Brautigan > Rommel Drives On Deep into Egypt

This node of the American Dust website (formerly Brautigan Bibliography and Archive) provides comprehensive information about Richard Brautigan's poetry collection Rommel Drives On Deep into Egypt. Published in 1970, this collection of eighty-five poems was Brautigan's eighth published poetry book. Publication and background information is provided, along with reviews, many with full text. Use the menu tabs below to learn more.

Publication

Publication information regarding Richard Brautigan's poetry collection Rommel Drives On Deep into Egypt.

First USA Edition

1970
New York: Delacorte Press/Seymour Lawrence
5.75" x 8.25"; 85 pages; ISBN 0-385-28863-8; First printing 1 April 1970.
Hard Cover, with printed dust jacket.
Pictorial paper-covered boards reproduce dust jacket photographs

Covers

Front cover photograph of Beverly Allen in a sandbox by Edmund Shea taken in the panhandle of Golden Gate Park, San Francisco. Select the "Background" tab, above, to learn more about Beverly Allen.

Back cover photograph, a detail of the sandbox, was also taken by Shea in the panhandle of Golden Gate Park, San Francisco.

Advance Reader Copy

Approximately twenty sets of folded, gathered, but unsewn, untrimmed signatures were laid into the dust jacket and sent to New York publishers from San Francsico for review and promotional purposes. Brautigan insisted that his friend Andrew Hoyem design the book (and Grabhorn-Hoyem is so credited). As a result, the book was manufactured in San Francisco rather than New York, Delacorte's usual procedure. No other advance copies or proofs.

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Background

First published in 1970, Rommel Drives On Deep into Egypt, a collection of eighty-five poems, was Brautigan's sixth collection of poetry; his eighth published poetry book.

Dedication

This book is for Roxy and Judy Gordon.

Brautigan visited Roxy and Judy Gordon in Austin, Texas, in August 1970. While there he was issued a Texas fishing license (August 14, 1970). It notes his height (6'4") and weight (165 pounds).

The poem "Autobiography (Polish It like a Piece of Silver)," collected in Loading Mercury with a Pitchfork, contains a reference to Judy Gordon and Byrds, a town in central Texas, near Brownwood. Two poems, "A Study in Roads" and "Stone (real," both collected in June 30th, June 30th contain references to Bee Caves, Texas, a small town twelve miles west of Austin. Brautigan may have visited Bee Caves with the Gordons.

Roxy Gordon, in turn, dedicated his book, Some Things I Did (Austin, Texas: The Encino Press, 1971) to RICHARD BRAUTIGAN
whose favorite gun is
the Colt Navy .36

In publicity materials associated with the publication of Gordon's book Brautigan wrote, "Roxy and Judy Gordon are two very nice people with an open and perceptive way. Reading Roxy's book is to meet them."

As to Gordon's reference to Brautigan's interest in the Colt Navy .36 handgun, novelist Tom McGuane said, "[Brautigan] had a fascination with the . . . Colt because it seemed to sum up gun owning, democratic gun manufacture, and excellence, all in one thing (Peter Manso and Michael McClure 113).

Beverly Allen

A photograph of Beverly Allen in a sandbox in Golden Gate Park was used on the front cover of Rommel Drives On Deep into Egypt. As Allen explains in her memoir, My Days with Richard, she was working, in December 1969, as a house model at Saks Fifth Avenue in San Francisco. She met Brautigan a week before Christmas at Caffè Trieste and he offered her a job modeling for the cover photograph. The actual photographic session took place on 13 January 1970. Golden Gate Park was used rather than North Beach because the weather was grim. The sandbox was used because Brautigan wanted sand for the Rommel theme. And because Brautigan wanted to evoke Nazi stereotypes, Allen says she wore a long, black plastic raincoat over a yellow miniskirt, and tall black boots. Shea took several photographs; Brautigan directed. The next day, Allen left for Rome, Italy, where she was studying music and literature. She eventually earned a degree in comparative literature and worked as a tenured professor at Syracuse University. A photograph of Brautigan and Allen appeared on the front covers of the 1973 and 1977 Ballantine edition, the 1970 Jonathan Cape edition, and the 1973 Picador-Pan editions of A Confederate General from Big Sur. Allen talks about the photograph and her experience with Brautigan in a Syracuse Post-Standard article (O'Connell, Max B. "SU Professor Beverly Allen talks about her experience with late writer Richard Brautigan." Syracuse Post-Standard Central New York 12 Jan. 2014, p. I 1.)

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Contents

Rommel Drives On Deep into Egypt collects eighty-five poems by Richard Brautigan. Unless noted, all poems were first published in this volume in the order listed below.

ROMMEL DRIVES ON DEEP INTO EGYPT

               —San Francisco Chronicle headline
               June 26, 1942

Rommel is dead.
His army has joined the quicksand legions
of history where the battle is always
a metal echo saluting a rusty shadow.
His tanks are gone.
How's your ass?

Textual References
"Rommel": Nazi general Erwin Rommel (1891-1944), commander of the German forces in northern Africa during the early years of World War II.

A 48-Year-Old Burglar from San Diego

[No text appeared under this poem title.]

Have You Ever Had a Witch Bloom like a Highway

Have you ever had a witch bloom like a highway
on your mouth? and turn your breathing to her
fancy? like a little car with blue headlights
     passing forever in a dream?

The Memoirs of Jesse James

I remember all those thousands of hours
that I spent in grade school watching the clock,
waiting for recess or lunch or to go home.
     Waiting: for anything but school.
My teachers could easily have ridden with Jesse James
     for all the time they stole from me.

Textual References
"Jesse James": American desparado (1847-1882).

Selected Reprints
A Legend of Horses Poems and Stories
No stated publisher, but possibly Pacific Red Car Press
No printing, place, or date information
5" x 9"; Printed wrappers; Stapled binding

Reprinted ten Brautigan poems
"A Legend of Horses"
"A Moth in Tucson, Arizona"
"Hinged to Forgetfulness Like a Door"
"Heroine of the Time Machine"
"The Buses"
"Period Piece"
"Psalm"
"Towards the Pleasures of a Reconstituted Crow"
"The Memoirs of Jesse James"
"Love's Not The Way to Treat a Friend"
and the story "What Are You Going to Do with 390 Photographs of Christmas Trees."

