Waking up in the time zones
out of bed
to the telephone
and down the line
across the Pacific
to a tree sized town's
where you sit
in an office
off a corridor
of a long brick
and glass hall
in the middle of the night
with your socks
on the desk's
lost at first
I leap on the words
later the lovely
impulse inside them
lights up the way
This poem, Locations, was written in Bolinas in late 1969. Ted was at Ann Arbor, teaching. The lines "haven/ in the middle of the night" refer to Haven Hall, where the English department had its offices. Ted would often call me late at night from his office, just to shoot the breeze. Ted was a great conversationalist.
Ted was a good friend. We had many great times together. In the final year of his life, he was still in New York, I was living in Santa Barbara. I cranked the mimeo machine to turn out the last book he published while alive, The Morning Line. I did the job swiftly and Ted was very pleased with it. Not long afterward I received a call from Ed Dorn in Boulder; Ed told me Ted had died suddenly in New York. Then I had a call from Simon Pettet. In a broken voice, Simon provided the details.
Ted had seemed "weary" of late, said Simon. "A few days ago he told me, 'last year was the worst'". Simon paused, then. "Still, you thought he'd live to be a hundred." In fact Ted was only forty-eight.
Another mutual friend, John Daley, attended Ted's burial service and wrote an affecting letter about it. Ted had been in the Army and thus was given a military service on Long Island. The flag on the coffin, John said, had been removed, folded and handed to Alice, with the words "a grateful country and the President thank you." "Someone laughed," John reported, "probably [Ted's dear friend] Harris Schiff, and said 'Thanks for what?'"
Buried at the military
cemetery at Riverhead,
in the army plot,
We all loved him and miss him to this day (while admitting there are aspects of the present it may have been kind of fate to spare him).
[Iowa City] 2 Jan 69
Your book arrived today & what a great pleasure! These old bones lit up like 42nd Street. I feel great. STONES is beautifully outrageous as well as outrageously beautiful. Not only that but it looks so real, like a real book of poems by Donald Hall or Bobby Bly and then a slow double take, swiss cheese, Apollinaire, the USA, Here's a kick in the ass, boys, hurrah! Wow!
Seeing those familiar poems, at least two of which I know so well from conception to Military Service that I feel a better than me me wrote them for me, gave me a few hearty heart tickles in the pleasure teepee! Me cuckoo! Me flingenem in fasta boss! Heap Heap!
The academy of the future is an undersea snowball
I guess it's about time now to talk like a bear and not like a cigarette.
The muse denies me words to speak of getting STONES, but does not deny me stones. I drink a stone to you! (drinks) that sure was good.
I am in my office, Dick Gallup is not fucking in the room below, dont know what time it is, Indian break that pony.
Enclosed is my anti-war epic in the manner of Denise Levertov and James Wong Howe.
By the way, HUNGER was a wonderful book. I can easily see why Miller loved it so much, and I loved it too, it made me so hungry I didnt ever want to eat again, and then I did. (567 lbs).
I have been reading Omnivore, The Biography of F Scott Fitzgerald, What I Believe by EMForster, Grant's Memoirs, The Works of Bacon (doodoo), a few bokes by Conrad, The Origin of the Brunists, Life, Look, Columbia Record Club Bulletin, the back of the Incredible String Band Record, a matchbook cover, and a toothpick. A dot. Nothing.
Here's a new word: spig. As in the eye is on the spig.
Another: Queel. Dig that queel. Or, I've got a little queel on my shoe.
Yours in Christ,