Wednesday, March 31, 2021



Janine Pommy Vega (1942-2010) was born February 5 in Jersey City and grew up in Union City, N.J., the middle sibling of three. She graduated from high school as class valedictorian in 1960 and had already become intimate with major players in the Beat Generation. Gregory Corso became her liaison to life-long-friends Allen Ginsberg and Peter Orlovsky, who became her lover. She remembers as a teenager meeting Jack Kerouac asleep under a table. Her life as a poet, teacher and traveler was forever a spiritual quest for transcendence which originally took her on the road at age sixteen to New York’s Lower East Side, later a marriage and early widowhood to the Peruvian painter Fernando Vega, who died of a heroin overdose in Ibiza, Spain in 1965. Her first book of poems Poems to Fernando was one of the earliest Pocket Poets (#22) by a woman author published by City Lights Books in 1968. Her posthumous book Janina would document this restless time period for the poet between Europe, the Middle East and America. By the early 1970s Janine would spend two years as a hermit on the Isla del Sol on Lake Titicaca in Bolivia. Her prose book Tracking the Serpent has been described as a feminist “On the Road” journeying with the poet on her visits in the 1980s to matriarchal worship sites in Ireland, England, France, Nepal and the Amazon. She trained herself to become a skilled hiker throughout the Catskill Mountains which was her primary dwelling for the last forty years of her life. A devoted teacher and activist for the rights of prisoners and children, Janine made her name and legend in the New York prisons and school system. The last ten years of her life were tough, a struggle with many medical maladies, but the poet persisted, reading her poetry to the public, often with music, wherever invited. Janine Pommy Vega died of a heart attack at her home in Willow, New York on December 23, 2010.


                                                                                — Bob Arnold


Janine Pommy Vega

Poems to Fernando

Longhouse, 2021




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Monday, March 29, 2021


P O E T S     W H O     S L E E P


                                           drawn & scribed by Bob Arnold

Sunday, March 28, 2021



There is nothing "unfinished" about

this hut, or this book —

it's up off the ground

the door opens and closes

the rain barrel is in place

the windows look out

the roof is on

the book is built

masterfully, quietly,

the two are there

(there's work to be done

the "unfinished" part)

waiting for you

[ BA ]

PlaySpace Publications



R E A D     M O R E

photo above ~

Morven Gregor & Gerry Loose

at home

Saturday, March 27, 2021



April and Silence

Spring lies deserted.

The velvet-dark ditch

crawls by my side

without reflections.

All that shine

are yellow flowers.

I'm carried in my shadow

like a violin

in its black case.

The only thing I want to say

gleams out of reach

like the silver

in a pawnshop.

Landscape with Suns

The sun emerges from behind the house

stands in the middle of the street

and breathes on us

with its red wind.

Innsbruck I must leave you.

But tomorrow

there will be a glowing sun

in the gray, half-dead forest

where we must work and live.

The Light Streams In

Outside the window, the long beast of spring

the transparent dragon of sunlight

rushes past like an endless

commuter train — we never caught a glimpse of

its head.

The beach houses moving sideways

they are proud as crabs.

The sun makes the statues blink.

The sea of fire rages out in space

becomes a soft touch on the earth.

The countdown has begun.


Tomas Transtromer

The Sorrow Gondola

translated by Michael McGriff & Mikaela Grassel

Green Integer, 2010

visiting more of the tiny books,

ever gems, and typing up these

handful of the fine Swedish poet's

poems during the day of the insurrection

(January 6, 2021) on the nation's capitol 

where at least one person has been killed, 

and as will be said for years and years — 

if this mob had been BLM activists, or peaceful activists —

instead of a mostly white sedition army who broke

into the capitol and ran amok — there would 

have been mass bloodshed. Idiots first.

[ BA ]

Friday, March 26, 2021



F R E D     H E R Z O G

I could

look at




day in

day out

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Wednesday, March 24, 2021



At times, taking the hook out,

before releasing back into the water

caught eyeing one another

in their different worlds.

A False Continuity

Seeming to me now.

I have been so many selves

unrelated one to another

though covered by the same name

and birth date, incidental facts,

dental records. More than inner self.

