The Long Way Home

Title: The Long Way Home The Best of the Little Red Book series - 1998-2008
Edited by: RD Armstrong
Genre: Poetry, Trade Paper
Publisher: Lummox Press (PO Box 5301 San Pedro, CA 90733-5301)
Pages: 164
ISBN: 978-1-929878-04-8

Publishing Date: March 2009

Retail: $15 + shipping


USA - $15 (shipping included)

Can/Mex - $17 (shipping included)
World - $22 (shipping included)

To pay by Money Order/cash, choose appropriate amount and make check out to Lummox
and send to Lummox Press c/o PO Box 5301 San Pedro, CA 90733

If you own one of the Little Red Books, then you know what this series represents: good, solid poetry. If you don't, here's a chance to sample what's available in this series.

For over a decade (1998 to 2008), the Lummox Press published the Little Red Book series, featuring poetry/prose collections by these writers: RD Armstrong, Pris Campbell, Alan Catlin, Patricia Cherin, Leonard J. Cirino, Glenn Cooper, Rene Diedrich, Hugh Fox, Bill Gainer, Scott Holstad, Edward Jamieson Jr., Larry Jaffe, Marie Lecrivain, Frances LeMoine, Linda Lerner, Lyn Lifshin, Gerald Locklin, Philomene Long, Laura Joy Lustig, Errol Miller, Terry McCarty, Angela C. Mankiewicz, Todd Moore, Rebecca Morrison, BZ Niditch, normal, nila northSun, Rob Plath, Bill Shields, Rick Smith, Belinda Subraman, William Taylor Jr., John Thomas, Scott Wannberg, Patricia Wellingham-Jones, Mark Weber, Lawrence Welsh, Harry R. Wilkens, Lindsay Wilson, AD Winans, and Anita Wynn.  

Most titles contain 30 to 50 pages of poetry at $6 each.  That's over $350 for the series so far!  But you can get a taste of the whole shebang for a measly $15 (plus shipping)!  How can you go wrong?

This collection of poetry reflects the best of nearly all of the 59 titles in this series so far.  These poems are drawn from the Little Red Book (LRB for short) series. The Long Way Home can be purchased directly from Lummox press or on .



“The Little Red Books is a sturdy series.” -- John Berbrich

The presence of Lummox Press in San Pedro adds luster to the southern California literary scene.” – Robert Peters

Here are a few poems from the book...

willie had a

stutter & his big 
brother carl always
did his talking for
him except when their
father died the old 
man had been an alkie
& the only people 
who went to the 
funeral were his old
drinking pals even
the minister shor
tened the prayer & 
got out quick &
while the wind was
blowing up a blue
norther willie got
his bugle out of 
the car it was 
covered w/dings &
scratches & had a
whoop ass sticker
slapped on the
brass but when
willie started to 
play taps none of
that mattered it 
was a low down
gravelly version of
the piece & when
he finished the
song went up into
the storm & stayed
sweet in the rain

Todd Moore (from BONE LRB #4)

The Road (More or Less Traveled)

Day’s end and I’m
picking up pieces 
of past lives
scattered across this plane
of memory.
It is an incomplete geometry
with angles so obtuse
they will not intersect,
the whys outnumber the ex’s
and yet, they still add up to zero.
Day’s end and I’m
unsure what the product is.
These calculations 
should add up to sum-thing
but I’m not sure what its value is.
The road winds on ahead
of me, and even though I left
the station at four thirty and
have been traveling at sixty
miles per hour, I still don’t
know when I will arrive

or, worse yet, where.

RD Armstrong (from BONE LRB #4)


I found my father’s old Kodak camera
While cleaning the house on summer
My brother says that it’s an antique
That he saw one just like it
In a museum in Los Angeles

Flash back past/present
No future
1940 girl in nylons
And hard thighs
With seams up to paradise
Right there in the palm of my hands

Sears Roebuck catalog store model
Jumps back in like a keystone camera
The mystery of life

Mother’s smiling face


Lens opens/shuts
Records what might have been
Could have been
Should have been
The steel cold
To the touch

A.D. Winans (from SCAR TISSUE LRB# 6)


ella fitzgerald sang
oxygen got discovered
the sun, on its way to the bank to make a deposit
just sort of had to hang there a minute
bopping down and up to the tune
of ella’s singing
ella fitzgerald sang
cities rose up from the dirt
the buildings of them had people
inside them and
inside those people there were
stories and bloodstreams
that were the songs ella
fitzgerald sang
the sun really had to make it to the bank
before it closed
otherwise it would be overdrawn
and when the sun gets overdrawn
we get burned
ella fitzgerald sang
armies threw down their guns 
the time for dying
had not come to just yet
the sun hovered there
not wanting to go 
ella fitzgerald sang
and the stories in her songs
are the stories that keep
us from going under

