Monday, May 14, 2012

Taxi Suite (excerpt: 1. After Anacreon)

When I drive cab
         I am moved by strange whistles and wear a hat.

When I drive cab
         I am the hunter. My prey leaps out from where it
         hid, beguiling me with gestures.

When I drive cab
         all may command me, yet I am in command of all who do.

When I drive cab
         I am guided by voices descending from the naked air.

When I drive cab
         A revelation of movement comes to me. They wake now.
         Now they want to work or look around. Now they want
         drunkenness and heavy food. Now they contrive to love.

When I drive cab
         I bring the sailor home from the sea. In the back of
         my car he fingers the pelt of his maiden.

When I drive cab
         I watch for stragglers in the urban order of things.

When I drive cab
         I end the only lit and waitful thing in miles of
         darkened houses.

--Lew Welch

"Lewis Barrett 'Lew' Welch, Jr. (August 16, 1926 — May 23, 1971?) was an American poet associated with the Beat generation of poets, artists, and iconoclasts.
Welch published and performed widely during the 1960s. He taught a poetry workshop as part of the University of California Extension in San Francisco from 1965 to 1970.
On May 23, 1971, he was believed to have committed suicide, after leaving a note. His body was never found[1]"

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OrbsCorbs said...

Lew Welsh is one of my favorite poets. I would associate him more with the San Francisco Renaissance than the Beat Generation.

I drove cab in Racine for Sherry Cab, a black owned and operated cab company, in late 1973 or early '74. I was their first white driver. I just walked in and asked for the job. I think I lasted a couple of months. Being on the bottom of the ladder, I usually got the graveyard shift and couldn't make enough money to survive.

Toad said...

I never drove Cab, but I like that. I was especially fond of the "he fingers the pelt of his maiden" part. Interesting description of hair.