Poems by Roy Walford


Music that breathes new tones
I have known to be gathered here
Where the ear is tuned to sounds
Beyond slumber, and the eyes stare

At no real thing. We have all
Commissioned this place
By the sea’s ledge, or in the fall
Of mountains. It were no disgrace

Wheresoever it be found
Perhaps in a small thing
Leaving off seas, mountains, the romanticist’s plumb
Word-ripe, on the tongue bursting

To be the other side of silence
Where wind drives a noiseless and shaking hull
Beyond the clutter of eyelids
Of disastrous genius fulfilled.




the room is 12' x 12' x 9', it’s a
box in space, filled with energy
generated by years of living together,
and as the box gets smaller and smaller, the energy
goes at a faster and faster rate
until they go through zero and infinity together,

which is
like a kiss,
my lovely one,

your very kind, double barreled Chevalier



Nexus, vol. 2 #4, July-Aug. 1965

On a green day they came
Out of the Santa Monica Mountains,
The small-bodied, bug-eyed Martians.
Councilman Rundberg, driving by in his new-crested car,
Late for dinner, annotated the occurrence
Of curious constituents
And physician Longmire who observed them
Crossing Sunder against the light
Considered briefly the appearance of hypothyroidism,
An unusual event in the iodide regions of the sea.
Indeed they were wholly overlooked
Except for dogs, owls, and mice,
The less hurried inhabitants of the city.
Huddled against their rocks,
And halibut and bass joined the cod in the far-out depths,
But as yet no human eye hoisted up a spell-bound lid to stare,
Blue corneas all.

Then however they began to play.
Talk of your electronic music, here was sound
To tickle the thin molecules of space,
Not loud but of a hum peculiar, pecking at the mind
And dexterously tuned by those damned clever Martians
To the wavelengths of beautiful women.

Suddenly lines began to form in the streets.
Everything of about 36-24-36 or thereabouts
Came running out of the houses, jumped out of cars, departed
from the bedsides of patients,

Dropped everything,
Fell into line.
Lena Horne wrinkling up her nose in the middle of a note
As thought she could sniff that Martian music
And a young but not so innocent sweet one threw off her furs to step out
As nude and luscious in the moonlight
As any cucumber salad ever born.

Los Angeles simply disgorged her beauties,
Whereas on her herself, City of Angels,
The spectacle and the night and the music had a powerless-making feeling.
She only stared and stared
While the many lines as the music became hotter and a little louder
became several and coalesced into one great snake of women listening,
Finally together giving a high, long, far-finding carry of sound
And weaving off into the hills to that hickory-swaying undress jazz.

They were never seen of again,
But what really scratched the City of Angels was this:
Not one looked back at all that “culture.”




here at the center of a small reality
in a moment of time that is always now
we pins, stood hastily upright,
hold ourselves tall and watch the ball
advance relentlessly across the hardwood floor

so much like Zeno’s paradox
that I as one have time to shift my attention
to the pale, yellow and brown floor
that shudders under the advance of the ball
that hurtles towards me
towards us all
huddled together, waiting
to see who gets knocked down first

maybe me, maybe all of us, maybe none

oh! it arrives, a little off center
a swish of black rattling wood that makes

I tremble, but I stand
three go down, three comrades
knocked into spins
they spin
and are taken out

by the boy
oh fallen comrades
we remaining pins
will stand for you
a little while longer.



Invisible City 11:12, 1974


Faugh upon relations between people!

but to sing the impenetrable lovesong
of lying down among cats and trees
in the blue garden

the thinking man’s pleasure is a blue garden
before the miraculous surgeon absconds with is ribs
for his experiments

Pretty idea of a girl - but just that, the idea -

I will walk before you in time in the blue garden in the cool day,
scratch the heads of my tigers, rub my back on the junipers,
there, where it itches:

I may not even create you.



Your smiles are visible for miles around
in Nuyorican city where the playpeople say
come to where you can be righteously spellbound
but don't expect to be allowed to stay

ICE GODDESS, presiding over kingdoms of the frankly lost
in a morning room
who is removed, who is reserved for whom
can pay the devastating cost

arriving home you tell the taxicab to wait
while you dispense a meager kiss at your exclusiuve gate
you're the cryogenic antidote to Mr. Death
Love falls flat frozen when he sucks in your breath

ICE GODDESS, you are a panic panegyric synergizer
you make us wiser
than we were, cruising the corridors that lie outside
of all we know

(spoken voice)
But the question before Congress is,
In these United States of Experience,
Is she good when she's thawed?

