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When I was with him, it was as if he had all the time in the world and we were old friends— even though we weren’t. Said he was more comfortable reading in LA or New York. I remember how he broke-open-the-night with that poem, as I huddled in the hay bales in the cold and wet. Phil always took his time writing “narratives,” often more than a page or two in length.
I chatted with him at his poetry reading in Berkeley about the things that disturbed me about the Bay Area poetry scene. I had a leisurely talk with him one day, probably 20 minutes or more, while waiting for the shuttle bus at a hotel near The Dodge Poetry Fest. Out of burlap sacks, out of bearing butter, Out of black bean and wet slate bread, Out of the acids of rage, the candor of tar, Out of creosote, gasoline, drive shafts, wooden dollies, They Lion grow.
Their close friend, Nikolai Kinski became a German movie star.
Not long ago Jason’s Facebook page was filled with photos of his marriage and travels with the lovely reporter, Yeganeh, his Iranian wife. This is from a letter Jason wrote me half a year ago: Tamam: So great to hear from you and sorry for the slow reply.
Writing it down gives you the sound, taste, smell of the dream— just a whiff, but in this case, that’s enough. — and these are from poems in two well-respected poetry journals. Stallings, and Marilyn Hacker are my green oasis in formal writing, as they have made metrical poetry not only “new,” and brilliantly hidden in its craft, but as bright and alive as sunrise in desert sand dunes.
Tomorrow, the date July 11, is full of so many memories of beloved Solomon, DJ Solomon, Solomon who inspired, led his family members and his many, many friends on continuous adventures outdoors and in clubs and halls. Her talent took her to America where she toured and was in the movies as a ball-room dancer, like Ginger Rogers. He started shouting at us, and I remember Gloria yelling: “Run Terry, Run! “Look at that man standing over there.” The bartender introduced them, and Jim Byrne asked her to dance.
There is a film clip of her dancing in the clouds in a diaphanous dress, her blond hair flying, beautiful, graceful, mesmerizing. ” We high-tailed it to the car and screeched out of there. Gloria held my hand for hours with such understanding and sweetness. The first words Ammon heard from her, as he was born were “You are going to make some girl very happy! They dated for two years, and just before Thanksgiving, when he had been a widower for 10 years, Gloria said to him: “I love you. She missed him terribly, but in her late 80’s still played golf and even walked with me around her hiking lake.
I think of Matthew Dickman’s beautiful poem called “Grief.” In the poem, she takes you in her arms and talks about the dead and those, like me, who are among the living. I showed her a picture of you carrying her on your shoulders on our last Christmas together. I still remember your words that came to me soon after your death. I think of that when I’m on a curvy road — your love of driving— when I play the djembe drum, and when I give a talk, like I did at the Asian Art Museum a couple weeks ago — I remember how you held the space for people to have a good time. He was just smiling, as if we had all the time in the world, sitting there in a big comfortable chair that holds him in his vastness – not large size, I mean his body, though he is taller than I am. In my haste, I forgot to mention the translator’s name.
I catch glimpses of Solomon today with his wonderful smile, the way he used to touch his nose with the tip of his tongue. I remember him bending slightly as we walked together at the Dodge Poetry Fest years ago, and I asked him, “Tell me something I need to know about writing ghazals.” “. I wrote an introductory note to Michael Sells that week.His slow, comfortable-with-himself walk into the kitchen when he would visit us, after laying his cell phone and keys on the place at the top of the stairway. He replied that he loved my translation of Ghalib….