Anselm Hollo
from Outlying Districts (1990)


Arcana Gardens



the cat's apprehensive inside her head
'things' are really hopping        a cat

with wings         now that would be a thing
there's this lady now writes her verses

with built-in lacunae        there still remain 'things'
and things to delete

contained in the changing light
moving the frame & things

from room to room I miss you
when you're gone all day

yet when you're home there's times I'm lost again
inside the side
                           shows of my head

in this picture we see an oligarch
flying in his recliner



the practice of poetry:
doing it when called upon

oh blast this doglike devotion to the us of A
get ready for MacCommunism

the light inside the body
at the end of long flexible tube

I'm so bit-ter . . .
I'm so pret-ty . . .

      go on up
      or off

bluejay on woodpile
first prize: dinner in Des Moines

second prize: two dinners in Des Moines
well I'm heading for the bedding

the old legacy was a bottle of no anxiety
& one of no grief         those made you high for a while

then laid you low
weird white sugar architecture of that church in Buffalo

the blackness of Gothenburg     permanent diaspora
the ideal state

when the mind / body committee decides
a habit has become immoderate   it's a good idea
             to let it go



had to invent religion      ideas of karma afterworld etc.
in order to enjoy ever more highly

structured existence?  (requires 'security' 'stability'
less general random viciousness)

an epic of prayers     poetry what you read
when you exercise the skill of reading

when tired of record of operatic soprano
(on radio) stuck on the two little words da capo

the world is bigger than your head     or even mine



oh it's just like magazines used to be — with poems
by Ted in them

(who wants them to like their poetry
as long as they read it)

well it's time to be drizzling on
truckloads of stuff to keep us within the framework

but writers of small language groups
their admirable stubbornness

clings to the 'absoluteness'
of their particular language

their words     by extension that's of course true
of everybody

(don't know if I'll ever feel like writing 'about' the times
in life I was a total idiot asshole?)

"I want a longer attention span"
"He wants a longer dick?"

Finns: some general sense of shaggy folks tough
eking out a precarious        up there up Norf

"my metaphor machine is bigger than yours"
all greed relative?       love work that sails close
     to its own parody

stand up a berserker     end up a beseecher
in the vast stone forest of the world's war memorials

the ghosts of generals stumble about
disheveled confused      graffiti on the great moving wall

moving toward The Wall        résumés for god
Papa wanted me to marry the Finnish language

Mama       chemistry        (her father's life)
both kept me away from Finnophone women with all their might

so I went to Germania and married a German speaker
but couldn't make a living in those lands

so ended up in London      thus changing
my great love affair with the English (specifically American)

language into a lifetime commitment / marriage



old staples-through-the-side books     they work
people pay more attention to the righthand page

each text gets equal weight      maybe the species
(homo sap) doesn't spend enough time

looking at admiring coveting what it eats anymore
thought while watching cat watching birds

at feeder on other side of glass      "he had trouble
announcing a formal presence"      gazing at red orange and green

in slowly steaming pan it occurs to me not at all suddenly
that one I grieve for may well be content

to be living completely alone in a universe
of the greatest possible distances

Bertolucci's The Last Emperor
a life just like everybody's

the emperor child       the live-forever young man
the long haul to the end



"killed by orthodox reality" (Peter Handke)
a Linnean classification of poets?

rereading Corso: that tradition      the sixties out of the fifties
so sturdy       later poetry much more nervous

viz. Grenier's frontispiece for Phantom Anthems
Nerve Man     yet in him as in Berrigan

still that cheek
       & glint

when it degenerates into homily exhortation
or some disguise of those (story I antistory with moral)

it loses the power to drive us happily crazy for a minute
or two totally out
     of our gourds for one of those

            eternal moments
     of Ie merveilleux



cut to Pearl Street in Boulder where frisky yuppies
& even aging hippies go shopping for earrings
we just have this little bit of the haul to do
the forms formalities with which we 'stave off' death &
       thought of it

the common customary ones       & then the 'deeper' ones
such as some music    some poems

walking in the wild word woods    first reading Corso
say or EP for that matter     that old strut

that old fiddling while Rome burns canto strut



weird inverted Puritan desire to prove one's mettle
through suffering       stoically and wittily

behind the idea      of giving readings
drunk stoned on speed mushrooms acid

(handed down by that Welshman        possibly further back)
like the embarrassed drunk father

only when drunk is he able
to admit non-utilitarian emotion

and LDS part of that mind-boggling Anglo appropriation
of chosen people ism

via King James Bible     also still active in Aryan
Nations types who claim that Anglos

& "Northern Europeans"
are the true descendants of Israel

but the true inhabitants of these deserts and mountains
be lizard and coyote       Paiute and Ute and Shoshoni
      (Bear River Massacre)
present-day natives displaying their wounds
(kid in front of Rio Grande station) & scars

you go out there then you come back in
where the well-meant sentiment meets the hopeful cliché

Hemingway        a bounder & proud of it
the beauty of a genuinely playful life

isn't it?



composing from notebooks       a mobile with sideshows
"and here we see"   here I see cryptic entry Actual Filth
              "Is that actual filth?"

some poems seem most effortful as if their author
had labored         over them

ten hours a day seven days a week      and that's
what's wrong with them           "naphthalene"

mothballs of my childhood      naphtha = crude oil
right (check) trudge trudge (glasses in other room)

o be glad! you have
many rooms to walk

instead of having to write all your poems in another life
at Mutant State University        "your own medicine"

my mother used to say
"just you wait until you" etc.

really just a young 23-year-old American poet (came here in '66)
or should we start in '51       London      '38 in that case

              and here we see
              the analytical



Orff's Carmina Burana quite terrific but also quite like
a bunch of young Nazis roaring

well I can't do everything at once
bet you could if you tried

yelling at each other in front of the computer
the sublime just fell asleep and died

but the utter & certainly wonderful craziness
of 'analytical language' (Situationist texts

Derrida Heidegger before them for sure) such gorgeous
kudzu lingo       dog noise pollution

"I hope you're not confusing the computer"
was it an hour ago I sat there in London wondering

about Ted Berrigan     this tough young American poet
& critic in the pages of Kulchur magazine

"the testament of beauty" & what was that all about
well I'm sure it had its share of dog noise pollution

a little vulgar eloquence      yes lowercase american
is what I am       a big invisible fish        on a "chops gig

like playing for eight hours a day at Disneyland"
so little has been written about X

because X's work cannot be paraphrased       this
is the goal of all poetry          it is indeed

impossible to ascertain what X is really writing about or rather
it is that X rarely writes about

but is a manifestation
on the page
                          in the air



Dance of Dada     Dance of Death
it only writes itself little by little

a walk through the desert of many faces
by the fountain of six patina'ed frogs

the houseboy was told off for sweeping around
the outside doormats       in the city of New Orleens

let's only be classified when dead
& then perhaps resumed       in Spanish dark

& if a little myth comes with the territory
that's always nice     & cleanly temporal

human rights day? the day no government's able
to raise an army

for quite some time the way was to fall in love
& you can put quotes around all of the above

over & over
                     hi ho hi ho

child's (my) vision of work as somehow
martially? pleasurable

being "a poet" gives one permission to be a crank & even
a crank in print

but you      my species
you're trying to overwhelm the planet
by numbers?



hooked on English        I make six cents a word
no epiphany sans community

the dick came striding down the hall
"goddamn fucking Greek deities again"

old Mozart . . . young Cassandra . . . owls
swoop through the canyon at night

aah      am I supposed to say aah?       is this
the "aah experience"?

who you asking?      dunno
is Robt. Bly around?

we pay the state to kill all those we'd rather not think about
but "a real house with stairs & everything"

you deserve it dear daughter
far more than all the bigdick religious entrepreneurs

who've stuck together
across the centuries

        Sam's Bar and Mosque
        (a hypothetical place)



living like happy savages with no TV      Arcana Gardens
& he's fifty-five         my goodness      let's dangle on
down the street

poetry bookshelves       dear elephant graveyard
Science and Democracy

"even just thinking about it
ups your production of benign neuropeptides"

all the words this critter can say
when awed by all the world       up there

Cygnus XI HDE 22 68 68
Black Jewel of the Northern Cross        down here

DIAMONDS GUNS TV's in the Pavlovian pawnshop
string' em out

them colored lights
then turn 'em off again



up on into what's this all about
this critter makes up its own rules

at the speed
of greed

last night my love got up out of bed and banged
her head on the doorjamb

this evening there's a report on UFO sightings
in Guatemala and it's been very
              all day



ah Babylon I exalt thee above thy detractors
Babylon is The Old Days       The Babylon All Stars

jazz in the ruins
before the ruins

"hey man I just walked out in my slippers"
when I say I wrote that        it is my intention to state

that someone using this same body did write that
then      yes here we see him

his brain       made that metaphor
mid rock and fern adream       with Chingachgook and Cody

but that man in Angola
said to have killed two priests for criticizing his poems

               that man must write
        some Satanic verses



Colonel Walden at Pulkovo          lauded by Trotsky
in John Reed's Ten Days that Shook the World

heard on tape on the way to Taos

don't burn that flag
boil it & eat it with hot sauce

because I had spent 35 minutes in the bookstore
I felt I had to pay $6.50 for this magazine

I didn't really need then walked off
in the rain past more people resting

dying or dead on the sidewalk
Die Welt frisst was der Fall ist

(the world eats what falls down)
give the homeless $45,000 per capita

and make them safe subject of all u.s. news for a year
and let every township in the u.s.

have a simulated four-year oil boom
in alphabetical order

with acid trips among
        the gnomes



on the sidewalk a large
dog turd shaped like the male
        procreative organ

"none shalt be permitted to retain their shape"
well sir you may be right         Roxie Powell of Baltimore

calls in the early A.M. he's working on a novel
whose heroes are Appearance & Reality

more power to him he did insist we go find you my love
down in the bookbinder's Hades (climate controlled)

for the rest of the story      see page



see page     & then see page
page after page
as it goes along

until "one day" it stops
with a squeal or a pop      but for now let's go on

to sing the praises of a brown-eyed girl
"I met in a country town"
                                          & love
as light & filigreed but also mud-heavy
        as the old songs

with our glasses slightly askew on our noses

        "time for your Van Morrison sir"