Heart of the Breath
“They know I’m here, but do I?” -- Jim Brodey
Thank you Jim, for another rich hour of compressed
gas, manic precision and weedlot genius. I’m dedicating
this morning’s orange glow to your vast amalgams,
catching you in the company of souls that watered your desert,
junked your streets, and prized your debris. I’ll never
forget the letter you wrote me when I didn’t accept a five
page poem you’d submitted to an issue of Stooge in 1974.
You tore me up, gleefully working your righteous indignation
into humorous assault. That letter, like your life, is gone now,
along with everything back then, boxes tossed by an angry
mother-in-law. A million years later I met you at the
Telephone Bar after Coolidge had read at the Church
and I wondered as we shook hands, if you’d remembered writing
it, that I was the same guy who’d sent your poem back to you,
unloved. I registered your sly smile but didn’t bring it up.
Wish I had them now to reread, both poem and letter.
Clark edited your Heart with great respect for its energy &
feeling, guided by brotherly affection in the retyping and
ordering of your relentless sprawl and curiously intimidating
stamina, to make sure your life’s devotion to poetry not be lost.