Editor’s note: In this week’s Poetry Corner, we feature the work of Rob Sean Wilson, a professor of literature, creative writing, and cultural studies at UC Santa Cruz. He was founding editor of the Berkeley Poetry Review in 1974 as a graduate student in English at UC Berkeley. He has continued writing works of scholarship and poetry from Hawai’i to Hong Kong. His latest book is called “Beat Atttitudes: On the Roads to Beatitude for Post-Beat Writers, Dharma Bums, and Cultural-Political Activists” which will be published by New Pacific Press of Santa Cruz, an offspring of Literary Guillotine Bookstore.
. Conneticut Snows
Come back, you were my first baby-blue radio, Connecticut
Snows. You were the Cape Cod sunrise over the dunes,
You never understood my speech nor I yours, but
I admired you anyway as a Jew’s
Harp, a thing dripping with the past, a paper bag, a drug
Store saleslady, in white, giving out free
Cherry Cokes, Hot Rod magazines, freedom
From heritage, a way west across the country
In a used red VW bus which went dead, went crazy, went bad:
Come back, you were my first ticket to pain.
San Francisco Interviews
For a month now over the city by the pyramid banks
Your hand in mine we walk out into the renovated Fillmore.
But do not sing those thin blue songs tonight by the taco counter;
The ravens of my soul stand ever-watch on the street corner
Without reason or time they come and ask for more pimp flesh
Never ask the same way, just freak out the sorry soul into sad-sack
Refrains, amid an elite army of thousands marching by the Peace Pagoda.
This maybe is the hidden door to California country:
Men are walking on the moon today, you are still lost in an acid zone
Reflux of hippie heaven. As if a molecular unity in the Haight Ashbury
As the language-dream rumbles on from long ago
And another KPFA savior is preaching a new kind of praxis.
By Thirty Three
By thirty three, the Son of Man had come and gone,
walked across purple waters, seeded souls, and flew;
her pain hops across the bed into mine.
These Japanese teacups are getting secret wounds.
By thirty three, I built a blue house in Berkeley
with quiet rooms under mountain pines, I drove through
morning traffic mumbling the Jesus prayer. But evil
is an unidentified flying object
that can split your heart right open
in the living room. If you wait too long
in darkness, this thing turns back into
swampy water, wanhope, cracking any basement into three.