Mark Weber | Centrifugal | Fred Voss | art that roars |Zerx Press No. 69

first edition * October 2o12 * 300 copies

*My good friend Beverly Hill said to me one day, “Mark, jazz is your dharma.” She could be right. See my website JAZZ FOR MOSTLY designed & maintained by Klaus, with photographic doctoring by Cal Haines (my old snapshots).

* Poems such as these can only come about during periods of relative calm and stability. I was blessed with such a stretch during April & May 2o12 and then again during August & September (altho, poem on page 6 actually dates from January 1, 2o11). Even as quite a few close friends got away lately … Dottie Grossman, Hal McKusick, Geminy, Kell Robertson, Todd Moore, Uncle Jack, David Prince, Dick Trask… their fires burn steadily in memory.

* The poems “Take 1 – 5” appear on the cd THE DALAI LAMA’S CLOCK (Zerx 081)

* Author photo taken by Richard Tabnik – August 24, 2o12 – with East River and Williamsburg Bridge, New York City, early evening

*I almost called this collection: WELL, ANYWAY and then, I almost called it: REVOLVED UPSIDE-DOWN INSIDE-OUT CROSS-EYED POSE

The doodles are by the author. This is Zerx chapbook #69. (c)2012 Mark Alan Weber | | Zerx Press, 725 Van Buren Place SE, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87108

Mark Weber | Photo by Richard Tabnik

calabacitas full moon
burrito haiku kaleidoscope

banana hosanna potato
turnip squash elliptical arabesques

cosmic tomatoes, spiraling spiraling
………………………….spiraling through space
jet airplane cork-screwing through time
spiraling dream world
luminous hyper world
slingshot to New York

Mark Weber

first printing * October 2o12 * 300 copies

Some of these poems have previously appeared in these magazines: Pearl, Blue Collar Review Philadelphia Poets, Nerve Cowboy, SHAKESPEARE N’A JAMAIS FAIT CA (13E NOTE EDITIONS, PARIS, FRANCE) Poetry Review (London) Litro (London) The Morning Star (London). Frontispiece photo of Fred Voss & Joan Jobe Smith by Elaine King, 2o11

(c)2012 Fred Voss – Zerx Press, 725 Van Buren Place SE, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87108

Fred Voss & Joan Jobe Smith | Photo by Elaine King


“A machine shop is the last place on earth to look for poetry!”
my fellow machinists might say to me
if they knew I wrote poetry
about them
and our tool steel chucks that grip steel rods 100 times harder
than pit bulls
Pit Bull
brand tape measures and Muscle Car magazines lying on workbenches and men
who lift weights until they can heave 100-pound tool steel chucks
10 feet what
am I doing looking for poetry where greasy 50-pound gears
from a rattling 80-year-old lathe lie piled
on a concrete floor and men smile
as they talk about their pet tarantulas and that head
police just found in a paper bag up in the Hollywood hills
there are no Grecian urns
around here
just buckets full of lube oil and cans full of liquid rosin
in this shop where men can work on machines next to each other for a month or a year
and not say one word to each other except
“Do you have that 17/32 stub drill?”
where is poetry more needed than in this place where we have cut tons of steel hard
as heart attacks and tombstones
as time clocks tick away our lives with such minute measured boredom we look into
and are suddenly 20 years older
and our calibrated micrometers measure cold unbendable brass down
to one-ten-thousandth-of-an-inch fact
where is a rose held in the hand of a blind girl
a father
come back from the dead to pat his son
on the shoulder
a Beethoven
turning a machine handle until his fingers ache as he whistles that child-like new melody
to his 9th symphony
over and over and wipes the beads of sweat off his brow
more needed
where is a cloud
floating by a tin door with an angel
and William Blake and Jim Morrison sitting on it putting their arms around each other
and smiling
more welcome?

