years old here
Shut up!
Going strong

"Early Roman Kings"
All the early Roman kings
In their sharkskin suits
Bow ties and buttons
High top boots
Drivin' the spikes in
Blazin' the rails
Nailed in their coffins
In top hats and tails
Fly away, little bird
Fly away, flap your wings
Fly by night
Like the early Roman kings

All the early roman kings
In the early early morn
Coming down the mountain
Distributing the corn
Speeding through the forest
Racing down the track
You try to get away
They drag you back
Tomorrow is Friday
We'll see what it brings
Everybody's talking
Bout the early roman kings

They're peddlers and they're meddlers
They buy and they sell
They destroyed your city
They'll destroy you as well
They're lecherous and treacherous
Hell-bent for leather
Each of 'em bigger
Than all them put together
Sluggers and muggers
Wearing fancy gold rings
All the women goin' crazy
For the early Roman kings

I can dress up your wounds
With a blood-clotted rag
I ain't afraid to make love
To a bitch or a hag
If you see me comin'
And you're standing there
Wave your handkerchief
In the air
I ain't dead yet
Ma Bell still rings
I keep my fingers crossed
Like them early roman kings

I can strip you of life
Strip you of breath
Ship you down
To the house of death
One day
You will ask for me
There'll be no one else
That you'll wanna see
Bring down my fiddle
Tune up my strings
I'm gonna break it wide open
Like the early roman kings

I was up on black mountain
The day Detroit fell
They killed 'em all off
And they sent 'em to hell
Ding dong daddy
You're coming up short
Gonna put you on trial
In a Sicilian court
I've had my fun
I've had my flings
Gonna shake em all down
Like the early roman kings


Bob Dylan


Happy Birthday!


Happy Birthday
Bob Dylan

Tuesday, May 23, 2017


Xantha Street

I close my eyes and all I see is rain
And bruised mouths lined above the silverware.
But rooms are empty as the country now:
The angels rise to Heaven splendidly
On page 289, but the evening still comes on.

Poorly cast in an eighth-rate Grand Guignol
Where every agonist proclaims his purity,
One's sight grows sharper in the glass:
The climate of murder hastens newer weeds.
And crippled neighbors wear divergent frowns
That no one saw before. — Nailed up in a box,
Nailed up in a pen, nailed up in a room
That once enclosed you amiably, you write,
"Finished. No More. The end," signing your name,
Frantic, but proud of penmanship. Beasts howl outside;
Authorities, however, keep the pavements clean.

It is to them that every face is turned,
Who steady rooms this earthquake rocks,
Graphing some future, indistinct, already frayed.
These rooms of ours are those that rock the worst.
Cold in the heart and colder in the brain,
We blink in darkened rooms toward exists that are gone.


Weldon Kees
The Collected Poems of Weldon Kees
edited by Donald Justice

"[The] narrator — hero. . .is Robinson Crusoe, utterly alone on Madison Avenue,

a stranger and afraid in the world of high-pain news weeklies, fashionable galleries,
jazz concerts, highbrow movies, sophisticated reviews — the world in which Weldon Kees
was eminently successful. Whenever he said, in these gripping poems, that it filled him with
absolute horror, he meant it. On July 18, 1955 his car was found on the approach to Golden
Gate Bridge. He has never been seen since."

— Kenneth Rexroth, New York Times Book Review

Monday, May 22, 2017


Quit School

The workers

each one





in the


the boss 




can’t wait

to get

back to


He’s Our Son

He’s our son

I’m very proud of him

especially today

he’s come out to work with me

in the woods, along the river

on an island damaged by flood

he’s been gone from home 7 years

been married & divorced

rebuilt his life, now a new girl

he’s also becoming overweight in

a little episode of life we can all make fun

of since he could slide it off in a matter of

weeks, he’s young! out of shape for

the work we are doing — lugging firewood

off this island, across bedrock, fording a creek

and then climbing up stone stairs of the river bank

to the road and dumping our loads countless times

into the back of the pickup truck

countless times, all morning, and it’s all over

his great young man face when he looks at me all

sweaty when we’re done and he exclaims “Jesus!”

Picking His Spots

There’s nothing like coming to bed

on a late summer rainy night

and my love is dead asleep with the rain

and the big male cat is

asleep on my side

All As One

We brought home the wood  —

it’s a tradition older than these hills

we brought it from


Bob Arnold

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Monday, May 15, 2017


After The Flood

The yellow birch logs split tough

Those are the trees standing after the flood

The sycamore splits with ease

Dies with ease

The Searchers

We didn’t ask for any help

where we worked in the woods

along the river and we worked

steadily for weeks on end, no

one ever came by to visit or to

lend a hand, except for a stranger

who said he was a rock hound, he

hunted for precious rocks, and he

was curious to investigate our river

land where we worked, even showed

us special containers where his findings

shimmered, and since we were working

on the damage caused by a flood we in-

vited him down with us and continued our

woodcutting huge driftwood trees, as he

drifted off, young with shaved head bent

searching and dreaming as miners do

Being Alive Is All There Is

Maybe you saw him too —

the happiest person in the world

not more than a boy

being interviewed

and his father was

interviewed too and

he was clearly not a happy man

he was but a man

with all the thoughts of men

I had a father just like him

I bet you did too

and this boy must have known

something, because the way he

told his story was that he one day

jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge

in San Francisco, and somehow he

lived to tell his story, and I think he

lived because we were supposed to

know, and now that we do

now what do we do?

River Flows

After the flood

it took four very long weeks

for our woods river to clear

no longer muddy

no longer murky green

no longer running toxins

people drowned in such a river

houses were destroyed

gas tanks, hot tubs, ATVs went down

trees by the 1000s, animals lost, and

just by its thundering new sound

people were frightened for miles

especially in the pitch dark woods —

then one day the river cleared

the sun played in it again

you sat down beside it

lifted off you boots

and stuck your sore feet in


Bob Arnold