You didn't want to be called a poet that's what you once said: I am a tree without roots fixed in its wanderings a misplaced garden of endless possibilities. What I’ve done for the better part of my life besides complain and be rude to people — is write poetry. Poetry can work philosophy cannot answer & need not answer the quest for magic. Your friend Ted Joans assured us, you have NOTHING to fear from the poet but the TRUTH. The free flow of a rampensau's truth amidst damned fruitflies. Damned fruitflies. Schvine-a-hundten. Rampenschvine. I did my job as superintendent of the house on Spring Street you lived in, where the tenor sounded a lot like Sonny Rollins & Coltrane too & Ayler well more Ayler than 'trane. The day a sad haiku. The stairwells need cleaning. And who'll paste the ginko leaves back onto their branches now? We met in Paris to watch John Giorno performing Thanx 4 nothing: America, thanks for the neglect, I did it without you, let us celebrate poetic justice. In Paris we ate in a restaurant which you said was just a block away when in fact it took us half a day to walk there along the Seine or so it seemed. A famous German actress was staring blankly at us through the window, cutting a down-and-out figure. We traveled to Giverny to become overwhelmed by Monet's water lilies. We travel to Giverny as the landscape changes from urban to industrial to suburban green white collar like Long Island where your last reading took place, OD'd on Sun Ra, he who danced with the Cosmo Aliens, his music on a winding path through worlds far from our own. Please send me another postcard (from whatever world you happen to be in) another one of your collages saying: I'd love to go to a writer's residency on Mars, Where are the borders of the stars? We went to Munich to read at Optimal Records, not kicking it intergalactically only the Weisswurst order othered. We went to the Bavarian town Schwandorf, where – unlike privy councillor Goethe – we were not welcome & got bored stiff in a stuffy hotel, our reading cancelled at the very last minute by the art house's clueless manageress because Norbert, the musician who had organized our gig had just died, too young like many of the best minds of our generation. Your letter to her saying that Norbert like the deceased in New Orleans should be given life and love through music or poetry as a way to cut loose and help heal was ignored by the tricky adminstratrix. We went to Berlin and left some stones on the slabs of the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, thinking of Adorno: The sole adequate praxis after Auschwitz is to put all energies toward working our way out of barbarism. I had gone on Trench Patrol with you in World War I, the ground ploughed by grenades, frozen mud, mustard gas in the air, flags clattering in the wind, Warhorror, fields of corpses, plentiful as presidential Mar-a-Lago tweetstorms. You wrote: PEACE like shrapnel is just another fragment of WAR. I was turning the pages of the Book of Ice with you I was wondering about Jacques Derrida with you I was playing the Solo Piano with you I was listening to "Naima" with you I was Reaching into the Unknown with you, Visions of the Unknown & Unknown Visions. We should never stop reaching. And when in New York in 2018 the Christmas candles were lit you read Japanese poems to Yuko, Uta and myself. Was Ōoka Makoto one of the poets? He who asked What is Poetry? And whose answer #4 was: Poetry doesn’t study time it ignores the colors of the sky like a new born frog it leaps into time-space the old pond.
(Read at the Steve Dalachinsky Memorial, New York City, 19th January 2020)