"High Schools Promote: Irresponsibility, Distortion, Schizophrenia, Racism, Chauvinism, Hate, Elitism, Linear Thought, Subordination, Militarism, Nationalism, Oligarchies, Loneliness, and other character disorders." Chicago: Chicago Area Draft Resisters, 197[?]: back panel.
Single sheet, folded. Brautigan's poem printed on the back panel.
A promotional phamplet printed and distributed by the Chicago Area Draft Resistors (CADRE), 519 W. North Ave., Chicago, Illinois, 60610, (312) 664-6895. Readers were encouraged to "call or write" CADRE for "more information about high schools and how to deal with them."

Flora Shakespeare

Acting out the place where the flowers die,
circling their graves with themselves,
your costume is perfect, you're on stage.

15%

She tries to get things out of men
that she can't get because she's not
     15% prettier.

Romeo and Juliet

If you will die for me,
I will die for you

and our graves will
be like two lovers washing
their clothes together
in a Laundromat.

If you will bring the soap,
I will bring the bleach.

Textual References
"Romeo and Juliet": See William Shakespeare's play of the same title (1597).

Selected Reprints
Shake the Kaleidoscope: A New Anthology of Modern Poetry. Edited by Milton Klonsky. Simon & Schuster, 1973, pp. 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."

Have You Ever Felt like a Wounded Cow

Have you ever felt like a wounded cow
halfway between an oven and a pasture?
walking in a trance toward a pregnant
     seventeen-year-old housewife's
     two-day-old cookbook?

Mrs. Myrtle Tate, Movie Projectionist

Mrs. Myrtle Tate, movie projectionist
died Wednesday in San Francisco.
     She was 66, retired.

We must remember again the absolute
excitement of the moon and think lyrically
     about her death.

It is very important for our Twentieth Century
souls because she was "one of the few women
who worked as a movie projectionist."

Oh, honor this mothersisterbride
of magic lanterns with an endless waterfall of
     visions.

Textual References
Mrs. Myrtle Tate, widow of Yancey S. Tate, died at San Francisco's Kaiser Foundation Hospital in September 1968, age sixty six. She was a long time member of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees and Motion Picture Machine Operators of San Francisco Union, and, as noted in the obituary, "one of the few women who worked as a movie projectionist." The headline over her obituary in the San Francisco Examiner read, "Mrs. Myrtle Tate, Movie Projectionist." This is another example of found art finding its way into Brautigan's writing.

First Published
The San Francisco Public Library: A Publishing House, 5 Dec. 1968, p 2.
Three wet process legal-size photocopy pages (8.5" x 14"); stapled; self-produced by Victor Moscoso, Jack Thibeau, and Brautigan.

The first page features Thibeau's contibution, a photocopy of his stomach and chest with decorative cut out stars. Thibeau's "signature" appears top center of the page, formed by the cut out typed phrase "Jack Thibeau" crossed by the cut out typed word "xeroxed."

In the center of the page, formed from typed and cut pieces of paper, appear the publication credits, prepared by Brautigan.
"The San Francisco Public Library:
A Publishing House

"This magazine was created and Xeroxed at the Main Library in the Civic Center using their ten cent Xerox machine on December 5, 1968 by: Victor Moscoso, Jack Thibeau, Richard Brautigan."

The second page contains Brautigan's poem typed on white paper, cut out, and centered over a newspaper page featuring movie advertising.

Brautigan's handwritten signature appears in the upper left corner of the sheet, over the advertisement for the Orpheum Cinerama.

The third page features Moscoso's contribution, a photocopy of a Siamese cat (Xenobia, see below) with decorative cut out stars.

The entire event was planned and directed by Brautigan, who was intrigued with the idea of immediate publishing as a new form of public performance. Brautigan invited Thibeau and Moscoso to participate. Each was encouraged to produce a page, designed however they wished. Brautigan encouraged them to be creative. As part of his planning, Brautigan typed "This is one of seven numbered and signed copies" on seven separate small sheets of paper. Below each statement he typed a number. These statements were printed on seven copies of his page, each of which he signed. Thibeau and Moscoso signed copies of their pages as well. Brautigan compiled the three pages into little books, stapling each together. Allegedly, no more than twenty little books were made.

The event was photograhed by Edmund Shea, who produced three contact sheets of 35mm thumbnails of his photographs, thirty-six total. His photographs included the authors, other participants and onlookers, the ten cent copy machine, the Siamese cat Xenobia (belonging to Valerie Estes who accompanied Brautigan to the library and is seen in several of the photographs; Estes was given Xenobia as a Christmas present in 1967 by ex-husband Bob Morrill; Estes recounts a story involving Brautigan, cats, Lauren Sears, and Pat Ferraro), and the signing of copies.

The University of Virginia Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library website maintains a multimedia presentation of "Sixties Memorabilia" including this poster and Brautigan's "San Francisco Public Library: A Publishing House."

Critical Can Opener

There is something wrong
with this poem. Can you
     find it?

First Published
Heliotrope, Summer 1969, n. pg.
Published in San Francisco, CA. Heliotrope was a learning environment open to anyone and offered a wide range of courses: massage, cinema, celebration of dusk, for example. This publication (6" x 9 1/4" printed on heavy, yellow paper) was the summer catalog.

Love's Not the Way to Treat a Friend

Love's not the way to treat a friend.
I wouldn't wish that on you. I don't
want to see your eyes forgotten
on a rainy day, lost in the endless purse
     of those who can remember nothing.

Love's not the way to treat a friend.
I don't want to see you end up that way
with your body being poured like wounded
marble into the architecture of those who make
     bridges out of crippled birds.

Love's not the way to treat a friend.
There are so many better things for you
than to see your feelings sold
as magic lanterns to somebody whose body
     casts no light.

First Published
Rolling Stone, vol. 32, no. 3, May 1969, p. 29.
titled "Not the Way."

