Jack Foley sent me this today, 9 August 2015, “Lewis, you might enjoy this wild rhapsody by Michael McClure. In it you are called ‘the arch-genius of formal poetry and divine metric’":
GOOD OL JACK'S ALIVE, ALIVE
he's a septuagenarian plus five
He never was dead. He's always aborn.
A bairn at seventy five
who's modest and sweet
as Cole Porter's feet
and givin Derrida a shakin
he breaks Derrida's back
with DeMan's attack
and out pops the choppers
of Antonin Artaud.
He sings sweet Baudelaire
while lady Adele's a yodelin
He's a youngling boyo at seventy-five
and he's on the radi-ooo
He's on the radi-oooo-oh
where he takes out the jive and puts
strawberry jam into Mallarme-oh.
He's a throw of the dice at seventy-five-oh
A cup of deh fiery tea
as he smartifies Bukowski
with the elfin grin of Nezhualcoyotl
Fra bank to bank he rin
teller to teller
o'rhailit with a michty fantasie
like til a leef that fallis from
a diller a dollar
a day an nicht scholar
How does one name the holy?
name the tree-oh?
CAN JACKO BE SWIMMIN THE TIBER?*
Might Jacko be swimmin the Tiber
or is he huggin Marvin Loofer?
Jacko's lookin the dude in Ardie's hat.
Might he be back-strokin the Tiber?
No he's churning the Dharma
churning the Dharma
churning the darned old Dharma
There's no faux lee
and never a folly
FOLEY'S A SEPTUAGENARIAN
Happy birthday Jack
in a week you will be eighty
Higgledy Piggledy toodles the flute
and the pipes do play
it is holiday.
but today you're five and seventy,
today Jack's seventy-five
MIX UP A CUP OF HOLLY STUFF
the Druids chant in Yoruban
today we know
the sparkling glow
1. C note. American slang
for hundred dollar bill.
Nezhualcoyotl's poem ap-
pears on the Mexican hun-
dred peso note.
1a. The Goddess Monroe
passed into glory on Aug-
ust 5, 1962. She left Parad-
iso August 6, 1962. This ev-
ent celebrated by a Biorom-
antic poet in a cluster of 99
poems in Beast Language
and English, 1962
-- see cancelled
Lift memory to bosky Mount Helicarn
And ope your rob'ed bosoms to guide this pastoral reed
to speak of Ulysses and of Stentor
--But, eftsoons, JACK more fits my task
Though news of him there is no need
IS KNOWN THE MOST
For lyric poesy, for historein, for radio,
For voice that brings light-shedding Cleio to
Worthy poets most in need.
Lest it be forgotten, in eagerness of pen to scribe,
His gestures -- Terpsichore, oh smooth Terpsichore,
Graceful One blessed are you for the grace notes
the steps of
Of Jack's singspiel much will be scribed
in later cantos on polyharmony,
but they are yet to come
as the eager feather
dip't as tis in milk and honey.
the son of Herakles and of Maya.
OH JACK -- INVENTOR OF THE DITTY,
i.e. the satyr step beyond the dithyramb.
Among JACK's ceaseless labors
is ravishment of Gorgonian Vendler
left like the body of a virgin at a drinking fest
Oh, Vendler's fallen greygrim towers!
Harold Bloom cheers Yes,
Jack's major work in prose Visions & Affiliations in two volumes brings to mind Peter Kropotkin's exploration of Siberia -- for fearless anarchist courage in exploration and for Kropotkin's gentle kindness.
Volume 1 goes to 575 pages and second volume's sweet bulk is 711 pages. (Seven/eleven -- a lucky throw of the dice.) The 1200 plus pages of it embody Jack's exquisitely perceptive, and often compassionate, and thorough deepening in California poetry. The double tome steps onto the once bleak steppe of California poetry from 1940 to 2005 and shows the rich forests and lakes and springs and flowered deserts and seacoast and occasionally the charnel houses and sometimes a frozen mammoth or an elephant graveyard. As an invested subject, it is the most exciting literary exploration that I know. I also think of Kerouac's Visions of the Dharma for the neuron tingling of mental and imaginative excitement of self discovery amidst the unfolding scene. Jack time-dives like a pupil of Dogen or a determined dolphin in the sea of information. Ten years after publication Visions & Afilliations sports no faults and is a chest of doubloons, and pearls and literary dna.
Elsewhere long ago I anoint Jack as our firebrand experimental poet. He still raises high the gonfalon. He is publishing a massive volume of books and his poetry needs no comment. Already there is a body of writing on his Poesy. Each day he sends out his newest poetry to what is surmised to be a robust email following. I is less than sure that this quantity of poetry always adds to the quality
Compassion: -- c note
NOTE C: SEE NOZZE Di FIGAR0
Note C beta: 100 dollars, no
JACK'S COMPASSION AND AFFECTION...
HYMN OF NEZHUALCOYOTL
Jacqolcoyotl stands on the marge of the great dark lake * 1.
of Valley of Mehiqo
where Eagle of Light hath dropped
Rattling Snake and she hangs on the cactus
a captive warrior in sacrifice...
*Note 1. Lake is dark with dense growth of spirulina, the songs of the spirulina gatherers, and sometimes their quarrelsome outbursts, interfere with the transcription of this Hymn.
Enigma and Paradox: Lewis Turco: see glossary b.
Nazi di Figaro: Wehrmacht Uberleuntnant hiding out in small Spanish city
Jack's compassion is one of the beautiful things of human character, his face when he sees the lovely child of the waiter, in the restaurant where he goes to drink durian shakes, lights and glows in a transcendent way. It is enough to give wings to the heart of an ogre to see it. Jack often a-lights. He will do the same over a poem he has discovered or is reading aloud.
One occasion, when the editor of Hymn to Nezhaulcoyotl was deeply in doubt of his own compassion, Jack remembered an early writing of his and demanded that he reread it and read it aloud. The editor was lifted to ebullience by the experience and will ever be grateful to Jack.
Jack is also capable of Mayakovskian fierceness.
Rumor has Jack in written correspondence with Lewis Turco. The firebrand gonfalon-ed experimentalist mingles thoughts with
the arch-genius of formal poetry and divine metric.
(Treasure trove of fact 1. Frances Scott Keye lifted the melody for Star Spangled Banner from the drinking song of The Sons of Anacreon.)
JACK'S ALIVE AND SEVENTY-FIVE
crown his naked brow-oh
with vines of Bacchus
and twines of myrtle
-- End Part One --
Vide: Email ariettas and duettas of Aristophauxles,, see indexes 75 to 80.