David Bromige & Richard Denner


Spade. Spade was the first word. The first
word in the poem, and as far
as one can see, it could be the first
word in the world

cat who licks herself
on a towel on a chair
cat who licks her spay
cats are silent, usually, unless they want
to go out
then, they have their noisy time

cats whose licks are splayed

His mother didn’t have a job,
so she played with cats, and she was good at it,
not much of a life, really
she didn’t have much motivation
to go out in society
so she stayed at home
and listened to Indian music
on the BBC 3rd program, and out of these bits and pieces
she made her life
until she died at the age of 61.
Smoked. Smoked herself into eternity.

inspired a young bell to ring

Not Marvin Bell, excellent
mid-western American poet.
Ted Berrigan at Oklahoma State
had the drop on him.
H.D. loved the movies
she was trying to write movies
and readers found her boring because
they didn’t see the movies behind her words

Thomas Mann made up his mind
to put everything in The Magic Mountain
as if he wanted to alienate the reader

lying around their sexuality

The fire sprang from the force of the argument
that year he sought it
everywhere but came home empty-handed, disconsolate
pissed off

Georgian organ music

“I beg your pardon, Sir,
but the Americans are fucking up.”
“Well, does that really matter?”
“Aye, aye, Sir.”

“There’s nothing I could do about it. God gave them tongues, English tongues, no less.
I’m well aware a number of my troops
have sticky organs.”

“Fuck!” sd the corporal
“Evidently, this is a spring poem
in reference to the heavy rains we’re having.”
“Lord, if it goes on rainin’ like this
for another three days, we’ll all drown.”
(black woman sings the blues)

rained three days
the times were out of joint and my back ached
and the cat under the table meowed
Sometime during the day
she knew she was hungry
let me know she knew
and after eating
curled up on the sofa and went back
to sleep, so old
she could be dead

He lives in a world of cats
she lives in a world of chants
seems they were not born for this world
so full of themselves
takes a lifetime to learn to live in the world
or leave it

Saint Francis, on weed—
“Lord, help me change what I can
and not bother with what I can’t.”

she clattered downstairs
“ Don’t give up your day job.”
he splattered on his pistachios
“I can’t not do nothing, again.”


still doing nothing

I hope it’s brilliant
trying to get a PhD
and my efforts in the arts
I think I’m understood
as well as Thelonius Monk
with my sutures

The plot went wrong
the dynamite didn’t explode
and the bomb landed in the wrong place
it was botched
it was botched, but it killed him
he had time to resign himself

he got this nasty wound
and he had to lay there
and think about it

Art history

and then it’s finished
and she goes on living
without him

“Who to get dressed up as?”

“Very nice. It looks like you
tried to do it with your asshole.”

Jewell, “I don’t know where next to plant my step.
Wherever I’ve planted my step, I’ve felt good about it.
There’s no question about it.”

trapped to his beautiful shore
with the tide rising

They said life would be uncomfortable
which he kept forgetting
thanks to her

That’s not so bad, that’s ok
hard to imagine doing it
without her

On the fifth day, when he was
he said, “It’s fate. You can’t do
anything about it. That’s fate for you.”

Little lamb who made thee?

“Shit.” “Angels.” “Night sauce.”

It’s World War II
We hid in the lawn
But the question
as don’t want to see us

So we killed him
the lousy bastard
And got away with it.
For now.


Orient himself with Feng Shui?

“It should be done, after we’ve come so far. Liked
being in South America
and if I could, I’d stay strapped to that beautiful shore.”

where nothing much happens

if he goes there, he’s going to get TB
anyway, why’d
he go there in the first place? ––those weeks before returning
to the university—dying a slow death

speed it up

Does he die or only get ill? How could he not get ill
with so many ill around him?
gets sick and sicker
and it’s hard to bear, because
there’s a kind of back there
where he lives,
and he thinks he’s going to leave

except for the beautiful shore

It would be nice if he were happy
nice if he had a future
if he could keep going

there was a time when he was strapped to a beautiful
and he went crazy
thought he knew a way out of it, came up against
Hadrian’s wall
served him right
He goes, “Well, I don’t want to get sick, so I’ll go for a walk.”
and finds it enormously tiring, goes “I would, but
it’s kind of difficult.”

How the Slavs killed
a very important German guy
funny how this happens in war
that they killed that guy, and it was necessary
as far as they could see, and they killed him

“Nothing ever happens.”

We forgot that
when we screw up
handling the machine gun.