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Archive for July, 2011

THE WOMAN WHO SHOT ME & Other Poems by Bill Hickok

Sunday, July 31st, 2011


“After the second shot, I began to feel / the mantle of the martyred carpenter. / Turning the other cheek / would only cause serious trauma / to my already dwindling life’s blood.”
— from the title poem of Bill Hickok’s THE WOMAN WHO SHOT ME & Other Poems

Cover design: Anika Paris

“Bill Hickok’s lyrical The Woman Who Shot Me reads like a pillow-book of personable back-stories. Bulging with all of life’s male stuff — aims vs. goals, family, fortune, shame, love, wine, women, Kansas City-proof jazz, savvy, fish and game — this thickly beautiful, late-life collection shines like a golden retriever.”

California poet laureate emeritus

“There’s the wisdom of coon hunters and Oxford dons here, wrapped in a time comprised of downhome gospel, Shakespeare, and the under breath of heartbreak. Hickok stares down death and inanity with humor; inventive, no-nonsense (‘Mary Magdalene of LAX’), first-class imagery; and a mastery of craft that leaves you — O happy day — unaware that it exists. No one writes like Bill Hickok. No one. Read him: you’ll be enriched and wounded.”
author of Daddy’s Money and Satisfied with Havoc

“Bill Hickok’s poems are authentic, from the heart, and blessed with hard-earned irony, subtlety, and wisdom. He also knows that ‘every poem is a prayer.’ My top favorites in this collection are ‘Hummingbirds of Gethsemane,’ ‘Past Perfect,’ ‘Middle Ground,’ and ‘Bombs Away,’ a powerful anti-war poem.”
author of Music of Time: Selected and New Poems



Back then nobody had tattoos
except sailors and drunks.
I was both. Blessed by the sea
and battered by rum.
You will get no apologies from me.
I kept the main sail on course,
I did my job. My word was true,
and I kept the wind out of my mouth.
A taciturn man, they said, without
a sextant to my brain or
a compass to my heart.
Tattoos are popular now.
Tramp stamp, trailer trash, muscle beach,
under the wing, heartfelt, and ginger snake.
Take me home banana boat.
My tattoo is an anchor on my chest that has sunk
to the bottom of the sea.
Time for a new tattoo, a new irrevocable contract
more sure than marriage, less sure than death.
Who can forget his mom,. his first love,
the rose, the viper and the twist of permanence?
Not I, sir, they are always with me.
For myself, I will take a single unguarded
musical note to sing my song.
I will place it on the back of my wrinkled hand
and cast my anchor to an ongoing tide.

© 2011 by Bill Hickok


by Bill Hickok,
Paperback | 98 pages | $9.95 USD
ISBN 978-0-9647053-2-6

Whirleybird Press, 6415 Hillside Street; Shawnee, Kansas 66218

Contact Gloria Vando

Available August 2011


UK Arts Council slashes poetry funding

Thursday, July 28th, 2011


Go to the original


Chris Holifield, Director of Poetry Book Society

UK Arts Council slashes poetry funding

An interview with Poetry Book Society director Chris Holifield

By Jackie Warren
World Socialist Web Site
28 July 2011

The Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition government has slashed the funding of Arts Council England (ACE) by 30 percent and ordered it to halve its administration costs. As a result, ACE has announced an end to the entire funding of the Poetry Book Society (PBS), a unique organisation providing vital support to poets, readers and publishers. The PBS sponsors the annual TS Eliot Prize, described as the most valuable and prestigious in the UK for a new collection of poetry.

Read Jackie Warren’s entire interview with Chris Holifield


JIMMY LYNN ~ March 16, 1924–July 14, 2011 ~ In Memoriam

Thursday, July 28th, 2011


Al Young and Jimmy Lynn at the Berkeley Bowl, circa 2005


Late in the afternoon of July 14, 2011, the singer Dima telephoned to sadly tell me our pal Jimmy Lynn (officially James C. Lynn) had died. His landlord, Chris Martin, who lives next door to Jimmy’s West Street apartment in South Berkeley, had found Dima’s phone number on the floor next to Jimmy’s body and phoned her. Chris told me he had noticed a Whole Foods paper grocery bag, which had been sitting in front of the door for several days. It was actually a bag containing a carton of chicken soup, two squares of cornbread, a bottle of water and receipts for two parking tickets that Jimmy had asked me to take care of. Seeing that the food had spoiled, Chris disposed of the bag. When Dima’s call reached me, I was sitting in my car parked outside Venezia, a popular Italian restaurant on University Avenue. I drove right over to Jimmy’s in time to see the Alameda County Coroner’s van and a Berkeley Police car in front of my friend’s residence. I rushed up his steps and was greeted by a policewoman and the coroner’s office agent. They asked if I knew the man. I told them yes, that I was probably his only friend. For how long? For more than 50 years. Does he have any kin? No. Would you be willing, the policewoman asked, to help arrange a funeral or burial for him? I’ll do what I can, I said. He always told me he wants to be buried beside his mother. Years ago they purchased a twin crypt. Where is the cemetery? At first I thought it was Chapel of the Chimes, but it was Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland

Photo: Al Young

Seated beside jazz singer Dima, Jimmy Lynn swaps stories with his old friend Sandy Simon at the memorial service for Jim Johnson, Jimmy and Al Young’s longtime buddy | Berkeley 2007

Photo: Carl Martineau

Al Young, Bobby Theseeker (a.k.a. Jimmy Lynn), and Diane Di Pisa at the March 2009 opening of Berkeley in the Sixties, an exhibit of black and white photographs of Berkeley’s lively Telegraph Avenue denizens taken by the late Elio Di Pisa, who managed the Caffè Mediterraneum from the 1960s through the 1990s. When Al and Jimmy met in the summer of 1960, Jimmy — encouraged by the British physicist and novelist C.P. Snow — was still writing and editing his never-published novel, a 1000-page trilogy. Set largely in Mexico, the book’s thrill- and truth-seeking narrator is Bobby Theseeker (pronounced THÉH-seeker). Jimmy Lynn, who kept a low profile, asked me to not identify him directly when this photo first went up at in the photo-feature Spring in This World of Poor Mutts.

Al Young

Jimmy Lynn tinkering in the backyard of his previous South Berkeley home

Photo: Sandra Simon

Jimmy Lynn in 2010 about to celebrate his 86th birthday at a brunch hosted by Sandra Simon at her Buddhist home close to the Golden Gate Bridge

a Kindness of Strangers snapshot

Al Young, Sandy Simon, Jimmy Lynn, and the Golden Gate Bridge bask in the light of an affection decades deep | Spring 2010

To be continued. Because he has no apparent next of kin and, despite my continuous nagging, did not leave a will, Jimmy Lynn, a retired longshoreman and writer, may likely be classified as an indigent by the County, which will cremate then bury his remains in Napa in a kind of pauper’s grave. His belongings may be plundered and his bank account and savings confiscated by the State. This is an outrage to the many people who, for much of his life, have known, cared about and loved this eccentric, intelligent, hard-working man. And so I have decided to write at length about my friend Jimmy Lynn: Alabama-born, Utah-reared, New York-seasoned, and California-tempered. Consider this start preliminary.

— Al Young
28 July 2011


Page under construction



Sunday, July 3rd, 2011


When she explained how she was set free

but her boyfriend and best friend weren’t

(“I don’t know what it was about him and her

and I”), you loathe the fool who would collar

her and say: “About him and her and me!”

So you shine it on, the same as you’ve given up

whom and less and fewer and good and well

and was and were as in If I Were a Bell (not

If I Was a Bell) I’d go “Ding-dong-ding-dong, ding!”

Well, look at where you’re coming from:

the grammar Nazi who knows subjunctive mode

(or, better yet, mood), knows indirect object

pronouns, verb-needy nouns, lie, lay, laid, lain.

You know its and it’s and neither, nor, further

farther, “Me and Julio Down By the Schoolyard.”

Besides, she’s younger than you. Bitten, mother

tongue suffers. Language, gauged and negotiated,

sends thumbs fumbling and twirling unjustly.

She compares and contrasts sweethearts and cohorts.

You feel their pain and her shame. You lighten up.

— Al Young

© 2011 Al Young
© vozamer


BRILLIANT CORNERS | A Journal of Jazz & Literature | Summer 2011

Friday, July 1st, 2011


Sascha Feinstein


Cover: “Swing Beckons Charlie” by Johnny Bull (1999; oil on canvas, 90 cm x 90cm).



MICHAEL GASPENY (Do Explain), NEIL SHEPARD (L’heure Bleu), BETSY SHOLL (Traps and Groove; Bass Flute), JEFFREY ALFIER (How We Remember the Chanteuse), RICHARD JACKSON (Signs and Wonders)

KARIN LIN-GREENBERG (Gone), BENJAMIN ROESCH (People Done Crazier Things for Love, Aint’ They?), MARKO FONG (Red Notes)

JOHNNY BULL (A Note on the Cover Art)

JOHN EDWARD HASSE (Living Archives)

Jayne Cortez, Gary Giddins, Yusef Komunyakaa, Philip Levine, Ira Sadoff, Charles Simic, Al Young

Brilliant Corners is published at Lycoming College, Williamsport, PA 17701. It is funded in part by Lycoming College, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and private endowments. The journal is indexed by Humanties International Complete. One year subscription: $12. Add $6 for international orders. All manuscripts should be accompanied by a stamped,. self-addressed envelope. Manuscripts will be read between September and May.

Experience the historic Thelonious Monk “Brilliant Corners,” produced by Orrin Keepnews in 1957 for Riverside Records