From: Bill Goodwin
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Dropping in again to tip your outhouse. "October" has a hollow ring to it this year. But smiles are burning in the dark.
A Happy Autumn to all and--forgive me!--three poems:
Weird, whispering Willowvale,
wistfully winking its windows at wheat,
waiting with historied weariness,
telegraph-ticking with heat.
Mad, moonlitten Willowvale,
equinox twilights converting laments
into sibilant scufflings of sneakers on
velvety sidewalk cements.
Crepe-paper, ape-caper Willowvale,
carnival-candy delicious with dread,
celebrants hell-bending well until
darkness's tresses are shed!
Glad-happy, nut-cracky Willowvale,
October fire in its cold-sober head!
Why are its residents riotous?
BECAUSE THEY'RE DEAD.
Rotting bodies sipping toddies
brewed from old formaldehydes!
Dipping lips into the gooey
pudding spooned from cold insides!
What a madness! Not a sadness!
Everybody wears a grin!
Pure enjoyment! No employment!
Just look at the shape we're in!
At the square dance: Mister Crass,
who owned a chain of filling stations!
Filled with worms and--what a gas!--
he's changing chicks like tire rotations!
There goes Madge, who lately trimmed
the hats for Drexel's Discount Store!
Arm in arm with...someone's arm
(no rhyme 'cause I'm unsettled now).
Wendy served us shakes and coke
at Willowburger's graveyard hour!
Shakes she still can give a bloke,
but take a tip: the milk is sour!
Make no fuss, but look at Gus,
who ran the drive-in theater!
A reeling popcorn bag of pus,
good gravy, what a cree-a-tur!
Hoist the bile and gobble ooze!
A Munch-and-Juicy puppet show!
It's rare, so don your hobble-shoes
and chew your partner's cheeks like dough!
Ribs a'plently, basted thick
in slime mold from an empty crypt!
Brains in paper cones to lick,
and ladyfingers too (french dipped)!
See the beastly feast of eats
for bloated fresh and bony cold
who dance all yeasty through the streets
where Trick-or-Treaters ne'er grow old!
Good die young, but corpses clown
and gobble guts between black teeth,
rend'ring one another down,
how else to get back down beneath?
Before the sunlight melts the stars,
each ghost goes in another's craw,
to ooze out rotten ribs like tars,
the foulest sight you ever saw.
A stinking wet now glad to get
back into grass and hallowed ground,
a charnel clutter that might utter
(if damp dust could just make sound):
"Rusty, musty Willowvale,
nowhere for tourists to fill up their tanks,
diner and dimestore and drive-in all
empty and covered in planks.
"Patient, vacant Willowale,
populace under the petrified peat,
COME BACK ON ALL HALLOWS' EVE
IF YOU REALLY MUST EAT."
The Wild Black Landscape
Out from home and hearth I leap.
Out into the midnight deep.
Mossy loam and cricket call
till I must flee in fright from all
the crowded hours crushing me
and cast my limbs into a sea
of dark and leafy emanations
growing under constellations.
A shaggy forest works like wax
between our thoughts, behind our backs.
It laps our island all around,
and drowns our speech without a sound.
A wilderness of raw emotion.
A trackless prehistoric ocean.
Out into that place I go.
Out where starlight falls like snow.
Out where every seed and thistle
preaches some profound epistle.
Out where sunlight cracks like ice
and facts are shed like teeming lice.
Clean of thought I madly walk
where creek and crawdad softly talk.
I trouble roads or grassy fields
until at last my thinking yields
and over broken bricks of brain
run floods of inky cosmic rain.
My pride has kept me long away
with whispered lies, in blinding day,
but here in breezes full of bugs
I beat my brainy bookworm rugs
till all the dust that they've acquired
is gone, and pride at last expired.
My life's a bonfire on a hill,
but woods around it rustle still
with whispers, trickled waters, wings
--oh!--how loud the quiet rings
and pipes a music dread and sweet
from sand and soil beneath my feet.
Each twig and whisker in the dusk
is telling tales of murk and musk
that mock and murder every truth
till I regain eternal youth.
It's what is wet and wild, that thrives,
whilst we, in brick-and-mortar hives,
insist on dreaming rigid things
whose logic runs us 'round in rings.
But under every rule and rhyme,
the wild black landscape bides its time,
an unseen world where aeons pass
while starfire sprouts like meadow grass.
The heart, confined so very long,
must find a spring to keep it strong.
In poetry or stormy skies,
in empty space or lover's eyes,
we seek and find, return and run
the timeless trails where time was begun.
And lastly, on contemplating the first autumn in ninety-three years without Ray Bradbury in the world:
Bright linen duly folded and black loam tucked like a bed.
A silver-locust rover rolling over rusty red.
Summer days went quick this year, like June bugs killed in flight.
Each noon a painted curtain holding back an empty night.
Now autumn slips with rustle-toe to whisper nutcrack rumour.
Picnic plates are put away and pumpkins fill with humour.
1919 says, "You knew I'd come again as caller."
I answer, "Yes, but who could guess you'd find us so much taller?"
I'll taste the wind, dear midwest boy,
turn pages writ with wonder,
create new fire from fallen joy
and chew on chocolate plunder.
I'll excavate my spirit
and blow foghorns at the deep,
and though you may not hear it,
speak soft stories while you sleep.
If we were just more clever!
Could not beauty raise the beast?
Oh lake-child, live forever
From: Greg Bear
A lovely triad, Bill. This will indeed be a haunted evening!
Carve crooked grin on pumpkin's face!/ Let welkin wheel and seasons chase!/ As Autumn comes to lace-white end,/ Let's raise a brimming cup to Ray/ Samhain's great, most faithful friend!
From: Bill Goodwin
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Welkin is a good word! Haunting lines, and I've got a stone to visit before dawn. I'll bring your regards. ~B.