Gary Blankenship, US




After Howl I

Stray dogs and Convertibles

who plunged themselves under meat trucks looking for an egg, 

Allen Ginsberg 

down on all fours like a stray dog
caught with a frozen steak beneath his teeth
(except dogs do not walk on their knees)
they saw an oil leak
nasty enough that if the truck
was driven another block or two
its engine would blow
and in their examination of the stain
missed shells dropped from a Corvette
on its way to New Jersey

missed the rattle of the compressor
that kept the steaks between
the dog’s teeth frozen
their load starting to thaw
before delivery to the plump housewife
in 4C of a brownstone walkup
on the Lower East Side

missed the Easter Egg hidden
in the Word 2003 software used
to write this strophe

missed the Sunnyside sailor
hitchhiking under the Queensboro bridge
an unused condom in his wallet

missed the ex-Ukrainian baron
selling egg crèmes
and wooden dolls to tourists
on their way to the Statue of Liberty
missing spring wheat on the Dnieper

missed the howl of the stray dog
as he bit into a frozen steak

as he fought to keep the steak
against a pack of his mates

as Moloch laughed 



After Howl II

In Celebration in the Release of Boxcar Willie’s Last Album

who lit cigarettes in boxcars boxcars boxcars racketing through snow toward lonesome farms in grandfather night

Allen Ginsberg, Howl

boxcars full of apples from Wenatchee
pears from Hood River
dried grapes and shelled almonds from Fresno
bluegrass seed from the Willamette

box cars full of t-shirts from Thailand
(or was it American Samoa
Made in the USA)
lumber from Millinocket
coal on the way to Liverpool via Sault Ste Marie
toys and cat food recalled from Singapore

boxers in the boxcars
Matchbox cars
and bullocks bound for Boise

cattle cars littered with homemade cigarettes
flat cars bleached in the panhandle sun
dump cars emptied of Portland cement sand gravel
container cars for milk and window cleaner

box cars to haul boxes
hat boxes (but who wears hats
even pillboxes out of style)
shoe boxes
gift boxes wrapped in holiday cheer
cardboard boxes
and boxes made of lumber from Eureka

the racket of boxcars
whistle after whistle
on rusted rails that run
by the barn chicken coop
down the ravine
past alfalfa soybeans canola
past the bedroom window
so close you could touch it
as I touched you

I’ll return come spring’s melt
and your grandfather’s box
is no longer empty as a clouded sky



After Howl III

Rockin’ The Ages

who loned it through the streets of Idaho seeking visionary indian angels who were visionary indian angels,

Allen Ginsberg, Howl

east of boise they find a cultist who prepared kool-aid for a jim jones

when sister Sylvia saw the Virgin Mary in the pond behind the hen house no one paid any attention to her

south of soshone they locate a survivalist who sells cranberries in a fruit stand on highway 93

when mama saw Mother Mary in grandpa’s fried egg, they turned the kitchen into a shrine

ketchum is all weed dealers who tithe to a clapboard church in mountain home

Uncle John is still in the attic

they leave orofino where every man woman child stray goat is his her its own prophet

Christ walked across Lake Coeur d’Alene the day of the parade in honor of President Reagan and no one noticed

in the lewiston they come across the holy slots sacred decks hallowed bones mammon’s offering to the state

the picture of the Garden behind Grandma’s bed only cost her $125 in 1973

in soda springs they hit upon a two dollar gal who nightly prays to baby jesus at least twice an hour in an alley behind the suds and pack

when the tent revival came to town everyone was there, two members of the cheer squad were visiting relatives the next fall

the idaho falls temple is being repainted in a new shade of temple white

I dream my guardian angel is on strike

the buddhist gate is locked

on cable Italian suits beg

moloch sings when the roll is called up yonder

First place winner of the Interboard Poetry Competition, August 2007



After Howl IV

Wish You Were Here

who vanished into nowhere Zen New Jersey leaving a trail of ambiguous picture postcards of Atlantic City Hall,

Allen Ginsberg, Howl

under the boardwalk
down by the sea
used rubbers
dead fish
discarded Polaroid’s
you pray
I pray

when we play
all the lines in the penny machine
the monkey appears
to spin the prayer wheel
for the bonus round
and round
and round

the world’s largest ball of string
largest bat and ball
largest bong
largest cat
(left over from a VFW parade
urging a boycott of RJ Reynolds
for selling smokes made
in communist Albania)

boards littered
with flyers
for 50% off
two for one
another for a penny more
six for five
a baker’s half dozen

a group of preppies
sneak under the boardwalk
with a handful of French postcards
half pack of Kools
Mark’s hard cranberry

as I hit the jackpot
while you pray
for a bonus round



After Howl V

With Sauerkraut, Hold the Chili

who wept at the romance of the streets with their pushcarts full of onions and bad music,

Allen Ginsberg, Howl

on the corner of 5th Avenue and E. 26th, a one-man band rings cymbals beneath his knees as a street preacher shouts repent, repent loud enough to scare all the seagulls in San Francisco Bay to Utah in time to devour a plague of locusts and the BYU football field in Provo

library pigeons discuss the meeting of the Bryant Park Tuesday Afternoon Book Club and why every book is discussed either after it was made into a movie or a Classic Illustrated and banned in Levitown

Prudence swears at the delay in fixing the elevators to the top of the Chrysler Building

Patience yawns bored at the shallow pretensions of rats with feathers

a few tentative trumpet notes drifts down Broadway as the last zoot suit manufactured in the USA dances across the bridge

to Queens in search of a mime and a man with a peg leg

the aroma of sweet peppers and onions invade a pizza parlor on 45th, the garlic objects

the scent of coleslaw goes nowhere

the Beatles are due in the city in three months, they won't play the Apollo or a remixed Rockin' Robin

bottled water comes in 137 flavors, Nehi is sold in only 3

a couple meets under a sign advertising Dave Garroway's next show; he offers her a ring, she offers him a child

down in the subway never makes the charts until it is rerecorded as under the boardwalk

a weed grows next to the stoop of a house with a dog locked in a Village apartment for a long working day

Miles, Duke and Dizzy jam to the beat of Allen's typewriter clicks

a padded cell makes no sound








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