Jack Foley

Of the bright and dark
Streets of this West,
This Berkeley,
I think of you this night
Of the phantom full moon
And the skulls and heads
And black clothes
That make you look
Like a perpetual Halloween.
Of the bubbles, the quick wit,
The half smile,
The way with a phrase,
“This was a lady
Trying to be
A machine,”
Of the famous limp,
The resilience,
The courage,
The ability to turn fools,
Skewered, into a line of verse,
The deep, light laughter,
The slight touch of gray showing beneath the hat,
The seller of your own
Vast Volumes,
The laughing eyes—
You fill my mind this night of your sickness
This night when your studied, careful independence
Is no longer possible,
And I think of the many poets
Who have entered hospitals& lt; br>Who have been tended, not read,
Placed in the care of hands
That do not open books
But close
And suture
The wounds life visits upon us all
As we sit in this café of many entrances
But only one exit
And sip our lattes, our cappuccinos, our espressos, our macchiatos
And talk and dream—
And smoke—

On a street that dreams
It is not a street
But Life.



JACK FOLEY, recipient of the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award, is author of EYES (selected poems); The Tiger & Other Tales, a book of stories; Riverrun, a book of experimental poetry; and Grief Songs, documenting grief at the death of his wife, Adelle. KPFA radio host since 1988, he has published 15 books of poetry, 5 books of criticism, a book of stories, and a two-volume, 3,000-page “chronoencyclopedia,” Visions & Affiliations: California Poetry 1940-2005.