[-empyre-] Re: found poetry.

h w misterwarwick at yahoo.com
Fri Jun 27 16:10:59 EST 2008

For some reason, I have a knack for "finding poetry".

When I was living in Washington DC, back in the 1980s, for a few months I had a temp job at the Washington Post in the Classified Advertising section, taking ads over the phone. There was a walk up window at the street as well. And every few weeks this Very Crazy Person would come to the window and leave these strange bits of prose and sometimes poetry at the window, expecting that we would print his work in the classified section.

I remember him as medium height with a powerful muscular build, and with an almost blue-black complexion. And he always arrived in a sun dress and heels. He was completely daft. They would explain that they couldn't print his work in the classifieds, and he would insist on leaving his work there, thinking maybe they will take pity and find a place for his writing. They never did, and it would make its way upstairs. I would collect these works. I never got his name - he was the crazy guy in the sun dress...

I have them in a manila envelope packed away somewhere.

Also in that envelope is a 40 page exegesis by a fellow who was convinced that the local postmaster was depriving him of his constitutional rights to free speech and was in cahoots with a local bishop who had sexually abused him. He wrote this incredibly detailed work in communication with a lawyer I worked with at AT&T, when I was part of the anti-trust litigation team as a research analyst. I was dating the librarian, and she knew I collected works of found art, especially written works, and she xeroxed it and several other similar works of equally weird content.

When worked as a typesetter in DC in the late 1980s, we got an envelope in the mail from a gentleman in Bangkok. His name was Fa Poonvoralak. He was trained in mathematics, and wrote several theoretical chapbooks of theory and text and asked us to publish his work. We didn't, but years later I granted his request and published it myself on my website, here: 


It's very peculiar, yet fascinating stuff.

When I first moved to SF in 1991, there was a woman who sat in a coffee shop in the upper haight that is no longer there and would write poetry and prose observations by the ream. She gave me some of her work. I asked her name and she refused to say! It is some of the strangest ramblings and led me to another fellow. I forget his name - Jeremiah? Moses? Something biblical.

He explained to me how the Kaballah's Tree of Life is flawed, and how the medievalists tried to "fix" it with the sephira, Da'ath, but didn't go far enough. He showed me how it can be completed and become a symmetric geometric object. He showed me his notes. I copied a bunch of them down, and followed his research. He was nutty paranoid, and only showed it to me because my mother was a nun and I was raised Catholic - he didn't trust "the Jews" because his research would obviate their entire metaphysics, and render the gematria project meaningless - he was afraid that if the word got out, they'd kill him. A few years later I found out he had died, and I am probably the only person with his notes. I think he was also utterly daft, but someday, I'll have to publish that on my website, too. Maybe. It's definitely the weirdest stuff I've "found".

Oh - and I used to find poems in a trash bin in Washington DC. At the corner of (IIRC) 7th and G NW, near the old DC SPACE club. They were terrible poems, so I don't know if I kept them. I'll have to look.

Found poetry / theory / philosophy / metaphysics is my favourite kind.

There's really nothing like it.

I had a friend in university, Dan. I asked him why he always looked at the ground or into the sky when he walked, and rarely glanced around. His response affected me greatly:

"Well, if you look on the ground, you find all kinds of cool shit. And the sky - man - the sky is beautiful - clouds, blue, stars, black, birds, planes, sun, moon, all of that. But around you? Hell - nuthin' but advertising."

When I can remember, I look in the sky or at the ground when I walk.

Sometimes I find poetry in the trash, or visions in an inbox, or the solution to the western metaphysical tradition in discarded notes at a cafe.

Henry Warwick

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