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Archive for May, 2012

In Memory of JIMMY LYNN (1924-2011)

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012


Al Young

Jimmy at home in 2006

Al Young

Mountain View Cemetery, Piedmont, CA

Sandy Simon

Jimmy Lynn (James Curl Lynn), a friend of Al Young, is interred in a crypt beside his mother’s at Mountain View Cemetery in Piedmont, California. An only child, Jimmy took care of Rachel Fuller, his schoolteacher mother — at first on Long Island, then in Oakland — for her last 12 years.

Al Young and Jimmy Lynn at the popular Berkeley Bowl in the summer of 2005.



(from Med Café Stories)

He, the new young man never knew
what to make of Jimmy Lynn’s house
on Dana Street in Berkeley,
writers coming and going, mostly blacks,
talking revolution never tired of
talking about what it was all about
being black
what the whites did to the blacks.
We got those college degrees, yeah!
Some writing movie scripts, some
writing poetry, some doing it all,
Al Young sitting late night on a stool
at the kitchen counter, paying respect
to his older friend,     Al was relaxed,
while Jimmy was in motion,
Al listening to Jimmy telling it like it is.
Listening closely to Jimmy’s paranoia
which as it turned out,
we said one by one, “it wasn’t paranoia,
it was hieroglyphics on the wall.”
World politics vindicated Jimmy.

At Jimmy’s house, some writing novels,
some writing plays, Big Herb
Handsome, devilish, and trailing a
King’s robe behind him.
“Won’t you come in and have a cup of tea
I’ll tell you about my play,
The Day of the Nigger.
Let me explain the storyline, it’s the
day all the white people are killed
except, of course, some women.”
He grinned.
Jimmy, an intellectual who supported his art life
working on the docks,
gave free room and board to one young man,
“until you get a place,” he said.
The new border, light-skinned, ethereal, smiled
dreamily;  was he listening?  to urgent discussions in
this Parisian Left Bank on Dana?
While they talked revolution, the young man’s soul
whispered dreamily,     “Lena Horne   Lena Horne”
He was inside his own song and sweetly melancholic
as if he knew then he would later die young.

When I met him, he was floating, flute in hand
into the Med Café, speaking in rhyme, keeping time.
Some thought it odd but all thought him beautiful, with
sea green eyes and gold skin.
I couldn’t understand his words but sat with him
where the blacks sat at the Med if not at Robbie’s.
The new boarder dreamily wafted in and out
of the Dana Street flat, like a mirage,
like a collage on the wall,
to be viewed or ignored by writers, musicians, artists,
smoking pot, making movies, talking about Camus as if
the subject was inexhaustible.
Jimmy let him stay there, saying wistfully,
“I just wish the young man would pick up his socks
and underwear from the floor.”
“But he’s so beautiful,” I said.
The young man overhearing, smiled sadly,
“Yes, of course, I am beautiful.
My mother is LENA HORNE!”

from Poetry In Jazz: Selected Writings 1987-2011
(Beatitude Press | Berkeley, CA)

© 2011 Jesse Beagle



Saturday, May 5th, 2012


Download the audio MP3
Joseph Robinson

Al Young’s monthly poem at KQED’s ‘The California Report’

ADVISORY | The texts of poems posted at KQED’s link may not always reflect purposeful line breaks


When May warms up our borderlands, Oregon oozes
Shakespeare. Arizona, México, Nevada — they smile,
re-chill, then heat back up all funny. The miles you jog
in El Cajón won’t feel the same in Truckee, El Centro,
Nevada City, Douglas City, Culver City, Lodi, or Taft.
High on May, California travelers, all stone, petrified,
just come down from races up hills and races up
mountains — 880, 680, 580, 280, 101, I-5, all One —
dig into California’s DNA and clink! Hey! May!
Broken out in code and sequences, present-day May
speaks up, shouts out, says: “Look deep, reach far
into my vacillating light. Feel my Gold Rush heat
and whorl. Forget about a merry month, sipped wine.
May knows far more than one hot mind can store.
Consider May in brisk Bodega Bay, or borderline L.A.”

— Al Young


Where to find ‘The California Report’

_____________________________________________________ | “The Moon, the Whole Moon, and Nothing But the Moon”

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012


” … The moon, the whole moon, and nothing but the moon.”
Al Young
from 22 Moon Poems | Heaven: Collected Poems 1956-1990


Full moon poems


Everything you wish or need to know about full moons past, present and future.

Never miss another full moon.



WHEN KILLERS TARGET KIDS ~ Simon Baron-Cohen (from Zócalo Public Square)

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012


Go to the original at Zócalo Public Square

When Killers Target Kids

The Science of Empathy Grapples with the Unthinkable

Photo: Abode of Chaos

by Simon Baron-Cohen

On July 22, 2011, 33-year-old Anders Behring Breivik killed 69 people, most of them teenagers, on the island of Utøya in Norway. On March 19, 2012, 23-year-old Mohammed Merah shot and killed a teacher and three young children at a Jewish school in Toulouse, France.

Both killers targeted children, which makes the crimes especially shocking …



Courtesy photo


Rhymes with phone or moan and

means: I’ve grown so dense and lazy

I can’t even be bothered to bomb you

personally, so I dispatch a robot to rob you,

relieve you of everything you thought

rightful or yours. Rhymes with snores.

– Al Young

© 2010 by Al Young