Poetry Prose and Other Words

by Ken Ingham

home - poems - essays - biography - retroblog - music - other







Blog 1975

Poetry is unilateral communication
A screaming out into the future
For ears that may never exist
It doesn't matter
Write it down
It can feel very good
Even if nobody reads it
Today, tomorrow or ever

Spring, 1975
(with the help of Ali and Kris, five years old)


I am an old American tree
My limbs hang low and free
Boys and girls play under me
I hear and feel what I can't see

I am quiet peaceful and green
I live better than a queen
My branches are long and lean
Birds fly in between

Building their nests way up high
With a good view of the sky
When it rains they wonder why
It makes me sad to hear them cry

When it storms and strong winds blow
That really makes my juices flow
My trunk bends easily to and fro
As in the darkness I stretch and grow

And when the dawn destroys the night
My leaves respond to the wet dim light
Turning up with all their might
Toward the coming sun, warm and bright.

July 1975
a colossal corporate creature
slithers slowly through its own slime
blinded by its own dark emissions
flailing tentacles permanently calloused
insensitive to the quivers of its prey
oblivious to the the health of its host
concerned, like a malignant tumor, only about its own growth

August 8, 1975
There are ten to the tenth stars in a galaxy
They are like atoms in a living cell
The planets like electrons in orbits of Bohr
The sun like a nucleus, radio active, about to decay
And what is the Milky Way?
Perhaps a repressor or an operator gene
Part of a chromosome too large to be seen
And what are we? Fundamental particles?
Those mysterious creatures
Who would have thought there’d be so many of us,
Our existence inferred by the strange devices
Of a higher form of life.
And what are we made of?

In the other direction of space and time
Lies a whole new universe just like mine
With planets and stars comprising atoms
In a giant molecular milky way
Part of a much greater whole
With its own consciousness
Which in turn is part of a still greater extension
Layer after layer beyond comprehension
If you stretch your mind in either direction
You may see the potential connection

September 1975
Do I believe in the devil?
You bet your ass I do
Don’t you?
He’s the one who
Pisses in our streams
Strips our forests bare
Belching out his after-taste
Into our precious air
Gouging through our mountains
Looking for more pay-dirt
Doesn’t give a shit who gets hurt
Wild animals on the verge of extinction
Are given one last chance in the zoo
Clever creature, that devil
He should be run clean through
With a sharp object
Spilling his essence beyond all recognition
But oh so elusive, so difficult to grasp
Embedded into the very fabric of our existence
An institution, no longer subject to its own creator
Oh so modest is his goal
To have all life in his control.

October 1975

          On the Down Side

My poetry writing is on the skids
I’m spending too much time with the kids
I don’t seem to have enough time each week
To do much besides play hide and seek
It's been years since I dangled my line in a stream
Although I read a lot, and I still can dream
Haven’t climbed a mountain or skied down a slope
All I ever do anymore is smoke dope
Its not a bad life and I’m not complaining
But I’d like to take a walk while its raining
My kids would be ready at the first mention
If only I didn’t have to attend that convention
There’s so many things I’d like to do
Like take the kids for a ride in a canoe
And maybe Glenda could come too
We could pack a lunch and something to drink
Go find a stream that doesn’t stink
How about it kids? What do you think?

Am I searching for something, am I reaching out
Yes, I’m trying to stop this internal shout
I’m trying to find a way to be free
From those two characters inside of me
What are they trying to say or to prove
Ones says to work, the other says to groove
On the beautiful things that still exist
Don’t procrastinate, take charge, insist!
Don’t listen to those voices inside
Who only waste time and can never decide
What it is they want to do
Who’s in charge? Me or you?
But I wonder who you are, you other me
And why do I always turn into thee?
Is all this dualism really necessary?
Isn’t there some way I can open a gate
And allow these two guys to communicate?
I should take more time to meditate
That might stop the internal chatter
And help me find out what’s the matter

Is this poetry, who’d want to read it?
Could anyone else really need it?
It’s easy to write, just feed it
With blue brown aggravation
Anger self-pity frustration.