July 6-12, 1998: Ellen Sander and Rich Ferguson

Week of July 6, 1998-July 12, 1998

Ellen Sander and Rich Ferguson

Ellen Sander


In the mid-late sixties, Ellen Sander was one of a handful of writers inventing rock journalism After a cavort through rock journalism that permanently illuminated her imagination, and a book, Trips (Scribners) a memoir of that voyage, she moved from New York to Bolinas, north of San Francisco, at a time when Bolinas was literally crawling with poets Surrounded by poetics, the ocean and a wildlife preserve, engaged by the first years of motherhood, and a young green Arabian horse, her life and literary orientation began to shift like tectonic plates In addition to the voluptuous setting in the foothills of Mt Tam, she was mentored by the presence of some of the finest living poets on the contemporary American landscape
A performance poet who still lapses into journalism from time to time, Sander now lives on Venice beach in L.A watching the constant parade of the fabulous chasing the incorrigible mixing with the wisps of the beats and bohos that lived and wrote there before there were personal computers

Ellen is a long time contributor to Saturday Afternoon Journal Her work has also been published in Chiron Review, Social Anarchism, the San Fernando Poetry Journal, Habibi, Aladdin’s lamp, Words are Birds and on several poetry sites on the Web.

Ellen is the creator of GLUE L.A

The following work is Copyright © 1998, and owned by
Ellen Sander and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

Road Sins

One false move on a rainslicked road
and we crumple fenders coming together Timing is everything and you appear out
of nowhere in a constant storm
The noise was so loud I thought
it was someone else and looked around
to figure out where it was coming from Finally, it dawned on me
Traffic is terrible, I called home
to say I’d be late but no one was there
which is not surprising
I live alone
I need to get my identification
I know you think you know me but
really, you didn’t signal and I never had
a chance
There is insurance to take care of this
kind of thing but I haven’t been paying my
premiums lately, you know, staying busy
is a good alternative to getting involved
These papers, they pile up
like motorcars skidding along grids
of lines and lights, there’s always a warning
if you pay attention.


Those who say only women bleed
do not consider battlefields
and soldiers of the heart
cowering under cover of

Funny how we reminisce The past is kind enough to bury
lines in the sand
dunes, berms, they are erected
to hold the waters of Babylon at bay
A mind is a terrible thing to make up
and matters of blood and surrender
just abstractions of a noble and sensual politic
between torn sheets of newsprint and linen
where bedding the enemy
is reasonable accommodation
and sometimes it feels so good
I think of Cleopatra in Caesar’s arms
gasping at thoughts of glistening coastal treasures
literature and armies, teachers and above all, art
how she must have grasped and urged with
warrior cries, pressed her lips sweetly on
the gates of history, oh surely she knew
Never had the empire known a better night
We live their secret daily We’d do it if we could
No lie When the clothes of revolution come off
we relish the nudity of monuments.

A Tomb Like This

No one knows where the light comes from but
on the floor you can see small piles of clean stones
they are the only ones who know
what message is intended In the grasp of wonder they mark
the inner journey to the edge of the century

Sudden unwelcome thoughts
break into a run
frantic footsteps
in soft shadows by the cairns
It is easier to say no regrets than to live with it A tomb like this keeps all bad weather inside:
rain perididdles down the window wall
and obeys the cadence of constant practice.

Subcontinental Blues
(5 clouds of fire)

Shiva is blue
irradiated in explosive pride of fire
his veins reaching from the sea to his
firebrain racked with desire
he rises from ocean of lust
with megatons of holiness The Ganges simmers with sweet
trembles of his ancient lingam
as it searches a deep home
Holy seed creeps over mountains and ruins
on the wingtips of tsunami
Krishna holds back western winds with bare hands
clouds of horses rear in the stinging foam
(tides of centuries rise )
their hooves are sharp; they glow
Crackling vapor trails along the borders
fall among the children playing
like veils, like shrouds Delhi dancers follow cymbals and drums
hidden in dimples, their smiles:
dreams of Shiva with towering phallus
in ecstatic reverie
under particulate canopies shimmering
in his tent, waiting

Python Shoals

The office floor creases like ice
beneath blades, her footsteps so smooth
float on sharp words
The tiny coolness
in the shallows
After 11 years she finds
it’s all true
he kept telling her she was imagining things

Sleek across dry grasses she strikes
and coils, prey screaming cut short
in deadly embrace around the sand-hare

Enter jacket
trying to catch up
coins shifting.


