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Saturday 3 December 2011

4 a.m.: Charles Deemer


Image, Source: digital file from intermediary roll film

Sign, late summer 1941

Waking up to pee
at 4 a.m.

it occurs to me that
my weekend has begun

but I don't celebrate
everyone I know

who would go out for coffee
who would go out for breakfast

at 4 a.m.
is dead

Image, Source: digital file from intermediary roll film

Small town main street, late summer 1941

Photos by John Vachon from Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress

4 a.m.: Charles Deemer, from In My Old Age, Round Bend Press, 2011


TC said...

In case anyone wondered, yes, Charles is the brother of Bill.

Poetry must run in the family.

One of the things I like most in the poems I like most is the disguising of exquisite technical expertise within the rough cloak of common and universal experience.

The subtlety of the internal rhyming and off-rhyming here -- "pee"/"me"//"know"/"go"//"m."/"dead" -- brings it all back home for me.

It's almost 4 a.m., I'm up, everybody in the world is dead, and Charles... I'm tipping this cup of terrible Safeway coffee to you, my brother.

And the next lonesome cup (the chaser) I will tip to my all time favourite photographer, John Vachon.

Nin Andrews said...

Very Zen, very pure in its artistic grace and simplicity,

but my mind sadly wandered over to Cain
texting at 4-something in the morning . . .

Apologies for the reference!

So sad how the news fills the brain with garbage.

TC said...


Without even bothering to check, I would bet that by the time you read this comment, Cain will have been Disabled.

But I did hear last night that his Georgia campaign director reported he's feeling "upbeat".

By the by, have you heard the rumour that he was caught late last night in a parking lot in Massachusetts with Emily Dickinson concealed in his glove compartment?

The "astoundingly upbeat" present mood of the entire 1%, as of the va-va-voom Wall Street week, has restored a lot of faith in a lot of hearts, so I suppose Herman is never going to have to worry about being alone.

Ed Baker said...

in this 4 am
I have just read-through posts of yours
that cover the period between those poppies
(Nov 27) and today's

am struck
your 'straight arrow'

flying into the the
Bull's Eye (of the Target):
do check out (actually his entire book)


which opens w an Eliot quote::

We shell not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time

am REALLY REALLY enjoying reading so many of your posts (for the first time) all of a once't !

as Geist (you quote) said/wrote:
it is "an intercourse with nature"

it s a damn shame we "moderns" have contaminated everything ...

what we need right now is that necked girl dancing
in her red dress
14,000 B.C. and yet

ACravan said...

This is very fine and I agree with Nin's description. Herman Cain's undoubted shortcomings notwithstanding, I have been disturbed -- a lot -- by the way the media has pursued and reported this story and Cain really has been convicted in the court of public opinion in ways that seem (at the very least) disproportionate to his proven offenses. I think a shorthand way of saying this is that I cannot ever imagine a black Democratic politician being treated this way, but it's an ugly world, certainly. The Vachon photos are marvelous. As for the "astoundingly upbeat" present mood of the "entire 1%," I must say that if this is/was true (i.e., I mean as of yesterday or the day before), it has probably shifted already and will shift back-and-forth and back-and-forth again every single day. The Volatility Index remains volatile and the Misery Index at, I believe, an all-time high. I think only our members of Congress, the Supreme Court and the Executive Branch and their close friends at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have reason for any sort of permanent optimism. That's why they make their addresses so close to the Treasury. Curtis

Issa's Untidy Hut said...


The poems and great photos ... wonderful. You even get a get-out- jail-free pass for that Cain Dis-Abled pun.

Careful with that Safeway coffee ...


Ed Baker said...

I forgot to name the book.

Robert Ryan's The Strong Eye of Shamanism


aditya said...

Ahh! Beautiful.

Reading every poem out loud is in itself a joy. I really like the lines-

who would go out for coffee
who would go out for breakfast

Don't they look (and when read out loud sound) like they were an Aram Saroyan creation?


It's 4:30 in the morning, it's always 4:30 in the morning.

C. Bukowski

TC said...


Lovely, and I'm afraid that I'm probably going to need it.


Bukowski was certainly right about that, and perhaps about everything else as well.

And now I must run
As it's four-thirty-one


As Citizen Cain, the Pizza Prince of the Neo-Paleolithic, once might have said, You can blindfold me and my little pocket heat-seeker will always find the Target. (He's a Discount Shopper).


In my humble view, the only proven offense on Cain's slate lies in the magnitudinous chutzpah of thinking that because you can sell cruddy food, you should qualify to be the President of the United States.

I don't care about his harems. He really gave the game away when he was asked whether he approved US policy toward Libya. Er, uh... and during that long blackout moment it was fully apparent that a. he didn't know what the policy is, and b. he didn't, for that matter, know where Libya is. Let's see... is that the one next to Myanmar? Or wait, that's a kind of kitty cat, isn't it or...

I mean puh-leeze.

If that sort of candidacy does not offend an American with an IQ higher that 2.6, there is simply no hope left in the bin.

Dragging race into this no-contest argument is a non-starter.



Yes to all of this -- the poem (which when I was reading it I thought was yours -- but a bit grim, perhaps, happily -- another night awake over in Berkeley), the photos, the close reading of poem, "Cain . . . Disabled" (caught with Emily Dickinson concealed in his glove compartment, talk of "the 'Astoundingly Upbeat' mood of the entire 1%" (oh goodness), the Volatility and Misery Indices which, according to Curtis, "has probably shifted already and will shift back-and-forth and back-and-forth again every single day." Where is Libya, who can tell?


light coming into sky above black plane
of ridge, jet passing above pine branch
in foreground, wave sounding in channel

another aspect of that when,
objects in space and

figures, against which such
as become, that from

cloudless blue sky to the left of point,
shadowed canyon of ridge across channel

ACravan said...

Well (summing things up ahead of East Coast evening), Cain's gone but this poem is still ticking. As for Libya policy, Cain's response to the question notwithstanding, I'm still a little confused on the subject. I suppose one can always raise eyebrows, shrug shoulders, mutter "realpolitik" or "fog of war" and shuffle on. That seems to be how the game is played in the big leagues. Curtis

Anonymous said...

Where is good in our parts, Tom, for a 4 a.m. breakfast & coffee?