Steve Richmond was a mainstay of the American little magazine scene of the 70s and 80s. He gained notoriety not only for his extensive series of “gagaku” poems but also for his longtime association with poet Charles Bukowski. As an editor of the magazine Stance, Richmond published poets such as Bukowski, Douglas Goodwin, Lyn Lifshin, Alan Catlin, todd moore, Gerald Locklin, Robert Peters, Phil Weidman, and a.d. winans, among othersPoet Kurt Nimmo, former publisher of the little magazine Planet Detroit, recently completed Gagaku: The Life and Poetry of Steve Richmond, now available on Amazon. That book, and the poems below, go some way toward rectifying the disappearance of Richmond’s work since his death.


                    2 years on methadone
                     I've been off a week

         cold medicine
     stopped my head from
             through nose and
                 and spit

         Excedrin PM allowed me to
                   at least
               last night

     a few puffs of
   got me to my type

      I feel wonderful


they swing along the street now
    really up on the sidewalk

    arm in arm
  a woman demon with her
     man demon

    a content happy couple
     I see them walking
    along wearing sweaters

    now they stop hug
   and kiss each other
  on lips now stick long
    curling & uncurling
   tongues in each other's

    now I can't quite tell
   what they're doing
     I see them but they're in
   a bit of fog
    they're blurred
    to my eye

     that's alright
     I enjoy couples in love and
      they definitely are in love
      even though
     they're slapping each
     other now

      now each swings a beer
     from a can
     long chug a lug
     they seem to be competing
      seeing who can finish the
     can first

      now they
      kiss really a make-up
      peck and
     now they stroll 
        arm in arm


 spend myc of
   my day reading
     my poems in
       the little
     mags that
     have been good enough to

           now I just looked up
        at the first stanza and noted

     it was supposed to be much
my body does not always do what my mind
  tells it to do

    I sit here silent for about 4 minutes
  tying to figure this problem
    I come to no solution
     then type
     this last stanza


Just Smoked “Good” Grass

and just moved this typewriter by
   unintentional action
3 inches to right so that it hit an
   aluminum ashtray
I made 31 years ago in metal shop
and the result was an oriental type
bong noise
very musical

wish it was longer
can't have everything
never complete satisfaction forever
we humans bitch and bitch and bitch
  and bitch
or should I write complain instead?

I know I do
I bitch and bitch and bitch

not to other humans mostly
mostly to myself
I am always complaining to myself
not always

for instance
not now

now I'm working
way off in the distance I hear a dog
very muffled
I can barely hear it

the subject for a poem?
just walk around the block
said Bukowski


please, please

I want to write a bad poem
1 that truly doesn't work
what's important is that to my own
eye it flops utterly

  that's hard
I please so many others
writing what their eye
says flop failure not even poetry

but not to my own eye
it likes my work too much
it will simply
this poem

that's not what I wawnt
it would be so easy to 
        fuck this poem up
fuck fuck shit shit feces feces
           anal anal stick it stick it

cock a suck a doodle doodle
I'm feeling

            —Steve Richmond
            Santa Monica, CA


These poems originally appeared in Steve Richmond’s broadside After, published by Clock Radio Press as Ten Million Flies #5, 1986. Reprinted by permission of Clock Radio Press.