Tulsa, Oklahoma 1958

David Omer Bearden's earlist published work appeared in
NIMROD Fall 1958 Vol. 3 No. 1., when he was a freshmen English student attending the University of Tulsa.

Other contributors in this issue included:
  • John Tagliabue
  • Henry Birnbaum
  • James Boyer May
  • Nancy Munn
  • Louis Ginsberg
  • Judson Crews
  • Michael Raynolds
  • Ted Berrigan
  • Dan McRae
  • Carol Griffee
  • Kathryne Gambrell
  • Phillip Russell
NIMROD was published for a period by the local arts council but is now back under the sponsorship of Tulsa University till this day.

I Wakened On A Plain In Gloom

I wakened on a plain in gloom
   and saw the moon-fog blazing o'er the ground
frightened-for I would know the sun, I grieved
   then sobbing I began to gaze around
to see the young trees wave their tinfoil leaves;
   then I knew darkness and night sound
   was a soft whisper of my doom.

There was a river in my youth,
   a drowsy river flowing down the plain
that surely would have puddled and then dried
   but a sad love aroused and sent the rain
that April woman rent her robe and cried
   and weeping started once again
   the stirring waters of the truth.

Then came the waving windblown rain
   that capped the waters with a dingy cream
I knew the swelling nights demented joy
   that tore the trees and made the river scream
I recalled terror I knew as a boy
   so frightening, but like a dream
   that never is so bright again.

The White Dove Review

Self published. Tulsa, Oklahoma 1959-60

David Omer Bearden's work appeared in
"The White Dove Review" Volume 2 Numbers 4-5 in 1960.

Contributors through numbers 1-5 included:
  • Jack Kerouac
  • Clarence Major
  • Ron Padgett
  • Paul Blackburn
  • Leroi Jones
  • Ted Berrigan
  • Fielding Dawson
  • John Kennedy
  • Allen Ginsberg
  • Peter Orlofsky
  • O.W. Crane
  • Carl Larsen
  • Johnny Larsen
  • Rozana Webb
  • Gilbert Sorrentino
  • Harold Briggs
  • Paul England
  • Martin Edward Cochran
  • Robert Creeley
  • Dan Teis
In the late 1950s, Ron Padgett, Joe Brainard, Dick Gallup, the members of what John Ashbery called the “Tulsa wing” of the New York School (Ted Berrigan was the fourth horseman of that group), started a magazine in Tulsa, Oklahoma while they were in high school called White Dove Review. It is one of the greatest magazines of the period, paved the way for the mimeo explosion that followed in New York City and ushered in the Second Generation of the New York School. This document marks the begining influence of what would eventually become the St. Mark's Poetry Project which helped give a voice to Jim Carroll and Patti Smith.

THIS LAND, Contributing article about "The White Dove Review" 50th anniversary celebration, Click Here

YouTube, Public Secrets: White Dove Review, Click Here

Walking At Evening

Walking at evening            I see my fathers
In the park            Standing sad as roominghouses.
It is before dark            Just after dinner
And they have crisco in their bellies
Their loins have gone to tallow
And yellow grease is in their veins.
They watch the sky            And speak to passing youths
Friendly enough
I see my fathers            And kindly speak.

Published in:
  • The White Dove Review, Volume 2 Number 4 - 1960

Poem For Martin Edward Cochran

Died August 5, 1959

A prevernal flower
Grew up in his brain;

He whimpered an hour.
And sighed and abstained.

He took for a lockett
The thigh of a bird;

It hid in his pocket;
He dressed all in surd.

He found madness hiding
In a back alley can;

He took her out riding
And gave her his hand.

At the tumulus wedding
A sciolist grieved;

Gave cerecloth bedding
And laughed in his sleeve.

Published in:
  • The White Dove Review, Volume 2 Number 4 - 1960

The Most Ancient Law

What is the most ancient law?
I would obey. I have scanned
The faded ink by day and night.
I sat with death's dead, stared
That he had seen the statutes,
Read with dry humor the most ancient law.
Speak, my man: I would obey one law.
I have counseled with my counselors;
Men who have grown sallow with rote
Their eyes have burst. They do not know
What law they break: The first,
The Most Ancient law?

