Introducing Eric Walker

Raised in the redwood forests of Northern California, Eric Walker turned up in San Francisco at the age of 15, his poetic identity very much intact. He believed he was the reincarnation of Arthur Rimbaud—hard to deny when confronted with the astonishing flow of words and images, not to mention his stunning physical beauty. He took prodigious amounts of psychedelics and otherwise seemed to live on coffee and cigarettes. He was immediately taken in by the community of poets, including Philip Lamantia, Kirby Doyle, Sarah Menefee, Howard Hart, and Tisa Walden (who published three of Eric’s chapbooks in her Deep Forest press, his only published books). Of all the North Beach poets it was the gentle surrealism of Bob Kaufman and his deep engagement with blues and jazz that most influenced Walker’s writing. In classic guru-devotee fashion Eric often slept on Bob’s floor. Signs of mental instability became increasingly common, and the Rimbaud/Verlaine analogy was carried a bit far when Walker threatened an elder poet with a pistol and had to be disarmed. He decamped to Berkeley, sleeping on streets and rooftops. He occasionally returned home to recuperate, and for a time posed as a student at UC Santa Cruz, squatting in dorms and auditing classes, notably with the renowned William Everson (Brother Antoninus). He loved the music of Bob Dylan and borrowed much from both his look and his verse.

Cruel and dangerous confrontations with the law (shoplifting, vagrancy) and the mental health establishment (incarcerations, medication) inspired many remarkably cogent manifestos from this period where he explores the dynamics of debt, war, media propaganda, and government control—particularly as it bears upon the powerless and vulnerable, and the artists and dreamers. His final years were spent in institutions and halfway houses. On March 13, 1994 Eric was found hanged in his cell at the Humboldt County Jail, aged 29. (He was the third inmate to die there under suspicious circumstances, and eventually a wrongful death verdict was confirmed.) His work fell into obscurity for the next two decades, remembered only by those who knew him, many of whom are now themselves passed on. Eric always had the kind support of his mother, Diane Murray, who preserved his works and eventually donated them to the Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley, a few blocks away from the streets where he lived most of his short life.

—Raymond Foye

 

 

 

Christmas Morning 92

Bringing it all back home,
Christmas in the asylum,
settled in the air is cold
and sheltered, there is a
component of silence mixed w/ joy
and grief, and anguish,
we are waiting to open our presents,
stacks of green and red boxes await us,
past eleven and the fury driven bows are
slashed and eighty-five mental patients are
busy opening their packages, listening to Devaju
on my Walkman, their dragging their paper with them,
and it’s simply crazy to watch them tear and wrip
their packages, happiness comes in all colors,
Father of Woodstock you are here with us,
blind colors tasted from your eyes, butterflies
and star-dust, making new rules for the old year,
bellies and laughter and Santa Claus is a woman this year,
I know her, she is a group counselor, I have tasted good
cheer from the bottled rainbow, I have erased my mind
in a tasteless tomorrow, where is the wheel and where
is the blood? Shouting my name in the sky’s clay,
dancing with memory on a sunstained lake, crying
inside a mirror of windows, surmising the
absolute terror of being alone, they are smiling now,
misplaced names in a bag of silk, and no one cares what
is happening in my mind, cat-calls and poisoned rivers,
they have burned and hurried my sanity in flesh and dreams
of diverse institutions,
with but one open call: Merry Christmas to All!!!
and for those who’ve lost their faith,
God is born again today, and we have all
been here before!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Poem For Bill Everson:
The Aquarian Poet

Personal typography, ageless
dissension, wisdom & tonality,
yield & set free, w/ wild aegis
the Summer is coming, shaky
flight of geese, a new gander
naked in tremulous form,
agents of Spring surround you,
humble snow-man melting into
darkness w/ rage & sorry burning
inside the vertigo of dawn
sucking Scorpio’s clean legs,
the fiery Zodiac spins in
your favor, a field of sky &
flowers, arthritic baptism
of the quick & succulent flavor
newborn like a mask of daylight
quilted in copper bows, age
and the hands spin, dry grapes
on a balcony of years; bones
like cotton fabric, the sea
is filled wintering w/ words turning on
your kind spleen; quaking
stalk of innocence uprooted
in Virgo’s trembling
formula, age and surmounting
grace traverses the blind mountains
of birth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Insanity

