About sixty years ago, I wrote a bunch of really bizarre poetry. You know, in that period of life where you are trying out new identities. I called them Poems from the Abyss (being under the influence of Nietsche at the time). An example–here’s a short one, neither the best nor the worst, but illustrative.
How like a friendly household gadget Is delusion, To protect us from the logical conclusion: Man lives not by bread alone, But by his every sweet illusion.
This longer poem was written several years later. It depicts the mercantile world at quitting time. The two place names, Lickeys and Malverns, are references that hark back to my academic year abroad in Birmingham, England.
Flooding onto streets of walls and towers We surface from quotidian tombs Our spirits weary from attending The exacting gods of commerce. Twilight shadows bequeath their balm As night sounds toll release at last From daylight’s probing, judging, Kaleidoscope of eyes. I swim to cries of fellow-well-met And climb aboard the beckoning lifeboat, Navigating turbulent seas To safe harbor and asylum of dimming lights. Gathered now, survivors six, We sit in nice engagement, Each feeling full of self While giving crumbs to others, Bathing fears and still-born thought In absolving amber fluid. Let us climb to drunken heights Declares a bold proposer. Leave this place and take a trip To the Lickeys, to the Malverns, Or to where in hard winters Corpses make right-of-ways Across snow bound fields. Blessed be the windy thought of noble inebriety When clouded skies shout in weeping delirium. I feel it percolating. Oh, we can’t leave now. I’ve a hold of the skirt of it. But five fumbled for their coats, So I, this left-over sixth, Forsaking ecstasy of private revelation, Arose and picked up coat, To pursue the communal vision, As we race Toward our date With eternity.