Michael Andrews Arts

See Announcements for details on publication of Archilochus poems in Arion Magazine.


by Michael Andrews


Artist Book

The adventures of a poet/book artist among the fine press printers, librarians, collectors and publishers at Oak Knolls 10th festival – Fest X.
First Printed 2004. 30 6x9 inch pages of text using Goudy Old Style and Lydian typefaces, one sheet printed on papyrus and integrated with 13 photographic illustrations and printed on 190 gram, Entrada Natural, a 100% rag, archival paper. There are a total of 8 separate photographic pigment prints printed on 300 gram, Entrada Natural. Each print is numbered and signed by the author.
The edition is loose leaf in brass portfolio/binding, lined with Guatemalan fabric and with the cover images printed directly on the brass. Limited to 17 copies.


The Insomniac

Los Angeles had less than three million people and we never heard of the Vietnam.
Fidel Castro was a burr under Ike's saddle and the Mouseketeer girls were the goddesses of sex.

We rode the bus from Inglewood to Hermosa and rented surf mats from the guy on the corner
who was wrinkled and tan and doomed to die of multiple melanomas.

After the crash of the surf we spent all afternoon dripping sand and salt water
in the back stacks of the Insomniac Bookstore on the north side of Pier Avenue.
The floors were concrete and the shelves were raw wood and home made.
Beatniks dueled with rooks and knights on rickety chairs over battered boards.
Everywhere we looked we saw minds greater than our own.

We shivered in our soggy bathing trunks,
our little pricks ever alert while we read the dirty parts
of Lady Chatterly's Lover and The Tropic Of Capricorn.
We read the naughty bits in The Canterbury Tales and the Decameron.

In time we learned to think with our heads too.
Every book held a mystery, a promise of secrets revealed
and wider a universe waiting for our minds to take the voyage.

The mere cover of a book was worth missing dinner for.
The mere feel of the pages flipping through our fingers
made our minds hungry and our spirits voracious
for the other side of horizons, for truths unveiled.
The words whirred by, the music of the pages fluttered in our fingers
until we stopped, dipped into sentences
that led to sentences, that exploded ideas
that created unknown worlds, until our brains imploded
with adventures beyond our imaginations.

The Insomniac is gone now, replaced by sport bars and televisions.
No one reads anymore, no one flips the pages.
No one is struck dumb with awe by the mere sight of shelves of books.
The inebriated denizens bring wheelbarrows of cash and worship the man
who can thump a guitar or can run with a ball, dribble a ball or hit a ball with a stick.
Their eyes are awash with tequila and they cannot imagine a world of ideas.
My worlds are humdrum now, prosaic and everlastingly dull.
The secret of secrets is that there is always another secret
and that no secret leads to that final understanding.

The secret of humans is that they are not an intelligent species.

The chess players have departed, replaced by video gamers and sport fans.
I no longer know anyone smarter than me. The knights of chess have died away.
Gone are the boys in the salt water trunks, hungry for other worlds.

I do not know minds like that