Fred Voss


There are a lot of interesting poets in America

these days the ones that I have always followed are Ronald Baatz, Joan Jobe Smith, Ray Zepeda, Ron Androla, Mitch Rayes, Micki Myers, Cheryl Townsend, Charles Harper Webb, Fred Voss, Lyn Lifshin, Ron Koertge, JB Jeff Bryan, Ben Gulyas, Gerald Locklin, Lisa Gill, Judson Crews (1917-2010), the late Kell Robertson and Todd Moore and Dottie Grossman and Steve Richmond, and this guy I hardly know but stumbled across in the Gettysburg Review, name of David Kirby. There are many others. All are old friends of mine. Also Daryl Rogers in Kentucky, can’t forget the guy who gave me the title of my book PLAIN OLD BOOGIE LONG DIVISION. And Brent Leake in Salt Lake City who I ask to sing & play on his guitar “Louise” every time I see him.

A short list but like I’ve said before, the thing I look for in poetry I find most often in jazz.

An argument could be made that Fred Voss is the greatest poet in America. His work addresses the quotidian, the actual stuff of daily survival, and even though he’s deep into this life, he has a certain distance while inspecting it, that I like. I guess I’m partial to poets who have actually punched a time clock. It doesn’t get any Real-er than that in America. That and looking under the hood of your car or truck.

I should qualify that list by saying how much I like the crazy Beat poets (provisionally) Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso (see his masterpiece “Marriage”), Philip Whalen, John Wieners, Ferlinghetti, Frank O’Hara and Kerouac. Kerouac is in a class by himself.

Then, the usual influences of Pound, Neruda, Sexton, Octavio Paz, Li Po, Cavafy, Borges, Bob Dylan, the magisterial T.S. Elliot, Rexroth, d.a. levy, Tao Chien, Whitman, Raymond Carver, Dick Barnes, Charles Reznikoff, and my all-time king-favorite Horace (see The Odes). This is a very personal list.

What should we expect from a poem?

One of the remarkable things about poetry is it can be almost anything. A grocery list, a Corso-scribble, Chris Franke cut-up of a newspaper, an inquisition, an elegy, bill of lading, rhyming schoolyard taunt, a lie, promissory note, subpoena, any gawd-damned crazy nonsensical list of words and you have a poem. It can be all about love or it can be about war.

I prefer that poems tell us something that we do not already know. Or maybe we know it but have never seen it in this new manner. The words have magic, trick the mind into timelessness.

I especially get ancy when a poem endeavors to tell me what to do (didacticism).

I like poems to get to the point, and if possible make a distinction between how much belongs in the poem, or should be saved over for another poem. This is tricky, because poems like Todd Moore’s always had the core story, the back story, innuendo, irony, foreshadowing, all going at once and all in only thirty words. Let’s just say that I like short poems.

As much as I like language poetry and the idea of language poetry, for myself I prefer to use words merely as a conveyance. To dispense with the words/language as quick as possible and have the poem inspirate into the mind of the reader, for the page to disappear and the words to vanish.

And, I hate to admit it, but as I get older (59 two days ago), I’m less interested in Angst Poems: those that detail the travails life has heaped upon the aggrieved poet ( I have written thousands of these myself, and let them go some time ago — sure, everybody had a good laugh hearing about my tortured soul and the inequities I perceived were knocking me around, but, I got older and it didn’t seem so funny anymore).

Fred Voss’s poems have a transcendent quality, they ennoble life, even as they do not flinch at the harshness. I love his sense of rhythm and the line breaks.

Mark Weber | 23oct12

Fred Voss & Mark Weber — April 12, 2o12 — Long Beach, California — photo by Joan Jobe Smith

Fred Voss — December 22, 1995 — Long Beach, California — photo by Mark Weber

Joan Jobe Smith — December 22, 1995 — photo by Mark Weber

Ray Zepeda and Fred Voss — June 8, 1997 — photo by Mark Weber

Bronze bust of Charles Bukowski by Linda King at Fred & Joan’s place — photo by Mark Weber

Joan Jobe Smith at home — June 8, 1997 Long Beach, California — photo by Mark Weber

Todd Moore — June 13, 1996 — Albuquerque — photo by Mark Weber

I like Joseph Jarman’s poetry, also — January 25, 1989 — Cleveland, Ohio — photo by Mark Weber

Ron Androla — March 31, 1989 — Detroit — photo by Mark Weber

Chris Franke, Gerald Locklin, Mark Weber — April 23, 1988 — Kent, Ohio — photo probably by Bill Polak

