November 2, 2007

Five years, what a surprise

Kenneth Patchen

The Dust Congress began five years ago today.

The poems below first appeared here in 2002:

-- by Denis Johnson

since i find you will no longer love,
from bar to bar in terror i shall move
past forty-third and halsted, twenty-fourth
and roosevelt where fire-gutted cars,
their bones the bones of coyote and hyena
suffer the light from the wrestling arena
to fall all over them. and what they say
blends in the tarantellasmic sway
of all of us between the two of these:
harmony and divergence,
their sad story of harmony and divergence,
the story that begins
i did not know who she was
and ends i did not know who she was.

At The Guess of a Simple Hello
-- by Richard Brautigan

at the guess of a simple hello
it can all begin
toward crying yourself to sleep
wondering where the fuck
she is.

my cheap lifestyle
-- by Eileen Myles

After a bourbon
I came in and turned on the tube
lit a joint and watched Monterey Pop
nearly wept when Janis came on
Janis' legs kicking on stage is a memorable site
Janis does her sweet little Texas girl smile as
her act finishes. she kicks her heals
and otis redding is so sexy
millions of young americans experience religion for the first
in their lives
or so the cameras would inform us
I'm concerned about manipulation in this media
how one gains such wonderful power
but of course I'm too tired
thrilled by the process of bringing down a familar blanket
upon my bed
it's nearly fall
nearly winter
I expect the stars will be bright
the woods full of bears

The Light the Dead See
-- by Frank Stanford

There are many people who come back
After the doctor has smoothed the sheet
Around their body
And left the room to make his call.

They die but they live.

They are called the dead who lived through their deaths,
And among my people
They are considered wise and honest.

They float out of their bodies
And light on the ceiling like a moth,
Watching the efforts of everyone around them.

The voices and the images of the living
Fade away.

A roar sucks them under
The wheels of a darkness without pain.
Off in the distance
There is someone
Like a signalman swinging a lantern.

The light grows, a white flower.
It becomes very intense, like music.

They see the faces of those they loved,
The truly dead who speak kindly.

They see their father sitting in a field.
The harvest is over and his cane chair is mended.
There is a towel around his neck,
The odor of bay rum.
Then they see their mother
Standing behind him with a pair of shears.
The wind is blowing.
She is cutting his hair.

The dead have told these stories
To the living.

From His Bed in the Capital City
-- by David Berman

the highway commissioner dreams of us.
we are driving by christmas tree farms
wearing wedding rings with on / off switches,
composing essays on leg room in our heads.

we know there is a policy like ice sculpture,
policy that invisibly dictates the shape
of the freeway forests and the design
of the tollbooths that passing children
send their minds into.

Photography's reminder is sound and momentum,
which were we looking to pare off the edges
of the past anyway, so snapshots of mom
with a kitchen table hill of cocaine
or the dog frozen in the attitude
of eating raw hamberger
get filed under "misc. americana,"
though only partially contained there,
as beads of sap are always leaking
from the columns of the bar graph.

the voices of the bumperstickers tangle in our heads
like cafeteria noise and we can't help but aware
that by making this trip, by driving home for christmas,
we are assuming some classic role.
it is the role he has cast us in: "holiday travelers."

he dreams us safely into our driveways
and leaves us at the flickering doors.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. Five years. Congratulations.

10:23 AM  
Blogger robotslingshot said...

That's excellent. Congrats.
Thanks for sticking around!


11:54 AM  
Blogger Brian said...

I stumbled across your blog someplace about a year ago and its become one of my daily reads. Thank you for the efforts.

12:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations. You are a light in the grey muck.

2:27 PM  
Blogger PJB said...

congratulations hackmuth, and on my birthday, no less. what a day!

10:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


8:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

happy birthday, dust congress, and congratulations on 5 years of consistently high quality.

9:44 AM  
Blogger skimble said...

happy birthday!

12:41 PM  

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