Archives for posts with tag: Ian David Arlett

I tried to write about the sex jag
but the flood just got me down
I tried to write about the war game
but the flood just got me down.
I was about to begin to write “Freedom”
when the flood came around and
took me down the solid gold staircase
There were lots of things I wanted to do
but the flood got in the way
I watched the wind shake people apart
I watched them break and fall apart
Beautiful people broke and fell apart
and then the flood just got me down.
and I went down and drowned again.

Ian David Arlett

When the flood gets me down
I go down and drown
cigarette ashes on the tabletop
one whiskey bottle, half emptied
one more night and
one more song to sing
On my New Year’s Diversion I
snuck out of the flood and
came to the snow maker instead
hidden deep in the earth, inside
some hills, Peterborough, the snow maker
and it was in Peterborough I rested
from the flood: And I rested for four days
from the flood and then
I went back to the flood and
floated around on my pigskin belly.

Ian David Arlett


may all your towers Eiffel slowlike
and may the snow from skies be scant
Oh and may your peasant wicker basket
be filled with long, rich loaves and
deep aromatic cheeses from creameries of
the lowlands And may your bicycle hamper
clink and joggle weighed down with Chiantis
I hope you may sleep drunken upon
Baudelaire’s tomb wrapt warmly in a blanket
with your arms around a slightly drunken woman
dreams and dew competing in the morning
to be the first to kiss your eyelids

poetry by Ian David Arlett, graphic by Ward Maxwell

zoundz                                            God is listening
to his radio. Hangin oat in Space. Playing
hide and seek with hewman race. The
gobbledygooks from the planet URP.US.
Le sel de la térre. The essential hewman.
And hewomen.

                                            God is listening
hanging out in space with a wide
smile on his face. He digs the vibrations.
He is having his Zounds in His
unmotorized heavens.

Poem and illustration by Ian David Arlett

This year’s blog has been devoted to communicating the energy and love of poetry that was the fountainhead all the Peterborough Poets drank from. It was from within us, renewed by us, and shared freely between us. We have all written lots since, and on this blog, we try to convey how and what it was. There’s more to tell. But for once, words aren’t necessary. Michael Dennis intro’s Ian and Ian begins. Both Michael, Rob Wipond and I have tried to give you some idea of who Ian was. But we are only mirrors. Here is Ian, at his best. Please stick with it for the second poem; if you haven’t the patience go to 2:23 to hear “The Soul’s Deepest Song is of Love”. I assure you — it is worth it.
(Incidentally, if you ever think to read your work in public — study this — notice: no paper, no reading — performance. That’s what you do when you are in front of an audience.)


Beacons! Towers! The threads
of wires that diminish space. The
Inscape of the Photo-Eye, the
software banks of magnetic tape. The
Vacuum tube meets the Satellite. The
offset print and linotype. The
on»line terminals and Data networks
molecularly linked. Info
in Transit at the Speed of Loot.
The full frontal lobe attack.
It’s getting small in here, and
oh the weight; the terrible weight
of knowing and oh, the fear feeling
one’s space diminish. Your attention
and involvement could only be
expected and demanded here.
All roads are leading
into Inner Space.
Take that smile
off your Interface.

© Ian David Arlett, 2014
<I have no idea when Ian wrote this … but Ian died over 10 years ago. He was always prescient. wm>

Oh yes, oh yes the fucking was very, very good at first.
We were pure animal composed entirely of
primeval hunger and elemental thirst.
Any room of the house.
Any time of the night or day.
Many times every night and day.
We were driven, consumed by a simple,
chemical, indivisible lust.
Yet, we could not see that we were cursed.

Yes, that’s right for sure — the fucking was very good at first
But it blinded us to everything else that was wrong with us
so though for a while we did fairly well —
although we rose and fell and laughed and bucked —
in the end all we really got was supremely fucked.

Fare thee well, so long now, adieu, good night good night.
You shrieking shrew, get on your bike.
With all that could be said for how good the fucking was
there was never one iota of any good whatever to glean
from all the fucking fights.

