Uncollected late poems

Weatherly’s 2011 New Year’s card.

I want to know every thing about the universe. I get a little pissed when I realize won’t live long enough, even a thousand years not enough time. I will learn what I can. — Tom Weatherly on Facebook 

Note: During the last few years of his life, Weatherly published other poems, not in literary magazines, but in online forums such as his blogs Ecletic Git and Saint Satin Stain, Facebook, and the political site Left in Alabama. A selection of those poems appears below. The selection begins with poems from email correspondence to Jerome Rothenberg: a New Year’s card from 2011; a duet for two voices; a tribute to the Swedish American poet Rönnog Seaberg; a poem deploying the “never muted heart” refrain which forms the theme to the sequence “wally,” published in Short History of the Saxophone; and a short piece called “papa dues,” Weatherly’s mouth munching oats and humming cantos. The remaining poems are taken from the online venues which served as Weatherly’s primary publishing outlet during his later years. “scrapple poesy” riffs on the moniker adopted for one of his blogs — “saint satin stain” — while “confederate cemetery” is a remix of the fourth poem from Maumau American Cantos. (The original is reproduced below it in order to illustrate the development of Weatherly’s work.) “how i do it” serves as a characteristically concise statement of poetics; the other poems tackle the information age and serve as an illustration of Weatherly’s increasing shift to the political left. Fittingly, we end with an elegy for another recently deceased writer, Walter Dean Myers, whose work is seen to live on in the transfer of breath from writer to reader, reactivated in word: “your breath / readers breathe.” — David Grundy 

CONTENTS

5772 [New Year’s Card, 2011]
xxy1
simple honest speech
exile
papa dues
scrapple poesy?
confederate cemetery
to old elm, in cemetery for confederate dead
every man a kin
Needed correction, so here again
how i do it
antisemantic
 

5772
[New Year’s Card, 2011]

no threats
at thrones
hasten rot

torah sent
at thrones
honest art

seedy daisy
conceivable
daily grief
woman agree
is theodicy
sod’s giddy
oxeye image
labia image
aha holy is

for Vivian Gornick

 

xxy1[1]

love                                                                                                
survive                                                                                                
we believe                                                                                                
the trope alive                                                                                                
save within the grave                                                                                                
dodona grove                                                                                                
haunted heaven                                                                                                
naive                                                                                                
love                                                                                                

      love
      survive
      we believe
      the trope alive
      save within the grave
      dodona grove
      haunted heaven
      naive
      love 

love     love
survive    survive
we believe    we believe
the trope alive    the trope alive
save within the grave    save within the grave
dodona grove    dodona grove
haunted heaven    haunted heaven
naive    naive
love    love

Weatherly
for Ursula Hoebner Bromberger
poem moll 11-17-2008 

simple honest speech

simple honest speech rare
in public rare in private

say the fact some say
you opine some opinion
you speak as fact

In politics occupation
of governance
simple honest speech

peaceful free society

language without guile
pretension or calumny
you clarify
public policy not obscure

Language you do
not need to parse to understand

Weatherly 032510
for Rönnog Seaberg 1932–2007
[2]

exile

never muted heart
pumps every music
muses dealt gɘloos
helen proof rebel
heard judah rebel


papa dues

papa dues
loud hugs
muse mama

mouth can
oat munch
hum cantos

Weatherly
               for Ursula

scrapple poesy?

retard your brain
saint satin stain
the melanin
in darky skin

confederate cemetery

pine smell
elm tree

document wind not deed

leaves
fall

listen elm bark in passage
dixie landed gentry

round its trunk 
children chant 
games above

roots grow through grave
neither desecrate nor revere

to old elm, in cemetery for confederate dead

The pine fragrance,
the magnolia graveyard,
surrounds a gnarled, old elm …

among conferences of silence,
honors heaped upon dead men,

it stands, to document the wind,
not their deeds …
                                          leaves,
fall, 
journalistic season
past historic years:

listen to elm bark in passage
     of dixie landed gentry,
it makes no gesture of sound …

round its trunk children
chant their games
over buried roots.

Elm roots grow through graves,
neither desecrate nor revere,
crack the skulls open
to brace against the wind.

owl watch, perched in what dark
limbs silent swaying
with the wind.

every man a kin

beasties go
megabytes and i 
big easy smote 
bigots set by 
stagey biome 
weigh down home

beastie limns 
meioses gat by 
holy poly isms 
thine messages cry 
easiest bog 
so steamy they beg

may bigots see 
holy biases meet 
gibes so steamy 
biomes gat yes 
gibes believe boss 
stymie base

Needed correction, so here again

there are still a few good ideas 
from the right, except no one on 
the right says them in public. A

fact some folk on the left state 
them proves them more thoughtful 
than most folks on today’s right.
The right will not accept ideas 
spoken on the left, even if the 
original source is on the right.
So lefty should state in public 
that all people should eat less 
than two grams of lead each day

how i do it

elias loose
usual easel
limns style

stole image
limns while
sound write

water tower
trope wrote
water tower

weatherly
031614

antisemantic

three 
thirds people 
poems breathe
breathe 
yes breathe 
yep it’s breath
music 
limns music 
until useful
ever 
the breath 
lessness ceases
stead
your breath
readers breathe

for walter dean myers
08 12 1937–07 01 2014
010614 weatherly
 


Sources
: “5772,” “xxy1,” “simple honest speech,” “exile,” and “papa dues” were kindly provided from email correspondence by Jerome Rothenberg. “scrapple poesy” appeared on Left in Alabama, October 2010. “confederate cemetery,” a 2010 remix of “to old elm, in cemetery for confederate dead” from Maumau American Cantos,appearedon Left in Alabama, August 2010.“every man a kin” appeared on Left in Alabama, January 2013. “needed correction, so here again” appeared on Left in Alabama, September 2013. “how i do it” quoted in Wasserman, dated March 2014. “antisemantic” appeared on Saint Satin Stain, July 2014. 



1. For two voices: “female voice first stanza, male voice second; last stanza female voice left & male voice right.”

2. Swedish American poet Rönnog Seaberg and her husband, Steve Seaberg, invented what they called acrobatic poetry. According to The History of Nordic Womens’ Literature, Seaberg grew up in Umeå and moved to the US in 1955, “where she worked as writer-in-residence in schools in Georgia and was involved in cultural exchange activities between Sweden and Georgia. … She wrote short stories, novels, and poems for performance, and her works also include Hemlig dagbok, 1975, which was based on autobiographical material, as were many of her other novels, including Utrest, 1978, and Återresan, 1985. Her motifs were the family, emigration, and love.”