Rake – Townes Van Zandt

I used to wake and run with the moon —

I lived like a rake and a young man.

I covered my lovers with flowers and wounds —

My laughter the devil would frighten.

The sun she would come and beat me back down,

But every cruel day had its nightfall.

I’d welcome the stars with wine and guitars —

Full of fire and forgetful.

My body was sharp, the dark air clean,

And outrage my joyful companion.

Whisperin’ women, how sweet did they seem,

Kneelin’ for me to command them.

And time was like water, but I was the sea —

I wouldn’t have noticed it passin’.

Except for the turnin’ of night into day

And the turnin’ of day into cursin’.

You look at me now, and don’t think I don’t know

What all your eyes are a sayin’–

“Does he wants us to believe these ravings and lies —

They’re just tricks that his brain’s been a’playin’?

A lover of women he can’t hardly stand —

He trembles, he’s bent and he’s broken.”

I’ve fallen it’s true, but I say to you,

“Hold your tongues til after I’ve spoken.”

I was takin’ my pride in the pleasures I’d known,

I laughed and thought I’d be forgiven.

But my laughter turned ‘round, eyes blazing and

Said, “My friend, we’re holdin’ a weddin’.”

I buried my face, but it spoke once again,

The night to the day we’re a’bindin’.

And now the dark air is like fire on my skin

And even the moonlight is blindin’.

Now the dark air is like fire on my skin

And even the moonlight is blindin’.


From the 1971 album Delta Momma Blues

For more on Townes visit http://allmusic.com/artist/townes-van-zandt-p133926

To the Stars – an ekphrastic prose poem

To the Stars

“The bronze statue of the Kansa warrior, Ad Astra, was placed on top of the [Statehouse] dome in 2002. […]. The warrior faces toward the North Star, a symbol of finding one’s way. The statue is named for the state motto: Ad astra per aspera, “To the stars through difficulties.” ̶  Kansas Historical Society.



“With great difficulty all four thousand, four hundred and twenty pounds of you journeyed three thousand miles without lifting a foot to cross highway, country road, river, or creek, through native-named cities and native-named counties of a native-named state where you were reported to be considered magnificent and made eye contact with no one. Hollow cast in silicon, bronze, and brass, designed as a Kansa; destined never to touch the tender black soil or feel the soft brush of golden grains or rest your unliving eyes on these gentle sloping plains; and as a warrior; never to know a single test of courage or undergo any rite of passage, having no spirit to prove worthy. Grown twenty-two feet in fourteen years (though never born) you were given your Latin name.

At first you were second choice only to the crop goddess Ceres, before her reputation was ruined by rumor of scandalous liaisons with brother Jupiter. It was eventually decided that you, as an Indian, were at least a little less controversial than the incestuous pagan, and you were given the honor of a permanent home on the Statehouse dome, and awarded all the weather you could want.

After disappointing a crowd of thousands by refusing your bolts on first attempt, you were again hoisted by four hundred and fifty foot crane and finally fixed atop the copper cupola of our capital. The four tribes were in attendance at your formal dedication and blessings were televised as native tongues spoke at long last of final peace and you were declared by Governor Graves to be both powerful and majestic.

Ten years later I climb the two hundred and ninety-six steps to stand twenty-three feet below your anchored moccasins where I see you sickly green and barely clothed, even in bitter January, wearing only feather headband, necklace and loincloth all made of your same metal. You stand in frozen motion, at three hundred and four feet and still looking up, stretching your weapon, bowstring pulled, arrow-tip pointed for Polaris, the bulging muscles of your arms knowing only the ache and tension of the draw, never the relief of release or the simple knowing if you have ever aimed true.

Held captive at three hundred feet, refusing to turn your head to me or to the city, you tell me you’ll come down only when this monumental madness collapses and we all go back to digging up potatoes.

Poem by Adam Hummell © 2012

O My Love the Pretty Towns – Kenneth Patchen

O my love

The pretty towns

All the blue tents of our nights together

And the lilies and the birds glad in our joy

The road through the forest

Where the surly wolf lived

And the snow at the top of the mountain

And the little

Rain falling on the roofs of the village

O my love my dear lady

the world is not very big

There is only room for our wonder

And the light leaning winds of heaven

Are not more sweet or pure

Than your mouth on my throat

O my love there are larks in our morning

And the finding flame of your hands

And the moss on the bank of the river

And the butterflies

And the whirling-mad


Untitled by Kenneth Patchen

I am the music you make

the blue wings of the ocean

the crying of the black swan

I am the friend

of your childhood

It is in my heart to wish you

no sorrow

no pain

no betrayal

for I am the will of your last being

the shudder of the breaking open

of terrible gates                                                                                O thou art good

I am the cave and the light                                                            and wise

the watch God keeps                                                                       and kindling

when His children go mad                                                             a new fire

I am the death you seek

the life you are afraid

to know

This Book Is for Magda – Lew Welch

What strange pleasure do they get who’d


wipe whole worlds out,



to end our lives, our


wild idleness?


But we have charms against their rage­­­­—

must go on saying, “Look,

if nobody tried to live this way,

all the work of the world would be in vain.”


And now and then a son, a daughter, hears it.


Now and then a son, a daughter


gets away

The Laughing Heart – Charles Bukowski

your life is your life
don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.
be on the watch.
there are ways out.
there is a light somewhere.
it may not be much light but
it beats the darkness.
be on the watch.
the gods will offer you chances.
know them.
take them.
you can’t beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.
your life is your life.
know it while you have it.
you are marvelous
the gods wait to delight
in you.


Animated poem as read by Tom Waits with music by Grizzly Bear. Wow.