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Poetry > All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace


Front cover San Francisco, California: The Communication Company, April 1967
Limited Edition of 1,500 copies, all for free distribution
8.75" x 7"; 36 pages
Yellow printed wrappers; Stapled
Front cover photograph by Bill Brach of Brautigan looking through a basement window of his Geary Street apartment. Brautigan wrote about Brach (misspelling his name as "Brock") on the copyright page (see below).

Copyright Statement
© Copyright 1967 by Richard Brautigan

Permission is granted to reprint
any of these poems in magazines,
books and newspapers if they are
given away free.

Bill Brock lived with us for a while
on Pine Street. He took the photograph
in the basement. It was a beautiful
day in San Francisco.

Some of these poems first appeared in
Hollow Orange, Totem, O'er, and Beatitude.
Five poems were published as broadsides
by the Communication Company.

Printed in San Francisco
by the Communication Company
NOTE: Brautigan misspelled Bill Brach's name as "Brock" in the copyright statement.

Publication Statement
This book is printed in an edition of 1,500
copies by the Communiation Company. None
of the copies are for sale. They are all free.
Printing History
1,500 copies were printed and given away free. The book was reportedly printed at the San Francisco Chronicle during a strike when a group of writers and artists took over the untended equipment and printed five broadsides and this book (Alastair Johnston 82). However, this directly disagrees with the publication statement noted above, and a statement from Claude Hayward, co-founder of The Communication Company.

Feedback from Claude Hayward
Claude Hayward. Email to John F. Barber, 24 February 2004.
Hayward reported this book as one of the most complex projects the Communication Company produced.
We were able to print legal-size paper on the Gestetner, so it was printed in an edition of five-hundred copies on legal size paper, and then fold in half and stapled. The cover is printed on what looks like yellow construction paper and has a monochrome photograph of [Brautigan] looking through a window. We didn't print Please Plant this Book for Richard because we couldn't figure out how to get the seed packets that are part of it through our machine.
(Notes From A Revolution: Com/co, the Diggers & the Haight. New York: Foggy Notion Books, 2012. 45.)

Online Resource
The Communication Company bibliographic record at the Digger Archives website

First published in April 1967, All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace, a collection of thirty two recent poems, was Brautigan's third collection of poetry; his fifth poetry book publication. Brautigan typed each poem, including all those previously published as broadsides by the Communication Company, hand lettered the title for each, and signed his name on the printed title page.

All the poems from this book were collected and reprinted in The Pill versus The Springhill Mine Disaster.
A copy flat signed by Brautigan with a green felt tip pen; includes his drawing of his trademark carp
Richard Brautigan
July 26, 1967
A copy flat signed by Brautigan; includes his drawing of his trademark carp
To . . . . . .. ok? ok. Yes.
July 28, 1967

Reported Variants
Copies with duplicate pages or pages inserted upside down are reported. As are copies with printed cover art, but no printed text on front or back covers. Copies with sewn rather than stapled bindings are also reported.

Kolaahe Kafka [Kafka's Hat]. Trans. Alireza Behnam. Tehran, Iran: Nashre Meshki, 2006.
32 pages; ISBN: 964-876-511-1
Front cover illustration by Saaed Meshki
Reprints 25 poems selected from All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace, Lay the Marble Tea, The Pill versus The Springhill Mine Disaster, Please Plant This Book, and Rommel Drives On Deep into Egypt. The poems, in alphabetical order
  • "15%" (Rommel)
  • "At The California Institute of Technology" (Machines)
  • "Boo, Forever" (Pill)
  • "Color as Beginning" (Rommel)
  • "Deer Tracks" (Rommel)
  • "Discovery" (Pill)
  • "Gee, you're so beautiful that it's starting to rain" (Pill)
  • "Haiku Ambulance" (Pill)
  • "Hinged to Forgetfulness like a Door" (Rommel)
  • "Just Because" (Rommel)
  • "Kafka's Hat" (Marble)
  • "Karma Repair Kit: Items 1-4" (Machines)
  • "Love Poem" (Machines)
  • "Man" (Pill)
  • "My Nose Is Growing Old" (Machines)
  • "Romeo and Juliet" (Rommel)
  • "San Francisco" (Machines)
  • [unknown]
  • "The First Winter Snow" (Pill)
  • "To England" (Marble)
  • "Xerox Candy Bar" (Pill)
  • [unknown]
  • "California Native Flowers" (Plant)
  • "Squash" (Plant)
  • "Calendula" (Plant)

Unless noted, all thirty-two poems First Published in this volume in the order listed below.
All were collected and reprinted in The Pill versus The Springhill Mine Disaster.

"The Beautiful Poem"
I go to bed in Los Angeles thinking
     about you.

Pissing a few moments ago
I looked down at my penis
     affectionately.

Knowing it has been inside
you twice today makes me
     feel beautiful.

               3 A.M.
               January 15, 1967

Background
Written during Brautigan's poet-in-residency at the California Institute of Technology, in Pasadena, California, 17-26 January 1967. Brautigan and Andrew Hoyem drove from San Francisco to Los Angeles on Sunday, 15 January 1967 in order to spend the following ten days at Cal Tech. Arriving at night, they were housed in the guest suite at Ricketts House on the Cal Tech campus where they enjoyed a late night party. As he recounts, at three in the morning, Brautigan remembered his passionate morning with then girlfriend Michaela Blake-Grand.

First Published
San Francisco: The Communication Company, April 1967
Mimeographed letter-sized (8.5" x 11") broadside.
Illustration of a woman in right margin with caption "Drawing by Seurat."
Georges Seurat (1891-1959) was a neo-impressionist painter.
Imprint: Gestetnered by The Communication Company UPS. Reference is to Gestetner mimeograph machines used to print these and other Communication Company publications.
"December 24"
She's mending the rain with her hair.
She's turning the darkness on.
     Glue / switch!
That's all I have to report.

