Uncollected poems

'The World Anthology' and 'Alcheringa'

Note: The uncollected texts printed here date from the same period as Tom Weatherly’s Maumau American Cantos (1970) and Thumbprint (1971), and include a number of additional cantos that were not published in the former collection. (See also the selection of poems from Lip magazine entitled Weather and the pamphlet Climate / Stream [1972, with Ken Bluford], included in this feature.) A number of the poems obliquely and sometimes directly address the racial politics of the decade. The first sees Stokely Carmichael scornfully address a liberal, while the nineteenth Maumau canto, addressed to Weatherly’s friend Joel Oppenheimer, bridges the political divide that might be established through their skin as Oppenheimer becomes the godfather to Weatherly’s son. Weatherly’s characteristically wide-ranging style sees him note Oppenheimer’s Italian ancestry, pun on the surname he shared with nuclear scientist Robert Oppenheimer, and refer to the Nigerian Lufu language alongside African American mojo. Other poems include alternative versions of poems printed in Thumbprint and, later, in short history of the saxophone, and an early homage to Weatherly’s poetic idol H.D, who he elsewhere called “the best poet to ever live in America.” — David Grundy



stokely’s song / to a liberal
roi rogers and the warlocks of space
19. godfather     for joel oppenheimer
23. fast
25. for Judy Alms
29. to ex wife
34. pink’s place
“the bright one”: for H.D.

From The World Anthology: Poems from the St Mark’s Poetry Project, ed. Anne Waldman (New York: Bobbs-Merrill, 1969), 72, 75–76.

stokely’s song / to a liberal

get your fat ass
off the premises
                          of my dream.
had assumed any shape
you assumed will please
you. i’se kin eat wahmelon
spit de seeds in you face
or fatback ain’t
meat for the shakin.

roi rogers and the warlocks of space[1


“i’m flagrant, but i’m
fragrant” you said.

my mom know i am
nigger bad cause
she is. you jew bitch that
yr ma didnt know
this aint instruction
it defends.


how you live where
you live baptist massa says
joke hes cullet boy
easy to see
i’ve seen thru
ass. dont bend over.
tantalus. the horned owl


sandy hair

aint no doubt, who?

tom? tomtom
do ya hear?

From Alcheringa, New Series 1, no. 2 (1975): 102–103.

“The poems below are a supplement to Tom Weatherly’s book Maumau American Cantos.” 

19. godfather     for joel oppenheimer

not ’cause you’re negro bello
will you protect my son
my soulflesh split in these states
not ’cause you splat atoms
as your namesake

thomas elias weatherly, III
so they will know & remember
what they put his fathers through
& who’s puttin’ it on them. your son
in god, if you believe, if not
tradition will make do. our son
teoma in one of your languages
or tom in another, but his & mine
tomcat claws & fangs bared to
jump in th chest of all
thy way-out west
we deal wif as well
as this generation of life will.
some of us will go down on big
mama earth loving us to pieces
in th heat of her thighs.

now your politics may be wrong
this decade you lose by th skin
of its color. but this is
older than th skin of our politics.
it is there when logos went down
in th line before ethos
& manos split off into these
                            LUFU MOJO LUFU.
nigella damascena grows
is th sign our covenant
in th black hot thighs of big mama

’til they cool.[2]



these men i’ve kissed
and wrestled love from
sated the spirit
yet flesh is sad.[3]


for Judy Alms



to ex-wife

full moon rot in your womb


pink’s place

back in th sugar shack
high, high yaller gal say
mabel shake th slide black
early rock and jellyroll.

see/d mabel amble and
hump her eyeteef in dat
high shine ’hoes chest, slack bitch
early rock yes jellyroll.

she blood dat redbone’s thigh
wif sweat sharp razor
cut yo’ cunt out red bitch!”
early rock, jellyroll.

From Sun 4, no. 2 (Spring 1975): 133

“the bright one”

                                             for H.D.

that old gaud, Joy, chary
of the garrulous charms
(thick smoke and thin fire)

done been through wif you too
so much that her marrow
is smoky, and the fire

is not so perilous. 

1. Poems 1–4 in the “roi rogers” series were published in Tom Weatherly, Maumau American Cantos (New York: Corinth Books, 1970).

2. This poem was also published in Weatherly’s joint publication with Ken Bluford, Climate/Stream (Philadelphia: Middle Earth Books, 1972)

3. An extended and modified version of this poem appears as  “to john wieners” in Tom Weatherly, Thumbprint (Philadelphia/New York: Telegraph Books, 1971).

4. This poem was also published in Climate/Stream; a revised version appears in Tom Weatherly, short history of the saxophone (New York: Groundwater Press, 2006).