FOR JOHN OLIVER SIMON - by Alison Moncrieff

Crow’s Eponymous

Crow’s eponymous caw’s caught raw in my craw.
Tell me something I don’t know, crow. Something rhymes
with nothing, nothing rhymes with orange. Your range
includes my backyard, you’ve made that crystal-clear:

The air embroils your articulate passage
galaxies hook tentacles to dosey-do
sidewalk and street run outward to morning
white spaces, uncharted, dragons on the map.

We’re down to squirrels, cats, humans and crows
sturdy collard and stubbornly red beet greens,
fleas, cilia, viruses hardly alive,

proteins, preteens, protons, strange and charming
quirks of quarks. Crow’s cry awkwardly cracks a croak,
a step or two up the ladder of language.


About the Author: John Oliver Simon is one of the legendary poets of the Berkeley Sixties who has grown by steady dedication to his calling. Published from Abraxas to Zyzzyva, he is a distinguished translator of contemporary Latin American poetry, and received an NEA fellowship for his work with the great Chilean surrealist Gonzalo Rojas (1917-2011). He is President of California Poets In The Schools, where he has worked since 1971, and was the River of Words 2013 Teacher of the Year. His ninth full collection of poems is GRANDPA’S SYLLABLES (White Violet Press, 2015). For his lifetime of service to poetry, the Mayor of Berkeley, California proclaimed January 20, 2015, as John Oliver Simon Day. On May 14, 2016, the Berkeley Poetry Festival presented him with its Lifetime Achievement Award. He is currently resisting a voracious retropetitoneal liposcarcoma.

Artwork: Alison Moncrieff writes, makes art, and tends chickens & children (and now rats and rabbits) in Oakland, CA. She does her stitchy art on the go and in the quiet moments between her duties as an unschooling mom & learning facilitator. Hand sewing connects her to centuries of women who used the very same stitches she does and gives her a sense of how small she is in the scheme of things, which she finds comforting. All of it brings her joy, and she hopes to pay that forward. See more of Alison’s mixed media stitch collages here: