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Deanotations header

Deanotations Issue 1

(this is the complete issue published in 1984)

Dear Reader,

This is the first (he said, optimistically) of a series of I-don't-know-whats. They're sort of poems. So this is sort of a short poetry magazine. But it's also, sort of, a letter. Call it a poetry letter. I'm no editor with a passionate desire to make people read "the very best" literature. I'm a guy with things to say to people he cares for, many of whom he hasn't met yet. When I have something to say to a friend far away, I write a letter. I have things I want to say to lots of people. I'm not sure that books and poetry magazines are the best ways to say these things. So I've decided to write lots of letters and send them to as many people as I can. I'd like to send out about one a month. It's free - letters usually are. No subscriptions needed (you might try paying me to stop) - but postage and paper cost money, so if you enjoy these "deanotations", send me a contribution - say five or ten or a million dollars (I don't know if it's deductable - I'll find out) - to Dean Blehert, 2345 Nebraska Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20016 (no, everything in DC is NOT publically funded). I'll put together a special bonus mailing for contributors.
Also send me: Names and addresses of people to whom you'd like me to send my poetry letters.
Also send me your poems - not to publish (you can write your own letters - please do), but since I'm showing you mine, you can show me yours.

Fame has not changed me,
though I daily bask in the applause
of future readers.
Someday physiologists will realize
there are no smile muscles. You have to
leap outside your head and with airy
fingers tickle the mouth's corners.
If I sit very quietly for a very long time,
the living-room furniture will forget
I'm here and resume its secret rites.
Four PM - already getting dark.
I hope they are enjoying the sun
wherever it went
as much as I would.
What if I woke up to the same sun
and sky, but could not find you?
How, then, could I go on hoping ever again
to be free of the sun and the sky?
I write rapidly, and yet
several people have died
while I've written these lines.
Some people have no courtesy.
The dogs crawl up on the bed
with me; I let them stay: My nearness
means so much to them, so little
to me.

leaf falling
We care about every sparrow feather
that falls. If not, we wouldn't need
to invent a God to care and thus
make it allright for us to forget to care.

Reaching out of himself, groping
for mystery, the poet entered into and
became a tree, the most interesting
thing that every happened to that
A hole as small as a mustard seed
in the cloudy, wavy glass: Girl's
Locker Room window. Hope, like faith,
moves mountains. Each boy
takes a peak.
Perhaps the sun imagines himself
invisible because no matter how hard
he shines, no one ever looks right
at him. Though you never seem to
see me, I must be content if, in my
light, you can see one another.
So attentive to his date,
like a child ruining his first wrist watch
by continual rewinding.
Sex is like pinball: Poinnng!
I take my shot and jiggle it a bit
until your eyes light up and I am
awarded a free game.
Agents of rain follow me inside,
concealed about my person -
Aha! One of them drops from my hair,
narrowly missing this notebook.
I always tried to be the strong silent
type, but no one noticed.
The nut in the asylum who says he's God,
he IS God. They put him away
because he claimed to be hearing
human voices.
My friend practices Tai Chi.
Invisible foes are shed on all sides,
softly falling, petals from a rose,
to perish smiling, as if waking
from one dream to another.
You can't solve your problems
by pretending they don't exist,
but it helps to pretend
they DO.
Being myself is better than being someone else.
I'd told myself this many times before,
but someone else intercepted the message,
so it never got to me.
Let me ask you a purely
academic question:
What's a poet to do?
There are only so many ways
to say hello...
so many ways...
I lie in the grass. Trees spring up
behind my head as the earth seeks
to surround me, and the brave blue arch
of sky staves it off like the stick
holding open the jaws of a crocodile.
This morning, thinking about the future,
I put on my left shoe, then had to
take it off so I could put on
my pants. When did that
last happen? NEVER to ME! Long
ago to a child. Has it been so long
since I had a future?
I lead an obscure life.
No one has ever heard of me.
I hope the world will profit
by my example.
My trouble is
I'm way over my head.
If I dial the right number and you're home,
you'll answer.
Why else do you have a phone?
And so I keep writing, thinking,
why else do they have a language?
Perhaps when I say "you",
I mean myself. All the more reason
to hope for an answer.
I made a purple hippopotamus,
gave it wings and said "Fly!"
It lurched forward, flapped sluggishly
and collapsed.
"I'm much too heavy to fly!"
it bellowed. With my finger
I flicked him out the window and began
to build a better hippopotamus.
When you say something to me
that is cruel or stupid, I am hurt
because of the million things
I have to say to you that,
suddenly, cannot be said.
When I myself say or do something cruel
or stupid, I am swept back
on an afterwave of loss
of the million things I no longer
have to say.
The dog sprawls on the couch
as if dead, head hanging off the edge,
paws bent limply in the air. If, from
across two rooms, I look at him
or even, sharply, THINK of him,
his tail twitches. If my attention
persists, tail thumps against the couch,
backwards-hanging head opens round, upside-down
quizzical brown eyes that find me
and hold me while torso and legs
tentatively stretch themselves off
the couch and carry quick-talking tail
and homing head to where I sit,
where, if I don't reach, long tapered
muzzle nuzzles under my wrist
and wedges head beneath hand -
I could refuse it, but would that
be fair? I CALLED him,
didn't I?

