More on the Neal Cassady letter

The Daily Experiment, new poem by Peter Sherburn-Zimmer

The Daily Experiment


That Art Thou, Also

A. Shadow Light

The significance of speculative mysticism

…does it wither on the branch?


He read from the madman today

From the Zen master—

Little difference in the morning light,

Feels so much like afternoon light,

Lying heavy on my left shoulder,

Blocking out the sight of the world:

Outside no where ( illogical )

or Monk’s Life.


Breaking into the soundless day

The radio speaks its own voice

Loud loud loud to wake the sleeping

Open eyed deafness— Sakyamuni.


But she said we could think about her,

Inundated with paper & fire this morning

So we share silence.

He’s now out of energy and in pain…shoulder, etc.


B. Multi-verses


She lusted after my furniture yesterday

…round table in my bedroom, nightstand/stool

and the tall chairs in the hall.


Mr. Kabbala says Israel is trying to contain a disease in Gaza.

We’d told him we wanted to hear a Jewish view of the situation.

Now we get it: a de-humanization of human beings

as a ‘disease’ needing containment and eradication.


She said forward the filled out form to her

so she can check it over…don’t send it directly …

… still coughing a lot.

We talked about her sister’s visit.


Believe it, like his friend, takes his inability

to handle his own affairs quite seriously,

at least in terms of fire and paper, scissors and rock.


Is depression manufactured?

…precisely a topic

we talked about yesterday,

from her point of view.


C. Break


Responding to what I hear on the radio this morning:


Long term unemployment

begets un-employability

… barring … barring blah blah blah..


He can imagine that if he owned a gun

he would be in prison for ‘misusing’ it…

that’s why he don’t own a gun.


D. Time


In and out

Of the withered branches

The river current



How he misses you reading

Poetry in public

Day in

Day out


Every day is too long for him now

Weeks months in the making

Fade into

‘What can I do next?

Walk my feet

Remember the afternoon

Forty years ago

So recent sublime’


E.  Devadaha Sutta

                                — Buddha contra the Jains…

It is in the present

the past and future


in the present


beyond the gasp

logic and words

we break open kamma.







10 Best Books of 2014 according to the New York Times

Tea Time; a new poem by Neeli Cherkovski


For T. S. Eliot

no — you are expected to take a few words
from the Homeric tablet — sit in your kitchen
drinking tea — ordinary black tea
such as Lipton or a rare box, either way
you boil water before putting in the tea –
if you go to the land of the dead
for a quick visit be sure to test your acumen
when it comes to conversing
with the spirits, otherwise you might
waste your time and return sick enough
you’ll never recover

this is real – we have rituals
head plunked onto shoulder
with little care – it’s sobering
to drive north, hide in a motel room for two days
to clear the mind – go to an all night
restaurant, order pancakes with sugarless
syrup and a glob of butter –round it off
with two eggs, four slices of bacon, a coffee, and
a glass of nonfat milk

the prophets were correct to rant at the people
for their slovenly ways and punctured hearts
they took an ax to propriety – war was right –
mayhem prevailed, men wrote down lies
and called it verse, the lamb ate the lion
entire nations disappeared – the wise
sat in cafes and drank hot tea

as for sanity, spare me, go see a moon doctor
ask her to saw your mind in half, you never did
listen well or follow instruction to a “T”
now you pay for everything in a chamber –
words turn into fountain pens

love, which you cherish, is another diamond
in the unattainable future as you prepare
to make use of “The Wasteland” in new ways
befitting a century of terror – train your soul
to listen, not to the music, nor to the muse
but to the teapot – choose your weapon –
open the Door –prop the windows for a
morning breeze – go down on the earth, please

Neeli Cherkovski
Dece 15, 2014

Cassady Letter Auction Canceled

You could kind of see this one coming too.

Best Things of the Week 12/15/14

Best Things of the Week

December 15, 2014


Best Thing I Heard All Week: Randy Newman sings Blue Monday.  Continuing with last week’s obsession with New Orleans piano—Henry Butler, Dr. John—I’ve been listening to Goin’ Home: A Tribute to Fats Domino which features two discs worth of artists of various calibers covering The Fat Man. Newman jumps out as the best of the bunch, sounding weary when work is over and hungover when appropriate (“Sunday mornin’ my head is bad…”), bewildered when Monday once again turns out to be a mess all the while doing great justice to his most obvious antecedent. It is the prototypical Newman song, the framework for an entire career; drolly funny with a slightly obtuse central character, a light application of social conscience and a rollicking piano to push everything along. Elsewhere there are terrific cuts from Neil Young, Los Lobos, Norah Jones, Taj Mahal, Bonnie Raitt, and Toots & The Maytals. It’s easy enough to skip some of the more dubious contributions from Robbie Robertson, Herbie Hancock, and a seemingly sleep-deprived Willie Nelson, but it’s all in pretty good fun. Fats’ originals are collected on many, many greatest hits collections, most definitively on The Imperial Singles 1950 – 62 which, at four CDs, is way more than anyone but the most ravenous fan needs.

Best Thing I Read All Week: James Salter, Burning the Days.  “The then and now are intertwined, the dimming past and the present. Like an enduring disease there are the dreams.”  At 87, James Salter wrote the best-selling All That Is (2013). He is the last of the WWII generation of writers—Hemingway’s children— who dominated American letters in the four decades after the war, and he shares with them a love of beautiful women, Paris, New York, airplanes, Hemingway, Henry Miller, cars, money, Rome, booze, and writing. He comes off as more modest, less of a braggart, than his contemporaries perhaps because he fought in the relatively-forgotten air war over Korea instead of the more-romanticized big battles in Europe and the Pacific. Maybe this is how I managed to overlook his work until recently. His 1997 look back, Burning the Days, he calls ‘recollection’ rather than ‘memoir’ which is more accurate. The book has less structure than the standard memoir, instead reading like a series of reveries, discursive and doubling back on itself; “…leaning towards the fragmentary…startling glimpses, lines, unexpected details…” The section on his West Point training and his war experiences are some of the best stuff written on mid-twentieth century war—right up there with the more celebrated Mailer, Jones, Styron and Heller. The section on his career as a screenwriter and his years in literary society are wonderful as well. Known as a ‘writer’s writer,’ the only snippet he offers that could be remotely construed as advice is: “Art, in a sense, is life brought to a standstill, rescued from time. The secret of making it is simple: discard everything that is good enough.”

by Byron Spooner

The Village Voice picks favorite books

This is a typically quirky list from the Village Voice:

Past Lives Passed, a poem by Peter Sherburn-Zimmer

Past Lives Passed


During the Renaissance, I worked in the stable,

Just as I’d worked in the barn in the Middle Ages,

As I have worked in the factory in earlier incarnations during this lifetime.


Thus, always happy to see the sun go down

Even on the shortest day of the year.

Breath in. Breath out.

Ayelet Waldman on the New York Times Notable Books of 2014

Cassady/Kerouac Letter–Things Get Complicated

I guess this was just about inevitable: