Friday, August 22, 2014

38 Easy Steps to Carlyle's Everlasting Yeah

The poem below, like the picture above, is me, around 1968.

38 Easy Steps to Carlyle’s Everlasting Yea

After living with Rod Mckuen in the horse-filled streets of Sandusky
Arise and sing naked
And dance naked
And visit your mother naked
And be nervous and tragic and plugged in

And pay the waiter in kisses
And pay the beggar in silver
And embrace the silent and scream for them
And grab watches and ask them for directions
And be a carpenter and redeem all the sins of the University of Illinois
And look for Walt Whitman beneath the concrete in the street
And put your thumbs in your ears and ask somebody to dance
The bossa nova and hear him or her say
Sorry I left my carrots at home

And eat/write/cry/drink/smoke/laugh and keep holy the Lord’s Day all in the same breath
And ride in subways, whistling at every stop for no reason whatsoever
And stroll along Michigan Avenue with your arms around your comrade, the sky

And be a blue angelic tricycle
And be any martyr’s unused coffin
And be you or me – it doesn’t matter which
And write poems like Pablo Neruda does
And throw them into the street/into the wind

And be Christ waiting at the bus stop for a passing crucifixion
and not having enough exact change to mount the cross
And be a mail-order clerk at Sears and send free TV sets to all the charity wards
at Cook County Hospital
And free the masses and free yourself from the masses
And march on Moscow, searching with burnt-out eyes for Zhivago
And be afoot with your vision and be afoot with my vision
And be underfoot and underground

And sell magic sparrows at the Maxwell Street Flea market
And carry flowers to the poets’ corner and water them with enormous Byronic tears
And wander through midday downtown Chicago humming “the St. Louis blues”
And wear your best strawberry hat all night long
And know the meaning of nothing
And guess the meaning of everything
And be a mind-blistered astronaut with nothing to say to the sun but
Honey I’m yours.


The above poem was written in 1968 and published in City of the Big Shoulders: An Anthology of Chicago Poetry (2012).

To read "1968: A True Confession", my other 1968 piece, just click here.

1 comment:

Sandra Kolankiewiz: Autism said...

Oh, I love this wonderful poem. The scope and voice remind me of Whitman! Wonderful!