A Translator’s Fare thee well!
In Memoriam Steve Dalachinsky (1946-2019)

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)

–Jürgen Schneider


Poetry

2 thoughts on “A Translator’s Fare thee well!
In Memoriam Steve Dalachinsky (1946-2019)

  1. Some losses are beyond words, but the loss of Steve has inspired hundreds, thousands, most within couplets, my own “5:03AM” among them. These words, however, by Juergen Schneider speak at such a volume, with such a sense of history and such a hold on passion as to make the rest seem trivial. Perfect.

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