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About this poet

David Meltzer was born on February 17, 1937, in Rochester, New York. In 1957 he moved to the Bay Area and is associated with the San Francisco Renaissance and the Beat Generation. He is the author of several collections of poetry and fiction, and also known for being a jazz musician. His more than fifteen books of poetry include Two Way Mirror: A Poetry Notebook (City Lights, 2015) and When I Was a Poet (City Lights, 2011). He died December 31, 2016, in Oakland, California. 

Untitled

Art's desire to get it all said
to all who thought him dead
in the joint & beside the point

Art's struggle to sing it all
through jazz warfare & tell
everything he knew in brass
speed rap stir crazy utopia
of muscle chops push it in your face
rough unrelenting grace

fierce Art pitbull clamps down
pulls edges out in time to break through
scream knotty beauty
toe to toe w/ any joe
who thinks they know better

Art tattoos blue needles into moonlight skin
junk light makes mirrors perfect

Art's smoke aches out of wounds

L.A. Art burritos & bebop
black guacamole serge zoots
Central Avenue cat copping

Pepper at Club Alabam
in Lee Young's band
all the chicks & the hatcheck chick
have big eyes for Art's horn

Copyright © 2011 by David Meltzer. Reprinted from When I Was a Poet with the permission of City Lights Publishers.

Copyright © 2011 by David Meltzer. Reprinted from When I Was a Poet with the permission of City Lights Publishers.

David Meltzer

David Meltzer was born on February 17, 1937, in Rochester, New York.