E-mail from Meltzer
French translation of The Agency by David Meltzer
translated by Maxim Jakubowski
Editions Chute Libre, 1977
I met David at New College of California, i had just arrived from Mexico City to study for an MA in Poetics. he immediately became my favorite teacher, then i got lucky by name and we soon became good friends.
From the very first moment i saw him come into the classroom, wild and tender eyed, white hair, cane in hand, i felt the radiation, his spirit's flame diluting invisible in space, and he enveloped my heart in the study of poetry as mystery.
Listening to David speak of Yetzirah, Abulafia, Psalms, Thunder Perfect Mind, fed my soul as a man and my soil as a gardener of words, i learned from his rhythm pulsing silence.
Soon after i left San Francisco (so rich with echoes from the campus at Valencia Street) we started corresponding by e-mail. So many places on Earth have been virtually bridged by us. I wish to contribute for this special publication a few the later e-mails david has written me, each one in itself an intimate multifaceted jewel of humor and wisdom.
The living journey has been all the richer in David's company (he'd probably write back saying he's just a kvetch). Not disagreeing fully this nomad is very grateful to mOther Life for having brought me close to his luminous heart and mind.
Now let the celebration begin, fill the glasses up with some good California wine and up, lets hear the crystals cling, to David Meltzer! to Love! to Life! to Poetry tonight! Salud!
* * *
Garcia Lorca's Poeta en Nueva York is the ultimate discourse on becoming a stranger -- am thinking of ivan Lins's song, estrangeiro [sp?] -- a work of profound exile & exaltation, it's Lorca's most atypical work & yet a landmark that brings together his silky musky folkloric sweetness & lyrical lather of his deep song into the battery-acid tough love reality of Manhattan's hardboiled & rough trade -- full throttle alienated diaspora ice pick -- Federico got the blues, the cante hondo -- & so did ghetto Greek hipsters in the '30s w/ their hardcore defiant & wounded songs -- rembetica -- w/ all the minor kvelling of chazzans & Delta blues meistersingers -- the root deep into & out of suffering defies & resists acceptance & thus becomes unassimilable like all great art is --
warm noise from Rose Avenue
Bribe me w/ postage. This is the season so many former students want to apply for new opportunities who assume their penurious profs are like women making Nikes in Southeast Asia. No so.
Loving you but kvetching nevertheless.
Marais was the old Jewish quarter & when we were there a decade or so ago we'd see shadowy hasidim weaving through the alleyways to shul. Whenever you have the time or inclination, you should watch Kieslowski's 'The Decalogue' -- one of the more amazing films I've seen & I'm an alter kaker.
Love postcards but, please, bubelah, no Eiffel Tower iron phallocratic delere.
'bubble butt' -- always the surface for the imaginary good life --
My newfound address is: (X)
Bay Area remains its weird & delightful dark night & illuminated sunrise.
Forget 'good' as you can not forget or forgive 'bad'.
Dear Wandering Wondering Jew,
Apologies for not getting back instanter --
You're probably in Outer Mongolia or Inner Atlantis --
Am dealing w/ a lot of work which I hope I've cast off -- writing an extensive intro to Hirschman's major ongoing work The Arcanes being published on CD-Rom in Italy in an en face edition -- finished the liner-notes for a major NYC-based multi reed player & composer (another Jew in the wildness of wilderness) -- & tomorrow will talk to NYC to get my new book of selected poems somewhat together as an object -- am not abject, just want to move on -- lots more to do -- & you?
Then, diving deep again into Kabbalah.
Love has nothing to do w/ conquest.
Sounds enchanting & beguiling & necessary --
The only time I was in Paris was w/ my late wife (in cancer remission) & Jerome & Diane Rothenberg -- we staid in a hotel in the Marais, the ghost haunt of Jews -- actually saw some hasidim in the early morning walking towards Shekinah --
Next stop for you shd be Berlin -- I keep wanting to go back there & spend more time there trying to understand why I resist it; Paris, I understood in terms of its chronic boojyness & found more pleasure in the huge flea market in the outskirts where exiled workingclass zones live in the outer circle --
Or, Italy -- especially, in my limited experience, the old part of Bologna -- the vino's good there too --
You know words are shadows, phantoms, traces, hints of, clues to, but never enough, whether you're a poet or philosopher or lover.
Ah, Italy! That's more like it. Went to Bologna twice (the old part of town where the University is) & was sorry to leave.
Blushing is a way of also flushing the blood into new places.
Mirror shards share the fracture, the illusion of the single image.
5's Hay, half the Tree.
How do you see what 'the end' is? You've hardly begun.
Love, the kvetcherke
Ever amazing, ever creative. I remember when Tina got her hands bloody doing stained-glass works. Happily, we/she avoided tie-dye though couldn't escape God's Eye weavings. I prefer hamsas in whatever material form they take. Hamsas or figas (the Italian amulets of hand gestures).
Your beginning is a continuum. Me too. No end until it ends & then do we begin again?
Use whatever your heart finds useful in collaging our ongoing song cycle.
Am as open a book as can be w/ a few dark creases & corners.
Spent yesterday w/ Amanda & Tim & the 2 grandkids, drinking fine wine in Rose Park & watching kids frolic on slides & swings.
It's never-ending even when it's over.
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