Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Interstices

" . . . where coincidence and nonsense merge in a lover, until the sky
would look on you . . . "  
                                                                Mei-Mei Berssenbrugge

She walks with us to the bar, I and our now dead friend.
"New moon in mist 1980" she writes in her book
Random Possession. We share beer. Who knows where we go?
Tides accompany oceans, agencies of events
converge in the bookstore where the one-eyed master
reads from Memory Gardens like he was writing it
in front of us . . . and here she is, back from Alaska,
happily. I ask if she knows John Haines. O, she sighs,
he’s a great poet . . . The Dutch traders from Amsterdam
entered China and took away jade carvings of gods
said to make things happen should Westerners overstay.
All Dutchmen were not too odd to marry the women
they met where mutual fancy corroborated
the slide and weft of constellations, a weave of waves.
A splay of sky looked down with its hilarious face
to see through clouds passing over the sun, warm lover
immersed in meadow grass with the beloved, loving.
Three are dead now: Jon Gill Bentley, bullet through his brain
in Durango: who would know why? The century changed.
The great poet dies in the cabin made with his hands.
In the lower forty-eight he couldn’t stay away,
returning to Richardson, where falling on the ice,
a friend lifts him up, lets him rest, reads his poetry
aloud until death parts the poet from his filled page,
and how easily he moves from one world to the next.
The summer the master read, who would have known his eye
was lost in childhood, overcoming young a stutter,
teaching me how stuttering with poems I could make
the tic flow through silence into articulation . . .
She marries the sculptor, they make books together, then
live with their daughter in New Mexico, in New York;
love’s intensely gentle legacy . . . Creeley dies then
in Marfa, Texas, he to whom so many were friends.
I thought once you wrote Life and Death you lived forever,
I was that young, and stayed that way as long as I loved
–as now–the young Irish-Danish-Polish gypsy girl
who has stayed with me to survive our fool’s errand.
We loved, we grieved. We left behind a biography
of horizons whose aging waves spill over earth’s fire.

                              for Leigh Baker Ronco of New Orleans

(13 July 2011)

copyright 2011 by Floyce Alexander

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