Category Archives: Books

Grief

Grief

In the blurring-by tree I saw the hawk turn its head.
This distance I’ve come to bring you home to find I no longer lived
In there. Well we walked arm in arm to the seats on the wall.
On the other side of the planet nobody called in.
Stood up by the upside down world. By the static sigh
Which could mean anything. By the eye which does not
Recognize. And this way back where the rocks weep ice
Is the only way which is forward
This brief response direct as a laugh because it was
Though you were unable to say my name or know
Who I was though you knew me through some tone or gesture
Is better than a memory of a laugh though the tunnel of grief is long
This goodbye where we are past the why to the final silent letter.

 

from 20 Poems & Other Translations from the English

The last word on the GOAT poems, by A.R. Ammons

GOAT1

For those who’ve followed the adventures of my old friend Goat over the last few weeks as I’ve posted them, many thanks.

For anyone interested in the entire collection, I’ll put together a PDF of this work and have it on this site for download before the New Year. There is still a print version of the book available through Amazon with black and white versions of Tom Williams’s great linocut art,  but no copies of the original letterpress are available (at least not that I know of!)

Finally, for the last word on this sequence, I’ll hand it off to National Book Award winning poet A.R. Ammons, who wrote this about the Goat poems:

“A sequence in which the imagination is marvelously free to leap, convert, disjoint, dispose re-dispose as the moment prompts, but a sequence in which restraint, compression, intention, craft are all alive and conscious in a fine discipline. The rambunctious is made sadly tame, sulled, schooled in ‘Goat’s Style is Cramped’  so naturally and with such apparent ease and one is so caught up in the poem itself that one has to break away to become aware of how flawlessly the poem’s made. I like these poems very much and consider them a rare achievement. Though energetic and almost dismissively swift, they startle one with sharp loneliness, compassion, loss. I’m afraid I cannot find anything wrong with them.”

On to new stuff! Happy holidays to all.

GOAT’S ANSWERING MACHINE [45]

GOAT’S ANSWERING MACHINE

If you ever call, there is always
this: the grumble or tremble in
your voice is mine. I have gone
out to something, am not available

now. As a rule, I am never home.
I do the goose dance, i do the
state of the art. This is my
answer then, my message. Listen:

the hill is full of rocks
the wood is green with beasts

The last poem from the sequence GOAT lies down on Broadway. For more info see here.

OUT THERE [44]

OUT THERE

Goat watches the sky bruise
with approaching day. He is old,
he can hardly walk. One day

Troll lifts him, carries him
to the city and drops him in
the middle of Broadway. Traffic

stops for miles. Goat is constantly
mumbling something. Someone in a car
gets out and shoots him. Goat is dead.

Goat is never dead.

 

from GOAT lies down on Broadway. For more info see here.

GOAT CRIPPLES CHICKEN LITTLE [43]

GOAT_TomWilliamslino3

GOAT CRIPPLES CHICKEN LITTLE

On the train, Goat sits
on Chicken Little. At first
he is unaware, but then Troll

ties up its beak with masking
tape. The sky stops falling.

Goat decides never to speak
again.

Goat scares the conductor
with his bloody teeth.

It’s only chicken blood, says Troll.

from GOAT lies down on Broadway. For more info see here.
Lino-block art by Tom Williams.

THE SKY FALLS [42]

THE SKY FALLS

Troll tells Goat that the sky
is scheduled to fall today:
he read it in the Post.

It starts: Goat kicks back clouds

while Troll keeps the blue above
by force of sheer ugliness.
All over, people carry umbrellas.

They think it is only raining.

When they can do no more, they find
a subway entrance, catch a train.

 

from GOAT lies down on Broadway. For more info see here.

GOAT INGESTS SARTRE [41]

GOAT INGESTS SARTRE

Goat sees Troll at MOMA.
They eat the contents
of the room they are in,
then head for the library.

Later, they break up a
softball game: Troll eats
third base, Goat kicks

the umpire out of the game,
offers to sub, having read

the rules. “It’s only reasonable,”
he reminds Troll.

from GOAT lies down on Broadway. For more info see here.

ALL HE WANTS TO DO [40]

ALL HE WANTS TO DO

Goat hears that she is doing well.
He goes to the field at night,
luminous, and picks roots and
vegetables.

He leaves them by the shepherd
boy’s door. He knows what to do
with them.

Goat receives a thank you note.
He almost dies.

 

from GOAT lies down on Broadway. For more info see here.

POOL PARTY [39]

POOL PARTY

Maureen is stung by a bee
heading to her wading pool
in her backyard. Her dad
locates the hive in a nearby
bush.

He tries a spray but
the bees buzz about, so
everyone goes inside. Next
morning, the hive is trampled,
the bush uprooted, the yard
full of rocks.

from GOAT lies down on Broadway. For more info see here.

IN TAR [38]

IN TAR

The year is 2540.
Archaeologists dig up
an ancient tar pit.

They find a sign
that says, “TOYS R US.”
They find a goat skeleton
covered with yarn, perfectly
preserved. They touch it,

it gets up and bites everyone.
They leave it alone.

from GOAT lies down on Broadway. For more info see here.