Complete Poetry Works

I. First Poems (1967-1974)
II. No Place To Wash Our Hands (1975)
III. The Ballad of Hayden Brown (1975)
IV. And Is Mine One? (1976)
V. Go Forth Companionless (1976)
VI. July Poems (1976)
VII. Self Poems (1977)
VIII. Touch & Eddy (1977)
IX. Forty Days, Forty Nights (1982-1990)
X. Untitled Poems (1987)
XI. Pencil Poems, Fading Poems (1987)
XII. Untitled Poems II (1993)
XIII. Songs (compiled 1994)
XIV. Spoondrifting (2001)
XV. Working Poems (2001-2002)
XVI. Welkin Blush (2002-2004)
XVII. Selected Poems: A Chrestomathy (2003)
XVIII. Poems/2005
XIX. Poems/2006
XX. Poems/2007
XXI. Poems/2008-2009
XXII. Poems/2010
XXIII. Poems/2011-2012
XXIV. Poems/2013
XXV. Pathetic Poems (2014)
XXVI. Time Running Out (2015)
XXVII. Pathetic Poems 2 (2016)
XXVIII. Time Running Out (2017)

by W. Mahlon Purdin
(from Pathetic Poems 2)


It was a deep experience
That seeped and drained
That reaped and sowed
That changed and destroyed
And then faded away
Like a boat wake in a long
Dirty river somewhere
In my distant childhood.

Suddenly it appears
As I hug or kiss or dream
Like the loud crack of gunfire
Or the soft dripping of blood
From wounds that won’t heal
Or like a flash of regret so
Intense that my retinas burn
And my arms fall like surrender.

It chaffs its way into everything
I do and say and think, so
Of course it is in my poems
Stanza after stanza, verse after verse
It’s in the rhythm and the rhyme
It’s in the meter like marching
It heaves in and out of the
Commas like gasping breath.

I fight it off like a soldier
Determined to get home
To take back the life deleted
To reclaim the boy who went
Off like a hero and came home
Like a warrior, who no one
Recognized, who had to
Go on alone, unknown.

If I try to tell it now
I always lie, what else?
I talk about the people
And the river flowing brown
And leave out the red,
The screaming, the sadness
Of being, the dark of deep
Things I still don’t understand.


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