Background
Retitled "November 24" in The Pill versus The Springhill Mine Disaster table of contents, although the poem itself retains the original title.

Selected Reprintings
San Francisco Express Times 1(49) December 24, 1968: 8-9.
Published weekly from 24 January 1968 (Vol. 1, no. 1) to 24 December 1968 (Vol. 1, no. 49) as San Francisco Express Times. Continued after as Good Times. Published at 15 Lafayette Street, San Francisco by the Trystero Company. Printed by Waller Press.

Included eleven poems by Brautigan: "The Pill versus The Springhill Mine Disaster," "The Day they Busted the Grateful Dead," "All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace," "Discovery," "At the California Institute of Technology," "Boo, Forever," "The Sidney Greenstreet Blues," "The Flowerburgers Part 4," "A Baseball Game Part 7," "December 24," and "The Garlic Meat Lady."

The Thunder City Press Broadside Series, No. 5. Birmingham, AL: Thunder City Press, February 1976.
11" x 17" broadside.
Featured eight poems by Brautigan: "December 24," "Milk for the Duck," "Star Hole," "Love Poem," "A Mid-February Sky Dance," "Hollywood," "All Watched Over by Machine of Loving Grace," and "Nine Things"—all from All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace. More information about Thunder City Press and its speciality publications.
"Milk for the Duck"
ZAP!
unlaid / for 20 days

my sexual image
isn't worth a shit.

If I were dead
I couldn't attract
a female fly.

Selected Reprintings
The Thunder City Press Broadside Series, No. 5. Birmingham, AL: Thunder City Press, February 1976.
11" x 17" broadside.
Featured eight poems by Brautigan: "December 24," "Milk for the Duck," "Star Hole," "Love Poem," "A Mid-February Sky Dance," "Hollywood," "All Watched Over by Machine of Loving Grace," and "Nine Things"—all from All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace. More information about Thunder City Press and its speciality publications.
"November 3"
I'm sitting in a cafe,
drinking a Coke.

A fly is sleeping
on a paper napkin.

I have to wake him up,
so I can wipe my glasses.

There's a pretty girl I want to look at.

First Published
Front cover O'er (2) December 1966: 107-109.
8.5" x 11" mimeographed sheets of different colored construction paper; 128 pages; staple binding
Published in San Francisco, California, by Cranium Press.
Edited by David Sandberg.
Called variously Awwr, O'er, and Oar at different points of this issue. First issue appeared April 1966 and was titled or #1.

Featured three poems by Brautigan: "The House," "My Nose is Growing Old," and "November 3." Each poem appeared on a separate page. In addition to Brautigan's poems, this issue also featured a full-page advertisement for The Galilee Hitch-Hiker to be published by Oar, complete with made up blurbs promoting the book.

"My Nose is Growing Old" and "November 3" were collected in All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace. The poem "The House" was not included in any collection.

Also included contributions by Jack Spicer, Lew Welch, Anselm Hollo, John Sinclair, Clark Coolidge, and others.

Selected Reprintings
Shake the Kaleidoscope: A New Anthology of Modern Poetry. Ed. Milton Klonsky. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1973. 274-276.
Included six poems by Brautigan: "To England," "November 3," "A Mid-February Sky Dance," "Mating Saliva," "Romeo and Juliet," and "As the Bruises Fade, the Lightning Aches."

Recorded
Album Front Cover "Listening to Richard Brautigan." Harvest Records.
On one track of this album, titled "The Telephone Door That Leads Eventually to Some Love Poems," Brautigan reads sixteen poems collected in The Pill versus The Springhill Mine Disaster, including this one.

LISTEN to Brautigan read these poems.
"Flowers for Those You Love"
Butcher, baker, candlestick maker,
anybody can get VD,
including those you love.

Please see a doctor
if you think you've got it.

You'll feel better afterwards
and so will those you love.

First Published
San Francisco: The Communication Company, April 1967.
8.5" x 11" mimeographed broadside. Title in block letters, printed in a flowing fashion. All else in typeset.
Imprint: "printed by the Communication Company UPS."
An illustration of a stem of roses printed in lower right corner.

Online Resource
Information about this poem at the Digger Archives website

Background
This poem is about veneral disease, urging anyone who thinks they have it so see a doctor. Inspiration for the poem may have come from Brautigan's possible treatment from Dr. Alex L. Finkle, a San Francisco urologist, for veneral disease in December 1964, while living with Janice Meissner at 533 Divisadero Street. Published as a broadside it is typical of the efforts of the Communication Company to inform the Haight-Ashbury community.

Recorded
Album Front Cover "Listening to Richard Brautigan." Harvest Records.
On one track of this album, titled "The Pill versus The Springhill Mine Disaster," Brautigan reads sixteen poems collected in The Pill versus The Springhill Mine Disaster, including this one.

LISTEN to Brautigan read these poems.
"San Francisco"
     This poem was found written on a paper bag by Richard Brautigan in a laundromat in San Francisco. The author is unknown.

By accident, you put
Your money in my
Machine (#4)
By accident, I put
My money in another
Machine (#6)
On purpose, I put
Your clothes in the
Empty machine full
Of water and no
Clothes

It was lonely.

Recorded
Album Front Cover "Listening to Richard Brautigan." Harvest Records.
On one track of this album, titled "The Pill versus The Springhill Mine Disaster," Brautigan reads sixteen poems collected in The Pill versus The Springhill Mine Disaster, including this one.

LISTEN to Brautigan read these poems.
"Star Hole"
I sit here
on the perfect end
of a star,

watching light
pour itself toward
     me.

The light pours
itself through
a small hole
in the sky.

I'm not very happy,
but I can see
how things are
     faraway.

