mark weber & ronald baatz | 1 + 1

11 11 2007



Poetry Dispatch No.179 | August 4, 2007


1 + 1 | Mark Weber & Ronald Baatz

This is a chapbook featuring two separate books in one, which you don’t realize till you flip the cover and discover a different title, different cover, different writer.

Mark Weber, whom I do not know and have not read before, hosts a jazz program on KUNM 89.9 FM in Albuquerque, New Mexico, writes a good, honest poem not without music of his own and considerable wisdom. The writing world can use more Mark Webers – even though he claims in one poem, “The Heat: “there are too many gawd damn’d Mark Webers in the world.”

ZERXPRESS, 725 Van Buren Place SE, Albuquerque NM 87108 and will no doubt put you in touch with him. 400 copies of this chapbook (#59) were printed in June, 2007 No cover price. Whatever he’s asking, it’s worth it.

Sharing the same staple binding (flipping it over) I discover a writer I do know and much admire: Ronald Baatz. There are 16 poems in “his book” called OUT OF CHILDHOOD (in this book)…all of them winners. Baatz always writes a beautiful poem.

I remain a firm believer and true lover of the unpretentious, common chapbook such as this, held together by two staples and a simple cover. Though most writers seek (demand) a more professional “perfect-bound” production of their work, there is a long, literary history to the common chapbook. Almost every writer of note has found comfort and small fame in the pages of a chap. Some outgrow the format in time. While others remain at home there forever. Norbert Blei


I was telling Bradford that
I prefer my jazz musicians to be
a little beat up, have an eyeball gouged out
a few scars, a couple divorces, to know
what it’s like to stand on a freeway berm
with a broken-down jalopy in the middle
of the night, to have had some life
happen to them —
I’m not interested in listening to
what they have to say otherwise —
I know it’s a prejudice, but I can’t
help my prejudices, they exist outside
my control, maybe that’s why
black men make some of the most interesting
jazz music? to be a black man in America
is an extreme outsider position to find oneself—
you know, why do I
care what a milktoast chubby mama’s boy
in a cardigan has to say? there’s nothing
about that, black or white, that
interests me —
which begs the question: are not the
vicissitudes that visit upon every life
of some meaning? even if
they’ve never stood in a welfare line before?
certainly, everybody has a soul
and each individual is important
this poem is about prejudice
mine, in particular

Mark Weber from POEMS & DOODLES


I can see it up ahead, not
far distant. A kingdom, and
something written upon the gate.
A person who spends their entire
life scribbling poems is
known as a poet. Poets are
vastly over-rated. They are good,
honest, slightly
naive people who write these poems,
for­ever holding the candle
of idealism. But, mostly, say
98% of those who (proudly) call
themselves Poets, are, in reality, idiots.
And they run all over town
putting up posters for
their next public readings.
They have things
they want to rant about, certain
things, maybe
they’re indignant somebody pissed
on the flowers?
Even though, I have written 10,143 poems,
and am in fact writing one right now, I do
not allow myself to be called a poet, capital P
or otherwise. It is
too embarrassing. One can’t help
wonder if one is also an idiot? or
am I a member of the 2% who
bring some dignity to the craft?
(Even if it was me
who pissed on the .flowers.)
(Hard to see in the dark.)
Nevertheless, up
is that kingdom and as the years
clear away the fog
it is for me to
walk through that gate marked:

Mark Weber from POEMS & DOODLES


Mark Weber | Photo by Janet Simon on the Acoma-Zuni Trail 28may07 – The Malpais



I find it is a good time in my life to be reading
the autobiography of Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
When Marquez was a child he was able to gain
and hold the attention of adults by telling stories
in which he had greatly magnified details.
As an adult he carried this tendency into the writing
of his books, even when it came time to tell the story
of his life. I find the many magical occurrences,
that take place in this telling, make it much easier
for me to accept what my father is going through: the
unbelievable distortion of his memories, hallucinations
that plague him night and day. Unfortunately,
Marquez is of no help to my mother whatsoever.
Right now it seems as though his disease will be
the death of her before it is the death of him.
The amount of patience and understanding required
other is almost too much to ask of one person.
Besides, she tells me, it is all so incredibly boring. Yesterday
when she left him at home for a short period of time,
in order to run into town, she found herself
sitting in the bank crying to the teller. This crying
in public for her is becoming more and more frequent.
When I call her at night I am almost afraid to hear
what the news of the day is. It’s questionable
whether we will have a birthday party for him in June.
Would he recognize anyone who has come to
wish him a happy birthday? Would everyone
appear to him as being a frightening stranger?
Would the gathering throw him into further sorrow?
He has always said that he wanted to live to be
a hundred, and now it does look as though he’ll
do exactly that, if only because he thinks in June
he will be a hundred. And if he recognizes no one
at the party, then I’m sure it will indeed feel to him
as though he has lived “a hundred years of solitude.”



