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The army took Johnny 
in September, now 
I got my warm 
coat, that he 
stole, t' 
my head 
's poked deep 
into th'arm, where 
it's the same dark 
's outside in the 
room but my 
face ain't 
's cold 
I can't 
hear so good 
the scratchin noise 
that says tomorrow mornin 
th' rice crispy's box will 
have a hole in it an' 
maybe they'll be 
rat turns that 
we'll havta 
outta th' 
stuff, before 
we can 
Why does Nanna 
shake when 
somebody says 
Johnny's in Mississippi 

Jim Wellington 

(Copyright © 1996 by Jim Wellington (All Rights Reserved)) 

(((Originally published in "The Stratford Sound", a Literary Magazine put together in 1968 by the Stratford, Connecticut Creative Writing Workshop. The Magazine later changed its name to "Indigo". The workshop survived until 1973 when our first "Oil Crisis" scared a couple of our most productive members out of driving in from a couple towns away.))) 


(social control)

"In your mind, Daughter 
I have conjured 
monsters and angels 
to punish and praise 

"I've planted you a jungle 
with leopards and orchids 
and painted an ocean, dark and sweet 
heaving death, unleashing nightmares 

"-and a desert 
hot and dry 
strong in virtue 

"Your irresponsible soul 
will now rule you 
with all the compassion 
of the whip 
I cannot crack 
each time your mind 
tries to open, strays 
to look beyond 
the limits of my fears 
and holy rage 

"and, by the grace 
of all the rich men 
this world will ever know 
I'm saving you 
from seductive fascinations 
and your own self-destruction 
in the company of the idle!" 

Unspoken words echo in the memory 
of every evil glance 
each terrifying gesture 
every verbal attack 
on your innocence 

And you- approach sainthood 
when you attempt 
not to hate him 
("He believed he was right...") 

A spider
weaves a web 
sequestered in darkness 
then waits to kill- 
But you are not a moth- 

And maybe the nightmares 
won't just blow away 
but, lover, you've got me 
and somehow 
we've learned Love 
we've got the time- 
you'll live your dreams 
of possible happiness 
in freedom and 
maybe even enjoy 
the boundless life 
your spirit deserves. 

     Jim Wellington (1973) 

Road Kill


(cows wag their tails
in time with Peter Gabriel's
"Games Without Frontiers"
and I begin to wonder
if I'm feeling really good
or lost touch with something
like 'consensus reality'
whatever that is...)

(I drive for a living lately
deliver newspapers
on a two hundred and fifty mile loop
through rural new york 
finger lakes region
(Watkins Glen and Schuyler County)
and the stereo keeps me grounded
reminds me I haven't really
left the Earth of my childhood

There's a woodchuck
he's been sitting every day
for this past week
beside the body
of his friend
     (or lustling?)
smack dab in the middle of this road

'possums die so ugly
every one of them
looks like it'd been dragged for miles
then tortured hideously for hours

but woodchucks look so peaceful
<like they're sure they'll be
re-united with their splattered friends
and lovers
in the great 'Beyond'>

I guess I'd rather
be a woodchuck
sitting in the road
hoping an eighteen-wheeler
does it right the first time
[ instantaneously ]

(I think there just might be
a conspiracy
to cover all 
of new york state's roads
in fur- but,
like most bureaucracies
'they' can't agree on a time table
so by the time they add a third pelt
the first and second
have blown away

          Jim Wellington
          June 21, 1989

Copyright © 1996 Jim Wellington & Aerendel Magazine. All Rights Reserved.

Reprinted from Volume 1 Issue 2 Summer 1996


[ To Janis Ian ]


From here
the sixties feel like recess
at a school for the extremely
gifted, extremely volatile-

We were born knowing who we are
<We had a mission to change the world!>
     (a lot of us
      had no freaking idea
     what we wanted to 
     change the world into...
but we knew fer certain
     the world
     had to change.)

And for those of us
in the trenches
(changing ourselves
one atom
one molecule at a time)
     You were there
<with a friendly conspiracy of others>
singing us the energy
     to keep on going
offering moral support
     emotional support
     social conscience
    & a chance to sit back
 and let somebody else
 take the heat
   while we rested
       and recharged
         between battles

& of course the revolution ain't over yet
& of course none of us are one dimensional

but thanks
<there were times
when I really needed to know
I wasn't the only one
crazy enough to scream
when I saw somebody
wrecking our planet
or abusing the hearts
minds and lives
of our friends>

Yup, you were there
when we needed you.

          Jim Wellington
          June 5, 1996

Copyright © 1996 Jim Wellington & Aerendel Magazine. All Rights Reserved.

Reprinted from Volume 1 Issue 2 Summer 1996

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