Monday, March 15, 2010

Catfish McDaris

Albuquerque, New Mexico


Milwaukee, Wisconsin

mac th nife

Catfish McDaris

“I was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico on July 29th, 1953. I learned to lay brick, block, and stone from my father and grandfather. I was in the artillery for 3 years in the army. Then I moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin 35 years ago. I worked for the Post Office for 30 years and married a Mexican beauty 28 years ago. We have 1 daughter, soon to become a cop.

The interview I did with Charles Plymell [♣] is my main connection to the Beats. I did the first interview in ‘97 & another recent one for Outsider Writer. Plymell is 77 & I'm 56, so I’m not really old enough to have known the main Beats well. I did do a book with Bukowski & Jack Micheline (Kerouac wrote the intro to Micheline’s 1st book) ours was called Prying (an anthology of poems published by Four-Sep Publications 1997).

At the Beat reading at Ginsberg's farm [1997] was Anne Waldman with her nephew, David Amram [♣] with his daughter (he owns an organic farm now), Ed Sanders (formerly of the Fugs), Ray Bremser(an ex bank robber, and poet, now dead), Dave Church (a cab driver poet, now dead), Janine Pommy Vega, and many more."

[ Charles Plymell welcomed Neal Cassady, his girl Anne Murphy, and Allen Ginsberg into the large apartment he rented in the Haight area of San Fran in 1963; Plymell also became a close friend of Bill Burroughs. I will soon do a feature piece on Plymell who, with his wife Pam, started Cherry Valley Editions - and published Herbert Huncke, William Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, Ray Bremser, et al. ♣ David Amram, most people won't know - he played backup music for Kerouac when he read.  Editor]


The young Catfish McDaris, Corrales, New Mexico. 

Let Me Stand Next to Your Fire

He asked me if I'd
read before him

"Sort of warm up
the crowd for
the main attraction"
he chuckled

I replied,"Sure,
remember the time
Hendrix opened for
The Monkees?"

Wrinkles of doubt
clouded his forehead. 

Two Red Sailors

Sitting here in my
rat hole apartment
looking at the painting
Jack Micheline sent me
before he died

I miss him with all my
heart, his ghost might
be sitting in the
closet for all I

Listening to Guy Clark
singing about skinning
a Hollywood movie star

About there ain't no
money in poetry and
that's what
sets a poet free

I realize I have no
idea what I'm doing

Maybe the two red
sailors know, all
I know is I miss
Jack Micheline

Like a heart attack
from GOD.

OB GYN Blues

Accompanying my wife to the gynecologist,
I found a seat in the waiting room, pregnant
women kept arriving, I tried to doze

I soon came under attack by the
farting contest, one lady sounded like
a Vespa scooter, poppa pop ftttt ftt foo

Another matched her with a braaat
braatt braa bra like a sheep being
strangled by barbed wire

Another sounded like a snoring
wino in his death throes nghaaa
nghaa ngha ngh nggggg aaaa

The last sounded like a 62 Corvair
with no muffler being revved up,
she grabbed her ass & screamed
“Oh goodness” & took off at a run

I laughed & cried so hard, a nurse
was removing the oxygen, as my
wife & her Dr. exited his office
She took one look & said, “Don’t
even ask,” they all gave me
the evil eye.

No Longer Here

a dying bull's eyes bulge
from a nightmare disbelief face
amigo's daughter is dead

i watch his soul
shrivel & walk away
tears river down granite jaws
fist sledgehammers pound
hearts to a bloody pulp

not expired not passed away
no longer alive
a piece of meat for worms

23 years
she'd been his life
her whore mother long gone

there are no words to convey solace

watching my daughter
opening presents under the tree
i lapse into guilt & pain
a blue sorrow
i can not imagine
it claws my eyes to blindness

my wife stares at me
without understanding
like something abstract
a de Kooning

"this is suppose to be
a happy time" she explains

but I'm gone

jack lemur just released from prison hulk 'success' (one of nelson's ships)
from the play 'yellowgirl' by phil motherwell.
painting on arche paper by karl gallagher 1980s 

Contemplating Insanity

I stare at the sun,
but it gives no warmth.

The waves crash against
the beach and sanity.

Is sanity swallowing pride?
Is sanity feeling turmoil curl
inside, so deep your guts churn?
Is sanity eating dirt daily?

Insults overwhelm me.
Only steel gives comfort.
A gun is too impersonal.

There is no choice.
I must let my pain
meet theirs.

Therefore am I sane?

A Trojan Whore

While dreaming of
naked women
in marijuana fields
in the Mexican

The lady next to me
told me how she
threw her panties
at Tom Jones & Elvis

Now she can't find a date
she wrote her phone
number on a pack
of Trojans & slipped
them in my pocket.


