A Woodburners We Recommend Publication 2006 series

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To purchase the full booklet, this is available exclusively from our Bookshop:

James Koller. Some To Keep, Some To Pass Along. Longhouse, 2006. First edition. Fold-out accordion booklet. New. Limited edition. 1 of only 50 numbers in wrap around band. $10 / signed $15 (postpaid)


James Koller / Some To Keep, Some To Pass Along


edited by Bob Arnold


Drinking whiskey
we recall the night he shot from his hip
at knots in a viga overhead,
a party whirling around us,
music so loud no one heard the shots –
yet the babies slept through it all.

We stand now at the edge of a pond,
talk of our grandchildren.
We don't go out in the waiting canoe,
know that if we tipped over
we'd lose our bottle.

for Drum Hadley

The way looks straight & simple.

You don't understand.

The sound of water
rippling over stone.

The narrow of her back
fills my hands.

He owned many horses, no houses.
We stood a long time together
saying goodbye in the rain.

I find myself moving through small towns,
passing farm machinery between plantings & harvests,
find myself being passed by outlaw bikers,
twos & threes, headed for the big rendezvous.

We all seem to recognize one another.

Mist over the lake,
I pass horses in a wet snow,
wander early morning
into wet streets,
between wet adobe walls.
I half expect to find you both,
having coffee together,
off the plaza,
waiting for me.

Taos NM
for Bill Brown & Franco Beltrametti

At dusk I find no lights on,
the door left open for the dog,
who sleeps on her bed.
The breakfast dishes are in the sink,
a carton of milk warm on the counter.
Everything looks to be in order.

crossing the Colorado
Golden Shores/Needles

I'm hauling furniture
once again, this time
from my dead mother's house
to my oldest son's house.

Mountains & plains,
deserts & mountains.

Will I run out of furniture
before I run out of time?

I always thought I'd die young.

You didn't make it, she said.

I'm going to throw away
all the poems I don't like.

Somebody will like them, she said.

Beeswax & Mineral Oil

There were nine bowls in all.
Some to keep, she said,
some to pass along.
I watched next day as she turned
two wooden plates –
two more to keep, she said.
He was making cheese.
Landscapes, in ash, he said.
I roll them all into my bedding
in the before dawn dark.
Orion looks for his dog.

for Ada & Chris

The Way

Just at the moment
wind hit the aspens,
the sun lit those leaves.

The child becomes a parent.
Where did the child go?
Not far.

The Moods of Heaven

She thinks of him, dead, as a man
who could not live with his past.

He spoke, again & again, she said,
of those he watched die,
even those he killed.

Each time the story is told
she forgives more, the details
more precise, more to the point.

I am reminded of the child
asking for a drink of water
from her bed, before sleep.

In the old days I let the fire burn down at night,
wore my coat if I got too cold before I went to bed.
Now I have a wife & the house is warm.

We gathered at the graves,
shared a bottle of red wine
with my father’s family.
I explained to my grandchildren
who was who.

The dead rest all winter,
return with first thunder.
Give them food & drink.

for Shawna Meaker

Travel light –
before it disappears
use it up.

after Nanao Sakaki & Lew Welch

The Way I Am

Am I the only one
you just drop in on? she asked.

When will you
surprise us again? he asked.
Out of the storms, blue sky,

high dry plains to the trees & mountains
at the edge of this world.

The affairs of state seem foolish from here,

o mighty leaders.
I’m passing Shasta
& I see Adams ahead.
Both are covered with snow.
I’m in the high grass land,
& there’s blue sky over it all.

The road is clear
& an old friend will soon
make me up a bed.
That Fall

Dry beans, corn
& red peppers hung
under the eaves.
Braided onions & garlic
hung in the hall.
The squash,
& potatoes in burlap
were under the bed.
I even had firewood.
“There must be a reason
you’ve traveled this far.”

We were in the creek bed.
She was on her back on the small wet stones.
I was lost in the brown-green of her eyes.

She was home again,
saw bobcat, deer & turkeys.
“The stars sparkle.”

for Maggie Brown



A Woodburners We Recommend Publication 2006 series

To purchase the full booklet, this is available exclusively from our Bookshop:

James Koller. Some To Keep, Some To Pass Along. Longhouse, 2006. First edition. Fold-out accordion booklet. New. Limited edition. 1 of only 50 numbers in wrap around band. $10 / signed $15 (postpaid)

As an act of goodwill and for poetry - Longhouse is sending out each month complete publications - online - of one poet (or more) we have published in booklet, broadside or postcard form for everyone to share. It's a way of giving back to many of you who have sent to us poems, letters, purchases and the same goodwill over the years. The series will fly in under the banner of our Woodburners We Recommend. It should also be felt as a certain warmth in memory to all our close and dear poetry comrades passed along - each one becoming more of a loss. Each monthly booklet will also be available for purchase from Longhouse. Issued in a very limited keepsake edition of 50 copies. Starting in 2006 we will begin to reissue and present past issues from Longhouse of select poets. For those readers that travel back as far as 1972 when Longhouse began, you know poetry was released like bandits by the day, by the week, by the month, and always free. We have never taken on grants and meant poetry to be seen & heard & on poetry terms. From 2006, into the Infinite, and within the universal cyber cosmos, we would like to share multiple poets with you....and only ask that you share them further.


© 2006 James Koller


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