ORIGINS
 

Drawings by Gary H. Brown
1969, Kayak Press, Santa Cruz, CA. 80 pages.

 

Drawings by Fernando Mercado.

1974, 2nd Printing, Kayak Press, Santa Cruz, CA.

 

Origins is a sequence of short-lined poems without punctuation, that explores an archteypal family and archteypal human experiences. In tone, it is ironic, humorous, even cynical, and it shares an affinity to contemporary East European poetry, especially the work of Yugoslav poet Vasko Popa and the post–World War II Polish poets.

Critical Comments:

"The work in Origins is genuine . . . It is the finest first book I have read in years."

   Vern Rutsala, Minnesota Review

 

". . . [His] Origins is probably the book I like best. He is honest, his poetry is tough, [and] his work has everything to do with the world . . . All the poems in this book are useful, and for me that's what writing poems is all about."  
   —
Margaret Randall, Poetry: A Magazine of Verse

 

"Occasionally a poet comes on the scene whose talent is such that he pleases most when he breaks the rules. Morton Marcus is such a poet, as he amply demonstrates in Origins . . . his poetry reveals that capacity for controlled rawness that appears all too seldom."    — Gail Barnett, Dryad

 

 

Poems from Origins

 

BEGGAR

A beggar

with the face

of autumn

 

opened his palm

beneath

my grandfather's nose

 

Grandfather gave him

his hand

and together they left

 

Grandmother's eyes

snapped into stone

when she heard

 

and she followed

by the road

they had gone

 

I see them

on hills

under the moon

 

the beggar swaying

in his overcoat of leaves

with grandfather

 

trailing at his hand

while a blind old woman

wanders below

 

lost in a midnight filled with trees

 

 

from ROGUES GALLERY

3. Forger

 

The forger

writes

the name

 

of another's dreams

He is arrested

and beaten

 

The prosecutor

declares

that he's worse

 

than a forger

calls him

a poet

 

Convicted

the forger

wonders who he is

 

and practices

writing

his own name

 

The words

shiver and loop

like cats

 

who scratch the snow

with paws

of wind and rain

 

The prison

melts

away

 

The forger is free

in his

own country:

 

On the white

page

he has written

 

the dreams

of the

prosecutor

 

 

4. THIEF

This is the thief

 

the one who steals

a kiss from the earth

and never returns it

 

 

from THE 5 GAMES OF THE SENSES

5. Touch

 

One puts his finger

on the meaning of life

and death bites off

his head

 

Another touches

his exact center

and falls through

his skin

 

A third

feels along the ledge

of a universal night

and turning a corner

finds a costume party

of noisy friends

 

A fourth

caresses the wind

makes airy shapes

with his hands

and watches them

go bounding off

to populate the world.