Brautigan > Poetry

This node of the American Dust website (formerly Brautigan Bibliography and Archive) provides comprehensive information about Richard Brautigan's poetry. Brautigan began his career writing poetry. Poetry was, he said, "way to get at some of the hard things in my life." Brautigan continued writing poetry throughout his life. Publication and background information is provided, along with reviews, many with full text. Use the menu tabs below to learn more.

Background

Richard Brautigan's poetry often turns on unconventional but vivid images powered by imagination, strange and detailed observational metaphors, humor, and satire, all presented in a seemingly simplistic, childlike manner. By his own account, this writing style was a difficult achievement.

"I love writing poetry but it's taken time, like a difficult courtship that leads to a good marriage, for us to get to know each other. I wrote poetry for seven years to learn how to write a sentence because I really wanted to write novels and I figured that I couldn't write a novel until I could write a sentence. I used poetry as a lover but I never made her my old lady. . . . I tried to write poetry that would get at some of the hard things in my life that needed talking about but those things you can only tell your old lady."
— Richard Brautigan. "Old Lady." The San Francisco Poets. Ed. David Meltzer. Ballantine Books, 1971, pp. 293-294.

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Poem Title Index

This index provides an alphabetical listing of Richard Brautigan's known individual poem titles. If you know the poem title, select the first letter of the first word of its title. Exclude words like "A" and "The." If you do not know the poem title, discover by browsing. Click any poem title for more information about that poem.

Brautigan Poems Beginning with "Q"

"Quail, The"

Brautigan Poems Beginning with "X"

"Xerox Candy Bar"

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Collected Poetry

Richard Brautigan published ten books of collected poetry. They are listed here, in order, first to last. First publication dates and publisher information are provided. Follow the links for more information about each.

The Return of the Rivers
Inferno Press, May 1957

The Galilee Hitch-Hiker
White Rabbit Press, 1958

Lay the Marble Tea
Carp Press, 1959

The Octopus Frontier
Carp Press, 1960

All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace
The Communication Company, 1967

Please Plant This Book
Graham Mackintosh, 1968

The Pill versus the Springhill Mine Disaster
Four Seasons Foundation, 1968

Rommel Drives On Deep into Egypt
Delacorte Press/Seymour Lawrence, 1970

Loading Mercury with a Pitchfork
Simon and Schuster, 1976

June 30th, June 30th
Delacorte Press/Seymour Lawrence, 1978

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Uncollected Poetry

Richard Brautigan published many poems individually. They were never collected. Known examples are listed here, grouped by year of their first publication, first to last. First publication dates and publisher information are provided.

1952

The Light

Into the sorrow of the night
Through the valley of dark despair
Across the black sea of iniquity
Where the wind is the cry of the
     suffering
There came a glorious saving light
The light of eternal peace
Jesus Christ, the King of Kings.

First Published
Eugene High School News, 19 December 1952, p. 5.
Published under the larger title "Poet's Nook" and the subheading "Creative Writers Express Christmas Spirit." Credit: "Richard Brautigan." Included several poems by faculty and students, as well as Brautigan.

Background
The Eugene High School News was the newspaper of Brautigan's high school in Eugene, Oregon. LEARN more. This poem was possibly Brautigan's first publication and his first as "Richard Brautigan." Until his final year of high school Brautigan was known as "Porterfield," the surname of his mother's second husband, Robert Geoffrey "Tex" Porterfield. Just before his graduation, he changed his surname from "Porterfield" to "Brautigan" and used that name for the rest of his life. Allegedly, Brautigan met his biological father, Bernard Brautigan, only twice. Bernard contended, upon learning of Brautigan's death, that he never knew he had a son. LEARN more.

1953

A Cigarette Butt

A cigarette butt is not a pretty
     thing.
It is not like the towering trees,
     the green meadows, or the for-
     est flowers.
It is not like a gentle fawn, a
     singing bird, or a hopping
     rabbit.
But these are all gone now,
And in the forest's place is a
Blackened world of charred trees
     and rotting flesh—
The remnants of another forrest
     fire
A cigarette butt is not a pretty
     thing.

First Published
The Register-Guard, 24 August 1953, p. 8A.
Eugene, Oregon. Credit: "Richard Brautigan"

Moonlight on a Cemetery

Moonlight drifts from over
A hundred thousand miles
To fall upon a cemetary.

It reads a hundred epitaphs
And then smiles at a nest of
Baby owls.

First Published
The Northwest's Own Magazine, 11 October 1953, p. 10.
Magazine of The Sunday Oregonian. Published in Portland, Oregon. Credit: "Richard Brautigan, Eugene, Or."

Background
Part of a full-page feature of Oregon poets with the heading "State Recognizes Oregon Poets: Governor and mayor proclaim observance; work of local writers presented." The brief text, by Ethel Romig Fuller, Poetry Editor, The Oregonian read.

BY PROCLAMATIONS [sic] of Governor Paul Patterson and Portland's Mayor Fred Peterson, Oregon Poetry Day will be observed October 15. This Sunday, as a part of an ambitious program of prescheduled events, Oregonian Verse presents local poets in a featured full-page spread.

The editor regrets a number of fine poems submitted must be held over for a near-future column.

The idea of Poetry Day originated with Lucia Trent, a Texas poet, as a memorial to her poet husband Ralph Cheney. By a 1952 count, 38 states had joined in the movement to honor their poets. This was Oregon's fourth observance.

Winter Sunset

A slash of scarlet
On the black hair
Of a wounded bear.

First Published
The Northwest's Own Magazine, 29 November 1953, p. 11.
Magazine of The Sunday Oregonian. Part of "Oregonian Verse: First Publication Poetry" edited by Ethel Romig Fuller, Poetry Editor, The Oregonian. Published in Portland, Oregon. Credit: "Richard Brautigan, Eugene, Or."

The Ochoco

Beyond the distant blue horizon,
Far beyond the tow' ring cascades,
Lies a land of beguiling enchantment.
As serene as a summer night on the McKenzie,
As wild as a winter storm on the Pacific;
That is the land called the Ochoco,
Where the tall pine trees caress the sky.
A land of flowing streams and meadows green,
An Eldorado where cattle and trees spell prosperity.
The vastness makes a man as minute as a grain of sand.
Who can deny this land above the plateaus?
My heart is there now, thrilling to the beauty of the Ochoco.

First Published
Young America Sings: 1953 Anthology of Northwest States High School Poetry. National High School Poetry Association, 1953, p. 120.
Orange paper wrappers; plastic ring binding; front cover printed in black ink. Published in Los Angeles, California. Poem is part of the "Spring Semester Selections" and appears in the "Places" section. Credit: "Richard Brautigan—Eugene, H[igh]. S[chool]."

Background
Brautigan was in his final high school year at the time of publication. The Ochoco National Forest is located in north central Oregon, east of the Cascade Mountains. It was created in 1911 from parts of the Deschutes National Forest and is noted for its lakes, rivers, dense evergreen forests, and the magnificent rock formations of the Ochoco Mountains.

1954

The Ageless Ones

Dewdust
Covering flower shadows

The dawn
And its prolific promises

The sea
Dancing to the music
Of the moon.

First Published
The Northwest's Own Magazine, 7 February 1954, p. 21.
Magazine of The Sunday Oregonian. Part of "Oregonian Verse: First Publication Poetry" edited by Ethel Romig Fuller, Poetry Editor, The Oregonian. Published in Portland, Oregon. Credit: "Richard Brautigan, Eugene, Or."

1955

So Many Twilights

An old woman sits
In a rocking chair
On the front porch
Of an old house.
The old woman watches
The stars turn on their
Lanterns in the clear,
Twilight sky above
The dark shadows
Of the fir trees
On the hill.
The old woman remembers
So many twilights.

First Published
Northwest Roto Magazine, 29 May 1955, p. 9.
Magazine of The Sunday Oregonian. Part of "Oregonian Verse: First Publication Poetry" edited by Ethel Romig Fuller, Poetry Editor, The Oregonian. Published in Portland, Oregon. Credit: "Richard Brautigan, Eugene, Or."

First Star on the Twilight River

A river of twilight
Flowed over the hills
And covered the valley
With its soft, cool water.
I sat beside my little brother
On the front porch, and I
Told him a story about
A flower that fell
In love with a star.
When I finished the story,
My little brother pointed
At the first star
On the twilight river,
And he said,
"Is dat da star?"

First Published
Northwest Roto Magazine, 14 August 1955, p. 23.
Magazine of The Sunday Oregonian. Part of "Oregonian Verse: First Publication Poetry" edited by Ethel Romig Fuller, Poetry Editor, The Oregonian. Published in Portland, Oregon. Credit: "R. Brautigan, Eugene, Or."

Butterfly's Breath

The moon throws
A shadow upon the night.
The shadow is as silent
As the birth of a rose,
And the shadow is as soft
As a butterfly's breath.

First Published
Northwest Roto Magazine, 2 October 1955, p. 14.
Magazine of The Sunday Oregonian. Part of "Oregonian Verse: First Publication Poetry" edited by Ethel Romig Fuller, Poetry Editor, The Oregonian. Published in Portland, Oregon. Credit: "Richard Brautigan, Eugene, Or."

Someplace in the World a Man is Screaming in Pain

Someplace in the world
a woman is sitting
under a beautiful green tree,
and she is shelling peas,
and she is thinking only
of beautiful things,
like waterfalls or rainbows
or peas.

First Published
Flame, vol. 2, no. 3, Autumn 1955, inside back cover.
Sixteen pages, green wrappers, stapled binding. Edited by Lilith Lorraine. Printed in London, England.

