Friday, 19 June 2009

Meth labs and sleepless nights

….we left our story at the beginning of the tube strike, a 2 ½ day clamp down on a city already under siege from centuries old roads and architecture, ridiculous recession, the double-whammy of socialist capitalism or capitalist socialism, and bad weather.

Got a call from someone I’d consider a friend with privileges.  The conversation went from I’m not sure if I can see you right now to irate expressions and tirades to his losing all privileges.  Some stories end quickly.

Seemed like every possible circumstance was keeping me from the work I was supposed to be doing, prepping the workshop.  Then my friend L canceled her trip down to London last minute – we hadn’t seen each other in years and realized in January that we were both in the UK.  Now she’s off to LA; I’m off to NY and it may be more years before we see each other. 

Then R couldn’t go on her trip as her passport was expired!  Devastating!  I was going to stay in her place while she was gone, so suddenly had to find a place to stay.  Was Mercury re-retrograde?  Why was everything unraveling?  Were we ever gonna get back to any forward motion?  And what to do in the meantime?

I decided to take D up on his oft-repeated “if you ever find yourself really in a bind…” I went over there after the workshop Saturday and we ended up out in the garden talking, listening to tunes and yeah – drinking – this is England – til, well late.  The rain came down and we put the umbrella up and just kept going.  The low point for me was wearing my tights outside with no shoes and accidentally stepping on a snail.  Crunch.  Ick.  Goo.

The workshop on Sunday went even better than Saturday.  We got loads more done than last time and I was only a little foggy.  I’d needed a night of unwinding, for sure.

I was meant to host/compère Sound Bites again on the Sunday.  After a long, long weekend of teaching, I was looking forward to it.  Seriously.  They have the best chips at The Abbey and compèring really lets me just hang out – no stress like performing.  Get to enjoy the bands, the people and keep busy.  (You know how I am when I have nothing to do.)

I get there and instead of Kentish Town, I’m suddenly in L.A.  Police tape.  Street closed off.  Cops everywhere.  There are some people inside The Abbey, so I go under the police tape and head in.  Basically, Sound Bites is cancelled.  Word on the street is a Meth Lab was discovered in the building next door. 


Yup.  This ain’t a Soledad Canyon trailer park – yo’ – this is Kentish Town.  Police putting on silver suits to go in and take out evidence.  It looked like a set.

We all went across the street to The Flower Pot and had a great night.  I met the very cool parents of the musician who was performing that night.  We talked music and live shows and working with kids and staying happy.  I think we’d have happily traded our citizenship with each other – the Dad was all about getting to the States.  Loves Texas.  Go figure.  Had a Texas tattoo!

We were talking about some music festivals he went to last year.  He was telling me about how it was pissing down rain and Rufus Wainwright came out and said maybe he could do something about the weather.  He started playing Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” and by the time the song ended, the rain had stopped.  Some moments are inexplicable beauty.  As he described it, I could hear Rufus singing it and I could feel his awe and feel the sky thinking, “alright, let’s give it a rest for a while.”




After a while we all went in and got seats and watched his son play.  I don’t actually know his whole name, so I’ll just stick with pronouns.  The main thing about the songs he played was this kind of who gives a f**k self-deprecating honesty combined with very specific storytelling.  Each song talks about the people and places he knows intimately.  A lot of the people in the songs were actually in the room and he’d call them up onstage where they’d feel really uncomfortable.  None of these were like Billy Bragg protest songs, but it was folk writing at its finest – exposing the humanity in small things and the way systems have of crushing that intentionally and unintentionally.  Giving your own life and lexicon importance by chronicling it carefully.

The night was cool, I didn’t drink that much, but still felt kinda swept up in things.  It was one of those nights you sometimes have after a really really long shoot day when you go out for a drink.  You’re exhausted enough that your defenses are down, but you’re also safe and relieved.  Your responsibilities done, you know you worked hard and deserve good fun, you’re around people you dig, and it’s all good.  It was kind of an MDMA kinda feeling, which took me by surprise.  After the set, the DJ remixed Baba O’Reilly and generally played my psyche for about 40 minutes.  We danced, drank more, somebody poured a shot down my throat, and the night kept getting crazier.  No cars to worry about – all on foot.  No curfews, no school tomorrow.

We stayed up all night.  All night.  I learned how to DJ.  (Watch out Jedi!)  Started mixing and did a set, then we had a battle that mighta lasted 5 hours.  Vinyl everywhere.  Everything got played.  Presents were given.  People came and went.  Some left guitars.  Messes were made.