© Ian David Arlett, 2014
<I am guessing Ian wrote this in the late 1970’s/early 1980’s — wm>

But, whenever you feel lonely on Writer’s Street you can always fall in somewhere, at some shaggy dog beatnik cafe. It is there you will find out that the Muse has been cheating on you. She’s been having it off behind your back with some other hired throat. You sit und listen to poet after poet do their turn und all you can think is “I used to be able to write it like that.” “I should be doing work like that,” or the ubiquitous “I can do better than that”. But saying it is one thing, dude. Proving it quite another.

And there is absolutely S.F.A. you or anyone can do about it except wait it out. Stopped on a semi colon in a bell jar county. A killing pause or winterlude in the hinterland. Where every day begins und ends with all this serious syndromatic “Paralyzed force, gesture without motion”. You walk entombed like a mummy in this inscrutable sarcophagus of effing ineffability. This isn’t good for anyone, but it is anathema to writers, or to those who think they might be writers.

Then, just like that. Smack dab out of the black und blue. Without phoning or writing to say she’d be coming by there she will suddenly be again. Just like “Hi honey, I ’m home. Did you miss me?” You did. You must always say you did, and never complain. Just take the lumps on your chops and smile pretty for posterity. This is like high tide to a surfer. When the wave is up you ride the curl as far as it will take you.

You get as much done as you possibly can because you know that there is going to come a day you will wake up and need her again, but just like that she will be gone.

Attsa da life, wot’re yuh goingk to do? Muse me, baby. Only you know the way, and you show the way to go.

© Ian David Arlett. 2014

<Incidentally, I have no idea what C.U.T.M. II refers to — if anyone knows — please let me/us know — wm.>

Fog’s upon the city
like a wedding veil;
4 a.m., very pretty,
very quiet and serene
like a vision from some dream.

Fog’s upon the city
like the Manifest Hangover
of the Collective Unconscious
now that the bars all over town
have let their lights and eyelids down
and everyone’s repaired to Pillow Town.

There’s the music of freight mains
pulling off in the distance;
that sound that Progress
has married to the Earth,
but there’s precious little else
for what it’s worth.

Kind of Eerie, kind of nice
the odd cab or cop car cruising slices
these back streets head lights
like needles unravelling
the doily fabric of the Atmosphere.

Or, some eighteen wheeler
on an all night trek
might come by once per hour
rattling like a wreck
but, in the spaces in between
it’s amazing what you hear.

You hear nothing
and it sounds so good
ringing like a chime
all around the neighbourhood
‘cuz the fog’s upon the city
like a wedding veil, and

it’s Insomniac’s delight tonight
cuz a night so deep
scarcely makes you realize that
you’re really not asleep.

© Ian David Arlett, 2014

I remember Ian Arlett as brilliant, funny, and inherently deeply wacky; basically, he had my favourite combination of personality traits in a person. He was often reciting things, and when I asked how he could possibly remember so many long sequences of poetry or prose in such detail he said, “It’s easy when you love it.”

For decades afterwards I thought often about one particular recounting of an article he’d shared with me. It must’ve been around 1981. The internet had only reached select universities by then in a pure text format. And every time I wanted to write something on my own computer, I had to take a couple minutes to re-load my entire word processing program from a 5.5 inch floppy disk onto my computer before I could start.

That was the technological context when Ian told me about an interview he’d read with a former chief of the KGB, the infamous secret-service paramilitary police force that some thought actually ran the Soviet Union for many years. This KGB chief had been asked how he would create the perfect police state, said Ian. That would be very easy, the KGB chief had answered; he would simply require everyone to use a credit card for practically everything, and then network all computers everywhere together. “That way you’ll know where everyone is all the time and exactly what they’re doing,” the KGB chief had explained. Ian evidently thought that notion was significant and concerning enough to recount and impress it upon me.

And today it’s clear to me that Ian had always had another personality trait I really like: he was capable of insight into humanity and society to the point of being prophetic.

© Rob Wipond, 2014

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