Selected Reprintings
The Thunder City Press Broadside Series, No. 5. Birmingham, AL: Thunder City Press, February 1976.
11" x 17" broadside.
Featured eight poems by Brautigan: "December 24," "Milk for the Duck," "Star Hole," "Love Poem," "A Mid-February Sky Dance," "Hollywood," "All Watched Over by Machine of Loving Grace," and "Nine Things"—all from All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace. More information about Thunder City Press and its speciality publications.
"Love Poem"
     It's so nice
to wake up in the morning
     all alone
and not have to tell somebody
     you love them
when you don't love them
     any more.

First Published
San Francisco: The Communication Company, 1967.
8.5" x 11" mimeographed broadside; Typeset; Title enclosed in a heart-shaped drawing.
Imprint: Communication Company.

Reported Variants
Variants reported include a black version, a lavender version, and one with no Communication Company logo.

Selected Reprintings
The Thunder City Press Broadside Series, No. 5. Birmingham, AL: Thunder City Press, February 1976.
11" x 17" broadside.
Featured eight poems by Brautigan: "December 24," "Milk for the Duck," "Star Hole," "Love Poem," "A Mid-February Sky Dance," "Hollywood," "All Watched Over by Machine of Loving Grace," and "Nine Things"—all from All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace. More information about Thunder City Press and its speciality publications.

Recorded
Album Front Cover "Listening to Richard Brautigan." Harvest Records.
Brautigan's poem read by Bob Prescot, Valerie Estes, Michael McClure, Margot Patterson Doss, Bruce Conner, Michaela Blake-Grand, Donald Merriam Allen/David Schaff, Ianthe Brautigan, Imogen Cunningham, Herb Caen, Betty Kirkendall, Peter Berg, Alan Stone, Antonio, Donald Merriam Allen, Cynthia Harwood, and Price Dunn.

LISTEN to Brautigan's friends read this poem.

Selected Responses
Text of the poem handwritten on a magazine advertisement for Chanel perfume

A mash-up video featuring Brautigan's "Love Poem" and Samuel Beckett's novel Molloy, in different voices and translations
"I Lie Here in a Strange Girl's Apartment"
For Marcia

I lie here in a strange girl's apartment.
She has poison oak, a bad sunburn
     and is unhappy.
She moves about the place
like distant gestures of solemn glass.

She opens and closes things.
She turns the water on,
and she turns the water off.

All the sounds she makes are faraway.
They could be in a different city.
It is dusk and people are staring
out the windows of that city.
Their eyes are filled with the sounds
     of what she is doing.

Background
Marcia Pacaud, "Marcia," from Montreal, Canada, appeared in the photograph on the front cover of The Pill versus The Springhill Mine Disaster.

Selected Reprintings
Aura Literary/Arts Review Birmingham, AL: Thunder City Press, 1977(?).
11" x 17" broadside.
Featured six poems by Brautigan: "I Lie Here in a Strange Girl's Apartment," "A Mid-February Sky Dance," "After Halloween Slump," "Comets," "The Pomegranate Circus," and "Let's Voyage into the New American House"—all from All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace. More information about Aura Literary/Arts Review and its speciality publications.
"It's Raining in Love"
I don't know what it is,
but I distrust myself
when I start to like a girl
     a lot.

It makes me nervous.
I don’t say the right things
or perhaps I start
     to examine,
          evaluate,
               compute
     what I am saying.

If I say, "Do you think it's going to rain?"
and she says, "I don’t know,"
I start thinking: Does she really like me?

In other words
I get a little creepy.

A friend of mine once said,
"It's twenty times better to be friends
     with someone
than it is to be in love with them."

I think he's right and besides,
it's raining somewhere, programming flowers
and keeping snails happy.
     That's all taken care of.

               BUT
if a girl likes me a lot
and starts getting real nervous
and suddenly begins asking me funny questions
and looks sad if I give the wrong answers
and she says things like,
"Do you think it's going to rain?"
and I say, "It beats me,"
and she says, "Oh,"
and looks a little sad
at the clear blue California sky
I think: Thank God, it's you, baby, this time
     instead of me.

First Published
Front Cover Hollow Orange 4 1967: n. pg.
Published at 642 Shrader Street, San Francisco, California by Cranium Press
Edited by Clifford Burke
String tied wrappers
Featured three poems by Brautigan: "Comets," "It's Raining in Love," and "Nine Things."

Also featured works by Keith Abbott, Bill Bathurst, Clifford Burke, Nick Chavin, Gino Clays, Zoltan Farkas, Max Finstein, Eugene Lesser, Martin MacClain, Jeff Sheppard (A poet friend of Brautigan to whom the poem "Hey! This Is What It's All About" was dedicated.), Ronald Silliman, David Tammer, David Sandberg, Patrick Nolan, and Steve Carey.

Selected Reprintings
The American Literary Anthology. Third Annual Collection. Eds. George Plimpton and Peter Ardery. New York: Viking, 1970. 384-385.
Corrected version

The American Literary Anthology. Second Annual Collection. Eds. George Plimpton and Peter Ardery. New York: Random House, 1969. 56.
Omitted last thirteen lines.
"Hey! This Is What It's All About"
For Jeff Sheppard

No publication
No money
No star
No fuck          

     A friend came over to the house
a few days ago and read one of my poems.
He came back today and asked to read the
same poem over again. After he finished
reading it, he said, "It makes me want
     to write poetry."

Background
Jeff Sheppard was a poet friend of Brautigan's. Their work appeared together in Hollow Orange. See the poems "Comets," "It's Raining in Love," and "Nine Things."
"Our Beautiful West Coast Thing"
We are a coast people
There is nothing but ocean out beyond us.
—Jack Spicer


I sit here dreaming
long thoughts of California

at the end of a November day
below a cloudy twilight
     near the Pacific

listening to the Mamas and the Papas
     THEY'RE GREAT

singing a song about breaking
somebody’s heart and digging it!