Impaled on the wall my eyes
can barely see the pattern of my life
in cold mystery, the selfish world spins
in blind decay, I remember the ancient longings
trusted to my soul but crumbling like a lake
of salt, I think with associations that drive
me back beyond the color blue, painful exorcisms
circumscribe the dance of etheric ghosts,
fragments of Light enter my window but
cannot leave,
my life is a tapestry of curtains made
by moons and stars, infected by the indifferent crowd,
dangling conversations and superficial sighs,
all is wreckage clasped to the bone of the sea,
martyrs draw breath then sink like stones
below the murky water leaving only ripples of
their posing rhymes, a classless society is raped
by an ugly monkey, poisoned by the air of factories,
the freeway of spinning cars, collision, immolation,
the despair of falling into crimson sheets,
the Mind so elusive that I cannot catch the butterfly
the singed wings fluttering in the smallness of
its reflection, my soul in satin houses where love is
just a game waiting for the estranged father to return
to his house, and Lear’s cold scowl of misfits in
a winter storm, to conquer the villa’s doorway inside
the reality of a second,
and lost behind the deer-shaped windows
of nuclear warfare that is disintegrating
in a massive wind from which all children’s eyelashes
blow away in the smoke of a moslem epic,
strange dreams of wet comforting, O’ send me
on my way, I can smell the daises of your
blind heart, I see the Wall standing in stillness,
which will not let me pass,
I see the shift and debris of a classless
generation, inside the degenerate nuetral [sic] zone
I watch the silence shutter and fly away,
I am always thinking of you and my war-shocked shell
of a selfless dream, punished by the nightmare my mind
cannot control, waiting for the judge to say
I am crazy and must be locked away from all normal eyes
blinking in the dark, dare a man speak of loneliness
from freedom’s jail, telling a conscience that
is broken in shadows, tested again and again by
the Wall’s edge, the tepid dreams follow me
in summer’s delight, my soul is an anchor upon a shore
that is lost in the stirring of waves, battled against
the ramparts of a faraway country, desperation inside
the masoleum of broken machines, I call out my song
inside the collective rain coming
like a criminal’s voice, shouting out:
“I am what I am!” inside the voiceless cage
from which my dreams are drawn.

 

 

 

 

 

 

City Water

Serenity is Light transformed into liquid.
the eyes of the bridge are watching us.
a turbulent blue sitting in an orange Sun,
cascading through the shimmering gold of flames
tossed through waves of green immersed in the
tired turnover of cars passing us;
aqua colors curl their feet into socks of
crystal light, turbans of feeling etch in
the black water, smoke dreams in turning passages
of glassy silence; an otter moves distantly around
the swaying boats, masts lit by darkening shadows,
gloved in quiet reflective modes,
city water moves like a freeway without sound,
only the jetting hues pushed forward
in the timeless jaunt of pausing lights.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Helen

So you went & slipped into the mirror,
you really did it, you finalized the project;
my spirit is a piano, you see me running
in place of your tawn dirty feet,
why did you jump it so heavy and hard
my egg shell honey, the sweet cream
of my nightmare, the tasteless joke
of your dead-weight fixed in the air
in the smell of a jettisoned flower,
your face hit humming up
a whole hive of bees;
your damn mental body stuck in my mind,
and your loving still twisted into my fingers,
and the savagery of your eyes
(brown and soft marble)
echoing the dim mirror of my wandering
life-hotel lips praising your existence
in the foggy redwood air.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Neat Square

Caught in the glow of winter,
a yard of rope is hung like a ladder
to heaven, the ray of light is organized
like a neat square, rainy afternoon,
come gather your stormy shells,
for what is left of tomorrow is only
the casket from which we deal,
like cards cast on the table,
like a cat that has no claws,
like a situation that is viable,
and a religion that dreams of
tear-drops gathered in a round circle,
we can not forfeit tomorrow, for today’s
dream, there in the distance
is a World without a face,
come and embrace it, neatly
the corners fold into a square,
someday we will be free,
to shape the clay into our own image,
but now the claw is iron bound.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mushrooms

Cool rain-wet shrooms,
laughing in a silent Void,
happy and content with the face
of the earth, hungry and desirable
as fresh lettuce, born again amidst the strange
emotions we feel, orange streams of light coming
from the fields of destruction,
to possess no name in river of love streaming
through shivering blood,
a mirror that reflects nature, Mind is a mirror
that sees the water-fall of Being,
the crushing of white roses by a machine of habit,
the earth propagates these,
the line line between reality and illusion,
partake in the mushroom feast,
a clear idea is sometimes better than
a parable,
mushrooms a trip that contains within
self-surrender to the Earth and the Universe,
belong.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Road To Wellness