Selected Reprints
A Legend of Horses Poems and Stories
No stated publisher, but possibly Pacific Red Car Press
No printing, place, or date information
5" x 9"; Printed wrappers; Stapled binding

Reprinted ten Brautigan poems
"A Legend of Horses"
"A Moth in Tucson, Arizona"
"Hinged to Forgetfulness Like a Door"
"Heroine of the Time Machine"
"The Buses"
"Period Piece"
"Psalm"
"Towards the Pleasures of a Reconstituted Crow"
"The Memoirs of Jesse James"
"Love's Not The Way to Treat a Friend"
and the story "What Are You Going to Do with 390 Photographs of Christmas Trees."

Recorded
"Paradise Bar and Grill"
Mad River
Capital Records
LISTEN to Brautigan read this poem accompanied by Mad River.

The Net Wt. of Winter is 6.75 Ozs.

The net wt. of winter is 6.75 ozs.
and winter has a regular flavor
with Fluoristan to stop tooth decay.

A month ago I bought a huge tube
of Crest tooth paste and when I put it
in the bathroom, I looked at it
and said, "Winter."
               December 4, 1968

Abalone Curry

I have Christmas dinner every year with Michael
and he always cooks abalone curry. It takes
a long time because it tastes so good and the afternoon
travels pleasantly by in his kitchen that is halfway
     between India and Atlantis.

Textual References
"Michael": Michael McClure, poet and friend. Brautigan distills his friendship for McClure, and Christmas dinner experience, in this poem.

Cannibal Carpenter

He wants to build you a house
out of your own bones, but
that's where you're living
     any way!
The next time he calls
you answer the telephone with the
sound of your grandmother being
born. It was a twenty-three-hour
labor in 1894. He hangs
     up.

Background
Written about a would-be biographer who trailed Brautigan during 1969.

Sheep

Three sheep in a field
grazing beside a FOR SALE sign
are like pennies in the hand
of a child who will buy what
     he wants to.

The Donner Party

Forsaken, fucking in the cold,
eating each other, lost, runny noses,
complaining all the time like so
     many people that we know.

Textual References
"Donner Party": A large group of emigrants that tried to cross the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California during the harsh winter of 1846-1847. Few survived, and there were tales of violence and cannibalism.

Selected Reprints
The San Francisco Poets. Edited by David Meltzer. Ballantine Books, 1971, pp. 293-97, 304-305.
Included six poems by Brautigan from Rommel Drives On Deep into Egypt: "Jules Verne Zucchini," "Propelled by Portals Whose Only Shame," "Donner Party," "In Her Sweetness Where She Folds My Wounds," "The Elbow of a Dead Duck," and "As the Bruises Fade, the Lightning Aches," as well as an essay, "Old Lady," and a bibliographical checklist prepared by Brautigan. One of several reference books focusing on Brautigan.

Formal Portrait

I like to think of Frankenstein as a huge keyhole
and the laboratory as the key that turns the lock
and everything that happens afterward as just the
     lock turning.

Textual References
"Frankenstein": The name popularly attributed to the unnamed monster created by Dr. Victor Frankenstein in the novel by Mary Shelley (1818) and movie (1931).

—2

Everybody wants to go to bed
with everybody else, they're
lined up for blocks, so I'll
go to bed with you. They won't
miss us.

The Sister Cities of Los Alamos, New Mexico, and Hiroshima, Japan

It was snowing hard when we drove
into Los Alamos. There was a clinical feeling
to the town as if every man, woman and child
were a doctor. We shopped at the Safeway
and got a bag of groceries. A toddler
looked like a brain surgeon. He carefully
watched us shop at the exact place where he would
     make his first incision.

Textual References
"Los Alamos, New Mexico, and Hiroshima, Japan": The atomic bomb was developed at Los Alamos and dropped on Hiroshima, 6 August 1945.

Background
In 1969, Brautigan and Valerie Estes traveled together to New York, New York, where Brautigan signed contracts with his new agent, Helen Brann, and his new publisher, Seymour Lawrence. Along the way they stopped in New Mexico to visit Robert Creeley. While in New Mexico, Brautigan, Estes, and Creeley visited the Los Alamos Research Laboratories. The visit inspired Brautigan's poem.

Wood

We age in darkness like wood
and watch our phantoms change
     their clothes
of shingles and boards
for a purpose that can only be
     described as wood.

First Published
Poetry, Oct. 1969, p. 30.
Published by October House, Inc., New York, NY
This was Brautigan's only appearance in this journal, founded by Harriet Monroe with help from Ezra Pound in 1912.

Negative Clank

He'd sell a rat's asshole
to a blindman for a wedding
     ring.

Jules Verne Zucchini

Men are walking on the moon today,
planting their footsteps as if they were
zucchini on a dead world
while over 3,000,000 people starve to death
every year on a living one.
                    Earth
                    July 20, 1969

Textual References
"Jules Verne": French adventure writer (1828-1905), author of From Earth to the Moon (1865). "July 20, 1969" is the date of the Apollo 11 lunar landing, the first by humans. Astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon's surface. Brautigan saw, and was inspired by televised images while watching the landing with Valerie Estes and friends Fritzi and Michael Drooth, at their San Francisco apartment.

Selected Reprints
The San Francisco Poets. Edited by David Meltzer. Ballantine Books, 1971, pp. 293-97, 304-305.
Included six poems by Brautigan from Rommel Drives On Deep into Egypt: "Jules Verne Zucchini," "Propelled by Portals Whose Only Shame," "Donner Party," "In Her Sweetness Where She Folds My Wounds," "The Elbow of a Dead Duck," and "As the Bruises Fade, the Lightning Aches," as well as an essay, "Old Lady," and a bibliographical checklist prepared by Brautigan. One of several reference books focusing on Brautigan.

She Sleeps This Very Evening in Greenbrook Castle

She sleeps this very evening in Greenbrook Castle
     without the comfort of husband,
and what she knows is what she dreams. He isn't dead
     and he isn't alive,
and the crack of light beneath the door is like the tail
     of a cat as she paces in her room.

She sleeps this very evening in Greenbrook Castle
     without the comfort of husband,
and what she knows is what she dreams. He isn't dead
     and he isn't alive,
and the light in her window is like a wedding ring
     shining to the dark and distant woods.

She sleeps this very evening in Greenbrook Castle
     without the comfort of husband,
and what she knows is what she dreams. He isn't dead
     and he isn't alive,
and the light that reflects her golden hair is the answer
     to her marriage and the children of her prayers.

