Janine: Another Poet Down
I did not know the name. I had not read the poems. But the obituary portrait spoke to me. You know me, it said. I do not know you. I do not remember the name. I have not read the poems. You know me, she said. Find me. You are five years my senior. You arrived there a decade and more before me…You know, you know…the City already yours when I first arrived in Washington Square. You are tasked. You must find me, her portrait insisted. I found other portraits. I located one of your books in the stacks. Guided by the text, I track you. I told you, she whispered. I know what I know. Your poems of the seventies. Decade of delerious desire, debacle. Were you there when I sat with Leah? In St. Mark’s on the floor? Listening to Lowell? While your buddy Corso heckled his legend? I told you that I know you, her picture replied. July 1976, with your lover in Lima. I am in France on that Bicentennial Fourth. I stay in Europe. You fly on to Panama. To California. August in NY. You write of Hell’s Angels. In Russell Square, London, I am taking a fall. I know you. You know me. 1979, near the Bard Owl’s end. You write of the temple in the museum’s new wing. My Isis danced at Dendur’s dedication. Were you next to me there? Did I know you then? Hush, she said. Live. You are knowing me now.