George Wallace


It’s late fall, it’s 1968, I’m standing on the riverside with my wool jacket on, ‘tough as buck’, collar up, red checked Holden Caulfield hunting cap (worn backwards), never known a psychedelic day in my life, and i’m 17 years old and man of the house (toilet’s running, furnace needs a filter change, kid sister’s bike gone missing again)

And all the oak leaves falling, perpetually falling, and i’m feeling warm and strong and okay with things (not too awkward not too sentimental), one with the bobber and the beer can, one with the used condoms floating in the oil slick and crazy debris and fishhooks, tacklebox yawning at the big blue empty existential sky, avoiding eye-contact with

My own existence, this is no time for despair, fishing with Hemingway and Brautigan and fuck no I ain’t going to no Vietnam, and the forest is legendary, and a riverside bank is the new frontier in the land of the lost, and I am one of the abandoned, unloveable men on a tin-can riverside, an ordinary boy in lowdown ordinary upstate, resilient, one with the lumberjacks;

One with the chemical plants, one with the apple farms and hard core criminals and derelicts driven to madness, sent away, drowned in a thousand lakes, swept out to sea by a thousand rivers, bricked up, a smokestack boy from a smokestack town who broke parole and broke free and it’s November, winter soon: river of ice, river of piss and pine, river of tar-oil and bleached prehistoric bones;

And I am a splinter of wood floating down a splinted river, one with the birch forest and white tail deer, smoking cigarettes, tracking a long line of Canadian geese headed nowhere, like me, nowhere, and it don’t matter, i don’t care –the edge of the world is me


George Wallace is a NYC based poet and spoken word artist with 42 chapbooks to his name, four albums of spoken word poetry streamed worldwide, and an active schedule of appearances in NYC, nationally and internationally. Recent national appearances include the St Augustine Poetry Festival, National Beat Poetry Festival, Lowell Celebrates Kerouac, and a poetry soiree in San Luis Obispo Ca; international appearances at the Turrialba Poetry Festival (Turrialba Costa Rica), Boao Poetry Festival (Hainan China), Piacenza Biennale (Piacenza It), La Cave Cafe (Paris Fr), Aldeburgh/Suffolk Poets gathering (UK) and Human Underground (Athens Greece).  As writer in residence at the Walt Whitman Birthplace since 2011, he is creator of POETS BUILDING BRIDGES, now in its third season, triangulating groups of poets from different regions of the world.