I Will Never Not Remember
Last night I went to a poetry reading at McNally Robinson Booksellers on Prince Street in SoHo. I was there to support Hugh Seidman, my poet friend from karate. That's Hugh in the photo above.
The event was called "The Shrinks Are Away" and the poems were supposed to relate to therapy one way or another, although not every poet stuck to that rule. It also happened to be Hugh's 65th birthday, so it was a tribute to him as well.
Besides Hugh, the other poets who read their work were D. Nurkse, Mark Rudman, Susan Shapiro, Susan Wheeler, and Bill Zavatsky.
The event was very enjoyable and I was glad I went, both to listen to all the beautiful poetry and to wish Hugh a happy birthday. Instead of my usual navel gazing, I'm going to end this entry in Hugh's own words. This is a poem called Gail from Hugh's latest book, Somebody Stand Up and Sing. I'm printing this with permission from the author. You can buy the book here.
I am sixteen you are my first love.
Your breasts are small under yellow cashmere.
The plastic surgeon has smoothed your cheerleader nose.
It is Sunday at your uncle's in Borough Park in Brooklyn.
The light of the heavens whitens the floor.
I am kissing you in the taste of cigarette, the odor of perfume.
I am sixteen and do not know
that I will never not remember this afternoon.
I am sixteen and do not contemplate
how envy corrodes friendship
how rage scars love
how failure tortures arrogance.
I am sixteen and do not recall
each interred under the blanched floor.
I am sixteen and do not imagine
how you are each who turns away
how you are each from whom I will turn.
I am sixteen and can think of nothing
but the pungency of cigarette, the reek of perfume.
As you lean back in the smoke that swirls about your face.