As Jim Jarmusch has told many interviewers, in the mid-seventies, before he applied to film school, he studied English literature at Columbia University in NY, and aspired to be a musician and a poet.

He published these two poems, written for a literary magazine at Columbia, the Columbia Review, v. 54 no. 1, (Winter 1975), pp. 29-30.

Luc Sante, the author and friend of Jarmusch was associate editor of the Columbia Review at this time.


the afternoon having left some sun
on the arm of the manila armchair
reminds the house of what is housed
of colors arranged in orders
white mohair curtains fastened like shadows
along brown walls
an opened window framing
a constant flush of sound
like a man who has lost his memory

once he had been given rusted valentines to hold:
the air around the man holding
the rusted valentines
having no trace of shadings
his rough face made rougher by
the fullness of the sky
the sky full of clouds and clouds
floating like white roses

once a small blond girl had entered the room:
"look, isn't this a lovely seashell?
it's the largest seashell in the whole world."

once a woman with hair like cellos:
through arms deft and opened
he refused to crush the wreaths of flowers to him
suspecting them laced with poison
the edges of her heart discolored
the roof perused its collection of snow

soon the sound will turn to violet
offering smooth and blank arrangement
the chair fading into dots
the window into mirrors
later when stillness has stilled the house
the dreams will bring
little bouquets to the man's brain

James Jarmusch



inscriptions were left on the
edge of tubas
here gold has faded into
inside the pyramid
and the processes of sleep
the coiled cords from neon violins
the stacked trunks of pastel tutus


her face thimbles
her face looking at the colors on the
colorful birds
the feathers
into the swamp


the light is rose above the studios
stilled air of breakfasts
and spring
the light of vegtables
here are rodeos
there and early prostitutes


five Dutch sailors eating dinner
a large loaf
a firkin of butter
a cag of brandy
a dog enters the saloon


the elephants mimic the
motion of the wagons
underneath the silver bikini
a bareback rider like freshly-baked bread
the wagons mimic the
motion of elephants

James Jarmusch