Background
Flame was published quarterly in Alpine, Texas, 1954-1963. Poems by Lorraine and Brautigan appeared together in the first issue of Danse Macabre in 1957. Brautigan's poem was 15 Stories in One Poem.

1956

Storm over Fallon

Thunder roared
across the sky
like the voice
of an angry man.

Rain started falling,
slowly at first,
then faster and faster,
and louder and louder.

The man became silent.

The voices of the rain
chattered like
little children
at a birthday party.

First Published
Smith, Claude, H. "Gab & Gossip." Fallon Standard, 25 July 1956, p. 6.

Background
Two poems, "Storm over Fallon," and The Breeze were published in a column titled "Gab & Gossip" written by Claude H. Smith, President of The Fallon Standard, published weekly (every Wednesday) in Fallon, Nevada. As an introduction, Smith wrote.

When it comes to poetry or other types of literature, we leave to others the appraisal of what's good. Of poetry we are quite shy.

This page, however, carries two short pieces of blank verse by a newcomer to Fallon, Richard Brautigan. They are local. We like them both. Do you?

Barney Mergen writes of Brautigan's visit to Reno and Fallon, Nevada, is his memoir "A Strange Boy." LEARN more.

The Breeze

In the time
of the evening
all things
grow cool again
in Fallon
when God
starts caressing
this city
with
His great hands.

First Published
Smith, Claude H. "Gab & Gossip." Fallon Standard, 25 July 1956, p. 6.

Background
Two poems, "Storm over Fallon," and The Breeze were published in a column titled "Gab & Gossip" written by Claude H. Smith, President of The Fallon Standard, published weekly (every Wednesday) in Fallon, Nevada. As an introduction, Smith wrote.

When it comes to poetry or other types of literature, we leave to others the appraisal of what's good. Of poetry we are quite shy.

This page, however, carries two short pieces of blank verse by a newcomer to Fallon, Richard Brautigan. They are local. We like them both. Do you?

Barney Mergen writes of Brautigan's visit to Reno and Fallon, Nevada, is his memoir "A Strange Boy." LEARN more.

The Second Kingdom

In the first kingdom
of the stars,
everything is always
half-beautiful.

Your fingernails
are angels
sleeping after
a long night
of making love.

The sound of
your eyes: snow
coming down
the stairs
of the wind.

Your hair
is the color
of God picking
flowers.

In the second
kingdom of the stars
there is only

you

First Published
Epos, vol. 8, no. 2, Winter 1956, p. 23.

Background
A love poem inspired by Linda Webster. Epos was a post-Beat avant-garde poetry magazine published by New Athenaeum Press, Lake Como, Florida. Edited by Evelyn Thorne and Will Tullos. Provided this biographical information concerning Brautigan.

Richard Brautigan, 21, "I have been writing poetry since I was 17. Olivant will publish my first book of poems, Tiger in the Telephone Booth. Making paper flowers out of love and death is a disease, but how beautiful it is."

Brautigan's reference to Tiger in the Telephone Booth as his first book of poetry comes from his correspondence with D. Vincent Smith, editor of the small literary magazine Olivant. Smith maintained publication offices in Fitzgerald, Georgia, and editorial offices in Japan where he was posted on active military duty. The first issue was published in 1956.

Smith wrote Brautigan in late 1955-early 1956 saying he intended to republish the poem Someplace in the World a Man is Screaming in Pain, published in the Fall 1955 issue of Flame, in the first issue of Olivant. He asked to see a selection of further writing for possible publication in a supplement to Olivant. Brautigan apparently sent Smith a selection of poems.

In July 1956, Smith wrote Brautigan again, saying he intended to publish all of Brautigan's submitted poems in a collection to be titled Tiger in the Telephone Booth. The book was never published. The Return of the Rivers, published in May 1957, is considered Brautigan's first poetry book publication. The poems intended for Tiger in the Telephone Booth were "lost."

Selected Reprints
Epos Anthology 1958.
Also included works by Clark Ashton Smith ("Ecclesiastes"), A. A. Ammons, and others.

1957

A Correction

Cats walk on little cat feet
and fogs walk on little fog feet,
Carl.

First Published
The Caxton Poetry Review, vol. 1, no. 2, Winter 1957, p. ***.
Published 7 January 1957.

Background
The Caxton Review was a quarterly magazine edited by Albert R. Temple and Evelyn T. Browning.

This was Brautigan's first professional publication after moving to San Francisco. His second was If the Wind Should Borrow Time, published in The Caxton Poetry Review, vol. 1, no. 3, Spring 1957, p. 17.

Lawrence Wright says Brautigan, wanting to meet poet Ron Loewinsohn, handed him this poem, which responds to Carl Sandburg's famous poem "Fog" (Wright 34). Wright, Lawrence. "The Life and Death of Richard Brautigan." Rolling Stone, no. 445, 11 April 1985, pp. 29, 31, 34, 36, 38, 40, 59, 61.

Loewinshon said Brautigan handed him "a little notebook. On one page was a poem in this incredible handwriting, a six-year-old's handwriting, which was called 'A Correction' . . .. I chuckled, handed the notebook back to him, and he just walked away" (Peter Manso and Michael McClure 65).

If the Wind Should Borrow Time

First Published
The Caxton Poetry Review, vol. 1, no. 3, Spring 1957, p. 17.
24 pages. Side-stapled into letterpress card folder. 191 x 138 mm. Pamphlet. Published 12 April 1957. 50 cents, on cover.

Background
This twelve-line poem is Brautigan's second professional publication after moving to San Francisco. The first was "A Correction", published in The Caxton Poetry Review, vol. 1, no. 2, Winter 1956.

This was Brautigan's fifteenth appearance in print (at age 22), his sixth outside Oregon (and Nevada), and his fifth outside a newspaper.

The Caxton Review was a quarterly magazine edited by Albert R. Temple and Evelyn T. Browning. Publisher: Caxton Press, Cincinnati, Ohio. No subsequent issues known beyond Number 3. The period July-December 1957.

A Young Poet

No forms have I to bring except
handkerchiefs wet with neon tears,
and pumpkin pictures of the country
where a man is closer
to the dirt of his seed.

No forms have I to bring except
spidery old people
living in webby houses
and waiting to die.

No forms have I to bring except
the wild birds of heaven
in all their glory.

No forms have I to bring except
misanthropic merry-go-rounds,
and haunted toilets
and cups that breathe the eyes
of contented lovers.

No forms have I to bring except
the colors of the soul
painted on the world.

First Published
Epos, vol. 8, no. 4, Summer 1957, p. 6.

Background
Epos was a post-Beat avant-garde poetry magazine published by New Athenaeum Press, Lake Como, Florida. Edited by Will Tullos and Evelyn Thorne.

The Meek Shall Inherit the Earth's Beer Bottles

     When we were children after the war
we lived for a year in a house next
to a large highway. There were many
sawmills and log ponds on the otherside
of the highway. The sound of the saws could
be heard most of the time and when there
was darkness trash burners glowed red
against the sky. We did not have a father
and our mother had to work very hard.
My sister and I got our spending money
by gathering beer bottles that had been
thrown along the highway or left around
the sawmills. At first we carried the
bottles in gunny sacks and cardboard boxes
but later we found an old baby buggy
and we used that to carry our bottles in.
We took the bottles to a grocery store
and were paid a penny for small beer bottles
and two cents for large ones. On almost
any day we could be seen pushing our baby
buggy along the highway looking
for beer bottles.

First Published
Hedley, Leslie Woolf, editor. Four New Poets. Inferno Press, 1957, pp. 3-9.
Thirty-four pages. Printed and stapled wrappers. Published Fall 1957.

Background
Brautigan refers to Psalm 37:11. He tells a slightly different version of this anecdote in So the Wind Won't Blow It All Away, pages 8-13.

Four Brautigan poems were included: "The Meek Shall Inherit the Earth's Beer Bottles," "The Mortuary Bush," "Twelve Roman Soldiers and an Oatmeal Cookie," and "Gifts". This was Brautigan's first book appearance prior to his own solely authored book, The Return of the Rivers.

Four New Poets featured poetry by four poets the editor described as "representing an articulate segment of a sometime-called 'silent generation'." Of Brautigan Hedley said, "Richard Brautigan is a young poet who was born January 30, 1935 in Tacoma, Washington. He now lives in San Francisco where he is working on a book of poems, The Horse That Had A Flat Tire."

The other three poets were: Martin Hoberman, Carl Larsen, and James M. Singer. At the time of publication, none of the poets were over the age of 25. Larsen edited Existaria, a Journal of Existant Hysteria, in which, in 1957, Brautigan published two poems: "The Daring Little Guy on the Burma Shave Sign" and "The World Will Never End."

Inferno Press issued 6.5" x 3.5" announcements for the book, printed in blue and gold ink on one side of heavy white paper and illustrated with a gold handprint. The promotional blurb read, "This collection from the work of four young poets, all under 25, presents an interesting contrast that is most refreshing after so much orthodoxy in current American poetry."

Leslie Woolf Hedley also edited a small poetry journal called Inferno. A total of eleven issues were published between 1950 and 1956. "Although Inferno did print a few significant Bay Area poets, the editorial bent seemed to be primarily international anonymity" (Eloyde Tovey 31).

The Mortuary Bush

Mr. William Lewis is an undertaker
and he hasn't been feeling very good
lately because not enough people are
dying.

Mr. Lewis is buying a new house
and a new car and many appliances
on the installment plan and he needs
all the money he can get.

Mr. Lewis has headaches and can't
sleep at night and his wife says,
"Bill, what's wrong?" and he says,
"Oh, nothing, honey," but at night
he can't sleep.

He lies awake in bed and wishes
that more people would die.

