Randolph Maxted


These two pieces are from a chapbook I put together in 1990, entitled Meditations: dreamprose by randolph. (I now use my last name as well, but didnt then, nor did I capitalize my name.) I conceived them as whimsical pieces that would nevertheless be saying something I deeply felt. I was experimenting with the interaction of language as play and as meaning. Joycean, perhaps, in intention if not in effect (since in these particular pieces I eschewed neologisms). I called them dreamprose because to my ear that term sounded less prosaic than prose poetry. Today I dont care what they're called as long as they're read! One other note: I introduced the book with an epigram by Nietzsche: "I say unto you: one must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star."




Artists Like Georgia O'keeffe


Running a palm over the sun she knew she would paint the New Mexican desert. Yet swans rather than eagles fill the canyon of her aspiration. A rose flies whiter than bone on the pink hills that lick her thighs.

Rams, deer and cows get mixed up in the abattoir of her affections. The tip of an antler pokes her eyes, floating her to an unhilled vista beyond life's ghostly ranch. Out there, in some direction, a beast chews the cud of its reincarnation.

Clay makes a good pretext for a woman's touch. The unity of things is patted to a hardness that will penetrate the unchilded womb. She brings the androgynous gray of serene morning to its peak inside the midnight of the rattler's spasm. Orgasmic rains nurture flowers lying like Ophelia in dusty arroyos.

There are no nymphs or water lilies in the desert. Instead, the long bone of drowning perfects decay; death is victorious at the tip of her brush.



The Vintner


A swallow twittered on a willow branch when the world was simple. No voices wept to a tune of symbolism; serenity had touched deeper than ritual. Fish did not hatch absurd belief, nor did any creature bow to a mind-born yoke.

A man might have shared his thoughts with a grape.

Years later a vintner, reviewing his borders, saw a hole in his wall. He raced to a quarry, but the stones were too beautiful to cut. So he perched like an orchid on a granite crag. Was he waiting for a volcano to reshape his life?
Birds flew past. He watched one fly over his head, out of sight. Then he got up and sailed like lava to a nonexistent wall in a make-believe vineyard. Here birds sang amid silence and destruction.

He stopped wanting to fix his wall. A wingless voice rumbled within his chest, rose to his throat, and tumbled from his mouth like the dark clouds of a chant. When his senses cleared he saw his vineyard blossom into an apple
orchard. The cry he sang was the echo of a tree changing into a violin. He picked it off the ground, together with its bow, and played himself drunk. Then he slept.

As the wine of his harmony mellowed the man awoke. He was no longer a vintner or in an apple orchard, nor when he drew the bow did his violin squeak as if hungover. He was a flower building a wall, tending vines, playing
music in a marble quarry while swallows flitted from tree to tree.

He offered his aroma to the most primitive listener.



Randolph_MaxtedBorn and raised in Canada, I've lived in California for almost half my life and am a dual citizen. I studied theatre and English literature at McGill University, but am mostly self-taught. I've been involved in the literary scenes in Vancouver, British Columbia, Santa Barbara, where I lived for 13 years, and Palm Springs where I've lived for 8. In Vancouver I wrote a directed a couple of plays and had a short story published in "Grain," a literary magazine out of Regina, Saskatchewan. In Santa Barbara I had a couple of pieces published in "Connexions," as well as other literary magazines. I also read my work a couple of times on Santa Barbara's community cable channel, as well as doing numerous solo and group readings. I appeared in several of the Santa Barbara Writers Consortium's dramatic presentations of literary works.

I was one of a neo-beat quartet of poets and musicians who did gigs at coffee houses. We called ourselves, "The Trendy Shitbags." Archival footage is extant.

In Palm Springs I have been involved in art as well as literature, having been active in the local poetry scene as well as twice co-producing the art auction benefit, "Tasty Plateful" for the Desert Pride Community Center.
Currently I am the chair of the Arts Committee at the DPCC which produces and curates the art shows at the center.

Before the days of computer I used to make books of my poetry and stories for friends, at first glueing typewritten pages on blank paper (signatures) and later buying blank books and handwriting my material in them.
When I got my first computer I used it to put together four chap books in the late 80's and early 90's, all of which are now out of print.

I have plans to put out a largeish collection of my poetry next year as well as my racy memoir, Slay Me Life.

The fourth issue of The Intriguist, a grassroots literary journal I publish and edit has just come out and is available.