And how could I forget my dearly departed good friend, the poet Joyce Guion Shipley — April 22, 1988 — Cleveland — photo by Mark Weber

Anne Menebroker — July 8, 1991 — Sacramento, California — photo by Mark Weber

collage by Mark Weber — March 28, 1994

Old Bennington, Vermont — March 12, 1989 — photo by Mark Weber

Ronald Baatz postcard postdated September 11, 2000

Lawrence Ferlinghetti @ City Lights Bookshop, San Francisco — August 16, 1978 — one of the heroes of  American literature, Lawrence allowed me to take a dozen or so shots while he milled about the store that afternoon, he asked, “What are they for?” And I said, “Just for my personal enjoyment,” and he said, “Well, I hope you get a kick out of them.” — photo Mark Weber

Fred Voss with John Densmore of the DOORS -- June 1, 2013 @ Fingerprints Music, Long Beach, California

Fred Voss with John Densmore of the DOORS — June 1, 2013 @ Fingerprints Music, Long Beach, California

The Go-Go-Girl who danced at the Whisky for the DOORS: Joan Jobe Smith -- June 1, 2013

The Go-Go-Girl who danced at the Whisky for the DOORS: Joan Jobe Smith — June 1, 2013

#01 THE PHONE Mark Weber, poems October 1983 | #02 OUT OF IT Mark Weber, poems & collages March 1984 | #03 JUMPING THE CONCLUSIONS Mark Weber, poems July 84 | #04 ABANDON SHIP Mark Weber, poem January 1985 | #05 THE SELECTED COLLECTED LEFTOVER POEMS Mark Weber, 1985 | #06 TWO BODIES MAKE ONE Mark Weber, erotic poems 1985 | #08 3 RING CIRCUS Mark Weber, short stories January 1988 | #09 NIGHT BEFORE Mark Weber, poems December 1987 | #11 THE ODES OF BIG WEB Mark Weber, November 1988 | #15 HOGWASH Mark Weber , stories June 1990 | #20 LOCKLIN BIBLIO bibliography Mark Weber , March 1991 | #23 DRUNK CITY Mark Weber, poems May 1992 | #24 BIG WEB BEHIND THE ZION CURTAIN Mark Weber, stories (unreleased) 1992 | #25 DARK GARAGES Mark Weber, dope poems (unreleased) 1992 | #26 WANDERING JEW MOM / THE COMPULSIVE GUILTRIDDEN TERMINAL MOTHER Mark Weber / Catherine Lynn , poems & drawings March 1992 | #28 LOCKLIN BIBLIO 2 Mark Weber, November 1997 | #29 BIG WEB BRINGS HOME THE BACON Mark Weber, post office memoirs (unreleased) | #41 LIBRETTO : OBBLIGATOS FOR TERPSICHOREAN DIPSOMANIACS Mark Weber, poems from the CD (9 Winds 0182) may 1986 | #44 LIBRETTO: OH SHENANDOAH BE NOT TELLING ME THIS Mark Weber, poems from CD (Zerx 001) August 1997 | #47 VEHICLE VORTEX VERTIGO Mark Weber, poems & concert program (w/ J. A. Deane ) November 1998 | #48 LOOSE FRONT END Mark Weber / Scott Virtue, poems & drawings August 1999..


  1. Harry Scorzo

    “centrifugal”: if i had to describe it a with a musical term, i’d
    call it a “tocatta”. for me, the reading experience was brisk and
    rhythmic. i love the loaded image of the dalai lama fixing watches
    for recreation, and i love the way “salmon” rhythmically appears and
    gently mutates throughout the individual poems. thanks so much for
    sending that little book.

  2. Mark Weber

    I think it’s in the novel WOMEN that Charles Bukowski
    sits for this sculpture of his head with hilarious episodes
    of the sculptrous-girlfriend kicking Bukowski out of the
    house and him grabbing his head and driving around with
    it on the seat next to him. Funny stuff.

    Linda King casted this head for Fred for I think $800.

