Wednesday, July 24, 2013

missing link?

broken link

[on seeing an online photo of an intern going through clancy sigal's papers at the ransom]

while googling myself a few years ago
i discovered that norman mailer
had sold his papers 
to the harry ransom center
at the university of texas at austin
and there was my name
as one of his correspondents
in an index to the boxes of letters
he saved, probably a dozen 
letters of mine over thirty years

i used to check the site occasionally
to remind myself of my brush with greatness
at the notorious 1968 democratic convention
i'd gotten an autograph and we'd
exchanged a few meaningless words before
he flew back to provincetown
i later sent him a letter to criticize his version
of existential philosophy and he sent
a fuck you reply, but it was a friendly fuck you
so i continued to send praise or blame
over the years
for his numerous works and he'd reply
as the mood struck him but he put my letters
into a file, evidently, quite the pack rat, aware
that someday the biographers would
come lurking

                       but yesterday
i discovered that the link is dead
and navigating the site is now restricted
the harry ransom center requires you
set up an account--life keeps getting
so much more complicated 
it was easier at the convention
when the humphrey people voted down
the peace plank, meaning we'd stay
in the war for good--as we have--
you knew then, finally,
where the establishment

was going, and it did

may 2013

stopping by weeds dive bar of an evening


cost me thirty bucks all in
two glasses of bombay-on-the-rocks
then another drink to pay off after losing at 8-ball
and a couple bucks to the barman

the entertainment lacked something rich
except for two performances
one, the crazed gorgeous senior declaiming violently
on middle-east politics, even

shrieking here and there
—a lota good that’ll do—
then chuck rolled out something from the past
about an aging rollicking r & b diva

shaking up a summer chicago political block party
on her way to a hoped-for comeback
then the one about the dying brother
hallucinating bravely before the nurses

put him back to bed—it said
something strong, moving even, about
endurance and imagination
even on the way out

i passed when i was offered the mike
too out of shape even for this
unsubtle venue, maybe in the next life
assuming the gods are generous

july 2013