Cover of Jack Spicer’s book Language (1965) published by San Francisco’s White Rabbit Press.


by Jack Spicer

What did the Indians do
In a hot Indian October?
Did the same things, I suppose,
Saw the birds flying,
Gathered the last corn.
The same things…
Saw the birds flying,
Followed their muddy river
Looking the last time
For a warm face
To kiss in the winter.
The same things…
Their muddy river still muddy.
The woods choked with red leaves…
Under a sun bright like a broken promise
Watched the birds flying.
And dirty October
Moved like their river
With a heat that frightened the birds away.

–Jack Spicer

Jack Spicer (1925-1965) was a poet closely associated with Robert Duncan and Robin Blaser who spent most of his life living and writing in Berkeley and San Francisco. His collected poems My Vocabulary Did This to Me (Peter Gizzi & Kevin Killian, editors) was published by Wesleyan University Press in 2008.

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