Archives for posts with tag: Richard Brautigan

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THE MEEK SHALL INHERIT THE EARTH’S BEER BOTTLES
Poem by Richard Brautigan

When we were children after the war
we lived for a year in a house next
to a large highway. There were many
sawmills and log ponds on the other side
of the highway. The sound of the saws could
be heard most of the time and when there
was darkness trash burners glowed red
against the sky. We did not have a father
and our mother had to work very hard.
My sister and I got our spending money
by gathering beer bottles that had been
thrown along the highway or left around
the sawmills. At first we carried the
bottles in gunny sacks and cardboard boxes
but later we found an old baby buggy
and we used that to carry our bottles in.
We took the bottles to a grocery store
and were paid a penny for small beer bottles
and two cents for large ones. On almost
any day we could be seen pushing our baby
buggy along the highway looking
for beer bottles. 

PHOTO: “Baby buggy” by Jill Battaglia, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Prints available at fineartamerica.com.

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KAFKA’S HAT
by Richard Brautigan

With the rain falling
surgically against the roof,
I ate a dish of ice cream
that looked like Kafka’s hat. 

Photo: Franz Kafka (1883-1924)

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MY NAME
by Richard Brautigan

I guess you are kind of curious as to who I am,
but I am one of those who do not have a regular
name. My name depends on you. Just call me
whatever is in your mind.

If you are thinking about something that
happened a long time ago: Somebody asked
you a question and you did not know the
answer.
That is my name.

Perhaps it was raining very hard.
That is my name.

Or somebody wanted you to do something.
You did it. Then they told you what you did was
wrong — “Sorry for the mistake,”– and you had
to do something else.
That is my name.

Perhaps it was a game that you played when
you were a child or something that came idly
into your mind when you were old and sitting
in a chair near the window.
That is my name.

Or you walked someplace. There were flowers
all around.
That is my name.

Perhaps you stared into a river. There was
somebody near you who loved you. They were
about to touch you. You could feel this before
it happened. Then it happened.
That is my name.

Or you heard someone calling from a great
distance. Their voice was almost an echo.
That is my name.

Perhaps you were lying in a bed, almost ready
to go to sleep and you laughed at something, a
joke unto yourself, a good way to end the day.
That is my name.

Or you were eating something good and for
a second forgot what you were eating, but still
went on, knowing it was good.
That is my name.

Perhaps it was around midnight and the fire
tolled like a bell inside the stove.
That is my name.

Or you felt bad when she said that thing to
you. She could have told someone else:
Someone who was more familiar with her
problems.
That is my name.

Perhaps the trout swam in the pool, but the
river was only eight inches wide, and the moon
shone on and the watermelon fields
glowed out of proportion, dark, and the moon
seemed to rise from every plant.
That is my name.
****
“My Name” appears in Richard Brautigan‘s novella In Watermelon Sugar (1968), available at Amazon.com.

Photo: ”Forest’s Edge” by Holly Northrop, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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PRIVATE EYE LETTUCE
by Richard Brautigan

Three crates of Private Eye Lettuce,
the name and drawing of a detective
with magnifying glass on the sides
of the crates of lettuce,
form a great cross in man’s imagination
and his desire to name   
the objects of this world.
I think I’ll call this place Golgotha
and have some salad for dinner.

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“In Watermelon Sugar the deeds were done and done again as my life is done in watermelon sugar.” RICHARD BRAUTIGAN, In Watermelon Sugar (novel, 1968)

ARTWORK: “Watermelon” screenprint, 1979, by Andy Warhol, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED, The Estate of Andy Warhol.

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KAFKA’S HAT

Poem by Richard Brautigan

With the rain falling
surgically against the roof,
I ate a dish of ice cream
that looked like Kafka’s hat. 

Photo: Franz Kafka (1883-1924)

THE MEEK SHALL INHERIT THE EARTH’S BEER BOTTLES

Poem by Richard Brautigan

When we were children after the war
we lived for a year in a house next
to a large highway. There were many
sawmills and log ponds on the other side
of the highway. The sound of the saws could
be heard most of the time and when there
was darkness trash burners glowed red
against the sky. We did not have a father
and our mother had to work very hard.
My sister and I got our spending money
by gathering beer bottles that had been
thrown along the highway or left around
the sawmills. At first we carried the
bottles in gunny sacks and cardboard boxes
but later we found an old baby buggy
and we used that to carry our bottles in.
We took the bottles to a grocery store
and were paid a penny for small beer bottles
and two cents for large ones. On almost
any day we could be seen pushing our baby
buggy along the highway looking
for beer bottles. 

 

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MY NAME

by Richard Brautigan

I guess you are kind of curious as to who I am,
but I am one of those who do not have a regular
name. My name depends on you. Just call me
whatever is in your mind.

If you are thinking about something that
happened a long time ago: Somebody asked
you a question and you did not know the
answer.
That is my name.

Perhaps it was raining very hard.
That is my name.

Or somebody wanted you to do something.
You did it. Then they told you what you did was
wrong — “Sorry for the mistake,”– and you had
to do something else.
That is my name.

Perhaps it was a game that you played when
you were a child or something that came idly
into your mind when you were old and sitting
in a chair near the window.
That is my name.

Or you walked someplace. There were flowers
all around.
That is my name.

Perhaps you stared into a river. There was
somebody near you who loved you. They were
about to touch you. You could feel this before
it happened. Then it happened.
That is my name.

Or you heard someone calling from a great
distance. Their voice was almost an echo.
That is my name.

Perhaps you were lying in a bed, almost ready
to go to sleep and you laughed at something, a
joke unto yourself, a good way to end the day.
That is my name.

Or you were eating something good and for
a second forgot what you were eating, but still
went on, knowing it was good.
That is my name.

Perhaps it was around midnight and the fire
tolled like a bell inside the stove.
That is my name.

Or you felt bad when she said that thing to
you. She could have told someone else:
Someone who was more familiar with her
problems.
That is my name.

Perhaps the trout swam in the pool, but the
river was only eight inches wide, and the moon
shone on and the watermelon fields
glowed out of proportion, dark, and the moon
seemed to rise from every plant.
That is my name.

From In Watermelon Sugar (1968), a novella by Richard Brautigan

Photo: “Forest’s Edge” by Holly Northrop

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A BOAT, Poem by Richard Brautigan

O beautiful
was the werewolf
in his evil forest.
We took him
to the carnival
and he started
crying
when he saw
the Ferris wheel.
Electric
green and red tears
flowed down
his furry cheeks.
He looked
like a boat
out on the dark
water.

Photo by Silver Birch (Street Art, Los Angeles)