Two Poems

by
Andy Clausen



 

      WCW BLUES 

Sexual lust may weaken me
        but I've always come back
                to my senses
Sweet Free Emotion
        no one is corny
                here Sister, Brother

It permeates!
        It melds and it
                coats and immerses
It entwines
        and conceives
                It is gestating
It is birthing!
        It's composing
                It's decomposing
It has become
        One with
                the language!

Young I felt
        I felt It
                I felt young
With the super special
        extra souled tenacity
                of beneficial madmen
That It, Yes It
        would come easy
                easy as sunrise
We're not just talking
        blessed by the Muse
                here
We're talking
        All Out
                Eternal Verse
We're talking
        The Best
                The Best Ever

I didn't want to quit
        my day job
                for a literary prize
at South Sophomore State
        nor a token wild man be
                at the Festival of Squares

When I wrote tragedy
        It was earth shaking
                It was Epic
You may have seen an oafish pretentious
        unlearned freak
                a trouble maker
A bombed comedian
        a no literary value boor
                with severe problems

Last night I tried to take a bottle of Rum
        to the Clear Light
I am no longer possessed of an extra soul
Those tragedies and lonelinesses I romanticized

        are real and pathetic
The entire reason I deal with the outward show
        this Maya this supposed life
                in front of me
The melodrama of art
        The death in life
                The purpose and cause
Is aching like a mother fucker

Now I know they really were against us
They had scorn and repugnance for the poor
They didn't want their literature
        open to the creole cultures
                the underground metaphor
They really didn't want the lower classes
        to rise
Okay cartoonize, abstract, or use us
        rise as an individual maybe
but as a class never

This must be the working class writer blues
This must be the working class blues
This must the working class
This must be the blues

 

      INSIDE OTISVILLE

            First in-class writing
                at the correctional facility
                (State Prison) 

I see 11 men--- 11 good men
How do I know they're good?
How does anyone know---
I see the concertina wire, its cutting music
        I can't hear, only see
I see the mind of a heart
        jump out of a hand
the dream not deferred
        but exploding
a load lightened by a gram
        an ounce a mote a speck
and the heavy load is carried by
        a body that is not mine
                any longer
        a ghost carrying a cross 

I dream refrigerators and big deep couches
        and free dentists and the time I'll be home
                and her arms
        I will not share--- but somehow
                that embrace that breath
        living inside the breath
It will survive and enter the waters

I see the faces I've seen in the bars
        the off track betting parlors
        and littered parks, that I've seen
        down in the rust and black smoke
        down in the alligator warehouses
        up again on that gold dust sidewalk
        in the car next to me entering the Mid
        Town Tunnel selling flowers, papers
        at the Tri-Boro toll booth
The face on the working streets of South Ozone Park
        that catch my eyes and turn away as do mine
I see a little stream of light with floating lint butterflies
        and milky ways of insect fragments
A woman's face in a piece of bread
        a dead man's last words in the grain
                of the sidewalks
the grey and the dull
        institutional green

What does that mean?
What is a mistake that is paid for?
What is the price society has set?
I'm not society---I don't even like society
I want to live in the Future
        freedom is another chance
        freedom is a big black bird
                over the rooftops
        undaunted by the smoky grim spume
                of strange industry
Evil is not human
Let me 12 years old again be
        and I'll show you a different world
                destiny
Let me live That
I would give you how the moon
        is high
How it is free to do whatever it wants
        and the only sounds are
                water air insects wind
        the weeping leaves of grass
        the laughing of machineless nights
A festival of sleep walking
        a dream not a dream

 

Andy Clausen is the author of nine books of poetry, including 40th Century Man: Selected Verse 1996-1966 (Autonomedia, 1997), and Without Doubt (Zeitgeist Press, 1991, introduction by Allen Ginsberg). A coeditor of Poems for the Nation (Seven Stories Press, 2000), Clausen is a construction worker and teaches poetry in public schools and prisons in New York.