Loving my hands more and more:
the sick and lonely eyes of a hero in transition
lie spellbound by the magic circus of Self Love.
I have been suicidal, tortured by thoughts and voices;
now is the turning point, my release from the hospital
is imminent. I am learning tools. tools to deal with the
illusions my own mind presents to me. Reality is better
than the tortured ego of the past. I am walking on a beach
that is perfectly fit around my bare-feet, my hands are
in my pockets. and I am singing to the clouds, inside the
social maze we learn how to bum cigarettes, talk of sad
times and happy places, smell our feet, chew bubble-gum,
trade handshakes for bags of pop-corn, talking to the counselor
and trading smiles with the walls;
there is only the wall of doubt that hangs me up,
to have faith is to be in a restful state of mind;
obviously I am a perfectionist, and my doubt clings to me resolutely,
but my passion is guided by my understanding, my fingers
fit just so on the keys of my typewriter, there is a place
for everything, even truth, here I have lived with sick
people, sick in all ways; polluted strains of logic distill
in the air like sad exorcisms of the bright future,
sunlight on my shoulders and I dance, becoming one with
my craft, addicted to my madness only by the strength that
controls it, standing alone in the darkness, watching the
sky turn across the horizon, knowing only my state of mind
is subjected to a vision of dusk and a World waiting, on
the road to wellness, standing by the well of understanding.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Birth Mark

Star-faced solitude
of the Poet’s presence.
there in the corner of the room
is life whispering to life;
a mystic illumination of a cell
buried deep beneath the heart,
to use an Archetype from the off-centered
flesh of a World of sacred masks,
there inside the body incognito an
echo of soft eyes resound in the midnight fire
of candles lit in memory of the dead bird
that tired of heaven leaned on earth,
till bone saliva tasted the learned dearth
of a sailing wind cast inside the carrion breast;
seasons wreckless, learning from eachother,
that somebody’s passion carries the Dream to its
ultimate conclusion, sequestered in the terminal night
of shared illusion, the hand-print on the thigh of reason
is etched like a scarlet berry of branded nuance,
turn to where the people walk, earth eyes opening
on the lunacy of morning, traversing the clean mountain
into the twilight valley,
a horse of death rides itself
ragged, children come to see the stranger above him,
with masked eyes and a purple mouth, hanging onto the
strong limbs, where birth is realized in the single mounting
of the disturbed air, froth and a palace of trembling gold,
caught in the yellow glare of yesterday, like a fog stained
river where the saints ride,
endings meet their beginnings in silent
restitution, mirrors the emptiness inside
from which a flower is forced to bloom,
fraternity of windows inside the mellow glow
of Dawn’s tragic ether,
etched in the sand-made purpose of a hidden storm
that reaches the sky with black nets of hiding tears,
trumpets its way down through the skin of the earth,
and hides its birth mark like foot of mercy,
glowing in the silent clay where love is born.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Check-Mate

Sorry that you arrived w/ murder
in your eyes, leery of God and His
Omega wants, black Alpha, handsome
devil straight from two touch-stones,
one a tree made of sawdust, two
a jail made of night, the clay
never really left your fingers,
there darkness spent its warmth,
you frightened window, Equus became
a knight of smoke, slip sliding,
weary of God the devil, left
his guns on the mountain, long ago
they turned to roses, the machine
hid itself in a garden overripe
with fear, dancing its way to
destruction.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hospital

