Mark J. Mitchell – 1 poem



Wylie made me sick. It wasn’t Wylie’s fault.                        

A two o’clock close in ’78 and there                        

was Wylie and me and Dave who didn’t belong                        

and a girl who had a name but no one knew it.                        

We trudged up Pine Street and climbed the stairs                        

to his tilted flat above another closed store.                        

And Wylie, large as his beard, who knew                        

while he might be starving hysterical he’d never                       

be Ginsberg and he so wanted to be.                        

And Dave who didn’t belong rolled joints                        

on a shoebox lid while we talked poetry                        

and the girl whose name was hidden curled in a corner.                        

Wine was passed from hand to hand.                        

Seeds clattered, rolled down the shoebox.                        

Joints were lit and passed and blessed,                        

small hand to big hand back to small hand.                        

Then Wylie chanted big, explosively boring poems.                        

Words piled on words that teetered as if more would be enough.                        

And Wylie prayed we’d think he was Allen but he wasn’t                       

and I wanted to be kind, to say something nice.                        

And we smoked and kept drinking the cheap wine—                        

Far too much wine too far into the morning,                        

and the girl was nameless and asleep                        

and Dave who didn’t belong didn’t stand up                        

and I was trying to find a kind word for Wylie                        

and it made me sick. It wasn’t Wylie’s fault.  



Mark J. Mitchell was born in Chicago and grew up in southern California. His latest poetry collection, Roshi San Francisco, was just published by Norfolk Publishing. Starting from Tu Fu   was recently published by Encircle Publications.He is very fond of baseball, Louis Aragon, Miles Davis, Kafka and Dante. He lives in San Francisco with his wife, the activist and documentarian, Joan Juster where he made his marginal living pointing out pretty things. Now, like everyone else, he’s unemployed.He has published 2 novels and three chapbooks and two full length collections so far. His first chapbook won the Negative Capability Award.Titles on request.A meager online presence can be found at primitive web site now exists: sometimes tweet @Mark J Mitchell_Writer 


Mark J. Mitchell – 1 poem



Si l’on pouvait seulement goûter son néant…

                If only you could taste your nothingness.

—Antonin Artaud

                                                                The Nerve Meter





                        The loose magic of Artaud in his cell:

                        Emptied by electroshock, never quite cured.

                        His knowledge straps him to the cold table.

                        Saint Joan leads him a long way down the hall.

                        She watches his feet, shifting cables,

                        sharing him with fire. She smiles as he burns.

                        Taut fingers casting Tibetan spells.

                        He prays dirty prayers while green corpses churn

                        yak butter in sterile rooms. Unstable,

                        he knows, but doesn’t care. Holy shoes still

                        pray for him. Angry angels haunt the curves

                        of his brain. The saint blesses him with bells.




Mark J. Mitchell’s latest novel, The Magic War just appeared from Loose Leaves Publishing. A Full-length collection of poems will released next year by Encircle Publications.  He studied writing at UC Santa Cruz under Raymond Carver and George Hitchcock. His work has appeared in the several anthologies and hundreds of periodicals. Three of his chapbooks— Three Visitors, Lent, 1999, and Artifacts and Relics—and the novel, Knight Prisoner are available through Amazon and Barnes and Noble.  He lives with his wife the activist and documentarian, Joan Juster and makes a living pointing out pretty things in San Francisco.

A meager online presence can be found at