sweep the basement floor.
burn the feathers, the parings,

the incense.

burn it all.
let nothing remain.
of the air,

burn the air.
the dust in the air.

burn it all.

burn the bridges of air,
the rivers of air,
the stones and the koi
of the rivers.

but first,

gather the feathers and parings
from the basement floor.

come sweep them
into a burning basket.

and then,

to bed,
to sleep,
to dream

once more.



sounds in the night:

footsteps on the stairs,
spiders on the ceiling,
a creaking bed.
an old man cursing.


open the windows.
open the doors.

the guests are coming.

in twos and threes,

on foot. on feet.
on hands and knees.


the guests,
the guests are coming.

the guests


“My poetry is concerned with process, not content, with how I say it, rather than with what I say. Neither does it have any intended meaning, other than its interior form and structure. It seeks neither to inspire nor move the reader, but only to briefly disrupt their aesthetic state-of-consciousness, much as an acid trip might — and even that, for no apparent reason.”  ~L.G. Corey       


a city can be moved,
but not a well,

nor the capstone
of a well (an empty well),

a well of many colors
like Joseph’s coat

lying crumpled in a corner
of the empty well,

next to pearls
that were once his eyes.



Platypus Press is a new boutique publisher from the UK focusing on poetry, and I recently had the privilege of reading two books from their small catalogue of titles.

sausalitoSausalito Poems, 1959-1961 by L. G. Coreycovers the poet’s years in that small but storied enclave of San Francisco. As he says in his preface:

“These poems grew out of the years I spent on the streets, in the bars, squatting in derelict houseboats, and getting high with my friends and lovers in Sausalito, California, during its halcyon days. I was 25 then; I’m 81 now.”

The poems in this collection reflect the charmed imagination of an irascible dreamer looking back at his glory days. They are at times perhaps too direct, too unfiltered by poetic refraction, but they are peppered with wild imagery and clever turns of phrase, as in Phantom Houseboats:

“buying thoughts
of sounds inside the walls,
of unkind strangers, and
of wolves blowing down the dream.”
– page 21

The imagery of the collection blends the wildness of nature, the dark mischief of classic fairy tales, and high mythology of the Bible, all distorted through the crass and gritty lens of early 1960s California, as in Brief Encounter:

“‘There were cinders in my eyes
and God between my legs,
and spittle on my chin
and you laughing,

‘Little pig, little pig, let me come in!’”
– page 43

I can easily imagine these poems being read aloud, and that is perhaps their best setting. One pictures Corey intoning the following poem with just the right blend of wistful sincerity and winking impishness:

“Shredded newspapers
litter the floor
where I slept last night

and dreamed
of other rooms,
other voices,

other things
I should have done,
but did not do to you

in the closet.”
– page 31

The collection does, as I said, lack a certain poetic polish, but I imagine so did Sausalito in 1959. It’s an enjoyable and brief look at a few years that indelibly impacted this poet.


something grows
inside me,

like a pearl
inside an oyster.,

or an egg
inside a chicken.

something growing.

for straws,
the stars,
the moon.

I have sixpence in my pocket
and stardust in my eyes,
and an ache around my heart
where once the moon marked time

and condum-
littered oyster beds
of hungry walrus’s
and scheming carpenters

putting out to sea
in a little green boat
with a calico sail

and a bucket of bouillabaisse
for afternoon tea.



there is no center.
neither left nor right,
top nor bottom.

everything disperses.
everything becomes granulated
like powdered sugar on a pastry.

nothing remains.
nothing endures
to remind one second of the other
as they split apart like atoms
in a queer accelerator

situated at the end of time.



out to sea.

to the edge.
to the fine line

between the distance
between two points

and a view of hemlock
in the darkling mirror
behind the mermaids

(beware the mermaids)

and beware the bandersnatch
behind them,

leaving a trail of blood
behind them,

out to sea.


I face the faces
that I meet
in smoky streets
and hidden places

I forget in dreams,
standing naked
on a rock
in the River Jordan

where Jesus drowned

and children play
at being hungry fishes
at his bleeding feet

until the cock crows thrice
and they sink like stones,
like faces,

like the faces
that I meet.