Archive for the Harry Calhoun Category

haiku by Harry Calhoun

Posted in Harry Calhoun with tags on July 8, 2014 by Scot


Wind whips through graveyard
Tombstones shine bare, white as skulls
Whistle against death


Of the Creeks, the Baying Dogs by Harry Calhoun

Posted in Harry Calhoun with tags on July 8, 2013 by Scot

I remember flyfishing with my father
on foggy mornings, on Pennsylvania creeks. And today,
my black Labs with much hound mixed in,
strut undomesticated from my wooded backlot

to claim the back deck with wildness. Yowling
that if I would understand, I might become werewolf —
and I wish in some part I could. As I wish I could stake
some misty claim beyond my father’s death

and angle again those foggy banks, to become the wild
and the dead and the deathless — the ineffable and feral,
beloved eternal and mortal.

My lover my wife beside me wished eternal and hoped forever.
My father, my parent wished eternal and gone forever.
Communication: dog, human, lycanthrope, struggle,

I howl and the moon rises … or does the moon rise and then
I howl? I do not know which comes first. I have this, my fierce love,
and the strange and wild poetry that rises in my breast.

The Mirror this Morning by Harry Calhoun

Posted in Harry Calhoun with tags on November 5, 2012 by Scot

I look in the mirror this morning
and I just face it: I don’t want to grow old
and die. I just don’t want it, my love,

this journey has been so much
struggle and triumph and sheer endurance
and pain that to lose it seems unfair

if not downright mean. I turn to you now.
Take my hand, I feel like a child
about to catch the schoolbus. I’m too big

to cry but I’ll always be too young to die,
and I’ll never want to leave you, stuck
as I am in this world that call me old,

these mirrors that lie to me,
these kids that hold the door for me
and insist on calling me “sir.”

More than the Alley, by Doug Draime–Reviewed by Harry Calhoun

Posted in Doug Draime, Harry Calhoun with tags on August 26, 2012 by Scot

More than the Alley, by Doug Draime. Interior Noise Press, Austin, Texas, 2012. Available online at Paperback, 144 pages. $15.00.

Doug Draime’s bio in this book says that he has been a presence in the underground literary movement since the late 1960s. This book establishes both his continued vitality in underground poetry and his undeniable ability to turn out visceral, gritty and glaringly real verse.

The back-story of Doug’s book is almost as interesting as the book itself. In a Bukowski-esque hard-luck story, Draime submitted multiple book manuscripts over the years, had them accepted, and then had them fall through for various reasons. In his own words to this reviewer, “Since the early 80s I’ve had eleven full-length, selected poem collections that have gone belly up. That has to be a record, I would think. Actually, one publisher died, so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. I don’t know whether to put a feather in my hat or rock out to this almost overwhelming, anti-climatic sensation I’m feeling (of having More than the Alley come to fruition.)”

So for all of you poets out there who are whining or just digging in and hoping, take heart. I know how I felt when, after a long fallow period in my career, one of my first submissions of twelve poems were all summarily dismissed. We’re talking not twelve poems here, but almost twelve books, folks! So More than the Alley must feel like a deep sigh of relief for Doug Draime. Was it worth it? Only Doug can answer that personally, but from a reviewer’s standpoint: A resounding yes.
Continue reading

Blues Poem II: Everyday Weekend Blues by Harry Calhoun

Posted in Harry Calhoun with tags on May 27, 2012 by Scot

And it’s three in the morning and all you got
is your own plain self and your two black dogs
and another shot of that harsh brown brandy
that makes it all go down, like it or not.

And that sweet girl of yours that you loved so long
is gone like a memory of a long-lost song.

So this is what it’s like to sing the blues:

The dogs come in with mud caked on their paws
and you wipe it off still smelling of booze
and you clean it up, the paws, that is, and the rest,
That’s just what it is, it’s yesterday’s news

There’s something like a song boiling inside
all angry and bruised, so call it a poem and just give up.

This must be what it’s like to sing the blues.

Drought Again, Brautigan by Harry Calhoun

Posted in Harry Calhoun with tags , on March 24, 2012 by Scot

The owl asleep in the rafters
wakes a minute and blinks
her wide sleepy eyes

and listens sturdy and prepared
for a drop of rain
through the roof

and yawns a thin crack
in her beak
and goes back to dreaming

of the rain, lucky rain
that will lull her back
into sleep: consider

the half-sentient lull
of the nonexistent rain
and the sturdy existence

of the never-changing owl.