I think I'll get up
and dance around the room.

     Here I go!

Textual References
"Jack Spicer": American poet (1925-1965) and Brautigan's mentor; the quotation is from the first of "Ten Poems for Downbeat," in The Collected Books of Jack Spicer. Ed. Robin Blaser. Los Angeles: Black Sparrow Press, 1975. 263.

"The Mamas and the Papas": Popular folk-rock group of the Sixties; the song is probably the exuberant "I Saw Her Again" (1966). Brautigan's first stanza may allude to their first big hit, "California Dreamin'" (1965).

Selected Reprintings
A First Reader of Contemporary American Poetry. Ed. Patrick Gleason. Columbus, Ohio: Merrill, 1969. 23-26.
Included eight poems by Brautigan: "In a Cafe," "The Wheel," "The Sidney Greenstreet Blues," "The Fever Monument," "Horse Race," "Our Beautiful West Coast Thing," and "The Pomegranate Circus," and "General Custer Versus the Titanic."
"Widow's Lament"
It's not quite cold enough
to go borrow some firewood
from the neighbors.

Recorded
Album Front Cover "Listening to Richard Brautigan." Harvest Records.
On one track of this album, titled "The Pill versus The Springhill Mine Disaster," Brautigan reads sixteen poems collected in The Pill versus The Springhill Mine Disaster, including this one.

LISTEN to Brautigan read these poems.
"December 30"
At 1:30 in the morning a fart
smells like a marriage between
an avocado and a fish head.

I have to get out of bed
to write this down without
     my glasses on.

Recorded
Album Front Cover "Listening to Richard Brautigan." Harvest Records.
On one track of this album, titled "The Pill versus The Springhill Mine Disaster," Brautigan reads sixteen poems collected in The Pill versus The Springhill Mine Disaster, including this one.

LISTEN to Brautigan read these poems.
"Lovers"
I changed her bedroom:
raised the ceiling four feet,
removed all of her things
(and the clutter of her life)
painted the walls white,
placed a fantastic calm
     in the room,
a silence that almost had a scent,
put her in a low brass bed
with white satin covers,
and I stood there in the doorway
watching her sleep, curled up,
with her face turned away
     from me.

Recorded
Album Front Cover "Listening to Richard Brautigan." Harvest Records.
On one track of this album, titled "The Pill versus The Springhill Mine Disaster," Brautigan reads sixteen poems collected in The Pill versus The Springhill Mine Disaster, including this one.

LISTEN to Brautigan read these poems.
"A Mid-February Sky Dance"
Dance toward me, please, as
if you were a star
with light-years piled
on top of your hair,
     smiling,

and I will dance toward you
as if I were darkness
with bats piled like a hat
     on top of my head.

Selected Reprintings
Aura Literary/Arts Review Birmingham, AL: Thunder City Press, 1977(?).
11" x 17" broadside.
Featured six poems by Brautigan: "I Lie Here in a Strange Girl's Apartment," "A Mid-February Sky Dance," "After Halloween Slump," "Comets," "The Pomegranate Circus," and "Let's Voyage into the New American House"—all from All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace. More information about Aura Literary/Arts Review and its speciality publications.

Shake the Kaleidoscope: A New Anthology of Modern Poetry. Ed. Milton Klonsky. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1973. 274-276.
Included six poems by Brautigan: "To England," "November 3," "A Mid-February Sky Dance," "Mating Saliva," "Romeo and Juliet," and "As the Bruises Fade, the Lightning Aches."

The Thunder City Press Broadside Series, No. 5. Birmingham, AL: Thunder City Press, February 1976.
11" x 17" broadside.
Featured eight poems by Brautigan: "December 24," "Milk for the Duck," "Star Hole," "Love Poem," "A Mid-February Sky Dance," "Hollywood," "All Watched Over by Machine of Loving Grace," and "Nine Things"—all from All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace. More information about Thunder City Press and its speciality publications.
"Hey, Bacon!"
The moon like:
mischievous bacon
crisps its desire

          (while)

I harbor myself
toward two eggs
over easy.

Selected Reprintings
This poem was reproduced as an interesting speciality publication.
"After Halloween Slump"
My magic is down.
My spells mope around
the house like sick old dogs
with bloodshot eyes
watering cold wet noses.

My charms are in a pile
in the corner like the
dirty shirts of a summer fatman.

One of my potions died
last night in the pot.
It looks like a cracked
Egyptian tablecloth.

Selected Reprintings
Aura Literary/Arts Review Birmingham, AL: Thunder City Press, 1977(?).
11" x 17" broadside.
Featured six poems by Brautigan: "I Lie Here in a Strange Girl's Apartment," "A Mid-February Sky Dance," "After Halloween Slump," "Comets," "The Pomegranate Circus," and "Let's Voyage into the New American House"—all from All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace. More information about Aura Literary/Arts Review and its speciality publications.
"Hollywood"
January 26, 1967
at 3:15 in the afternoon


Sitting here in Los Angeles
parked on a rundown residential
     back street,
staring up at the word
     HOLLYWOOD
written on some lonely mountains,
I’m listening very carefully
to rock and roll radio
     (Lovin’ Spoonful)
     (Jefferson Airplane)
while people are slowly
putting out their garbage cans.

Textual References
"Lovin' Spoonful" and "Jefferson Airplane": Two popular rock groups of the time, from New York City and San Francisco, respectively.