I will remove my garment.
In the morning, ahead of the Atlantic sun,
I will run into the maw of primal streets;
And stop before a gaunt signpost:
Mr. Lincoln, can you speak the first,
The most ancient law?

Published in:
  • The White Dove Review, Volume 2 Number 5 - 1960

Another Has Come To The Silver Mirror

Another has come to the silver mirror.
In a half light, humbly returning a stare
He stands; and in the ragged mouths
Upon his body can be seen swallowed ointments-
A bottle of shampoo,
And a little bottle of white tablets.
He in the peeling mirror eats my drugs.

Do they cleanse your body?
Do they ease you there under your hair?
Do they soothe your eyes?

This self, the brother of the self
With more unsmiling mouth;
A duplicity with the same
Uncured sadness in the eyes-
The sad defiance in the sunken eyes.

Self there in the frame,
Full of medicines-
Will you pray with me?
We will make a God to hear us.
We can make a God with mirrors.
And then, in harmony
We will humbly beg to be saved-
We will pray fervently to each other.

Published in:
  • The White Dove Review, Volume 2 Number 5 - 1960

Bulletin from Nothing

David's prose-poem “From a scenario: IN A CANTINA” appeared in the Bulletin from Nothing's first issue, among other notable contributors such as:

  • Claude Pelieu
  • Mary Beach
  • Jeff Nuttall
  • Antonin Artaud
  • William S. Burroughs
  • Charles Plymell
  • Roxie Powell
  • Benjamin Peret
  • Ed Sanders
  • Lawrence Ferlinghetti
  • Bob Kaufman
  • Leland S. Meyerzove
  • Norman O Mustill


For more information visit Reality Studio.

He Rose

Sexual bliss is torment with traction,
but I had lost a lot of traction
wandering around the frontyard
of my lady's cottage under the moon,
too tormented to enter too drunk
too soon since she laid my last pal
to rest
as I lay dying
through a jones in hospital…
Yeah, I was pitiful,
self pitifully drunk as the fool,
not a lord
with a kicking hard on
but no traction…
Drunken headlong
I fell into a bramble
whose active ingredients were:
roses, thorns, & dew.
Ice cold dew,
thorns like the last thoughts of Christ,
petals like lips of my lady.
I rose myself again
out of the bush in front of my lady's house
chilled & dignified,
sprinkled with stinging rubies,
almost drowned,
I walked in carefully
so as not to lose
the kisses stuck to me,
the jewels the beauty marks
the tiny cherries & garnets of blood
the drops & rivulets of dew.

Published in:
  • So Long At The Fair & Down At The Palomino Club & Other Poems - 1976
  • Love Lights, V.3 Issue 49, San Francisco's Erotic Art Newspaper - 1976


by Jean-Nicolas-Arthur Rimbaud
translated by Judith & David Bearden

So long as the razor has
Not amputated that brain,
That packet of white & green fat,
Whose vapors are never fresh,

(Ah, He ought to cut loose from his
Nose, his lips, his ears,
His paunch! & fairly abandon
His laigs! O marvel!)

But no; really, I guess as long
As the blade to his head,
The stones to his side,
& the fire to his guts,

Haven't executed him, the baby
So wearisome, the so stupid beast,
Mustn't cease for an instant
To pull ruse & betray,

& like some Rockies' wildcat
Stink up all spheres!
But still, when he dies, O my God!
May some prayer rise up!

Published in:
  • So Long At The Fair & Down At The Palomino Club & Other Poems - 1976
  • Love Lights, V.3 Issue 49, San Francisco's Erotic Art Newspaper - 1976

