“Now who is there to share a joke with?”

The words in this post’s title are Ezra Pound’s when he heard of T. S. Eliot’s death.

By chance, I was reminded that eleven years ago today, 10 June, a friendship of mine ended, one of that kind mourned by Pound at the loss of his friend.

Understandably, this friend, “Laszlo” in the poem, below, shows up in no small number of my poems, by various names. I share here this one, a joke, for those who might get the formal allusion, memorializing the last time he, I, and the third of our trio, all lived in the same city.

 

A sonnet is a moment’s &tc.

 

Laszlo, I wish you, and George, and I

were in that calèche, stalled in traffic,

left, McGill’s gate, Place Ville Marie right,

you flying to love in Holland. Straight out

Upstairs you hailed the passing, empty carriage.

We stopped at a dep George ran in for beer,

our cool québécoise driver declining

a draw or drink. Who can say why

she took the route she did, knowing you‘d

lived here forty years? Just, there we were,

Guiness sixpack shared around, a blue smoke

cloud coughing fit, riding high, our post-

Stammtisch Triangulation Finale

for all rush hour to see, invisible.

7 comments so far

  1. V on

    Very moving poem (perhaps because easy to visualize?)
    I’m sorry for your loss.

    • Bryan Sentes on

      V, the addressee has not died, gladly. I was just reminded that today was the anniversary of the end of the friendship (which is a story in itself)

      Glad you found the poem moving. As EP remarked, “only emotion endures.”

  2. Dr. László Kemenes Géfin on

    For reasons of my own I bumped into this poem accicentally. In a way the “addressee” HAS died, but with eidetic memory intact. The coach ride took place in June 1992, to mark LKG’s departure for Florida sabbatical. Too bad that certain friendship died with, alas, a wimper. Sides, you are too touch, said old Lear, whose age I have reached. Still, as opposed to him, I CAN weep. Old loves do not die, they do not even fade. Laszlo

    • Bryan Sentes on

      In all candor, we at Poeta Doctus are unsure _we_ get the joke (of/in your comment), but then LKG would have been the first to remind us the text is abyssal. Memory is a fickle thing, for we remember not a whimper but a (n emailic) BANG, but, then, memory, another text, wot. All that being said, we do wish Laszlo’s avatar all the best in whatever form or on whatever plane it persists on…

      • LKG on

        Right. Excuse intrusion..

      • Bryan Sentes on

        LKG: always quick to take offense, even where none is intended or even necessarily readable there (the text being abyssal and all…)…

  3. Bryan Sentes on

    i.e., LKG might extend some charity to his interlocutor if he, his interlocutor, seems obtuse. Does LKG have any knowledge of what might at this moment determine his interlocutor’s reception of his, LKG’s, comment?

    At any rate, to get meta for a moment: by “joke” I did not mean “Are you joking, commenting here. etc.?” but referred to the allusiveness of the comment, especially to Lear, “you are too touch”: can’t find the string despite searching, so don’t git it. With reference to ‘whimper’ and ‘bang’: well, a difference of what is remembered–_if we refer to the same thing_: I think we do, but I am unsure (and admitted as much: “memory, another text…”). Only this morning, now, do I _think_ I might understand the last two sentences (see opening sentence, above, re seeming obtuse). Finally, my last sentence (“we do wish”) need not be taken as a dismissal, but–why not?–as a candid, respectul wish (especially given the biographical conditions of this backnforth?).

    I think I can be forgiven for adopting a certain rhetorically formal distance; sorry if it was mis-taken.


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