  3. joan jobe smith voss

    hey, mark… lots of fascinating fablemaking fotos!
    what a fine groovy group of poets you’ve hung out with all these years! ray! ger! Fred Voss! annie menebroker! Todd Moore! Bukowski Head galore! don’t forget that Fred and my HONEYMOON OF KING KONG & Emily Dickinson was one of your first zerxes..we still have 5 copies… and now you’ve done soixante-neuf! loved looking at this sprawl by y’all… wow…much love & respect to one of my favorite poets, joanie spumoni

  4. ann menebroker

    All of this, thick with paved memories, tire tracks over the face, people I’ve met along the way, smell of clean air, so much space on Kell Robertson’s ranch, outhouses plastered with mags and books of poetry, water running out of the spouts, all rusted, reading with Locklin in Long Beach, long time friends with Joan Jobe Smith and Fred Voss, who also came to my alley house, as did Mark. I like this, that it’s still going on. I saw the Bukowski head at Joan and Fred’s, too. Tonight I read on the same program of my oldest kid, who sings his songs and plays guitar. I’ll read a couple of poems. Does it get any better?

  5. Mark Weber

    Earl Grey everyday all day
    Joan and I are devotees of this tea . . . . I’m on my second cup this morning . . .
    Here’s an Email from Joan (Oct. 22, 2o12) >

    i’ve heard of this story/poem but can’t place it.. you know we’ve got a bronze
    Buk head, don’t you? Fred paid $1500 for it in 1996–foundry charged $800..
    now foundry charges $4000 and she makes abt $1000.. she makes copies
    from a clay model..

    down below is announcement of my Buk book.. have i told you abt it?

    my memoir will be out soon, too, but that’s abt my go-go days and My Life..
    + poems.. that book’s coming from World Parade Books..

  6. buell n.

    i love the poetry
    of Ray Bremser
    al ginz stole a
    lotta shit from Ray.

    a poet with
    a great feel for jazz
    is Clark Coolidge.

    i played bass in
    bands with
    Kerouac, Corso
    and Ferlinghetti
    at the Five Spot.
    bobby timmons
    was living in his
    car at the time..
    he played piano
    and Den(n)is
    Charles played was a
    union gig.

    i have not in many
    years been moved
    to tears by a poem
    as i was recently by
    several in the book
    you sent me. they
    were by Fred Voss.
    they are as deep as
    a Bruckner symphony.

    thank you.

  7. Mark Weber

    That (above) is Buell Neidlinger, maestro of contrabass, see
    my stories >

    I sent him a copy of the chapbook last week. Where he
    lives on an island off the coast of Seattle nowadays.

  8. joan jobe smith voss

    to buell n. : many thanks for your good words on my poems. I’m a big fan of Monk at the 5 Spot recordings, and a big fan of Kerouac Corso Ferlinghetti so it really means a lot to hear these words from you, you must have some amazing stories and memories thanks, man
    — Fred Voss

  9. ronald baatz

    after five weeks of no mail because of traveling
    i look forward to getting home, and to reading
    the new chapbook. i know it’s going to be great.

  10. Mark Weber

    Making my way through this new biography on Richard Brautigan — 800+ pages JUBILEE HITCHHIKER —
    around page 250
    I come across the name of James Koller who
    was in Frisco 1960 and was editor of COYOTE
    this reminded me how much I connected with
    his poetry: James Koller
    when he was brought to New Mexico for a reading
    by JB Bryan in March 2005
    at the reading I picked up a copy of his
    collection SNOWS GONE BY
    my appreciation for his writing goes way up there.

  11. Mark Weber


    I suppose a didactic poem has its place in the scheme of things. Like I keep
    saying: Anything can be a poem. Ultimately, I would think that the poet of
    a didactic poem rather inhabit the place the didactic poem aspires to, rather
    than the bossy stance of telling us the way things are and what we should
    be doing.

    But, what do I know. We’re all wired differently, and maybe it is good to
    turn to a poem that tells us what to do? It’s just that in one of the worlds
    where I spend a lot of time — yoga classes — there are spiritualist & devoitonal & inspirational poems
    coming out and it seems to me that most of them want to talk about
    spiritualism (as if we do not know these things) rather than being in spiritualism, exalted and beatific.

    Poems spewed out of ecstasy and reverence and wonder.
    Poems bowed down before this majesty.
    Otherworldly poems engulfed in light.

  12. Mark Weber

    As well, Philip Levine’s long narrative poems
    have always been of salient interest to me

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