I forfeited my first and only LTD
to the junkyard in East Palo Alto
my first love to his mother's wishes
I was robbed of my silver coins by
a landlord's son; my federal paycheck
in the mail; of two borrowed IBMs and
one down mummybag by Marilyn in Mendocino
Things disappeared right in front of me
the cross-country snow trail during sunset
those nature lithographs stored at Mother's
my wallet in a phone booth near Boston
that 16th birthday, blue sapphire ring
As punishment, others drifted away
my best friendships Peggy and Sue
from my living out of state; walk-to-school
mate, Terry, from her husband's gunshot
wound; puppy Heidi in old age
But once I lost my voice, my name, my home
Perhaps I must face it: this body
too, slowly dissolves. But who would
be left to count it up
as only recombinant material lost?
-- D. Jayne McPherson
... Got a call from Jayne today. Sorta outta the blue. But it was nice reconnecting. Made me ponder what of hers I might have in the house. My eyes lit on an issue of The Tomcat, a poetry zine. It was sticking out of a box of papers I need to file. There were, what, five or six issues of The Tomcat. It declares itself, "a literary showcase for Northern California poets." I knew many of the poets editor Richard Benbrook published (& I knew Richard). I like Jayne's poem better than the poem of mine that appears in the same issue. My poem was from a series of poems in which a character named Bert used the telephone in various (metaphorical?) ways. I remember writing several Bert poems, writing them quickly so I would have more poems to mail out to magazines. I thought they were as good as/better than many of the poems I was seeing in the lit mags. Someday I'll revisit them. The one in Tomcat isn't bad. But I would have to fiddle with it some before republishing.
I like the catalog of things in "Material Lost" ... I don't like the word "recombinant" ... I remember not knowing what an "LTD" was ...
There are poets I didn't know back in 1990 (when this Tomcat was published) that are now familiar to me. Dorothy Jesse Beagle runs a poetry reading series at a cafe in Berkeley. John Selawsky ... is he the Berkeley School Board member and Green Pary activist? Jaimes Alsop started the webzine, The Alsop Review. Gary Mex Glazner ... same poet who first hosted poetry slams in this area?
There are poets who have since have died: Judy Stedman, Paul Mariah, William Talcott ... I knew the first two and met the third more than once.