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Sunday, November 04, 2007


by Al Simmons

Once upon a time, between
Love affairs,
On an island called Alameda,
He sat drinking green tea.

Real ducks, not rubber ones,
Swam in the pool,
And the morning sounds
Were vibrant
And interrupted only by the roars
From jet planes taking off from Oakland
They used to take off above
Industrial Hayward to the south.

The mighty scream and quake from the GE Jet P.
Engines were the sounds
Of filth, systematically applied
Layer upon layer upon layer,
Upon our community, without rest.

Industry of Filth.

This Sunday morning
On the coast, it’s 62 degrees,
Pleasant, sunny and mild.

I don’t fear death,
I fear being cheated
Out of life.

I sit,
Drink green tea,
Write poems,
Take a walk,
Promise myself
Not to befoul anything
This entire day.

Al Simmons was born in Chicago, Illinois, on December 21, 1948. He studied with Ed Dorn at Northeastern Illinois University. He was faculty assistant and student aide to Ted Berrigan, who replaced Ed Dorn at Northeastern Illinois University. In the early 70s he was part of the Stone Wind Poets who began the first regular poetry reading series in Chicago since Sherwood Anderson. He won several Illinois Arts Council Awards as Editor for Stone Wind Magazine. He served as Artist-In-Residence City of Chicago Council on Fine Arts, 1979-80, he is recognized as the founder of The Spoken Word Movement, Commissioner of the WPA/WPBA, World Poetry Association, and the World Poetry Bout Association, creator of the World Heavyweight Championship Poetry Fights, Co-Producer of the Taos Poetry Circus from 1981-2000. His column, "Coasting," appeared in Strong Coffee Magazine, Chicago, from 1994-1997. During that time he was also a regular contributor to The Temple and Exquisite Corpse. He has two books, King Blue and Care Free. He currently lives in Alameda, California.