Selected Reprintings
The Thunder City Press Broadside Series, No. 5. Birmingham, AL: Thunder City Press, February 1976.
11" x 17" broadside.
Featured eight poems by Brautigan: "December 24," "Milk for the Duck," "Star Hole," "Love Poem," "A Mid-February Sky Dance," "Hollywood," "All Watched Over by Machine of Loving Grace," and "Nine Things"—all from All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace. More information about Thunder City Press and its speciality publications.
"It's Going Down"
Magic is the color of the thing you wear
with a dragon for a button
and a lion for a lamp
with a carrot for a collar
and a salmon for a zipper.

     Hey! You’re turning me on: baby.
     That’s the way it’s going down.

          WOW!
"Albion Breakfast"
For Susan

Last night (here) a long pretty girl
asked me to write a poem about Albion,
so she could put it in a black folder
that has albion printed nicely
     in white on the cover.

I said yes. She's at the store now
getting something for breakfast.
I'll surprise her with this poem
     when she gets back.

Background
Althea Susan Morgan and Brautigan first met Friday, 27 January 1967 in Isla Vista/Goleta, California, where Brautigan participated in a poetry reading at the Unicorn Book Shop. Morgan visited Brautigan in San Francisco several times and during one visit Brautigan wrote and dedicated the poem "Albion Breakfast" for Morgan. He typed, signed, and dated (24 March 1967) a copy for Morgan.

Although "albion" was often used as poetic reference to England, especially by the English Romantic poets, Morgan recalled a different genesis for this poem.

Feedback from Susan Morgan
Althea Susan Morgan. Email to John F. Barber, 4 December 2005.
Morgan lived in Santa Barbara, California, where Brautigan visited her and wrote another poem, "The Sitting Here, Standing Here Poem," for her.

Morgan and Brautigan exchanged letters about this poem and other topics.

Erik Weber photographed Brautigan and Morgan in Brautigan's Geary Street apartment in March 1967. LEARN more >>>
"Comets"
There are comets
that flash through
our mouths wearing
the grace
of oceans and galaxies.

     God knows,
     we try to do the best
     we can.

There are comets
connected to chemicals
that telescope
down out tongues
to burn out against
the air.

     I know
     we do.

There are comets
that laugh at us
from behind our teeth
wearing the clothes
of fish and birds.

     We try.

First Published
Front Cover Hollow Orange 4 1967: n. pg.
Published at 642 Shrader Street, San Francisco, California, by Cranium Press. Edited by Clifford Burke
String tied wrappers
Featured three poems by Brautigan: "Comets," "It's Raining in Love," and "Nine Things."

Also featured works by Keith Abbott, Bill Bathurst, Clifford Burke, Nick Chavin, Gino Clays, Zoltan Farkas, Max Finstein, Eugene Lesser, Martin MacClain, Jeff Sheppard (A poet friend of Brautigan to whom the poem "Hey! This Is What It's All About" was dedicated.), Ronald Silliman, David Tammer, David Sandberg, Patrick Nolan, and Steve Carey.

Selected Reprintings
Aura Literary/Arts Review Birmingham, AL: Thunder City Press, 1977(?).
11" x 17" broadside.
Featured six poems by Brautigan: "I Lie Here in a Strange Girl's Apartment," "A Mid-February Sky Dance," "After Halloween Slump," "Comets," "The Pomegranate Circus," and "Let's Voyage into the New American House"—all from All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace. More information about Aura Literary/Arts Review and its speciality publications.
"The Pomegranate Circus"
I am desolate in dimension
circling the sky
          like a rainy bird,

wet from toe to crown
wet from bill to wing.

I feel like a drowned king
at the pomegranate circus.

I vowed last year
that I wouldn’t go again
but here I sit in my usual seat,
     dripping and clapping

as the pomegranates go by
in their metallic costumes.

December 25, 1966

Selected Reprintings
A First Reader of Contemporary American Poetry. Ed. Patrick Gleason. Columbus, Ohio: Merrill, 1969. 23-26.
Included eight poems by Brautigan: "In a Cafe," "The Wheel," "The Sidney Greenstreet Blues," "The Fever Monument," "Horse Race," "Our Beautiful West Coast Thing," and "The Pomegranate Circus," and "General Custer Versus the Titanic."

Aura Literary/Arts Review Birmingham, AL: Thunder City Press, 1977(?).
11" x 17" broadside.
Featured six poems by Brautigan: "I Lie Here in a Strange Girl's Apartment," "A Mid-February Sky Dance," "After Halloween Slump," "Comets," "The Pomegranate Circus," and "Let's Voyage into the New American House"—all from All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace. More information about Aura Literary/Arts Review and its speciality publications.
"My Nose Is Growing Old"
Yup.
A long lazy September look
in the mirror
says it's true:

I'm 31
and my nose is growing
     old.

It starts about
     an inch
below the bridge
and strolls geriatrically
     down
for another inch or so:
     stopping.

Fortunately, the rest
of the nose is comparatively
     young.

I wonder if girls
will want me with an
     old nose.

I can hear them now
the heartless bitches!

"He's cute
     but his nose
is old."

First Published
Front cover O'er (2) December 1966: 107-109.
8.5" x 11" mimeographed sheets of different colored construction paper; 128 pages; staple binding
Published in San Francisco, California, by Cranium Press.
Edited by David Sandberg.
Called variously Awwr, O'er, and Oar at different points of this issue. First issue appeared April 1966 and was titled or #1.

Featured three poems by Brautigan: "The House," "My Nose is Growing Old," and "November 3." Each poem appeared on a separate page. In addition to Brautigan's poems, this issue also featured a full-page advertisement for The Galilee Hitch-Hiker to be published by Oar, complete with made up blurbs promoting the book.

"My Nose is Growing Old" and "November 3" were collected in All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace. The poem "The House" was not included in any collection.

Also included contributions by Jack Spicer, Lew Welch, Anselm Hollo, John Sinclair, Clark Coolidge, and others.
"At the California Institute of Technology"
I don't care how God-damn smart
these guys are: I'm bored.

