COURSES by Lew Welch

“This book is a real college education.
If you pay real close attention to this
you will either never have to go to college
or if you do you won’t get confused by those people
and you will learn how to use their equipment.”


No Credit No Blame No Balm


We refuse the right to serve anybody.


The Far East is west of us,
nearer by far
than the Near East,
and mysteriouser.

Is the Middle East
really the Middle West?

And there aren’t 7 continents,
there are 6–

Europe and Asia are
stuck together

in the middle.


Every 30 years or so, Elders arm Children
with expensive weapons and send them away
to kill other children similarly armed.

Some do not return. Some return
maimed or terrified into madness.
Many come back brutal.

Nothing else changes.

Mr. Krupp got the whole works back
by producing a single document

from his briefcase.


Not very many can do it really well.
Nobody knows why.


One and one makes two. There is a
two which is one,
at last. One alone is lonely.

Three is possible.
There are plenty of holes for everybody.

Four is nearly impossible.
Try it.

A great mathematician
(and this is a true story),
while waiting in a brothel and
looking at dirty pictures,

suddenly got the vision of
all the combinations of all the
plugs and holes of Nine.

Excited, he ran home and invented our
theorems of combinations and permutations.

That day, he didn’t get laid.


The True Rebel never advertises it,

He prefers His joy to Missionary Work.


Church is Bureaucracy
no more interesting than any Post Office.

Religion is Revelation:
all the wonder of all the Planets striking
all your Only Mind.


Guard the Mysteries!
Constantly reveal them!


The trouble is
most people spend their lives living it



Consider the Passion Flower:

Who’d ever think a plant would go to
so much trouble

just to get fucked
by a Bee.


Never ask Why What,
Always ask What’s What.
Observe, connect, and do.

The great Winemaster is almost a
magician to the bulk of his Tribe,
to his Peers he is only accurate.

“He knows the Grape so well,” they say,

“He turned into a Vine.”


Those who can’t find anything to live for,
always invent something to die for.

Then they want the rest of us to
die for it, too.

These, and an elite army of thousands,
who do nobody any good at all, but do
great harm to some,
have always collected vast sums from all.

Finally, all this machinery
tries to kill us,

because we won’t die for it, too.


(1) Freak out.
(2) Come back.
(3) Bandage the wounded and feed
however many you can.
(4) Never cheat.


All persecutors
Shall be violated!

One Response to “COURSES by Lew Welch”

  1. bullock83 Says:

    In the summer of ’68, a friend took me down to Marin City to see Lew Welch, the first real poet I met. COURSES had just come out, Lew’s copy bound in suede, & he read it to us: “Everything I learned in college is in this book!” (Kind of a complement in epigrammatic
    form to his earlier “A Round of English.”) We stayed up half the night talking. I’d never met anyone so determined to be ON all the time–but also remember his kindness, genuine sense of comraderie, & the fineness of his speech, his perceptions …

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