The sun’s been coming up around 4am these days, which is disquieting.  Somewhere around then was when we started djing and somewhere around 11:30 we kinda gave up.  Listened to a whole side of Elbow.  The finer points of Stevie Wonder’s production, The Carpenters arrangements, Donna Summer’s underrated place in music history (not to mention Giorgio Moroder’s), the sweet relief of a well-timed George Benson tune, and why you don’t talk during Marvin Gaye were discussed.  “Kids in America” was followed by “Like a Rolling Stone” – and dammit – it made sense.  I never found the David Bowie, or any Talking Heads, or White Stripes or The Roots’ songs I was hoping for.  We found Santana, and Allman Brothers, at crucial moments when were in grave danger of veering off into dangerous territory.  I found a Jimmy Cliff cover of Cat Steven’s “Wild World” that had a sweetness beyond belief.  Finding Ninja Tunes Xen Cuts on vinyl was a religious moment.  Figuring out how many Amon Tobin tracks was too many to play and all three of us demanding the Sarah Jones track was pretty liberating.  We brought back disco and gave it it’s rightful place, and searched the soul archives for greatness.  Bill Withers Live at Carnegie Hall was a watershed moment.

At one point, I looked around, and said:

Too bad Robert Frank isn’t here to film us.

Partially true, and partially referencing our earlier discussion of – what else – the Beats, it did feel like a night that should be recorded and can only be explained in toto or not at all.  (So – how’m I doing?)

Next day, I was just kind of furniture.  Still we talked books, and I attempted writing.  I enjoyed the feeling of complete exhaustion.  I felt detoxed from so much that had been pulling or dragging.  I cleaned what seemed like every dish and glass in the kitchen until there was nothing left to clean.  Eventually, I was ordered to take a nap, and having little or no will of my own at that point, and only one lick of sense, decided to do what I was told.  After about 3 ½ hours and a huge thunderstorm, I made it up again, had tea and some food, and pulled it together long enough to head back to where I was really staying.  Where I promptly fell asleep for 10 hours. 

It’s too easy when you’re living this way to feel the ground shifting under you all the time.  Too easy to feel like you’re floating or drifting or even lost.  Without a map.  Uncharted territory.  The only thing that takes that feeling away, really takes it away, is connecting with people.  Good people, thinking people, feeling people.  Artists and their equivalents in other fields.  People who appreciate great art.   People who sense how the universe works and try to help it reveal itself to us.

When a dancer works a muscle hard the teacher will tell you to shake it out.  Just shake it out.  And there you are shaking that leg or arm or whatever like a fool until it calms itself down.

When life works you over hard, sometimes you just gotta shake it out.





Wednesday, 17 June 2009

nothing comperes...

I’ve finally hosted my first event here in London!  Quite by accident, I’ve stumbled into it.  Most people who run events here don’t seem to like to host.  They have “compères” which is their word for host.  I looked it up.  It means, literally, godfather.

Does that make me a “commère?”  A don?

I don’t know, but I did get to host Sound Bites last weekend at The Abbey and had a great time.

Then Wednesday, I hosted TABARNAK , a favourite venue in a favourite room. 

Unfortunately, there was a teeny weeny tube strike going on.  It took me 3 ½ hours to get from where I’m staying to Mornington Crescent.  I was completely late to meet with a friend, but very very early for TABARNAK.  When I got there, it was all set up and ready to go.  All the musicians were pretty much on time or early.  Then we waited.  As we waited, it got sillier and silier.  In part because we were a particularly silly bunch (well, Ed Sheeran was there) and in part because I think we all realized at some point that there wouldn’t necessariliy be an audience.

I jeopardized my status as Celebrity Chimp’s stalker by not remembering I’d met Kayv, their current bass player, a couple of years ago in Edinburgh.  You’d think I’d do better.

It was a nice night anyway, very intimate and the music was great.  It didn’t take me nearly so long to get back, but I did overhear two people – total strangers – on the 214 dissing a friend of mine.  They did not use names – just details – that made it clear it was my friend, or one of my friend’s colleagues.  Really annoying.  I wanted to say something.  They were basically just hating.  They were jealous.  But still.  Wrong wrong wrong.  So don’t hate in public!

