Ellyn Maybe









My Allen Watts tapes are rewound.

So are my Michael Ventura tapes

          and Helen Caldicott too.

I wrap my ears and heart around

          Pacifica for nourishment.

I’m thinking of painting my car yellow

          and turning it into a bus.

I defend mother earth.

I’ll armwrestle for father sky.

I boycott lots and lots of stuff.

I giggled at a crystal in the window

          of a new age bookstore.

I play a guitar made of tofu.

I sang happy birthday to a river.

I gave my teeth goddess names.

I visualized wisdom.

Did you hug an organic farm today?

Has your guru asked

          for your charge card yet?

I changed all the currency

          to pictures of floods, pictures of war,

          drawings of overdoses,

          people with their backs turned.

Money ought to reflect the society

          it has bought.

I took to the road

Stood in front of the Pentagon and asked

Trick or trick or trick or trick.


For Halloween I saw how people sank

as they dunked for survival.

New apples in the garden of toxic waste.


I changed the national anthem to

          My Country Tis of Thy People You’re Dying

          by Buffy St. Marie.

I painted a shadow around the White House.

I saw leaders fall into quicksand

          of their ego.

I saw followers breakdown

          then rise with the taste

of their own strength.


I saw people give the peace sign

          and then use those two fingers

          as a guillotine to cut up hope

          in an embracing heart.

I saw hip.

I saw trendy.

I saw Emperor’s New Clothes

          on all the racks.

I saw hypocrisy.

I heard people call ignorance a treat

          as they said to me

          you trick us

          you scare us

          you’re a witch

          please shut up.


I said every day is halloween.

And they said

          you’re fat

          you don’t know

          you are nothing

          you are nothing

          you are nothing but a crazy woman

          you rant and tangent.


And I said what do you see?

And it was as if the earth

          quit breathing to see what

          all its children would mumble.

And the telephones that dialed evangelists.

And the telephones that dialed 976.

And the telephones that dialed dianetics

          fell to a collective snug fit

          on the receiver.


And people with homes ran outside

          and the homeless looked paranoid

          and then facing each other

          saw the differences vanish.

And people said this is something!

The paintbrushes we use may be different.

The thickness of paint may be different.

How far back we stand to see a painting may be different.

But each empty canvas has remarkably

          similar space.

It’s in knowing humans and flowers

          dance together like lovers

          as do birds and gazelles.


The businessman said “my peace of mind

          cannot be traded for green sandpaper

          with bloody presidential mindsets on it

          no more.

          business as usual is unusual, unnatural and unwise.”


People shivered and used their

          alarm clocks to not be afraid of time.

And people said “come on let’s go”

          nobody asked where.


They all just intuitively split to Washington

          and saw the White House curled in a ball.

          goosebumps of fear scarring the door.

          paint peeling.

And the people said

          “let’s kill the bastards.”

And someone said

          “that takes us one step closer to being them.

          let’s just stare as out come those skinless robots running

          to the weapon store for one last shot of testosterone.”


And the people were split

The non-violent and the almost non-violent

          weren’t on speaking terms

          but someone said we can’t kill the dead

          and we can’t bring back the dead.


Someone said that’s right

Another one said right on

Someone looked confused

Someone sang The People United Will Never Be Defeated

Someone drummed and sang the American Indian Movement song

Someone sang Mary Had A Little Lamb

Someone sang We Shall Overcome

Someone sang And The Times They Are A Changin’


Someone said how long do you think

          this will last?

I said it will last as long as it lasts.




Someday Our Peace Will Come


one day poetry dropped from the sky

and the animals grew iambic pentameter tails

and the people breathed in stars


one day music dropped from the sky

and the architecture turned symphonic

and the people breathed in harmony


one day memory dropped from the sky

and the past present and future sifted like flour

and the people breathed in wonder


smoke and ash

as distant as two sides of the same coin




Van Gogh


There’s a man who looks like Van Gogh cartwheeling through the sky again.
I said what brings you here.
He said I get bored in heaven sometimes.
Everything is taken care of.
All the chocolates, all the paints,
all the books, nothing on TV of course.
I want to come closer to all the scurrying people.
Rushing quickly as though they could outrun death.
I used to take all day to feel what the peasants felt.
What the crows were cawing at.
Life was simpler then but still so hard.
I knew someday I’d make a living but I didn’t live to see that day.
If you knew Vincent why?
Knowing and actually seeing for your own eyes,
Its such a chasm.
No it’s more than that.
I was lonely.  The colors I made.
red   yellow   blue
became orange  green  purple
I could make one color disappear into another.
It was seamless.
I thought my loneliness was like that.
Some other feeling would mix with it and I’d have serenity.
But my palette was a little short.
I don’t know.  It goes sometimes like that.
I made good use of my time.
I’ve had a long time in Heaven.
Vincent are you saying this to make me feel better?
Well yes and no.
I wanted to know the Earth more.
So I come down on the biggest playground slide God ever made and look at life each week.
Once a week I feel everything on Earth as thought I were still human, more than spirit.
I used to come down every night.  Now once a week is all I can take.
The 20th Century was more than I could bare.
We look at you from Heaven.
You’re living in Guernica.  Picasso agrees.
We thought you’d learn from the Inquisition, the many Joan of Arcs we don’t know about.
We thought you’d become peaceful.
When I say you I mean your species.
He spat the word and I knew exactly what he meant.
World War Two
We were dead so we went to the camps to say prayers for our breathren.
There are people who refused to go back to Heaven for a few years after seeing what went on there.
They painted shrouds.
They painted landscapes inside their eyelids.
Many went crazy.
Heaven is not just cotton candy clouds, harps and angels.
We watch you.
Yep you are our movie of the week.
We don’t want you more than once a week.
Even the dead need peace now and then.
I said Vincent did you ever find love?
There was this day the print in my favorite book began to dance with me.  I took it for love.


There was this day I heard the music the birds sang and I became a bird
but more I became  music.
There were many days.
Yes that love I found.
Suddenly I said Vincent
Are you my guardian artist?
He said yes.
He said all I need to know.











Ellyn Maybe, Southern California based poet, United States Artist nominee 2012, has performed both nationally and internationally as a solo artist and with her band. Her work has been included in many anthologies and she is the author of numerous books. She also has a critically acclaimed poetry/music album, Rodeo for the Sheepish (Hen House Studios). In addition to her band, her latest poetry/music project is called Ellyn and Robbie.




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