Everette Maddox’s birthday is Oct. 9. Happy Birthday

On a hill high above
the mild October day
I stand, heroic, hands
clasped behind my back,
as the last musket’s
crack fades
and the smoke drifts away
from the place where the famous
battle of my youth was fought.
Who won? Who lost?
Who knows? My speech,
which I seem to have misplaced,
tells. Oh well:
myself and loves and grey
uniform were not among
the casualties, quite; though
a gold button dangles.
Now we’ll bind the wounds,
free the slaves, and set up
(oh shrewdly!) a national shrine
in the decaying mansion
of my body: post cards,
stuffed possums, and (out back)
whiskey to be sold
[to] such emissaries
from the glacial future
as have coin to spend


September 30, 2011

“Things are tight, ” the man
said, tightening his
quasi-friendly grin.
“We can’t give you a
job, we can’t give you
any money, and
we don’t want these here
poems either.” He
tightened his tie. “Fact
is, the old cosmic
gravy train’s ground to
a halt. It’s the end
of the line. From now
on there’s going to
be no more nothing.”
He went on, lighting
a cigar: “We don’t
wish we could help, but
even if we did,
we couldn’t. It’s not
our fault, by God, it’s
just tight all over.”
He brought his fist down
on the burnished desk
and lo! from that tight
place there jetted forth
rivers of living water.


February 13, 2011

It’s been so long since I put anything up here. This is from the Everette Maddox Song Book.


After everything quits,
things continue
happening. The phone
rings. A knock comes
at the door. Lightning
flashes across the bed
where you bend, looking
at the dictionary.
Asleep, you keep waking
from dreams. The surface
of your life keeps
being broken, less and less
frequently, at random.
Raindrops after a storm:
surprise: the ghost of awe.


January 1, 2010

Someone left a comment on my blog Toulouse Street asking for help in finding a copy of this online. It is available on Google Books but doesn’t show up if you just navigate to the book. It’s such a damn shame everettemaddox.org is gone.

It’s been a long time since I added anything to this site so here it is:


Of course there is a loud
and multicolored doom
on the street. But it is
the deafening absence
of your voice over which I
am straining to make you
hear me, at whatever corner
you are lost: Take me
with you in the traffic.

September 30, 2009

Moon Fragment

September 28, 2009

A man squats by the railroad tracks tonight
eating a moon fragment: not cheese
at all, but a honeydew melon. His hands
are fuzzy. A train roars past. In the
lighted windows men and women stand
with pewter cups raised. Tea slops out.
Then it is dark again. Moon-eaters have
no time for such foolishness. The silence
is not absolute, though, because the world’s
longest accordion, the world’s longest
musical expansion bridge, is playing
somewhere. I am up in my office
watching the glitter of my last cigar sail
out the window, over the shrubbery, down
into the darkness where summer is
ending. I keep office hours at night so
nobody comes around to bother me. Not even
you. The moon comes around, though. I want to
drag it down and hand it to you and say, “Here,
this is lovely and useless and it cost me
a lot of trouble. You can tie it up on
the river behind your house, and go down to
look at it whenever you like.” The trouble is,
you don’t want it tied up, and you are
right. This is no new problem. Eight hundred
years ago a man heads home from the
Fair, pushing a wheelbarrow full of real
moon pies. For ten years he has been
stealing wheelbarrows, and nobody even
suspects. Well, what is all this? you
want to know. Right again. I could
say I don’t know myself because the evidence
is not all in, never will be. I could say it’s
the unfinished moon poem I’ve always wanted
to almost write. Well, what is it all about? you
ask. What does it mean? You have me
there. It means, whatever this is between
you and me, I hope it’s not over, and good-by.

UNO Press is proud to announce publication of the first volume of Selected Poems by legendary New Orleans poet, Everette Maddox. Maddox moved to New Orleans after completing his study at the University of Alabama in the ’70s and soon became one of the guiding lights of the local poetry community. He inaugurated the Maple Leaf Bar reading series, now the oldest continuously running reading series in the South, and his life and work left an indelible mark on an entire generation of poets.

