John Wieners
from The Journal of John Wieners is to be called 707 Scott Street for Billie Holiday, 1959


Journals - May 1959


      What do I need the street for? Ray Charles on piano.
One half of one room is where I live. Love? Fills the
window with light every morning. But I do not see it.
Today I do. Last night I saw Greta Garbo one instant.

      All I am interested in is charting the progress of my soul.
And therefore all men's souls. What the soul is I don't
know. But that it is contained in every blood nerve and
brain cell I do. And what its name is I do not. Y H W H.

      And when man rides with demon on horseback it is only
his own soul. Or sees Greta Garbo on Fifth Avenue. All
actions we thrust on others whether out of envy or disgust
are only operations of our own psyche working.

And we contain the souls of our ancestors.
That the soul is transmitted to us at birth. And that it is
this chart that we follow for life, is our life, what deter­
mines what we will be and are. And I am interested only in
unraveling this, showing the snags and syndromes, so that
other men may have some ease in doing theirs.
Or at least
Work out thy salvation with diligence.

                      Tonight they're dancing
                                    the dance of death
                      all over America
                                    ballerinas in their
                                    little spike shoes
                      and boys with painted eyes
                                    Hold that tiger
                     have blackjacks for hands.
                     How can we pass there.

          We all know how death travels these days.
                               On horseback
          Show me his face.
          Look in the mirror.
                              I want to hear his breath
                              in my ear.
          Hold it to the ground.
          Watch his waves rush in on the shore.
         You think you have seen it all.
          I'll show you more.
                              In the faces of little girls.
         Who carries flowers not thru the fields.
         How can I see him with all these faces
                              gathered here.
          From my life and the pictures in my heart
          he gathers.
          Mark them down.
          Chalk them up.

All I am interested in is charting the progress of my own
soul. And my poetics consist of marking down how each
action unrolls.
Without my will. It moves. So that each man has his own

                                   God's Curse

Man when it is night, look for the light
And when it turns bright, mourn the moon's flight.


Man when it is night, look for the light
and when it be bright, mourn the moon's flight.

The human voice is blue.

               Fast as I can write it down I will
               The list of the living gone over to the
               Gone Porter Tuck, Shela Plant gone,
               Rita and Rubio, gone gone gone

               Right out of their heads
                                    their hearts stop beating.
               I say nothing new about death
               except that the living enter it for
                                                                  a new life.

               And the living sigh thru the rooms,
                                                             drug addicts,
               locked in single flats, find one of them,
               fixing for paradise.