See The Elephant

“with fragments of the great unwonderable thrown in”
      -Alan Russo

See eidetic poikilothermism
through a fused stained rock candy window,
see a buggy rose bush with a burning turk inside,
see his fingers of rose marble
fret the blue axe,
see milklines in the kid
seeing potato love in delirious professions,
see what a baby sees,
see a new love letter in the shetter,
see the beast's one-sided push
wear out hot miscreants,
see a creature on the cusp
of the big pink man & the thin blue partisans
struggle his human wings,
see the demons with human tendencies,
see the cards, & how one bets it all,
see blanched silverbacks, in clouds of buzzing flies,
sacrifice pigeons & calves,
see the incendiary gnash his teeth
famished for calm sleep,
see Mom thrilled, eager for details,
see a walker disappear through the door & burn,
see the burnt not doing well on the circuit,
see the giddy line midway
where currents of the sea pull hair,
see long pale feet of Jesus Christ
walking in whitecaps on the spatial void,
see the Weird of the Wanderer,
see a fever we deem thieves' delight,
see who can See, & who can Not,
see Christ only alive in the walking still,
finally see Hölderlin's carpenter
in each & every friend,
see the Love, see the Hate,
see the fire from within,
see the fatally crushable rose,
see mandala centers vaporize
that seemed harder than the hubs of Hell,
see St. George & the word tape worm,
come, & see
      deadpan A#1, he's seen the elephant,
see old impossibly mundane karma
involving doughnut waitresses,
see, through the rosace in a star chamber,
the baby's breath taken over
by the spreading dog bane,
the rank arrow-weeds,
the flowering judas,
the charred white apocatastatic rose
beneath a sky of bright demento blue,
see a Hell whole of a lot in Heaven,
see a clear round silvering wheel
dart, hover, & leave up sky,
see the great unwonderable…

Where is it now?
Out in the glowing winds.
What left it out there?
My lord of karma, & my family…
What hurt it so?
My sister's sorrow was the worst to bear…
Where will it go?
It will disappear in air…

Published in:
  • The Rosace In a Star Chamber - undated
  • Love Lights, V.3 Issue 51, San Francisco's Erotic Art Newspaper - 1976

Leaving Wheels

The mummer walks, —
in the stares & songs he'll
      ever be.
But there are leaving wheels
that roll up & fly off the
paucity of your conceptual
depth, terrestrial marionettes!
You yield what one might call
leaving power… give anit-gravity,
headed out in
mine now…

as everything he's got recedes
into the past
at the speed of the light
in our eyes.

Published in:
  • Ergo Magazine - 1994
  • Our Conscious Love, Volume 7 - 1983
  • So Long At The Fair & Down At The Palomino Club & Other Poems - 1976


It is smooth
& bone white as that gull
against the darkening
or creamy as Nefertiti's
      inner thighs,
or agony peach,
or off white as the belly of
      a toad
turned over on his back
by a boy playing God…

Cold phosphorous pebbles of
gypsum stone
gleam in the dark humus
beneath the old blood
of the night roses…

It shines
as the fresh complexion
of the moon…

It is crystalline
as those glittering ceilings
the Okies blow onto
Pearly as tapioca beads,
empty as an eggshell
amphora in the shadowed
      corner of a tomb
where the princess Ananka
sleeping, wound in mummy

It is a field of dark blue
or roseate as frosted milk
      glass holding wine.
It is heavy light.

Published in:
  • Our Conscious Love, Volume 9 - 1983

Bouquets Of Bones

for Florida's electric chair

Couple of boys
tortured a girl to death
at a swimming party
in the thrill of holding forth
the vicious rose's torn red dress.
Today they fry
while sitting in a chair.
Society's unwobbling pivot,
Just in spades,
removes them to where
boys and girls cannot be
pardoned from
or exiled from.
Where water, air and earth
jolt away in hideous fire.

…While the blue sheep feed
close by the hermitage.

Published in:
  • The Irregular Quarterly Vol.3: No.1,
    Laguna Beach, Calif. - Dec. 1986

La Llorona

streets of Juarez

From sodium vapor suns
ticked off moths fall away
into the pit of the street.

One day it was O'er
that storm in a bug
begging on wall street

Above the water palaces
a wise star is bleeding fire
like a wound in the eastern sky

A female voice wails in the night
“O my children, you are lost,
where shall I hide you?”

Published in:
  • The Irregular Quarterly Vol.3: No.3,
    Laguna Beach, Calif. - Dec. 1986

Snowy Owl

(Nyctea scandiaca)

This stunning raptor is not only the largest
North American owl, but one of the most
strikingly beautiful species in the world.
Brilliant brooding eyes, wide wingspread of
nearly 5 feet & a frosty white body flecked
with slate gray, make the snowy owl a truly
awesome sight. Unlike most of its relatives,
this owl is a day-hunter, scouring the sunlit
tundra for small varmints & their favorite
prey -- lemmings. When the cyclic declines
in the lemming population occur, the great owls
migrate as far south as Mexico to find food.
Otherwise, they thrive year-round in their
near Arctic range.