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Poetry by Ward Kelley


Verbum Caro Factum Est


The word is made flesh, one might think
with semantics, for this appears to be

the most scientific way to explain how
the words come into being, but there is

a certain kind of poet who lives with
the pounding of the words, the pounding

of a soul who throbs from the place, perhaps
the heart of the soul, the pounding, the one

who watches the words come forth, between
the foliations of the mind, slipping in, to come

pounding, and it is there, right there, that they
become one with the cells of the mind, long

before they become one with the paper, long
before they can be viewed by the human eye,

this pounding, so it is clear they will mesh with
all that is the poet's skin, these words made flesh.


(Artist's note: Jack Spicer (1925-1965), was an American poet who published several collections during his brief life. Trained as a linguist, Spicer was active in the San Francisco poetry scene during the 50s and 60s. Perhaps today he is most renowned for his theories describing poetry as dictation from a source outside the poet; theories he delivered in a short series of lectures in Vancouver where he portrayed poets as radio receivers. He died at San Francisco General Hospital from alcohol poisoning; his last words were, "My vocabulary did this to me." The translation of the title is 'The word is made flesh.')



If Only You Would


I have kept myself alive for you, all these
years, somewhat faithfully, for I have never

once seriously considered suicide, and most
chances I took -- those times I put myself

into danger -- I did so in my youth, before
I understood the obligation I had to you, so

even if you cannot forgive such recklessness,
at least join me in admiring the results: this

body admired by no one yet transports the mind
who praises you, the same mind who devises plots

or tricks or poems to cajole a deeper purpose from
you, the real honey to the nostrils, if only you would.


(Artist's note: Diogenes writing about Democritus: "He was exceedingly old, and appeared to be at the point of death. His sister lamented that he would die during the festival of the Thesmophoria, which would prevent her from discharging her duties to the goddess. So he bade her be of good cheer, and to bring him hot loaves (or a little honey) every day. And by applying these to his nostrils he kept himself alive over the festival. But when the three days of the feast were passed, he expired without any pain, as Hipparchus assures us, having lived one hundred and nine years.")





About the Author


Ward Kelley has seen more than 1100 of his poems appear in journals world wide. A Pushcart Prize nominee, Kelley's publication credits include such journals as: ACM Another Chicago Magazine, Rattle, Zuzu's Petals, Ginger Hill, Sunstone, Spillway, Pif, 2River View, Melic Review, Thunder Sandwich, The Animist, Offcourse, Potpourri and Skylark. Recently he was the recipient of the Nassau Review Poetry Award for 2001. Kelley is the author of two paperbacks: "histories of souls," a poetry collection, and "Divine Murder," a novel; he also has an epic poem, "comedy incarnate" on CD and CD ROM.