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poems of sobriety

by larry goodell

simply 17 poems from some years of sobriety

a duende booklet Š 2012 larry goodell po box 571 placitas, new mexico 2012




Wild & Older "I accomplished more sober, in a wheelchair than I ever accomplished walking." Wheelchair Athlete Ask for the impossible exist for the improbable hold the hand of the future warmly and yet compromise in the present to keep alive to balance yourself with others to dull somewhat the sharp human will to throw itself off the track just for the hell of it.

/from Outer Space Workout, 1994


The Other Me

Be glad you’re alive and don’t burn out in dives. Raking raucous racket up from the floor as broken glass chinks over you. And your heart does what it did all too many times before knocking at death’s door knocking at death’s door.

/from Beyond TV, 1995



Drunk as a skunk stumped dumped dunked dumbed dunced deuced reduced fleeced cheated cheater reduced to cheap stinking theater.


Rainbows Don’t Drink Alcohol I don’t drink because the world won’t come to an end if I don’t. Babies won’t learn any slower men won’t walk any faster women won’t kiss any longer if I don’t. Perhaps they will, perhaps the world will be, my world will be better, breath, say amen, hip hip hooray sing better if I don’t. If I don’t drink I do love if I live I don’t think about it I live in it on it around in through it. I live every goddamn thing there is in the moment alive & electric on top on bottom just plain in it when I’m sober one day at a time forever


I am yours truly sure yours purely one of a kind all I am is what I know I am Pinned singing to the back instant of my mind knowing flowing with just enough glowing savoring hearing tasting racing back whence we came I came born spanked but breathing, out into this world I am now sober in it once and for all tall and hairy warm & there, round & square & every color of the rainbow glowing to be there.

/from A Jaguar Seen in New Mexico, 1997


Grow Up Prayer to get my composure back not how I look but how I look inside. Don’t look! What a mangled bunch of garbage with waste of time thrown in. Well, you know, I’m not soaking that garbage in alcohol & blowing away all sense of time by smoking pot. At least I have the ease of knowing I’m sober & perceptive, aware & focused on this mess inside. Dump it. Let them in the Sanitary Landfill have it, turn it over with a bulldozer, to rot or not. I’m free. I can put away the dishes make my list, wash off aphids from the plums & roses & give those yellow leaved trees the iron then need. Help others, yes, that includes all growing things & those that would like to grow.

/from Wild God, 1999


Face Out In the drunkenness of my sobriety I see all courses gained the tilt tilted, tilt on the pinball machine I played in the Army really drunk, or drinking to get drunk. I always pretended to be sober though I wasn’t Sometimes I fooled a fool or someone dear. Don’t come near you will smell alcohol Officer. I don’t have to pretend any more I’m drunk on my Sobriety I don’t have to lie, connive, and act. I see through myself as I am living some joy, face out.

/from Wild God, 1999


Cloud of Knowing He stepped on the cloud of knowing and unleashed from within was the flowing from all directions out and in, up & around down down down and from within the secret unlocked never locked, was nature the nature of it all as all outdoors was in was within his inward self not in the brain in the body-brain, the soul train, the bus belly the jet groin, the auto heart the voice of love the love of silence where the wind comes up and touches and the warmth of blood flowing beating like the drum from the party down the road indistinguishable, inextinguishable, became him came from within to become him, transcend him guide, flow, serene power to float on, to be is, was, it was his nature all along, sexless, paternal maternal, eternal, male in female, a lift a bargain, a knowing step in the right direction as clean as sober as warm as clasped hands as assuring, reassuring as friendly talk in the night as friendly work in the day, as to pray, from within to let it out, inspiration in his hearing when all was lost, the listening in the ears opening to it hearing what he saw in the sunset in the middle of the night


wind whispering come back to yourself it is not selfish to own a corner of the universe for a lifetime to look within to open to guide to accept command to live and grow to give down on your knees thanks for the spirit breath breathing soul-spirit, true spirited self the relaxing entry, the door open, the love contained the love freed, at long last freed within to be redeeming in itself planned unplanned hoped accepted admitted life of the force of discovery originality from the origin of things no things but in ideas, no ideas but the force of nature from within, the quiet that hears, hears itself, hears what it says, it says nothing and allows you to say honestly purely as real spring water willingly and openly love yourself as you are as you are love, you are yourself, your body-idea living as each thing is full of energy of the combination of universes in each instance now simply within to love all things from this vibrant center nature out.

