Sunday, August 19, 2018

communication of instant intelligence gratifies like crazy

I wondered this morning why I hadn't heard from Tom of late:

The Berkeley man who died after being struck by a car while crossing The Alameda at 8:40 p.m. on Friday has been identified by friends as the poet Tom Clark.

Godfuckingdammit. I'm... This one hurts. All thoughts to Angelica.....


Tom Clark

The god of war assured King Arsounas, “Do not be fooled by words. No life is taken. Know that no one was ever born, nor does anyone die.” In the violent mini-eternity of the warrior, combat is conducted according to a ritual formal as song: no one is ever born, no one can ever die. The left-handed rockabilly guitarist whose left arm was severed by an RPG round at Dak To has come back to life in a part of my body that died long before we started to patrol this part of the river of eternal woe. His life is mine though I never lived it. The violent backwash of the rotors is crimsoned by a fine aerosol spray of blood while a loudspeaker amplifies the goddess’ excited laughter.


Whoso list to haunt could do worse than to
Obtain the license, get the picture.
Spook finders must find spooks to put the face,
Name and space coordinates together.
What is kept in the mind perimeter
Retains a wild autonomy through fate.

I will retreat to the precorporate.
Let fate have what is fate’s and allow
This spirit to slip through time’s difficult
Nets with the devious fingers of
A wild wind, while I run along behind.


Poetry, Wordsworth
wrote, will have no
easy time of it when
the discriminating
powers of the mind
are so blunted that
all voluntary
exertion dies, and
the general
public is reduced
to a state of near
savage torpor, morose,
stuporous, with
no attention span
whatsoever; nor will
the tranquil rustling
of the lyric, drowned out
by the heavy, dull
of persons in cities,
where a uniformity
of occupations breeds
cravings for sensation
which hourly visual

communication of
instant intelligence
gratifies like crazy,
likely survive this age.


As in that grey exurban wasteland in Gatsby
When the white sky darkens over the city
Of ashes, far from the once happy valley,
This daze spreads across the blank faces
Of the inhabitants, suddenly deprived
Of the kingdom’s original promised gift.
Did I say kingdom when I meant place
Of worship? Original when I meant
Damaged in handling? Promised when
I meant stolen? Gift when I meant
Trick? Inhabitants when I meant slaves?
Slaves when I meant clowns
Who have wandered into test sites? Test
Sites when I meant contagious hospitals?
Contagious hospitals when I meant clouds
Of laughing gas? Laughing gas
When I meant tears? No, it’s true,
No one should be writing poetry
In times like these, Dear Reader,
I don’t have to tell you of all people why.
It’s as apparent as an attempted
Punch in the eye that actually
Catches only empty air—which is
The inside of your head, where
The green ritual sanction
Of the poem has been cancelled.

Here's Ed's tribute.

More of Tom's poems in days ahead. More about Tom and me - maybe, maybe not.


  1. That's really sad news. I didn't know much about Tom Clark but from his site he seemed like a really decent human.

  2. sometimes i like to watch nature documentaries

    missus charley is less fond of them than i - she doesn't like the 'eat and/or be eaten' aspect

    and recently on the dinosaur rock radio station i listen to in the car i have heard 'welcome to the jungle' several times

    these thoughts come to me after having read tom clark's 'hazard response'

    well, stuff does happen - and we do have to deal with it, one way or another

    and on the other hand, 19th century psychophysicist Gustav Fechner (who is generally credited with introducing the median into the analysis of data) wrote,

    Of all miracles, the greatest is that anything exists at all.

    who knows if it's good or bad?

  3. tom is gone, suddenly

    my stepmother is fading away, year by year by year

    one way or another, nonexistence is gonna getcha getcha getcha getcha

    and we who remain must drink the cup of sorrow