Archive for the Joie Cook Category

Joie Cook

Posted in Joie Cook on October 21, 2014 by Scot

We are all that we have

(w/Martin Puryear exhibit in mind)

We are all that we have
Dark shadows billowing past the
Stark architecture of bent wood
The otherness of others
Doesn’t bother us here
In our safe cocoon of One
Where we avert the glances
Of old Asian security guards
Warning us not to touch
This is where we examine the separation
Of nature from natural
Comparing the timber’s abstractions
Surrounded by fallen branches
Nothing may we touch here
But each other.

from the archives of Deuce Coupe 2009

Remembering Joie Cook 1951-2013

Posted in Joie Cook with tags , on March 24, 2013 by Scot

joie at 35I am ashamed to say I have had these poems a year and lost them in the pile of everyday life. But the good news is they are not lost now.  I think Joie would understand.  Bad news travels on a slow road to the Ozarks.  I found out about Joie’s passing not too long ago.

I first met her in  books, then through email, and then in a short interview  when I was with Outsider Writers .  She also appeared in my Not Your Bitch series as #4.  I loved her work and talking with her and brought her with me to deuce coupe and rusty truck.  In our interview I asked her her top female poet of all time…I expected someone famous, maybe someone tragic…Joie gave me this:

  Fave female poet of all time:  The little girl with a pen in her hand somewhere in  Nowheresville, Planet Earth—writing her heart out!

Joie Cook: writing her heart out

Posted in Joie Cook with tags on March 24, 2013 by Scot


THE LENGTH      to Edna St. Vincent Millay

Life is so long
In the lit phantasm

Of dulled rooms
With studied glances

We take all we can
In enormous amounts

And never once sit or lay–
To slow down or stop

The candle burns so brightly
At both ends indeed

We never get scorched



From a distance,
We both know we’ll never cross the line.
We both remember
When people surrender to the lover’s trance,
They lose their ability
To add and subtract.

We both wish that I was younger
Or, you, older,
To ensure a developmental foundation
On which to base our lust.

But that’s not going to happen.

So, to love you from a distance
Is the most erotic pose;
Even when my glances catch yours
With the sad eyes of a beggar.

So, all through the night
I am loving loving you
From across the smoky room.



Like a dangerous promotion in a job she hates
Which would lock her into
Routine and ennui

Pushing her into an oblivious race
For time and tranquility

She is fighting love because it owns her now–
Penetrates each particle of bone marrow
And tissues her in,
With its indulgence and fortitude

She is fighting love
However deep or done
An entity in which she reluctantly swims
Diving endlessly into the foam

Joie Cook reading at the Beat Museum 2007

Posted in Joie Cook, VIDEOS with tags on January 4, 2010 by Scot

To a King of Sorts by Joie Cook

Posted in Joie Cook with tags on August 18, 2009 by Scot

All of the women
Who have opened your heart with their wounds
Call to you now
From the last row of the dark cinema

Kelly with her enormous breasts
Chelsea with her thin, swaggering hips
Marlena, the poet, the one you loved best,
Who will suffer the most when you die

All the women of your magnum opus
Some call pornography
You imagine them breathing softly
As you sleep with your wife
Hear their sighs
As you retire into middle age – a sexless marriage
A mortgage and children you never see

They were so beautiful then
Your naked dreamers
Forever preserved
The women, who return again and again
A gift to the aching now of your fevered past:

Celluloid flesh reminders of your lost empire.

Joie Cook
San Francisco

THE LAST WORD…by Joie Cook (day 3)

Posted in Joie Cook on March 1, 2009 by Scot

What was it that we said at the end of our run?
Do you remember?
Were we wolves in the night howling at each other?
Were we running deer mating in an Appalachian forest?
Were we cats?  dogs?
Did we bark, meow?
What did we say?
I can’t remember our last words.
Were they final?
Like, OK, this is THE END.  GO AWAY NOW.
Was it something like that?
Or something we read?  Smelled?
Did we use words?
Was it something we said in a moment of duress?
Were we clothed or undressed?
Were we drinking?
Closed in by the fog
In some dank corner
Of the sky?
I can’t remember our last words.
And I’ll never stop wishing I could.

Joie Cook
December 8, 2008
San Francisco, CA

Ruminations of the Troubadour…by Joie Cook (day 2)

Posted in Joie Cook with tags on February 28, 2009 by Scot


No longer captive
In the Kingdom of Goretex
One by one,
Each friendship returns—
Like a ‘police line do not enter’ tape
After a shooting

Too old to live
Too young to die
Falling piece by piece apart
Into the unforgiving rain

Escaping a town
Where politeness is a social disease
Far from home
I ponder Fisherman’s Wharf
The clink of quarters
Into my brown bottle in 1972

“If people are cruel,
be kind anyway”—

Learn to give and expect nothing
Wedged between dreams
And their interpretation
The poignant separations
For which we lay ourselves down

Joie Cook
2/08   S.F.

When I had a voice …by Joie Cook (day 1)

Posted in Joie Cook on February 27, 2009 by Scot

(during an extended case of laryngitis)


I could be heard all the way to the Mississippi
Funneling down into New Orleans
Past barges and plows
People knew me from my yell
It was larger than the space inside saxophones

In a supermarket once
As I was yelling at a boyfriend over canned peas,
A woman found me through my voice
Touching my shoulder, she said “there you are–
I would know that sound anywhere”

How I took it for granted,
Screaming, shouting, whispering, singing
All through the day and into night
Vocal cords vibrating so violently
My body must have had it   up    to   here

Reading aloud– something I loved.
Singing an old song– even better.
Comforting a lover– maybe.
Now, for this instant, gone.
Just memories, dust.  Silence.

When my voice returns
I will go to the peak of the tallest mountain
Sitting in the lotus position I will holler my name:
An attempt to echo back to me
The confirmation of my own existence.