Everette Maddox’s birthday is Oct. 9. Happy Birthday
LINES ON HIS THIRTIETH 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

THE MIRACLE

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.

POEM

February 13, 2011

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

POEM

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.

THE DOOM

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:

THE DOOM

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.

IRRELEVANT

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.

IRRELEVANT

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

Everette Maddox Songbook

December 5, 2008

Well, everettemaddox.org is down again. Damn.

Some small compensation: I found that the Everette Maddox Songbook is posted on Google Books.

Not all of it, mind you, but it’s something. Ah well, so here’s a poem from that book:

GIFT

life death eternal significance
bullshit
from now on i’m just
going to make whimsical little gifts
this one is for you
it starts off with bullshit
which is mostly just to get your attention
then trudges along
through some fairly dull
explanatory stuff
and finally comes out (if i’m lucky)
at this point which
is where a little silver cowboy
blows the head off a stuffed tiger
with a pop gun
nobody is really hurt
just me because i know
you won’t accept it

In honor of the return of www.everettemaddox.org, the poem this little outpost was named for.

THIRTEEN WAYS OF BEING LOOKED AT BY A POSSUM

1
I awake, three in the morning, sweating
from a dream of possums.
I put my head under the fuzzy swamp of cover.
At the foot of darkness two small eyes glitter.

2
Rain falls all day: I remain indoors.
For comfort I take down a favorite volume.
Inside, something slimy, like a tail, wraps around
my finger.

3
Hear the bells clang at the fire station:
not hoses, but the damp noses of possums issue
forth.

4
Passing the graveyard at night
I wish the dead would remain dead,
but there is something queer and shaggy about these
mounds.

5
From the grey pouch of a cloud
the moon hangs by its tail.

6
At the cafeteria they tell me they are out of
persimmons.
I am furious. Who is that grey delegation
munching yellow fruit at the long table?

7
I reach deep into my warm pocket
to scratch my balls; but I find, instead,
another pocket there; and inside, a small possum.

8
My friend’s false teeth clatter in the darkness
on a glass shelf;
around them a ghostly possum forms.

9
At an art gallery the portraits seem to threaten me;
tails droop down out of the frames.

10
I screech to a stop at the red light.
Three o’clock, school’s out:
eight or ten juvenile possums fill the crosswalk.

11
Midnight at Pasquale’s. I lift my fork,
and the hard tails looped there
look curiously unlike spaghetti.

12
When I go to the closet to hang my shirt on the rack,
I have to persuade several possums to move over.

13
Drunk, crawling across a country road tonight,
I hear a shriek, look up, and am paralyzed
by fierce headlights and a grinning grill.
I am as good as gone!

I put on a shirt
with a couple of
gone buttons and a
pair of pants my wife
hates and walk into
the living room and
sit down in a dull
chair. In this way I
acknowledge nothing’s
going on. If I
wanted to really
suffer I could go
lie down in some shit,
but that transgresses
the fine line between
propriety and
masochism. If
I were any kind
of poet I’d go
stick up a Jiffy
Mart or, Say, the First
Bank of the Cosmic
Imagination.
Then I could buy a
red plaid jacket with
a rooster tie and
stumble out into
the clear autumn air
crowing “Guilty! Life,
I’m your beautiful
man.”

New Orleans

December 26, 2007

New Orleans

for Ralph Adamo

From the air it’s all puddles:
a blue-green frog town
on lily pads. More canals
than Amsterdam. You don’t
land — you sink. When
we met, you, the Native, shook
your head. Sweat dropped
on the bar. You said:
“You’re sunk. You won’t
write a line. You won’t make
a nickel. You won’t hit
a lick at a snake in this
antebellum sauna-bath. You
won’t shit in the morning if
you don’t wake up with
your pants down.” And you
were right: Three years later
I’m in it up to my eyebrows,
stalled like a streetcar.
My life is under the bed
with the beer bottles.
I’ll never write another line
for anything but love
in this city where steam
rises off the street after
a rain like bosoms heaving.