Background
According to Keith Abbott, Brautigan, in early 1968, inspired by the collaboration between Michael McClure and Janis Joplin on the song "Oh Lord, Won't You Buy Me A Mercedes Benz," gave Joplin a copy of "The Horse That Had a Flat Tire" and "She Sleeps This Very Evening in Greenbrook Castle" hoping she would use it as the basis for a song (Abbott 71). Joplin's song "Mercedes Benz," although drawing from McClure's line "Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz," was actually written in collaboration with Bob Neuwirth, road manager for Bob Dylan during the English tour filmed in "Don't Look Back," and was included on Joplin's album Pearl, released in 1971, post-humously, following her death in 1970. Michael McClure collaborated with Bobby Womack to write the song "Trust Me," included on the same album.

Third Eye

               For Gary Snyder

There is a motorcycle
in New Mexico.

Textual References
"Gary Snyder": American poet (1930- ). Written as an improvised Zen tribute to Snyder during an evening of drinking in early March 1968. Brautigan was to travel to New Mexico in six days and perhaps this influenced his selection of place for the motorcycle.

You'll Have to Buy Some More Chairs

If you love a statue start a mirror.
Your friends will admire you.
If you love a mirror start a statue.
Make room for new friends.

Feasting and Drinking Went on Far into the Night

Feasting and drinking went on far into the night
but in the end we went home alone to console ourselves
which seems to be what so many things are all about
like the branches of a tree just after the wind
     stops blowing.

1891-1944

[No text appeared under this poem title.]

Hinged to Forgetfulness like a Door

Hinged to forgetfulness like a door,
she slowly closed out of sight,
and she was the woman that I loved,
but too many times she slept like
a mechanical deer in my caresses,
and I ached in the metal silence
     of her dreams.

Selected Reprints
A Legend of Horses Poems and Stories
No stated publisher, but possibly Pacific Red Car Press
No printing, place, or date information
5" x 9"; Printed wrappers; Stapled binding

Reprinted ten Brautigan poems
"A Legend of Horses"
"A Moth in Tucson, Arizona"
"Hinged to Forgetfulness Like a Door"
"Heroine of the Time Machine"
"The Buses"
"Period Piece"
"Psalm"
"Towards the Pleasures of a Reconstituted Crow"
"The Memoirs of Jesse James"
"Love's Not The Way to Treat a Friend"
and the story "What Are You Going to Do with 390 Photographs of Christmas Trees."

Affectionate Light Bulb

I have a 75 watt, glare free, long life
Harmony House light bulb in my toilet.
I have been living in the same apartment
     for over two years now
and that bulb just keeps burning away.
I believe that it is fond of me.

Just Because

Just because people love your mind,
doesn't mean they have to have your body,
     too.

The History of Bolivia

"Butch didn't die in Bolivia. He came
home to Utah—I saw him after he got back.
The Sundance Kid was killed in Bolivia
and it grieved Butch to leave him there."

Textual References
"Butch Cassidy": Ianthe Brautigan notes that her father owned a copy of William Goldman's script for the popular 1969 movie, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

Feedback from Daniel Buck
"I was poking around the Internet today and came upon Brautigan's poem, "The History of Bolivia." Don't know if you know the backstory. The entire poem is a quote Butch Cassidy's sister, Lula Parker Betenson, gave to a Women's News Service reporter, Rebecca Morehouse, during a 1969 interview with Betenson in New York City while Morehouse was attending the premier of [the movie] Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. The story, "Butch Cassidy 'Nice' Bandit," was published in a number of small city newspapers, like The Lima News (Ohio, 19 October 1069), The High Point Eneterprise (North Carolina, 24 October 1969), The Burlington Times-News (North Carolina, 10 October 1969), The Daily Gleaner (Kingston, Jamaica, 15 October 1969), and The Arizona Republic (Phoenix, 9 October 1969).

"Betenson always contended that her brother did not die in Bolivia, but returned home and visited her once, in 1925. Most historians, myself included, do not believe her. She created the tale of Butch's return because she wanted to tart up her book, Butch Cassidy, My Brother (1975), and stick a thumb in Hollywood's eye, which had made buckets of money off her brother's life.

"In the 1969 interview she said that Sundance died in Bolivia, Butch grieved for him, etc. In her book, written in 1975, she reversed herself, saying that Sundance survived the Boliva shootout, that Butch ran into his girlfriend, Etta Place, in a Mexico City bar, and she took him to Sundance elsewhere in the city (Butch Cassidy, My Brother, 186-187). Yes, of all the gin joints . . .. Those of us who pay attention to this minutia consider the collision between her 1969 quote and her 1975 book a tell, a clue that she was making it up as she went along; that she really had no idea what happened to Butch and Sundance. The best evidence is that Butch and Sundance died in a shootout with the military in Bolivia in November 1908.

"Anyway, I like the poem. "The History of Bolivia." Butch and Sundance is what most Americans think of when they hear the word 'Bolivia.'"
— Daniel Buck. Email to John F. Barber, 29 September 2012.

See Buck's website, Digging Up Butch and Sundance.

Wildwood Shadow

               He taught me to love him
               and called me his flower

An old woman clutches a bagful of groceries
to her chest. A loaf of white bread sticks
out the top. She has forgotten to put her
food stamps away. They're still in her hand.

Propelled by Portals Whose Only Shame

Propelled by portals whose only shame
is a zeppelin's shadow crossing a field
     of burning bathtubs,
I ask myself: There must be more to life
     than this?

Selected Reprints
The San Francisco Poets. Edited by David Meltzer. Ballantine Books, 1971, pp. 293-97, 304-305.
Included six poems by Brautigan from Rommel Drives On Deep into Egypt: "Jules Verne Zucchini," "Propelled by Portals Whose Only Shame," "Donner Party," "In Her Sweetness Where She Folds My Wounds," "The Elbow of a Dead Duck," and "As the Bruises Fade, the Lightning Aches," as well as an essay, "Old Lady," and a bibliographical checklist prepared by Brautigan. One of several reference books focusing on Brautigan.

Clad in Garments like a Silver Disease

Clad in garments like a silver disease
you parade around the house. You're quite happy.
The lights are out. The shades are down.
     It's your own business.