Earlier in the week, I got to see the Royal Court Theatre’s revival of Aunt Dan and Lemon, Wallace Shawn’s 1985 play.  I had a hard time realizing that 25 years had passed since that landmark production with Linda Hunt.  The new production left me feeling mixed.  The play is a bit dated, and I think the production doesn’t help that.  I don’t think it’s without relevance, but I do think it needs to be done more distinctly as a period piece.  Jane Horrocks, one of my favourite underrated actresses seems either miscast or hamstrung by the direction.  The monologues – hers, Dan’s and others – all feel incredibly speechy.  They don’t seem to be in character, but almost as though the actors are just reciting without feeling.  

It’s always jarring to see people try to play American characters here.  For me, they generally don’t get it.  This was no exception.  The accents went in and out, had no regional character and the body language and mannerisms seem to be taken from sit coms on television.  That part of it was really disappointing.  The humour wasn’t highlighted as I think it should have been.  The whole production seemed to make a bit too much of the text in some ways and not enough in others.  

The scenes with multiple characters were beautifully handled, moody, interesting and in general, sexy.  Yet the play is made up of so many monologues, it felt tremendously uneven.  I was glad to get to see the play in production, but overall, was disappointed.  As part of the Wallace Shawn season here, I felt that it would be a definitive production, yet for me it was missing something.  I’m not sure the English get how incredibly neurotic Americans are – and this was missing for me.  You’d think with all the episodes of Friends they watch, they would, but I was missing that in the show.

I was hoping to catch the “In Conversation” with Wallace Shawn, but staying too long over tea and coffee and talking to Tshaka as well as the threat of the tube strike and the need to get back to the other side of town, made me miss it.  We went to Bea’s of Bloomsbury, one of my fave places here.  It’s run by an American who makes fantastic cupcakes, cakes, and pastries.  It’s a great place to hang out and eat treats.

We had a much-needed long talk on both sides, before braving the perils of the impending strike.  Later in the week, much chaos.  I'm not sure how to think about it, let alone blog it.  I promise, if I can get my mind around it, I'll post something.