We sat with our books
and suddenly
a word on my page braked
with a subaudible hiss
it just stopped
not moving

First one
then the one behind it
forward and those
leading it
shunted and jostled
until the page was a blur of thoughts
stopped cold in their direction
not moving

It was like sleeping with
a new lover but not sleeping
waking to gaze and lax
into secret disbelief
lying there with
excitement and comfort
not moving
as if nothing else should ever happen

Magnolia & Fog in January

The fog moved in so quickly
you said it looked like the rest of the world
disappeared around us
The Magnolia was blooming, just
two or three blossoms in January Marvel though it is, you say that in
these are Japanese Magnolias,

Of course Unlike native blooms
that respect season
Understanding is overrated But if the rest of the world
dissappeared, it would be
just fine to be here in the fog
and Japanese Magnolia
with you.


Through the window
chill crystal white
and chubby birds
wobble serenely in
the constant winter dimlight
I could die here:
the quivering horizon
glacial, constant, deadly


in breathtaking desolation

Most of the world’s fresh water
lives in the icebergs Inanimate huge moving floes
melt as soda pop and rain

There is someone here
in a life support bubble
He calls me to the
frozen mist through the window.

Rich Ferguson


Rich Ferguson (fuzzy doodah) sets his tales all across America’s psychopathic underbelly from Abilene to Asbury Park He weaves a dark tapestry of heartfelt monologues and rants, lacing old-fashioned romance with modern horror stories The Austin Chronicle described Rich Ferguson as “Ömarked by a histrionic intensity and dangerous voice ” He is also the lead singer of the LA band, bloom, and has been hailed as “the Jim Morrison of the New Millenium “

Rich Ferguson performs with lap-steel guitarist Jett Soto as fuzzy doodah The added layer of plaintiff and psychotic wails from Soto’s guitar creates a highly charged, surreal and emotional landscape The two have played to sell-out crowds in Los Angeles They have mesmerized audiences across the nation from the South by Southwest Music Festival in Austin, the North by Northwest Music Festival in Portland, the San Francisco Poetry Festival, to other venues from North Carolina to New Orleans to Amsterdam and beyond fuzzy doodah has also been heard on radio stations WBAI in New York City and KCRW and KPFK in Southern California, as well as Galinsky’s Go Poetry! Internet site fuzzy doodah recently returned from its New York City tour, opening for Patti Smith at The Knitting Factory as part of an historic evening of spoken word and music, called “Shut the F**k Up!,” co-produced by Exbrook Entertainment and Mouth Almighty Records.

Rich Ferguson is currently a judge of singer/songwriter Jewel’s online poetry contest His work is also featured in the online publication, The Oyster Boy Review, and the official Chris Whitley web site.

The following work is Copyright © 1998, and owned by
Rich Ferguson and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

A Hymn

From the wound is drawn the poison
the forgotten moonlight that had been left for dead
body shudders in overwhelming struggle against darkness
while somewhere in this blood is the delirious midnight dance of hymns
the insight eyesight of spiritual height
dreaming the star sign of highway prophecy
and as the wheels turn
there is a little bit of God whispered into the road
and as the wheels turn
there is a little bit of God whispered into the road

Oh I have ridden that holy ghost high
in search of the cloud you can cast your shadow across
I have ridden that holy ghost
so that one day you may rise eternal and shining
like a new dawn incense
burning like blazing angel silence
beautifying chaos and making it hurdy gurdy in the places
where we have all struggled without hope for a moment of clarity

In you there will be constellations of prayer and meadow trance
the wild fire freedom of gravity in drag out on the boulevard of saintly
undressing ego to invisibility and
riding circus-winged and incandescent
into your Midwest breast-bone to challenge the demons
that lie beyond your blur-beast blue door

Oh if ever in these days
you should find the need for me
to turn myself into cross or talisman
to put your mind at ease
then so be it
oh if ever in these days
you should find the need for me
to turn myself into stone or tremble heaven dance
with resurrection hands to lead you to your faith
to your bed of vision
then so be it

Oh if ever in these days
you should find a light behind your eyes
that will not go out
that will not die
no matter how far you have fallen into an oblivion embrace
or another day doom

Do not be alarmed
it is simply me
so wanting
to show you the way back to the nature of your own true home

Einstein At The Grill

Albert Einstein was the new short order cook
At Mickey’s Early Bite Breakfast Restaurant
His shock of grey hair poking out from underneath
His stained paper hat
Luminous and scattershot
Like a piece of the moon unhinged

The egg he made for me was magnificent
The yoke
Unbroken, round and golden
Like some brilliant vision of a sunflower mind
I must’ve stared at it for hours
My coffee cup filling itself
Again and again
As I would take it from my lips

When I looked up from my plate
I realized that he and I
Were the only people in the restaurant
Me, sitting at my table
Pale whisper quiet
And watching
Einstein at the grill
His devout and pious concentration
Orchestrating the fluid movements of his hands
Sending out radiant echoes in every direction like
Dreams of singing smoke