Lions Are Growing like Yellow Roses on the Wind

Lions are growing like yellow roses on the wind
and we turn gracefully in the medieval garden
     of their roaring blossoms.
          Oh, I want to turn.
          Oh, I am turning.
          Oh, I have turned.
               Thank you.

Nice Ass

There is so much lost
and so much gained in
     these words.

Casablanca

Where I come from it's just
another carrot in the patch.
Where do you come from,
     stranger?

Textual References
"Casablanca": A seaport city in Morocco and title of the famous 1942 film starring Humphrey Bogart (1899-1957).

8 Millimeter (mm)

[No text appeared under this poem title.]

At the Earliest Dark Answer

At the earliest dark answer
she turns her hair toward
     the door.
She'll learn, she'll learn
that life is more than a
     closing comb.

All Girls Should Have a Poem

                    For Valerie

All girls should have a poem
written for them even if
we have to turn this God-damn world
upside down to do it.
                    New Mexico
                    March 16, 1969

Textual References
"Valerie": Valerie Estes.

First Published
The Free You, vol. 3, no. 6, May 1969, p. 45.
Published in Menlo Park, California, by Midpeninsula Free University. Edited by Fred Nelson, Jon Buckley, Ed McClanahan, and others.

Midpeninsula Free University of Palo Alto, California, (MFU), was an experiment in alternative education that began in 1965 as a Marxist-oriented challenge to the nearby Stanford University. Courses included yoga, mediation, and other experiential offerings. For a $US10.00 membership fee, one could sign up for any course offered by MFU, or teach any course he or she wished. The MFU faculty included Black Panthers, hippies, Stanford professors, and auto mechanics. Notable attendees were Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, who went on to found Apple Computer. Peak membership was claimed to be more than a thousand. In addition to the school, MFU operated a restaurant, a head shop, and a free store.

MFU course offerings were detailed in a semi-annnual catalog called The Free You between 1968 and 1971. Starting as an 8.5" x 11" mimeographed house organ, the catalog grew to a full-color, fifty-page magazine distributed widely outside the university. Illustrations were often included. In fact, artist M. C. Escher wrote, 20 April 1969, "The Hippies of San Francisco continue to print my work illegaly. . . . I was sent a forty-eight-page programme or catalogue of the so-called "Midpeninsula Free University," Menlo Park, California. It included three reproductions of my prints alternating with photographs of seductive naked girls."

The editors of The Free You solicited writings from friends. Ed McClanahan knew Brautigan and may have asked him to contribute something to the catalog. Brautigan's poem appeared in a swirling color psychedelic illustration style popular at the time. The artist was attributed simply as Marghee [sic].

Selected Reprints
One Lord, One Faith, One Cornbread. Eds. Fred Nelson and Ed McClanahan. Anchor Press/Doubleday, 1973.
A collected volume of writings from The Free You. Includes work by Robert Stone, Ken Kesey, L. J. Davis, Thom Gunn, Wendell Berry, Judith Rascoe, Speer Morgan, Vic Lovell, Brautigan, and others. The notes on contributors reads: "Richard Brautigan is that Richard Brautigan."

We Stopped at Perfect Days

We stopped at perfect days
and got out of the car.
The wind glanced at her hair.
It was as simple as that.
I turned to say something—

Chosen by Beauty to Be a Handmaiden of the Stars

Chosen by beauty to be a handmaiden of the stars,
she passes like a silver brush
across the lens of a telescope.
She brushes the stars, the galaxies
and the light-years into the order that
     we know them.

30 Cents, Two Transfers, Love

Thinking hard about you
I got onto the bus
and paid 30 cents car fare
and asked the driver for
     two transfers
before discovering that I
     was alone.

Please

Do you think of me
as often as I think
     of you?

There Is Darkness on Your Lantern

There is darkness on your lantern
and pumpkins in your wind,
and Oh, they clutter up your mind
with their senseless bumping
while your heart is like a sea gull
frozen into a long distance telephone
     call.

I'd like to take the darkness
off your lantern and change the pumpkins
into sky fields of ordered comets
and disconnect the refrigerator telephone
that frightens your heart into standing
     still.

Professional, Nonoffensive, Bland

The gunman holds the wind
     in his hand.
Autumn and spring pass like robberies
     across his eyes.
He doesn't blink while one stops leaves
     and the other starts them.
The gunman is a friend to the changing
     of the seasons.
He holds the wind in his hand.

Cellular Coyote

He's howling in the pines
at the edge of your fingerprints.

Parking Omelet

Walking on crow eggs, mama,
listening to the shells break
like cars being parked on
     asphalt.

Yeah, There Was Always Going to Be a June 5, 1968

My telephone rang in the middle of the night,
but I didn't answer it. It rang and rang
and rang and SHUT UP! and rang as if it were
     possessed.
I always figure that good news doesn't travel
in the middle of the night, so I didn't answer
     the telephone.
I let it go to hell. I was right, too.
It was somebody calling to tell me that Kennedy
     had been hit.

Textual References
"June 5, 1968": The day Robert Kennedy, brother to President John F. Kennedy, was assassinated in Los Angeles, California.

Lemon Lard

Lemon Lard: with your odd snowshoes
and your ability to remember dates,
you're all that you'll ever want to
     be.

Just an Ordinary Girl, 118

Just an ordinary girl, 118
pounds, chipped front tooth, cute,
born in Reno, Nevada, a student
at SF State, she wants candles
married to her womb by the color
of a telescopic saint, so that all
her children will be adventures
     in light.

Restaurant

     Fragile, fading 37,
she wears her wedding ring like a trance
and stares straight down at an empty coffee cup
as if she were looking into the mouth of a dead bird.
Dinner is over. Her husband has gone to the toilet.
He will be back soon and then it will be her turn
     to go to the toilet.

Selected Reprints
"Fragile, Fading 37/A Poem." Kaleidescope-Madison, vol. 2, no. 19, 17 Sep. 1970, p. 7.
Published biweekly; Box 5457, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53701.

It Was Your Idea to Go to Bed with Her

Snowflaked as if by an invisible polar bear
     —unlucky bastard,
you're sitting on the fender of her kisses
while she drives the car down into the
     perfect center of ice.

April 7, 1969

I feel so bad today
that I want to write a poem.
I don't care: any poem, this
     poem.