It's been raining like hell all day long
and there's nothing to do.

               Written January 24, 1967 while poet-in-residence
               at the California Institute of Technology


Background
Written during Brautigan's poet-in-residency at the California Institute of Technology, in Pasadena, California, 17-26 January 1967. Brautigan and Andrew Hoyem drove from San Francisco to Los Angeles on Sunday, 15 January 1967 in order to spend the following ten days at Cal Tech. Rain fell throughout the day, Tuesday, 24 January, and Brautigan recorded his boredom in this poem. He shared the poem with Cal Tech students during Le Grand Farewell Appearance, the following day, Wednesday, 25 January, 11:00 A.M. in the Winnett Lounge.

First Published
Totem May 1967.

Background
Totem was CalTech's literary magazine. Brautigan spent ten days at CalTech with San Francisco poet Andrew Hoyem. They taught workshops and gave readings. LEARN more >>>

Selected Reprintings
San Francisco Express Times 1(49) December 24, 1968: 8-9.
Published weekly from 24 January 1968 (Vol. 1, no. 1) to 24 December 1968 (Vol. 1, no. 49) as San Francisco Express Times. Continued after as Good Times. Published at 15 Lafayette Street, San Francisco by the Trystero Company. Printed by Waller Press.

Included eleven poems by Brautigan: "The Pill versus The Springhill Mine Disaster," "The Day they Busted the Grateful Dead," "All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace," "Discovery," "At the California Institute of Technology," "Boo, Forever," "The Sidney Greenstreet Blues," "The Flowerburgers Part 4," "A Baseball Game Part 7," "December 24," and "The Garlic Meat Lady."

Recorded
Album Front Cover "Listening to Richard Brautigan." Harvest Records.
On one track of this album, titled "The Pill versus The Springhill Mine Disaster," Brautigan reads sixteen poems collected in The Pill versus The Springhill Mine Disaster, including this one.

LISTEN to Brautigan read these poems.
"Your Catfish Friend"
If I were to live my life
in catfish forms
in scaffolds of skin and whiskers
at the bottom of a pond
and you were to come by
     one evening
when the moon was shining
down into my dark home
and stand there at the edge
     of my affection
and think, "It's beautiful
here by this pond. I wish
     somebody loved me,"
I'd love you and be your catfish
friend and drive such lonely
thoughts from your mind
and suddenly you would be
     at peace,
and ask yourself, "I wonder
if there are any catfish
in this pond? It seems like
a perfect place for them."
"Karma Repair Kit: Items 1-4"
1. Get enough food to eat,
    and eat it.

2. Find a place to sleep where it is quiet,
    and sleep there.

3. Reduce intellectual activity and emotional noise
    until you arrive at the silence of yourself,
    and listen to it.

4.

First Published
San Francisco: The Communication Company, April 1967.
8.5" x 11" mimeographed broadside. Imprint: The Communication Company U.P.S. The UPS logo indicated association with the Underground Press Syndicate.

Kaye Confini, Brautigan's girlfriend, assisted with the production of this broadside.

Reported Variants
Two versions reported: a red bones version and a gray bones version. Other reported variants include text printed in lavender with no background design.

Red bones version
Text printed in black over a background of red anatomical drawings of human bones.

Gray bones version
Text printed in black over background of gray anatomical drawings of human bones.

Online Resource
Information about this poem at the Digger Archives website

Selected Reprintings
Aura Literary/Arts Review Birmingham, AL: Thunder City Press, 1977(?).
11" x 17" broadside.
Featured six poems by Brautigan: "I Lie Here in a Strange Girl's Apartment," "A Mid-February Sky Dance," "After Halloween Slump," "Comets," "The Pomegranate Circus," and "Let's Voyage into the New American House"—all from All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace. More information about Aura Literary/Arts Review and its speciality publications.

Front Cover "Three Poems." London Magazine Nov. 1970: 65.
Featured three poems by Brautigan: "The Wheel," "Horse Race," and "Karma Repair Kit: Items 1-4."
Also included work by Robert Lowell, Ronald Hayman, Minos Argyakis, Christine Broke-Rose, G. S. Sharat Chandra, William Sanson, Nirad Chaudhuri, Geoffrey Grigson, William Feaver, John Elsom, and Tony Harrison.

Recorded
Album Front Cover "Listening to Richard Brautigan." Harvest Records.
On one track of this album, titled "The Pill versus The Springhill Mine Disaster," Brautigan reads sixteen poems collected in The Pill versus The Springhill Mine Disaster, including this one.

LISTEN to Brautigan read these poems.
"All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace"
I like to think (and
the sooner the better!)
of a cybernetic meadow
where mammals and computers
live together in mutually
programming harmony
like pure water
touching clear sky.

I like to think
     (right now please!)
of a cybernetic forest
filled with pines and electronics
where deer stroll peacefully
past computers
as if they were flowers
with spinning blossoms.

I like to think
     (it has to be!)
of a cybernetic ecology
where we are free of our labors
and joined back to nature,
returned to our mammal
brothers and sisters,
and all watched over
by machines of loving grace.

First Published
San Francisco: The Communication Company, 1967.
8.5" x 11" mimeographed broadside with hand-lettered title and imprint (Communication Company). All else type-written.

Reported Variants
Two variants, or issues, probably because all copies of the first version were given away prompting Brautigan to return for more. According to Claude Hayward, co-founder of the Communcation Company,

Feedback from Claude Hayward
Claude Hayward. Email to John F. Barber, 19 Dec. 2003.
Hayward probably hand-lettered the stencils and printed each issue. Allegedly Kaye Confini, Brautigan's girlfriend, assisted with the production of at least one of these broadsides.

First issue: The "loudspeaker" version.
Paper shows faintly "LOUDSPEAKER CURRENT" and electric schematics. Published in 1967.