No sole soul, not even

look-alikes, now shrinking back

in height, adding weight.

Hard to explain this,

how now, looking back,

these selves do not know

one another.

Buddhist Scholars On Silence


so precious

they can't stop

talking about it.


Jonathan Greene

Ebb & Flow

Broadstone, Kentucky


Monday, March 22, 2021



P O E T S     W H O     S L E E P


                                           drawn & scribed by Bob Arnold

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Saturday, March 20, 2021



What is it about Doug Anderson?

I used to read a new literary journal

every day, for years — who am I

kidding — for decades! and

one day I sold them all, because someone

wanted to do what I had done all

those many years reading, and staying

in-tune with who was writing —

naturally, I kept my favorites

like Coyote's Journal, Caterpillar and Origin

and now when I pick up a journal

to see what is happening out there

I often find Doug Anderson's poems —

and what is going on: Doug

Anderson's poems are most often

the very best poem(s) in there.

Journal after journal.

What do I mean?

Go downstairs and have a look.

[ BA ]

The Dark

A black dog shows up in my yard,

needle teeth under-bite and milky eyes.  Wags once

and rolls over on his side,

smells like he's pissed himself. He's come a long way,

stowed in steerage with the poor of spirit (blessed

are they) but I don't want this dog, don't want his snoring,

whining in his sleep, his leg twitching. I close the door,

put on some Howlin' Wolf and get ready for bed.

But I can't sleep knowing he's out there in the cold

so I pull what's left of last week's chicken off the bone,

warm some milk. Open the door and let him in.

He sniffs and rolls his cataracted eyes around the walls,

buries his face in the bowl and slurps.

Okay, I know you're here for a while, just don't make a mess.

He cocks his head at me. What does he see, my silhouette

through milk-glass?  A moon in clouds?  I go to bed.

And still I can't sleep knowing he's down there all by himself

in a strange house. Down stairs again I lift his stinking hulk

into my arms, carry him upstairs and put him in my bed.

He's warm against my leg, his breathing slow.

At three A.M. I'm wide awake. I reach down and scratch his battered head.

Toward dawn I press my ear against him and listen to his heart.

Inside, a spring rising through rock.

There's a shifting deep down in the strata.

A groan, an angel being born from a chrysalis,

the morning sun at the bottom of the well.


Doug Anderson

from the Asheville Poetry Review

Issue 29 (2019-2020)

A wise, elder poet once wrote to me to say,

"Beautiful poem, Bob, I would have been proud

to have written that poem." He taught me something.

That's how I think of Doug's poem.

Friday, March 19, 2021



Brazilian Blue

If I could create one tree

And hang it in the sky

And spray it with the living

Gold of the sun, and hold

The natural pattern of its growth,

I would ay that I had done

More than enough.

But observe where the sun

Has set against the black

Edge of the leaves,

How other leaves seem

To drift from one

Branch to another, or

Were they bird against

Tis darkwinged Brazilian sky!

Wings that edge the

Sao Paolo woods.

This flitting by,

This sudden appearance,

And inconsequence of time,

Is the moment I would

Hold before you;

Tomorrow evening it will

Have gone.


Collected Poems

Lynette Roberts

edited by Patrick McGuinness

Carcanet, 2005


The editor of this fascinating volume says it best:

"The Argentine-born Welsh writer Lynette Roberts

published two books of poems as dramatic, varied,

dense, elliptical and inset with verbal novelty as any

experimental poetry in the twentieth century. T.S. Eliot

her friend and editor at Faber,  praised her work, complimenting

it by that most Eliotic of criteria: that it communicated

before it made sense." Robert Graves was also a close reader.

Wyndham Lewis drew her portrait, and Dylan Thomas was

best man at her wedding. And you have probably never heard

of her. No help from Lynette Roberts herself — in her later life

Roberts had a mental breakdown and stopped publishing; in fact

she refused to have her two books of poetry re-published when

interest arrived. Thus her work was largely forgotten and she died

a relatively unknown writer in 1995. (4 July 1909-26 September 1995).

It's her diaries I wish to find next.

[ BA ]

Thursday, March 18, 2021



L O R R A I N E      O' G R A D Y


Lorraine O’Grady/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; Alexander Gray Associates