Shellfish

Always spend a penny
as if you were spending a
     dollar
and always spend a dollar
as if you were spending
a wounded eagle and always
spend a wounded eagle as if
you were spending the very
     sky itself.

First Published
Journal for the Protection of All Beings, no. 3, 1969, n. pg.
Published by City Lights Books, San Francisco, California. 6" x 10.25."

Background
Journal for the Protection of All Beings is generally considered one of the first radical ecology magazines. Published four issues, 1961-1978. Each issue's title varied and often depended on the focus of the content.

This issue was subtitled "Green Flag: People's Park Poetry" and included protest prose and poetry by University of California-Berkeley students focusing on the disruption of student gardening in a vacant lot called "People's Park." It was put together and sold in support of the Bail Defense Fund for the hundreds arrested following the protest over the closure of the park. Cover illustration by Eugene Hawkins Legend. Other illustrations by John Corrie. Brautigan's poem "Shellfish" appeared in the "To Every Animal" section but did not appear in the table of contents.

The journal itself was not a poetry magazine, "but it provided a forum for local poets to express their concern about their society" (Eloyde Tovey 43). The journal was started by Michael McClure and David Meltzer. It began production in San Francisco in 1961 under the City Lights imprint. The first issue of this magazine was edited by McClure, David Meltzer, and Lawrence Ferlinghetti. It was conceived as a political magazine with a populist dialogue that hopefully would appeal to a broad audience.

A Closet Freezes

In a room that knows your death
a closet freezes like a postage stamp.
A coat, a dress is hanging there.

Late Starting Dawn

It's a late starting dawn that breathes my vision,
inhales and exhales the sound of waking birds
and pokes ten miles of cold gray sky at a deer
     standing alone in a meadow.

Selected Reprints
Postcard Poems. Edited by Paul B. Janeczko. Bradbury Press, 1979, p. 46.

A Witch and a 6 Pack of Double Century Ale

A witch and a 6 pack of Double Century Ale
that's what I want to do on a rainy winter night
     at her place.

Flight Handbook

He wants to fly,
sitting next to me on the bus,
reading a copy of Flight Handbook.

He has one of the largest
thumbnails I've ever seen.

As he dreams of bird-like mannerisms,
I stare at this thumb.

Mouths That Kissed in the Hot Ashes of Pompeii

Mouths that kissed
in the hot ashes of Pompeii
     are returning
and eyes that could adore their beloved only
in the fires of Pompeii
     are returning
and locked bodies that squirmed in ecstasy
in the lava of Pompeii
     are returning
and lovers who found their perfect passion
in the death of Pompeii
     are returning,
and they're letting themselves in
again with the names of your sons
and your daughters.

Textual References
"Pompeii": Italian city destroyed by the sudden eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79. Erotic frescoes of the type Brautigan describes have been excavated.

First Published
San Francisco Express Times, vol. 1, no. 27, 24 July 1968, p. 7.
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.

Selected Reprints
Sun, no. 9, 7 Aug. 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," vol. 1, no. 27, July 24, 1968, p. 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 in Chicago, itself simultaneous with the Democratic National Convention.

The Elbow of a Dead Duck

A transparent bridge across
the elbow of a dead duck
beckons, friends, like a boiled
     radio station
toward a better understanding
of yourself in these crisis-ridden
     times.

Selected Reprints
The San Francisco Poets. Edited by David Meltzer. Ballantine Books, 1971. 293-97, 304-305.
Included six poems by Brautigan from Rommel Drives On Deep into Egypt: "Jules Verne Zucchini," "Propelled by Portals Whose Only Shame," "Donner Party," "In Her Sweetness Where She Folds My Wounds," "The Elbow of a Dead Duck," and "As the Bruises Fade, the Lightning Aches," as well as an essay, "Old Lady," and a bibliographical checklist prepared by Brautigan. One of several reference books focusing on Brautigan.

Diet

Pretty: except for the
puncture bruises on her
arm. Also, she's a little
     thin.

The Alarm-Colored Shadow of a Frightened Ant

The alarm-colored shadow of a frightened ant
wants to make friends with you, learn all about
your childhood, cry together, come live with
     you.

Cameo Turret

That's where I
see your face,
baby, on a tank
all around the
     cannon.

33-1/3 Sized Lions

33-1/3 sized
lions are roaring at the black gates of Fame
with jaws that look like record company courtesans
     brushing their teeth
with would-be rock and roll stars
     in motel bathrooms
with a perfect view of hot car roofs
     in the just-signed-up
          afternoon.

The Virgo Grace of Your Ways Versus This Poem

     Hilda,
I keep wanting to write a poem
in praise of your beautiful energy
and because I like the Virgo grace
     of your ways.
Funky as it is: I'm sorry,
forgive me, I guess this is
     that poem.

Textual References
"Hilda": Hilda Hoffman, the woman who appears with Brautigan on the front cover of In Watermelon Sugar.

A Lyrical Want, an Endocrine Gland Fancy

A lyrical want, an endocrine gland fancy,
a telescope that I thought had no thorns
have led me to a pain that I cannot pronounce.
It gathers around me like a convention of translators
for a language that does not exist with all those meetings
     to attend.

Textual References
"Endocrine gland": A gland in the human body that, like the thyroid or pituitary gland, produces secretions that are distributed throughout the body via the bloodstream.

The Moon Versus Us Ever Sleeping Together Again

I sit here, an arch-villain of romance,
thinking about you. Gee, I'm sorry
I made you unhappy, but there was nothing
I could do about it because I have to be free.
Perhaps everything would have been different
if you had stayed at the table or asked me
to go out with you to look at the moon,
instead of getting up and leaving me alone with
     her.

Vampire

Slow/dark . . . black/seeming
          approach:
a plant by an open window.

January 17

Drinking wine this afternoon
I realize the days are getting
     longer.

Too Many Lifetimes like This One, Right?

Too many lifetimes like this one, right?
Hungover, surrounded by general goofiness,
lonely, can't get it up, I feel just like
     a pile of bleached cat shit.

Color as Beginning

Forget love
I want to die
in your yellow
     hair.