I spoke in a rush and jumble
Of words
Wanting to ask the man who had discovered
The Theory of Relativity
How he had come to work at Mickey’s Early Bite
And how he was able to make the yoke of the egg
So perfect

Excitedly waving a spatula in his right hand
Like a short-order conductor
He said,
“Forget all of that Didn’t you notice that waitress that seated you
when you first came in?
That, my friend, is true beauty That, my friend, is the basis of everything
I’ve worked on over all of these years That is how I’ve learned to make
The center of the egg so round The egg, you see,
is simply a manifestation of that woman
and this universe,
how everything has come to move
so miraculously
in one exquisite and unending circle
Quite simply,
working here at Mickey’s Early Bite
has allowed me to express my true idea of beauty
I have finally come to see it after all these years Time has finally found
a true justice for these eyes “

And with those words
The once perfectly round egg yoke
Bled itself resplendently golden
Across my plate
And the world began again

James Dean Vs Sleeping Pills

With crucifix in hand
And some police siren song on his lips
He faced the wind and started walking
Towards that point on the horizon

Where the clouds gathered
Whiter than Apache war paint
To form the shape of his sleepless love for a friend

A friend who seemed to be
Nothing more these days
Than a pile of old bones
Spilled out before him
Like some jackpot of nothingness

There used to be so much faith in this land,
He thought to himself
There used to be things that didn’t burn
Or disappear so easily

At moments like these
He wished that he smoked
He wished that he could pull out a cigarette
And light it unflinchingly against the wind
All the while
Walking towards some wonderful destiny

Looking more like James Dean
Than like he had been
Beaten up by an overdose of
Hammers and sleeping pills

Then this all could just be a movie,
He thought to himself
Then perhaps we could all
Have a chance of winning

Or at least looking beautiful in the face of uncertainty
Instead of feeling like
Our lives will end up in some motel room
Left alone for days, dead
Our bodies beaten beyond recognition
By our own rage and defeat

Why does it always seem to end this way?
He thought to himself

Why do we never get the things we want
Or need?

Why does life seem to end up so much sadder
than the movies?


Sometimes I feel like I’m filled with little bones
Bird bones
Old lullabye bones
Bones sung heartbroken and moaning
Through some hangover radio
Dust bones
Shadow bones
Alone bones

Sometimes I feel like I’m going to collapse in on myself
Become some John Doe Catastrophe
Unrecognized by everyone as I float outside
Even the darkest seasons of this earth

If that happens
Tell my mother I never meant to hurt her
I never meant to leave her
It was only because of these bones

Ghost bones
Seconal bones
Buchenwald bones
Take your money and run bones
Whisky bones
Rain bones
Cyclone bones
Hangdog harmonica bones
Cancha’ hear ’em moan bones?

These bones are the place where lightening ends
And the nightmares begin
These bones are wanted in 15 states
There’s an x-ray of me in post offices all over the country
These bones are my worst fear come true
These bones have come home to roost beneath this fearful skin
I hear them knocking against the door of my flesh
But I don’t want to let ’em in
Cause I know these bones
These torture bones
Starvation bones
Tone deaf bones
Bones that break themselves-herniate themselves
Mistake themselves for Armageddon
Because ‘badluck’ and ‘boredom’ were two words
They learned in the same day bones

Bone bones bones

No home bones
Loveless with no sense of history bones
Narcotic bones
Broken glass bones
Bones that stop breathing and do their best impression
Of cemetery stone bones
Lead foot Lazarus bones
Bad check bones
Non-committal bones
Loud bones
Babylon bones
Atom bomb bones
Bulldozer bones
Tubercular bones
Blasphemous bones
Do not pass go or collect $200 bones

And so I wonder when they’re just gonna collapse
When they’re just gonna end up in some Hollywood bar
In the middle of the day telling lies and buying drinks for people
With money they don’t even have

Cause these are broke bones
Unwanted bones
Like door to door preaching Jehovah’s Witness bones
Oh this is what happens
When you meet your bones for the first time
At some bad party

Where everything’s underlit and overdressed
And you never end up getting what you really want
You never end up with anything that’s gonna last very long
Nothing that’ll tell you the truth
Or be there to hold you up when gravity has a grudge against you

Yeah one day soon
These bones’ll be sitting in that Hollywood bar
In the middle of the day and you’ll crawl in
Cause everything else inside of you has given up

Flown south-broken down
Become a clown or priest
Hitched a ride back East

And the more and more you lay there
Trying to tell your bones
That you think you’ve seen them somewhere before
The more they’ll tell you
That you must be mistaking your bones for someone else’s

And even though those bones will never look you
Eye to eye
Heart to heart
Toe to toe
Still they’ll keep talking to you
Still they’ll keep telling you lies
And buying you drinks
With money those bones don’t even have

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