May 19, 2004

To the Secret Poets of Kansas

coverLucy, my wife, likes to recreate things. She likes to refinish furniture for example. She recovered some kitchen chairs that I took from an old shared living place, called The Stanford House. The cushions were ripped, and besides that the covering was a hideous orange. I think they use that color to discourage people from stealing them. They are the kind of chairs they use at the Frontier restaurant. I took them from the Stanford when I left there. It's across the Alley from the Frontier and the guy who owns the Frontier was our landlord. So, we had Frontier chairs. And I scammed a couple of them when I left.

My wife lived in the San Francisco area for 12 years and went to 49er games. She had two San Francisco 49er seat cushions, and she took the foam out of them, to use on the chairs. She made a nice covering and repainted the metal stems, and they look cool now.

Anyway, she was out in the garage and found the 9er seat cushion bags. She picked one up and felt something inside, finding the book Fear of Dreaming by Jim Carroll. How that book, which was new, landed up in that bag I have no idea. I honestly don't remember buying it, but I have several of Jim's books and a CD so it's very likely that I did. I could look up my records.

There is a poem in that book:

To the Secret Poets of Kansas

Just because I can't understand you
it doesn't mean that I hate you . . . like
when you go on continuously how you
cannot tolerate skyscrapers or cabdrivers

maniac faces of Fifth, well

it means nothing to me I
just ignore as so often
or shift gears and read Pope or some
boring Russian lunatic . . . you can't deny future

or simply fade.

and if you don't feel like running across streets here
you simply get run over and that means pain and boredom . . .
now isn't it amazing how you bring out logic in my poems.

I see nothing in a tree except lazy shade and nature
and that's not special, that's science

and all this concrete and steel and noise,
well, they've divided the simplest air to poems
some mornings, and we can't always rely on "Beauty" or gods

you must learn

but so often on our losses . . . and our tears.

© Jim Carroll, 1993

Lucy and I have decided to move to Kansas. That's my home state and where much of my family lives. The move will put us closer to Lucy's family as well. This is why I haven't seen many movies over the last week. The house hits the market on Monday.

Posted by Wayne at May 19, 2004 10:21 AM

Thanks for posting the Jim Carroll poem. I've always wondered who he was. I frequent used bookstores to add to my Lewis Carroll collection and I always see Jim Carroll books on the same shelf. I just might pick up one of his books next time.

Good luck with your move!

Posted by: Ken at May 22, 2004 06:23 PM

That's funny about Lewis Carroll and Jim Carroll. They have more in common than you might think.

I wrote a couple articles about Jim's material, one about the Basketball Diaries, and one about his CD Pools of Mercury.

My wife and I saw Jim once at the Taos Poetry Circus. I speak of this experience. Jim's homepage at one time saw fit to link to these pieces. I don't know if they still do.

Posted by: Wayne at May 22, 2004 06:58 PM
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