Sunday, 7 June 2009

a little chimp and goo

The first time I saw Celebrity Chimp was when we performed the same night at Folkadot.  Funny, smart, energetic – they make you dance and laugh.  I fell in love.  I became their stalker.  I think they should have their own show.  Like Flight of the Conchords.  I think I should play their stalker.
I finally made it out to a Chimp Night at the Hobgoblin last Saturday.  I found friends there, which is always good when you show up alone.  I’d been having kind of a tough week and needed things to turn around.  I had kind of a meltdown on one of my friends, but she picked me back up.  Yay, friends! 
Ran into David Goo who I met in Edinburgh at the Fringe almost two years ago and we’ve kept up on myspace and stuff.  I seem to see him in person at random venues about every 3 months, and it’s always nice to see him.  I’ve seen him play solo, but never with his band.  He said he had a night coming up this Thursday and the Chimps were playing, too; I knew I wanted to be there.
Much happened between Saturday and Thursday – 5 short days.  Random meetings, passings, probably not enough writing.  Kal Lavelle’s fantastic birthday night – if you don’t know her, then you should! 
Then Thursday night came. I made it out to Dingwalls to see The David Goo Variety Night, courtesy of David Goo’s guest list.  Thank you very much.  Yay, guest lists!
The night was pretty packed.  Dingwalls is one of those places, large venue, beer in plastic cups, sticky floors.  No amenities, just music and beer and sweaty people.  On a good night – fantastic.  On a bad night – ick.  I needed this to be a good night.
They showed a funny short film I caught the last half of and there were a few musical acts.  Then Celebrity Chimp!  They started with my fave “ Porn Star ”.  There was dancing and fun.  I’d run into Olly the Octopus, who I also met in Edinburgh, also occasionally run into, and also sometimes share stages with.  He wasn’t dancing, but some of his friends were.  Well, all the girls were dancing, really.  The guys were…watching the girls dance.
Chimp did an amazing set.  What I love about them, besides that they write great songs that are funny and play them well, is that while they don’t seem to care (a strangely popular performance technique over here), they do care.  Really a lot.  I danced a little less last night (my bag seemed really heavy and I didn’t want to put it down in there – long digression into bag etiquette here:  so if you’re at a gig, with a bunch of your friends, girls, you can put your bags in a little pile, sort of a bag pyramid and know that someone of you will always have one eye on it, and that if anyone tries to grab one of the bags, they might all tangle and fall over and generally cause a scene, thus alerting you to the theft.  If you’re alone at a gig, or with your guy friends, you’re kinda stuck with your bag.  If you put it on the floor, someone might just trip on it, or get tangled in it or you might or in a moment of whirling dervishness you might take your eye off it and it’d be gone.  Back to our main story…) and watched Andy during the songs.  He would want me to say that I watched him because he’s so incredibly HOT.  But there was something else going on there, too.  His focus was incredible.  Truly.  All the energy surging up in service of one thing – that moment that song. 
“Leave everything on the stage.”
That’s a reminder we use for ourselves to not stint the audience, to not fear nakedness, and to not shortchange the art.  There should be nothing left of you when you walk off.  And that’s what I was watching.
When David Goo’s band took the stage, I had no idea what to expect.  I looked up and the stage was entirely filled with people.  Violinists, cellists, percussionist, drummer, singers…on and on.  The songs are like little carnivals.  They each have a funny, strange or silly story or premise with a quirky lyricism, yet they are orchestrated not to please or lull, but to romp.  The arrangements of the instruments and backing vocals made each song seem like a whole show of its own.  I was pretty sure I’d never seen anything like it.  Olly said Zappa, and I hadn’t thought of that, but it makes sense.  There is a Zappa influence, but there’s the influence of everything that’s come since then from Blues Brothers to Hip Hop to Cinematic Orchestra.  It’s smart music designed to play at fun and light.  It’s crazy entertaining, too.  The band is filled with great individuals who all bring their own personal style with them.  They are fun to watch and 100% into the music.  They are not side musicians – they are the music and the show – visual and aural.
Seeing so many people on one stage, carefully arranged and well-rehearsed, who were still having a good time and giving a great time was refreshing.  I’ve seen too many artists who act like they don’t care, who slide on talent and a few good lyrical lines, who don’t seem to care about the audience.  These people were at work.  Hallelujah and praise be.
Watching David Goo on stage, bandleader to chaos, I saw again what I’d seen earlier.  If you look into the eyes when they’re playing, you can see it.  No matter how much silly fun they seem to be having, these guys are deadly serious and all focus.  Every ounce of energy is called upon to filter into the song and directed outward from there.  Even moreso because they inject humour into their work – and humour is serious business. 
"Dying is easy.  Comedy is hard."  - G. B. Shaw
I couldn’t help but reflect on the life changes between the two gigs.  It was a quantum kind of time, when francEyE’s chronic illness slip, slip, slipped and then jumped to another level.  David Carradine passed as well, someone I’d gotten to work with briefly and whose work I always respected and enjoyed.  I had the realization that I’ve shared stages and sets with some truly amazing artists and people.  The list is long, ever-growing and all said and done, I’d like to calculate it that the good far outweigh the bad. 
The ups and downs of a little book-ended time frame seemed radically huge, and yet, nothing really changes.  It’s all alright and it all passes, as Stosh recently reminded.  I will miss francEyE; I do miss her.  I’m saddened that she will write no more poems, as David Carradine will leave us no more performances.  But we are a funny tribe, we artists, whatever our art.  Mourning does not mean sitting home wearing black, does it?  It means hair of the dog, baby.  Live by your art, die by it.  David Carradine died about to do another movie; francEyE was no doubt writing a poem in her head with her last breath. 
Work is not 9-5 at a desk – it is a 24/7 endless cycle.  Get inspired, give inspiration, get re-inspired.  In between those is the stuff nobody sees, the writing, practicing, the rehearsals, the booking gigs, putting on the make-up (I’m really getting to hate this part), finding the right clothes for the gig, the self-promotion you hate but who else is going to do it, the doubt, the falter, then the incessant urgency and constancy of the call.  It just doesn’t stop.  So I carry my sadness with me, or my fear, and I bring it out, and hope that some other member of the tribe will teach me what to do with it, or cleanse it for me, or be the catalyst to some new mini-metamorphosis.  Then maybe I will get the opportunity to do the same for someone else.
I so appreciate these guys and think they deserve huge audiences.  But I’m a sucker for passionate artistry.  Really, nothing beats it.  Except that they’re also really nice people.

