Sunday, March 31, 2019


Something wonderful I recently pulled out of the archive —
the catalog of books once upon a time published by
Cherry Valley Editions.
Charles and Pamela Plymell, and back when they
published my first book of poems Rope of Bells (1974),
Joshua Norton was also part of the merry printing pranksters.
Some may recall Charley Plymell was one of the first to
publish then unknown R. Crumb. 
As I recall my book was published in 250 copies and 
went out of print almost immediately, 
I'm not sure why, no one knew me at all,
except Pam, who I was in regular correspondence with,
and in each letter I tucked in another poem.
Pam had a plan.
The CVE little books were printed by xerox on kraft paper —
ingenuous as far as I'm concerned — stapled and
light and easy to move along and to this
day I covet the copies I own.

Charles & Pamela Plymell

Saturday, March 30, 2019


I never touched a drop of liquor in my life
 and how so much I've loved these poems
since I first discovered CB in the
late 1960s.
It isn't the messy drinking —
which I would have kicked him out of our house about —
it's his soul.
I'd ask him back in.


I Am Visited by an Editor and a Poet

I had just won $115 from the headshakers and
was naked upon my bed
listening to an opera by one of the Italians
and had just gotten rid of a very loose lady
when there was a knock upon the wood,
and since the cops had just raided a month or so ago,
I screamed out rather on edge—
who the hell is it? what you want, man?
I’m your publisher! somebody screamed back,
and I hollered, I don’t have a publisher,
try the place next door, and he screamed back,
you’re Charles Bukowski, aren’t you? and I got up and
peeked through the iron grill to make sure it wasn’t a cop,
and I placed a robe upon my nakedness,
kicked a beercan out of the way and bade them enter,
an editor and a poet.
only one would drink a beer (the editor)
so I drank two for the poet and one for myself
and they sat there sweating and watching me
and I sat there trying to explain
that I wasn’t really a poet in the ordinary sense,
I told them about the stockyards and the slaughterhouse
and the racetracks and the conditions of some of our jails,
and the editor suddenly pulled five magazines out of a portfolio
and tossed them in between the beercans
and we talked about Flowers of Evil, Rimbaud, Villon,
and what some of the modern poets looked like:
J.B. May and Wolf the Hedley are very immaculate, clean fingernails, etc.;
I apologized for the beercans, my beard, and everything on the floor
and pretty soon everybody was yawning
and the editor suddenly stood up and I said,
are you leaving?
and then the editor and the poet were walking out the door,
and then I thought well hell they might not have liked
what they saw
but I’m not selling beercans and Italian opera and
torn stockings under the bed and dirty fingernails,
I’m selling rhyme and life and line,
and I walked over and cracked a new can of beer
and I looked at the five magazines with my name on the cover
and wondered what it meant,
wondered if we are writing poetry or all huddling in
one big tent
                  clasping assholes.

Friday, March 29, 2019


Agnes Varda
b. May 30, 1928, in Ixelles, Belgium
d. Paris, March 29, 2019

photo ~
Micheline Pelletier


Thursday, March 28, 2019



of the nature

of falling

in poverty

    knowing nobody

water flowing in

    from all sides

riding a train

looking at homes

desiring a home


seeing flow

in the light

on the floor

    an old man leaning out of a window

knowing himself useless

               the potted plant beside him

backing him up



in a flash

under one


why see you

other than

perfect woman

moving gently

along stream

thru wood




a river

in shadow

a couple on a bench

their kids over

by the sand pile

even tho rain

any minute

in a clearing

in a wood

at twilight

a family

walking about


strange enough


each facet light accordingly

the souls responding






Frank Samperi
Elizabeth Press



All that is uncared for.
Left alone in the stillness
in that pure silence married
to the stillness of nature.
A door off its hinges,
shade and shadows in an empty room.
Leaks for light. Raw where
the tin roof rusted through.
The rustle of weeds in their
different kinds of air in the mornings,
year after year.
A pecan tree, and the house
made out of mud bricks. Accurate
and unexpected beauty, rattling
and singing. If not to the sun,
then to nothing and to no one.


“Elegance” by Linda Gregg (1942-2019)
 All of It Singing 
Graywolf Press 

Wednesday, March 27, 2019


Regarding the Eclipse

Chances are I’ll never tell

the story of how I found myself

adrift at sea

in a twelve-foot dinghy with a single oar;

or how, once, in the mountains

called Sierra Nevada,

trapped on a snowbound freight train,

my intrepid companions and I

existed for several days

on a fifty-pound sack of frozen marshmallows.

In retrospect

you could call it adventure, but at the time

it was nothing special.  Anyway,

some events—like cloud formations

or teenage children—

are completely inexplicable.

My ambitions were nebulous at best.

All I ever wanted to be was a glass blower

or a wood carver

or failing that, a utility infielder.

A career in the Foreign Service

looked promising once, but I couldn’t feature myself

in formal attire

on a balcony overlooking the capital . . .

What would I be doing there?

Serving cocktails

to the Peruvian attaché’s voluptuous wife?

And so it is that I stand

on the sagging porch of a tumbledown house

regarding the lunar eclipse

through binoculars held steady by my stalwart left hand.

With the other I gesticulate wildly,

but fail to observe

any change

in the shadow cast by this earth on the moon.


Cathedrals & Parking Lots
Clemens Starck
Collected Poems
Empty Bowl, 2019