Russell Salamon

Russell Salamon was born on December 6, 1941 in Berkasovo, Yugoslavia, as it was then, about sixty miles west of Belgrade in a hamlet of about 200 people near the Orient Express Line.
Huge steam locomotives thundered through without stopping at Sid (pronounced, Sheed), a nearby town of 2,000.

This life up to age twelve is recounted in Breakfast in the Twelfth Century, a book of poems. In October 1953 he came to Kent, Ohio, and soon after, to Cleveland. This part is summarized in Descent into Cleveland, his poetic novel about events in the 1960s. He was a key member of the mimeograph poets who gathered around d.a. levy in the 1960s.

A prolific poet, Russell Salamon is the author of eleven books of poetry. His work has appeared in Passager, Sunstone, Uncommon Ground, Daybreak, The Listening Eye, Saint Petersburg Russian-American Anthology, Peckerwood, Puckerbrush Review, Retooling for the Renaissance in the Third Millenium, Trace, and Dare, among others.

He serves on the editorial board for California Quarterly, published by the California State Poetry Society. He has been a featured reader at many venues in California and New York, with one reading in London. In California: Moonday, Beyond Baroque, Autry Museum of Western Heritage, Mission Viejo Public Library, Laguna Poets, Bakersfield Art Gallery, San Louis Obispo, Riverside, Mission San Louis Rey, Moondog, etc. Inevitable Press, Laguna Poets Series #213, produced Breeze Hunting for his featured reading in Laguna Beach in 2001. The editor, Padraic Cohee said of Russell's work: "...the secret of this book's own magic comes pouring forth like a diluvian inundation of lyrical synesthesia. The log-jam is broken open and we are swept away in a current of water, trees, freedom, true love, and poetic imagery. And there is a breeze whispering in the branches: you can ride the updraft all the way back to eternity. The movement from nostalgic simplicity to higher spirituality is done with such skill we wonder how it is that Russell Salamon doesn't wear that golden embroidered robe he remembers in one of these poems [about his priest father]. From the paper to the trees themselves, this book is an enchantment of trees and wooden things. Wonderful!"

He lives in North Hollywood, California. He may be contacted at: thesalamons (at symbol) earthlink.net.





by Russell Salamon

First it is sunlight
and faces of family. Neighbors
are yard with dogs in them.
It is a village much later.

Horses sweat under straps
pulling wagons up the hill
past chestnut trees.

Lit trees with candelabra
white bitter juice flowers.
Then green needled shells
holding shiny brown nuts.

We collect huge ones,
some not yet brown but
marbled white.


Drinking Water
by Russell Salamon

Church bells ring out pigeons
on a clear brown-red peal.
Blue noon over gardens.

Neighbor's well down the hill
is sweet with water. My favorite
water, with violets at a nearby

To the east is a valley with
meadows for hay. For cows
whose white sweet musky
milk makes mustaches.

Moo. Bell sounds. Birds.
Eyes seeing in all directions
like music.


by Russell Salamon

Lone white flower, asphodel,
grew for me, by my own hand,
in an old watering trough filled
with dirt. I watered it, it shined.
A blue day descended around us
and locked us in.

There was no other world.
Maybe the pigs were in the sty.
Maybe there were white chickens.

In those hours with the flower
we were growing a white scent.
I gave her a world.


by Russell Salamon

We come with empty minds;
the better to catch the unexistent.
It wants a shape. We put it on bread
with cheese, wine. Carpenters make
tables from it. We sit down; break
bread in morning under mountains.

What did you catch in your mind
last night? A better job, better city?
I caught moonlight eels in the lake.
I have them lighting the streets
where wind dancers crush leaves.

In my bag this morning I found
forty mornings straight from old
Athens where Socrates asked
the unanswerable questions.
One was, If the future does
not come, where did you go?


by Russell Salamon

In his sack he carried touches,
soft ones for delicate women,
softer ones for scared people.
For criminals, the concept of
cold hard work. For children,
he jumped in and out of the air
like a frog.

By evening he had collected
seventeen slaps on the face,
thirteen insults to his manhood,
innumerable affronts to his
immortality and one police report.

In defense he wrote:
Friends make the best enemies.
Real evil also loves you, but does
not see a better game. Friends
kill in the name of resurrection.
They want you perfect, so they
kill you for it.