This is a mental melt-down,
a shaver that razes the skin like
a mill-stone heart on fire,
this place where people linger
like broken fountains inside a
mindless décor, paintings of borrowed
colors, chattering and clicking of teeth,
they have a fence so high, and doors leading
into a hallway of waxed floors, they polish them
daily, sick people drink coffee in the morning
movement group that we are supposed to dance in,
but nobody dance, just prepare lines, to line
up for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, to be
sheep in Pavlov’s nightmare dogs dancing for
a cigarette in the broken mirror of slow reflections,
this is tedious wind growing inside its insidious
love, struck by the light of fluorescent ceilings,
carved into our flesh like a tattoo from an eagle’s
claw, this is the sanctimonious brain-wash of frustration,
like a game-show with phony prizes, they run us ragged
going from one place to another without ever leaving,
the grounds are a meadow of cigarette butts, and cold
grey cement, the rooms are sterile as God’s mind,
perfectly lubricated with the fabrication of bones
smelling like phenol and cotton candy, throw up
in the outside courtyard is slick and strawberry colored,
people disturbed by their brains,
walk half-hazardly through ghost-towns
remembered in their hearts, touched upon
like civilization’s quest for the perfect
mono-rail that goes nowhere, but looks like
a single track of lights all blinking off and
on, singing to a deaf tune
of solipsism, these eyes of stone cannot
see that forever is meant to be a long time,
this steel heart has caught itself on its own barbs,
held in a prison of cigarettes all smoked one after
the other, O hospital where generic streets run
into eachother, like people passing everyone on
a freeway that is uncomfortable to ride,
only our tortured hearts can tell us when to look.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blues

Feeling low down and mean,
wanna die wanna sing,
want those blues to dance
through the dam of my heart,
a trumpet of musical defiance
shapes the word of the Law,
definition: the blues are tonal;
an exponent of the bi-valves of
heart-shaped valentines in cool
black velvet, cold rhapsody
of blind heroin, tasted like
a drink of whiskey, melting inside
a carcinogenic balloon,
hands shaped like baseballs
pounding on the back of my head,
boot-calls come dancing, come crawling
across the living-room floor,
cement crying in footsteps of fever,
born naked in this bald fanfare
of rare exquisite flowers unfolding
in a vase signed by Picasso,
their sleeping tones creep steadily
into my woman’s heart, step lightly
on warm-lipped brass blowing freely
upon the White Dream of concentration,
free at last to sing the blues!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Written to
Joni Mitchell’s
Court and Spark

The work
stroking star making machinery
beneath the popular song
the flesh of doves and the dreamers
caught in the City of Lost Angels
coming alive I remember my childhood hearing
these songs smoky rings in the sky
leaves like flying saucers bending
in the windy day fresh redwood cones
and the songs blasting from the stereo
as my mother clips her roses
the rum voice of solitary wind
streams through the speakers
I concentrate listen like a sharpened
needle going down the black grooves
listening to the come down and look at
the trains meeting in People’s Park
strange shadow man in his missing car
everybody waiting
old man sleeping on his back
Jesus running in a silver tinted meadow
of warm dogs panting breath through jazz phones
what brings me back to the dark listening
with my father spread out in his favorite chair
by the fire
water whispering in the drain
clickety clack
drums and flutes in speakers of silence
like death but better
butter between bread
Court & Spark.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Music

Without you where would we be?
The stealth of magicians chopping down
a sacred Tree.
The World a sad upheaval of empty notes
played for no one, disturbing the firm hands
of Sunlight that call forth their sacred song.
Twenty years have passed since I first called you
by your rightful name. The blessed tune is the same
as that of a wandering child inside a flame, bent
on becoming a singer of wise and angry men.
Like a fallen star I echo your glory, like a
testament to Harmony I share your joy, the fruits
of Love twisted into steel rhymes, turned past
the chimes of freedom passing.
In the naked Sun like some sleeping lover newly
awakened, undressing in the silent turning of a deft song,
lingering on lips of praise, a psalm spoken only once
in a lifetime, sings on the radio like folk rock
meandering through halls of music, a red candle is
lit for the deaf and tortured ears that only decay,
when the summit is met will you dance all day like a deer
in the shy Sun, will you crow and meow in the blind winter,
will you fold your clothes for better seasons to come???
Music is sweet as God’s breath, a bright chord comes
chiding inside the mirror of morning, I cannot forget you,
the radio plays softly in a mirrored room, the radio
hums magic in a night of sexual love, it begins with the
heartbeat of a child, sleeping naked against
his mother’s breast, and ends in the call of Buddha
from a distant age, where chanting rivers collide
in the Spring Earth, only to follow us down, back
to our birth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Under the influence
(An unofficial history of Rock-N-Roll)

