“Peyote Poem”, published by Wallace Berman in his hand-printed art journal Semina # 3 (1958)
“Peyote Poem”, published by Wallace Berman in his hand-printed art journal Semina # 3 (1958)




Clear — the senses bright — sitting in the black chair — Rocker –

the white walls reflecting the color of clouds

moving over the sun. Intimacies! The rooms

not important — but like divisions of all space

of all hideousness and beauty. I hear

the music of myself and write it down

for no one to read. I pass fantasies as they

sing to me with Circe-Voices. I visit

among the peoples of myself and know all

I need to know


there is a golden bed radiating all light

the air is full of silver hangings and sheathes

I smile to myself. I know

all there is to know. I see all there

is to feel. I am friendly with the ache

in my belly. The answer

to love is my voice. There is no time!

No answers. The answer to feeling is my feeling

The answer to joy is joy without feeling

The room is a multicolored cherub

of air and bright colors. The pain in my stomach

is warm and tender. I am smiling. The pain

is many pointed, without anguish

Light changes the room from yellows to violet!

The dark brown space behind the door is precious

intimate, silent and still. The birthplace

of Brahms. I know

all that I need to know. There is no hurry

I read the meanings of scratched walls and cracked ceilings

I am separate. I close my eyes in divinity and pain

I blink in solemnity and unsolemn joy

I smile at myself in my movements. Walking

I step higher in carefulness. I fill

space with myself. I see the secret and distinct

patterns of smoke from my mouth

I am without care part of all. Distinct

I am separate from gloom and beauty. I see all.



And grim intensity — close within myself. No longer

a cloud

but flesh real as rock. Like Herakles

of primordial substance and vitality

And not even afraid of the thing shorn of glamour

but accepting

The beautiful things are not of ourselves

but I watch them. Among them.


And the Indian thing. It is true!

Here in my apartment I think tribal thoughts.)



There is no time. I am visited by a man

who is the god of foxes

there is dirt under the nails of his paw

fresh from his den

We smile at one another in recognition

I am free from time. I accept it without triumph

— a fact

Closing my eyes there are flashes of light

My eyes won’t focus but leap. I see that I have three feet

I see seven places at once!

The floor slants — the room slopes

things melt

into each other. Flashes

of light

and meldings. I wait

seeing the physical thing pass

I am on a mesa of time and space


Writing the music of life

in words

Hearing the round sounds of the guitar

as colors

Feeling the touch of flesh

Seeing the loose chaos of words

on the page

(ultimate grace)

(Sweet Yeats and his ball of hashish.)


My belly and I are two individuals

joined together

in life.



we smile with it.


At the window I look into the blue-gray

gloom of dreariness

I am warm. Into the dragon of space

I stare into clouds seeing

their misty convolutions

The whirls of vapor

I will small clouds out of existence

They become fish devouring each other

And change like Dante’s holy spirits

becoming an osprey frozen skyhigh

to challenge me.