Photo courtesy of Ken Waterstreet
Born in Alturas, California in 1936, and graduated from Chico
High School, Phil Weidman served two years in the U.S. Army,
then worked as a newspaper reporter, landscape gardener and
warehouse-man. A practicing visual artist for thirty years who
exhibited throughout Northern California, he graduated from
California State University, Sacramento with a Bachelor’s Degree
in 1968 and a Master’s in 1970. In Sacramento, he taught a
variety of subjects in Sacramento schools, including McClasky
School for Handicapped Adults, and he worked with at-risk youth
in an after-school program in Sacramento County. He is currently
a patient care volunteer for Snowline Hospice in Placerville,
California; he lives in Pollock Pines with his wife, Pat.
Author of eight books of poetry, beginning with Sixes in
1968 (The Runcible Spoon) and the latest being Time Enough
in 2003 (Mt. Aukum Press), Phil’s poetry has appeared in
periodicals as varied as The American Bard, Hearse, Scree,
Olé, Stance, Pinch Penny, Poetry Now, Red Cedar Review, Caprice,
Sure, The Wormwood Review, Nerve Cowboy, Pearl, Chiron Review
and Rattlesnake Review. His work has also appeared in two
anthologies: Revolutionary Poetry (New York, 1972), and
Landing Signals (Sacramento, 1985).
Fictional Character is Phil’s ninth collection of poetry.
Phil Weidman Poems
A FREQUENT ANSWER
Ernie no longer trusts the world
and the world’s ways.
He suspects the world
is a mere projection
of too many minds gone awry,
but his perception of truth
is a kaleidoscope
rearranging its configuration
with each challenging thought.
In meditation, after prayer,
he senses within himself
a reality imbued with love
that has no forms,
no boundaries and is
devoid of conflict.
Is there such a reality,
or is his imagination
playing seductive games?
I don’t know has become
a frequent answer
he utters to himself.
Two geezers in their early
60’s, scouting the High Rock
Desert of Nevada (meadow-
larks, free spirited hawks,
night songs of coyotes &
Piute ghosts their only
company), are feeling a
bit freaked by a profound
silence in a vast, open
country that appears to
be everything & nothing.
They agree to drive 60
miles to Cedarville for
a hot breakfast. After a
lively young waitress takes
their order, Ernie, the tall romantic
geezer says, God, it’s good
to see a woman again.
Pete, his short, less emotional
sidekick, answers, I thought
that was a meadowlark.