Portrait of a Modern Poet, and Ancient Wanderer


For near a full decade (1997-2005), a short season of merrymaking, the money ran through Mr. Chick Even’ Fingers, like water running out of a wide opened valve. He owned six apartment houses, one being a building. He purchased large parcels of groceries, and delicacies, rare and old books, limited edition prints signed by Dali, and Picasso, went to the theatre, to see “Oliver,” and other musicals. Traveled from one country to another monthly; in his trousers and coat pockets he carried a roll of one-hundred dollar bills. His wrist, fingers and neck bulged with silver and gold nuggets, trinkets, rings.

“Take it easy,” his good and young wife said, smiling at his eagerness, she tried to keep up with him-; everyday he drew up bills and this and that! He marshaled his books up and down their shelves, checking out pricelists, making out receipts and figuring out interest on loans-having more than willing borrowers.

When he could do no more because of health problems-he sat down behind his computer and thought deeply, this season, like all seasons in a person’s life, had come to an end; that is to say, the season of making money for the pleasure of making money, had come to an end, lest his health worsen. The pot of gold was to turned into enamel-but nothing remained unfinished, a new part to his life was to begin, it would be writing, something he started long ago, at the age of twelve-years old he had written his first poem, by seventeen, he had written twenty-one poems. In-between, some trying years, he had written and published three prior books: 1981, 1982, and 1985.

How foolish his aim had been! He thought, to have tried to build a breakwater as a dam against the tides of life-because of his illness, by rules of money; useless, unless enjoyed, and once dead, forevermore useless. Thus, jostle, and fiercely he would write and read the next eleven years, ten-hours a day, write some thirty-books, fifteen of poetry. He saw clearly with a little isolation and travel he had sought to approach this bridge.

He felt that he was hardly of the blood with the world around him, as he moved heart and soul out of Minnesota to Peru-it wasn’t an arrogant way of looking or perceiving, rather an eccentric way of observing, and feeling. He had turned to appease this long and fierce longing of his heart-it could not be done where he now resided: hence, near everything now became either idle or alien; perhaps even to the degree of being mortal sin, in some of his more savage writings-little of was sacred other than his: mother, wife, brother and the Trinity.

By day and by night he wrote, moved among the distorted images in the Andes of Peru, even sought out the other world, even things through the winding darkness of sleep, when he grabbed the lecherous cunning of demonic eyes and also those with eyes bright with brutish joy.

“As a poet-and perhaps writer,” he said, “one more often than not, has to return to one’s most ancient roots, those of a wanderer.” And so he had.

#935 (6-30-2012)

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