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Dig Wayne: California Poets Part 6, Five Poems

Dig Wayne

October 18th, 2023

California Poets: Part VI

Dig Wayne

Five Poems

Merciful Was The Architect

stout to the ground wont of adornment, but willful pampering the bleak and austere

coattails of thunder buttoned up and planked until morning resuscitation

yawning in her sleep stretching old bones

and disappointment as to brace the uprights while the bottom falls out of choice

upon rising massaging life back into soft wiggles

shudders ticks of neuro-nutrition elaborating thus

bread and water sustaining a black wraith by

degree haunting birth signs held in orbit like a faceless moon

never yielding back madam creator with hot belly

button pushed beyond the sun orphaning galaxies

by mere coincidence

prehistoric pastiche mocking no god or monster bathing in

churlish bath water yet living

on the topsy turvy swervy

empathetic shoes of conscience

Memorial Day Is Every Day

ALL the poems inside of me today are someone else’s spring blossoms summer anthologies of love hope peace bucolic smears I refuse to choke up

ALL the metaphors are stolen from shucks of Green Giant sweet corn nibblets Minnesota died Del Monte fresh cut sweet canned peas

ALL the prolific bones have spurs fractures neutered pain of dead poets bloody verses mocking my unnourished blank page of middle class African American ghetto free sunshine

ALL the poems inside me today are white people with good intentions unable to inhabit black privilege black face black all over town spinning ESPN with jazz in the background

ALL the poems inside me today are band-aids on the fingers of unrecognizable children with their DNA the only passport to a sutured future poets stumble over their backs to express

ALL the poems inside me today are not fit to write they are too bitter too redundant too sentimental too poetry too livid too numb too stupid too late too clever too blue

FOR now I must live in the abstract where nothing needs to make sense

Pillars of Bloom

I’m planting cloud seeds in holy water they sprout like transparent bandannas tight knots of religious contradictions believing that miracles have no memories

The Morning Held My Tongue

the afternoon bloomed with colors and goddamns

my stomach was full of smiles but they

stubborned their way to dry my lips like sand castles

the dusky moist dew broke wind then blamed the closest

love birds for public frottage without protection

the western clouds grew fiery bellies nose

diving into the black owned night

the crushed velvet canopy bled out stars

open for brusque hop-headed wishing bones only

dawn’s early light came down like an executioner’s

wrathing steel feeling no remorse just solar planet

casualties salted to taste

the accompanying choir of ornithology peeped a locket of

meditative goo before the marine layer burned a hole in their beaks


the morning held my tongue like a cartoon somnambulist counting

big ass herds of sheep tweaking on rolling rock and green tea chasers

Deporting the Brown in Us

dragging the spatula around the edge of the melting pot where all the good last licks live

employing the bread to rub the plate clean of any remnants of gravy or satiated wanting (flowers notwithstanding)

open handed gesture; welcome to the table of lush life for chasing dreams forever

all this matter matters splatters matter sadders matter chatters matter all the fatty fatters matter mad hatters matter tall ladders matter quiet natters matter otters matter bladders matter piddy patters matter udders matter

I saw a box of 64 Crayolas, all of them different calls of brown, being arrested in an art store for disturbing the yeast, it was described as an attempted uprising, the built-in sharpener was considered a shivish type of implement, 64 counts of suspicion of darkness and carrying a concealed weapon?

darker than a 2-pound paper bag, the shadow left the party with all the babies under his arm, the hostility tasted freedom, the paper bag stood by the door Look closely; is your shadow casting you correctly

the n-word buried itself in an unmarked grave in Highgate Cemetery London, but roving chavs keep finding the bastard, digging him up for bank holidays and football matches

America the beautiful; they tried to discontinued the root beer popsicle

the innocent whiter outsider who painted his face brown to complete his clown character, Whogoulie, was in for a sharp awokening when the big top blew a gasket and sent him to the circus HR office to

withstand withdrawal

amber waves of brown coming to your town


December 17th, 2023

California Poets Interview Series:

Dig Wayne, Poet, Musician, Actor, Photographer

interviewed by David Garyan

DG: You’ve had success in three different genres: music, film, and poetry. Do you see each effort as ultimately coalescing with another, or does every project require its own mindset—its own creative impulse?

DW: As far as working creatively across genres goes, I find poetry to be the most freeing. There are no real rules unless you are writing to a form, and even then you can play a little. All that is required are word(s) on a page. Everything else is malleable.

In acting I must work, to a certain degree, within the authors’ intentions. My imagination, and therefore behavior, is limited to the world they have created. I am fulfilling someone else’s vision. That’s the job.


In music and songwriting, the lyrics must rhyme. There are exceptions, but rarely. Singing is a great form of expression but if you are somewhat sane you are required to sing in tune—that in and of itself creates boundaries. You want people to listen, don’t you? Maybe not…


DG: In addition to working across genres, you’ve also worked across continents—being highly successful in both the US and the UK. How did this geographic polarity go on to shape your artistic development?

DW: I was fortunate to have lived in London for twelve years. One of the benefits of that was expanding my vocabulary within the English language. The British use words in a much more creative way than speakers of standard American English. If you know anything about Cockney Rhyming Slang, you will understand what I mean. We have simplified the language, whereas the British still use a formality that gives their speech more color and grandeur. It opens up greater ways of expression. English as a first and second language, I’d say.