a lint ball
A lint ball hangs on an invisible thread
beneath the picture frame. With the tip of my pen
I brush it free. It falls, catches, hangs
by an invisible thread an inch above the
floor: Prudent acrobat - you had a net!
Chirp! Chirp! The sparrows
splat sidewalks and cartops with
tiny white chirp marks.
Hard to write in the laundromat
with half my attention on what
the machines are doing to my clothes.
How can a quiet poet hope to compete
with professional agitators?
Today the sun has stopped
dead still in the noon sky.
We are all feverishly
winding our watches.
Once again I dial a number
and you are there, so far away that if I
tried to point at you, I would miss by
several landscapes; three hours away -
you could be anywhere, at the end
of any or no number (it's like tugging
at one thread sticking out of an immense
ball of threads with millions of loose
ends every which way and having
the end attached to you
respond to my tug). You could be
a wrong number, wrong country, wrong
century; you could say, "There's
no me at this number," or "I'm afraid
you have the wrong you" or "The number
you have dialed is illegal; at the sound
of the beep you will be vaporized" or
you could be a busy signal. To find you once
is miraculous, again and again, absurd.
The faces of enemy soldiers (under funny helmets)
could be our faces. We fire, hoping to shatter
the mirror, but no glass breaks, only
shattered eyes and lips mirror still
our own.
Window with no shade
if anyone sees me naked,
it serves them right.
Full moon; the whole
family gathers to view
the TV screen.
Half awake, I explain
something amusing to my wife,
who grunts softly.
Waking, I know I only dreamt
I spoke to her. I tell her
what I'd told her in my dream -
she grunts the same grunt.

a chicken
A chicken is a gawky
irregular lump. The egg
all alabaster serene brow -
THERE'S your highly evolved life form,
probably very wise, too, though inscrutable -
until, like a barbarian horde
carousing through a shattered basilica arrive the
Avoiding the mud
till out-flanked. Kiss! Kiss! Spring
makes moist love to shy shoes.
Why must I sleep nights?
Don't they want me to catch them
changing the numbers
on the date?
Boy so intent on
pissing - tries to cover
the water with bubbles.
I'm here to see
the ocean - I ran all the way!
Did I miss anything?
"He died for our sins." I wish
it were that easy - that I could help you
just by dying for you. No - for your sins
you must fully confront each one,
and I must see you through it.
The physical universe rambles on,
Satisfied that I am attentive
because I pretend to take notes,
while actually I scribble this gossip
to pass around to my classmates.
Watch your step -
a thin crust of snow conceals
the crevasses;
you could enter a poem
and never leave.
Though my body is 92% water and 98% liquid,
I am careful to dry it after a shower,
and I always wear dry clothing.
Perhaps we developed such habits
so that we can more easily detect leaks.
I just bit my tongue.
Calls are pouring in from all over my nervous system.
Who would have thought it? marvels my
tongue, Thank you for you concern,
I love you all!
At a movie by
myself. Why not? Don't you go
to this poem alone?
We kissed long and hard -
it is not easy to learn
a foreign tongue.
I have no trouble loving my neighbor
as myself. It's harder to love him
as HIMself.
From humble beginnings
God grew up
to be us.
my friends turn into toads

My friends are all magic:
When I believe bad reports of them,
they turn into toads.
The things you think are wrong with you
are only wrong where they are not
  Big Cats in Snow
Tuesday, July 11, 2000