Nagasaki Days

I A Pleasant Afternoon

for Michael Brownstein and Dick Gallup

One day 3 poets and 60 ears sat under a green-striped Chau-
tauqua tent in Aurora
Listening to Black spirituals, tapping their feet, appreciating
words singing by in mountain winds
On a pleasant sunny day of rest the wild wind blew thru
blue Heavens
Filled with fluffy clouds stretched from Central City to Rocky
Flats, Plutonium sizzled in its secret bed,
Hot dogs sizzled in the Lion’s Club lunchwagon microwave
mouth, orangeade bubbled over in waxen cups
Traffic moved along Colefax, meditators silent in the Diamond
Castle shrine-room at Boulder followed the breath going
out of their nostrils,
Nobody could remember anything, spirits flew out of mouths
& noses, out of the sky, across Colorado plains & the
tent flapped happily open spacious & didn’t fall down.

June 18, 1978

II Peace Protest


clouds float across blue sky
over the white-walled Rockwell Corporation factory
am I going to stop that?


Rocky Mountains rising behind us
Denver shining in morning light
Led away from the crowd by police and photographers


Middleaged Ginsberg and Ellsberg taken down the road
to the greyhaired Sheriff’s van
But what about Einstein? What about Einstein? Hey, Einstein
Come back!

III Golden Courthouse

Waiting for the Judge, breathing silent
Prisoners, witnesses, Police
The stenographer yawns into her palms.

August 9, 1978

IV Everybody’s Fantasy

I walked outside & the bomb’d
dropped lots of plutonium
all over the Lower East Side
There weren’t any buildings left just
iron skeletons
Groceries burned, potholes open to

sewer waters

There were people starving and crawling
across the desert
The Martian UFOs with blue
Light destroyer rays
Passed over and dried up all the

Charred Amazon palmtrees for
hundreds of miles on both sides
of the river

August 10, 1978

V Waiting Room at the Rocky Flats Plutonium Plant

“Give us the weapons we need to protect ourselves!”
the bareheaded guard lifts his flyswatter above the desk


A green-letter’d shield on the pressboard wall!
“Life is fragile. Handle with care”
My Goodness! here’s where they make the nuclear bomb

August 17, 1978

VI Numbers in Red Notebook

2,000,000 killed in Vietnam
13,000,000 refugees in Indochina 1972
200,000,000 years for the Galaxy to revolve on its core
24,000 the Babylonian Great Year
24,000 half life of plutonium
2,000 the most I ever got for a poetry reading
80,000 dolphins killed in the dragnet
4,000,000,000 years earth been born

Summer 1978

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Nagasaki Days