First Published
Hedley, Leslie Woolf, editor. Four New Poets. Inferno Press, 1957, pp. 3-9.
Thirty-four pages. Printed and stapled wrappers. Published Fall 1957.

Four Brautigan poems were included: "The Meek Shall Inherit the Earth's Beer Bottles," "The Mortuary Bush," "Twelve Roman Soldiers and an Oatmeal Cookie," and "Gifts". This was Brautigan's first book appearance prior to his own solely authored book, The Return of the Rivers.

Background
Four New Poets featured poetry by four poets the editor described as "representing an articulate segment of a sometime-called 'silent generation'." Of Brautigan Hedley said, "Richard Brautigan is a young poet who was born January 30, 1935 in Tacoma, Washington. He now lives in San Francisco where he is working on a book of poems, The Horse That Had A Flat Tire."

The other three poets were: Martin Hoberman, Carl Larsen, and James M. Singer. At the time of publication, none of the poets were over the age of 25. Larsen edited Existaria, a Journal of Existant Hysteria, in which, in 1957, Brautigan published two poems: "The Daring Little Guy on the Burma Shave Sign" and "The World Will Never End."

Inferno Press, based in San Francisco, California, issued 6.5" x 3.5" announcements for the book, printed in blue and gold ink on one side of heavy white paper and illustrated with a gold handprint. The promotional blurb read, "This collection from the work of four young poets, all under 25, presents an interesting contrast that is most refreshing after so much orthodoxy in current American poetry."

Leslie Woolf Hedley also edited a small poetry journal called Inferno. A total of eleven issues were published between 1950 and 1956. "Although Inferno did print a few significant Bay Area poets, the editorial bent seemed to be primarily international anonymity" (Eloyde Tovey 31).

Selected Reprints
Hearse: A Vehicle Used to Convey the Dead, vol. 3, 1958, n. pg.
Included two poems by Brautigan: "The Mortuary Bush" and "Twelve Roman Soldiers and an Oatmeal Cookie." Editorial notes read,
Hearse regards Richard Brautigan, whose works appear opposite, as one of the most exciting younger poets. These two poems are from the Leslie Woolf Hedley collection, FOUR NEW POETS (Inferno Press) . . . we urge you to purchase it.

Hearse was published at 3118 K. Street, Eureka, California. Seventeen issues, 1957-1972. Edited by E. V. Griffith who described his journal as ". . . an irreverant quarterly, carrying poetry, prose artwork and incidental cadaver to the Great Cemetery of the American Intellect. . . ." Included work by Kenneth Rexroth, Langston Hughes, Alden A. Nowlan, Clarence Major, and Brautigan.

Twelve Roman Soldier and an Oatmeal Cookie

     While they talked
the seven-year-old girl listened quietly
and her eyes were like mice hiding
in the hay. The twelve Roman soldiers
stared at her naked body. Each one of them
had a long silver spear and it shone brightly
in the moonlight. The Roman soldiers stood
in a circle around the girl with their spears
pointed towards her. Then one of them stabbed
his silver spear in the ground and he came
slowly to the girl and he touched her with all
his body. Then the other soldiers came and
the girl did not cry. Afterwards as she walked
home she could hear a nightingale singing but
she did not know where. It seemed all around her.
When she got home her mother kissed her on the
cheek and gave her an oatmeal cookie from a
blue jar and while the girl ate the cookie
her mother told how strange and beautiful
the world was.

First Published
Hedley, Leslie Woolf, editor. Four New Poets. Inferno Press, 1957, pp. 3-9.
Thirty-four pages. Printed and stapled wrappers. Published Fall 1957.

Background
Four Brautigan poems were included: "The Meek Shall Inherit the Earth's Beer Bottles," "The Mortuary Bush," "Twelve Roman Soldiers and an Oatmeal Cookie," and "Gifts". This was Brautigan's first book appearance prior to his own solely authored book, The Return of the Rivers.

Four New Poets featured poetry by four poets the editor described as "representing an articulate segment of a sometime-called 'silent generation'." Of Brautigan Hedley said, "Richard Brautigan is a young poet who was born January 30, 1935 in Tacoma, Washington. He now lives in San Francisco where he is working on a book of poems, The Horse That Had A Flat Tire."

The other three poets were: Martin Hoberman, Carl Larsen, and James M. Singer. At the time of publication, none of the poets were over the age of 25. Larsen edited Existaria, a Journal of Existant Hysteria, in which, in 1957, Brautigan published two poems: "The Daring Little Guy on the Burma Shave Sign" and "The World Will Never End."

Inferno Press, based in San Francisco, California, issued 6.5" x 3.5" announcements for the book, printed in blue and gold ink on one side of heavy white paper and illustrated with a gold handprint. The promotional blurb read, "This collection from the work of four young poets, all under 25, presents an interesting contrast that is most refreshing after so much orthodoxy in current American poetry."

Leslie Woolf Hedley also edited a small poetry journal called Inferno. A total of eleven issues were published between 1950 and 1956. "Although Inferno did print a few significant Bay Area poets, the editorial bent seemed to be primarily international anonymity" (Eloyde Tovey 31).

Selected Reprints
Hearse: A Vehicle Used to Convey the Dead, vol. 3, 1958, n. pg.

Gifts

At dawn when the dew has built its tents
on the grass, will you come to my grave
and sprinkle bread crumbs
from an enchanted kitchen?

Will you remember me down there
with my eyes shattered
and my ears broken
and my tongue turned to shadows?

Will you remember that I went to the graves
of many people and always knew I was buried
there?

And afterwards as I walked home to where
it was warm, I did not kid myself about
a God-damn thing.

Will you remember that one day
I went to your grave and you had been dead
for many years, and no one thought
about you any more,
except me?

Will you remember that we are fragile gifts
from a star, and we break?

Will you remember that we are pain
waiting to scream, holes
waiting to be dug, and
tears waiting to
fall?

    * * *

And will you remember that after you have gone
from my grave, birds will come
and eat the bread?

First Published
Hedley, Leslie Woolf, editor. Four New Poets. Inferno Press, 1957, pp. 3-9.
Thirty-four pages. Printed and stapled wrappers. Published Fall 1957.

Background
Four Brautigan poems were included: "The Meek Shall Inherit the Earth's Beer Bottles," "The Mortuary Bush," "Twelve Roman Soldiers and an Oatmeal Cookie," and "Gifts". This was Brautigan's first book appearance prior to his own solely authored book, The Return of the Rivers.

Four New Poets featured poetry by four poets the editor described as "representing an articulate segment of a sometime-called 'silent generation'." Of Brautigan Hedley said, "Richard Brautigan is a young poet who was born January 30, 1935 in Tacoma, Washington. He now lives in San Francisco where he is working on a book of poems, The Horse That Had A Flat Tire."

The other three poets were: Martin Hoberman, Carl Larsen, and James M. Singer. At the time of publication, none of the poets were over the age of 25. Larsen edited Existaria, a Journal of Existant Hysteria, in which, in 1957, Brautigan published two poems: "The Daring Little Guy on the Burma Shave Sign" and "The World Will Never End."

Inferno Press, based in San Francisco, California, issued 6.5" x 3.5" announcements for the book, printed in blue and gold ink on one side of heavy white paper and illustrated with a gold handprint. The promotional blurb read, "This collection from the work of four young poets, all under 25, presents an interesting contrast that is most refreshing after so much orthodoxy in current American poetry."

Leslie Woolf Hedley also edited a small poetry journal called Inferno. A total of eleven issues were published between 1950 and 1956. "Although Inferno did print a few significant Bay Area poets, the editorial bent seemed to be primarily international anonymity" (Eloyde Tovey 31).

The Final Ride

The act of dying
is like hitch-hiking
into a strange town
late at night
where it is cold
and raining,
and you are alone
again.

Suddenly
all the street lamps
go out
and everything
becomes dark,
so dark
that even the buildings
are afraid
of one another.

First Published
Mainstream, vol. 2, no. 2, Summer-Autumn 1957, p. 14.
5" x 9". 63 pages. Bound in titled, over-laid wraps.
Subtitled "A Quarterly Journal of Poetry, The Arts and Contemporary Comment." This issue labeled the "San Francisco Issue."

Background
Mainstream was edited by Robin Raey Cuscaden and Ronald Offen. Published published at 17 South Cedar Street, Palatine, Illinois, by Jack R. Lander. Ceased publication with Volume 2, Number 3, Winter 1958.

The Daring Little Guy on the Burma Shave Sign

Manny is one
of those little guys
in America
who would rush in
where angels fear
to tread and start
a hot dog stand.

If the business
fell through and Manny
ended up in hell,
he would accuse
the devil of being
antilabor.

First Published
Existaria, a Journal of Existant Hysteria, vol. 7, September-October 1957, p. 14.

Background
Featured two poems by Brautigan: "The Daring Little Guy on the Burma Shave Sign" and "The World Will Never End." The second stanza of "The World Will Never End" appeared in 1959 as "The Sink."

Existaria, a Journal of Existant Hysteria was edited by Carl Larsen. Published at 328 Palm Drive, Hermosa Beach, California. Printed by Ottumwa Duplicating Service, Ottumwa, Iowa. Ceased publication with Volume #7, September/October 1957. Larsen was one of the poets included, along with Brautigan, in the book Four New Poets. Learn more.

Also included work by O. W. Crane, Jed Garrick, Charles Bukowski, Rozana Webb, Joseph Martinek, Cerise Farallon, Fred Cogswell, E. W. Northnagel, Claudia Archuletta, Clarence Major, Apollinaire, John Charles Chadwick, Rockwell B. Schaefer, and Judson Crews.

