Swapping Old Poems

Monday, 28 July, 2014. -( 21˚C / 70˚F @ 11:00 pm in our neck of the woods. )-

I think the following is actually the first poem that I’d written that Doug ever saw. (it was not quite all the way out of the typewriter when Doug stumbled onto it.) (I hardly ever left stuff lying around like that where just any weirdo (( who would have had to been let in, or broken in, or invited – in this case )) could happen to glance the wrong way and realize I wrote poetry now and then. Most of the guys I worked with in those days would have respected the hell out of a porn writer, but would have stepped a couple steps back and wondered how far they were from the nearest door if they know I wasn’t afraid to write poetry.)


       from a bus
                and its many meanings
(armies of idiots smiling
at something they know
but couldn’t understand)
                while many of our good ford’s cars
                string home with
                     how many
                telephone wires for guides
to how many
         finite kitchens
dining rooms and
smiling drunk barbecues and
back yards full of screaming kids and
         “EXIT 4 THREE MILES”
wives who love
         “ONE WAY”
or nag, depending
         “GO RIGHT”
on how long
their marriage has lasted
         “NEXT EXIT 2 MILES”

—————Jim Wellington (1970)


I had typed this on my old electric (suitcase model) portable typewriter. I don’t remember the make or model, but I do remember it was light blue in colour.

Both Doug and I were feeling dumped by our ‘significant others’ (but I had no idea at that time, that he’d been married and forgot something on his way to work, came home to get it and caught his wife ((Now ex-wife)) emptying their house and about to run off “with a van full of crazies from some whacko California Evangelic Christian Commune” with their daughter in tow. Doug, a security guard with a license to carry firearms, was in uniform with the gun on his hip and the crazies took off in a hurry. His wife ran out the back door and across a couple neighbours’ back yards and jumped in the van and left the baby in her car seat on the kitchen table.) So Doug’s suffering was a whole lot deeper and more profound than mine at the time. I hadn’t had a clue.

I also didn’t realize he’d read the piece of paper in the typewriter until a couple days later when he handed me one of his poems (and swore me to secrecy, the company he worked for might not trust a gun toting poet to guard their clients in those days ((1991-ish?)) )


Let’s see if I can format this for Jim…


Walk the northern summer
above an angry sea
lean out over the rocks
your hair flowing regal
your sweater almost forgotten
as the chill can’t touch you now
you’re dreaming
of blond and bearded warriors
laughing drunk
bragging of their adventures
to claim long awaited pleasures
from wild eyed women
spirits high and willing to wrestle
long hours, days of loneliness, over

Viking Princess
your line disinherited
by ancient enemies
long before the twentieth century
revealed madness to the world’s eyes
fires burn within you
you’re hungry for things
you only feel
through fuzzy memories
no man can free you from your questions
But what of this country
this wind swept afternoon
are they not yours to love
doesn’t that lift your spirit

too long without a lover
to help them celebrate this life
to comfort your ghost filled nights
float languid above, away
find a reason not to see
stand with your heart impaled
the smoke behind your mind
moves in ever tighter circles
reach for meaning ( for power and riches? )
stretch to own the sky
call that cosmic consciousness?
curse the devil
he’s you when you keep your heart and mind closed
don’t blame me for your losses
You’ve been looking in the wrong direction
you know love can go stagnant
turn to greed
when you try to keep it
all to yourself
when you value being loved
more than loving
You can’t own anyone
you may only know yourself
but you’ve been through a lot
and that breeds understanding
and understanding can
stop a war before the shooting starts
open your heart
someone will touch you
something will free you
live in the moment
turn your heart
to the sun
I’ll love you
in spite of your efforts
to block out the happiness
you feel too guilty
to accept.

…..Jim Wellington ….( circa 1971?)