The Red Sea

One who accepts death
in all manifestations,
will always be a victor
over one who fears
for their life

Acceptance is a reward

The shadows are empty,
they weren't always

Nor was your heart,
nor my promises,
nor our destiny

Our laughter flew with eagles,
our tears filled rivers,
our blood melted the sun

As I carve these words
into the oar,
the fins come closer

You quit loving me,
now I row

But as I stare
at the sea,
I remember your smile.

Caliginous Blues

It was Martin
Luther King Day
I didn't have
any dreams

The 1901 Cincinnati
safe I opened contained
2 kilos of Peruvian rock

A 357 snub nose
a stamp worth 90
grand a signed photo
of Elvis & a stack
of hundreds

I sampled the blow
gathered the loot
boarded a plane

Woke up descending
above Regina, Saskatchewan.

Strangling On Prayers

Mumbling to the river
blue empty sky, words
sometimes strangle

The best stay inside
where shreds of
sanity dwell

Others float in a baby's milk
in the spin of a marble game
in colors on a home made Mother's Day card
on the floor of a church

in a spray of bullets
in a pool of blood
in tears on a black dress
in the dust of a fading photo
of a smiling child

Staring eyes choked
on words better left unspoken.




Catfish and the late Ray Bremser - Cherry Valley, New York, 1997

Catfish with daughter Elizabeth

Catfish McDaris recently won a Flash Fiction contest at Buns & Barbs judged by the 2009 poet laureate, Jonathan Penton from Unlikely Stories; he has an interview with Charles Plymell; and a video with Belinda Subraman on Outsider Writer; he has work on/in The, and Black Listed magazines.

McDaris has been published in New York Quarterly, Louisiana Quarterly, George Mason Quarterly, Main Street Rag, Pearl, Bukowski Review, Chiron Review, Haight Ashbury Review, Sho, xibLobster Cult, Thirteen Myna Birds, Beggars & Cheeseburgers, Sex & Murder, Gutter Eloquence, Naughty Girlx, Unlikely Stories. and many more.

He won the Uprising Award in 1998. He has won the Poetry Slam twice at the Green Mill in Chicago, birthplace of the poetry slam. His last poetry reading was at the Shakespeare & Co. Bookstore in Paris.


McDaris published on these sites (among others):


Previously published:

Let Me Stand Next to Your Fire

Contemplating Insanity published in The Hold hard copy magazine.


McDaris’s 1st interview with Charles Plymell in1996 is published here:


" mac th nife - yah i remember that name neal said, and so did i, me being younger (then 1968) had known bobby darren's version in '58, ol mac the knife. this kid mac th nife - he spelled out to us. neal an me roared lauging. you could tell this kid could make it, he knew Time. beboperoo didgeri doo. an who were we anyway though neal did express a few regrets to him, like trying to forewarn him, about how life can take unexpected turns that can knock you down - for keeps." jack karlos notebooks: san pedro. (prev unpubished).  


Old Fitzroy - - Dreaming blues, karlos? said...

good stuff Catfish.

some feedback from Charles in mails:

Karl, That is beautiful work right down to the Roadmaster Buicks. It works so well with Catfish piece. You have a good eye for magazine like I used to do the Coldspring. Cp [charles Plymell, Ed.]

That's a great job. I need to find one of those! I can't go out the door in this stupid fucking country. As Burroughs said, The public is gonna take the place apart. It's only a matter of time. I saw the fine presentation Karl did staring with the '52 Buick and the Southern Pacific train. [Catfish]love your poetry. I wrote him about it but I'm to stupid to work comment in there. Yeah. I'll keep track of your blog.Another poetry one. Milk wants something. I don't have poetry. I've been wanting to write some essays. cp

Anonymous said...

karlos said: serendipity is magical - is it not!

Catfish thanks for the knockdown (introduction) to charles plymell
he really liked your posting and really liked the combination follow on from you; the connection with car photos (you guys know about motorcars - me was only ever a passenger, but loved to be in a car). part of the whole idea of follow-on was always the idea, and linking all kinds of writing/writers; inlcuding melbourne (and other locals sydney et al) yeah, it is looking good hey. But you know what really changed things for me was kris hemenlsey's blog via dave ellison and th late sixties uphealvals and tranformation - and destruction, after all we are in the thick of th Kali Yuga nightmare

Anonymous said...

I met a kid called Catfish (Mc Dougals something or other), we were docked in san Pedro, I was drinking in a bar, well I was but by then I was out the back with Neal smoking a joint, he was on his way to Mexico - must a been early 1968. This kid Catfish stumbles up the alley - Neal an me werent concerned - being old cons we had uber radar for body language of danger - he wasnt it, the kid. we turned him on then turned him loose, he said he was heading north, to meet up with his Mex sweetheart - he sure was wasted though. Neal and I had a chuckle over that - pot calling the kettle black jack. Jack Karlos, (unpublished Journals 1967 - 1972)

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