For several years beginning in 1973, I wrote poetry as T.C. Carawan. From the older to the newer poems, some are presented here. For the reader, I hope you find them a creative diversion. This collection is copyright 2017-2019 by Talmage Carawan Jr, with all rights reserved. It is available with better formatting and other writing in traditional book form. The use of many different wordprocessors on several operating systems has taken its toll. All of course, first written the most reliable way, by hand.
Essays on P.G. County, #2 College Park, 1974 1.
We rock at the grimy window laughing,
waving past the bars to street judges,
who deem us crazy.
I know the only denim ones who smile
and stop to wave back are drunk and wanting
only to see your breasts break cleavage as you bounce.
They dig it when you blow them a kiss and stroke
your black leather jacket so black and dense
as a black hole in space.
Last call’s been given, the doors are all locked,
the men outside can only look with grins for you,
but with envious malice for me.
We turn from the window and shuffle to the bar,
I feel we are a commercial drinking Black Label.
Your friend with the blonde hair streaked with grease
says to me upon ready for leaving,
“Take her home, but don’t touch her.”
We both laugh yes, with your hand crawling down
the back of my pants, reaching around for my crotch,
and we weave through smoke to the door.
And on the bike you let me reach around to stroke you
during red lights.
Leather on skin arouses us.
We are alone at the side of the road
our only neighbor a Roadway semi-van resting large, silently,
a sleeping dinosaur half-mile down the shoulder-
there is more life in the trees and in the grass
we play with between making love.
We get high,
the road becomes a flat snake crushed by gravity.
We are the highway,
waiting for the sun to rise and say go west.
Double Vision 1974, College Park
I turn the eight of your football jersey
sideways, marking off your breasts
like a traffic circle
in double vision.
Your eyes shine a green light,
and my hands turn over and around that eight
about the wheel
of a racing machine-
the road rising,
with each breath,
A sudden stop-
Your moods are brakes smacking me into a red light.
Caterpillars College Park 1975
Do you still row old boats after midnight
like we used to do at the garden lakes,
Where moonlit caterpillars nocturnally crawled
upon thousands of tiny legs which we saw
roll into a ball off the black leaves,
And fall onto the ground
where round, too round
to metamorphose into a more graceful creature,
they lay buried in the earth,
which protected them
yet did not let them fly.
I wonder now too
if black water,
played upon by the moon,
saw you roll into a ball away from that moon
and that water rocking our boat,
and like the caterpillars rolling, falling
away from me.
Now round, too round.
without a place for me to
to put my hand to hold,
no, too round.
to the glass
bumps his nose
and drops chewing
faced to the litter.
Nothin’s better than a candy apple
Sun doesn’t make the blues smile
the way fudge on a candy apple
tugs at the teeth of a sad face, pulls and
snaps thoughts to wrap them swirling,
where the goal becomes
survival of the mouth,
it’s white juices dreams to settle any thirst of life.
Socrates and the Match London 2008
Socrates lit a match
smoked his tea
and then thought, and quickly too, about the match,
because it burned him.
the minutes of an hour
reduce in sleep
with you in color
no depth only
a surface luminescence
left, right, left, right,
A light bring on then of as quick
leaves Freudian ink blot
marching on fuzzed glow.
Why T.T. True left jail
The jail cell at Seat Pleasant
could not keep you entertained for long-
they had no beer on tap there.
No chance to reach an empty mug
across a bar to pour a free draft
while the bartender is busy,
no chance to get drunk while
the waiters gathered courage to
throw you back to the street.
You are are down
from the cold north lands.
Rejoice in the Sun and Sea and Sail
and I rejoice in you.
We knew from the moment
that we arrived,
we could not go back.
But we are intoxicated
by Sensations and Liquors
and can not plan ahead.
Our money leaves us
freeing us of this burden.
Our hearts and minds belong now
to the islands and to each other.
We nest on deck every night,
the moonless starlit tropical night,
if we died tonight in each other’s arms,
it will be all right.
Senior Class Trip
Georgia jewels and Flipper smiling,
this Greyhound’s bound for Florida.
North Florida Day
Palms and pines and scrub oaks
a balmy day, a dreamy slow day
So balmy are the palms and I
Flight to Japan North Pacific Ocean, 2006
Meditating on Vajrayana,
It is a knife edge between depression
and elation, enlightenment,
that knife edge is compassion.
Choose it above all else,
this loving kindness,
and fall gracefully to happiness
and complete bliss.
This Japanese airliner,
ANA, so cool, so calm.
Efficient and beautiful
are the stewardesses.
Service so noble.
Watching in flight TV of the view from the cockpit
Darting glances out the window from the cabin.
No night, all daylight
from Friday into Saturday
as we fly over the Bering Sea,
there is Russia to the right.
Very little water to drink,
my thirst not settled so easily
as the Japanese with their greater discipline.
We climb to 40,000 feet high
It is -74 degrees (Fahrenheit)
one foot to the left of my window
so the TV says.
