Wednesday, July 5, 2017


I didn't know poet Jack Collom well. I met him a few times and I think was on the same bill with him at a poetry reading years ago. But everyone I knew who knew him better than me had nothing but good things to say about him. And I knew his poetry, which I like. If you don't know his work, the book to get is his big one: RED CAR GOES BY: Selected Poems 1955-2000. Rest In Poetry, Jack.

(PS: I wanted to quote from one of the poems in it, but I can't find my copy. It sat on a shelf on one of the three giant seven-foot-high, seven-shelf bookcases I have in my bedroom (with my tiny one drawer desk and twin bed in my monk's lifestyle), but I started rearranging my books a while ago and got stuck halfway through, and now books are all over the apartment in unfamiliar ways on various other bookcases and RED CAR GOES BY just isn't jumping out for me.

But here's another poem of Jack Collom's I found online (and here's a good obit on him):


Surrounded by bone, surrounded by cells,
by rings, by rings of hell, by hair, surrounded by
air-is-a-thing, surrounded by silhouette, by honey-wet bees, yet
by skeletons of trees, surrounded by actual, yes, for practical
purposes, people, surrounded by surreal
popcorn, surrounded by the reborn: Surrender in the center
to surroundings. O surrender forever, never
end her, let her blend around, surrender to the surroundings that
surround the tender endo-surrender, that
tumble through the tumbling to that blue that
curls around the crumbling, to that, the blue that
rumbles under the sun bounding the pearl that
we walk on, talk on; we can chalk that
up to experience, sensing the brown here that’s
blue now, a drop of water surrounding a cow that’s
black & white, the warbling Blackburnian twitter that’s
machining midnight orange in the light that’s
glittering in the light green visible wind. That’s
the ticket to the tunnel through the thicket that’s
a cricket’s funnel of music to correct & pick it out
from under the wing that whirls up over & out.

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