Bean in America (Election Special)

Bean Newton

Issue 3 * Summer 2000

The following series of Bean Newton poems are from an undated manuscript found amongst Newton's personal effects. Like his other works, these appear to have both personal and political components, but these in particular evince his strong, almost debilitating disaffection with America and American values as such. Thus I thought them appropriate to kick off an election year.
- E.W. Wilder, editor of the posthumous works of Bean Newton


It's Hard to Button a Wadbag

Amerika, ye tapestry of addictions, I sing ye,
the holy water's roll and boil from ferment fresh
and sage in chemico-industrial lore, to needless,
funky gardens of amour, amour for the languid
teazings concrete and plastic-sided. Keep on

keepin' on for all this dearth and lack of earth, oh,
ye non-believers, there is a god but 12 steps
yonder. I wander as I wonder, mute across
this glass-heated sidewalk, whether or not our wadbag
is worth-all. But oh, but yes, Amerika, worth
and worth alone is worthy--forget me; sing I
not to you, Amerika; forget is too to forgive,
but not for gibbon. From vein to drink, vain,
God-gloried land, from Cap'n Morgan's merry sloop
to white-horse triggered insomnia, ye Amerika
are wellerest of the well jiggered.

And so, love, in vapid excess, we ride


And How am I

Delinquent tin this bookstore,
limited heightwise--the car books?
Over there, next to Jesus-
and another thing,
the acres and acres
of hungre bread
bled out of the wounds
of America's farmers, ladies
and gents, exhibit A.

A trade and an electronic spasm,
a quiver and digital dust,
and rich dirt breeds poor men,
but I, I am doing fine--as well
as can be expected on this grid,
on this insolent tile, this carpet
as it is infused with "Premium Coffee
at Reasonable Prices," I love

the smell of new books, don't you?
much less than the dank funk
of old. Glue is nothing
like rust,
       words, grain, slow-shifting
ejaculations of the poor. God
bless these worthless. God
sees through this facade
of value, strikes the farmer
down early with cancer. This,
my friend, is love.


American Pastoral

The shirtless guys on the boulevard,
the sunset at 103 degrees, a cast
of heat waves defacing the street. I
can destroy them, these cocks
astrut with random chest hair and bad
tans, with cut-off shorts and hacking coughs.
I can destroy them with my laser beams.

The snow that will pile upon
a vision of pasture--but you've been there,
when a few sharp cardinals hang on,
and the Dead sings through old and crusted cones
"Don't worry about me, no" I've seen the ice
athwart the windows another just
and pleasant filter, god-providing adventure.

I've likened to sun and snow, these sets
of days, this warp of melancholy; see it
too in Kant's frills and full collar,
laboring in the midst of the little ice-age
beside a fire unaccustomed to belief. It's all
in how you say it.

"California, prophet on a burning shore" sing
the Dead. I'm into ethanol; it's a
good fuel, good for the air and
the economy. This is how I imagine.