Every morning I listen to classic rock. It begins as early as seven and ends sometimes past midnight. Sometimes I blare it, sometimes I like it soft. It casts a spell on me. The lyrics, I’m a lyric junkie, like Pink Floyd’s Animals, or Jim Morrison Waiting for the Sun. I especially like the Velvet Underground. Good down and dirty realism of the Sun in incognito, of the blast of heat coming from cool town with loving hand searching and baptised by white sound turning colors at the living edge, on the fringe of disenchantment. I like the realism of Tom Petty and his Heartbreak sound of L.A. fantastic, and the lost enchantment of Al Stewart’s Nostrodamus, the clear epics drifting inside the head of a rock, like moss on a rolling stone, there is the woman just like Tom Thumb, circling in the air with diamonds. The minstrels sing of injustice, of the Fall of America in the warped Masters of War, transposed upon electric fever. Or the electric cool-aid acid tests transplanted in Jimi Hendrix’s imagination, warped by a purple haze. Or the fresh taste of Cream, and its marshmallow side-kick, with a prayer for God to buy her a mercedes benz, with reds pawned for a midnight with the Queen of funk. The lucid learings of Pink Floyd encapsulated by the Wall, wearing funeral ties for the British Empire. The royal son in drag, like a gypsie with big fat lips rolling down a hill with well rounded Stones. The Church of the Electric Guitar in a frenzy doing a wedding for the middleman of brave sorcery, discussing anarchy in the back room behind the pews. What is commercial rock, but the blind and arrogant hypocrisy of an inheritance to the Rolling Thunder, with undeserved applause. Here the shattered dreams of synthetic disco, and the binding of jazz at the peanut gallery. The cynics of blind justice rage in turn, while the melting pot gets hotter. The Moody Blues with its smooth announcement of the early death of LSD’s punk hero. The Godadavita with fleas raging on its electric neck, singing with pressed lips to a window of disenfranchisement. The political ills are the pressure cooker heating up into an electric jam. Like Peter Gabriel and Biko, let the murdered seek their voice in the living. Iron Butterfly in siege with flames, lurking for the lost buffalo of an extinct dream. And the Grateful Dead are leaning on the pot smoke horizon, looking down on a sea of green fish.

 

 

 

 

 

The Ancient Rain

“Creation is Perfect”

–Bob Kaufman

Bob Kaufman, by Chris Felver 1977.

I first met Bob Kaufman in North Beach at a poetry gathering. The Old Spaghetti Factory was a place poets had gathered for over 40 years; it was Beat, with old wicker chairs hanging from the ceiling and painter’s memoranda decorating the walls. They had an open reading every Thursday. It was also a bar where you could hang out and drink when some poet was on in back stage that you didn’t care for. It was a restaurant that prided itself in Italian cuisine, and had the best garlic bread that I’ve ever tasted. The place was buzzing on Thursdays, and usually more than 40 poets had already signed up when you got there. Bob was a black Jew, who had acclaimed fame back in the late ’50s and early ’60s. He had walked a tightrope of racism all his life, and when I found him he was living in an all black ghetto. He had emphysema and also brain damage from getting beat up by the cops and getting strung out on booze, thorezene, and amphetamines. I remember the night he packed the backroom with poets waiting to hear the legendary Bob Kaufman read. He recited the Kingfisher poem from memory and chanted it like a man coughing to death. His health was so bad, and he looked like someone who had been to hell and back. The legend of Bob surrounded him like a nimbus. One thing I realized in listening to him recite was that he was a real poet beaten down by society; the potential fate of us all. He had two things that made him almost a martyr: he was black and Jewish with an obvious talent for changing words into whips; white tipped and staining bodies with a thirst for scarlet. He had lived life on street drugs and booze and he had barely survived life’s catastrophes. I still remember how he chanted with snot running down his face, looking like a sculpture of pain; as though someone had divided the good and the bad times and left him naked, swimming in bone, cold and tragic, yet at the same time familiarly warm. His face was truly black—not pale brown—he wore an artist’s cap, and looked very poetic with his black beard trimmed with gray. He was, as I learned later, a proud and dignified man beaten down by society until there was nothing left in the end but a bed that he could die in and a woman who later would discover his smiling corpse. He was like a phoenix with his words rising out of the pyre of his own soul, and reaching people with meaning and depth.