Scott Wannberg - 6-18-96 (from EYES LIKE MINGUS LRB #8)

The World

The world is not much.
If you’ve got nothing better
to do
on a sunday
you can watch
how easily it
comes apart
in your hands
breaks into
sharp and ugly
if you’re still bored you can
pick one up and
carve a message to yourself
beneath the skin
wait a bit and see
if you still remember
how to

Will Taylor Jr. (from ANY ABYSS WILL DO LRB #14)

blood on the floor 2/28/99

don't slip
there is blood on the floor.

blood of apathy
blood of the dispassionate
the ignoring
blood of those numbed by dumb
blood of those who pretend it
never happens / the cheerfully
humbled who go about it all

blood of the corpses that have
not yet died
the baby 15 yrs into life
not yet born
the ancient one bereft of wisdom
not yet lived.

blood of the holy filthy
blood on the godhead
blood of the rich in their
diamond fishbowls
the paparazzi in their glory
the machines in their monopoly
the innocent in their strangulation
the earth in her silence.

don't slip
the anomalies are pure
the sky is red
the raindrops are loaded
with the eyes of children

don't slip
there is blood on the floor.

normal (from BLOOD ON THE FLOOR LRB #15)

This Was the Year

Love yanked me up
from my father's death;
this year I shelved my hatred
like ancestral linen
and gave up mourning
a father I never had.

I sprang out of my head
into zombie haunted streets,
dodging computerized lives,
irrelevant bodies,
a year a man and I spent
tasting each other with our eyes,
tonguing words.

Vendors shouted ice cream and hot dogs
down my ears, Koreans gorged me
with fresh anything;
I let the sun go mad
as a rabid dog on my fair skin,
and not once heard
my mother's warning voice.
I reached out to love
with more imagination, more woman
than someone knew what to do with,
the year
the present moment is fast ripening
in this first June sun.


God Is the Rust Inside of You

God is the rust inside of you
that flecks each gesture with grime,
initials that appear on fogged glass,
that smell of rotting floors in subway restrooms.

God is the sound of old feet
that tip-toe on wet pavement
into bars that don't close.

Not calendar scenery,
but always in the faces of abandoned mines,
like yours.

God laughs tornadoes.

Frances LeMoine (from BOURBON SKIN LRB #21)


Even back then, 
when everyone hitchhiked, 
I had a tough time of it. 
Too large, too ugly. 
Bad eyes, also, no doubt. 
Oxnard was awful, but for me 
the stretch between Paso Robles 
and Camp Hunter Liggett 
was always the worst. 

Christ, all the hours, 
waiting for a ride, 
memorizing the dirt at my feet. 
In those days I could have written 
a pretty fine book: 
The Tragic and Marvelous 
Roadside Debris of Central 
and Southern California. 

I never wrote it. But life is kind. 
I may have the chance again 
in my declining years. Camp 
Hunter Liggett is still where it was. 

To be nothing, and feel the wind 
of the big trucks passing. 
Debris: even the word 
is beautiful. 

John Thomas (from FEEDING THE ANIMAL LRB #31)


Crushed pigeon 
On the pavement
No head 
No breast
A mere gray smudge
With only one wing erect
Moving gently in the
Afternoon breeze

All life and death
In that wing
Gray feathers splayed 
It flew
Higher, wider 
A wing that seemed to me
Broad enough to cover 
All Jerusalem

I sing to it Isaiah’s lamentation 
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem,” 
“How often would I have gathered
Thy children together even as a hen
Gathered her chicks under her wing
And you would not...
As one whose mother comforts,
So will I comfort you”

Gray cement. Gray pigeon
Life and death at once
The wing a tongue
About to call, to utter
Bringing to this page
The great secret
The word, the world itself

At this very moment 
A door slammed behind me in the room 
Slammed shut - the door to the poem.

The wing had 
Had been writing itself
Opening the word
But only once
Only once
Could not hear it again
Left with no more 
Than what was already known
An impeccable symmetry - life, death

No word
Only that image-- 
Smashed gray carcass
On a gray road 
Above it that gray wing
Swaying in the breeze

But no crushing wheel
No closing door
Can take away
This winged Secret—


Philomene Long (from COLD EYE BURNING AT 3AM LRB #35)