The textual reference, "rush in where angels fear to tread" is from Alexander Pope's poem "An Essay on Criticism" (1711).

The World Will Never End

     Death has many little children and a drunk blindman pukes on the
sidewalk and then slips in the puke
and falls down and no one will help
him because he is dirty

     Mr. Clay lives in a cheap hotel
room and he pees in the sink
Mr. Clay has no family or friends
If Mr. Clay dies tomorrow he'll stop
peeing in the sink.

First Published
Existaria, a Journal of Existant Hysteria, vol. 7, September-October 1957, p. 14.

Background
Featured two poems by Brautigan: "The Daring Little Guy on the Burma Shave Sign" and "The World Will Never End." The second stanza of "The World Will Never End" was published in 1959 as "The Sink."

Existaria, a Journal of Existant Hysteria was edited by Carl Larsen. Published at 328 Palm Drive, Hermosa Beach, California. Printed by Ottumwa Duplicating Service, Ottumwa, Iowa. Ceased publication with Volume #7, September/October 1957. Larsen was one of the poets included, along with Brautigan, in the book Four New Poets. Learn more.

Also included work by O. W. Crane, Jed Garrick, Charles Bukowski, Rozana Webb, Joseph Martinek, Cerise Farallon, Fred Cogswell, E. W. Northnagel, Claudia Archuletta, Clarence Major, Apollinaire, John Charles Chadwick, Rockwell B. Schaefer, and Judson Crews.

They Keep Coming Down the Dark Streets

Gangs
of teen-agers
carrying chains
and switchblade
knives.

I saw
one of them
busted open,
blood running down his
temples.

—I'll kill him!
the boy screamed.
He was about fourteen.
—I'll kill him!

Another boy
carrying a chain
said—Don't worry.
We'll find him.
He'll get his.
Don't worry about
it.

—I'll kill him!

they keep coming down the dark streets

First Published
Danse Macabre, vol. 1, no. 1, 1957, pp. 18-19.

Background
Featured two poems by Brautigan: "They Keep Coming Down the Dark Streets" and "15 Stories in One Poem".

Danse Macabre, Edited and published by R. T. Baylor, began publication in 1957, and was published quarterly at 653 12th Street, Manhattan Beach, California. Printed by Ottumwa Duplicating Service, Ottumwa, Iowa.

This issue also featured work by Orma McCormick, Richard Dwyer, Lilith Lorraine, Judson Crews, James Boyer May, and Carl Larsen, who edited the journal Existaria, a Journal of Existant Hysteria in which Brautigan published two poems: "The Daring Little Guy on the Burma Shave Sign" and "The World Will Never End" in 1957. Larsen was also one of the poets included, along with Brautigan, in the book Four New Poets. Learn more. Lilith Lorraine edited the journal Flame in which Brautigan published the poem "Someplace in the World a Man is Screaming in Pain" in 1955.

15 Stories in One Poem

I hate to bother you,
but I just dropped
a baby out the window

and it fell 15 stories
and splattered against
the sidewalk.

May I borrow a mop?

First Published
Danse Macabre, vol. 1, no. 1, 1957, pp. 18-19.

Background
Featured two poems by Brautigan: "They Keep Coming Down the Dark Streets" and "15 Stories in One Poem."

Danse Macabre, Edited and published by R. T. Baylor, began publication in 1957, and was published quarterly at 653 12th Street, Manhattan Beach, California. Printed by Ottumwa Duplicating Service, Ottumwa, Iowa.

This issue also featured work by Orma McCormick, Richard Dwyer, Lilith Lorraine, Judson Crews, James Boyer May, and Carl Larsen, who edited the journal Existaria, a Journal of Existant Hysteria in which Brautigan published two poems: "The Daring Little Guy on the Burma Shave Sign" and "The World Will Never End" in 1957. Larsen was also one of the poets included, along with Brautigan, in the book Four New Poets. Learn more. Lilith Lorraine edited the journal Flame in which Brautigan published the poem "Someplace in the World a Man is Screaming in Pain" in 1955.

Selected Reprints
Hearse: A Vehicle Used to Convey the Dead, vol. 2, 1958, inside back cover.
Published at 3118 K. Street, Eureka, California. Seventeen issues, 1957-1972. Edited by E. V. Griffith who described his journal as ". . . an irreverant quarterly, carrying poetry, prose artwork and incidental cadaver to the Great Cemetery of the American Intellect. . ." Brautigan's poem appeared under the heading "Coroner's Report," a series of annoucements by Griffith, and seemed to drive Griffith's introduction of Danse Macabre. Griffith noted "the above poem, published in the pilot issue of DANSE MACABRE, reappears here as an introduction to a spirited new magazine which merits wide readership. . . ."

1958

Kingdom Come

The world
has a magic direction
     in the twilight.
It is a place of spells
and visions.
Look out of the window.
Do you see the old woman
with the plum tree
on her back?
     She is walking
     up Hyde Street.
She appears to be lost
and I think she is crying.
     A taxi
     comes along.
She stops the taxi
and gets in
with the plum tree.
     She is
     gone now
and the evening star
shines in the sky.

First Published
Epos, vol. 9, no. 3, Spring 1958, pp. 20-21.
Epos was a post-Beat avant-garde poetry magazine published by New Athenaeum Press, Lake Como, Florida. Edited by Will Tullos and Evelyn Thorne.

1959

Psalm

A farmer
in Eastern
Oregon saw
Jesus in
a chicken
house.
Jesus was
standing
there,
holding
a basket
of eggs.
Jesus said,
"I'm
hungry."
The farmer
never
told what
he saw
to anyone.

First Published
San Francisco Review, vol. 2, Spring 1959 p. 63.
6" x 9"; 88 pages; paperback with printed wrappers.

Also featured work by Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Gary Snyder, William Saroyan, James Broughton, and others. San Francisco Review was published in San Francisco, California, Winter 1958 (Volume #1) through September 1962 (Volume #13).

Selected Reprints
A Legend of Horses Poems and Stories
No stated publisher, but possibly Pacific Red Car Press
No printing, place, or date information
5" x 9"; Printed wrappers; Stapled binding

Reprinted ten Brautigan poems
"A Legend of Horses"
"A Moth in Tucson, Arizona"
"Hinged to Forgetfulness Like a Door"
"Heroine of the Time Machine"
"The Buses"
"Period Piece"
"Psalm"
"Towards the Pleasures of a Reconstituted Crow"
"The Memoirs of Jesse James"
"Love's Not The Way to Treat a Friend"
and the story "What Are You Going to Do with 390 Photographs of Christmas Trees."

The Whorehouse at the Top of Mount Rainier

Baudelaire
climbed to the top
of Mount Rainier,
thinking all the time
that he was going
to a whorehouse
where there would be
Eskimo women.
When Baudelaire
reached the top
of Mount Rainier
and realized where
he was
and the mistake
that he had made,
Baudelaire shit
his pants.

First Published
Beatitude, vol. 1, no. 9, 9 May 1959, n. pg.
8.5" x 11" mimeographed sheets with illustrated front cover of construction paper; No back cover.

Background
Also featured work by William J. Margolis, Allen Ginsberg, Bob Kaufman, Monty Pike, B. Uronovitz, Robert Stock, Dave DeSilver, Bob Hartman, Mark Green, Carol Mann, John Richardson, Pierre Henri Delattre, Lew Gardner, and Joe Gould.

Beatitude was a San Francisco beatnik magazine founded by poets Bob Kaufman, John Kelly, and William J. Margolis. Issues 1-7 published weekly at 14 Bannam Alley. Issues 8 until cessation of publication at the end of the year were published monthly at the Bread and Wine Mission, 510 Greenwich Street, San Francisco, California.

Selected Reprints
Beatitude Anthology. San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1960, pp. 34-36.

Included five poems by Brautigan: "The American Submarine," "A Postcard from the Bridge," "That Girl," "The Whorehouse at the Top of Mount Rainer," and "Swandragons."

The American Submarine

". . . I became aware of a loud and gradually increasing sound, like the moaning of a vast herd of buffaloes upon an American prairie . . ."
—Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe
was an American submarine,

sailing beneath a herd of buffaloes,
he torpedoed a maelstrom,

it sank slowly
into a drop of our past,

and the buffaloes did not hear a sound,
they continued grazing peacefully

in Nebraska.

First Published
Beatitude, vol. 4, 30 May 1959.
8.5" x 11" mimeographed sheets with illustrated front cover.

Background
Featured four poems by Brautigan: "The American Submarine," "A Postcard from the Bridge," "That Girl," and "The Sink." The poem "The Sink" is the second stanza of "The World Will Never End" first published in 1957.

Also featured work by Bob Kaufman, Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Philip Whalen, Ruth Weiss, Richard McBride, Stan Persky, and William Margolis.

The quote by Edgar Allen Poe (1809-1849), American poet and short-story writer, is from his 1841 short story "A Descent into the Maelstrom."

Beatitude was a San Francisco beatnik magazine founded by poets Bob Kaufman, John Kelly, and William J. Margolis. Issues 1-7 published weekly at 14 Bannam Alley. Issues 8 until cessation of publication at the end of the year were published monthly at the Bread and Wine Mission, 510 Greenwich Street, San Francisco, California.

Selected Reprints
Beatitude Anthology. San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1960. 34-36.

Included five poems by Brautigan: "The American Submarine," "A Postcard from the Bridge," "That Girl," "The Whorehouse at the Top of Mount Rainer," and "Swandragons."

A Postcard from the Bridge

The autumn river
is cold and clear
and fish hang
in the deep water,
loving neither dreams
nor reality.

The fish hang
in the deep water
and turn slowly
like the pages
in an old book
of photographs.