In Her Sweetness Where She Folds My Wounds

In her sweetness where she folds my wounds
there is a flower that bees cannot afford.
It is too rich for them and would change
their wings into operas and all their honey
into the lonesome maps of a nonexistent
     California county.
When she has finished folding all my wounds
she puts them away in a dresser where the
drawers smell like the ghost of a bicycle.
Afterwards I rage at her: demanding that her
affections always be constant to my questions.

Selected Reprints
The San Francisco Poets. Edited by David Meltzer. Ballantine Books, 1971, pp. 293-97, 304-305.
Included six poems by Brautigan from Rommel Drives On Deep into Egypt: "Jules Verne Zucchini," "Propelled by Portals Whose Only Shame," "Donner Party," "In Her Sweetness Where She Folds My Wounds," "The Elbow of a Dead Duck," and "As the Bruises Fade, the Lightning Aches," as well as an essay, "Old Lady," and a bibliographical checklist prepared by Brautigan. One of several reference books focusing on Brautigan.

Up against the Ivory Tower

I'm sitting here (at a cafe) thinking
about writing a poem. What will I write
about? I don't know. I just feel like it
when suddenly a young man in a hurry
walks up to me and says, "Can I use your
     pen?"
There's an envelope in his hand. "I want
to address this." He takes my pen
and addresses the envelope. He's very serious
about it. He's really using the
     pen.

All Secrets of Past Tense Have Just Come My Way

All the secrets of past tense have just come my way,
but I still don't know what I'm going to do
     next.

Melting Ice Cream at the Edge of Your Final Thought

Oh well, call it a
     life.

My Concern for Your Tomato Plants

I stare at your tomato plants.
You're not, I'm not pleased with the way
     they are growing.
I try to think of ways to help them.
I study them. What do I know about tomatoes?
     "Perhaps some nitrate," I suggest.
But I don't know anything and now I've taken
to gossiping about them. I'm as shameless
     as their lack of growing.

'88' Poems

[No text appeared under this poem title.]

Pity the Morning Light That Refuses to Wait for Dawn

Pity the morning light that refuses to wait for dawn
and rushes foolishly with its mercury pride to challenge
a responsibility that knows only triumph and gently bends
the stars to fit its will and cleans up afterwards all
that poor wasted light, leaving not a trace behind.

Snow Makes Me Sad

Flying East today first to Chicago,
then North Carolina snow makes me sad
below in the mountains of the West.
It is a white sadness that rises
from California, Nevada, Utah
and Colorado to visit the airplane,
to sit here beside me like a snowy 1943
     map of my childhood.

As the Bruises Fade, the Lightning Aches

As the bruises fade, the lightning aches.
Last week, making love, you bit me.
Now the blue and dark have gone
and yellow bruises grow toward pale daffodils,
then paler to become until my body
is all my own and what that ever got me.

Background
Written for Valerie Estes in celebration of their robust sexual relations.

Selected Reprints
The San Francisco Poets. Edited by David Meltzer. Ballantine Books, 1971, pp. 293-97, 304-305.
Included six poems by Brautigan from Rommel Drives On Deep into Egypt: "Jules Verne Zucchini," "Propelled by Portals Whose Only Shame," "Donner Party," "In Her Sweetness Where She Folds My Wounds," "The Elbow of a Dead Duck," and "As the Bruises Fade, the Lightning Aches," as well as an essay, "Old Lady," and a bibliographical checklist prepared by Brautigan. One of several reference books focusing on Brautigan.

Shake the Kaleidoscope: A New Anthology of Modern Poetry. Edited by Milton Klonsky. Simon & Schuster, 1973, pp. 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."

I Am Summoned by a Door

I am summoned by a door
but forgotten by the knock
and left standing here alone
in a long silent hall, like
a marble intestine, that knows
     my name.

At Last Our Bodies Coincide

At last our bodies coincide.
I'll bet you thought this
would never happen. Neither
did I. It's a pleasant
     surprise.

Let Us Please Learn New Words That Mean As Much as Direction:

Let us please learn new words that mean as much as direction:
     wife.

Deer Tracks

Beautiful, sobbing, high-geared fucking
and then to lie silently like deer tracks
in the freshly-fallen snow beside the one
     you love. That's all.

Close

Reviews

Reviews for Rommel Drives On Deep into Egypt are detailed below. See also reviews of Brautigan's collected works, and General Reviews for commentary about Brautigan's work and his place in American literature.

Bokinsky, Caroline J. "Richard Brautigan." Dictionary of Literary Biography. Vol. 5: American Poets Since World War II. Edited by Donald J. Greiner. Gale Research Company, 1980, pp. 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 that in Rommel Drives on Deep into Egypt Brautigan "continues his experiments with similes and metaphors, but his poetry also begins to move into social commentary. Some pages are blank, with only titles at the top, as if poems were intended to be there but were never created. Along with the humor, he takes a verbal stab at critics, alludes to Robert Kennedy's death, suggests the economic plight of the country, and depicts the lack of communication between husband and wife." READ this review.

Haroldson, Thomas. "Rommel Limps On Deep into Nowhere." The Fifth Estate [Detroit, MI], vol. 5, no. 5, 9 July 1970, p. 16.

Says Rommel Drives On Deep into Egypt suffers in comparison to The Pill Versus the Springhill Mine Diaster. READ this review.

Horwitz, Carey A. "Brautigan, Richard." Library Journal Book Review 1970. Edited by Judith Serebnick. Bowker Company, 1970, p. 442.

The full text of this review reads, "A witch and a 6 pack of Double Century ale/ that's what I want to do on a rainy winter night/ at her place." Does one review that? Does one call that poetry? Labels can be attached, if that's really important: mature Rod McKuen-Leonard Cohen-etcetera school of neo-Beat hippie-cryptic poetry; projectivist, Black Mountain influence; Cummings constructions with a Whitmanesque self-consciousness and vulnerability. And the restrained critical faculty will pronounce much of the verse poorly conceived and sophomoric, though interspersed with flashes of true lyricism and emotive power. Fine. Homage has been paid to Kultur. Now, throw all that garbage away; it will only be dead weight where Brautigan is taking us. For, like his fiction (Trout Fishing in American, The Pill versus The Springhill Mine Disaster and In Watermelon Sugar, LJ, April 15, p. 1500), this is, not poetry for the ages, but a set of communications with this age, providing emotional correlatives that will be felt and identified with by those who can. And that is all. No bids for universality or immortality. Just a few words, a few experiences for now, if you want them."

