Journal Entry

 Sing of blue sky
after a late May rain?          when
the fluffy-white high cumulus
move as the firey smoke
of white phosphorous
thrown on the thief.                   of a pair
of sweat socks.

The scent of lilacs sours,
screams a coating of charred, human flesh
inside my nostrils.

A picket fence disintegrates,
absorbing the shock of fragmentation grenades.

Sheep turn into water-buffalo:
Logger-semis -distant artillery.
Chainsaws-M-16 rifle fire.

The high wind out of the northwest, a strafing
Fox-Four silver jet spewing the bone ripping
steel seed of 20 millimeter cannon fire.

The Special Weapons Assault Team        (SWAT!)
ignites the seventy dollar a month unfurnished
L.A. cottage as the flaxen walls of an
Asian-hut consumed by jellied-gasoline.

Ten million American male football fans
cheer the three network prime time touchdown
amidst tear gas, automatic weapons fire,
bits of thigh and arm.                The goal posts
smolder as
Julie Nixon Eisenhower
admits to an Indianapolis girls club,

“Yes, I too, use expletives.”

Interconnecting Circles

Don Shanley at Club Fort Bragg

Don Shanley

Moved to a cold water/wood heat shack (to chill) on Mendocino coast in 1970 after three years in the Marine Corps. (’67-’68 rifle platoon grunt Vietnam) Cultivated a bad attitude about fat white men in ties as well as onions, garlic & assorted veggies.

Poster for Don’s Reading

#Don Shanley


  1. Sharon Doubiago - September 5, 2022 @ 6:52 pm

    I want to say more to/of Don. Your passion, your voluminous great poetry I’ve wanted ever since the 70s to hear again. I remember a number of your readings. I’ve been unable to believe that you really did quit writing! I hope I’m right, that you’ve been writing “in the closet'” ever since. Love Sharon

  2. Susan Kopman - August 30, 2022 @ 1:32 pm

    So very gritty, human and poignant. Thanks, Don, for reminding us.

  3. Carl - August 25, 2022 @ 9:14 am

    Your poetry,…The passion, the war, the counterpoint of poignant humor, the exactness of language, the power of performance, (that Club Fort Bragg Reading– you packed the house)– I always thought you were the best of us.

  4. Sharon Doubiago - August 24, 2022 @ 5:33 pm

    Wonderful, wonderful, Don, to read you after all these years. After all these years I still miss you and your poetry.

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