First Published
Beatitude, vol. 4, 30 May 1959.
8.5" x 11" mimeographed sheets with illustrated front cover.

Background
Featured four poems by Brautigan: "The American Submarine," "A Postcard from the Bridge," "That Girl," and "The Sink." The poem "The Sink" is the second stanza of "The World Will Never End" first published in 1957.

Also featured work by Bob Kaufman, Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Philip Whalen, Ruth Weiss, Richard McBride, Stan Persky, and William Margolis.

Beatitude was a San Francisco beatnik magazine founded by poets Bob Kaufman, John Kelly, and William J. Margolis. Issues 1-7 published weekly at 14 Bannam Alley. Issues 8 until cessation of publication at the end of the year were published monthly at the Bread and Wine Mission, 510 Greenwich Street, San Francisco, California.

Selected Reprints
Beatitude Anthology. San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1960, pp. 34-36.

Included five poems by Brautigan: "The American Submarine," "A Postcard from the Bridge," "That Girl," "The Whorehouse at the Top of Mount Rainer," and "Swandragons."

That Girl

A girl
with French teeth
and dandelions
in her hair
stops
a black sportscar
beside me
on the street
and says,
Get in.
Where are
we going?
I ask.
To my place,
she answers.
We drive
through the tunnel
and go
all the way out
to 1,000,000th
Broadway.

Her apartment
is nice.
There are
original Klees
and Picassos
hanging
on the walls.
She has
a thousand books
and a Hi-Fi set.
I would
make love
to you,
she says,
but I have
cement
in my vagina.
We drink
coffee
from little cups
and she reads
Apollinaire
to me
in French.
She is
very beautiful
but the dandelions
are starting
to wilt
in her hair.

First Published
Beatitude, vol. 4, 30 May 1959.
8.5" x 11" mimeographed sheets with illustrated front cover.

Background
Featured four poems by Brautigan: "The American Submarine," "A Postcard from the Bridge," "That Girl," and "The Sink." The poem "The Sink" is the second stanza of "The World Will Never End" first published in 1957.

Also featured work by Bob Kaufman, Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Philip Whalen, Ruth Weiss, Richard McBride, Stan Persky, and William Margolis.

The reference to "original Klees and Picassos" is Paul Klee (1879-1940), Swiss painter, and Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), Spanish painter. "Apollinaire" refers to Guillaume Apollinaire (1880-1918), French poet, an early surrealist.

Beatitude was a San Francisco beatnik magazine founded by poets Bob Kaufman, John Kelly, and William J. Margolis. Issues 1-7 published weekly at 14 Bannam Alley. Issues 8 until cessation of publication at the end of the year were published monthly at the Bread and Wine Mission, 510 Greenwich Street, San Francisco, California.

Selected Reprints
Beatitude Anthology. San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1960, pp. 34-36.

Included five poems by Brautigan: "The American Submarine," "A Postcard from the Bridge," "That Girl," "The Whorehouse at the Top of Mount Rainer," and "Swandragons."

The Sink

     Mr. Clay lives in a cheap hotel
room and he pees in the sink
Mr. Clay has no family or friends
If Mr. Clay dies tomorrow he'll stop
peeing in the sink.

First Published
Beatitude, vol. 4, 30 May 1959.
8.5" x 11" mimeographed sheets with illustrated front cover.

Background
Featured four poems by Brautigan: "The American Submarine," "A Postcard from the Bridge," "That Girl," and "The Sink."

Also featured work by Bob Kaufman, Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Philip Whalen, Ruth Weiss, Richard McBride, Stan Persky, and William Margolis.

The poem "The Sink" is the second stanza of "The World Will Never End" first published in 1957.

Beatitude was a San Francisco beatnik magazine founded by poets Bob Kaufman, John Kelly, and William J. Margolis. Issues 1-7 published weekly at 14 Bannam Alley. Issues 8 until cessation of publication at the end of the year were published monthly at the Bread and Wine Mission, 510 Greenwich Street, San Francisco, California.

Swandragons

Sometimes a man is the enemy
     of his own dreams.
He is the knight the queen hates.
The queen is beautiful
and the knight is beautiful.
But the queen is married to an old king
and the young knight is religious.
He will not walk with the queen
through the royal gardens.
He will not smile at the queen.
He will not go up to her tower.
The queen hates him and she plots his death
even now as he lies asleep dreaming
of swandragons,
dreaming of God in the
sword.

First Published
Beatitude vol. 9, 18 Sept. 1959.
8.5" x 11" mimeographed sheets with illustrated front cover.

Background
This issue also featured work by Allen Ginsberg, Philip Whalen, David Meltzer, Bob Kaufman, William Margolis, Ron Padgett, Barbara Moraff, Richard McBride, Peter Orlovsky, and Philip Lamantia.

Beatitude was a San Francisco beatnik magazine founded by poets Bob Kaufman, John Kelly, and William J. Margolis. Issues 1-7 published weekly at 14 Bannam Alley. Issues 8 until cessation of publication at the end of the year were published monthly at the Bread and Wine Mission, 510 Greenwich Street, San Francisco, California.

Selected Reprints
Beatitude Anthology. San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1960, pp. 34-36.
Included five poems by Brautigan: "The American Submarine," "A Postcard from the Bridge," "That Girl," "The Whorehouse at the Top of Mount Rainer," and "Swandragons."

1961

The Rain

I was born in the junkyard.
A dead man came out of a tin shack
     covered with dark roses
     and said, It's going to rain.
Would you like to buy an old car
that looks just like an umbrella?
I gave the man fifty dollars.
He put some gas in the car
     and I drove away.
When I looked back,
the junkyard was gone
and in its place
was a famous castle.
A beautiful woman
was standing
at the top
of the waterfall.
She had long hair
like fish.
     I think she was the queen
     and I was the king.
          Good-bye.
          Good-bye.

First Published
Hearse: A Vehicle Used to Convey the Dead, vol. 9, 1961, p. 4.

Background
Published at 3118 K. Street, Eureka, California. Seventeen issues, 1957-1972. Edited by E. V. Griffith who described Hearse as ". . . an irreverant quarterly, carrying poetry, prose artwork and incidental cadaver to the Great Cemetery of the American Intellect. . ."

1965

October 2, 1960

My six-month-old daughter
is lying on our
     hippopotamus bed, trying
to eat the telephone book.

She'll eat it by and by
and the last number will be
     MOntrse 1-2021,
the San Francisco Zoo-
     logical Society.

First Published
San Francisco Keeper's Voice, vol. 1, no. 4, April 1965, p. 6.
8.5" x 11", eight pages

Background
San Francisco Keeper's Voice featured illustrations, news, entertainment, and other information of interest to the animal keepers at the San Francisco Zoo and other interested readers. Published by Alexander Weiss, San Francisco, California. First volume appeared January 1965.

Brautigan's poem appeared on the "Permanent Page of Particular Poetry." Biographical note reads
Richard Brautigan is a San Francisco poet and writer whose novel, A Confederate General from Big Sur, has recently been published by Grove Press.

The textual reference to "MOntrse 1-2021" is a telephone number, part of the San Francisco telephone exchange.

Lullaby for a Lost Leek

Which week?
Lost week.

Background
Holography. Unsigned. A hand-written poem, given to Philip Whalen, in San Francisco, California, 1965. The poem remained among Whalen's papers and was cataloged by Whalen as one of several "Miscellaneous Manuscripts."

Philip Whalen (1923-2002) was born in Portland, Oregon, and grew up in The Dalles, Oregon. He served in the United States Air Force during World War II and then attended Reed College, in Portland, with Gary Snyder and Lew Welch, graduating in 1951. He moved to San Francisco, California, where he participated in the San Francisco Poetry Renaissance and published regularly. He lived in Japan between 1958 and 1971 where he studied Zen Buddhism. He returned to California and became a Zen Buddhist monk in 1973. He wrote more than twenty books, including three novels.

The Carrot Caution

For Philip Whalen

If an elephant has a $23 nose
in the ladies dress department

with all the sales personnel
cracking up and wanting to be transferred

     immediately to Iceland

then an ant must have a 1 cent nose
in the bargain basement.

Oh, he's a carrot caution,
a real potato watcher.

Richard Brautigan (signed)
July 27, 1965

Background
Typescript. Signed. Given to Philip Whalen, in San Francisco, California, 1965. The poem remained among Whalen's papers and was cataloged by Whalen as one of several "Miscellaneous Manuscripts."

Philip Whalen (1923-2002) was born in Portland, Oregon, and grew up in The Dalles, Oregon. He served in the United States Air Force during World War II and then attended Reed College, in Portland, with Gary Snyder and Lew Welch, graduating in 1951. He moved to San Francisco, California, where he participated in the San Francisco Poetry Renaissance and published regularly. He lived in Japan between 1958 and 1971 where he studied Zen Buddhism. He returned to California and became a Zen Buddhist monk in 1973. He wrote more than twenty books, including three novels.

The Buses

Philosophy should stop
at midnight like the buses.
Imagine Nietzsche, Jesus
and Bertrand Russell parked
in the silent car barns.

First Published
Wild Dog, vol. 18, 17 July 1965, p. 19.
Edited by Joanne Kyger.
Contributing Editor Edward Dorn,
Published at 39 Downey Street, San Francisco, California.

Featured two poems by Brautigan: "The Buses" and "Period Piece" and "At Sea," Brautigan's review of Michael McClure's Ghost Tantras. Also included work by Gino Clays, Harold Dull, Robert Duncan ("The Gift of Tongues or The Imagination"), Ken Irby, Ron Loewinsohn, Gilbert Sorrentino, Drew Wagnon, and Lewis Warsh.

