Evening Will Come: A Monthly Journal of Poetics (John Wieners Feature—Issue 60, December 2015)

The New World
[Summer 1965, Los Angeles]


When after midnight, when poetry is always

nearer, I look out my window, and see the

moon of the parking lot light shine down

on the pavement, that is greased with the oil

of a hundred cars parked there by day, or

night; and I hear in the distance

over Lake Erie the hoot of a steamer or

train – then I know the spirit or silence

which permits poetry to be, has fallen over

the world and the mind; and a flood of

sister memories rise within my mind; or

upon my mind’s eye; or movie screen of

the soul – and the past is returned to me.

The glorious moments of the past, which are

few and far between; the dross falls away,

the agony of living is worth it. All the trying

moments of life are paid for by the few,

precious images that return. The New

Year’s Eve with friends, the darkened room

where fiddles played, bells rang,

tooted whistles over the river. Nothing

disturbs me, the coolness of a palace

stair, turned into a museum, the sunlight

melted through an upper window of

yellow gloss softens the balustrade,

and one’s steps return to a

Sunday afternoon upon its stone.

The gathering of friends within a room,

the softness of the moon, the greenness of a

tree, the flight of birds on the air, whirling

away through time, specks of song,

melody rushing to the ear, again –

the dawn alive with chatter; the crowing

of cocks, tolling of bells, rushing of tires

that is ever present in our towns and

cities now.

The sad faces of friends; these haunt

the night. The words of artists; how our writers

neglect this now.

The sun seen over the sea; the very sea

itself, its waves forever beating on every

shore – how all of this is reflected,


in the moonlight of a lamp light

shining down on the parking lot, after


And how quickly gone, all time is,

when one’s mind leaves that little light

and returns to the room, where ironically

life is. Or is it, life at all? Or just

a simulation of life, under which reality

hides. The real hides itself under cover

of things; upon the mind’s screen lies

the true nature of things; there the

flux of time presents the objects

which endure; and persists in that

they return so quickly, when one is free

of the world and its demand. All poets must

exist within that space; there is no longer

any excuse. They must do so or die.

Even the necessity of economics must

not prevent this. Even if they must

die doing so. They must die, in pursuit

of this. For that is the nature of a

poet; and pursuit of the poet. If he

does not do this, then he is no longer a

poet – and by doing other things is

an other thing.

Even the pursuit of love is a hindrance

to the poet; the desire for food or shelter

all hindrances – only the pursuit

of food for the spirit, shelter for the mind, thought from the

spirit – all these must be experienced; pursuit for space

and the tenacity of thought is so tenuous

so fine that if lost if distracted

for a moment the thread is broken;

the memory shattered; the image lost.

Ah, the weary burden of a poet. No wonder

their nerves are strained like steel, but so thin

they vibrate in the wind to every nuance and cannot

be seen by any but the most experienced

eye. Ah, love that must be passed by in

pursuit of the poem.

Ah experience that must be

paused by, for experience of the poem.

Ah, paused by, listen to me again, sound to me, that I

may sing your song.


the only thing about this note is by the time the first

image was written of New Year’s Eve, or

the museum balustrade, the flood of

sister memories had disappeared

down the steps of “time”, back into the

mind, from which they arose – and

thus, this essay is living

proof of the evanescence of the mind,

or imagination. How fragile and

evanescent it is, how little retains,

remains, and how much is gone,

disappeared forever. Or is it? That

is the metrics with which I am con-

cerned. To return forever the lost mind

to its plane, which is fleeting and temporal, too

But which does endure in imagination.

The community of thought, host of angels,

they used to call it. Muses, or mother

of memory, itself. Not allegory, but

symbol, as Yeats and Blake used it.

Thus disregard the memory, and rely on

some other mechanism of the mind,

which presents image and does endure,

out of time, which after all, is only

an illusion of the mind. Or does

time exist, outside the mind? And

can create and destroy the mind, too.

Ah, sad, suffering destroying mind

that can create time, too; that is all I know.

the mind is all I want to know.

And need to know on the earth of man.

That is all ye need to know; truth and beauty

 exists outside our minds.

“Truth is beheld by the intellect; beauty

by the imagination,” Joyce said


Not compte enough. The Known is never complete

enough. It is the unKnown which completes me.

For which I hunger. For which I lack

words. Or mind. Oh, complete me. Dictate to me

words of my soul. I have listened for you

long enough. And yet not long enough. The

moon is never complete. But partial

to our eye. I hunger for the lost side of the moon,

the new moon is the new meter.

As I lie in the dark, I dream of the future.

The contemplation of the past. My candles

have burned out; I cannot see.

Hunger breeds inspiration. When I am

fed, I do not create;

Lovers lie whispering next door.

Upstairs the poet walks on creaking

floors, after mid-night, his inspiration, their hands meet on the telephone

burnt out, his soul burned by flames he

cannot quench.

Whence comes this thought, these

words. My words are dictated me, as if

on some unknown machine, they tele-

type across my brain. Not all of them.

The word is the only world; the world is only

a word; but it is more than it. It is a never

quenching flame, that can burn you out

and take all you have, and still ask for

more, plead for more quickly. It can

take every emotion you lavish on an object and exhaust it

so quickly that you fall dying on the

roadside; bed so quickly, you murmur,

only to rise again the next morning to

feed it again. To feed on you; feed on it.

That is the only answer. Be impartial,

cold to everything and it dies quickly.

But be cold and you die quickly.

John Wieners

for what it’s worth. A bad Sept 29, 1965

entry full of sloppy thinking out of tiredness.