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This is Jacket 12, July 2000   |   # 12  Contents   |   Homepage   |   Catalog   |

Carl Thayler

Five Poems

from The Tailgunner’s Song, Skanky Possum Press.

Washington Merry-Go-Round

The picturesque shield of press freedom
overwrought with hair-knots
heads shrunken in their tresses
teeth & lips shining, the Cold War dead

could not protect Drew Pearson’s balls
bloodied, sea-tossed
literally a left-hanging ache, high-minded
Drew, protector

of our flimsy Western occupation
of a savage world aggrieved
by right-wing headline hunters
the throwback Gunner a WI Gothic hick

at the Gate (Pearson disapproves too
of Jim Forrestal, miserable provincial:
failed to see the Shining City
on the Hill off the Volga, bright

as a Mobil Station sign. Truth
is the pitfall of Social Justice — Let’s
ready ourselves for instant emergencies
Let’s say of Forrestal (soon to jump

from hotel window) he fled his home
abandoning his wife to an intruder
It’s scope redeems this war. McCarthy’s
a Jew hating Nazi thug &

perhaps a home intruder as well, he-he-he-he
Within our civic streets the irony
It was Dick Nixon at the Sulgrave Club
who check Gunner from choking Pearson’s balls

back down through
the needle’s eye.

On Occasion of the China Trade Deal

                — for Kent Johnson

John Keats, Mysore
wasn’t a faiytale
& Tipu’s tiger, a favorite
of the genre painters

(crank-organ shrieks)
that wasn’t a pliant, exotic toy
but an uncivilly-bred beast
roused against the Company

life-sized & mauling
mouth scum-shiny with
some official’s blood
a reminder that once

roused we weed our
jungle garden of hatred
for spring.

Scrape Clean Your Shoes Before Entering

Elated by a child’s thighbone
the less familiar flesh survived

the snow apples
thudding the ground at Truckee

the pitted half-remains
of Jacob Donner’s party

were not becalmed 8 years later
by a California ranch shack &

the publication of Walden.

Footnote to Littlepage

Whose whitecaps the Sierra Club
believed to be wilderness
the savage light within

le Walter Scott des sauvages
the enflamed pulse impoverished
where it beat in the Pathfinder’s

requiem for Hank Snow &
the Red Man
‘I’m movin’ on

in rough waters
said the Pathfinder
J. Fenimore Cooper

at the Hotel California
confused by the plumbing
& the waiters

the obiter dicta
lost on foreign waiters
& he waded out beyond the tops

of leatherstockings
roughening the waters of the bay
into the unforeseen vacuity

‘I’m movin’ on
the platitude
of this immensity at drift

the continent
of small bulbs
lit for the theologians

of Progress
the savage light within
riotous woods

gone but burgeoning
the immense burgeoning
continent gone

for a seed
a homeless seed.

Recall we are Upheld by Dead Combatants

Blessedly free of the trendy
drift towards hazardous reconcilation
of the reticent with the stupid
in our political life, the Doge
of the Tularosa, Albert B. Fall the artful
anticipator of bonehead policies &
quick to temper, apprehended
daily entering the senate chamber
with a pistol in his belt
rose to contest border policy

when Mexican bandits carried
into the mountains Mother Elias
of the Barefooted Carmelites
it was Fall’s contention that the border rules
governing the molestation of Anglos
were defined by the topology
of simple burial &
slashing attack. He reminded the chamber
of the plausible dim light
of the new moon in the desert

At the time this was considered
anti-Mexican sentiment. Fall
wished not to decry the depredations
he wanted to avenge them &
volunteered himself to lead the troops,
a gesture considered racial malice &
disquietly undebated in a decade
Teddy Roosevelt could be encountered
on Scrambles northwest of the White House
along Rock Creek

Eastern senators extolled
the peace while a voluptuary
of riotous plundering, thought
by a liberal clique of boobies
in the debate a patriot, Senor Villa
descended on the tents & adobes
of the 13th Cavalry, Columbus, New Mexico
March 9, 1916 the prickly pear
in massed bloom about his horsemen,
their 4AM raking fire, horses & burros

dead in the brush before John Lucas
ammo belt in hand rallied
the machine-gunners full-tilt &
when his Ben-A jammed he killed
7 sons-of-bitches with his pistol
then sat among the dead to pull
his boots on. While Fall waited &
the senate extolled the peace & Woodrow Wilson
hesitated & citizens around Laredo
practiced shooting on the local hairless dogs.

These poems are reprinted with permission and with thanks from The Tailgunner’s Song, by Carl Thayler, 15 pages, hand-sewn, USD $8.00, available from Skanky Possum, or throughSmall Press Distribution in the USA on 1-800-869-7553.

You can readfive other poems by Carl Thayler in Jacket # 9, and you can read Carl Thayler’s obituarynote on Paul Blackburn in this issue of Jacket.

Poems from Naltsus Bichidin isCarl Thayler’s first book of poems since The Providings (Sumac Press, 1971). You can read Mark Wallace’sreview of that book in Jacket # 9.

Carl Thayler’s next collection will be released from Pavement Saw in March of 01 entitled Shake Hands. Pavement Saw Press, PO Box 6291, Columbus OH 43206, USA,

Carl Thayler was born in 1933 and grew up in Southern California. During the 1950s, Carl acted in B movies and on stage in New York City. He studied philosophy at the University of Wisconsin and taught writing at Bowling Green State. He currently lives in Madison, Wisconsin.

Jacket 12   Contents page
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