Reprinted
Contemporary Literary Criticism. Vol. 1. Edited by Carolyn Riley. Gale Research Company, 1973, pp. 44-45.
Virginia Quarterly Review, no. 46, Autumn 1970, p. R134.

Lally, Michael. "Brautigan: Caught in Success?" Great Speckled Bird, 28 June 1971, p. 11.

READ this review.

Malley, Terence. Richard Brautigan. Warner, 1972.

The first critical survey of Brautigan's work through 1971. Chapter 1, "Magic Up and Down," deals with Rommel Drives On Deep into Egypt and The Pill versus The Springhill Mine Disaster. One of several reference books focusing on Brautigan.

Pritchard, William H. "Shags and Poets." Hudson Review, vol. 23, no. 3, Autumn 1970, pp. 563-577.

Says Brautigan, in Rommel Drives On Deep into Egypt, demonstrates how American poets are increasingly using vivid fundamental imagery. Notes examples from the book's contents. Concludes by saying, "Brautigan has already attained mythical status so must be something more than what used to be called a wiseguy, but he's at least that, and a clever one."

The full text of this review reads, "In an as yet unwritten essay on contemporary American poets I plan to discuss their increasingly vivid use of fundamental imagery, as in Richard Brautigan's new volume:

"He'd sell a rat's asshole
to a blindman for a wedding
   ring."

or in the title poem

"Rommel is dead.
His army has joined the quicksand legions
of history where battle is always
a metal echo saluting a rusty shadow.
His tanks are gone.
How's your ass?"

There is also a shorter one from which sprang the Women's Liberation Movement:

"She tries to get things out of men
that she can't get because she's not
   15% prettier."

Brautigan has already attained mythical status so must be something more than what used to be called a wiseguy, but he's at least that, and a clever one. Although his final poem, an apostrophe to "Beautiful high-grade fucking" puts forth a lyric value evidently not subject to satiric contemplation.

Roddan, Brooks. "Come Home, Richard Brautigan." Los Angeles Free Press, vol. 7, no. 22, 29 May 1970, p. 36.

Likens Brautigan to Rod McKuen whose sentimental poetry was popular in the 1970s. Calls Rommel Drives On Deep into Egypt "a cloying, cute, half-assed collection of rather uninteresting tripe." READ this review.

Rose, Kate. "The Grand Penny Tour: Brautigan's 'Rommel Drives On Deep into Egypt'." Minnesota Review, vol. 10, no. 3-4, 1970, pp. 115-116.

Says Brautigan is an entertainer, rather than a poet, presenting a series of one-time quips, enough of which are successful to make the show come off, one way or the other and so, "cannot be aspiring to poetdom as it is commonly conceived these days. . . . Sometimes I just can't see his images, and given the pace of the book, am unwilling to stop for them . . .. Ideas, tough, involving ideas, are not Brautigan's specialty. He tends toward gestures and insights and words; but anyone who's been afraid of poetry because of its formality, glumness, bookish references, obscure, private visions, long words or politics can read this book. The man is not writing to poets or his educated peers; he may be writing instant culture, but he will be read." READ this review.

Reprinted
Contemporary Literary Criticism. Vol. 12. Edited by Dedria Bryfonski. Gale Research Company, 1980, pp. 57-74.

Spector, Robert D. "Betwixt Tradition and Innovation." Saturday Review, 26 Dec. 1970, pp. 24-25, 50-51.

Reviews several works of poetry saying the "continuing struggle between tradition and innovation" continues to produce good poetry in "an altogether different kind of poetic climate" (24). Suggests that Brautigan, however, failed to produce good poetry. The full text of the reference to Brautigan reads, "But failure—as well as success—is just as possible in poems that mock the conventions. Sometimes witty, always fashionably anti-Establishment, Richard Brautigan's Rommel Drives On Deep into Egypt comes off as a game children play."

Williams, Jonathan. "'Anyway, All I Ever Wanted to be was a Poet.' Said Leon Uris, with a Smile, as We Strode Together into the Vomitorium..." Parnassus, vol. 1, Fall/Winter 1972, pp. 94-105.

Reviews In Someone's Shadow by Rod McKuen, A Weeping Eye Can Never See by Lois Wyse, Transformations by Ann Sexton, The Gambit Book of Popular Verse edited and introduced by Geoffrey Grigson, and Rommel Drives On Deep into Egypt by Brautigan. Calls Brautigan's poetry "goofy" and "too thin," without substance.

The portion of this review regarding Brautigan reads, "Richard Brautigan. There is less here than meets the eye. So now it's time to lose votes with the Bolinas Crowd that thinks Richard is right on. Richards tend to be peculiar and losers by name. There were those English kings; there was Herr Wagner and Herr Straus; there's one named Nixon and one Mayor of Chicago; there were two fucked-up Richards at Black Mountain; I had a personal-Richard who had me in endless despair. One could make an interesting list. Anyway, Richards seldom give much away. Brautigan's as goofy as McKuen—another child of the Muses, with a sweet smile. He's read some Patchen, he's read some Creeley. He writes for kids who eat macrobiotic food and (don't) know where it is. Like I say, you'd starve to death on these no-cal poems. E.g.:

"April 7, 1969

I feel so bad today
that I want to write a poem. I don't care: any poem, this poem."

Or, "Nice Ass"
There is so much lost
and so much gained in these words.

Or, "Negative Clank"
He'd sell a rat's asshole
to a blindman for a wedding ring.

I'd like to say, Gee, wow, oo-ee-oo, landsakes, that's just very nice. I feel more like Dr. Benway about to operate: What son of a bitch has cut the plasma with Sani-Flush?" It's too thin. Off to a Vic Tanney gym, words! And a few months at the knee of Mr. Rexroth wouldn't hurt you either. Then, if you insist on coming on quite so simple, do it in a way that might interest people who have listened to the beautiful clarities of Scarlatti and Schubert beyond the Bay Area and the sunshine campuses.

Reprinted
Contemporary Literary Criticism. Vol. 3. Edited by Carolyn Riley. Gale Research Company, 1975, pp. 86-90.

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