Friday, March 4, 2016

Two Poems by Edward Dorn

The Rick of Green Wood 

In the wood yard were green and dry
woods fanning out, behind
                                                a valley below
a pleasure for the eye to go.

Woodpile by the buzz saw.  I heard
the woodsman down in the thicket.  I don't
want a rick of green wood, I told him.
I want cherry or alder or something strong
and thin, or thick if dry, but I don't
want the green wood, my wife could die.

Her back is slender
and the wood I get must not
bend her too much through the day.

Aye, the wood is some green
and some dry, the cherry thin of bark
cut in July.

My name is Burlingame
said the woodcutter.
My name is Dorn, I said.
I buzz on Friday if the weather cools
said Burlingame, enough of names.

         Out of the thicket my daughter was walking
               back tracking the horse hoof
         gone in earlier this morning, the woodcutter's horse
         pulling the alder, the fir, the hemlock
         above the valley
                                       in the November
air, in the world, that was getting colder
as we stood there in the wood yard talking
pleasantly, of the green wood and the dry.

Ode on the Face Lifting of the "statue" of Liberty

4 July, 1986

America is inconceivable without drugs
and always has been. One of the first acts
was to dump the tea. The drug that furnished
the mansions of Virginia was tobacco,
a drug now in much disrepute.
Sassafras, a cure-all, is what they came for
and they dealt it by the bale although it
was only a diaphoretic to make you perspire—
people were so simple in those days.
The Civil War saw the isolation of morphine
making amputation a pleasure and making
the block of wood between the teeth,
which was no drug, obsolete. Morphinism  
was soon widespread among doctors and patients.
At this date interns, the reports tell us,
are among the premier drug ab/users
of said moralistic nation. “Rock” stars
(who notoriously “have” doctors)
consume drugs by the metric ton
even as they urge teenagers to Say No.
The undercurrent of American history
has been the running aches and pains
of the worn path to the door of the apothecary
to fetch cannabis and cocaine elixirs
by the gallon. It has been all prone,
all seeking Florida. Ponce de León
was just the beginning of a statistical curve
whose only satisfaction would be total vertigo.
His eager search for youth has become our
frantic tilt with death and boredom,
in fact we are farming death in Florida
with far greater profit than we are
farming food in Iowa—elixirs are as multiform
as the life-style frauds we implore,
a cultural patchwork fit for a fool
in the only country in the world
with a shop called the Drug Store.

Edward Dorn published numerous books of poetry: The Newly Fallen, Totem Press, 1961; Hands Up!, Totem Press, 1964; From Gloucester Out, Matrix Press, 1964; Idaho Out, Fulcrum Press, 1965; Geography, Fulcrum Press, 1965; Nine Songs, Fulcrum Press, 1965; The North Atlantic Turbine, Fulcrum Press, 1967; Gunslinger, Black Sparrow Press, 1968; Gunslinger: Book II, Black Sparrow Press, 1969; The Midwest Is That Space Between the Buffalo Statler and the Lawrence Eldridge, T. Williams, 1969; The Cosmology of Finding Your Spot, Cottonwood, 1969; Twenty-four Love Songs, Frontier Press, 1969; Gunslinger I & II, Fulcrum Press, 1970; Songs: Set Two, a Short Count, Frontier Press, 1970; Spectrum Breakdown: A Microbook, Athanor Books, 1971; By the Sound, Frontier Press, 1971; The Cycle, Frontier Press, 1971; A Poem Called Alexander Hamilton, Tansy/Peg Leg Press, 1971; The Hamadryas Baboon at the Lincoln Park Zoo, Wine Press, 1972; Gunslinger, Book III: The Winterbook, Prologue to the Great Book IV Kornerstone, Frontier Press, 1972; Recollections of Gran Apacheria, Turtle Island, 1974; Slinger (contains Gunslinger, Books I-IV and The Cycle), Wingbow Press, 1975; Manchester Square, (with Jennifer Dunbar) Permanent Press, 1975; Collected Poems: 1956-1974, Four Seasons Foundation, 1975; Hello, La Jolla, Wingbow Press, 1978; Selected Poems, Grey Fox Press, 1978; Abhorrences, Black Sparrow Press, 1989; High West Rendezvous: A Sampler, Etruscan Books, 1997; Sun Unwound, North Atlantic Books, 1999; (Posthumously): Chemo Sabé, 2001; Way More West: New and Selected Poems, Penguin 2007; Collected Poems, Carcanet 2012; Westward Haut, Etruscan Books, 2012; Derelict Air, Enitharmon Press, 2015. 

His poems have appeared in such periodicals as Poetry, New York Times Book Review, Nation, Hudson Review, New Republic, Parnassus: Poetry in Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, Spectator, Times Literary Supplement, Stone Wind City and many others.

Edward Dorn (April 2, 1929 - December 10, 1999)
He was the first teacher of poetry to inspire my love for verse 46 years ago.

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