Second issue: The "computer" version.
Bold hand-drawn illustrations of small animals and a picture of a computer bank. Published in 1967.

Feedback from Claude Hayward
Claude Hayward. Email to John F. Barber, 19 Dec. 2003.
Selected Reprintings
The Digger Papers. August 1968: 11.
A 24-page phamphlet compilation of previous Digger publications. Edited by Paul Krassner.

Included Brautigan's poem and work by others. Brautigan admired the Diggers, a San Francisco counter-culture group, for their free services to the needy and "gave" them this poem, which they reproduced and distributed throughout the city. LEARN more >>>

Online Resource
Information about this poem at the Digger Archives website
Gangeware, Robert J. Editor. "All Watched over by Machines of Loving Grace." The Exploited Eden: Literature on the American Environment. New York: Harper and Row, 1972. 376.
Included the following introduction
American poets seldom portray the happy marriage of technology and the natural world. Thus the optimism of the following poem is somewhat unique—unless the reader detects irony, in which case the poem joins the mainstream of antitechnological American verse.
New York State Regents Exams Comprehensive English Test
Wednesday, 19 June 2002, 9:15—12:15 AM.

The question associated with the poem was:
After you have read the passages and answered the multiple-choice questions, write a unified essay about the coexistence of humans and computers as revealed in the passages. In your essay, use ideas from both passages to establish a controlling idea about the coexistence of humans and computers. Using evidence from each passage, develop your controlling idea and show how the author uses specific literary elements or techniques to convey that idea.
Four questions, with multiple choice answers related to the poem were provided. The questions and their answers (in bold) were:
1. What does the speaker suggest about the relationship between mammals and computers in cybernetic meadow?
(1) They influence each other in positive ways.
(2) They compete with each other for domination.
(3) They are unaware of each other's existence.
(4) They tend to avoid each other.

2. In lines 9 through 16, the poet uses images of both
(1) past and present
(2) nature and technology
(3) death and eternity
(4) age and youth

3. The expressions in parentheses (lines 1 and 2, 10, and 18) convey a sense of
(1) eagerness
(2) anger
(3) loneliness
(4) curiosity

4. The speaker implies that, in a cybernetic ecology, machines will have a role as
(1) artists
(2) commanders
(3) guardians
(4) jailers
San Francisco Express Times 1(49) December 24, 1968: 8-9.
Published weekly from 24 January 1968 (Vol. 1, no. 1) to 24 December 1968 (Vol. 1, no. 49) as San Francisco Express Times. Continued after as Good Times. Published at 15 Lafayette Street, San Francisco by the Trystero Company. Printed by Waller Press.

Included eleven poems by Brautigan: "The Pill versus The Springhill Mine Disaster," "The Day they Busted the Grateful Dead," "All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace," "Discovery," "At the California Institute of Technology," "Boo, Forever," "The Sidney Greenstreet Blues," "The Flowerburgers Part 4," "A Baseball Game Part 7," "December 24," and "The Garlic Meat Lady."
Shannon, L. R. "The Promise, the Reality and the Hope." New York Times 8 December 1987: 27.
Discusses the possibilities of the personal computer from the perspective of the late 1970s saying, "it was a poetic vision, particularly as expressed by Richard Brautigan. . . ."
Sun (9) 7 August 1968.
Five unbound 8.5" x 11" sheets, folded for mailing.
Published at 1510 Hill Street in Ann Arbor, Michigan. A John Sinclair Trans-Love Energies publication.

Included two poems by Brautigan: "Mouths That Kissed in the Hot Ashes of Pompeii" (source credited as "in the San Francisco Express Times"; 1(27) July 24, 1968: 7) and "All Watched over by Machines of Loving Grace" (source credited as "in the digger papers").

Also included work by Jack Kerouac and David Sinclair and news about the "long-awaited Youth International Party (YIPPIE) Festival of Life" which occurred 25-30 August 1968, simultaneously with the YIPPIE festival Democratic National Convention, both in Chicago, Illinois.
The Thunder City Press Broadside Series, No. 5. Birmingham, AL: Thunder City Press, February 1976.
11" x 17" broadside.
Featured eight poems by Brautigan: "December 24," "Milk for the Duck," "Star Hole," "Love Poem," "A Mid-February Sky Dance," "Hollywood," "All Watched Over by Machine of Loving Grace," and "Nine Things"—all from All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace. More information about Thunder City Press and its speciality publications.
TriQuarterly 11 (Winter) 1968: 194.
Published in Evanston, Illinois.

The Ways of the Poem. Ed. Josephine Miles. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1972. 376-377.

Recorded
Album Front Cover "Listening to Richard Brautigan." Harvest Records.
On one track of this album, titled "The Pill versus The Springhill Mine Disaster," Brautigan reads sixteen poems collected in The Pill versus The Springhill Mine Disaster, including this one.

LISTEN to Brautigan read these poems.


Selected Creative Responses
The poem included in the 2011 three-part BBC television series "All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace," directed by filmmaker Adam Curtis

A painting, "Machine of Loving Grace," by Kelly Newcomer

A painting, "Cybernetic Brautigan," by Eric Sherman

A song, "Machines of Loving Grace," by The Naked Puritans

A song, "Machines of Loving Grace," by The Panic Band
Interesting Connections
Charles Perry, commenting on the debate over technology, says,
The "robots will do all the work" vision of utopia was certainly widesread, the subject for instance of Richard Brautigan's famous poem, 'All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace' and one of the recurring ideas in the Leary-Snyder debate in Oracle No. 7.
(The Haight-Ashbury. A History. New York: Rolling Stone Press, 1984: 261.)
"A Good-Talking Candle"
I had a good-talking candle
last night in my bedroom.

I was very tired but I wanted
somebody to be with me,
     so I lit a candle

and listened to its comfortable
voice of light until I was asleep.

Recorded
Album Front Cover "Listening to Richard Brautigan." Harvest Records.
On one track of this album, titled "The Pill versus The Springhill Mine Disaster," Brautigan reads sixteen poems collected in The Pill versus The Springhill Mine Disaster, including this one.

LISTEN to Brautigan read these poems.
"Nine Things"
It's night

and a numbered beauty
lapses at the wind,

chortles with the
branches of a tree,

     giggles,

plays shadow dance
with a dead kite,

cajoles affection
from falling leaves,

and knows four
other things.

One is the color
of your hair.

First Published
Front Cover Hollow Orange 4 1967: n. pg.
Published at 642 Shrader Street, San Francisco, California, by Cranium Press
Edited by Clifford Burke
String tied wrappers

Featured three poems by Brautigan: "Comets," "It's Raining in Love," and "Nine Things."
Also featured works by Keith Abbott, Bill Bathurst, Clifford Burke, Nick Chavin, Gino Clays, Zoltan Farkas, Max Finstein, Eugene Lesser, Martin MacClain, Jeff Sheppard (A poet friend of Brautigan to whom the poem "Hey! This Is What It's All About" was dedicated.), Ronald Silliman, David Tammer, David Sandberg, Patrick Nolan, and Steve Carey.

Selected Reprintings
The Thunder City Press Broadside Series, No. 5. Birmingham, AL: Thunder City Press, February 1976.
11" x 17" broadside.
Featured eight poems by Brautigan: "December 24," "Milk for the Duck," "Star Hole," "Love Poem," "A Mid-February Sky Dance," "Hollywood," "All Watched Over by Machine of Loving Grace," and "Nine Things"—all from All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace. More information about Thunder City Press and its speciality publications.
"A Lady"
Her face grips at her mouth
like a leaf to a tree
or a tire to a highway
or a spoon to a bowl of soup.

She just can't let go
     with a smile,
     the poor dear.

No matter what happens
her face is always a maple tree
     Highway 101
     tomato.

Textual References
"Highway 101": Also known as the Pacific Coast Highway, which runs along the coast from Seattle, Washington, to Los Angeles, Californina.
"Let's Voyage into the New American House"
There are doors
that want to be free
from their hinges to
fly with perfect clouds.

There are windows
that want to be
released from their
frames to run with
the deer through
back country meadows.

There are walls
that want to prowl
with the mountains
through the early
morning dusk.

There are floors
that want to digest
their furniture into
flowers and trees.

There are roofs
that want to travel
gracefully with
the stars through
circles of darkness.

Selected Reprintings
Aura Literary/Arts Review Birmingham, AL: Thunder City Press, 1977(?).
11" x 17" broadside.
Featured six poems by Brautigan: "I Lie Here in a Strange Girl's Apartment," "A Mid-February Sky Dance," "After Halloween Slump," "Comets," "The Pomegranate Circus," and "Let's Voyage into the New American House"—all from All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace. More information about Aura Literary/Arts Review and its speciality publications.

Dugdale, Anthony. "Romantic Renegades." Architectural Design 48(7) 1978: 444-46.
In addition to the specific reviews detailed below, commentary about this book may also be included in General Reviews of Brautigan's work and his place in American literature, or reviews of his Collections.

Bokinsky, Caroline J. "Richard Brautigan." Dictionary of Literary Biography. Vol. 5: American Poets Since World War II. Ed. Donald J. Greiner. Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1980. 96-99.
Critical comments on The Return of the Rivers, The Galilee Hitch-Hiker, Lay the Marble Tea, The Octopus Frontier, All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace, The Pill versus The Springhill Mine Disaster, Rommel Drives on Deep into Egypt, Loading Mercury with a Pitchfork, and June 30th, June 30th. Also provides some biographical and bibliographical information. Says All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace "provides a transition to the collection that was to become his most popular and was to establish his position as a poet," The Pill versus The Springhill Mine Disaster.

READ the full text of this review.
Hirschman, Jack. "Five Poets." Poetry July 1968: 274-275.
Briefly reviews five poetry collections: Days, or Days as Thoughts in a Season's Uncertainties by Samuel Charters, The Difference Between by Christine La Belle, Apocalypse Rose by Charles Plymell, Burning Snake by Charles Posts, and Brautigan's All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace.

The full text of the reference to Brautigan reads
Richard Brautigan's book, published and given away free by the Digger-inspired Communication Company of San Francisco, is made up of shyly simple moments out of a California Einstein continuum that has already EMC-squared itself into the bliss of being just what it is. The nice things about these poems is that you can sit down at breakfast with them, flip open the top of your Adohr milk container, and enjoy them the way you might the ball scores or the latest lousy news from the front. Content in your simple conservative beinghood, because you've already been so damned malcontent with the war, it has passed overhead or under the table like so much ramadam. Brautigan writes simply, awkwardly like the words stumbling out of the corner of his mouth or with his chin on the tabletop. The craft harks back to [Kenneth] Patchen, which is to say: hello, I'm expressing myself and that's IT. Californians will recognize the book as part of its particular genius just because. "I think I'll get up / and dance around the room. / Here I go!" I hope you like it too.
Lock, Beth. "All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace." MyMac.com 2 November 1999.
Connects Brautigan and his notion of "cybernetic ecology" [see the poem "All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace"] to the joy she feels from using her Macintosh computer.

READ the full text of this review.

Online Resource
Lock's review at the MyMac.com website
Nambisan, Vijay. "Pines and Cybernetics." The Hindu 4 June 2000: 1.
Reviews the poem "All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace" from which the volume takes its title. Says this poem, like all Brautigan's work, is subversive of the existing order.

READ the full text of the reference to Brautigan.