Saturday, 6 June 2009

5 rites

I’m vowing to be a better blogger.  I know I’m sporadic.  I do put a lot of energy into poetry and other writing.  I admit to a kind of stage fright having such a public blog.  I’m still more comfortable with my Myspace blog, where I can set limits on who sees things, and Facebook notes which are only viewable by friends.  A lot of people asked me to start a public blog, so I did, but it still feels like the time I dyed my hair.  Weird and not mine.  However, I’m going to make a new attempt to get over the resistance and just write it down!
About a year ago, talking with my friend Susan Marque, I mentioned something about taking EPO (Evening Primrose Oil).  She asked why I took it and I said I had taken it for years, to even things out.  She asked why I just didn’t do the 5 Tibetan Rites?
I’d never heard of these.   She said she did them daily and I could look them up and do them.  They are said to balance the endocrine system.  I couldn’t believe that for all of my yoga-ing and vegetarianism and Eastern spiritual bent this was hidden from me for so long.
I began doing them the next day.  I kept it up for about 2 months and really felt a difference.  Then came the Fringe and the craziness of those first months in London and I dropped it completely.
Again, speaking with Susan, she mentioned them a few weeks ago.  And suddenly a little bell went off in my head.  Why had I stopped?  Wasn’t I looking for some compact daily stretching and exercising?  Walking is constant here and great exercise, but still there needs to be some daily practise to back it up.
I started the next day.  They say you do not feel any effects for the first week, but my body and mind responded immediately.  As if they had been waiting for me to restart.  I felt immediately stronger, sharper and more centered.  I’ve been doing the 5 Rites daily since and am slowly increasing the repetitions. 
You can google “5 Tibetan Rites” and come up with loads of sites and video on it.  Here’s one I found helpful:

With all my newfound energy, maybe I'll start putting pictures in, too!  ; )

Tuesday, 2 June 2009


The first time I ever got up to read anywhere was at the Midnight Special Bookstore on the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica. The Friday night open mic there was legendary, but I didn’t know that.  All I knew when my name was called and I got up was nerves.  My lips shook as I read.
But there, in the very front row, nodding and smiling, was an old woman wearing glasses, with long grey hair pulled back and a beard.  Yes, most definitely a grey beard.  Chin hair.  She had gone up to read earlier and did some nature poems.  I generally hate nature poems, but I was drawn to listen to these and found in them what I would come to know as many of her best qualities as a poet, insight, humour, and connection to the spirit in everything.

francEyE was my first fan.  In fact, she was just about everyone’s first fan.  She could be seen at readings throughout Southern and Northern California smiling and nodding as readers took the mic.  She seemed to especially encourage new readers.  All I knew was that as long as she kept nodding and smiling, I was able to continue reading.

That was August 2002.  Midnight Special closed, moved, and closed again.  Over the years, I probably went to hundreds of readings that francEyE attended.  I’ve listened to hours and hours of her poetry, and she to mine, and us to others’.  There were drives to the Cobalt and Coffee Cartel, dinners, and poetry brunches, the camping gear she offered for my trip to Regionals at Big Sur. 

When I started my own venue, Down Home, in November 2006, I knew that I needed francEyE to be the first feature.  I made sure that she was available on that date, then I scheduled the two other must be there the first night poets – Manuel and George McDonald.  As people, these three couldn’t be more different, but as poets, though stylistically diverse, they had those same three qualities – insight, humour, and connection to the spirit in everything.  It meant a lot to me to have them all there, and to have francEyE on first. 

Long rides to poetry venues with francEyE meant stories.  Stories of those she loved, of poets past and future, of her courageous life.  She didn’t jump out of planes, or even metaphorical planes.  She just lived her life always and according to how she needed to live it.  Once she started on that path, she seemed never to have looked back, no matter how difficult it became.  She made severely unconventional choices as a woman.  She chronicled everything she did, no matter how harsh.  She exposed her own weaknesses and flaws.  She put regrets on paper without stinting on the details.  She wrote tirelessly, and spent her evenings listening and sharing. 

She was.  Well, those are the sad words of the day.  francEyE passed today.  At 87 years old.  I’d known her about 7 years, and come to know a woman strong, wise, weak, full of doubt, loving, creative, stalwart, passionate, activist, contrary.  A woman with a decidedly New England temperament and hippie spirit, who swore that her time in Brooklyn saved her.  Who would tell you, when necessary, not to do it like she had.  Who fought through bureaucracy to receive the health care she so desperately needed, and which she also, on occasion, fought.  Who last time I saw her, said she’d done it all wrong.  It was people, she said.  People she enjoyed.  She had spent too much time alone. 
I’m not sure how important that statement really was in the scheme of things.  She did love people.  And like many of us, needed to find this out by turning in the hand of people we were dealt by birth to find the true kindred souls and our real families.  She surrounded herself with a mix of family, friends, and poets who she loved very much.  I don’t know how much she would have really changed.  It was, after all the solitude and the writing that led her to most of her realizations.  When she stopped typing, on any given day, there was a reading of people, somewhere within a few miles, waiting eagerly to see her. 