Amy Winehouse is dead and my dog is gone by Harry Calhoun

Posted in Harry Calhoun with tags on August 3, 2011 by Scot

The best keep leaving us: Janis, Jimi, Jim, Kurt
and now Amy, all gone at 27. My Alex,
at a comparable age in dog years,

must be put to sleep. Because of an odd hybrid
of moth to an irresistible flame
and werewolf bitten and snarling

far outside of its genes. The tragedy
of addiction, of aggression, that rushes
like a wild river spilling predictably

to the sea of its predetermined end.
The way you walked was thorny,
my sons and daughters. It pains me

to see how you sought
or were brought
peace for eternity.

So what? by Harry Calhoun

Posted in Harry Calhoun with tags on May 23, 2011 by Scot

So fuck Bob Kaufman and Charles Bukowski
and all those cats, I’m tired of writing about what was,
give me something to live for now, just let me sleep
and wake up the next day

I rode the bus of obscurity and I don’t want
to ride the greasy rails of fame.

But you know what matters? The other night,
Johnny Depp came on stage
at the People’s Choice Awards
and the crowd stood up like a chorus.

I wept, and somewhere, I’m certain,
Jesus did too.

Two Poems by Harry Calhoun

Posted in Harry Calhoun with tags on October 20, 2010 by Scot

Early morning, just rising

It’s fall and tiny acorns crackle underfoot
as you trudge to retrieve the morning paper.
They crunch like cooled leftover embers
in the fireplace, backbeat to that old

Grateful Dead song sliding through your head.
And the train whistle, doing what it does —
imagine the engineer, out there creating that
at this time of the morning — and anyway,

I acknowledge that I am blessed today
to be regaled with these sensations, to feel the crunch
beneath my feet, to hear the happy random railroad
whistle bloom, to rise to this, the spectacular

everyday that it today, tonight and tomorrow,
pulled down from the canopy of sky
by the simple handshake of a train whistle,
soul caught up in its motion, its eye, its storm.


Another girl I wrote poems for: a true story

it was years ago   I was an undergrad or maybe
a dropout
I alternated during what I called
the happiest decade of my life

and Lisa was the latest
in a series of passionate but doomed

smart  lusty  and busty
with a wild streak that was
maybe two-thirds of her personality

and one evening just at dusk we were walking
half-loaded or somewhere beyond
and suddenly Lisa said, “Look at that butterfly,
it’s following you wherever you go.”

and sure as hell, over my left shoulder
was this big yellow butterfly
fluttering — is there any other word for what they do? —
around my head.

And I still don’t know
what made me do it but I turned
and raised my outstretched right palm
and said, “Look, it knows I’m

a poet.” And the beautiful creature
obligingly landed right on my palm
and stayed there until I shooed it away.
Lisa was awestruck

I can’t remember whether I got lucky that night
but I sure got lucky when the butterfly
and my palm collided
in some universal fluke

and made me look like a genius

and a sensitive guy

Two Poems by Harry Calhoun

Posted in Harry Calhoun with tags on June 13, 2010 by Scot

The one

She sleeps beside me
in this enchanted
sun-drunk afternoon,
shades drawn
her hair stylish short
but the face that of an angel

sent to save me

her hands meet
between her breasts
and her neck as if
in prayer and I can’t

sleep before I record this
but I can’t wait
to go sleep beside her
secure that I’ve found truth

in this artificial



You’re away on business again
and I’m sitting up on your bolster pillow
in our bedroom and working crosswords
and reading and jotting down poems

and Alex trots his 90 jet-black pounds
into the living room every few minutes.
When I go out to check on him,
he is sitting looking through the slats

of the blinds in the living room,
doggedly waiting for you to come home.
I tell him that you aren’t arriving
until tomorrow, but every few minutes

his big clapping paws slap on the hardwood
on his way to that window. Eventually,
I close the blinds. But you know if I wasn’t human
and didn’t have the distracters of puzzles

and books and poetry (and more recently brandy)
I’d be sitting out in that window with him,
keeping the vigil I have in my heart,
with the sweet expectant innocence I see

in Alex’s honest brown eyes.