Pat Nolan


Hose infusion
                               potted azalea
                in shock
hope it’s not too late
                               hot early fall

trees are works of magic
stones possess power

“you came all this way to see me
and I wasn’t even home”

distant ambulance siren
while I’m shaving
I didn’t think
                I’d nicked myself

“the instant is greater than the totality”
(said with fractured French accent)
the moment writes me
I am its source and reference

those photos lie
I am not
                those people

the opportunity of the heart
to give significance to the act


I breathe
the trees breathe
I breathe

an announcement
across time

in that stillness
arc of wing
sun dapples

an orange at

white wind wisped
emerging cloud sky
shifting light

a delicacy

(5-character Style)

the poor man thinks about his unpaid debts
the rich man thinks about how to collect them


white clouds hold lonely rocks in their embrace
a sleeve of pines ends at the cuff of a hill


to wash a clod of earth in the mud
understand where your hands begin


the single saucer lamp within the room
at the periphery a cup of tea grown cold


he made good use of his father’s money
the widescreen came with a five year warranty


the extremity of grief
in that we are alone


fragrant the valley’s single plum flower
I happen to be standing next to it


Frank aflame
               very Dionysian

old friends
you truly are
now old

               and how

does one ever really need
a reason to be paranoid

it is an honor and at the same time
                               that I have breathed
                               the same air as you

flute and tambor
call up ecstasy

I’m not interested in making
any more enemies than I already have
I just want to sit under this tree
(what’s that screaming?)in peace

that I could live and breathe
the spirit of poetry
                               as you have


the moving finger writ large
on the soft tissue of my brain

my simple sacrifice
               wine for blood
it goes down easier
my primal nature
               satisfied all the same

then there’s the big scary question
               I roll out of bed
but it’s not only
               morning’s chill

days marked off toward the final one
shouldn’t they count for something

the wine god the god of ecstatic product
the pain behind my eyes
my natural abilities I question
a romantic landscape
               jagged peaked
that I should clamber up every one
in a dialogue of salvation
this is as far as I go
               heaven in the distance
the most extravagant of self indulgence

Pat Nolan's poetry and prose have been published in numerous magazines such as Rolling Stone, The Paris Review, The World, Big Bridge, Poetry Flash, and Exquisite Corpse as well as literary magazines in Europe and Asia. His work has also appeared in various anthologies including UP LATE, Thus Spake The Corpse, Out Of This World, and More Poetry Comics.

He is the author of 14 books of poetry. Tangram Press of Berkeley published a limited, letterpress edition of a selection of his tanka entitled Cloud Scatter in 1992. Tangram Press also printed selections from a larger manuscript of Chinese works as a chapbook entitled 4 Poems from Exile In Paradise, and as a handful of poem cards, in limited, letterpress editions as well. Fell Swoop Press of New Orleans issued Volume II of The Nolan Anthology of Poetry: The Modern Era in the spring of 2003. Thin Wings (2003) and Untouched By Rain (2005) from Empty Head Press are tanka sequences issued in limited edition of under 50, each individually hand-made using reproductions of classic Japanese woodblock prints, colorful silkscreen paper imported from Kyoto, and hand sewn, traditional four-hole binding.

He has lived along the lower Russian River in the redwood wilds of Northern California since 1973.

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