Wild Dog, a mimeograph magazine, published a total of twenty-one issues from 1963-1966. The magazine was started by Edward Dorn in April 1963 in Pocatello, Idaho. It then moved to Salt Lake City, Utah, and from there to San Francisco, California, where it ended with Volume 3, Number 21 in March 1966.

Textual References
"Nietzsche:" Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900), German philosopher.
"Bertrand Russell:" English philosopher and mathematician (1872-1970).

Selected Reprints
A Legend of Horses Poems and Stories
No stated publisher, but possibly Pacific Red Car Press
No printing, place, or date information
5" x 9"; Printed wrappers; Stapled binding

Reprinted ten Brautigan poems
"A Legend of Horses"
"A Moth in Tucson, Arizona"
"Hinged to Forgetfulness Like a Door"
"Heroine of the Time Machine"
"The Buses"
"Period Piece"
"Psalm"
"Towards the Pleasures of a Reconstituted Crow"
"The Memoirs of Jesse James"
"Love's Not The Way to Treat a Friend"
and the story "What Are You Going to Do with 390 Photographs of Christmas Trees."

Period Piece

Nobody needs a dragon cutter any more,
and so my life has no earthly purpose.
I sit here on my ass in a leather chair
provided by a tiny pension from
     the king's shoeshine boy,
and I remember great green chunks of dragon
sliced and stacked in the ice wagons.

First Published
Wild Dog Vol. 18, 17 July 1965, p. 19.
Edited by Joanne Kyger.
Contributing Editor Edward Dorn,
Published at 39 Downey Street, San Francisco, California.

Featured two poems by Brautigan: "The Buses" and "Period Piece" and "At Sea," his review of Michael McClure's Ghost Tantras. Also included work by Gino Clays, Harold Dull, Robert Duncan ("The Gift of Tongues or The Imagination"), Ken Irby, Ron Loewinsohn, Gilbert Sorrentino, Drew Wagnon, and Lewis Warsh.

Selected Reprints
A Legend of Horses Poems and Stories
No stated publisher, but possibly Pacific Red Car Press
No printing, place, or date information
5" x 9"; Printed wrappers; Stapled binding

Reprinted ten Brautigan poems
"A Legend of Horses"
"A Moth in Tucson, Arizona"
"Hinged to Forgetfulness Like a Door"
"Heroine of the Time Machine"
"The Buses"
"Period Piece"
"Psalm"
"Towards the Pleasures of a Reconstituted Crow"
"The Memoirs of Jesse James"
"Love's Not The Way to Treat a Friend"
and the story "What Are You Going to Do with 390 Photographs of Christmas Trees."

1966

The Peacock Song

I remember a beautiful Indian girl
sitting embarrassed on a bus in Mexico.

She had no shoes and her feet were naked
like two breasts lying on the dirty floor.

She tried to cover up one foot
by standing on it with the other foot.

Background
Written circa 1966, possibly while Brautigan was visiting Mexico, researching for his novel The Abortion. Typed and submitted to the Communication Company for publication as a broadside but apparently never used. Brautigan's address appeared in the upper right corner of the typescript.
Richard Brautigan
2546 Geary Street
San Francisco
California

The House

There are days when our cat
becomes the doors and windows
     of the house.

To go into the bedroom
I must open a wooden cat
that has an iron mouse
     in its claws,

and to look out the window
at the sky I must peer
through the stomach of a cat digesting
     —is it a bird?

First Published
O'er, no. 2, December 1966, pp. 107-109.
8.5" x 11" mimeographed sheets of different colored construction paper. 128 pages. Staple binding

Background
Published in San Francisco, California, by Cranium Press.
Edited by David Sandberg.
Called variously Awwr, O'er, and Oar at different points of this issue. First issue appeared April 1966 and was titled or #1.

Featured three poems by Brautigan: "The House," "My Nose is Growing Old," and "November 3." Each poem appeared on a separate page. "My Nose is Growing Old" and "November 3" were collected in All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace. "The House" was not included in any collection.

In addition to Brautigan's poems, this issue also featured a full-page advertisement for The Galilee Hitch-Hiker to be published by Oar, complete with made up blurbs promoting the book.

Also included work by Jack Spicer, Lew Welch, Anselm Hollo, John Sinclair, Clark Coolidge, and others.

1967

The Sitting Here, Standing Here Poem

Ah,
sitting here in the beautiful sunny morning!
   Santa Barbara, listening to
     Donovan singing songs
       about love, the wind and seagulls.

I'm 32 but feel just like a child
I guess I'm too old now to grow old
     Good!

I'm alone in the house because she's asleep
     in the bedroom.

She's a tall slender girl
     and uses up the whole bed!

My sperm is singing its way
through the sky of her body
     like a chorus of galaxies.

I go into the bedroom to look at her.
I'm looking down at her. She's asleep.
I'm standing here writing this.

Background
Written for Althea Susan Morgan in 1967. Morgan and Brautigan were friends from January-June 1967. They met in Isla Vista/Goleta, California, where Brautigan was participating in a poetry reading at the Unicorn Book Shop. Morgan lived in Santa Barbara, California, where Brautigan visited her and wrote this poem. Morgan recounts waking one morning to find the poem on her desk. Morgan copied the poem and later asked Brautigan for a signed copy. He declined in a letter to Morgan.

Feedback from Susan Morgan
He [Brautigan] apparently destroyed that poem because when I asked for a copy of it the next year he couldn't find it. I had copied it off his notepad while he was in the shower without his knowing. It was written up in the mountains east of Santa Barbara while we were staying over the night with my friends the Maytags who owned the Unicorn Bookstore. Ken is a Maytag Washer heir and Melisssa is now a manager at Codys Books in Berkeley.
— Althea Susan Morgan. Email to John F. Barber, 4 December 2005.

Morgan and Brautigan exchanged letters about this poem and other topics.

Additionally, Brautigan wrote and dedicated the poem "Albion Breakfast" for Morgan, who recounts the poem's genesis.

Erik Weber photographed Brautigan and Morgan in Brautigan's Geary Street apartment in March 1967. LEARN more.

1968

One Day Marriage Certificate

One Day Marriage
Certificate
This beautiful one day
marriage is ours
for February 29, 1968
because we feel this way
toward each other and want
forever to be a single day
[blank lines for filling in names]
Marryin Sam in and for Golden Gate Park

First Published
San Francisco, California: Rapid Reproductions Company, 1968
Quantity printed unknown Illustrated broadside; 8.75" x 12"; printed green ink on cream colored paper
Illustrations by The San Andreas Fault art collective
Border illustration depicts Maxfield Parrish-inspired women, one holding a banner reading "Feb. 29," another a Sadie Hawkins' Day banner, a reference to Al Capp's "Li'l Abner" comic strip holiday where on the extra day of each leap year women could pursue and propose marriage to women.
At the bottom of the broadside, almost hidden in the illustration, appears the text "Words—Richard Brautigan. Pictures —The San Andreas Fault. Printing—Rapid Reproductions Co."

1970

Your Love

Your love
Somebody else needs it
I don't.

First Published
Link, Terry. "Loading Mercury With a Pitchfork." Rolling Stone, vol. 60, 11 June 1970, p. 26.

Background
Brautigan read this poem at a poetry reading at the First Unitarian Church in San Francisco, 7 May 1970. Link reviewed the reading. LEARN more.

1971

A Legend of Horses

Of course
the prostitutes
of reality
are the virgins
in dreams
but there are
seven horses
in the meadow
with no one
to ride them
and all things
are happening
at once.
It is raining.
It is snowing.
The sun is shining.
The grass is black
and there are
seven horses
in the meadow
with no one
to ride them.
The old woman
comes along
selling apples.
The apples
are very beautiful
but the horses
are afraid
and they hide
in the ocean.
Fish look
at them
strangely.
   —Spring 1958

First Published
Five Poems. Serendipity Books, 1971.
17" x 11" broadside for the International Antiquarian Book Fair.

Featured five poems by Brautigan: "A Legend of Horses," "Toward the Pleasures of a Reconstituted Crow," "A Moth in Tucson, Arizona," "Death Like a Needle," and "Heroine of the Time Machine." All save "A Legend of Horses" collected in Loading Mercury with a Pitchfork. Serendipity Books was based in San Francisco, California.

Selected Reprints
A Legend of Horses Poems and Stories
No stated publisher, but possibly Pacific Red Car Press
No printing, place, or date information
5" x 9"; Printed wrappers; Stapled binding

Reprinted ten Brautigan poems
"A Legend of Horses"
"A Moth in Tucson, Arizona"
"Hinged to Forgetfulness Like a Door"
"Heroine of the Time Machine"
"The Buses"
"Period Piece"
"Psalm"
"Towards the Pleasures of a Reconstituted Crow"
"The Memoirs of Jesse James"
"Love's Not The Way to Treat a Friend"
and the story "What Are You Going to Do with 390 Photographs of Christmas Trees."

1982

Rendezvous

Where you are now
I will join you.

First Published
Barber, John F. Richard Brautigan: An Annotated Bibliography. McFarland, 1990, p. 4.

Background
Written July 1982 and burned later the same night as part of a funeral rite associated with the death of Nikki Arai, character in An Unfortunate Woman. McFarland Press is located in Jefferson, North Carolina.

1984

Night Flowing River

     Wearing a grey cowboy-style sort of formal Western jacket given to me by Peter Fonda's wife Becky in Montana, "You have to dress up sometimes," and on the right sleeve a borrowed black armband from Shiina Takako here in Tokyo, "This is perfectly all right." "But I don't want to offend anyone," I reply. "You won't offend anyone. This is all right." "But I'm a foreigner," I reply. "It's all right," and so then I go to my very first funeral ever. I've never been to a funeral in my land of America, and I start walking toward Aoyama Saijoh.