Edited by Ralph Adamo

ISBN 13: 978-1-60801-000-4

Paper, 5.5 x 8.25, 168 pages
16.95 (Order Now)

October, 2009

“Ralph Adamo’s selection from Maddox’s four books provides an accessible introduction to readers new to the work, but in its novel organization it also suggests new and surprising readings for those who know the work, or thought they did.
Everette Maddox was all poet and died for it— the Christ of New Orleans— but not before he hosted a good army of angel-poets who can be found all over these states.”
—Andrei Codrescu

“In all the thunderous herd of contemporary poetry, I don’t think I know anyone who has so completely captured his own voice, his own being, in his work as Everette Maddox. This book is Everette Maddox. It pleases me to think that the best of these wonderful poems, like “Crunch,” “Breakfast,” “Disaster Poem,” or “The Miracle,” appear to be effortlessly carved on the morning air, floating there like beautiful little spider webs beaded with dew. Seemingly benign and even fragile, they’ve caught you before you know it.”
—Leon Stokesbury

“In New Orleans, Everette Maddox is to poetry what Marie Laveau is to voodoo and Buddy Bolden to jazz. His legend haunts the streets he lived on, the bars where he drank and wrote and read his poems. As Ralph Adamo says in his Introduction, everyone has their own Everette, “and then we have the poems.” This long-overdue selected brings together a substantial body of Maddox’s work— much of it long out of print. It presents Maddox as a poet “exploding within the memory trace of an older idea of form”— at once tragic and humorous, plain spoken and “cagily ensconced in his own words.” I hope it’s not over, and good-by will be treasured by those of us who were already fans of his poems and introduce him to the larger audience he deserves.”
—Grace Bauer

“This book frames an outpost of exigencies in poetics never before realized on the American terrain. Everette Maddox lived poetry in the saddle, fast and loose, slaking his muse with a reckless grace, all the while knowing it was the ultimate high stakes gamble – not just to win, but to break the house. Taken together, these poems exact some of the most deadly quotients of realness ever to appear in 20th century writs. If today’s mission for the poet is to present a staggering neo-ancient command of alphabets hell-bent on liberating the polyphonic sensibilities of the human vernacular, mission accomplished! Truth be told, for any modern day troubadour who intends to carry forth the torch in poesy, this is where to find it.”
—Dave Brinks

“[This work] captures so palpably the nuances of Maddox’s speaking voice that to read it is to almost touch the man: the savage world-cartooning wit, the sense of beauty and civilization, the carnal-cry, the fascination with history, the resigned and stoically self-caricaturing romantic. It is, as Bob Woolf pointed out… jazz… New Orleans jazz…”
—Rodney Jones

Coming home from beer with a beer
I hear the brain cells popping off
one by one like firecrackers

The stars going out one by one
leaving the sky black

God sweeping the last stars
under the celestial rug

Muttering not Good riddance
to bright rubbish but (more kindly)
Out of sight out of mind

Another poem from the Songbook.


May 25, 2009

Ok, I’m going to stop naming posts after whether evertettemaddox.org is up or down, on or off line or asleep on a bench at the back of the Internet. Since it’s gone and I’m here all alone here’s another poem out of the Google Books partial copy of The Everette Maddox Songbook.


I’m not going to
dignify Mozart
or metaphysics
any longer by
pretending they touch
me. I won’t even
say I like these leaves
except as they swirl
against a special
emptiness. Nothing
is relevant since
losing you is what
my life is about.

— Everette Maddox, The Everette Maddox Songbook


May 20, 2009

Mind if I put up
a park bench
in your mind?
I mean, if
the mind is a park,
why not have a poem in it?
After all, when
you get through
buying hotdogs &
getting a load
of the swans
you’ll want
some place to
sit down. It
ought to be fairly
comfortable by
the time a few
generations of
transient assholes
have worn it
smooth, & the paint
off – though
the original idea
was to advertise
my product: my own
green life, now
flaking into winter.