by Richard Denner


The first trickster said, nothing lasts.
Or was it—you can’t cross
the same beach twice—or once,
for that matter.

This morning I couldn’t open my eyes.
Poured in a dose of sulfate and alcohol,
and they opened like the lid of a sarcophagus.
Sound of grit.

“Here half my days gone and my light nearly spent.”

Blindness, a deductible expenditure.
Some consolation that.

The Wart Cannot Be Coerced

OE dott, head of a boil
a small lump, clot 1570
a minute speck, spot, mark 1674
roundish mark made with a pen 1748

It was not the act
by which a dot is made until 1858

Poets knew it
(knew (i)t) little
i, newt, no
(tat, tit for tat)ed
knit (knew) it
dotted it down.

What were people reading? What wars were being fought? At this time, a dot was a woman’s marriage portion, of which the annual income was under her husband’s control. James Buchanan was president.


Actually, it’s California.
“When you get there,” Theo says,
“they cut off your head.”

Big Jim, Tonto, and the Maskedman
stripped to their pivot joints
and wrapped in white paper and scotch tape.

These are torture hats, and they’re suffering
burning brands to subdue their wills.
Theo is getting at the truth.

“All right,” I say, “pick up this stuff.”
Theo, “But I want to save this torture stuff.”
“Here, put it in this torture baggie.”

Something about boys playing with dolls—it’s a short time, and there are arms and legs missing. Of course, this gives a touch of realism to the battle scenes. I find a place in my funk assemblage for these parts. Theo assisting, we create a kind of art havoc. Torn tissue and shellac.

Merlin Creeping About

Usually they meet in the woods
for dark, secret conduct
in the frenzy of the moment.

I see them often, and I remain
hidden—not that I need the titillation,
but it’s okay under the circumstances.

So much power in a secret—
yes, I too come to the woods
for dark, secret conduct.

I was locked up in Alameda County Jail. The ghosts thought I had come to liberate them. They wanted better shit to eat, and they thought I had the Holy Grail.


©2000 Richard Denner

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