Nothing quite became the life of Amos Stoltzfus like his leaving it. However, recent discoveries in the Nichiren Schwarzendruber archives at the Institute for the Study of Mennonite Institutions at the EMU campus up in the Bronx prove mostly beyond the shadow of a doubt that Amos must have lived in New York City as early as 1969. Fragmentary prose and poetry remains were discovered interleaved in an autographed manuscript of _Favorite Hymns, Tunes and Airs of the Faith_ by Bradley Lehman and carbon-14 dating has largely established their authenticity as works of the late 1960s. Textual analysis is an ongoing project at the Institute for the Study of Mennonite Institutions, but preliminary studies have demonstrated indubitable influences from the work of Arthur Rimbaud, Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, William Shakespeare, and the Fugs. In addition, DNA and STP matching has also revealed Amos' presence in the West Indies and East Asia in the period 1967-1969. Featured in this first collection are prose and poetry works by Amos Stoltzfus reliably dated 1969-1971.


July 20, 1969 (Central Park)

The police have taken to guarding
    The high rocky places in the park
Nightly explosions in the subway
Have left a taste of a coal miner's
     smoking fears
   The sky is a dirty red fog;
The night drips over those trudging
     through wet grass
       To celebrate
   Where monster spotlights
     Strain and scream at the moon

   A studied intoxication
     A calculated stupor working itself
       toward climx;
Vague gypsies, traces of witches,
     Noisy lunatics are quarreling
     a lovely corpse in the mud

Little sister, they've landed men on the
   What obscene dance shall we make
To celebrate this rape?

--Amos Stoltzfus

*   *   *   *   *


Jakob is arrested in the subway
   he tosses away his last cigarette as his
wife turns over in her dream
     into a lawn with a stone fountain
   where Jakob stops and stares at the water
"Marie ... what was the name ... the old woman ...
     that night on the bridge ... ?
   a child rolling a hoop over cobblestones
    laughter in the cellars of the night
   Marie paints the pink forests on a canvas where
    rivers run down
     into her lap

Jakob stoops to pick up a stone, throws it into
     the dawn as
   the major raises his sword
the morning coughs and Marie, opening her eyes,
    feels a little sick
Jakob blinks and squints under the bandage
   Marie turns her face to the wall
     "is this a riddle
      or a stone?"

--Amos Stoltzfus

*   *   *   *   *


your head really hurts! (anacin)    boulders
open cart with aristocrats rumbles to guillotine --
   what sort of a picture does a blind man
     have of himself?

--Amos Stoltzfus

more amos additional amos

Amos Stoltzfus, Amish Druid: A Memoir

Poems to the Culture List