You can be the firstest Lady in the Presidential suite
while diplomats outside are kept stamping their feet
and I bring fire stolen from nuclear clouds
to turn your chilly altars into boiling ponds

But ICE GODDESS, in this great land of ours
to which I pledge allegiance in my offset hours
I'll celebrate your constitutional right
to be wholly alone all night

well all right, well all right
to be wholly alone all night
well all right, well all right
to be wholly alone all night

(spoken voice)
all .........the long .........night!




LOVESONG (for Yasmine)

By a low, large brown building
A hacienda of sorts
I am

And before darkness
Is no more followed by light
Before time stops
And rusts
And disappears
And sight
Blurs into the final clouded stare
Let there be
Songs for her to be remembered by
Made by me, in homage to my love

My task is
To gather the web of memory
Alone, no god can help
And make a space
In the last stronghold
There to build
Whatever I am building
Into being
Word by word

It began upon a time
That seems
Ancient, a text in tongues
There was nothing and then there was

Nonlinear, unbounded, unexpurgated
Left face right face two sides
In those eyes
I am seen

By a low large brown building
A hacienda of sorts
Where she also stands, motionless among thorny trees
And in those eyes
The moment moves forward
Enlarges, closes around me
I hear
The openning of books
A hundred voices
Reading in silence
The march of Alexander
And Siphonesba centuries later
Rising to the occasion





She said, Do you have any tablets?
And he, Only the Tablets of the Law.

hence the found object which is a garden
grows in a dirty place
under grass stilettos
in rusty shade
and the smiling dog of the garden cries,

Welcome, Master, O Welcome, you’ve come to me at last:
Let me tell you the news:

the burning trees are friends.
they’ve been standing this long time
on their roots
as carefully as possible,
but waiting and burning
and have not spoken.

go speak to them now
in their own language,
then be still.

it’s not all trees and dog flowers and fangs.

you who go into the garden have to fathom it,
decide what seas what shores what gray rocks and
what’s to be taken out, in fact and on foot.

do something more than just

She said, Do you have any gum?
He said, It’s all that holds me together.
She said, Who’s together?




If I take a white-knuckled grip on language

Make my nouns reductionist bedfellows
Reluctant only to resist
The abstract expression of being.

What then am I to do with Pound, Williams, Eliot?
in this palace of construction?
Invoke them?
What would they do here?
Subscribe to the illusion?
Bend elbows? Suspend vision?

O come to my behest
If you want to be bequeathed
The apple of choice


Venus and the Lord of Butterflies

They set forth today

my little creatures
heading east by northeast

a gift
to you
the Lord of Butterflies
the gift of love
born on fragile yet determined little wings
ceaselessly beating through driving wind and rain et cetera
across a great continent
my butterflies
open your heart
and let them in etcetera




This is a love letter
A first love letter
It rushes in on scared little feet
(if I don’t try all,
I won’t get nothin’, it thinks)
And dips a toe in the water
Is it hot? Is it cold?
It makes me tingle!

This is a horny love letter
Slick as a licked dick
It makes yr nipples, hard as cactus
Stand up like they were singing
The National Anthem

This is a sensitive love letter
So sensitive it makes you almost faint with
“Oh my God, he’s finally got it.”

This is a macho love letter
The kind you love to hate
“I’m comin’ down, gal,
me the 10-ton mountain man
from my thundering roost
My armpits are grizzly bears
And I got a pole that would awe a sawmill.
Don’t be scared.




All ye followers, follow not
All ye leaders, lead not
All ye havers, have not
And piss in the pot

All ye buzzards, buzz not
All ye lovers, love not
All ye beings, be not
And piss in the pot

All ye see’ers, see not
All ye listeners, listen not
All ye fuckers, fuck not
And piss in the pot

All ye slayers, slay not
All ye players, play not
And all soothsayers, say not
And all tax payers, pay not
And piss in the pot

And ye hum-dingers, ding not
And ye Sing-Singers, sing not
And ye hot trotters, trot not
And piss in the pot

And when the pot is filled up
And we are all riled up,
And the pot begins to sing
Won’t that be a dainty dish
To set before the King!