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Dave McCartney was a fine poet and a good friend whom I knew while President at the College of Lake County, Grayslake, Illinois. When we parted from there I never saw him again but we carried on a warm and, for me at least, inspiring correspondence over the years until his death.


J. David McCartney on

 

Poets are visionaries who see the mirage of heaven on earth. They know that hell is real because they have been there --- many times. Poets are realists who know that they (man's kind) are capable of committing the most diabolical of deeds, and will without the love of God within them.  Poets are dreamers who know that dreams are a large portion of a happy existence.  Poets are life --- good and bad. Poets ride myrtle winds to mountan tops, get lost in the darkness of their own caves, and walk the valleys of their own deaths and rebirths.

The public's interest in poetry, I think, has been killed by an inbred coterie of academic anemics --- the emotionally sterile who produce structurally perfect yawns --- those self-acclaimed intellectuals whos sterile writings and monotone readings have destroyed public interest in anything called poetry.  At College of Lake County in Grayslake, Illinois I heard Pulitzer winner Kenneth Galway, read his poems.  The very small audience went to sleep just after the poet did.  I was one of six who shared the public coffee-tea hour with the poet after his reading nap.  Someone asked why was it that Carl Sandburg was now considered to be second or third rate by the in-crowd of the poets.  The answer was, "He isn't intellectual enough."  Robert Bly also read some of his poems at Lake College. He read with love for the sounds, assonance, beauty and order of his wordthought children.  He read, too, I'm sure, feeling that when a poem is totally communicated from the writer poet to the hearer poet, neither can ever be the same again.         


 

ONE HAS TO PRACTICE

One has to practice
to excel
to break records
to hear the roar of the bleacher whore
to feel laurels
to fell cold disc dangle on the chest.
One has to practice
until the hard becomes easy ---
easy as sleep breathing.

After years and years of dying
each Monday through Friday
the big god awful
size fourteen wing tipped death
will come easy ---
easy as sleep breathing.

 

- J. David McCartney

 

THE ILLUSION TREE

Adam and Eve ate the fruit
of the Illusion Tree,
banished God from the Garden
and placed whirling flames of science
at the four winds
that he may not re-enter.

Michelangleo caught him with a chisel
and named him The David.
Back and Handel found him
between fingertips and Ivory
in Concertos and Hallelujah.
Carver saw him in a peanut in Alabama.
Burbank found him shaped as a Four O'clock
in California.
He sat on a bar stool in Wales
and haunts the world in poems
Dylon Thomas thought he wrote.

Still roaming the universe
forever silent
this formless curse
haunts the aspirined ease of Adam and Eve
haunts their days, strung on commercials
roams their harvest nightmares
between rows and rows of Illusion Trees.

 

-J. David McCartney

 

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