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duane locke
duane locke, doctor of philosophy in english renaissance literature, professor emeritus of the humanities, was poet in residence at the university of tampa for over 20 years, and has had more than 2,000 of his poems published in more than 500 print magazines such as american poetry review, nation, literary quarterly, black moon, and bitter oleander. he is author of 14 books of poetry, the latest being watching wisteria (vida publishing, www.vidapublishing.com). also a painter and photographer, he now lives alone in a two-story decaying house in the sunny tampa slums. his recreational activities are drinking wine, listening to old operas and reading postmodern philosophy.

Works on this page:
white mud
a philosopher, a girl's hair
lustful philosophers
philosophers in bedrooms
hedonism, handlebars, opened roof cars and walking


White Mud

My shoe often comes off,
Sucked from my feet
By the white mouths of mudflats.
Should I believe the earth when salty
Is animate, wants a closer contact
With my feet's flesh.
Or should I accept traditional wisdom
That the earth is indifferent to my presence
As my neighbors and lovers.
I reach down to retrieve my sinking shoe.
My fingers are sticky with white mud;
This white mud is a form of love.

A Philosopher, A Girl's Hair

Calligraphy of curls, scribbled gold twists
In blue space. 
A spasm of lightning splashed out a stray face
That became
As fixed as a spiderwebed jug on a dusty shelf
And stayed,
The rivers of flesh.
On such occasions philosophers become outlaws,
Become aware
Of the orders and odors of jasmine,
The shapes of breasts,
Forget the categorical imperative.

Lustful Philosophers

Philosophers know the clouds are vapors
That the hooves of donkeys can walk upon
And graze on green in white pastures.
This is why philosophers never have insomnia,
Always sleep soundly, even when awake.
Philosophers hold scepters of spectral words,
Turn these ghosts into centurions who guard.
Sometimes, these apparitional words
Become girls with gold twists in their corkscrew curls.
Philosophers no longer kiss the lips of axioms and syllogisms.

Philosophers In Bedrooms

Philosophers never wear beads or grow beards.
Their neck's sagging wrinkles are their credentials.
Any decoration, ornament would be an aporia.
Philosophers ever since Occam love razors.
The blades remove what is natural,
Produce a Cartesian clarity and distinctness.
Philosophers sit alone, sip white wine in bedrooms,
Think of tabula rasas when they see their unwrinkled sheets.

Hedonism, Handlebars, Opened Roof Cars And Walking

Those who ride bicycles and drink bourbon
Always wear short pants and seem to be on vacations.
While those who wear baseball caps
And drive opened-roof cars, drink from cans sugarless tea,
Seem to be always working, go-getting,
Even when attending Sunday sermons.
Philosophers walk on foot, walk exactly
At five-thirty PM, exactly fourteen laps,
Around swans that swim in a park.
When philosophers walk, philosophers think heroic thoughts,
But all their heroes are mythic or historic;
The present is only for cowards,
The lukewarm, the tepid, the Laodiceans.
Before philosopher commence their ambulatory pleasures,
Philosophers have drunk glass after glass of Sherry;
Thus their strolls, even in winter, are festive and estival.

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