/from The Light No Stars Are Made Of, 2000


The Muse to the Sober Alcoholic Muse don’t confuse me with the issue I’d rather hear from the Italian command Afghanistan or right here at home, the surprise in the message, what is the message: “it’ll take your feet off the floor & place them on another planet a planet of alcoholics where you should make the coffee or at least clean up the floor after they meet tossing joke in the alien air and helping each other, being downright civil instead of everyone at each other’s throats and scrambling for a better place for each angry ego, “ the way things are done here at home in my own village, most neighbors lost & pissed off because nothing ever goes as they would control it. You’ll take me where there’s nothing but sober alcoholics who have at least a modicum of care who tolerate the jerks & strangle holds of life with each other’s help, the best they can. Get me away from this arguing planet this dissatisfaction & thumping ego.


People who’ve been through hell and come back still alive let me find you, draw me to you, let us find each other to work to enjoy the gifts again, right here on Earth right at my feet the rhythms of intended gifts. We’re just lucky to have found each other, what few we are the growing out of the wreckage of our species’ drunken will Muse, light a candle, let me say your prayers as you whisper or in this case shout “stay at home & mind your own business it’s a spiritual release into your creator’s hands. You don’t push but accept & work together with each other. You have found as you have done you can do today. This is the song: love from a greater being than you: sing it.” Be will it where I am? Yes Maam, Yes Sir, we can.

/from The Light No Stars Are Made Of, 2000


Enjoy Life

Entering the Godhead What do you find? No Mormon shrine or Protestant or Catholic engulfment but the sheerest possible entry into things as they are never changed by a guitar or by drink in a bar or caviar but what is is the present is the future and the past the great now warms to your presence and informs you like a wind blowing over me the wind blowing across me reminds me of itself and becomes every thing I can possibly know know now. I do know now what little bit of peace I can know is. I hear the pump pumping warm water through the floors warming the bricks a little I feel with my feet as the white globe above my head illuminates the message here I pretend to know – just what I perceive.


I stick to that I’m safest when in the end I don’t pretend but I find humorous just about everything that doesn’t anger little corny jokes along the way with my wife the dog & the cat increasingly with a new friend or two. Big heads have no place in reality as I try to see without one. Just an ordinary head not even a God head. Please! Let’s not joke about enjoying life. I’m a poet grounded in the Earth with my head in the clouds and my belly rumbling.

/ from The Light No Stars Are Made Of, 2000 -13-

Parked in the Garage of the Future If I’m happy it’s because the shower, the grace of God washed down on me as I was driving up the narrow road under that hanging-over cottonwood tree on the way back from a meeting in which all things came together, the tone was right the time open the relaxation anointed into tranquillity sarong dance Rita Hayworth serenity nothing to do with the real world God came together God is simply the Earth an old Taos guy with a gravelly voice told me over the radio over the rainbow under the tree driving free just you & me my tranquility my let go let go


my gift of gab turned into real words I listen to listening is free to turn into this gift you round world around me me driving through to collapse at home into being known by you, real world god leader director saint mudhead universal star shawl draped over the continent of my stars I simply accept the nature in my natural self untrammeled by fights of argument orgasms red faces & puke free free free in the Sober state of Reality Father, Mother of Earth I’m yours you said go forth just be You’re a pretty happy guy if you just rely on me. Anything that’s not this easy state of grace is fake, put-on, ass-holery, begone! I’m here in the love that always is the more I accept it the more it turned to me I’m in it deep, deep mystery


unknown known the fabric of my destiny, Hollywood dance number combined in a Western with an unending plot Play on! wild rite of passage through the sunset gates, the pillars of climbing roses growing up over the garage of the future I’m parked in now I feel good now I’ve said it. Stay there. In simple terms be your true self. Aha! Ha! Ha!!

/from The Light No Stars Are Made Of, 2000 (This happened last evening driving right on the road passing Fritz’s house.)


Night Sky The essence of vastness is beyond parlance. Go out look straight up at the stars. Night teaches humility. Day teaches ego. Quiet solitude is better than drunken loneliness. I’m sober as the sky, at night. I’m nothing but an up looker. And I like feeling small because I got next to nothing done I just keep on not improving doing a couple bad habits. I need to loosen up. Maybe my goals are too high. Maybe I don’t have any goals at all just this temporary looking up.

/from Wild God, 1999


Face In My Food Does anybody far North complain ruptured star in the main about the spaghetti of Turin where crop circles are on the brain? and paranormal nights broadcast frequencies of uptight Oh worry about the massive change that is cancer on the brain. Where the future furiously reconsiders what it ever was? Does each instant of our past have to be regurgitated? Is the dream of over the rainbow simply a bathroom noise? Oh where is what and how come who? Who came who cared who carried the weight of centuries? Where are we going up against what? Don’t read too much from the Bible, Westerners. Don’t sit too long in thoughtless thought, Easterners. And those in the middle, watch out when you lose your focus.


What’s saying to me is the broadcast frequency X E L E N T, all night mastery from the deserts of the distant past and sunlight of the future all burns now. Lights up wild green plums and newly booming spuria like tall skinny iris, bronze & gold tipped. Give everything up to the risk of knowing nothing and nothing knows you’re coming and dresses up to be something to be more than something to be everything and why not go out and play whether it’s recess or not? You’re not in school, nor am I. This is life. “Read the signs or listen to the tapes if you can’t read” the voice from the desert speaks to me out of the night.


You don’t know nuthin but ego, human ego, ego, egg on your face face in your plate passed out from too much drinking. Wake up. It’s headache time. Nauseous stomach. Weakness of mind. What mind. Oh maybe if I sober up I will reach the sublime. Is that now, as no pieces fit together? Or do they. What do I know, Joe Blow. Harold Insignificant What is my real name. Baby Larry. Just born. Just reaching clarity of the mind. Starting his own radio station Mesa Mountain Network. Oh infant noise. Coos and burps. The miracle of insignificance.

/from Oh Cabezon, 2001


Meeting The bigger meeting in the sky or Where are they meeting, why? The Gods have appointed me their Fool. I am flattered, but the pay is lousy. The Gods are meeting in the sky or where are they meeting, why. They don’t tell me everything sometimes they don’t tell me anything at all. I surmise something is going on. Still I’m expected to work full-time everything geared to what they tell me if they tell me anything, with that I’m to be satisfied despite this lousy pay. There’s a rumbling going around there’s a shake-up going down but it’s not people getting arrested it’s more than that: the animals if the Earth and the plants are involved, I mean all the plants, all the animals it seems it’s our entire biosphere. What are they saying, what are they doing what am I certain of? They’re sitting in a circle, somewhere, there.


That I know. They’re all involved, not just one, not even just two or three all of them, & of course, wherever they are they’re facing each other and it’s animated what are they saying but they’re speaking and everyone else listening, one at a time. Intent, they’re all involved. What was that rumbling? Something close. The Gods are all meeting where are they meeting, why? They’re in a circle. Destiny is involved. All living things. Vibrations, a ringing bell. What am I supposed to do, when will they tell me if I’m through. What am I supposed to do in this job. It is a job, they tell me that whichever one of them speaks, or all together. They tell me to stick to it, Fool. Fool, like Shakespeare, no not that smart. Just do these silly things, maintain a sense of humor, a living sense of humor at all times, but it amounts to, when I can.


And I’m supposed to write about it, no matter what. And I do. What are they saying, Perhaps if I go out now, ring my own bell breathe deeply, relax, and observe, keep myself alert, and open it will come, it will come to me some sense of what they are doing what is going on, the Pleiades above faintly, a group, a cluster, a meeting what are they doing, they’re talking, it’s downright animated, 12 of them I guess because I can’t see clearly, up the slope of the Sandias I cant be funny about this. But it’s my job the pay is lousy, as I repeatedly say but it is an honor: the Gods are meeting in the sky or where are they meeting, why here on Earth, right here, I hear it I’ll tell you more when I hear it Careful, one of them is speaking. Yes they’re listening, they’re listening all nature is involved, this Earth, their very own planet they have connections with the Universe with the massive other meeting of other Gods, maybe they’re all meeting, everyplace actually they’re having a good time, you know Gods.


This meeting, Earth’s, and those others, other places far out, they’re meeting too. They’re having a good time, but there’s something serious going on. I hear them. I hear them, kind of. Wow it’s close. I’ll tell you more when I know it that’s my job, and it scares me sometimes. But I have to stay alert, sober and open to it to every word. Just like every other fool in the universe. We can tell each other if and when we find out. We can have our own meeting. Right now. I’m certainly not the only fool around. Let’s get together. What was that? Why are they laughing when things are so serious. If they’re meeting, let’s meet. I’ll see you, soon. You tell me what you think is going on: I’m all ears. The Gods are meeting right now.

/from Breath, 2002


God Whisperer Gratitude for the unknown source. Great in tune. To stay tuned. Coming forward birth presents. A new Hollywood production known as “Do it yourself in your own backyard.” Suddenly with all these tools or without them there is a manifestation of something to be grateful for. What is it? What came before a lifetime of what’s standing before you whispering in your ear. And what you’re leaving behind as you go.


