Poem: Richard Brautigan

I think Brautigan was a genius

much better than the glorified Beatniks

I’m always for the underdog

and undiscovered stars.

He wrote In Watermelon Sugar

Trout fishing in America

and many other stories.

I liked his poetry the best

many of my favorite poems were written by him.

He sang with words like wounds

hurt open like the orphan he was

abandoned in poverty

he never knew his true father

for most of his time on earth

he mapped his misunderstood

life into luminous books

full of catfish friends,

lost loves, libraries,

Hamlet on a motorbike

and fragile Ophelia.

He wrote about werewolves crying

over Ferris wheels with streams

of neon colors flowing down it’s cheeks,

lonely widows with food stamps

borrowing firewood

unrequited love and lanterns.

He posed for his black and white book covers

in ten gallon hats with his lovers

gorgeous straight haired goddesses

parted in the middle

with faces like wildflowers.

He was a musician of pens

and sad typewriters

and hand written poems

left in laundromats.

He discovered seemingly simple

combinations of newly reformed words

like newborn constellations.

He made me cry and laugh and adore him

and one of his short stories inspired

me to move to California.

He lost every woman

he ever loved except his daughter

but she lost him to shot gun suicide.

They didn’t discover his body for awhile

in his solitary cabin in the woods.

He was facing a view of the ocean when he died.

Poor Ianthe I hope her life fares so much better

and that they can meet again in Paradise.


  1. I read and enjoyed several of Brautigan’s works when I was in my 20s. Sadly, over time he slipped into despair, and his work slipped into obscurity. He still has a cult following, but I seldom meet people who’ve read him. Good on you, Judy.

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    1. I read his poems when I was in my twenties too, good age to read him 🙂. I met two people who knew him, both said he was destroyed by alcoholism. I read a biography about him and you’re right he became more depressed, he had a sad childhood full of poverty and neglect. I wish more people knew of him. Thanks for your comment Mitch.

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