DG: Let’s talk more about your move to the UK. In the States, as part of Buzz & The Flyers, you were already well-established in the music world. You’ve gone on to describe your arrival in London as “straight from the airport to a rehearsal studio.” Was there a great deal of personal and creative confusion during this period, or did you settle into the scene quite quickly?

DW: Moving to the UK from New York as a singer/songwriter, I had the advantage of being managed by Bernard Rhodes. He had seen my Rockabilly band, Buzz and the Flyers, in NYC when we opened for his charges, The Clash. He didn’t like my band but he saw my potential so he offered to move me to England and guide my musical career. I slipped into the music scene quite seamlessly. This was 1982. Being an African American male, I represented the music that had been a huge influence on the British scene for years; jazz, soul, rock ‘n’ roll. I was connected to all of that.

DG: Punk, rockabilly, jazz, and soul are all distinct American genres, and all of these influenced you to a great extent. Many bands across the pond were taking elements of those sounds and putting their own spin on them. As an American, your arrival certainly had a great impact. Fellow JoBoxers bandmember, Chris Bostock, echoes this: “When we teamed up with Dig, the new band's capabilities were suddenly unlocked and we felt that we had taken on a whole new dimension.”

DW: My band, JoBoxers, was a real collaboration between the very talented musicians Bernard introduced me to and my gift of writing lyrics, i.e., poetry, along with not being shy about giving it all I had when I sang. We were an instant “pop-sensation.” We lasted a few years and … poof.

DG: You ultimately choose to walk away from the music business in the late ‘80s early ‘90s to pursue an acting career. What are some things you’re most proud of from those days, and, looking back, is there anything, perhaps, you might’ve done differently?

DW: When I look back on that time, the main thing I would have done differently is save my money and practice a little more humility. I was quite proud of myself.

DG: Let’s talk about acting—another major transition for you. Would you say that years of performing on stage made the transition to a more metaphorical stage effortless, or did you face difficulties in these early years?

DW: My transition to acting was a natural move. I had always been a fan of the craft; always paying attention to actors and being curious about the process. The Method was where I wanted to live. Brando (who always claimed to not be Method trained), Monty Clift, and that crowd of actors that touched me as a kid were doing something I wanted to be a part of.

After enrolling in the Lee Strasberg Studio in London in 1987, I struggled with the exercises in the beginning classes. Once I gave into it, I felt like that’s what I was born to do. Eventually, I started working as an actor in London.


DG: For many years, you’ve taught method acting, which emphasizes the internal motivations of a performer in relation to the performance he/she chooses to deliver. We can use this as the perfect transition to poetry—in many ways, that art form depends on a writer’s internal state as an extension of their desire to describe some external scenario, but this isn’t the case for all writers. Do you employ the method as an extension of your poetic creativity or is there a different mechanism at work here?

DW: The marriage of poetry and Method acting provides a strong understanding of the senses and how they influence your behavior. As a result of having taught Method acting for over 15 years, the basis of all creative work invariably affects your psyche in a deeper way than it would for the average person. This allows you to walk through the world in a heightened state.

Any good art is about showing people what they know to be true. If you tell the truth in your acting, you will touch people. The same goes for poetry.


My aesthetic is to find what moves me in the world and write about it. I’m not following any particular genre or movement. Still, the Beats would come to mind if pressed to name influences. Bob Kaufman especially. I adore Lucille Clifton.


DG: We’ve taken a bit of round-about way to get here, but let’s discuss the actual poetry. In terms of language, your work is raw in the best sense; in terms of structure and form, it relies on the natural rhythm of words themselves, rather than on standard punctuation. Is this an attempt to strip poetry of its elitism or is your aesthetic driven by more practical considerations?

DW: I only use punctuation when it’s absolutely necessary to clarify my thoughts. If I can leave it out and the piece still flies, I will leave it out. Punctuation sometimes takes the reader by the hand. I would like to make people negotiate a path of their own. Maybe they will be lost. Good. That means they have to do some work.

I collect words. My radar is always picking them up from the news or an overheard conversation. How many ways can I process a word and turn it into something new? Into something it’s never been before. That really excites me.


DG: Thelonius Monk famously said: “There ain’t no wrong notes on the piano.” Do you tend to edit poems heavily after the first draft, or do you put greater faith in the first impulse?

DW: I hardly edit at all. I usually write a poem in one or two sittings. I might go back over it just to make sure I have made my point or have not repeated something unconsciously. Maybe I’ll try to find a sharper word than the one I’ve got, but usually how it came to me is what you are reading.

DG: Another passion of yours is photography. Two questions: Can you talk about how that became an interest, and, secondly, how do you decide what situations require the poetic image, as opposed to the photographic one?

DW: My photography is another extension of my practiced sensory view of the world. I see a flattened can or a cardboard box on the street, I photograph it. A rusty car bumper, I photograph it. So much art surrounds us, but most people don’t even notice it. Beautiful abstracts are lurking. Perhaps that’s where the truth is hiding.

photo(s) by Dig Wayne

DG: What are you reading or working on these days?

DW: I have just finished reading Pimp by Iceberg Slim. A brutal but very poetic piece of writing. I am working on one-word poems. That’s a challenge.

Author Bio:

Dig Wayne grew up in Ohio. He has lived, worked, and practiced his art in New York City and London. He now lives in Los Angles. His poetry has been featured in the literary journals Askew, Spillway, Liegia, Juke Joint, High Shelf and others.


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