In truth, I think what she was trying to do was cut down on the resistance she felt to the idea of people; not to the individuals she loved so much, not to the masses of people who suffered injustices she would fight as though they were her own battles, whether she was demonstrating for immigrants’ rights or exposing the shame of the situation in a poem.

On a trip to the Bay in 2007, I spent some time with her.  We went to visit Cody’s Books, which closed several months later.  I wrote the poem below when I heard that Cody's had closed;  I did not realize at the time, that it would also be the last time I saw francEyE.

Last visit to Cody’s

On my last visit to Cody’s
it was raining
I was with francEyE
we went from here to there, picking up holiday gifts
and things

At Cody’s I went off to find more cards
francEyE went off to find a book –
A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote—
which she had mentioned to me earlier
and which I hadn’t read

I pretended not to know that she was getting it for me
an early Christmas gift
I wandered Cody’s with just enough money to get into
a little trouble

This was the 4th Street Cody’s
the posh Cody’s
the one on Telegraph apparently
already gone

I wandered from shelf to shelf
I always loved this place. 

Alone, living up here
it had been one of my refuges
a place to get lost in people and words
to fill time
to feel compelled

Nothing else here felt compelling
not even
as I think of it
the relationship I was so valiantly
and constantly
trying to save

Now I am here with francEyE
almost a decade and lifetimes away
this is not the new Cody’s anymore;
in fact, it is the only Cody’s

I can overhear the gift-wrap lady talking with francEyE
as I look at cards
She is excited about francEyE being from Los Angeles
and asks if she knows famous people

This woman, fifty-ish, blonde, Bay area post-hippie
refugee this woman
in the heart of counter-culture
is enraptured by francEyE’s proximity to stardom

“I was in a movie once,”
says francEyE
“As an extra?” says the gift-wrap lady
“No…as myself”
(If you know Frances Dean, you know
she can only and ever be herself.)

francEyE explains it was a movie
about Bukowski
and the woman gushes at the name
like a hot lava pit
she is quizzing francEyE about Bukowski
about the movie
about Los Angeles

I am half-listening
the woman wraps the gift slowly

after I have paid for
Sesame Street Christmas cards
The Things They Carried
(books that change me)
I walk over to francEyE to see
if she is ready to go

I am sure she likes the attention
and equally sure she does not
She says she is ready
and the woman says,
“Is this her?  Is this her?”

And francEyE says,
“This is my friend.”
And the woman says,
“The daughter – is this Bukowski’s daughter?”

I say no, I am just a friend
and we have to leave

I want to go now

I think, at least, that Berkeley
such as it is
is generally far enough from the fame game
to consider trips here a respite

I think, that though francEyE is celebrated
in Los Angeles
she is not a celebrity
and while the attention is nice
it has begun to get ghoulish

and it is raining outside
and I so love the rain

francEyE and I walk to my car
in the Cody’s parking lot
such a pleasure it always had its own lot
on bustling 4th Street

But now it will not
it never did get comfy in its home here
never among the aficionados of the best coffees
and the best eco-friendly furniture
and the best shoes and sweaters and

It somehow
as an institution
could not make the transition
from Telegraph to 4th Street
that its customers did
did not transition all the way from
hippie to boomer

and so
Cody’s is gone

But I have A Christmas Memory
one of the loveliest books I have read
with a note in francEyE’s hand
passed to me in the rain
opened in the car as water hit windshield

I still have francEyE as my friend,
not mother,
nor Bukowski as father

nor fame as any of our objects
only words as our subjects.

c. e. amato 2008

This is just an attempt to get through this day, without losing it to tears or grief, feelings of distance and absence.  An attempt to put down what is floating to the surface, to keep the connection alive through the thing we poets all share most viscerally:  words. 
francEyE, you will be missed.   Thank you for writing so diligently, daily, conscientiously, for sending so many words to us, for leaving your legacy and your story for us.