Scattered Lecture How do you reconcile a God with tragedy? a beautiful face with an ugly mask? the absence of a grace in the human race? the aberration of justice with the need for stability? when the major leaders are poison from the top down put in by a lazy public geared up on sensationalism and the most powerful airwaves are laden with hate and a cruel testosterone grip that gaggles on lies & distortion character assassination, forgetfulness, incompetence TV dominated by marketing to stir up consumer frenzy and ecstatic debt. Where did it all lose balance, turn upside down and head towards a crash? One man set the ball rolling toward greed out of control, one man said it’s okay to let the monster of free trade loose when he didn’t mean free he meant manipulated toward self interest of the monster corporations swallowing each other up and the common good fell to the wayside to be buried in the history of democracy with people owing everything to trinkets, dying of ill-health, so busy trying to live they have no time to live.


Oh turn, burn, dig up the history of democracy and read it, storm the polls with votes. Overwhelm the rich amoral god and allow Nature to grow, the air to breathe, the senses to feel and the common good return, sharing to take care of all as all work to take care of each other, the government to reflect the people, compassion and truth the mediating gods, dissolved into humanity, the human free urge to love, animal wisdom to do so. Animal compassion passionate. Grasses of humility native. Hypocrisy exposed & solved, one-sided honesty as a guide. Be my guide as I work on myself, as I free myself of false notions having friends in a community of truth-seekers, the artists of the soul the populace of the present growing in presence to bring sense to the community all the way from the bottom up. Transformation, transcendental, affirmative, forceful through non-military means the Gandhis walking the Earth again, creating the gardens of planet Earth and tearing down fear, bit by bit by simply sobering up, seeing things as they are first thing every morning: who are we, linked to the stars, our sun only one.

/from Remembering The Present, 2008


Garnishing the Flow In the crest of knowing I plummeted down & became the town clown. Not really. I’ve never been on the crest of anything except the Sandias & a few others in my infrequent travels and the only times I plummeted down I fell, tripped, drunk or sober. Now “town clown” where did I get that, a rhyming jive a temptation to doggerel. I was never publicly laughed at . . . oh yes I was, many times at a reading of my own work and often when I didn’t think it was funny, but I wasn’t a clown and it wasn’t a town anything, it was a so-called poetry reading although who am I to say that I’ve written a single poem. All those poets – Keats, Shelley, Wordsworth, Herbert Andrew Marvell, Spencer, Byron, Milton, Homer, even Shakespeare seem so formal. Matthew Arnold, Robert Browning, Uhh— Sara Teasdale, even Emily Dickinson, the Rossettis, seem so formally posited, so closed in forms, Tennyson for instance, so exacted, positioned on the page, so closed in what is known as poetry. But ahh! with Whitman what a breakthrough.


Finally prose rose to the height of poetry and everything became possible ever since, including me, whatever fool I am, singing free speech in a manner of speaking, open without stricture, like the expanse of desert flatlands or fields of alfalfa, even cotton, maize or the view out from the crest of my shoulder mountain, a form so open it isn’t a form: there are no blocks to what my mind says: the world may be falling down and taking me with it but I have the right whenever & forever to say what is on my mind as it flashes through, insistent. Poetry is a form of free speech. Government, leave me alone to be poor in a profession that pays no money, little or none I should say is better than being a paid hypocrite. And to have a little music given in the words is a real gain on passionate “drivel.” May the true win out and the quirky too, and all the surprises imagination thinks of. What else is pure. Oh that line to the unknown: let’s not forget that.

/from Remembering The Present, 2008


The Soul a Clear Life There’s a lock-step death waiting for all of us if we don’t sober up and by that I mean become aware of the power of the imagination and how it can trick us into thinking we’re bigger than ourselves – what was Benny Goodman thinking when he played Mozart’s clarinet concerto? Was he entering someone else’s imagination? For truth speaks in the quiet humble ways of genius as it offers messages and appreciative turns of performance to set mere humans down to the gift of others – was it that simple to be so inspired that the solution come in such drifts of genius? that overpowered the heart and set us dancing to the rhyme rhythm of song and characterization of the mind? the soul over and under and all, a clear life created again?

/ from Fried Dreams, 2010


“If the only prayer you say in your whole life is ‘thank you,’ that would be enough.” Meister Eckhart (c. 1260 – c. 1327)

simply 17 poems from some years of sobriety with photographs of painted digging sticks in the garden

a duende booklet po box 571 placitas, new mexico 2012



poems by larry goodell

Simply 17  

simply 17 poems, from 17 years of sobriety, put together this 8th of septemer, 2012 . . . do hope you enjoy these . . . with peace & love, l...

Simply 17  

simply 17 poems, from 17 years of sobriety, put together this 8th of septemer, 2012 . . . do hope you enjoy these . . . with peace & love, l...