In Memoriam: Bruce Conner, 1933-2008


for Bruce Conner

THE ARTIST has faces that are nude ladies and feathers.
Women pose in the visage of the whirlpool
           raising bare arms and arching bare thighs.
Tentacles of squid sway down among pinions
of African eagles from the artist's beret
and they tangle white hair.
   In the blackness of his face, spider webs and lichens,
   are matted together making a waterfall that splashes
   down to the chin.
His head tilts down, staring into the vision.
The glow of his consciousness
                              is an aureole.

    --A HUGE WHOLE THOUGHT in all of its myriadness
                         is what he grasps for.
His black velvet beret is a dome of power
                         in the haunted light of the room.

              It is superlatively clear.
It will all come together in connected fragments
               in the nineteen directions.
He sees it clearly--it is all so endless,
so sensory.

His satin neckband is twisted and knotted
with demon emanations.
His gentle old jacket is awash
with mystic

The jewel that he wears is a star cluster
carved out of coal.

Horseback rides are engraved in the gold frame,
there are childhood memories of fields of grass
               with a mouth on each blade
telling stories
of the origins of pure matter and nothingness.
Foxes circle around it all
and they bark
in honor
of the softness of mulberries.
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About Michael McClure

Michael McClure is a poet, playwright, novelist, and essayist, who is closely associated with the Beat Generation, the San Francisco Renaissance, and the 1960s counterculture. He often performs his poetry with Ray Manzarek and The Big Mix and gives poetry readings internationally. His most recent publication is Of Indigo and Saffron: New and Selected Poems.
You an visit his website at