Posted by: tsopr | July 1, 2009

Duane Locke, American Poet

Duane Locke lives by an ancient oak, an underground stream, and as an osprey’s home in rural Lakeland, Florida. 6,334 poems published in print magazines and ezines. Author of a 400 page poetry book «YANG CHU’s POEMS», published in April, 2009 by the Canadian publisher, Crossing Chaos. See below his book webpage:


It was loud, boisterous, inside me, in my neural
                It was loud, loud,

                                              This unknowing,
Loud in my inwardness, although outwardly I was
Quasi-silent in her voluptuous presence.

This unknowing of mine, my structure, my post-

Sounded like a car motor inside me, a car
That has not yet recovered from its operation
In a charity hospital, an operation

Performed in an amphitheatre by interns.

Its clauses were becoming phrases,  but it dreamed
Of becoming a sentence, and if possible a paragraph.

I looked at the flesh of her arm, blonde flesh,
Sparsely freckled, it became an echo.

She said: “Wallace Stevens is my favorite poet
Of the twentieth century.  His sounds changed my conscious-

Her white gold hair was a garden of the
Unspoken, the unspeakable, the un-
Thought, the un-

Her hazel eyes were staring at the un-
Dulations of my history.

She asked me in her soft, low erotic voice
“If I has ever aspired to be a saint
Or metaphysician.”

I said, “I did not know.”

“Are you like the uneducated and against


I said, “I don’t know.”

She  paused, sipped some white wine,
And then asked,

“Have you ever thought of becoming
A monk, and tying yourself to the cross
As did Magdalene of Pazzi.”

I said, “I don’t know.”


Three, yes, three somersaults in a void, in
A void, three,
                      I spun around three times, spin-
Ing, whirling around in the cosmos, I

Felt like the fossil of  an extinct species pressed
Atop as outline on a rock surface where two rocks
Met to form a dark crevice, gapped at

By tourists,
Who designated the shadow-darkened space a black snake,
Or the flung whip of a costumed lackey
Forcing merry-go-round metal, gold sprayed painted braids,
To gallop as enamel-painted simulations,
Sliding up and down on a brass pole,
Or a rune with a lost meaning.

I heard the audience beneath, the sound distorted, quasi-
Inaudible, but interpreted that it was said,
“He performed three circles.”

Many said it, many said the same thing, and not one
Of them knew what they meant
When they reduced my Japanese spinning in air
To a simple geometric figures.

But that is a relationship to an audience, we
Perform what we feel to be misunderstood,
To be reduced to a familiarity that is false.


A choreographer of signifieds, the ballet took place
On a rice-paper, gilt-edged scroll, unrolled,
Finite, infinite,
                       Smooth, stippled,
Telluric, tel quel, tenebrous, a twilight tulip,

All the dancers wore azure shoes, the stockings,


Snowflakes, disconnected atmospheres of faraways,
The earth rendered a radical, radial forever,

But when spotlight seen
                                      The pink powder on faces

On gray gravel, blued, paths purled through
Dark bamboo,
                      The tissue-paper, backlit moon
Burned catechisms
Of a cautious chorus of chained clarinets attired
In chartreuse dresses.

If were as if the agora were an aporia.  None
Could speak the familiar language of commerce
And coercion. Communication was glossolalia,
Grandiloquent as
The grand daughters of conjunctions, colons,
Semicolons, or commas.

Glossesd by swamp savants,
Tree frogs,
                 So that every sound that arose
From a graphic inscription
A pale green tint.


The photo, black-white: Nietzsche, his friend, pretend-
To be oxen,  goats, donkeys, stallions, or
         Beast of burden and blunders, the pre-
Tension indeterminate, open, no closure,
As indeterminate
As an Enlightenment end-stopped, closed,
Clear and distinct couplet account
Of general nature,
But Nietzsche and his friend’s pretense
Seemed a prelude to an assertion
That Socrates was a great erotic
As the two posed to be the transportations
For Lou Andreas Salome
Who gripped a snake-tongue-shaped whip.

But before from impatience the beginning
With this ink that will bring solace to solitude,
The impulse to simplicity and the plain style
Must be subdued, for simplicity and the plain
Style reduce reality, the essents, to a fiction
And a fantasy, so the human race can continue
To speak a language of lies by asserting
Signifiers without a signified. All simplicity
Is a reduction of the actual and a deception.

So I start with her eyes, eyes, black-white,
In photograph,
                       And write
About the halos of hazel eyes, with specks
Under the pupil
Of raw sienna mixed one part
With two parts, white, and eyes that change colors
As the eyes hear
A nightingale singing unseen
Behind a cluster of cerise roses.


Frangipani atop Vienna piano, next
To a Vietnamized-made
Rumbled pale yellow sweater,
A scene as if
From an old drawing, velvet-curtained concealed,
Room in an old fiction, as if heated, not cold,
Shirt-sleeved, legislated the flawed spectacle.

The reveries, the reversal of what appeared
As furniture and reverses the present dispensation
In a  post-metaphysical, post-foundationist
Condominium twenty miles from
Where broken sea weed golds white-sand beaches.

The talk was of how the word “barbaric”
Came into a Grecian vocabulatury because
He, a Greek, could not distinguish the sounds
Of the materiality of the signifiers
Of an alterity, another language than his own.

So I proposed a propaedeutic to
Colors as spacing of chairs
And a child’s face in Matisse
L’Atelier Rouge. She, who at fourteen
Had been the mistress of a local.
Sixty-two year old talk show host,
Had married at twenty a seventy-eight
Year old who died and left her rich,
Now at age at age twenty-two,
Wanted to talk how in the olden times,
Forty-year old women became fat,
Worn gingham dresses and stirred
With a gigantic steel spoon
In large flat steel pans  the syrup
Being made from cane juice
Just squeezed out by a mule
Being forced to move a grinder
By pulling around in a circle a pole.

I told her the story how when I was
Four years old I carried a bleached
Flour sack on my back and picked
Cotton. The thick bolls cut my fingers.
I showed her the scars atop
Each finger by the fingernail,
She kissed each one, asked me,
If  I would like to go to Las Vegas with her.
She would pay all expenses.

The scars really came from when I was
Sixteen, drunk on white port, and fell on
A broken beer bottle on the sidewalk
As I came out an “Adults-only-XXX” theatre.

Copyright © 2009  Duane Locke


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