To be a man of words is to leave this world with a gift, that is the sum of your worth. Bob left me with more than a gift, he left me with the silence he had fought for so long. I lived with Bob, and experienced his broken soul, that once, so long ago he had poured out to humanity. I remember during the 1984 elections, the man laying in his hammock of peace, making it known to all of us that his sickness was not a disguise. The depth of Bob was his sinking frogeyes that had once leapt above the world like a paratrooper. Like unleavened bread, Bob had seen that too much consumption little by little burned into his palms and shaped him into a poet of darkness, one that cries out in the night against the criminality of chemicals and materialism. He searched deep into the jazz tones of his spirit and found there a wrecked ship smelling of brandy and cigarettes. Bob was a naturally loving man, and he always knew when he was being used. He stuck to himself, watching TV on his deathbed. The silence Bob had partaken of was merely the realization of something higher penetrating his injured skull like a voice faraway, or a stillness that comes on sudden like death.

The Ancient Rain was the title of Bob’s last book. It, in my opinion, is the most important work. It is a vision of emancipation, like of old with the Pharaohs, and even like Noah with the vision of Holy Justice coming down from heaven. For a man who had one too many nights of black hatred, one too many unforgiveable beatings, he shows us that there is a kind of justice coming from on high, and that creation is truly perfect. The poet is the receiver, it is him that talks and bargains with God. Though death has triumph, the poet defeats it with a mirror of words that hypnotizes the clouds. Like a moth attached to the fire, Bob lived his life seeking truth. The truth he eventually found was cable TV. I remember one night I was upstairs talking on the telephone, when I heard Bob’s rough voice calling to me. I came down to see what he wanted; Barney Miller was on, our favorite program, and he wanted us to watch it together. It became a ritual; late night TV. Though Bob could barely hear, he kept his concentration on the screen. I also found out that Bob liked Bob Dylan. The stereo was always tuned to Kjazz, Bob’s favorite music, he had lived jazz and fought for jazz to liberate his soul. The Ancient Rain would come softly in the night and bless his skeleton with tears of holy wonder. It is worth saying that Bob loved people, especially children. I remember one day I found him at the gate waiting for me to come home. I handed him a stuffed rattle, like a two-handed gavel that a jester would carry. I found it on the sidewalk that afternoon, and Bob accepted it. When he came back in the house, he had a big smile and his eyes were sparkling. I asked him what he had done with the stuffed rattle, and he said, “I gave it to the baby next door.” There was indeed a baby and a single Chicano mother who I had talked with a few brief times. Bob loved this baby, as Bob loved the words that broke his silence.

At the final hour comes the final wisdom; Bob was prepared for his death. One night when I was asleep on the couch, Bob had gotten up and started a fire in the kitchen. “The lights, I wanted to go out and see the lights, but I couldn’t find the flashlight…” Bob explained himself. Can we imagine what lights he was talking about in his mystic babble? Perhaps they were real, just inflated in Bob’s imagination, or like the Ancient Rain, a symbol for the search for purity in words and thoughts, the Lights were present that night. To open up to the possibility of prophecy is to begin to read poetry for the first time, getting goose bumps up and down your arms, to be filled with the power of myth, which still in this modern age provides us with sacred food that fulfills us with our spiritual hunger running savage, and our knowingness small and humble. Everyone knows that poets aren’t perfect, neither was Bob; but according to Bob, creation is perfect. It is a funny fact that a man who had fought so much in his life would in return give peaceful odes to silence. The cold facts were Bob’s addiction to drugs and booze. Everyone knew that Bob was a man of the bars, and under booze he wrote his most lucid poems.

Bob’s son Parker did not maintain a close relationship with his father. I never met him, but I did know his mother. There was a separate reality between the two men, as both dealt with racism in their own unique way. Bob dealt with it by putting on the face of the tragic clown, his son had no talent in this way, he was a dancer and expressed his creative energy through his body. Bob was an intellectual, and kept himself locked up in his own head. Though once, a long time ago, Bob had danced on the tables of the Bagle Factory, reciting poetry for the cops. There had been a rebellion, as though he too had defied his father, and chose to go out to sea at an early age. The poet hangs on a cross of flesh, mixing pleasure and pain, waiting and wondering what the Ancient Rain might do when it came back to earth. The first and the last, the Omega and the Alpha; Black-Man had been first once, first created, and now God would seek out his original people from the darkest part of the city. Even pride had been broken, and self-pity had opened up, asking would you wear my eyes? Yes, Bob, we will wear your eyes, one day after the Ancient Rain has subsided: “A fish with frog eyes, Creation is Perfect.”

 

 

 




Reproduced with the permission of The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, the Eric Walker Collection.

Contributor

Raymond Foye

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