Poetry, notes, and drawings by William Michaelian
National Poetry MonthIs it just simple coincidenceor maliciously designed ironythat National Poetry Month shouldbegin on April Fools Day?For as everyone knows,though dread to acknowledge,poetry is but a fool’s game.Of what use being quickly forgottento those who obtain glory today?And of what use laurels and honorto those who lie in the grave?Copyright 2011 – Mortal Remains, Gary B. Fitzgerald
Thanks, Gary. This poem of yours about something I’ve always thought was ridiculous, and the nice way it ends, reminds me of one of my so-called Definitions:Poet. n. 1. A rare bird, distinguished by its ability to sing after death. 2. A term often used humorously to designate a person who rejoices and starves.
God, I love you! We are obviously spirit-twins.Yes, I'm drunk and distressed because it's still grey and cold here in Texas...in April!I had planned to meet with Franz in Boston and then the poetic bastard went and died on me. Don't let this happen again! Either you get yourself here to Texas or I'll be forced to come up to Oregon! Then you'll be sorry!Thanks, William (again).Gary
Ha! I can see it now: we’ll meet in a roadside cafe near the border between Neverland and Nowhere. I’ll give you the Oregon sun, and you’ll give me the Texas clouds. Franz was a fool to go.
If you and I went into a roadside cafe together we would be accused of being ZZ Top. That's not really a bad thing. I get a lot of free drinks down here in Houston (their home town) just by keeping my mouth shut and saying "Thank you". (plausible denial).Actually, I was in Eugene back in '72. I was living in Albuquerque at the time and a friend and I drove up to see an old High School friend from New York. Another old High School friend from New York (who was of Armenian descent, by the way...name of DalMolin) graduated from MIT with an Engineering degree and moved to Portland.Wasn't he supposed to go to San Francisco? He was in the tech business, but apparently missed out on Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, etc. Go figure. Of course, once you've been to Oregon, it's a hard place to leaveGary
Especially the rainy pollen paradise that is the northwestern part of the state. Since our arrival here almost thirty years ago, after fleeing the tragically polluted San Joaquin Valley, we have not once considered the thought of leaving.Meanwhile, I can’t count the times I’ve been ZZ Topped, both to my face and in stage whispers behind my back. Once a clerk at the post office asked me, “So, how’s ZZ Top?” and I replied, “I’m in a small post office branch in Oregon. Does that answer your question?” It seemed to amuse him. It did me, anyway.
Well, I guess that's better than being asked if you're Santa Claus, as one little kid once did. I said: "No, son...my name is Walt Whitman." The parents laughed, anyway.
William:You said above that "Franz was a fool to go." My understanding is that he died of lung cancer. I don't think he had much choice in the matter. Maybe I didn't catch your drift. Is there something I don't know?Gary
Not that I’m aware of, Gary. I guess it’s just my way of saying I sympathize. We talk this way in my family. I suppose you might compare it to the poem about the burying ground I shared with you not long ago. “From where I sit it just don’t fit, and then he started to snore.” And so my words certainly don’t call for heavy analysis. Interesting: your saying you were drunk and distressed is probably what brought it on. Two codgers in a tavern — that sort of thing.Rest easy. Think good thoughts. Thank you again.
I understand, William. Thank you!I don’t keep up with current events much so I thought maybe word was out that Franz had committed suicide or something. As I recall, he was way too religious to do something like that. I guess I’m just jumping to conclusions again.By the way, when I say “drunk”, I don’t mean ‘drunk’ drunk. I do drink a lot of beer these days, but I never get really drunk, per se. Just a little buzz is all…hey, I’m old, give me a break.Speaking of religious, as a Taoist, I’m not particularly religious. The current expression these days is: “I’m not religious, I’m spiritual”. Well, I would have to say that I’m not religious…just superstitious. In my opinion, anyone who says that they know for a fact that there is God is foolish, but, likewise, anyone who says that they know that there is NOT a God is equally foolish. So, that being said, I will leave you here with a poem from my very first book which, due to my merciful nature, I did not send to you or our mutual friend Brian Salchert.SupposeSuppose there’s God; but what is God,Who creates the fragrant rose?The very meaning of the word itselfmeans that which no man knows.And if there’s God, why would this God,Who has every forest grown,plant seeds of living just to givethe reaper what he’s sown?We can’t see God, can’t speak with God,so what man can really say?Perhaps all are wrong, or perhapsGod provides us each a way.Each person differs in his view,we carry many different loads.So maybe God leads all of us,just on many different roads.Copyright 2005 – Evolving: Poems 1965-2005, Gary B. FitzgeraldAnd since we’re on the subject of God and having mentioned being drunk:AAI’m not going to say what I’m supposed to saybecause I’m a poet and a drunkardand I’ve always been that way. I’m not proud.I’ll say: “Hello…”I’ll say: “My name is Gary…”But what I really want to say I will, too loud, that isthat I’m the guy who sits in the very last pewevery few years when I go to church,the one who’s never seen.And when you all do your fellowship thing,I’m the one who doesn’t even want to know youlet alone embrace or hug you.Please don’t touch me.I came here to talk to God, not more people.I don’t like all this touchy brotherhood stuff.First off, I hate people. You are violentand destructive and mean. I hate you andI’m bitter. I’m Episcopalian, yes, but cynical.I’ve seen Baptist, Catholic and Methodist,seen Lutheran and Evangelical,and all the things you’ve been,but where the hell can I find a church whereit’s just God and me?“Where’s Gary? It’s time for church.”“God knows! He just took off into the woodswith a sixpack.”Copyright 2008 – Ponds and Lawns: New and Corrected Poems, Gary B. Fitzgerald.Just having a little fun after screwing with Tax forms all day. I apologize.
Well, I don’t mind being on the receiving end. I enjoyed and admire them both.In closing, here’s another brief passage of mine that will bring this exchange full circle:“I smile at the idea of ‘Poetry Month,’ since poetry is everywhere, every day, and we are all of it, and there is no living without it. And I suppose that means poetry is another word for love.”
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