A little Monday night sitar music

I am long-time fan of the late, great Richie Havens. I first heard his performance of “Freedom” on the Woodstock soundtrack when I was a teenager. We had the four record set in our house.

Anyway, once I began exploring his repertoire I learned that he played the sitar. When I was seventeen I developed a keen interest in Indian classical music so this discovery only made me appreciate Havens as an artist even more (he also was a good man). Until recently I could not find a link to one of his sitar pieces online but I’m happy that one has at last appeared:

J. Strauss’s waltz

J. Strauss’s waltz

At sixteen I wanted to dance J. Strauss’s waltz
in Viennese ballrooms among buxom

It probably sounds like a lie when I say how I
found defenestration more interesting
than their cup size

But, alas, it is true

Then I never had a penny in my purse
but I did have therapists to nurse.

I told him and I told her that I needed an
education of the hands, that none of the things
I was set to say sounded like the Great Voice and

And I was too young to be a quote thief

In April, once I turned seventeen I planted
an ornamental pear whose snow white bloom

Still stinks; a juvenile, it attracted armies of ants
who humped their way across the rut of that arboreal elk
while I lay on my back beneath its camisole listening to
robins propagate.

-Jeremy Nathan Marks

Make it yourn

Make it yourn
Watch your top knot. –Bear Claw Chris Lapp

Make it yourn: watch your top knot
and button your fly

Keep your ears tilted toward the sky
and your tongue in
a pie

Help heft the heavy heave that is the
burthen of the creative

But be warned: it callouses skin, leads
to gin

And pricks epidermal bubbles with a
political pin.

-Jeremy Nathan Marks



Who are those four men on permanent
welfare responsible for
breaking the back

Of morality in this country? I saw one
of them following Whitman’s
purple locomotive

Not his Texas bell tower rifle. Tell me
again that joke about Ayn
Rand standing in

Front of One Liberty Place (or was it
One World Trade Center)
and not feeling

Greenspan’s pointer in her pocket then
reaching for a match and
crying The horror!

The horror!

All of this is going to be published in my memoir.

-Jeremy Nathan Marks



I hang up the phone
and peruse my electronic mail
I think of Emily D. after this
latest rejection letter

No one ever said I
congratulate you on a great
career. Who is queer? Is that
the right word to use

In this journal?

We rent our home
We buy used clothes
We have one car
We don’t dig debt

I use passé words
and write poems for God’s

-Jeremy Nathan Marks


Now if you don’t love me, please don’t dog me around –Blind Lemon Jefferson (Shuckin’ Sugar Blues)

Sorrow and humiliation
speak in their private diction

Walk with gnostic dignity
down clapboard church steps

In their finest, always finest
Sunday crowns and sweat pressed

But then hymn faced and
writhing on the floor they gasp those

Big birthing breaths of the
bug-eyed, purple faced water wasps of will

And scuttle to one sugar
shuckin’ rhythm of the knife calling Coda!
on Death.

-Jeremy Nathan Marks