APRIL BEGINS by Ronald Baatz

I took my mother to the lawyer’s office
to see about having some papers signed.
It’s been decided I should be given “Power of Attorney”
and the right to determine what will happen to my father
when it’s a matter of keeping him alive by medications
or other artificial means. Before approaching my father
my mother and I thought it best to talk a few things over
with the lawyer, without my father being present.
The lawyer turned out to be rather a decent guy.
So did one of his secretaries, the older one.
The younger one seemed obsessed with making sure
that she was able to have her breakfast at her desk,
undisturbed. We were there maybe half an hour,
charged a hundred dollars which I thought cheap.
Afterwards I suggested my mother and I have coffee, but
my mother said she had to get back to my father since
my father was being watched by a neighbor.
So, crossing a busy street, I walked her to her car.
She took my hand. It felt so diminished and bony, and
never had I felt a woman’s hand hold my hand so firmly.
I felt like weeping right there in the street, stopping traffic
and just weeping, but of course that didn’t happen.
She got into her car, made a u-turn and drove off.
I stood there, rooted in front of a closed movie theater
in a decaying town in Upstate New York, on a morning
April had begun. I was well aware that
the horrors of Alzheimer’s required many of its victims
to enter a nursing home. I dreaded the day when, after
their sixty years of marriage, I’d have to separate them.
It’ll be like tearing the wings off a homing pigeon and
throwing the parts up into the air and expecting them to fly.




mark weber | 3 poems

6 10 2007


Poetry Dispatch No. 195 | October 6, 2007

Special KEROUAC Anniversary Edition, #2

In Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of ON THE ROAD



In the On the Road tradition…the voice, the beat within us still… today’s featured poet: Mark Weber | three poems by Mark Weber from AVENIDA MAñANA, Zerxpress, 725 Van Buren Place SE, Albuquerque, NM 87108…Norbert Blei


it’s lightning, son
you don’t want it close
it’ll turn you cross-eyed
and evil, thirsty for
what the Lord can’t provide
something down at
the bottom of the well
clarified, but
with hands grabbin at you
no, it’s way too late for
the sign of the cross, brother
you best fire up that Pontiac
and burn rubber


the older i get the more
i find out how much i
don’t know
i mean, i feel positively dumb sometimes
dumb and dumbfounded
the things you see
and hear
that leave you nonplussed
uncertain whether you have any grounds
to venture an opinion at all?
that’s why i found out on this trip
how much i dig driving at night
just driving
on some lonely backroad of Nevada desert
or north up 395 in California
all of Utah, Arizona
driving way into the night for hours
like alternate reality
suspended time, haunted


some time ago
I read this essay where this poet
was saying that a poet’s job was
to be at leisure as much as possible
and i thought to myself Where does a person
sign up for a job like that? i can malinger
with the best of them, loaf around counting
clouds, wallowing in sloth & indolence, all
are my specialties, but i’m a house painter
and i got a lot of work to do
i take the winter off every year
to hone my dilatory skills, refraining from
as much activity as possible, vegetating
and i like to take trips like this
because i’d drive anyone else
because i like to stop
at all the places
that make no sense
and look around
and besides, i’m
so jacked up on Lipton tea that
I’ve got to stop every so often to take a leak
and at night the stars out here
in the middle of nowhere, the deep desert
perfectly assimilate you into
everything all as one
so, i rent this stereo on wheels — 2005 silver
Pontiac Grand Prix — throw my guitar in the
back seat, fill the trunk with water, tea, and
grape fruit, and drive to nowhere in particular


The Autobiography (So Far) of MARK WEBER

my blood comes from Celts to Ulster-Scots to Okies. Straight Line. loss in some Swiss-German, a dash of Swedish, a smidge of Ashkenazie, a pinch of raccoon, tincture of wildebeest, some 4/4 time, and a couple shots of Jack Daniels, and there I am: pure bred mongrel. Six degrees of endocrinological mayhem. As independent as a hog on ice. Born 1953 thirty miles east of Los Angeles, lived there 32 years. Beneath the mighty San Gabriel Mountain Range. Raised homing pigeons as a kid. Had a glorious childhood in Cucamonga, good parents (Don & Joy), trouble didn’t start till later when the cops wouldn’t quit picking on me. Learned guitar and played with my honkytonk grandfather.

Thanks to radio station kppc in the 6os I discovered a whole world of music. Entangled in the California Penal System for awhile (can you say gaol?) Bail. Wrote a column for international jazz mag coda covering Los Angeles years 1976-1986, kept writing for coda from other locales thereafter. My first published poem was in high school newspaper. My first poetic influence was Ferlinghetti’s pictures of the gone world. Come 1986 the police made it impossible to stay in California & thanks to God and Greyhound I made tracks. Went north for awhile, then east, then back west, then south. Lived in Redding, ca (met Janet nearby at Whiskeytown Lake), then Cleveland (3 tremendous years), then Salt Lake City (2 unbeliev­able years), eventually Albuquerque 1991 where I paint houses and do the jazz show Thursdays on kunm radio. And run Zerx Books & Records. You can see my archive of jazz photos & related papers & recordings via ucla website and on metropolis.