Spoonful: A Gathering of Stone Soup Poets

An extension of Cambridge's Stone Soup Poetry Venue.

For John Wieners

Jack Powers and Jim Dunn Watch as Charley Shively
Commemorates John Wieners. Photo by Bill Perrault

Poem Beginning with a Line from
the Pen of John Joseph Wieners

I shall never be lonely again, because of the love that dwells
        within poetry’s mouth

Music gives the transmitters a workout
which, once coaxed, no filters fit.
This song is an old misfortune.
I have spent my life trying
to stay out of my own way
I was caught by a tremor of strings
mingled with traffic

Work ethic notwithstanding
I ripen in your hands
the fruit of labor’s love.

What sieves through consciousness
dances in a borderless zone
between first and second natures
humbling the proclamations of State

I will not be your lamb tonight
who ladles the moon another broadcast
there are 3 sides to every coin
and who are angels to the eye transfixed
are alchemized and otherwise melted down to earth
        where I first learned
Silence is my Mother Tongue
and Song my Second Language.

--John Landry

John Wieners—Reading From Ben Hur

I always saw you hurtling down
the blur of your hallucinogenic hill
and however I tried to speak
to you wild spectral-eyed world
you remained unapproachable mystery
all the more enigmatic when you appeared
at the Stone Soup events that founder Jack Powers
would always invite you to and, indeed list you
as central reader, honored guest, poet laureate, the man
at event after event where you would sometimes not arrive
but when you did would get up with wild hair floating about head,
quick eyes bounding the venue hall walls, glasses slipping down nose
still somehow not really there and at other times weary, anxious present
but always a haunting and legacy, too, of the times that spawned us all
the Black Mountain poets, the eclectic, electric bohemia, the depths
of the counter culture, institutional escapees, underground salvation:
I will always remember all ways you getting up and reading
for no particular reason from Wallace’s novel Ben Hur
your muttering stutter so sure of the importance
of those words we could hardly hear
but which your voice, your being
resonated with sign-if-I-cants
of the WORD, the Word
you knew so well, so well.

--James Van Looy