February 17-23, 1997: John Wayne and Kenneth Hunt

Week of October 27-November 2, 1997

John Wayne and Kenneth Hunt

Kenneth Hunt


Ken Hunt is a journalist, poet and noisemonger living in Austin, TX (by way of Seattle) Has a serious fondness for beer, cats and Sonic Youth Member of the Performance Art Church and electronic torture band Gas Pedal Clarity is boring Fuck the revolution-make your own.

The following work is Copyright © 1997 and owned by Kenneth Hunt and may not be distributed or reprinted in any manner whatsover without written permission from the author.

The School of Rembrandt
The last I checked, the river still rose
It is transition season in the heart of it all
and thunderheads are waging a suicide front Lightning always aims for the tallest target
which is us, a mile a minute
on a paid-mile road
I clutch gray like the last raft to the mainland I snap photographs into dusk,
toward a city that juts
quick from an interruption
of land’s initial phase The angularity of a tired decade There is verdance again
Patron, my portfolio
is inscribed in your friends You trade thin slices of these hands
in your accustomed manner:
glorified barter I negotiate the canal I captured
for hire in a craft of your leasing,
and so here we are You are a particle and I am a waveform In the intersecting moment
forever is made
I have entered the life of a griot,
a keeper of stories
which I haltingly live There is something elegant
in his precision and longing,
and in this, unfamiliar
to both, a tension persists Potential Kinetic It can happen here There are organ grinders everywhere But I can, joined at jurisdictions
riverfront down,
give the slip, headlong striking,
and make processes of nouns
Observe the man of the body percussive;
witness by another’s unforgottens
horrors that beg for reason;
how quickly we forget,
how plasticine the record Observe the man with a string of names for wonder,
the ancient musics whose recombinance
consist the spirit of the land
these have adopted,
or inherited, or stolen,
or something beyond:
Patron, move two paces to the right,
so that you and the sun may bracket
the center This is not your dint This is the library, cordoned space Things can dry, crack, wither, fade here But you know as well as I
it is the product that requires preservation If you wish me to fulfill this task
and complete the contract,
you must comply I must reduce
and reproduce all angles and lines Patron, you have such sad
and accented eyes
This city is nothing, they say This city is nothing if not
a seething chessboard,
a pissing match among incorrigible accidents
or a thousand years of habit There are childhood castoffs grown up into art,
refuse strewing the streets, an averted attack
as the bellhop summons a limousine,
cast glances over conventioneer shoulders,
a back-off-and-away congress
of the last inner-city neighbors,
jail and Proctor-Gamble competing for gravity The river is still rising as I walk into Kentucky
“I don’t eat foods I don’t like,” says the woman
as I hunch with dead cow “I don’t like
to eat spinach If I want vitamins,
I’ll get them from somewhere else “
We are rendered in matte by a midsummer rush hour Our shoes bear the scent of liquor and strip joints I slam back what is allegedly
coffee and light up my third;
thank God for state laws Rusty warehouses and homes
>from the time of the war:
This is my country I bend to the convex of the rising and blind
Patron, hold still
A flurry of days:
I am having breakfast with a keeper
of theory, form and God’s breath I am sitting in a cloud of cats
with a man of rough kin and a story
for everything In any city
I return to the site of the screeding
machine foam Something brutal
is happening outside,
change falls in a predatory moment,
nothing slides past these senses That man in my life is a fuse to us all,
a common commitment that breaks with addiction I am a roving audience for a panel of griots Hunger A day reduced to diesel plumes Tomorrow this news will be reduced to
statistics My job begins there One need not sit at the master’s feet
to grow into example,
to reckoning on
Patron, I give you
the sobriety of light in a terminal age,
solid slate in the lowlands,
oak and stone from petroleum That you give me sustenance is a fair enough trade,at least in the world that acknowledges both You are a dot on my resumé
-not to demean you –
but you and these hands, intertwined, shall be solid There is a market you never imagined Its exchange lives through time and adores all its atoms
This is the last night and the tribe is afire Someone enters the hall with a Jericho horn We are towering in worlds of the demitasse and shot glass The water begins to leak into the streets I am climbing the bookshelves, making cones
of the paintings, announcing that someone
has come for the city So hold Observe, all you keepers
with your wax-papered beauty,
how the huff of your forfeitures vibrate in choirs,
how by these good acts you have gone beyond purchase,
how you split through the limits of
living old lies: you are all still alive.

John Wayne


Born & raised in Dallas, Texas John Wayne has been published in Red River Anthology, Stagecoach International, The Rio Bravo Bulletin, and many other journals that have gone under for reasons beyond John Wayne’s poetry His work strives for meaning, but mostly comes off as a gunblast Such is the way of the cowboy Such is the way of John Wayne.

The following work is Copyright © 1997 and owned by John Wayne and may not be distributed or reprinted in any manner whatsover without written permission from the author.

Like Falling Leaves

At two past ten we were punch-drunk
Rags draped over the bar counter
Spinning in the vodka g-force
When you leaned back so cool
With a camel-stick lip and eyed me
With a wet-wink grin, Exhaling Holy-wood
I shot-glass focused to the walk-of-fame
And in the spittle saw a star beside your name
And mine in wet cement No chance I could lean cool like you but
I knew what you meant with a nod like seeing
Runway flares burst into the night
Bound for crash and burn obituaries I almost spit fire at your brilliant insanity
Once it meant so much to have a name and
Place to go before our throttle wore us thin
And left us road-kill stranded
Among other things But now I only live to fill my killing jar
With falling stars so one day I can
Easily explain how life slipped by.


Twenty-something years ago
My bald pink head flopped
Out from between my mother’s
Legs and I thought shit,
This isn’t heaven A buck-toothed doctor
Whisked me and
Cut my umbilical cord So I pissed on him
I remember mother’ smell and
Being cradled as she
Cried and I thought damn
You think you got it bad?
I’ve got nothing!

And ever since
I’ve packed my own bags.


I had a hard time growing up
Trying to understand where I fit
In a world that had been getting along
So fine without me
So in third grade I had a major
Revelation when I stole bubblegum
>From the teacher’s desk and
Mrs good was so furious when she
Brought that paddle down on
My eight year-old ass and I felt this rush
Because I knew then
I could have an affect on people


I argued with my mother every
Day while father brooded quietly
Wondering what went wrong I cheated in school because I
Could and drank and smoked and
Lived reckless because it made
People worry and care
Then one day I opened a
A fortune cookie and found
Last week’s fortune and
Even though it was foolish
I wept because I knew
The world was going to be
A cruel place
So when I looked in the mirror
And saw I wasn’t beautiful
I didn’t scream instead I
Cut the pictures from the magazines
And glued my face to the page.


I use to have dreams of fame and
Immortality that would leave me
Shaking so hard I didn’t know
Whether to drink or dance or
Drive a nail through my hands

But now I poder the future and
The mishaps tat await because
I know too muh about the fragility
Of life and the icoherence of
Action and conseuence that I
Sometimes wonder
Why bother at all

So now I waste time
With my head in my hands
Wondering if I should
Piss my life away
Because I can’t be
The universe and
How long will it take
To accept the limitations
Of mortal life and
What if I don’t–

Can I get a refund?

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