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For the first time ever, The Collected works of Lewis Ellingham are available in two volumes! buy your copies today here and here

Master Collected Volume 1

 

Master Collected Volume 2

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A new book of poems for the Summer of 2012:

Buy your copy here

“Each poem catches an experience, an aspect of your [Lewis Ellingham] total life… I can’t help but think of the advantages of the solitary life when I read these poems. How different we are in many ways. I’m busy addressing the world. You just absorb it.”

-William L Lederer, playwright.

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The Sea!

Can I think? Is there is special reason
why this keeps reappearing? why when I
turn my head it is there, a penumbral
shadow? Sitting outside at Maxfield’ s
at the table I’ve been choosing lately —
really the table that has chosen me since
there has been no other available, almost an
arrow from where I place my order, to
where I add half-and-half cream to the
house-blend coffee and stir, then move
toward the door and look to see —
‘Look to see …’ is that it? — ‘Θάλαττα,
θάλαττα, The Sea!’ something from
earlier in life? But it wasn’t there then
or any time before, I never read Xenophon
nor do I know Greek, why? even how?
Exercises: rush my eyes from a place on
the sidewalk, back toward the shadow
hovering above the Dolores Street
crosswalk, the garbage container where
I always throw my paper cup when I
leave the café, but no, just ‘Θάλαττα’
and it’s there, the faces of customers,
the forms of people passing on the
street, blurred, why? I slowly spell
it out ‘th – a – l – a – t – t – a’ just to
shade some space where there is
no thing, just a suggestion. Like, is
the question ‘why?‘ Is there any
question?

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New poems from Lewis Ellingham available at lulu.com

“Lew Ellingham is in his sixth decade of poetic production (Jack Spicer hailed himself and Ellingham, back in the early 60s, as “twins at the same business”) and you’d expect him to get tired as he nears his 80th year, but no, just the opposite, he’s picked up the pace, and our San Francisco spring has infected him with a glory of noticing. His new poems are the best he has ever written; they are fresher than youth, and stride forward without youth’s self-consciousness, yet wet with its beauty.”

-Kevin Killian (novelist, poet, playwright, biographer, editor)

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The Bird Slave

Open your mouth, a

sound may ensue, who

the moon so pure

a wandering monk carries it

across the sand[1]

the breastbone of

a sea otter bleaching

at the Mattole Estuary

daylight, footprints

losing form in wet sand

so close to the sea they

are little seas, hooves

of stilt walkers

somewhere

above, probably above

wherever you are

from Cape Mendocino.

‘Rest assured you

will feel the Wrath

of Ruwanda and

the stick of War!’

Sonia Gandhi’s photo

somehow mothers this

improbable sentiment

the detritus of a lean-to

on the beach, giving us

an approximate date

in the moonlight a worm

silently

drills through a chestnut[2]

once again the sun

has risen, flat painted

boards glow a minute

& a half, no more

we all know about

impermanence

especially the rust on

the fishing boat’s fuel

tank, half buried

harbor seals driven

from harbors by sea

lions bob in the ocean

surf evenly rolling

monotonously except

in suggestion, extending

the Lost Coast and

nomenclature rapt

with temporality

the Mattole Indians

exterminated, joining

the seals at sea

but for a woodpecker

tapping at a post, no sound

at all in the house[3]

due west Japan

is the nearest neighbor

save the whales

calling to migrating birds

to anemones gyrating

toward nudibranchs

Suribachi never plumes

while shrieks are rarely human

jellyfish rise and fall

toward the bird slave

it has a name

you can discover

in the sand, some say

baby mice in their nest

squeak in response

to the young sparrows[4]

no rainbow forms

under its wing even

when the sun catches

the rain

sweeping the beach

decaying trees

stripped of bark

may you be filled with

loving kindness, may

you live in peace & ease[5]

barred-tailed godwits

en route from Alaska to

New Zealand non-stop

as the slave’s wings

close without gender

without shadow

come out to view

the truth of flowers blooming

in poverty[6]

the heart

Lord Kelvin’s

coldest moment

the rough sea –

extending toward Sado Isle,

the Milky Way[7]

in the hills above

the estuary armed

patrols defend

the marijuana crop

in the lagoon diaphanous

mist incubates

the Slave Bird’s egg

ripe with volcanoes

feeding from the eye

a star, a desiccating star

sifts the beach’s sand

poaches basking cetaceans

bakes the dunes, the windswept shrubs

wonder only

cloaks life held

in a breath

dilapidation hides structure

jumbled colors disguise order

torn curtains hint at peace

the bird flutters, readies

its wings to fly

enforcer, silence, wind


[1] a translation from Basho

[2] another translation from Basho

[3] yet another translation from Basho

[4] still another translation from Basho

[5] metta mantras

[6] an instruction noted from Basho

[7] another Basho haiku

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Now available via lulu, Lewis Ellingham’s newest book of poems.  3 narrative poems melding observation, lyricism, and imagery to both poignant and comedic ends, The Wall, The Last Supper, and The City move through time and place via the eyes and voice of the poet. All for the low price of $6 for the paperback edition or $2 for the e-book version. Click the image above to be transported to the purchase page.

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