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Bruce Williams grew up in Denver and received his PhD from Claremont Graduate University. For years he taught writing at Mount San Antonio College. He has two grown children, Drew, also a poet, and Casey Lynnette, a lawyer, like her mother, William’s late wife, Ellen. The poet still lives on a hill high above San Dimas, California with memories, a mountain-climbing roomer and two Jeeps. But he is spending much of his retirement in a cabin in Yucca Valley, near Joshua Tree Bruce has published several chapbooks: Clothes Poems ( Pudding House), Stratification (Inevitable Press) and Everyone In My Support Group Feels Grateful After I Share. His first book length work, The Mohave Road and Other Journeys, has been published by Tebot Bach.

Bruce Williams’ “The Mojave Road and Other Journeys” is simply one of the most breathtaking and heartbreaking collections of poetry I’ve read in many years. These poems constitute a sequence of elegies and a folio of meditations upon illness, death and transcendence, and also upon the nature of late, redeeming love—David St. John



I say I’m glad he’s coming along.
My wife can’t be with us either.
And there won’t be much water,
only a trickle in Afton Canyon,
none, I hope, across “dry” Soda Lake.
He’s happy Jeeps once carried warriors.
He’ll bring a skin of wine, bread, cheese,
no maps  because there’s Athena,
two long, sharp spears and a bronze sword
with a jeweled handle. The spears
might help with snakes. But my Jeep is plain
as a hand-built raft. We could sell the sword,
buy air lockers, a six-inch lift, alloy wheels,
thirty-five-inch Mud Swamper tires
and a winch to help us through
sand and muck. Unlike my poet friends,
the ancient man knows about such things.
All good gear. But he’ll keep the sword.
He feels its edge. If we get in trouble,
out there, he’s sure there will be other Jeeps.

from The Mojave Road and Other Journeys
(Tebot Bach 2011)



He loves her when she touches him
as if both of them were blind
and she brailled him alive.
Later she is order: recipes,
Antiques , stripped walls.
He wonders “What am I doing here?”

She touches him again.



June 30

Dawn heats the sky,
bird song, dog barks a warning.
The hive in the wash
starts its buzz.

Her face
wrinkles into summer.
Her sex and eyes
stay young.

She asks,
“Who is this poem about?”
He looks at her
and lies


Past the turnoff
to the Alcoholic Trail
and a deep water crossing
that could drown a car
he comes to a half-mile
slope of boulders
he stopped at for years
watching other vehicles
struggle with the rocks.
He climbs in the new Jeep,
carefully putting tires,
on the bigger boulders.
Grace touching his arm.
At the top a wide plateau:
purple, yellow flowers
willows where Anza
probably prayed. Not
too  difficult. Almost spring.
Nothing here  a metaphor

March 14,  2009, Anza Borrego

from The Mojave Road and Other Journeys
(Tebot Bach 2011)

Bruce Williams

© 2011 Bruce Williams

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