Vox Populi: A Public Sphere for Politics and Poetry
We must travel in the direction of our fear.
Eileen Simpson begins with his photo:
clean-shaven, ascetic, but an impish grin.
He’s holding a pipe. Dark suit, bow tie.
How she must have studied that photo.
As they strolled New York City streets, he’d jaywalk.
He was good at dodging cars.
She’d watch him
correct papers in his red leather chair. They’d dine
with Delmore Schwartz who played her Bessie Smith
on the gramophone. When they married, living
in a tiny apartment—lined with books—
they were happy & slim enough to fit in the single bed.
Years later, she read about his death in Minneapolis.
She hoped it wasn’t suicide.
ragged beard, empty eyes. His students remember
how he said: jokes in the ‘Dream Songs’
relieve the tension.
He had that odd way of speaking,
accent on the second syllable of poet—
Born in Oklahoma, but he didn’t stay long.
Copyright 2016 Joan E. Bauer. First published in Presa. Reprinted by permission of the author.