Novels, Poems, & Stories
Jazz Journalism
Art Gallery
"Bill Minor"


    Trek: Lips, Sunny, Pecker and Me


    Homage to Dick and Sarah Maxwell

A Fireside Poem: Homage to Osip Mandelstam

    For Women Missing Or Dead

Short Stories & Nonfiction:

    My Father Sings

    Drum Solo

    The Dogs of Pacific Grove

  Published by CHATOYANT:


Some Grand Dust: 2 poem cycles by William Minor

A book featuring two poem cycles:

OUR PEASANT LIFE (a serial poem of forty-two sections that celebrates
a marriage of thirty-eight years: to the same person!)
And MOKER (a suite composed of twenty-seven third person or alter ego poems
and prose poems)



for Betty


Thirty-eight years at the kitchen table, and in the marriage bed--
how we ever made it I think I know: pure pride and pettiness of spirit,
moving our load of love from home to home and town to town,
owning little but each other, and the children that broke from me

into you. I have known you longer than I shall ever know them,
or myself, loving in wonder still because there is so much you seldom tell.


Zucchini, plain and starched, as sexy as apricots in pants, she dreams
and wakes to work, in motion always, knowing I'll never be worked
to the bone. She's up at dawn, my wine belly safely asleep.
Roots, herbs, air, flowers, mistakes--watch out, she is near.
She loves them all, attends them all, even my sins forgiven as poetry.
A garden, a remarkable woman: unremarked until the making of this poem.


The neighbors watch you mow the lawn. The neighbors watch you prop the roses up
and sweep the terrace. "Look, cosmos!" you cry, pointing to some purple flowers.
"Quick, come see!" When I stroll out the neighbors wonder who the hell I am
(the guy who stays inside: maker of stories, tapes and poems devoid of any
practical purpose whatsoever, like this one). The neighbors watch you wash
the windows, wax the cat. They wonder how you ever got stuck with a guy like me,
and joyously, so do I.


"What do they talk about?" a talkative friend inquired, thirty-eight years
ago, when I talked you into marriage. We spoke with our too young bodies
nourished by ancient souls. I met you when you were thirteen: short,
thick plaid skirted, too white Malevich cotton blouse. And now, and now,
chic as a farm team shortstop, sophisticated as the letter H, you
fit, perfectly small and silent still as I, thick and loud and clumsy, fit you.


I like to watch you move, wherever: watering plants in the backyard, fussing
in the kitchen. Not that you float, flout or flow, O no danger of that,
no Pavlova and no fine-crotched young wonder on ice skates either. Just you:
a fifty-some year old woman--white hair, bifocals, baggy blue sweats, bobby socks.
A runaway kid, unadoptable, face on a milk carton. Your father's stoop
has settled in your shoulders, and in your eyes, your mother's obsessional search
for something more to scour. O kinetic disparity, the always busy you. And me--
that perpetual adolescent, still looking on.

from MOKER


Dusk. He sits beside a window filled
with shrunken roses. He is trying to decide
which was the last to die, for summer's gone,
autumn come to a place without seasons.
He can feel it in his bones and nose.
October's punishment. November's first kind frost.
They hardly seem to matter here, nor the fact he wears
trousers that resemble Baghdad pajamas,
an ancient cardigan sweater and no shoes--all
without seasonal import, as far as Moker knows,
who knows but one thing, obsessed as always
with the eternal in the elemental.

His pipe
just went out. Nothing works.
His phonograph hums above and beyond
the Mozart it promised to deliver.
A trap just snapped in the kitchen,
crushing the mouse it promised to bring home.
Trapped in her jeans, a girl strides by.
She's promised nothing 'that is not performed.'
Dusk. His wife is at Jazzercise,
shaping her body to the size of a mouse.
She'll want her drink when she gets home,
the one he has pledged to deliver.

he tells himself, is not a rose outside the window,
trapped in autumn, lured by cheese
and peanut butter, the false portent of life
beyond ourselves, beyond our own.
Love is what happens or doesn't happen.
He'll fix a drink for himself, as promised,
and think of what the two of them will do,
together, for that dead mouse.


Moker's unborn daughter shuts her eyes.
She sees a blaze of orange and blue,
discordant sun. Eyes open, she says,
"Now that was just too good to be true,"

and runs to her father, asking him to try.
"Try what?" he says. "Hey, I'm way too old
for ...""Color?" she inquires, then spins off
into that glutinous world of liquid gold,

of Rubens-Renoir serious amber,
leaf-green, pedigree burnt umber
dance of light not his. "Great God," he thinks,
"She is the stuff I long to see, to be,

so much more of--susceptible as flowers--
soft glory of a world so far beyond
my own that's drying out." Yet Moker,
his eyes shut tight, can only find, now,

the distant fading color
of his unborn daughter.

Bill's woodcut prints, paintings, drawings and translations of
Russian, Classical and Modern Greek, and Japanese poems
are in the
Art Gallery section of this website.

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Novels, Poems, & Stories
Jazz Journalism
Art Gallery