A double day with many numbers,
Wide awake, I am a sponge waiting for any soaking.
A monk in the middle seat, what joy!
He reads a Buddhist text and sits quietly, meditating,
still, calm, role model.
I turn off my little TV and rest
and then we are there,
dropping down out of the sky,
over fishing fleets and the Japanese land
Jazz at the Sculpture Garden on Friday the 13th, 7 Poems
Washington DC, 2009
1. Boring Oafs
When distracted, again and again
by a boring oaf, while first
trying to read T.S. Elilot, and then
listening to a string of surprisingly mellow jazz tunes
(had been bob a la Tal Farlow, turning to Joe Pass, but now a
kind of Brazilian Bill Frisell),
And having little mind left for writing,
write of boring oafs.
2. Tall Blonde in a Yellow Dress
Tall blonde in a yellow dress
parading about the sculpture garden
displaying her new breasts, or not,
real perhaps, simply proud of her
thin yet shapely body,
tall, blonde, full of foreign intrigue,
We catch each others eyes again and again and again
yet I am so weary of failed relationships and the memory
of your lashing out at me yesterday on our dog walk.
So I sit and try to read and write and listen to the jazz.
At last, her blind date appears, or at least someone less whipped than I.
Though sadly, I am simply lashed on the arm and back
by leashes, and not your pussy, as I used to be, last year,
soon to be the year before last.
Perhaps I should chase the blonde in the yellow dress,
but now she is gone. But wait,
there she is, not with the blind date but with three black women,
laughing, smiling, and now I have boring oafs on both sides of me,
bookends to a rather boring book, sitting here, writing, sneaking glances
at the blonde woman. If only,
she had gone, I’d have an excuse and could forget about her. So I
simply sit, dumbly, broken, with id, ego, libido all gone.
You would blame it on all the Buddhism, I now don’t even blame me.
No blame, no flame, no fury or bang, not even smoke,
cigarettes in society now taboo, too much, that would simply be too much.
For Lent next year, I’ll give up beer.
Out of my league?
No, I don’t think I’m on a team at this point.
Not playing much.
Indeed, when I think of the high maintenance of a pretty girl,
I think (perhaps I am thinking too much, or writing too much about thinking)
better dead than whipped!
Ah, the jazz kicking in, OK and with the help of the wine…
Yes, I am a free man! Thank the Buddhas!
And icing on that cake of freedom,
At least half hour later, the blind date has returned,
still smiling but with effort and perspiring,
having gone to get her a bottled water.
And you, wondering what I’m doing, writing, be careful or
I’ll write about you, but no worry, you are forgotten,
(originally, the last line was written vindictive readhead, changed to redhead, then changed back again)
3. Don’t Look for Love, a Song
If you look for love,
it can’t be found,
it’s not anywhere to be seen.
It just happens, if it is going to be,
to be clear about / just be keen.
Water will sooner boil for tea,
So relax, take off your shoes,
Just let it be.
Last year, love found me,
An angel dropped from heaven,
just walked in front of me.
But she didn’t see it,
didn’t feel it,
and so love just disappeared.
I was ready to have a fit,
to yell and cry and say,
“what about me?”
But it does not good,
it doesn’t pay to plead,
So relax, take off your shoes,
just let it be.
4. For Charles Bukowski
Love won’t find me,
I’m running away
When angels get mean
and down on your ass.
5. For Eric Clapton
I knifed the muse,
but I did not kill the whimsy.
6. Sculpture Garden, Six Six Eight
(alt title: Friday Jazz, Sculpture Garden, Six Thirteen Oh Eight)
No muse tonight,
too hot, too humid,
My hand sticks to the paper as I write.
So many people, with nothing to do, gawk and stare,
take a break, stuff the face, then back to gawk and stare.
As I do, the pretty girls in thin, gauzy dresses and
clinging, push up halters, parade,
no relaxing for today’s breasts, no sagging permitted, must hold
them high and separated.
And what of tight jeans in the humidity?
Unforgivable, unstretchable, but warm, hot,
a look nonetheless,
and more so the tighter they be.
High heels? Who cares.
The action’s above the knee, sweetheart,
the thighs, the crotch, breasts, lips, eyes,
who has time for feet?
So I told you, I can’t write tonight,
nothing worthwhile anyway,
But whoa, a hen party in tight cocktail dresses,
hardly walking in those high heels,
it’s another Three Cosmo Showing of Sex in the City.
no sagging, no tripping, it’s showtime at the sculpture garden
Free jazz on a hot summer night in the city.
7. Dynamite Duck (from cbs rules of engagement)
Computer solicitation of a date with a woman from Oxford
I’ll return you something,
offer some part of my soul,
bare some place in my mind,
having, nay, never, having been found
it may be full of light,
fully dark, we know not yet.
but with our selves, discover with
another, that which lies
hidden, inviting and waiting.