Maybe a kilometer away.
On a very hot afternoon.
To my first funeral.

. . . and then I'm
in the current of the
night flowing river
waiting to flow inside
Aoyama Saijoh
to say good-bye
to Terayama Shuji.

I've never been very good
at figuring out the volume
of large groups, but
there must have been
thousands of people there,
dressed in black, flowing
inside to place a white
chrysanthemum in front
of his memory.

There were so many of us
that we had to wait outside
in the hot sun before
we could go inside.

I've never been to a more
quieter place than the
silence of so many people
moving like a night flowing
     river.

It was so quiet that
I saw a black ant
crawl under a man's shoe
in front of me.

The ant crawled under the
right shoe passing between
the heel and the sole.
The funeral-black shoe
was like a midnight bridge
over the ant. Then the
ant was inbetween the man's
     legs.

The river of mourners had
stopped moving for a moment.
All it would have to do
would be to start moving
right now and that black ant
would be at its own funeral.

Then the ant started crawling
toward the man's left shoe
with all intent to pass under
this shoe as it had done with
     the right shoe.

I looked up from the ant
to the head of the procession
motionless outside the funeral
     home.

The procession still wasn't
moving, but it was a long distance
between that man's legs
for an ant to crawl over to
and under the left shoe,
and the future itself is as
fragile and uncertain
as that ant's journey.

The procession paused like
stationary black glass
just long enough for that
ant to make it under the
man's shoe and into the future,
and then the procession moved
effortlessly like a night flowing
river into Aoyama Saijoh.

Good-bye, Terayama Shuji.

First Published
"Yoru ni nagareru kawa." Asahi Shinbun, [Tokyo, Japan], Evening Edition, 6 June 1983, p. 5.
Translated by Shuntaro Tanikawa.
First publication in Japanese.

Republished
"Richard Brautigan: Tokyo and Montana." Friends of the Washington Review of the Arts, vol. 9, no. 5, February/March 1984, p. 9.
Featured this poem, a story titled "The Lost tree," and a photograph of Brautigan by Toby Thompson.

Background
Textual references . . .
"Peter Fonda's wife Becky": American writer Tom McGuane's ex-wife, Rebecca Crockett, married American actor Peter Fonda (1939- ) in 1975.
"Aoyama Saijoh": A funeral hall in Tokyo.
"Terayama Shuji": A Japanese playwright and tanka poet, owner of the underground theater Tenjo Sajik, in Tokyo (1936-4 May 1983). Brautigan attended his funeral in Tokyo, Japan, and wrote this poem after the ceremony.

Brautigan talked about his experience at Terayama Shuji's funeral at the One World Poetry Festival, in Amsterdam, in February 1984.

1989

Somehow We Live and Die Again

Somehow we live and die again,
I wonder why to me it just seems
     another beginning.
Everything leads to something else, so
     I think I'll start
          over again.
Maybe I'll learn something new
Maybe I won't
Maybe it will just be the same
     beginning again
Time goes fast
     for no reason
Because it all starts
     over again
I'm not going anyplace
except where I've
     been before.

First Published
Abbott, Keith. Downstream from Trout Fishing in America. Capra Press, 1989, p. 137.

Reflection

God, all the shit
that is going to be written
     about me
after I am dead.

First Published
Abbott, Keith. Downstream from Trout Fishing in America. Capra Press, 1989, p. 138.

Background
Written 10 January 1984 in the Keio Plaza Hotel, Tokyo, Japan.

Death Growth

There was a darkness
upon the darkness,
and only the death
     growth
was growing. It
grew like
the darkness upon darkness
     growing.

First Published
Abbott, Keith. Downstream from Trout Fishing in America. Capra Press, 1989, p. 138.

Background
Written 12 January 1984 in the Keio Plaza Hotel, Tokyo, Japan.

1997

Poem for Michael McClure

It's like playing Russian roulette
     with a carnival.
You never know what act or ride
you're going to get in your ear.

          March 14, 1967

First Published
Ogar, Richard, editor. The Poet's Eye: A Tribute to Lawrence Ferlinghetti and City Lights Books. The Friends of the Bancroft Library, 1997, pp. 61-63.

Background
This book associated with the Symposium and 49th Annual Meeting of The Friends of Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley, California, 12-13 April 1996. The theme was "Ferlinghetti, City Lights Books, and the Beats in San Francisco: From the Margins to the Mainstream."

Also featured a poem titled "Remembering City Lights" by Brautigan's daughter Ianthe.

Poet Michael McClure and Brautigan were good friends. LEARN more.

S. A. Griffith, a Los Angeles, California, poet, actor, and one of the founding members of Carma Bums, a group of touring poets, wrote a description of the event.

Rainy Gary Snyder Poetry Reading Night

          For Albert and Jay

     Gee,
a great beautiful poetry tower!
with lights and pictures coming from it
     right in the middle
     of the Fillmore Auditorium,
and Gary Snyder sitting on the stage floor
reading Mountains and Rivers without End
and the lights and pictures flashing
     behind him on the wall.

He reads dramatically for almost two hours
the precise things of a man's life:
thousands of experiences speeded
     up to no fucking around.

There is a candle burning beside him
and the Fillmore is filled with flowers
     and oranges.

It is raining very hard outside.
Sometimes the sound of the rain
bumps up against the distant edges
     of his voice.

After the reading friends stay
and majestically clean up the Fillmore.
There is the putting away of chairs
and sweeping of the floor.

Lew Welch goes out and gets a bottle
     of vodka
and pours it into our coffee,
so now we're drinking
     Russian coffee.

I walk home alone up Geary Street in the rain.
Water pours down the pillar
     of a pedestrian overpass.
It looks like a small waterfall
     and pleases me.
I feel relaxed and see a flat
dead pigeon forming a peninsula
     in the rain-driven gutter.

The bird has been freshly run over
and its guts look like canned vegetables
     but it doesn't bother me.

I end up here in my house on Geary
lying in bed with incense burning
     on the dresser,
listening to the wet // slash of car tires
     on the street,
and thinking about the poetry tower
with lights and pictures
     coming from it.

          San Francisco
          March 16, 1967

First Published
Ogar, Richard, editor. The Poet's Eye: A Tribute to Lawrence Ferlinghetti and City Lights Books. The Friends of the Bancroft Library, 1997, pp. 61-63.

Background
This book associated with the Symposium and 49th Annual Meeting of The Friends of Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley, California, 12-13 April 1996. The theme was "Ferlinghetti, City Lights Books, and the Beats in San Francisco: From the Margins to the Mainstream."

Also featured a poem titled "Remembering City Lights" by Brautigan's daughter Ianthe.

Poet Michael McClure and Brautigan were good friends. LEARN more.

S. A. Griffith, a Los Angeles, California, poet, actor, and one of the founding members of Carma Bums, a group of touring poets, wrote a description of the event.

The reference to "Mountains and Rivers without End"" is from Six Sections from Mountains and Rivers without End, Part One (1965) by San Francisco poet Lew Welch.

2001

Desire in a Bowl of Potatoes

*** text of poem ***

First Published
X-Ray, no. 8, Summer 2001.
Limited edition of 100 lettered and 26 lettered and signed copies
4" x 4" letterpress broadside
Included in this issue of X-Ray and also issued separately
LEARN more at the X-Ray X-Ray Press website.

Published by X-Ray Book and Novelty Company, Ventura, California, and laid into a 5" x 5" box with other items as an art assemblage. The box itself featured a letterpress wrapper. Also contained several letterpress broadsides featuring work by Hunter S. Thompson, Charles Bukowski, Dan Fante, Billy Childish, Michael Montfort, Bern Porter, Gerald Locklin, A.D. Winans, and others.

Selected Reprints
Desire in a Bowl of Potatoes
2005
Pasadena, CA. X-Ray Book Company, publisher of X-Ray magazine, an innnovative magazine of art and literature edited and assembled by Johnny Brewton. LEARN more.

Fourteen poems by Brautigan written 1955-1956 and submitted to The MacMillan Company. Brautigan's three-page manuscript was rejected, and returned to Edna Webster in May 1956. Apparently, Brautigan gave her address as his return address. Brautigan gave his juvenilia writings, photographs, and personal items to Webster on 3 November 1955. These writings were published as The Edna Webster Collection of Undiscovered Writings. LEARN more. This group of poems, however, was published separately, in limited hardbound and wrapper editions.

Hardbound version
Limited Edition of 250 numbered copies and 26 lettered hardbound copies
First printing summer 2005
2.5" x 4.25"
Letterpress chapbook
Hard Cover; Boards covered with gold cloth; Issued without a dustjacket
Designed and printed by Johnny Brewton. LEARN more.

Wrapper version
Limited Edition of 250 numbered copies and 26 lettered hardbound copies
14 pages; 2.5" x 4.25"
Letterpress chapbook
Printed wrappers; Handsewn binding
Designed and printed by Johnny Brewton

Proof Copy
Printer's proof copy printed on chipboard
14 pages; 2.5" x 4.25"
Letterpress chapbook
Printed on chioboard; Handsewn binding
Designed and printed by Johnny Brewton

Contents
The contents of this speciality publication in order of their appearance
"love is where you find it"
"when I was a piece of death"
"please"
"stars"
"once upon a time"
"love is not a house"
"a lion"
"linda"
"I knew a gal who was cold as death"
"come dreamers and lovers"
"desire in a bowl of potatoes"
"hey"
"the spider"
"somewhere in the world"
and a one page dedication with a dedication to "Linda" [Webster].

Of the fourteen poems included in this publication, only "stars" and "hey" were titled in the original manuscript. The titles for the remaining poems suggested here are comprised of their first line or phrase.

Background
Desire in a Bowl of Potatoes was transcribed from a three-page manuscript (two pages of fourteen poems; one page with a dedication "for Linda") typed by Brautigan. Described as "an unpublished manuscript by Richard Brautigan," originally titled Linda, the manuscript was sent to The Macmillan Company who rejected it for publication in 1956, sending Brautigan the following letter.

May 10, 1956

Dear Mr. Brautigan:
We appreciate your kindness in submitting for our consideration your manuscript, Linda.

We have examined it carefully, but have decided that there is no place where it will fit in with our publishing plans. We are sorry, therefore, to have to return it to you without an offer. Many reasons enter into every publishing decision, and a rejection is not necessarily an indication of lack of merit.

We do wish you to feel, however, that we are pleased to have been allowed to see your manuscript, which we are returning to you under separate cover.

Sincerely yours,
R. L. De Wilton
Assistant Editor in Chief
The Macmillan Company

Previous Publication
Only two of the poems in this group were previously published: "Please" and "Desire in A Bowl of Potatoes." Both were first published as mini-broadsides in previous X-Ray publication projects, as noted above.

2003

Please

please don't come and see me
when I am dead and buried
under spring and stars
and little children laughing.
    please.

First Published
X-Ray, no. 9, Summer 2003.
Limited edition of 100 numbered and 26 lettered and signed copies
4" x 4" letterpress broadside
Published by X-Ray Book and Novelty Company, Ventura, California, and included with a flex-disc, various small broadsides and chapbooks, photographs, and art objects in a 8.5" x 7.75" cardboard box with printed wrap-around band as an art assemblage. Included in this issue was work by Thurston Moore, Charles Bukowski, Dan Fante, Billy Childish, Michael Montfort, Bern Porter, A.D. Winans, and others.

Selected Reprints
Desire in a Bowl of Potatoes
2005
Pasadena, CA. X-Ray Book Company, publisher of X-Ray magazine, an innnovative magazine of art and literature edited and assembled by Johnny Brewton.

Fourteen poems by Brautigan written 1955-1956 and submitted to The MacMillan Company. Brautigan's three-page manuscript was rejected, and returned to Edna Webster in May 1956. Apparently, Brautigan gave her address as his return address. Brautigan gave his juvenilia writings, photographs, and personal items to Webster on 3 November 1955. These writings were published as The Edna Webster Collection of Undiscovered Writings. LEARN more. This group of poems, however, was published separately, in limited hardbound and wrapper editions.

Hardbound version
Limited Edition chapbook; 26 lettered copies; First printing summer 2005
2.5" x 4.25"
Hard Cover; Boards covered with gold cloth; Issued without a dustjacket
Designed and printed by Johnny Brewton

Wrapper version
Limited Edition chapbook; 250 numbered copies
14 pages; 2.5" x 4.25"
Letterpress chapbook
Printed wrappers; Handsewn binding
Designed and printed by Johnny Brewton

Proof Copy
Printer's proof copy printed on chipboard
14 pages; 2.5" x 4.25"
Letterpress chapbook
Printed wrappers; Handsewn binding
Designed and printed by Johnny Brewton

Contents
The contents of this speciality publication in order of their appearance
"love is where you find it"
"when I was a piece of death"
"please"
"stars"
"once upon a time"
"love is not a house"
"a lion"
"linda"
"I knew a gal who was cold as death"
"come dreamers and lovers"
"desire in a bowl of potatoes"
"hey"
"the spider"
"somewhere in the world"
and a one page dedication with a dedication to "Linda" [Webster].

Of the fourteen poems included in this publication, only "stars" and "hey" were titled in the original manuscript. The titles for the remaining poems suggested here are comprised of their first line or phrase.

Background
Desire in a Bowl of Potatoes was transcribed from a three-page manuscript (two pages of fourteen poems; one page with a dedication "for Linda") typed by Brautigan. Described as "an unpublished manuscript by Richard Brautigan," originally titled Linda, the manuscript was sent to The Macmillan Company who rejected it for publication in 1956, sending Brautigan the following letter.

May 10, 1956

Dear Mr. Brautigan:
We appreciate your kindness in submitting for our consideration your manuscript, Linda.

We have examined it carefully, but have decided that there is no place where it will fit in with our publishing plans. We are sorry, therefore, to have to return it to you without an offer. Many reasons enter into every publishing decision, and a rejection is not necessarily an indication of lack of merit.

We do wish you to feel, however, that we are pleased to have been allowed to see your manuscript, which we are returning to you under separate cover.

Sincerely yours,
R. L. De Wilton
Assistant Editor in Chief
The Macmillan Company

Previous Publication
Only two of the poems in this group were previously published: "Please" and "Desire in A Bowl of Potatoes".Both were first published as mini-broadsides in previous X-Ray publication projects, as noted above.

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Unpublished Poetry

A number of Richard Brautigan's poems were never published. Here is information about known unpublished poems by Brautigan

"All These Preludes to Dying"
"At the Tomb of Mayakotsky"
"Christmas, 1958"
"The Christopher Columbus of Forgetting"
"Circus"
"Daughter of the Farm"
"Dream"
"End"
"The Escape of the Owl"
"The Eternal Automobile"
"Eulogy"
"Firefly"
"The First Prize"

"The Fishermen" / "Fisherman's Lake"
Written for Michaela Blake-Grand.

"The Peacock Song"
submitted to the Communication Company

"Forgotten"
"The Forest Fire Dream"
"The Fourth of July in December"
"Fragment"
"The Fur Coats"
"Genesis"
"Glass"
"Halloween"
"The Henry Thoreau Defect"
"Housewife Poem"
"Human Dignity"
"The Ice Man"
"Illumination"
"It's Kite Time"
"The Love Life of Adam Twelvetrees"
"A Lyric for Coffee Dulcimer"
"The Magic Wand"

"Mammal Fortress"
Written for Michaela Blake-Grand.

"The Memory of Gate Creek"
"Milena"
"The Morning Star"
"My Heart Laid Bare"
"Nightingale"
"Octopus"
"The Oil Wells"
"Olympia"
"Ornithology"
"Quatrain"
"Rockets" "Sanctuary"
"The Spring Muse"
"Sonnet—'Because we live beside a Mexican airfield . . .'"
"Sonnet—'The sea is like . . .'"
"Sunday"
"Syntaxial Weather"
"Three Days of History"
"Three Greek Columns"
"The Tired Poet"
"To Eat High on the Hawk"
"Translation"
"The Twentieth of November Street"
"The Whale Dance from Finnegan's Wake"

"The Belle of the Blood Bank"
Written about his daughter, Ianthe, watching him donate blood at the Irwin Memorial Blood Bank of the San Francisco Medical Society.

"Spikes"
About the teeth of his cat, Jake.

"The Eskimo of My Cat"
About his cat, Jake.

"The Daily Bread"
Written 11 June 1963. Describes the process of making barium swallows at Pacific Chemical, a part time job Brautigan held for years.
My job is to weigh
things out,
and so I do it: 400 grams
of cellulose gum,
and four grams of saccharine and
.8 gram of
naconol [. . .]

"Seven Poems for Mike Nathan"
Nathan was a teenage painter in North Beach when he and Brautigan first met. Through Nathan, Brautigan met Kenn Davis. Both Brautigan and Nathan underwent electroshock treatments.
"I changed color into glass, and I drank water from your painting . . ."

"A Place Where the Wind Doesn't Blow"
Written for Marcia Pacaud, 12 July 1967, while Brautigan stayed at her Sausalito apartment, 15 Princess Lane (apartment 5).

"The Planted Egg, the Harvested Bird"
Written for Marcia Pacaud, 12 July 1967, while Brautigan stayed at her Sausalito apartment, 15 Princess Lane (apartment 5).

"The Privacy of My Dreams Is Like Death"
Written late January 1968

"The First Lady of Purple"
Dedicated to Valerie Estes, October 1968, while Brautigan lived in her Kearny Street apartment.

"Valerie's Birthday Poem"
Written for Valerie Estes, 9 April 1969, her birthday.

"Fake Protien [sic]"
13 April 1969. Written while traveling to Durham, North Carolina, for a reading at Duke University.

"Tongue Cemetary [sic]"
13 April 1969. Written while traveling to Durham, North Carolina, for a reading at Duke University.

"When the Star Stops Counting the Sky"
In all the space between nothing
Where a kingdom could have existed

   a thing bird
      flies around
         the moment
            of her wings
               In the beginning of oblivion.
Written July 1983 for Masako Kano

"Waiting Potatoes"
Potatoes await like edible shadows
under the ground. They wait in
their darkness for the light of
      the soup.
Written July 1983 for Masako Kano

"The Accidental, Unintentional Color of Your Death"
Nobody knows how
they will die.

Their color will find
      them.
Written July 1983 for Takako Shiina.

"Spare Me"
I want day to become night,
and night to become day, so that I
will never love again.
Written July 1983 after ending his relationship with Masako Kano in Tokyo, Japan.

"Death My Answering Service"
Written January 1984 in the Keio Plaza Hotel, Tokyo, Japan.

"Hopeless Candles"
The light of hopeless candles
illuminate the vocabulary of dying roots
under freshly-burned trees.
Written January 1984 in the Keio Plaza Hotel, Tokyo, Japan.

"The Full-Moon LA Olympics"
Written July 1984 after Brautigan watched the opening ceremonies of the Olympics in Los Angeles. Brautigan was touched by the ceremony as this poem is filled with patriotism and national pride.

Close