Alan Davis Drake


(Not for Print / Reading
Intended for Audiobook Use Only)

                      I'm not interested in the theater.
                                             S. Beckett

why is it always about me,
this tin thin-structured Manhattan
memory of a life half built
wanting to be this but that
while never particularly welcoming
like kitty rubbing full long body against
your leg while padding on to another leg
                            or table or couch
contact by proximity without grasping
leaving but a few tender hairs behind beyond
between constructing nothing
moving through with grace as in the dust
folks think kitty indifferent or secretly
sinister or calculating or fueled with
feline sardonics never sarcasm while
exact instant now, seductive
secret language of stay stay listen listen
pad padd one paw before the other
without the necessary or inevitable exegesis
(that would not anyway be fully claro) until
kitty moves in memory too
                               who cat who catter
keeper of litter and dry or canned sustenance
who why is it barely about me
thick countryscape explanation built on
unsubstantiations like dogs whose each
of ours is seven to their chronological years
or mental ages anthropomorphism in extremis
not only thick but dense inevitably placed on
the deforestation queue extinct gadabout
riff with PTSD or Panic Disorder or innocuous
depression without pets without pats without
a mother's deep caress
                               clueless who-less
why never about me in the opening dawn
dewdrops moonless in the craftless new again sun
tiptoeing where no toes tip trembling in awake
       birds wind their sound
                                     apples ripening
mountains shedding their rounding shoulders
the breathing speck once a river of appellations
                   dance of
off me welcoming why whistling whylessness
in the bright morning breath       sva!      Ah!

Why Yochi's Third Wife Collects Temple Bells

Yochi's third wife has no formal name.
She has not taken vows or donned robes.
She avoids ritual. She wears inner light.

She wakes her bells in the morning
In the afternoon or any time of night.
Yochi does not know when they will sound.

Third wife suffers from no suffering.
When she coughs, she takes off her hat.
When her throat is dry she sings a song.

When arthritis turns her fingers to hot knots,
She shakes her head and walks the temple dogs.
Swans wait patiently for her to capture their portraits.

Without formal name, family call her Fair Haven,
Neighbors call her Green Thumb, strangers call her Welcome
Report the mornings she rides the windhorse across the beach.

After Yochi left First Wife and then Second Wife, he took a third.
He gave Third Wife a gift of the Emperor's Temple Gong Mallet.
Third wife instructed him: "Play the Square Gong of the Deaf"

and Yochi experienced thought as soundless cloud.
Afterwards Third Wife began collecting bells of many metals as
Swans quaddled crossing the road, as geese barked in the sky.

Daily she sounds her singing bells in the morning in the afternoon
or any time of night —without entering Open Secret temple.

Holy Hoofers Hooves

once or twice a month there's a new reinterpretation of jesus
one simpler another more complex one coded another open palmed
one traditional one historical no make that two or three even four
perhaps certainly jesus the practical down-to-earth not quite
existential humanist appears published by small presses or
i haven't looked carefully could they be university presses providing
i've noticed and have always been uncertain confused between the difference
or the need for a shoe cleaner and/or a shoe polisher when both are packaged
almost identically with cleaner cleaning and the polisher polishing or perhaps
better said covering and me wondering do i need to first clean or can i just
cover the dirt down there on my shoes that are anyways always kicking about
on surfaces that who knows what's been dropped upon what my shoes are
lugging about five minutes after i've gone to the trouble to both clean and
polish or buff or especially at a shoe-shine spot at Grand Central or Penn
Station where the glunk on the brush is transfered from one man's dirty
shoe to another and no matter how hard anyone tries they aren't getting
those street worn postprimordial Doc Martins or St. Martins new again

About the Author

Alan Davis Drake: educator, actor, and poet. Born in Brooklyn, graduate of SUNY New Paltz and a Buddhist seminary. Currently lives 1,867 feet from the ocean in a flat neighboring state, forever keeping in mind Ulster Park naturalist John Burroughs' words: "What is life without dense woods, rock out-croppings, the surprise of a sun-lit clearing, the rugged ups and downs of an unexplored trail, or quietude at the bank of a deep mountain lake?" He edited/published archæ magazine, Roundout Review, and other journals.

His earliest published poem, in his teens, appeared in the Hartfort Courant, but he does not remember where others might be found in print, as he does not keep records. In 40+ years he has written thousands of lost poems for friends, family, magazines, and the wind. Available though are numerous audiobooks and podcasts, from studio and public performance, with him reading the works of defunct poets and fictionists; many recordings are available at the iTunes Store and elsewhere. His own poems are sculpted and baked at varying temperatures —to be read aloud and tasted. He maintain several websites, none of which are complete.

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